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Commitment Ceremonies
A commitment ceremony makes public your love for each other and gives you an opportunity to express your commitment to your relationship in the presence of family and friends.

It is therefore an important and moral act that will reaffirm your commitment and love and therefore provide a sense of stability and permanence. Because you are acknowledging the uniqueness and commitment of your relationship and sharing your joy in it with those close to you your commitment ceremony will remind everyone present that love is not the sole preserve of the straight, that gay or lesbian couples committing themselves to each other is positive and speaks of hope to us all, that private love has public consequences in that it raises up communities as well as individuals.

While, in many ways, same sex commitment ceremonies are very similar to  legal marriage ceremonies in their structure because  commitment, hopes, aspirations and ideals are not gender-specific and you are celebrating uniting you lives in emotional, spiritual, and material unity,  there is absolutely no reason that it should be virtually indistinguishable from a straight ceremony except for some minor changes in terminology.

And there is definitely no reason why they should be endured (as a large proportion of legal marriage ceremonies are) rather than enjoyed.  I do not do 'talking heads' ceremony. If you (and your guests) would rather see the stage show than listen to someone reading the book to you) you need to be sure that your celebrant will perform, not just read, will engage and entertain your guests, will have everyone laughing, crying, and feeling the love and the emotion.

I promise that your commitment ceremony will be a very personal celebration of your relationship, a celebration of your wonderful, challenging, loving, and fulfilling relationship, not a standard marriage ceremony with the 'legal bits' omitted.

While same sex marriage is  not legal in Australia, and a same sex marriage, gay marriage, lesbian marriage, civil partnership or civil union created by a legal ceremony held  in a jurisdiction that gives legal recognition to relationships between same sex couples is not recognised by Australian Law, it is legal to hold a commitment ceremony in which your community gives recognition to your love.
Many people are actively working to achieve Marriage Equality for same sex couples in Australia.

As marriage of a same sex couple is not yet legal in Australia,  the only legal requirement for your commitment ceremony is that no-one present should be mistaken as to the nature of the ceremony or under the illusion that it is a legal marriage - but then, your friends and family are not silly are they?  So if you want to invite everyone to your wedding, go ahead. You can call the ceremony anything you like. And you can include whatever spiritual, religious or symbolic elements you choose. Your commitment ceremony can be as traditional, modern, formal, informal, or off the wall as you wish.  It can also express your personal spirituality if you wish and/or your cultural heritage(s). You can have a themed ceremony, a ceremony that includes and celebrates the children in your lives,  and you can have a combo ceremony - a ceremony that is a real celebration of family because it includes a baby naming or other related family event in your ceremony.


Most importantly your ceremony  will be designed to gather your community of family and friends around you, giving them an opportunity to reflect on your words in a formal setting and  to express their support for your relationship.

Using the fruits of an intensive information gathering process that is also respectful of your time constraints,  I will create a unique ceremony for you, ensuring that  the words, readings and symbols capture your desire to proclaim and formalise your connection in a way that reflects what you both most value. I do so with the following commitment to couples in the Brisbane area who love each other, and just happen to be of the same sex.

I will not only only create and perform a unique commitment ceremony for you, I will be honoured and happy to do so, and I will spare no effort to ensure that your ceremony contributes a great deal to a day that is rich with happiness and warm with special moments to remember.

See my article about
how to negotiate the gendered nature of traditional ceremonies

Ceremonies in special circumstances
Where one partner or a close family member is in hospital or ill your commitment ceremony can be conducted  at the bedside and at short notice.

Combo Commitment Ceremonies

A combo commitment ceremony is a ceremony that
  • incorporates another type of ceremony, or
  • includes more than one couple (double or triple ceremony), or
  • follows close on or is closely followed by a second but related ceremony
A combo ceremony is not a "cheap option" in relation to the ceremony itself, although it can deliver a considerable financial saving in the celebration party or reception that follows because you are having one not two separate occasions. Developing and officiating at a combo wedding requires an enormous amount of work to develop what is essentially two different ceremonies and incorporate them as one seamless and meaningful event with the appropriate balance between the two ceremonies.

Incorporating another type of ceremony
This is not just a matter of tacking a second ceremony on to the end of the first one.  Many things need to be considered to make the combo ceremony work on both the emotional and the practical level.

The participants in both ceremonies should have a close affiliation with each other, so the more common combo ceremonies are:
  •  a commitment ceremony that includes the naming of your child
  •  a commitment that includes a renewal of vows of close family members
Including more than one couple
A double or triple commitment ceremony  is essentially a single ceremony in which two or more couples separately unite their lives. This requires two separate sets of certificates, and consultation with the couples individually.  It may incorporate two separate processionals and recessionals, or a combined one. Whichever choices the couples make will require complex choreography, careful timing, and attention to detail to ensure that the ceremony flows smoothly and maintains interest for the guests.

Related Ceremonies following closely

Where you want to keep your commitment separate from a related ceremony, such as a naming, an option is to have the ceremonies at the same venue but separated from each other by time and perhaps a meal - for example for ceremonies held in your back yard  the commitment in the morning, lunch and then the naming ceremony.

Or there may be a good reason for having a combo ceremony that moves from one place to another, for example where a loved parent or grandparent is in hospital having a small commitment ceremony in the hospital ward or chapel, followed by a reaffirmation of vows at your reception or other venue so you can celebrate with family and friends.
Sarah
                            & Susan Commitment Ceremony Newstead
                            Park

It was the happiest day of our lives! The ceremony could not have been more perfect. It brought people to tears.You are incredibly well organised. We appreciated all of your help.
- Sarah and Susan who held their commitment ceremony at Newstead Park

Thank you for making our special day so perfect! - Nina and Dee who united their lives in a very private and intimate 'Just We Two' commitment ceremony