Beginner's Guide To Gay Marriage Preparation Since March 29th 2014, it has been legal for same sex couples to marry in England and Wales, thanks to the Marriage (Same Sex couples) Act 2013.
Now gay couples have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional wedding day at one of the many venues registered to hold civil marriage ceremonies, or celebrate in a less conventional way.
Here we take a look at some of the preparations needed before the big day.
Couples Already Married
When the legalisation of gay marriage looked to be a dream in the distant future, many same sex couples chose to 'wed' by entering into a civil partnership. Preparations are under way to enable couples to simply convert their civil partnership into a marriage. This is expected to be available by the end of 2014, and can be completed either by submitting a form, or by holding a new ceremony, which provides a good opportunity to reaffirm your commitment, and have another party.
Preparations for a same sex marriage are the same as for any civil marriage ceremony. Regardless of whereabouts in England or Wales you intend to marry, you and your partner must attend your local Register Office to give notice of your forthcoming marriage. The Superintendent Registrar will take you through the paperwork and discuss any special requirements relating to your circumstances, for example if either partner were born outside the UK.
Finding A Venue
Anywhere in England or Wales registered to conduct civil marriage ceremonies may conduct a gay marriage. There are a number of restrictions in place surrounding religious marriage ceremonies, although you may be able to have a blessing in a religious setting, following a civil ceremony elsewhere.
The wedding industry has welcomed the boom in business this change has brought about. Now all couples are eligible to wed, regardless of sexuality, the marriage business is busier than ever.
You may feel more comfortable using suppliers registered in a gay-friendly directory, but it is by no means compulsory. Prioritise reputation and experience over marketing pitches designed to appeal to same-sex couples. For example, if you are looking for a wedding photographer, a portfolio of images that appeal to you, and the ability to build a good rapport with them are more important than whether or not they have added their business to gay-wedding directories.
In England and Wales, planning a gay wedding is much like organising a civil marriage ceremony, with the same legal restrictions on where the ceremony can take place, but also the same freedoms in planning a day that reflects your personalities and the uniqueness of your relationship.