More than a decade ago, same-gender marriage was legalized in Canada. Since then, weddings for LGBTQ couples have become a part of the fabric of Canadian society. Same-gender weddings today are as unique as the individuals getting married.

This is evidenced by the venues and celebrations that are true expressions of the happy couple’s love for one another. Gay and lesbian couples have lots to consider in the plans for their ceremony and the reception that follows.

LGBTQ weddings tend to be events where the planning experience is jointly shared by the happy couple. When planning and organizing their wedding events, same-gender couples may find that they have some additional factors to take into consideration.

Deciding what type of wedding you want, your budget, what type of venue will suit your needs is just the beginning. Defining the roles of friends and family at the wedding is important and may require discussion before hand.

Ensuring that you, your spouse and your guests are comfortable and welcome in the venues is crucial; it’s your day, you don’t need any surprise conflicts. Discussions about your expectations and plans with the event planners and venue staff will help to avoid potentially awkward situations. Here’s a guide to help the two of you as you prepare for your special day.

Type of wedding

Gay and lesbian couples individualize their weddings across a broad spectrum. However, as with all weddings there are three themes that guide wedding planning and organization: Formal, semi-formal or informal (casual).

The more elegant the affair, the more likely it will be to involve tuxedos or gowns or designer suits or dresses, limousines, sit down meals and fine crafted food. Two grooms might choose designer suits rather than tuxedos. Two women might both decide to wear colourful gowns or one might have a designer suit while the other choses an informal dress or even a white wedding gown.

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The combinations are endless. The wedding party might be a mix of men and women requiring a rethinking of the traditional wedding attire. A formal affair will mean more complex planning and more energy involved in the preparations.

An informal or casual event may be less expensive and give you more energy on the day of the event.


Your budget will need to reflect your expectations. It will be important for the two of you to sit down and discuss your expectations and finances prior to making any decisions about the actual event.

How much do you think is a reasonable amount to spend for the ceremony, your clothing, the venue, the food, transportation, gifts for the wedding party, the rings, the hotel and the honeymoon? Will family or friends be assisting you in the financing of your celebration?

Remember that your budget should not be a guide; it should be a set amount that keeps you on a clear pathway. Many couples get into financial trouble by going overboard with their plans. It’s just not wise to start a on a marriage with a large debt.

Have a look at this post on wedding budgeting.

Wedding Venues and officiates

There are two components to the wedding venue. The first is to decide where the ceremony will be conducted. Many same-gender couples choose to have a small intimate ceremony in a significant place that is meaningful to them followed by a larger wedding celebration for their friends and family.

Other couples choose to have a more traditional ceremony in a church; a number of churches are supportive of LGBTQ unions. Still others use their reception venue to host the wedding ceremony first with the reception to follow.

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The numbers of guests will determine the size of venue. Your theme or style of wedding may guide you in the type of venue that you choose. Depending on the season and time of day, you might choose to have an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception.

Many couples are choosing morning or early afternoon wedding ceremonies followed by luncheons or afternoon teas as a way of helping to control their budgets. Others have cocktail party receptions, buffets or even formal dinners and dances.

Your venue should meet the needs of the celebration that you are hosting. The venue management can usually assist you in providing or selecting catering requirements, décor and floral needs, seating and tables, photographer and entertainment.

In Calgary there are many venues that are happy to work with and host same-gender weddings. However, it is always advisable to be clear about your requirements and have a conversation with the management and the staff who will be working the event to ensure that everyone is on side.

Your want your day to be a positive and memorable event. As well, you want all your guests to feel welcome and comfortable. Be sure to specify when you are booking that this will be a same-gender wedding so as to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on in the process.

There is no shortage of hotels, conference and entertainment facilities who will be happy to work with you and your partner as you plan your nuptials.

Working with Wedding Planners

A word about wedding planners and event planning. There are a wide variety of services available for same-gender couples to work with as they plan their wedding. Wedding planners can provide a wealth of experience and knowledge to the happy couple.

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A professional planner will be able to assist you in accessing venues and professionals to make your wedding day go smoothly. Do you need a unique wedding cake? An event planner has access to professional caterers. They also have access to entertainment, photographers, florists and décor specialists who can make your event especially memorable.

An excellent wedding planner can remove pressure from the couple and leave them time to focus on their friends, family and each other. Most wedding planners provide a wide variety of services from suggestions for invitations or venues to full service wedding planning. You can make the choice based on your budget and your needs. Don’t be afraid to get someone with experience to help you make your wedding day perfect!

These are just a few ideas to get you started in your wedding planning. If you need assistance in planning your wedding, Simply Elegant can assist you in finding the best space to make your special day a unique and memorable event.

We are a full service provider for any size-wedding event. Our team of wedding specialists will provide you with advice about potential venues, décor, floral arrangements and menu possibilities.

Congratulations and good luck as you start your planning for your special wedding event!