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Gay Marriage & Commitment Ceremony Planner

Gay Weddings

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Man proposing to man on patio
Doug Menuez/Photodisc/Getty Images
It takes just as much time to plan a commitment ceremony as it does a wedding, but for gay and lesbian couples there are a few important details to consider. Below is a guide to planning gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies, including a stage-by-stage calendar.

How To Plan a Commitment Ceremony
Time Needed:

A typical commitment ceremony can take between 10-12 months to plan.

Commitment Ceremony Calendar
Follow the wedding ceremony checklist for a stage-by-stage timeline and guide to the essentials of a successful commitment ceremony.

Things to Consider:
  • Type of Ceremony
    Depending on the state and country of residence, gay couples may have the option of planning a full marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, or commitment ceremony. You may also want to decide if you and your partner desire a religious or non-religious ceremony.

  • Itinerary
    A typical ceremony and reception will take at least 5 hours, not including pictures taken in between the ceremony and reception. Take ample time to discuss your ceremony plans with your partner. Keep a notebook for important information and develop an itinerary of the ceremony day. Share this itinerary with the reception hall, DJ or band, officiate, venue and other people key to the success of the ceremony.

  • Budget
    Take time to carefully plan the budget for your ceremony. Take into account the number of guests, the venue, entertainment, photography, rings, tuxedo rentals, etc. An easy way to plan a commitment ceremony budget is to allot a certain amount for each major area of the ceremony. Here is a simple break down:
    • 50% Reception
    • 10% Flowers
    • 10% Music
    • 10% Photography
    • 10% Tuxedo or Dress Rental
    • 5% Invitations
    • 5% Miscellaneous
  • Wedding Vows
    Your wedding vows can be as unique as you are or traditional depending on your preference.


  • Location & Venue
    Of course, the location of your ceremony should be a special place for both you and your partner; however, consider choosing a central location for all of your guests. Also, make sure the venue of choice is gay-friendly. Call ahead to make sure the venue you choose is comfortable hosting a same-sex ceremony. In addition, make sure you are comfortable in the venue of choice.


  • Find a Church
    Call a gay-friendly church and ask if they are willing to perform a gay commitment ceremonies. .


  • Number of Guests
    Some couples choose to have small intimate ceremonies, while others have large events. Invite the number of guests that make you and your partner comfortable. Remember that the cost of the ceremony can rise depending on how many guests you invite.


  • Invitations
    You can purchase wedding invitations at your local stationary store or online. Choose invitations to your taste. If money is a concern, try a little creativity and create your own special cards or host an announcement shower at a friend's place.


  • Reception Halls & Caterers

  • Decide if you'd like a reception at a private home, a public hall or non at all. If considering a public venue, call the reception hall and book it at least 10-12 months in advance. Be prepared to tell the event planner your desired booking date and time, how many guests you are expecting and what cuisine you'd like served (if they cater as well). Some places offer full packages (ceremony venue, reception, caterer, music and photographer).

  • DJ/Band and Photographer
    The DJ can sometimes be a sore spot when it comes to wedding and commitment ceremonies. Choose a DJ with experience. Select a play list that tailors to both your tastes and the palate of your guests. Decide on a photographer with experience and be clear about what you expect. It helps to choose a DJ and photographer that is comfortable in a gay atmosphere. Word of mouth recommendations are always best.


  • Limousine Services
    Think about how you will arrive at the ceremony and to the reception. Check your local listings for a limousine company or for the cost conscious, solicit a friend with a really nice car to chauffeur you around for the day.


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