Gay weddings

The wording of a civil partnership ceremony

The civil partnership ceremony itself will be similar to a civil wedding. According to the Civil Partnership Act, it can't take place in a religious setting. However, it can be performed at a registry office or at a gay-friendly wedding venue, for example, a hotel or castle that has a wedding licence.

In terms of the wording, you can choose to include poems, love quotes or readings as long as they don't have a religious content. You need to agree these with the registrar beforehand. The registrar will have certain words they have to say.

They will welcome guests and the couple saying, something along the lines of: 'Today they will affirm their love and publicly declare their commitment to each other.'

They will then ask if anyone knows any reason why the couple cannot form a civil partnership. Hopefully, no-one will say a word!

Words similar to these will then be read out by the registrar, inserting the couple's names in the blanks. ...and... have chosen to pledge themselves to each other by committing to a legally binding contract. Their partnership will enable the love and respect that they have for each other to develop into a deep and lasting relationship. We, who are witnessing your civil partnership, hope that despite the stresses inevitable in any life, your love, trust and understanding of each other, will increase your contentment and heighten your joy in living.'

The couple can choose to say vows, for example:
'I...pledge to share my life openly with.... I promise to cherish and tenderly care for you, to honour and encourage you. I will respect you as an individual and be true to you through good times and bad. To these things I give my word.'

Or

'I... choose you above all others, to share my life. I promise to honour this pledge as long as I live.'

The couple will then exchange rings, stating: 'This ring is a token of my abiding love and a sign of the promise I make to you today.'

The registrar can then say some more words, for example. 'Every day you live, you learn how to receive love with as much understanding as you give it. Find things within yourself, then you can share them with each other. Do not fear this love. Have an open heart and a sincere mind. Be concerned with each other's happiness. Be constant and consistent in your love. From this will come security and strength.'

There will then be the signing of the civil partnership schedule and the presentation of a commemorative certificate.

The final sign off will be something along the lines of: 'Now that the ceremony is over and the experience of living day by day as legal partners is about to begin, go and meet it gladly.'

And of course, then there's the party!