Now that marriage equality has finally arrived in Australia, it’s time to turn to things associated with same sex weddings – such as what sort of gay wedding gift ideas that can make the same-sex couple happy.
Bear in mind that, just as it may be your first same-sex wedding you’re attending as a guest, the couple probably won’t have been in this situation before, either, where they’re planning their marriage to someone of the LGBTI+ Community.
So, as someone who has just taken more than 90 same-sex wedding bookings as a gay celebrant, and as someone who married his husband, Clint, in April 2019, here are my top 13 tips to help you through the process.
Lots of same-sex couples have been together for a reasonably long time. When they marry, it’s more a symbolic and legal process they’re going through, than the glittering soiree at a high profile wedding venue that’s often associated with straight weddings. Many same-sex couples will have been living together for years and so perhaps are not looking for gifts from their guests. Many will be unlikely to set up a gay wedding gift registry.
Their wedding is an opportunity for guests to offer to provide them with something a little more attuned to the couple – foregoing the risk of being given three toasters, when they already have one at home. The key is to get in sync with the couple and think creatively of what they’d like, rather than thinking about some random wedding gift ideas.
The following list provides you with some ideas that might appeal more to same-sex couples:
Give them shelter on their wedding night
Same-sex couples often like to “live it up” in a nice hotel – particularly on the night of their wedding and, perhaps, the previous evening, too. It’s another additional expense that is on the financial ledger of lots of couples. Other couples look forward to relaxing in a rainbow-friendly, more intimate accommodation venue. What a lovely gesture for you to offer to pay for their accommodation the night before their wedding or the night of their wedding – and make sure you let the accommodation venue staff know, so they may put a bottle of champagne in the room. Don’t forget to ensure the hotel is rainbow-friendly!
Here are some suggestions:
LGBTI-friendly accommodation – choose from a range of LGBTI-friendly accommodation options, in and around Melbourne. You may choose from an offering in the suburb close to the couple’s ceremony or after-party, or somewhere they can easily access via Uber or a cab. And don’t be limited to the CBD – some of the nicest options are in gay-friendly suburbs such as Prahran, Docklands or St Kilda.
The Cullen Art Series Hotel – located in the centre of Prahran, one of the gay-friendliest suburbs in Melbourne, is this gorgeous hotel. Its style is trendy and contemporary and, if your couple wants to get into the CBD, it’s a short train or tram ride away. Too easy!
Cosmopolitan Hotel Melbourne – if your couple isn’t tied to staying in the CBD, they might enjoy an overnight stay in trendy St Kilda. This hotel offers a range of accommodation options to suit a range of budgets. And it’s within easy walking distance to some great restaurants and bars. Or, if the couple wants to have a night out in the city, it’s a simply train or tram ride away.
Melbourne Marriott Hotel – for a touch of luxury. Situated right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD and within easy walking distance to wonderful restaurants, bars and clubs, as well as the theatre district, this boutique hotel offers something at the higher end of the budget for those couples who deserve to be pampered.
Crown Towers Melbourne – in a word: luxurious. There are numerous options to choose from when booking at Crown towers. And the facilities include a spa treatment and massage centre, as well as handy access to trendy restaurants and bars. Access is great – and the CBD is only a short walk or tram ride away. One of our friends treated my husband Clint and me to a night at Crown Towers the night before our wedding. We were spoilt. It was luxurious and special. We paid for an extra night ourselves so we could relax on our wedding night in a venue that matched the feels of our magical day.
Put your money away, I’ve got this
One of the centrepieces of a same-sex wedding is the wedding ceremony itself. Same-sex couples are highly aware that we fought for a long time for the right to get married and lots of us consider the ceremony to be the most important part of the wedding day. What a generous and unforgettable gesture it would be for you to offer to pay the celebrant’s fee for their ceremony – you might need to go in with a group of friends to do this.
A celebrant will typically charge somewhere between $600 and $1800 for a ‘bells and whistles” wedding. It’s useful for any couple to check out a range of celebrants before deciding on who is the perfect one for them. It depends on a range of factors, including the fit between the couple and the celebrant, their personality, what they offer as part of their packages, whether or not they have worked with LGBTIQ couples before, their style of working, whether or not they offer a rehearsal and use of their sound system, how engaged they seem to be with the couple – and, of course, the match between their fee and your budget. Cost should be only one of the factors the couple is considering. Basing the choice of celebrant on their fee alone is, in my opinion, a mistake – and you can often get what you pay for.
As a guide, check out the inclusions in my Wedding Ceremony Packages
Smile – you’re being shot!
Lots of same-sex couples are going without a professional wedding photographer on their special day, instead of making sure their guests take lots of great, informal shots of them. But you could treat them to a pre-wedding or post-wedding photographic shoot – with someone like Harry from Love is Love Photography who specialises in same-sex wedding photography. Make sure the photographer has undergone LGBTI-sensitivity training.
Take away their pet worries for the day
Lots of same-sex couples have raised fur-babies as their own children. It’s a natural step for them to, of course, want to involve their dog(s) in what’s arguably the most important day of their lives. Most likely, as one of their guests, you’ll already know how important this is to the couple. What a nice thing it would be for you to offer to gift them a dog trainer who will pick the fur-baby up from their home, look after it prior to the ceremony, take care of it during the wedding (think: ring-bearer on a leash) and return it to its home after the ceremony.
Wedding Paws will customise their services to what your couple wants on their wedding day. Most importantly, they will ensure the couple’s fur-baby is looked after and is safe. Oh, and they’ll also ensure the pooch will have a wonderful experience being involved in their owners’ wedding.
Paws and Claws is another Melbourne-based company that offers a full service around ensuring they take great care of all the details on the couple’s wedding day so that the couple’s dog can be taken to the ceremony, take part in it, and be returned home safely, afterwards.
Bring the feather duster and sucker or French maid outfit
Not everyone loves cleaning the house, even if armed with a feather duster or dressed in a French maid’s outfit. Give them a voucher for a same-sex-friendly cleaner who will come in and do a spring clean of their entire house, to help them make a fresh start to their married life. Or give them a voucher for a de-clutterer to get rid of some things that are in their home that might make space for other things as they begin their life together.
Maid to Clean offers a range of cleaning solutions and options. You can customise what part of the house you want cleaned and how much time you want spent on the cleaning.
Simply Maid will come to the couple’s house at a day and time that suits them. They can clean the entire house or only parts of the house – eg the bathroom and kitchen – you choose.
If your couple’s home is one of those that’s creaking at the walls because of how much stuff they’ve got in the home, then perhaps it’s time to treat to them to the services of a decluttering specialist. Decluttering must, of course, be done sensitively, and in consultation with the couple.
Don’t assume they want another toaster. Ask.
Most same-sex couples have been together for years. Often, they already have pretty much everything they need, in terms of household items. But don’t be shy in asking if there’s anything they need or want for their house or apartment. A piece of art, perhaps? A gorgeous pot plant for the corner of the loungeroom?
Check out Botanics of Melbourne for gorgeous arrangements, creative floral artistry, and beautiful pot plants – done with pizzazz, colour and flair. Richard Maurovic is a renowned Australian artist with a distinct style
Nourish the soul, nourish the heart
After the hoo haa of the wedding has been and gone, you could help keep the romance alive by giving your couple a voucher for a posh night out at one of their (or your) favourite eating places – perhaps a voucher for the degustation menu with matched wines? And you could go one step further: make a reservation at the eating place for their 6-month or twelve-month anniversary, when they can use your voucher.
Cutler and Co offer one of Melbourne’s best degustation menus. We were given a voucher for this menu by one of the couples I married, and the food and service were outstanding. It’s a very special experience, and you’ll come away feeling very much pampered.
Vue de Monde offers superlative food, enjoyed overlooking Melbourne’s skyline. It’s an unforgettable experience – and might be an option for you to join with another of the couple’s wedding guests to provide the newlyweds with a wonderful degustation sampling they will remember forever.
Ezard offers a range of tasting menus, including vegetarian and vegan. Situated in trendy Flinders Lane, Ezard has been refining and evolving its degustation menu now for two decades. Superb!
Many same sex couples will have been living together for years and so perhaps are not looking for gifts from their guests. Many will be unlikely to set up a gift registry.
– Bronte Price
Make them head chef of their kitchen – naked chef probably not available
Lots of same-sex couples are deft hands in the kitchen – or at least one of the couple is. Why not treat them to a cooking class, to try their hand at cooking a cuisine they love or perhaps haven’t tried much. Alternatively, arrange for their own personal chef to come in and cook dinner for them on a special occasion – perhaps their first wedding anniversary or the anniversary of the day they met? It’s fair to expect that the naked chef wouldn’t be available that night!
Private Chef offers something quite special. Having their own private chef in their own home for a night is something that they possibly will never get to do again in their lifetime. The chef will plan, cook and serve (and clean up) a wonderfully sumptuous meal, based on the couple’s dietary requirements and food passions.
Home Social, is an option to consider if you think your couple would prefer to share their special lunch or dinner with some very close friends. There’s a range of menu choices and, if you really want to, you can customise your own menu.
La Cucina di Sandra is one of Melbourne’s most celebrated cooking classes. If your couple is passionate about Italian cooking and Italian food, then this may be just the gift for them. Plus they get to meet some new people with the same passion – and learn a heap of new skills and tips to enhance their own Italian cooking at home. What a fabulous gift that just keeps giving!
Otao Kitchen if your couple’s palate is more Asian-oriented, then consider giving them a voucher for one of these highly reviewed cooking classes located in Richmond. Classes are held regularly, and your couple can book themselves in at a time that suits them.
Take away their pet worries after their wedding
Some same-sex couples take separate holidays to avoid leaving their fur-babies at home for an extended time (eg longer than 24 hours!) If the couple concerned are thinking of going away after their wedding, offer to look after their fur-baby, who will at least know you and your home and your smells, decreasing the anxiety levels that might arise because of separation from their owners. Alternatively, depending on the confidence and socialisation of the dog(s), offer to pay for the cost of putting them into a luxurious pet hotel.
PETS HOTEL so that their fur-baby enjoys tv and a chandelier in their room; you can also option up to make sure their pet receives a minimum of 1:1 care and cuddle-time during the day. Oh – and the real bonus: no matter where they are on holiday in the world, the couple can see their fur-baby on webcam at various times throughout the day, just to reassure themselves that their pet is being taken well-care-of.
If the couple’s dog is more of an outside pet, then consider Bayside Pet Centre for the place to board their fur-baby. It contains outside exercise and socialisation spaces, and at night, the dogs are all locked up inside heated shelters. Lovely!
Let me help you organise your wedding!
Do you have superlative organisational skills? Do you love organising parties and events? Do you have the flair and interpersonal skills to really engage with everyone who needs to be engaged with, to carry all the planning with a wedding checklist of your couple’s wedding? Then why not offer to help in ways that make use of your own skills by offering to help organise their wedding details. There’s one proviso: don’t be a wedding planzilla! Remember, it’s not your wedding.
We all know that organising a wedding can be as stressful or as stress-free as the couple decides. But typically in the week before the wedding, no matter how large and complex or how small and simple the wedding is, a level of stress and nerves creeps in that isn’t usually there. Tune in to your couple and treat them both to a day spa or a double-person massage. They’ll come out of the treatment floating on air – they’ll think you’re the most thoughtful person on earth!
Hotel Spa ,give your couple the experience of a luxury day spa package and a couple’s massage – and they’ll come out floating!
For that little piece of sheer luxury, treat your couple to one of the offerings at Crown Towers. Consider contributing with some friends to make your couple’s experience simply exquisite.
Men’s Body Work to treat your gay couple to a spa treatment – or a manicure and pedicure – or massage. From the moment they walk in, they will be looked after in ways that will have them feeling very special, long before they leave.
Explore the horizons – beyond the rainbow
Lots of same-sex couples have lists of things they’d like to see, or do or experience. But in the lead-up to their wedding, these things can become pushed to the side – partly because of the cost, and partly because the couple likely has other things on their minds. If you know your couple well, you’ll be privy to what’s on their list. So treat them to great tickets to a sporting event they’ve never seen, or a concert they were thinking of going to, or a tourist attraction they’ve mentioned they’d like to go to but haven’t yet been able to. Whatever is their passion.
Through Ticketek, you can choose to treat your couple to whatever experience you know they’d love – footy, tennis, other sports, the Australian Grand Prix, theatre, concerts, opera, ballet, Melbourne Star, comedy shows – the list is almost endless.
Donate – pay it forward
Lots of people say they support marriage equality. And that’s where their support begins and ends. One of the amazing ways wedding guests can demonstrate their active support for marriage equality is by making their gift to the couple a donation to one of the couple’s favourite LGBTI charities or organisations. For example,
All you need to know about Marriage Equality in Australia
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The Ultimate Guide To Wedding Rings For LGBTIQ+ Couples
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