Try to avoid the terms ‘bride’ and ‘groom’, remember to refer to couples by their names, rather than using a generic term. If, through habit, you do slip up and use the terms ‘bride and groom’ by mistake, don’t panic! It should be obvious that it is a slip of the tongue, and not an attempt to ‘pigeonhole’ your clients. It doesn’t help to point out that you have gay friends, nor does it give you any additional credibility. The couple will only be interested in how well you can do your job, and help them enjoy their day!
As a professional you should research any new markets your business is involved in. It only takes a few moments to flick through the advice to gay couples on this website and understand how a civil partnership is formed.
The term “marriage” is also best avoided, although “wedding” is fine. Although in all aspects a civil partnership is the same as a marriage, it was agreed with various religious groups that the term “marriage” would not be applied to gay partnerships. The act of the signing of the civil partnership schedule and the associated ceremony and celebration is commonly referred to as a “Civil Partnership”.
In putting together this directory we have, inevitably, come across a few individuals who do not want to extend their services to gay couples – “Goodness, no! I’m a Christian!” was one response – “If they behave themselves!” was another (just what were they expecting? – Ed). We have excluded such businesses from this directory. If you have any concerns as to how your company should operate and any associated guidelines please refer to the Equality Act 2006 which came into effect April 2007 which prevents discrimination in the retail and good sector.
We have experienced a very interesting day at The National Wedding Show at Olympia, attending as a gay couple early in 2006, soon after the new legislation was introduced. The ONLY business that did not react in any way to our “unconventional” relationship was a (catholic!) reception venue in Italy – where we assume our status was lost in translation. Every other business, although keen to offer their services, made us feel uncomfortable with “double-takes” and avoidance of eye contact. Had we genuinely been planning a civil partnership, we would have been just as uncomfortable using any of these businesses as they were in addressing us. Can your business affort to lose this trade?