How to Celebrate Converting a Civil Partnership to Marriage

File:First vows at Montmartre.jpgLast month, the Government announced that from December 2014 couples in a civil partnership can convert to marriage for free. Provided that the civil ceremony took place before same-sex marriage became legal in the UK (March 31st 2014).

The process is likely to be straightforward.

However, there has been concern that there will be "no heart" to the conversions. You can read the full Guardian article here.

So, if you're planning to convert your civil partnership, then is there a way to celebrate? Is there a way of making a romantic occasion of it with more atmosphere than, as Livesey-van Dorst argues, renewing your tax disc?

What Can You Do?

One option is to throw a party for family and friends. This probably shouldn't be sold as a wedding reception, because if friends and family have already given you gifts, then you shouldn't assume or ask that they'll do it all over again. Of course, that's between you and your conscience, but a simple message on the invite asking for people's attendance rather than presents will probably ensure people aren't put-out by your attempts to lure them to a pricey second ceremony.

For some people, years later, there might be more money now and converting to marriage might be the opportunity to have the occasion that you couldn't have before. Equally, society has come a long way in the last decade and attitudes have changed considerably. Maybe now, relatives might be more willing to endorse your relationship with their attendance. There's never been a better, more accepting time to be gay in the UK than now.

Another option would be to hire a celebrant and have a vow renewal ceremony. This can either form part of a wider celebration that incorporates an evening party, or it can be a private or small ceremony followed by a meal. We've written before about celebrants, they're a fantastic way of having a professional act as a officiant. They'll add a sense of order to proceedings and they can help to tailor make your perfect ceremony. You can find celebrants on the Pink Wedding Days website, too.

There might be criticism for the conversion policy, but in many ways it provides the perfect template for everyone. Some people don't want the razz-mataz of anything fancy, because, for many, being in a civil partnership is already the same as being married. For them, whether the process is like renewing a tax disc, changing the address on a driver's license or applying for a new passport - it won't matter. And should we not be grateful that the process is easy and boring rather than time consuming and expensive?

For others, it does matter, and that's why there's room to make a special event or occasion of it. Of course, it doesn't need to be a party.

  • You could book a holiday: the big trip you've been planning for years? Or a small break in the UK away from everything?
  • Do something together that you wouldn't usually do: a sky-dive, a segway rally, a jet-boat ride down the Thames? Paint balling or maybe something more sedate? An evening in a fancy restaurant, a champagne picnic or even a romantic meal in your house.
We've written a lot about not being suckered into tradition. After all, so much of it is redundant now anyway. Lovely, sure, but redundant. Having what you think you should have, rather than what you could have, benefits no one and least of all your bank balance.

So, don't see the conversion as something you have to celebrate and equally, don't just see it as a form to fill in. Relish in it's relative simplicity or complicate it to your hearts desire.

The important thing is your relationship and not a piece of paper, or official term on a document.

Are you planning on celebrating your conversion? Get in touch via our contact form or our Twitter and Facebook account - we'd love to hear from you :)

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