Following Ireland’s marriage equality referendum, one of the best feel-good moments of 2015, same sex couples are now planning their official wedding ceremonies and receptions.

If you’re likely to be a guest at a same sex wedding and the lead up to it, you may be wondering if anything will be different to a traditional wedding. We’ve enlisted the advice of Geraldine and Francine from Perfect Bliss Wedding Events as well as our own experience of hosting the recent wedding of Julie and Susannah at The Red Door, to answer some typical questions.

Does anyone wear an engagement ring?

This has always traditionally been a female piece of jewellery and the same goes for same sex couples. Typically both women will wear an engagement ring but most male couples don’t wear any rings until their wedding bands.

Are there separate hen/stag parties or a joint send off?

This is entirely up to personal choice but there’s a good chance that a couple share the same group of friends so a joint pre-wedding party is popular.

Who walks who down the aisle?

This all depends on a couple’s circumstances. The two brides/grooms could walk individually behind their bridesmaids/groomsmen or even side by side without being ‘given away’ by anyone.

A lovely idea, that is possible with the flexibility of non traditional ceremony venues is two aisles – one on either side of the guest seating rather than just one up the middle. Each person can walk alone or accompanied up their own aisle and meet at the top. (We love this idea for any wedding!)

Many gay couples are also ditching the “Bridal Chorus” for different soundtracks to their ceremonies.

Does anyone take on a new surname?

The ‘in thing’ at the moment seems to be each taking on the other’s surname, therefore double barrel, but it’s completely personal choice.

Who is in the wedding party?

This depends on the look the couple are going for, e.g. traditional with bridesmaids/groomsmen matching up in numbers or simply having a close representative for each individual.

Who makes a speech?

As with most weddings nowadays, thankfully there are no ‘rules’ and whoever wants to speak can speak.

In general, are same sex weddings any more or less traditional than other weddings?

At the end of the day, same sex weddings have the same format as a traditional wedding – ceremony, drinks reception, meal, entertainment etc. And like all weddings, they have the couple’s own personal ideas, tastes and personalities included.

We look forward to welcoming many same sex couples and their nearest and dearest for their weddings at The Red Door Country House over the coming years.

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