Make your day a Milestone and not a Millstone!
The Milestone guide to UK gay weddings and commitment ceremonies
Same-sex couples around the world are gradually being given more and
more of the legal rights afforded to heterosexual couples. The UK is no
exception, and although currently there is no legal way for same-sex
couples to actually marry, Commitment Ceremonies and Civil Partnerships
are two alternatives that get close.
- Non-legally binding Commitment Ceremonies are an opportunity for an
adult couple to publicly declare their love for, and commitment to,
- Commitment Ceremonies are performed by Registrars in the same way
as traditional civil weddings - ie in a Register Office or any place
approved for marriage by the local authority. Because premises do not
have to hold a marriage license though, Registrars may agree to perform
the ceremony at other local authority venues as well.
- There is no set wording for the ceremony, so each can be unique with
each couple creating their own celebration of words, music and readings
that convey special meaning to them.
- There are no set timescales on how quickly the ceremony can take
place - it depends entirely on Registrar availability.
- Each local authority sets its own scale of fees, but in general the
costs start around £100. Costs substantially increase when the
premises are other than a Register Office and when complexity
and length of ceremony increases!
- The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into operation on 5 December
2005 and enables a same-sex couple to register as civil partners of
each other. Their relationship is thus legally recognised with the
couple gaining the same rights as a married couple in areas like tax,
social security, inheritance and workplace benefits.
- Notice has to be given by each partner in exactly the same way and
with exactly the same timescales as for a civil wedding. Non-Europeans
are covered by exactly the same immigration controls as for civil
- Civil Partnership ceremonies are performed by Registrars in the same
way as traditional civil weddings - ie in a Register Office or any place
approved for marriage by the local authority.
- The Civil Partnership Act does not concern itself with ceremonies
and so each Registrar will work with each couple creating their own
celebration of words, music and readings that convey special meaning
to them, blending this with the requirements for signing the schedule.
- The minimum cost is £30 each to give notice of your
partnership, a £40 fee for the registration and £3.50 for the
certificate. Costs substantially increase when the premises are other
than a Register Office and ornate ceremonies are involved.
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