Last week I sent this email to our local MP, Hywel Williams of Plaid Cymru:
I live in Arfon and have heard only good things about you and the way you engage with the people you represent. I know you have a strong record of supporting equality and want to add my voice to those calling for marriage equality.
As someone who is organising a civil partnership for this summer I can tell you that although the law allows for gay couples’ rights, navigating the system we have to work within is very strange and unwelcoming. Having compared my own experience to the process of arranging a marriage I am left quite dissatisfied with the provisions made for same sex couples.
Last night we bought most of the favours we’ve carefully picked out. I won’t tell you what they are (you may have noticed a trend – I like surprises) but I can tell you this:
Everything is local (some things are Wales local, some things are LOCAL local), everything is something that we love and want to share.
We’re making our own favour bags so I’ll post them when we’re done. We both have a crazy busy month coming up so we’re celebrating by watching the films I stole from my mum’s house last time I was there:
Father of the Bride 1 & 2, Wedding Date and My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Now that the posted invitations have started arriving I can upload them here for you to see! The reply postcards are as they were in one of the first posts on this blog. The actual invitations were going to be hand stamped with a rubber stamp set but after a while we decided that it didn’t look as good as we’d hoped. We settled for stamping the addresses on the envelopes (which is why, for those of you who received them, they looked like a child had gone at them with their first felt tip).
Thanks to a public printer and some bargain card/envelope sets our home made invitations were as thrifty as the rest of the show! I drew the design on the front. Here it is (print screen from photoshop):
For those who don’t know, this is basically our kitchen. They are my wellies and Jenny’s eskimo boots, our tap is wonky and there are mountains outside. It’s our life postcard sized!
This was my first real bash at Adobe Illustrator. Let me know what you think!
It may come as a surprise to you that dress shopping was stressful. Not only is there a lot of pressure to look a certain way but no one but us seems to grasp what we’re going for. This is no traditional wedding, there will be no white dresses, organs or speeches. This is about Jenny and I. We aren’t doing this so we can act out the bizarre rituals thrust upon every bride and groom since forever (we aren’t allowed to get married in a church, why would we carry over the religious symbolism?). We’re doing it because we want to be together for good and we want the rights that come along with that. This is the ultimate commitment and I could not give a damn about what kind of hosiery you’re supposed to wear. It could not be less important to me. The reason we want nice dresses is because we want to feel special and happy and mark the day with dressing up, not with nonsense that other people want to fuss over.
I took loads of pictures of dresses, I was going to post them here but really, who cares? I’m frowning in most of them anyway. This is the only picture I’m showing you. Jenny in a lovely dress expressing how much she loved our shopping day:
You’ll see our dresses in the after pictures!
It’s been an interesting few weeks for us. Very busy with lots of friends coming and going. We’re being offered help from here, there and everywhere (which is lovely) but really we have to go off and do the time consuming things that can’t be done over the phone, online or by someone else. Mostly dresses. I feel like a quick hike up to Mordor would take less time and effort than finding the right dress is going to. We’ll be taking a weekend to travel to The Big City and find dresses that we love. This is not going to be as fun as it sounds. For me shopping has traditionally been a traumatic experience. As Jenny would say “Hey TopShop, do you have this in size fat?” but when you’re an awkward teenager, you think TopShop shouldn’t carry size fat and you should be 10 dress sizes smaller than you are regardless of what size that is. Hence, years later, I just about manage to look the changing room attendent in the eye without thinking “she thinks I’m too fat to wear these clothes”. So a weekend of this is going to be fun! I’m considering turning the whole thing into a bridal bingo competition. I’ll keep you posted on that one.
In other news, this is the current list of things we need to finalise:
Printing, pressing and sending invitations, restaurant negotiations, buying the rings and what will actually be said at the ceremony (remember “I promise to be your special friend and platonically hold your hand in public from now until forever as my right kindly given to me by the civil partnership act of 2004 yak yak”).
Things we need to start organising/questions we still need to answer:
Dresses, shoes, jewellery, favours, flowers, do we want a cake? Is it going to be incongruously traditional? Are we going to have two brides on top? Are we going to throw bouquets? Will we both throw bouquets? What will that mean for the people who catch them? This is getting ridiculous.
As you see there is still much fun to be had. 5 months to go and I’m haunted by the image of a white fruitcake with two gowned brides on top.
I leave you with this beauty, recieved this morning from the registry office:
We were on page 2 of The Independent today!
Jennifer is an American student at Bangor University in Wales. She is due to enter a civil partnership with her English fiancée Georgia Mannion in July.
“The whole attitude of the state towards civil partnerships seems to be that this is not the same as getting married, that it is more like a promise between friends. That is disappointing because it feels like the romance is being taken out of our big day. I do want to marry my partner for the advantages* it gives. But that does not change the fact that I want to marry my partner because I love her.”
“I’d love my family to come to the wedding ceremony”
*Jenny said “rights” not “advantages”, what she said to the reporter has been paraphrased.
You can read the whole thing here but the piece in the actual paper was better:
Stonewall have introduced The Extension of Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Bill 2012 which would make civil partnerships marriages. It looks interesting. It would mean same-sex couples would have exactly the same rights as married ones.
It’s very short because there aren’t many differences between “marriage” and civil partnerships. The main difference for me is that my civil partnership (to be) feels like everything a marriage is already, I’m just being made to call it something different and THAT is where the split is. It’s that you can’t have a religious civil ceremony (no one can) but then there’s no alternative for same sex couples. There’s also the man from the council who will correct you when you call it a marriage, because it’s not a marriage, it’s different for you because you are different.
If this bill will do anything it’ll make same-sex couples feel more normal. There’s nothing normal about planning a wedding anyway. There’s nothing normal about people fussing over your dress (or suit) or your rings or who is going to throw the bouquet.
Everyone is brought up to expect to get married and taught about the very specific rituals of it. Since there’s no “ritual” expected for same-sex couples it should invoke a kind of freedom, but people still expect all the same things from you. But you aren’t allowed to call it a marriage.
Here’s the link to Stonewall’s bill: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/stonewallmarriagebill.pdf
I’ve just been told “It’s not a marriage” and then what the difference is between a civil partnership and a marriage.
All I have to say is this:
I’m calling it a marriage.