Are you getting married or do you know a gay or lesbian couple who are? The Ooh Yes I Do wedding planner is the must-have, personal and comprehensive guide to planning your big day – and it is specifically tailored to same-sex couples.
The initial stages of planning a wedding can be the most daunting, and with the introduction of same-sex marriage this March, many gay and lesbian couples who thought they wouldn’t be able to marry before are now considering tying the knot.
One of the biggest fears when starting to plan a wedding or civil partnership is that you might forget something – mortally offending someone by missing them off your invitations list, or missing something (like the cake) off your budget.
The Ooh Yes I Do wedding planner by Richard Gough-Bujis provides a comprehensive and cover-all-bases guide to any wedding, big or small.
Tailored towards gay and lesbian couples, Ooh Yes I Do tackles the simple questions you may not know you need the answers to.
Being in the initial stages of planning my own wedding, the guide became invaluable. As this is the first (and hopefully only) time I have planned a wedding, thinking of things like the option of flowers, what colour scheme to pick, and small ways to personalise my wedding day were not things which initially sprung to mind.
Having Ooh Yes I Do, meant I was not (as much of) a nervous wreck making sure I had not missed something crucial off, or underestimated the cost of something.
From the most basic information to more creative ideas, the guide lays out anything you might want to know in a simple but non-patronising way.
The piece de resistance of this guide, for me, is the wedding timeline which sets out what needs to be done, and when.
Speaking to author Richard, it was clear that same-sex marriage and weddings are a true passion, and his guide has been written out of a love for everything to do with planning the big day.
On his own wedding to husband Michael, from which the idea for the guide was conceived, Richard noted how time-consuming planning a wedding can be when information is only available from individual sources, and aimed to consolidate all of that information into one guide.
Originally conceived for just gay male couples, Richard says that he rewrote the entire book as a guide for lesbian couples too. “I read through it, over and over again, I felt there was something missing,” he remembers.
Ooh Yes I Do is illustrated with photographs taken of real same-sex couples entering civil partnerships by wedding photographer Hannah Brackenbury.
“I approached our wedding photographer and she loved the idea. She asked all the couples she did a civil partnership photo-shoot whether they would like to feature in the book. The response was great and eight couples were happy for their photography to be featured.”
After spending an entire evening wading through thousands of wedding photographs, Richard settled on the 60 that he wanted to include in the guide. The addition of the real-life ceremony photographs was a “breakthrough”, and gave the book one of its final touches.
Six months later, the book was published, and was launched on Amazon. When I ask what he thought was the most important thing about planning a wedding, Richard replied simply.
“You need to set the times for each part of your wedding. On the day itself you should not be organising anything. Focus on each other and the wedding. Take some time for the grooming and getting yourself dressed. Make sure you have allocated sufﬁcient time for your guests to arrive at the venue.”
“In the end the day should ﬂow like a movie, and that’s how it felt like on our wedding day. We arranged everything ourselves and when the day was there, everything just seemed to happen according to plan – most of it.”
On the differences between planning same and opposite-sex weddings, and the need for a specific guide for gay and lesbian couples, Richard clearly notes several key variations.
“Both partners will be in the centre of attention and they most often do the entire planning together. With opposite-sex couples the bride is at the centre of attention and often the wedding is planned by the bride and her family. We only realised this after we got married.”
On his own wedding, he said: “ Michael & I both wanted a big and traditional wedding rather than a registry office ceremony.
“The day we got married was beautiful, romantic and very special. We married in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. We walked into the Red Drawing Room on the tunes of ABBA’s ‘I Do, I Do, I Do’ and everybody was looking at us.”
Richard proudly notes that the Royal Pavillion is situated on the grounds where ABBA won Eurovision in 1974. For Richard music is an extremely important element for a wedding reception (and one which is covered in detail in the book).
“We chose to have an elaborate ceremony which included readings by family and friends and further music like ‘Dancing Queen’ (the bridal arrangement as featured in the ﬁlm ‘Muriel’s Wedding’) and ‘It’s getting better’ by the Mamma’s and the Papas’ as featured in the ﬁlm ‘Beautiful Thing’.”
He takes me through he and Michael’s day and evening receptions, which included live music, photographs on a TV screen, friends, family and more.
“We are two years on and still happily married! We’re still having home improvements done, we still love travelling around the globe and this year it will be the 40th anniversary that ABBA won the Eurovision Song contest! We’ll be partying until dawn.”
This feature is sponsored by the Ooh Yes I Do wedding planner.