A Toastmaster’s view
Those who have not been present at a Partnership Celebration may be concerned as to what to expect, however I have found there to be little difference between a Partnership Celebration and a traditional Wedding Breakfast.
The couple, whether male or female, will set the scene for a perfect day to suit their individual style, incorporating as many or as few of the traditional features to make the day special to themselves.
When the Civil Partnership Act came into being in 2005, many older couples who were keen to register their commitment simply signed the relevant documents. Today almost all couples opt for a ceremony as well. Almost all registrars will offer the option of a full ceremony, and many will be helpful in helping to devise a ceremony that answers a couple’s individual requirements. Only a handful of gay weddings involve a religious element, which will normally consist of a blessing or commitment ceremony.
The idea of a ‘typical wedding’ is hard to pin down. New ideas, such as the ‘two aisle’ approach, in which two women can be given away by their fathers, are emerging all the time.
It is fair to say partnership celebrations seem much more relaxed than traditional receptions, with couples feeling that they can celebrate in their own particular style, rather than follow fixed traditions and etiquette. Indeed in my experience gay couples seem a lot more relaxed throughout the entire planning period.
Traditional wedding receptions are occasions of great joy, but there can be an enormous level of stress for the couple, the hosts and the suppliers, but this stress level seems drastically reduced with most partnership celebrations.
Dress codes tend to be to a very high standard, so don’t assume it will be relaxed too. One obvious variation to the traditional wedding breakfast is the speeches and the Toast, which if used at all, will be “To the Happy Couple”.
As there is not, as yet, an etiquette to follow, my role as a Master of Ceremonies can be challenging, but is invaluable in keeping the day running smoothly