We feel privileged to have one of our past brides, Sally, write for us about her experience planning her Civil Partnership as well as her civil partnership photography! Here’s what she says:
Last year I celebrated the most amazing day of my life – my Civil Partnership.
My partner and I decided after about a year together that we ‘knew it was right’ so we decided to make a big commitment to each other. My partner tells a different story of how it came about, something to do with me proposing seven times and her finally relenting but I prefer my version!
Being a keen organiser, I sat down with my laptop and set up a spreadsheet straightaway. It’s not terribly romantic but I would recommend it as, whatever your priorities and budget, there is a lot to think about and organise.
We began with the big things: a date, venues for the ceremony and reception, and a photographer. We knew we wanted Lumina to do our photography as their photographers seem to be able to capture people naturally yet also be really creative – and they aren’t very expensive – so we booked them early on.
It took us a long time to decide where to have our Civil Partnership; in London where we live and my partner was brought up or in Leicestershire where I was brought up.
We imagined a chic, city wedding with the ceremony at one of the top spots: Islington Town Hall, Chelsea Town Hall or Marylebone Town Hall. Islington we love because it’s in a really trendy area and both Chelsea and Marylebone are great as they have lots of different size rooms you can use depending on how many people you want to invite.
Yet, after a lot of discussion and with the pressure of the date looming, we decided to go back to my roots and have the ceremony in Oakham, Rutland and the reception in my parents’ village as it would be easier for my family.
Once that major decision was made we had to go to our local registry office in Enfield to give our ‘Notice of Intention’ with the Superintendent Registrar. For this, you have to take along proof of your identity and address, and show that you are both legally entitled to enter into a Civil Partnership. It takes less than an hour and costs around £70 per couple.
Once you’ve done that the registry office where you’re having your Civil Partnership will liaise with you about the ceremony details. It’s up to you what readings and music, if any, to have, will you enter the room together, separately or with a relative, what names will you both leave with, who will act as your witnesses, do you want to write your own vows – it’s all very flexible.
Our next big decision was what to wear. My partner is of Mauritian origin so she found this quite easy as she wanted to wear a sari. She opted for green rather than the traditional Hindu wedding colour red simply because it suits her better. My decision was harder.
While it’s liberating that after only six years in existence there aren’t any specific Civil Partnership traditions or rules to worry about, it also means there are unlimited options.
Having always wanted to wear a white suite I thought that my Civil Partnership was the perfect opportunity to do so. Yet, as time went on, I realised that for me personally, I’d feel more special in a dress – the white suit would sadly have to wait. And so my search began. Again, my assumptions were all wrong. I’d thought I’d go for something short, smart and modern – and probably quite a strong colour – but very quickly I began to understand why many brides stick to the traditional white.
Were I a six foot model I may not have worried that anyone could outdo me on my special day but as a solid 5 foot 2 I wasn’t going to take that chance! So I opted for white knowing that no one else would be wearing it and bought a beautiful long dress that still felt individual to me.
With all these major elements of our CP arranged we felt some sense of relief and achievement. Now just the invites, rings, music, food, drink, cake, decor, ceremony, hair, make-up, guest list, honeymoon and transport to arrange!
Good luck with organising your Civil Partnership and making all those decisions, I’m sure it will be the most amazing day of your life whatever you choose to do.
In a follow up post, Sally will impart her top ten tips for planning your civil partnership. Stay tuned!
PS: Head to Sally’s website to find out more about her and what she gets up as a professional writer!