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Abstract

Focusing on the decision to enter into a marriage and/or to conduct a commitment ceremony, this paper explores how same-sex couples negotiate their relationships with both family and friends at the point at which they make decisions about who to invite to their ceremony. The ceremony is argued to be a ‘fateful moment’ at which point lesbians and gay men necessarily take stock of relationships which are meaningful to them. It is argued that the data from the qualitative interviews on which this paper is based add to the on-going debates about the meaning and significance of both (given) families and (chosen) friends for same-sex couples and suggests that it is sociologically important to recognise both the blurring of the boundaries between these categories as well as the meanings that individuals themselves bring to an understanding of the significance of these relationships.