In partnership with The Pink Weddings Group
Pink Weddings Magazine is our bright and beautiful magazine to help gay couples plan a perfect civil partnership. We bring you the expertise, ideas and advice to make the most of your big day.
Every issue we showcase the most innovative and exciting ideas for your ceremony, review the latest trends from suppliers and venues, and give advice on suggested etiquette and legal requirements that are now in place, both in the UK and abroad.
We bring you stories from couples around the globe. They tell us how they met and, often, the great lengths they went through to be together. They talk to us about their aspirations, their anxieties and their new family’s future. They share with us how they planned their day with the unique themes and stylish touches that made their day extra special, and tell us of the emotions they experienced (and the reactions of their friends and families) on this most special of occasions – the first day of the rest of their lives as a legally joined couple.
We also care passionately, as you do, about equality and about challenging all forms of discrimination towards same-sex couples. By our coverage of such powerful initiatives as Pride, we add our voice to the demand for the same legal rights as any other couple.
We hope you’ll become part of our Pink Weddings Magazine family, with our expectation of equal rights in marriage, our support of all that makes us unique, and our celebration of the love and respect of our partners, friends and community.
Again, welcome – and enjoy the magazine!
Pink Weddings Magazine is available to read free, online here every quarter. Or why not treat yourself to a glossy printed copy for just £2.99 including UK postage.
Our beautiful couple story about Damian and Thiago
Eat, drink and be MERRY!
As managing director of The London Kitchen, Damian Clarkson is used to planning premium event catering. So when he began planning his civil partnership with Thiago, his thoughts soon turned to how to give their own guests a night to remember. The ingredients were interesting – Damian’s traditional Englishness and Thiago’s flamboyant Brazilian; throw in plenty of relaxation, a good dash of glamour and mix it all up in the beautiful setting of 45 Millbank, blending Edwardian classic with Chelsea modern style.
From the minute guests arrived they were treated to a seemingly effortless experience – with no hint of the careful planning that had gone on behind the scenes! As they entered the hallway they were met by Damian and Thiago and ushered towards the stairway to take a glass of champagne or Caiprinhas – Brazil’s national cocktail. As they made their way through to the subtly lit reception rooms, The Bellinis played ‘50s style music and Sav the Deceptionist wove through the guests with seemingly impossible magic tricks. a constant supply of tasty treats accompanied the champagne, from foot-long cheese twists to exquisite canapés. Tiny beef burgers with all the trimmings, miniature Yorkshire puddings with roast beef and horseradish sauce and good old sausage and mash went down well with hungry guests, with a sushi bar making sure there was something for all tastes.
The hosts then addressed their guests with heartfelt ten-minute speeches, before the doors were flung open and Yes!!!Brazil took the floor in an explosion of music and colour. As the drink flowed the dancing began in earnest, with an array of Brazilian sweets on hand – churros, cinnamon doughnuts, brigadeiros and truffles – for guests to refuel their energy. At midnight the bacon butties appeared, to restore the danced-out guests for their journey home, and they left with macaroons, brownies – and a Damian and Thiago printed tea towel to remind them of an incredible party.
The couple’s guests had travelled from all over the UK, as well as from as far afield as Singapore, Brazil, Portugal, The Netherlands and Germany, and for them the party wasn’t over. The London Kitchen in Lambeth opened up for guests to enjoy brunch with coffee, bloody marys and bucks fizz. Fruit and pastries were followed by Sunday roasts, finished off with Eton mess, sherry trifle and banoffee pie. And just in case it was all getting a bit strenuous – or there were any pulled muscles from the night before’s dancing! – there was a masseur on hand to smooth out any tension. Have any guests ever been better catered for?
Seeing the celebrations unfold into a carnival of vibrant taste, variety and colour was everything Damian had hoped for… We first got together in a bar, followed by old-fashioned courting believe it or not! We just knew it felt right and things soon fell into place. He had been back home in Brazil and we made plans when I returned from seeing him. Neither of us had actually proposed and I mentioned this the day before we married, as a gentle reminder. He then tried to propose to me in the lift at home on the eve of our wedding. So there was no proper proposal, not even wedding rings, but it’s not really important. I did think of asking him on the plane to Australia but resisted!
Thiago is very laid back so when we were thinking about the style of our wedding I thought we should mix influences in a playful way, so the Brits could see something they perceived as Brazilian – dancing girls with feathers and fishnets, and cocktails – and something equally British – bangers and mash, mini Yorkshires with rare roast beef. We both love sushi so we had a sushi bar, with it made to order!
We chose 45 Millbank as it’s a lovely venue, just 500m away from my home and office, on the site of Millbank Prison and is a part of Chelsea College of art that’s quite undiscovered. We ‘unwrapped’ the venue to open different rooms, which had dancing, a photobooth and a Brazilian pudding buffet. We did Canapés, bowl foods and bacon butties at midnight, but also added ribbon-wrapped brownies for guests to nibble on the way home – and our tea towels based on the invite!
Our outfits were relatively simple compared to the food menu – velvet dinner jackets from M&S, costing £99. We wanted our ceremony to be very understated, and just about the two of us. So we took the shortest version possible – four words each.
It was an evening of surprises and our guests loved the food, the music, the dancing and the photo booth. Brazilian guests also loved the pudding buffet!
Seeing our day come together was amazing. it was everything we had hoped it would be. Sharing a bottle of champers on our minimoon – we went to Bath for a few days with the in-laws – brought home how happy we were. Keep your day focused on yourselves, rather than bowing to any external pressures, and you’ll have the day of your lives.
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The beautiful shabby, chic and Greek wedding of Amy and Nicci.
We met on a dating website in September 2006 while Amy still lived in London and I lived in Newcastle. We talked by phone and the Internet for almost four months and began planning to meet. We met for the first time in January 2007, when Amy flew up to Newcastle. We had the most amazing time together and it was so incredibly natural! We continued to meet roughly every four weeks, taking it in turns to fly between our homes.
In March, we rented a cottage in the Lake District for five days. It was absolutely amazing having our own little home together. Saying goodbye at the airport was so hard and only got harder each time, so we decided we really wanted to live together – Amy was going to move to Newcastle. We knew it would take a while, as we needed to save up money and find somewhere to call our first home, but we finally moved in at the beginning of October 2007.
On New year’s Eve 2008 I asked Amy to marry me. I had planned it for months, however due to completely unexpected circumstances we were unable to celebrate our engagement or make any wedding plans. We had an incredibly tough few years around this time onwards, but despite all life threw at us during this period (and life threw a lot!), it only made us stronger. We have an amazingly strong relationship and as long as we have each other, we have it all. We decided to take the plunge officially in July 2012, after we had our first holiday in three and a half years in May, and fell head over heels in love with Cephalonia. Amy surprised me with a really romantic evening at our home and then gave me the biggest surprise of all – an amazingly beautiful sapphire engagement ring and asked me to marry her. I was blown away and happily accepted!
We began planning our Greek wedding immediately and we set our date for Tuesday 11 June 2013. The 11th has been, and always will be, significant as it’s the date we met, and it would also be six years and six months exactly that we had been together. We had previously talked about having our wedding overseas, but locations seemed to be really restrictive. We had presumed we wouldn’t be able to have our ceremony in Greece – we were very wrong and our dreams were soon going to come true.
We wanted our special day to be very intimate and private and very ‘us’. We didn’t want anything traditional, as we loved quirky, shabby chic and Greek! When first planning our wedding and deciding who to invite we knew we wanted it to be extremely personal – we wanted to share and celebrate our special day with our nearest and dearest, the people who are a big part of our lives all of the time.
Our invitations went out to our closest family and friends who were dotted around the globe – the North East of England, London, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Canada. Although we really hoped and dreamed that everyone would be able to make it, we knew that for even our family and friends in the UK it was a lot to ask of them, cost and time wise.
We expected that we would have around five guests at our wedding – so we were completely and utterly overwhelmed with the response to our invitations. Nineteen of our amazing family and friends were booked up within days. We knew we wanted a wedding planner – it’s only sensible if you don’t speak the language! We contacted a few on the island via email, and by far the warmest, most friendly and most helpful reception was from Rachael Antonatos of Cephalonia concierge. It felt right, we felt confidence and trust which is enormously important given the fact you’re putting the most important day of your lives in someone else’s hands.
We didn’t really know where we wanted to get married to begin with. Rather than where, we thought about how we wanted our wedding to feel – intimate, personal, and relaxed. Rachael showed us a photograph of a wedding at the Apostolata Resort and Spa. There is a chapel with a beautiful garden in the grounds of the hotel, in a very secluded area. We would be in a very private yet elevated position, with completely uninterrupted views of the sea.
With finishing touches – such as the beautiful small gazebo and large umbrellas to keep our guests cooler, our flower pedestals, and the little touches we brought from home such as plantable hearts on jute string to hang – we knew it would be perfect, and it was. We wanted our favourite flowers for our bouquets and for the flower pedestals – sunflowers. Our bouquets were out of this world – so perfect and cheerful. We went for a Greek mandolin band who played as we walked down the aisle and then at our cocktail/prosecco hour.
Our photographer, Vasilis, captured our day so naturally, and he’s hilarious too! He came to each of our rooms while we were getting ready and took photographs of us having our hair and make up done. Shortly after our ceremony he took us to a cove at the hotel to capture some amazing private moments.
We decided that we wanted to keep our wedding outfits a surprise from each other. We both found our dream wedding dresses on Oxford Street with the help of the two fabulous personal stylists Maria and Alex, arranged by our amazing cousin Karen Johnston.
Our very dear friend Paul styled our hair (and got roped into styling some of our guests’ hair!) on our big day. He pulled off the most amazing Grecian style for me and something a little different yet very elegant, for Amy. Our make-up artist, charlotte, did Amy’s make-up first then came along to my room to do mine. She is incredible at what she does. Even if you do your own make-up beautifully, we would both highly recommend a make-up artist. It’s relaxing, lasts and gives a beautiful photo finish.
We decided we wanted to walk down the aisle together, bride and bride, hand in hand. This was incredibly special. I squeezed Amy’s hand so tightly and looked at only her the entire time. We walked down the aisle to the sound of a live Greek mandolin band playing, which was truly beautiful. We wrote our own wedding vows, our own ring exchange words, and chose poems that were personal and meaningful to us. Our ceremony was incredibly personal, meaningful and emotional. Peter, our celebrant, was amazing, a real gentleman – he even stayed for a couple of hours after our ceremony and came along to our reception to celebrate. We also chose to have our reception at the hotel and had exclusivity of the Zephyros restaurant. We had a beautiful rustic horseshoe shape table setting outside on the terrace – such a shabby chic feel, with quirky little bits and olive branches.
Costas, the food and beverage manager, had met us the day before our wedding to make sure everything would go smoothly. He was amazing and my goodness so was the food. We didn’t want formal, we wanted relaxed, so we decided to go for a hot and cold Greek buffet and it was out of this world!
We had salted caramel cupcakes with a larger cake on the top. When we entered, we cut the larger cake together and fed each other a small piece as they do in Greece, so that our first taste of marriage was sweet.
We entered our wedding reception to UB40’s I’ve got you babe. Our first dance was to Amy Winehouse’s Our day will come, and our last dance was Florence and The Machine’s You’ve got the love. We sent over a playlist of songs we love and our DJ captured that perfectly. Everyone was up dancing, it was fantastic. We even had a 70-year-old wedding crasher called Ann, who wanted to take our photos to send to her friends back in the UK!
The atmosphere and feeling at our ceremony and reception cannot be put into words. Guests in the hotel were still coming up to us over a week later to tell us what an amazing party it was. A few of our guests actually said it was the best wedding they had ever been to. What a fantastic compliment – not only to us, but to the amazing people that made it all happen.
Our advice to other couples is to make it all about you both – how you want it and where you want it – and plan every detail together. Get a wedding planner to take all the stress out; we’d definitely recommend it. The planning of our wedding and our actual wedding day was so smooth and calm – how it should be! Just remember that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.