How to plan a non-monogamous wedding (aka fun for the whole polycule)

Guest post by Raven Shutley
 | Photography by Raven Shutley Studios
nonmonogamous wedding planning photo by raven shutley studios3 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Engagement shoot for a polycule wedding! Photos by Raven Shutley Studios

Whether the idea of non-monogamy is new to you or if you’ve been familiar with the concept and the term for a while, information on non-monogamous weddings (and more specifically how to go about planning non-monogamous weddings) is definitely scarce! Now, I’m not here to teach you about the concept or talk about what any of it means, but what I am here to do is to focus on the idea of planning a wedding for or as a non-monogamous person. If this article is introducing you to the concept altogether, Offbeat Wed has a whole archive of polyamorous weddings that go as far back as 2008!

What is a non-monogamous wedding?

Non-monogamy is an umbrella term for lots of styles of relationships and this can take so many different forms that it would be impossible to list here, but basically it comes down to being a wedding or relationship between MORE than just two people. That could be a throuple. That could be a polycule. That could be a larger poly pod!

nonmonogamous wedding planning photo by raven shutley studios1 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

As you likely already know, marrying more than one person isn’t legally recognized in the US as of this blog post being published, so depending on the person, these could be legally recognized weddings or commitment ceremonies. I consider those terms one and the same for this discussion. So there might be three people marrying each other, there might be two people marrying each other with their other partner(s) or spouse(s) in attendance, or some other configuration entirely! And honestly? That’s the only difference, really!

What to expect at a non-monogamous wedding

There are a some things that might be different at a non-monogamous wedding. Here are a few to think about:

Non-monogamous wedding vows and ceremony script

If you’re a relationship of more than two people who are planning a wedding, think about what you’d like to share with your loved ones and build that into your ceremony. What is important to you? What are some of your core beliefs when it comes to relationships?

Non-monogamous wedding ceremony

Will you have multiple ring exchanges or the typical two? Would there be anyone else recognized during the ceremony, like other partners as significant people, or will the focus remain on the people marrying? Will there be more than one “official kiss”?

nonmonogamous wedding planning photo by raven shutley studios2 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Non-monogamous wedding reception

Will there be additional speeches or toasts given during the reception? Will more than two people be dancing with parents during the parent dances? What about during the official first dance? Maybe everyone dances at once or you skip this altogether! Do you want any time for photos with other partners during your couple portrait time? Or maybe you choose to include everyone at the engagement session but focus on the marriers at the wedding?

Remember your “why”

Once you’ve built a ceremony and a wedding that fits you perfectly, let your guests know what to expect, and maybe why to expect it. Like anything else, letting people in on the “why” behind important choices can help foster closeness and acceptance, especially if you have people in attendance who might not be familiar with your kind of relationship. And maybe, if you feel it helpful, give people a head’s up that there might be additional people smooching on your beloved! That’s definitely not something typically seen at monogamous weddings.

These are things to think over as you start planning and they’ll be different for everyone, which is totally okay! There’s no wrong answer, it just comes down to what YOU want.

nonmonogamous wedding planning photo by raven shutley studios4 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
When the whole poly pod is planning the wedding!

Things that might be the same at a non-monogamous wedding

Pretty much everything else! No, seriously. Just like a wedding where the people marrying are two men, two women, a man and a woman, two non-binary people, or any combination of humans, weddings is weddings is weddings. It’s your best party whether it's for a throuple, polycule, or whole poly pod. Your celebration of love in front of and with other people you love. And that’s what it comes down to: a great time coming together in celebration.

Planning a non-monogamous wedding for your whole polycule? Find more inspiration in our polyamorous weddings archive!

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