Same-Sex ceremonies

Oct 25, 2016

Are same-sex ceremonies actually so different from heterosexual ones?

They share the same obstacles and challenges – and rewards.

You may relish the process of preparing for your big day – or you may struggle with it. With the right preparations – however you may be celebrating it – your big day should be a delight, bursting with love, benevolence and happiness.

Sure, there are a few differences of detail, but the principles are the same or similar.

So let’s talk about weddings.



  • There can be nothing more challenging than your family! If they oppose your marriage, you can be in deep water, especially if they try to pressurise you.
  • Choosing and obtaining the right suppliers is important, but can be difficult.
  • Sorting out the invitations and venue can also be an interesting task!


Let’s take a look at these, and see how we can deal with them.


It may be that your family refuse to accept or recognise your partner. If you are closely attached to your family (they may even be paying for your wedding!), you may not want to make waves.

However, it is not they who will be living with your partner, but you! The ceremony is about you, not them. The bottom line is that it is your wedding and your big day. It is unfair for them to impose their choices upon you. Especially, for such an important event.

Of course, you should invite them to meet and get to know your partner, preferably informally. If the charm offensive doesn’t work, then think about asking your officiant to have a word. If it’s a religious ceremony, and your priest is already well-known to the family, then he may well start from a position of respect and can help smooth over the problems.

The ceremony itself may prove a sticking-point. You may not be allowed a religious service in a church, say.  However, all is not lost because a civil celebrant can conduct a religious service all the same. Or a part-religious one. Or, indeed, a non-religious one. And because a civil ceremony is not formally structured, you can have your choice of participants, as well as readings, rituals and music.

You may be able to explain to, or show, the disapproving relative(s) that the service will in fact be spiritual, memorable and delightful. Better still, you may be able to invite them to read something (even of their choice!) at the event. That way, you can show how much you value them.


There’s nothing out of the ordinary to be said here, as  your sexual orientation shouldn’t enter into it. You are likely to need catering, photography, flowers, a celebrant, a cake, maybe a limousine, entertainment (a magician, a DJ, a photo-booth etc.). There have been some recent, notorious cases of suppliers refusing to serve same-sex couples, but you can only feel pity for such intolerant people. Move on. There are plenty of others who will serve you excellently.

You need to take your time and do your research. Recommendation, websites, personal visits are all better than taking pot luck with Google. I have more advice on this subject in a blog:


I have also written on this topic (please see, but here too you need to get in early, do your research and ensure, if possible, that you visit. The visit will allow you to get a feel for the atmosphere of the place. Crucially, you’ll be able to ask the event co-ordinator questions.

The jury is out on this one, but it may be worth checking that the venue has no problems with gay ceremonies.

The guests

The guest-list and (potential) table-plan is almost always a sticky issue for any wedding. Your budget must be adhered to and, most importantly, you and your partner must be in harmony over this. Ideally, so will your families (especially if they are bankrolling the event!). You may need to be very diplomatic …


So, in general, a same-sex and a heterosexual ceremony will differ very little. The officiant will need to check  with the couple about the terms he/she will be using. Will it be “bride and bride” or “groom and groom”, and will the couple at the end be announced as “Mr & Mr X” or “Mrs and Mrs Y”? The wording of some of the readings may have to be changed, but, otherwise, a same-sex ceremony is basically the same as a heterosexual one.

Absolutely nobody needs to be put off from arranging a same-sex ceremony!