When civil partnerships arrived, wedding lists inevitably followed.

Recent research found that gay men are keen to have all the trappings of a traditional wedding, including lists of gifts for friends and well-wishers to purchase, such as kettles and washing machines.

On average each guest spends nearly £100 each on gifts.

However, some couples are taking a different approach, among them Paul Symes and Terry Stacy.

Terry, who is Deputy Leader of Islington council, explained:

“We have been together for seven years and already have everything in our home that we need.

“We weren’t going to have a wedding list at all but when we realised that our guests would still want to mark the occasion with a gift we decided to sign-up to a charitable gift list, and being able to have one that was closer to home was even more special.”

Terry’s partner Paul Symes, head of visual presentation at department store Fortnum and Mason in London, added:

“Knowing that a donation of just £30 could provide a week’s groceries for a Londoner housebound with an HIV-related illness or that £50 could provide a safe warm bed for a homeless Londoner certainly puts a new toaster or kettle into perspective.”

As more and more gay couples live together before becoming civil partners, and so already have most things they need for their home, the use of charity gift lists has been on the increase over recent years.

The London Wedding List is operated by Give It, the not-for-profit organisation that previously launched The Alternative Wedding List, the first multi-charity wedding list service.

Andy Hickey, who heads the operation, told PinkNews.co.uk:

“London has always been a ‘hot spot’ for our UK-wide service and since we launched our London version earlier in the year we’ve had lots of interest and have already generated thousands of pounds for the charities – we’ve had a better start than when we launched the original version three years ago.”

Couples sign-up to one of a number of ready-made gift lists that contain donations to various charities that work across the capital, including St. Mungo’s, The Food Chain, Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, London Wildlife Trust and many more.

They select a group of charities and each guest then chooses a donation to the charity of their choice.

Many gay and lesbian couples find that making a difference to the lives of others makes their big day even more special.

For more information visit visit The London Wedding List.