Inclusive I-Do’s: 15 Resources To Build a Collection

LGBTQIA+ couples were once completely absent from library shelves. In 1994, one might come across The Essential Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings by Tess Ayers and Paul Brown, but same-gender weddings were not yet widely accepted, nor legally recognized in the United States. There was very little information available on the topic. Fortunately, LGBTQIA+ marriage has become much more accepted and legally recognized across the country since June 15, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry. Here are 15 resources to help build a collection.

LGBTQIA+ couples were once completely absent from library shelves. In 1994, one might come across The Essential Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings by Tess Ayers and Paul Brown, but same-gender weddings were not yet widely accepted, nor legally recognized in the United States. There was very little information available on the topic. Fortunately, LGBTQIA+ marriage has become much more accepted and legally recognized across the country since June 15, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry. Gallup’s 2021 Values and Beliefs poll indicates that 70 percent of U.S. respondents support same-sex marriage, the highest number ever recorded and a jump of 10 percent since the 2015 ruling. Engagement announcements for same-sex couples are likely to be numerous in 2022, which is on track to see a historic surge in weddings of all types.

The landscape has improved for LGBTQIA+ couples seeking to celebrate their unions, and publishing offerings reflect that progress. However, there is consensus among the authors of and contributors to these books that there are still too few resources. While representation has certainly improved, LGBTQIA+ people planning a wedding still have access to far fewer resources than those in heterosexual, cisgender unions. Therefore, it is vital to build library collections that incorporate titles for LGBTQIA+ patrons.

While some recent books aimed at a general audience include LGBTQIA+ concerns and reflections, this is the exception rather than the rule. Topics such as creating gender-inclusive wedding vows or vetting LGBTQIA+ friendly vendors are often better addressed in guides written explicitly for an LGBTQIA+ audience.

Librarians should be aware that older titles in these areas often contain outdated legal information and language and overwhelmingly feature white, cisgender subjects. There is a noticeable gap in material addressing concerns and reflections of the full spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community in both written content and illustrations. Whenever possible, selecting titles that acknowledge and exhibit the full diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community should be prioritized. While it may be a challenge for librarians to adequately meet LGBTQIA+ patrons’ needs with such a limited selection of books, often from small or indie presses, we hope to see continued improvement in the breadth and depth of forthcoming materials, so collections should be regularly refreshed.

The titles below include both practical nonfiction on the topic of wedding planning for LGBTQIA+ patrons, memoirs—which offer more personal reflections on this subject—and other relevant titles.

Starred titles () are recommended for all library collections.

Editors’ Note: Throughout this piece we use the terms “gay weddings,” “lesbian weddings,” and “same-sex weddings,” among others, as these are commonly used in books to refer to weddings involving people of the same gender or who are perceived to be of the same gender. We recognize that these terms are not inclusive or accurate to the experiences of many members of the LGBTQIA+ community, with trans and bisexual people being just some of those particularly impacted. We encourage librarians to be mindful of inclusive phrasing when suggesting these titles to patrons. 



Abby, Laura Leigh. 2brides 2be: A Same-Sex Guide for the Modern Bride. Archer. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9781941729175. $15.95.

When Abby got engaged to her girlfriend in 2012 and began to browse bridal magazines and wedding blogs, she felt underrepresented, which led her to blog about her experience planning a lesbian wedding. With a casual tone, Abby provides ample personal anecdotes and down-to-earth advice about planning a same-sex wedding, strongly advocating that readers make it their own.

Diamant, Anita. The Jewish Wedding Now. 3rd. ed. Scribner. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781501153945. $18.

The third edition of novelist Diamant’s guide aims to reflect the diversity within the Jewish community: “Jews of color, LG BTQ Jews, and those with roots in other countries and cultures enlarge and enrich the range of Jewish experiences and choices for everyone.” While there is no chapter dedicated to LGBTQIA+ couples, the volume suggests alternatives for many of the patriarchal, heterocentric rituals and traditions of a Jewish wedding and is a good resource for LGBTQIA+ couples looking to be married in the Jewish tradition.

Eisenhart, Maddie. Wedding Hacks: 500+ Ways To Stick to Your Budget, Stay Stress-Free, and Plan the Best Wedding Ever. Adams. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781507214053. $15.99.

While this compact, breezy guide is not aimed specifically at an LGBTQIA+ audience, it avoids gendered language and offers specific tips that address queer concerns, such as offering pronoun pins at the ceremony.

Hamm, Kathryn & Thea Dodds. The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography. Clarkson Potter: Ten Speed. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9780804185233. $24.99.

Photographers and business partners Hamm and Dobbs offer ways to adjust and enhance “traditional” wedding photography to authentically capture same-sex couples in love in this liberally illustrated book.

Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage. Seal. 2012. 448p. ed. by Audrey Bilger & Michele Kort. ISBN 9781580053921. $19.99.

This anthology began as an idea during the Prop 8/marriage equality fight in California. Personal stories, the occasional poem, and a one-act play cover topics such as getting engaged, becoming involved in activism, even stories about getting divorced. As the essays were penned before marriage equality, some authors discuss the precarious legality of their unions.

Khalaf, David & Constantino Khalaf. Modern Kinship: A Queer Guide to Christian Marriage. Westminster John Knox. 2018. 232p. ISBN 9780664264611. $16.

Married couple David and Constantino offer their personal stories as Christians navigating their sexuality and marriage, as well as compassionate support and guidance to readers who struggle to reconcile their sexuality and Christianity, including those who have been part of conservative Christian communities. Interspersed are intimate stories of partnership and marriage from others who identify as queer Christians.

Palladino, Kristin. Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding. Seal. 2017. 272p. ISBN 9781580056700. $17.99.

Noting a lack of wedding-planning resources for LGBTQIA+ couples, Palladino and her partner created the resource they were seeking, initially an online wedding magazine ( and later this print wedding guide. It takes LGBTQIA+ couples through the wedding process step by step, from announcing an engagement to packing for the honeymoon, and offers tips, such as vetting vendors, that will be supportive of LGBTQIA+ couples and have LGBTQIA+ wedding experience. The guide uses gender-inclusive language and reflects the diversity within the community, making it a standout among LBGTQIA+ wedding guides. 

Savage, Dan. The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family. Penguin. 2006. 291p. ISBN 9780452287631. $17.

Sex columnist Savage and his boyfriend, Terry, were approaching their 10-year anniversary when his mother put the pressure on them to get married, but they were skeptical: It wasn’t legal for same-sex couples when this book was written. In this candid and humorous memoir, Savage questions the meaning of marriage and skewers anti–marriage equality arguments, while he and his partner vacillate about whether to tie the knot or not.


Dancing with Her 

The Australia-based founders of this website, which also has a print publication, felt unrepresented when they planned their wedding, and created this space to share real stories of women who love women, a directory of wedding-related vendors, advice, and honeymoon information. This is a visually rich and attractive website with worldwide coverage; a partner website ( features wedding coverage of the broader LGBTQIA+ community.

Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine 

This digital version of Gay Weddings & Marriage magazine offers information and advice to LGBTQIA+ couples planning to get married. In addition, the website features photos of real LGBTQIA+ weddings and a section on family planning for LGBTQIA+ couples.

Men’s Vows 

Men’s Vows provides resources for men planning weddings to other men, including a curated directory of wedding vendors by geographic location, stories of real couples, and travel information.

Rainbow Wedding Network 

Rainbow Wedding Network provides information on wedding expos and vendors across the country, offers tips and wedding registry, and features the real weddings of LGBTQIA+ couples.


Collins, Andrew. Destination Pride: A Little Book for the Best LGBTQ Vacations. Hardie Grant. 2021. 152p. ISBN 9781741176971. $12.99.

This whimsical LGBTQIA+ travel guide has a variety of destinations arranged by theme with brief descriptions of each. Includes tips for destination weddings and information for LGBTQIA+ people to travel safely.

International LGBTQ+ Travel Association 

LGBTQIA+ friendly tours, events, and cruises are spotlighted here, plus a travel blog featuring posts on various geographical areas and events. The site also provides information about LGBTQIA+ protections or lack thereof in individual countries.

Out Traveler 

Out Traveler’s website version provides travel tips, highlights destinations and resorts, and covers relevant news for travelers, particularly LGBTQIA+, such as information on a third-gender option on passport applications beginning in 2022. Short articles with ample photographs and illustrations make for an appealing website and enjoyable serendipitous browsing.  

Kelly Griffin is a Content Curator, Adult, for Chicago Public Library. 

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