Planning to wed – 12 point checklist for your same-sex wedding

Wishing and hoping for a happy marriage? The stats are on your side – research predicts your same-sex relationship and marriage is destined to be happy. It’s time to stop procrastinating and start planning to formalise your relationship by marrying the one you love.

Recent research from the University of Queensland* analysing data from 9,206 individuals in Australia showed:

  • Relationship quality in same-sex couples in Australia is higher than in heterosexual couples.
  • Gay and lesbian couples are well placed to raise children in warm and loving environments.
  • Men in gay unions were rated as having the highest quality relationships, followed by women in lesbian unions, men in heterosexual unions then women in heterosexual unions.

You and your partner know ‘love is love’ and now the research proves it.

Since 9 December 2017, same-sex couples have the legal right to marry in Australia. So, if you are amongst the gay couples thinking about making a commitment to marry, now is the time to start planning.

How do we start the process?

Everyone planning to get married in Australia must complete a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM), available from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in every state.  The completed form must be given to your registered celebrant at least one month and one day before the intended date of marriage.

What’s next for our wedding?

For the wedding of your dreams, you need to look for people who will be supportive and happy to be involved in a gay wedding, from the venue, caterers, celebrant, entertainment and even when buying the rings and the suits.

Where can we find gay-friendly wedding professionals?

Equally Wed, Australia’s leading same-sex wedding directory is a good place to start when you are looking for gay-friendly wedding professionals.

Covering Australian states, New Zealand and the Pacific, the directory is the go-to destination for everything associated with planning a gay or lesbian wedding. You’ll find a range of celebrants, suppliers, venues and entertainers who are supporters of Marriage Equality to make your wedding a day to remember.

Your wedding countdown

When you’re planning a wonderful wedding together, start with a budget – how much you want to spend (or can afford) and what sort of wedding you want:

  1. BUDGET – start with what you can afford.
  2. DESIGN – decide on the style of wedding you want.

Date, venue and celebrant are co-dependent. You need to negotiate to align the three.

  1. DATE – depends on where you want the wedding and finding a gay-friendly celebrant.
  2. VENUE OR VENUES – ceremony and reception or combined?
  3. CELEBRANT – Check the Equally Wed directory or ask gay friends for a recommendation to find a gay-friendly celebrant. Book well in advance.

For a memorable experience, you need to work out who to invite, what to wear and all the details for the wedding day.

Add these to your checklist:

  1. WHO TO INVITE – Best man, groomsmen – it’s your choice! Sort out your guest list.
  2. GIFT CARD REGISTRY –before you send out the invites, set up a Gift Card Registry and add the details to the invitations. No unwanted toasters or crystal glasses. Guests can contribute to the gift card registry and with the prepaid Mastercard you can buy the gifts yourself, in your own time. Gift Card Registry makes gift giving easy and no need for refunds or returns!
  3. WHAT TO WEAR – Do it your way – both of you in black/white, or complementary suits?
  4. WEDDING ARRANGEMENTS – find gay-friendly suppliers and discuss what you both want. You may be able to negotiate a discount for your special event invitations, photographer, florist, cake, wedding cars, entertainment/music, personal grooming.
  5. THE HONEYMOON – in Australia or overseas? Your choice.
  6. MEET THE CELEBRANT – at least one month before the intended date of your wedding you need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage and give this to your celebrant. Take the opportunity to talk about the ceremony and your vows.
  7. WEDDING DAY COUNTDOWN – finalise the arrangements a few weeks before the wedding. You need to confirm:
  • dates and times with venues and participants
  • RSVPs, finalise guest numbers, arrange a seating plan
  • an MC for the reception
  • hotel bookings for out-of-town guests
  • final suit fittings and any accessories
  • music, order of service for the wedding
  • wording of vows and wedding speech
  • a rehearsal with all members of the bridal party
  • honeymoon arrangements.

Your wedding day

It’s your big day. Research says you are beginning a lifetime of happiness. The data confirms – love is love!

Gift Card Registry makes gift giving easy

Using Gift Card Registry is secure and easy for everyone to use. After the wedding, Gift Card Registry will send the total amount loaded onto a prepaid Mastercard for you to buy the gifts you really want. For more information on Gift Card Registry phone 1300 354 632 or find out more at giftcardregistry.com.au.


*Sexual Identity and Relationship Quality in Australia and the United Kingdom. December 2017. Francisco Perales and Janeen Baxter, Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland.

Data from 25,348 individuals in the United Kingdom (Understanding Society study) and 9,206 individuals in Australia (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey) were used to estimate regression models predicting relationship quality while adjusting for confounds.

Results showed relationship quality in same-sex couples was as high as in heterosexual couples in the United Kingdom, and higher in Australia. The lowest relationship quality in both countries was reported by bisexual individuals. This can be taken as evidence that gay and lesbian couples are well placed to raise children in warm and loving environments.

In Australia, the analogous relationship quality ordering of couple types is men in gay unions, women in lesbian unions, men in heterosexual unions, women in heterosexual unions, individuals in other couples types, bisexual men partnered with heterosexual women and finally bisexual women partnered with heterosexual men.

The report can be read in full here.