The first ever same-sex weddings in the UK took place in March 2014 after equal marriage was legalised by David Cameron’s government. An incredibly important moment in the history of marriage, the legalisation of same-sex weddings finally gave all couples equal rights, no matter what their orientation.
In the years since same-sex marriage was legalised in the UK, a number of other countries have followed suit. From Australia to Austria and Malta to Mexico, same-sex couples can now get hitched in a choice of destinations around the globe. So what’s changed in the world of same-sex marriage over the past five years and how are same-sex couples celebrating their nuptials today? We decided to find out.
Same-sex marriage in the UK
Although same-sex couples had been able to enter into civil partnerships in the UK for a number of years, it wasn’t until 2013 that equal marriage was legalised in England and Wales. Scotland followed suit in 2014 and Ireland legalised same-sex marriage in 2015.
According to figures published by the BBC, in the first 18 months after same-sex marriage was legalised an incredible 15,000 couples got hitched. By 2016, there were over 60,000 married same-sex couples in the UK, up from just 26,000 in 2015.
Where is same-sex marriage legal?
Every year, more and more countries vote to legalise same-sex marriage. The first country to allow same-sex couples to marry was the Netherlands, which has had same-sex marriage since way back in 2000. Next up was Belgium in 2003, then Canada and Spain in 2005 before South Africa, Norway, Argentina, Iceland and Portugal all legalised the institution at the end of the noughties. The most recent countries to legalise same-sex marriage were Australia, Germany and Malta which all started allowing equal marriage in 2017.
Same-sex marriage traditions
Although many couples opt to follow fairly standard wedding traditions when planning their nuptials, a lot of same-sex brides- and grooms-to-be decide to dispense with the rulebook when arranging their celebrations. For example, as @easyweddings says, we now see ‘Many same-sex couples doing away with traditional gender roles and creating bridal parties made up of the people who love and support them, regardless of their gender!’ Traditions like speeches, tossing the bouquet and even walking up the aisle are also now all up for grabs as same-sex couples redefine what weddings mean to them.
As same-sex marriage is still relatively new, couples getting hitched have even more freedom when it comes to planning their ceremony, their reception and their décor. And with more and more new and exciting ideas coming out every year, this is a fantastic time for wedding innovation across the board.
Find out more about planning weddings of all shapes and sizes, and get guidance on every aspect of putting a celebration together, by exploring our site or getting in touch with a member of our expert team.