You’ve been invited to a civil partnership but don’t have a clue about protocol. Help is at hand, thanks to psychologist and relationship expert Donna Dawson, who has joined forces with the Quality Chop House restaurant in Clerkenwell, London, which has just been granted a licence to stage the legal ceremony of civil partnerships.
Donna says, “Be supportive: For most gay couples this is a serious event, which will give them the same rights and responsibilities as married couples.
“The law stipulates that all the gay couple has to do is to 'register', by signing the Civil Partnership Schedule (CPS) in front of a registrar and two witnesses. It’s then up to the couple if they want to do something more (eg, say ‘I do’, make their own vows, exchange rings, kiss, etc).
“Be Flexible: Take your lead from the couple organising the event. There may or may not be a 'Hen' or 'Stag' night or a ‘bride’ or ‘groom’ division in the normal heterosexual way. There may or may not be a ‘gift list’, depending on how long the couple have already been together, so if in doubt, ASK. As this is new ground, no one will be offended!
“Be Guided: If unsure of what to do, be guided by the registrar during the ceremony or by the gay couple themselves, before and after. If still in doubt, your ‘responses’ should be in line with the sort of thing that you would normally do at a heterosexual service, but without necessarily differentiating between a ‘bride’ and a ‘groom’.
“Be Discreet: The two families 'trauma' of their son or daughter 'coming out' as an excuse for conversation with each other! Be relaxed and have a good time, but don’t let alcohol unwisely loosen your tongue - any jokes, embarrassing remarks or anecdotes should come only from the couple and their speech-makers! The setting and atmosphere may be ‘relaxed’, but you don’t know what remarks could cause offence later. Show the same respect that you would show at a heterosexual wedding.”
Asked why the restaurant is particularly appropriate for civil partnership celebrations, Andrew Ryder explained, “People come together for a long-term union and the restaurant has been at the heart of Clerkenwell life for five generations now. A marriage celebration here is very symbolic.
“Crucially, the quality of the food is exceptional and the ambience completely unique - just what people need on a very special day to be thoroughly enjoyed by friends and family alike. What’s more, because the restaurant is open daily, it is very easy for people to come here afterwards to celebrate anniversaries.”
The restaurant is famed for its delicious cooked breakfasts and such champagne feasts are particularly popular with wedding guests. In addition, the restaurant has an extensive range of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes created using top quality ingredients of British origin, such as Colchester oysters and the finest Welsh lamb.
The Quality Chop House was built in the 1870s and is admired by architects for its classic interior design that has a simple black and white theme.
Quality Chop House, 92-94 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3AA
Tel: 020 7837 5093 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an information pack.
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For further information please contact Tina Fotherby on 020 7569 3042 (email@example.com) or Claire Marshall on 020 7569 3040 (firstname.lastname@example.org) at The YES Consultancy.
High resolution images of the interior and exterior of the restaurant available on request.
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