Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My brother asked me to officiate his wedding to his longtime boyfriend and I am thrilled. I’ve gotten ordained and now am working on the script for the ceremony. The only thing tripping me up is whether to use the word husband, spouse or partner in the “do you take this man” and when I pronounce them married at the end. What wording should I use for a same sex wedding ceremony to refer to the betrothed parties?  

Answer: What an honor to be asked to take on such an important role in your brother’s wedding. It’s lovely that you want to make sure everything is just right with your word choices. Most same sex couples opt to use the conventional language that signals marriage. In his Washington Post “Civilities” column Steven Petrow, the author of “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners, says the LGBTQ community has fought long and hard for the right to use the words “husband” and “wife,” and many are keen to use it due to the universal recognition of its meaning. That said, he also states that not all LGBTQ couples embrace it and prefer spouse or partner. So my advice is to ask your brother and his fiancé what they prefer and go with their choice. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and when you use their choice during the ceremony, it will offer a signal to friends and loved ones as to their preference going forward.



Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.