It will be like any other Bermuda wedding with flowers, romantic music and sunset 'I dos' against a picturesque ocean backdrop.

The only difference is that both key participants will be female.

Marshallene Trott and Alesha de la Chevotiere are busy excitedly organizing the last-minute details for their same-sex wedding this summer.

"There was only supposed to be 100 guests, but we keep inviting more and more people," said Alesha. "Last-minute nerves are definitely starting to kick-in!"

The two Bermudian women met through a mutual friend four years ago in March 2005.

"My friends all told me not to bother," said Alesha. "They told me that she was straight. But her personality drew me to her. My friends were so shocked when we got together."

This is mother-of-four Marshallene's first relationship with a female.

"I've always known I was gay, but I was so worried about how society would react to my coming out," said Marshallene, who was married to a man for many years. "I've always been worried about what my family would say and that I would be discriminated against.

"At first I was so scared to come out. But their reaction was much better than I'd expected. And I had been so worried about being shunned.

"They may not all agree with my decision but I am happy."

The giddy couple "proposed to each other" on New Year's Eve when they were out celebrating with friends n Bermuda.

"It was midnight and we just talked about it decided it was something we both wanted," said Alesha, who is a graphic designer.

Children

They plan to get married legally in Canada then have a commitment ceremony in Bermuda before the end of the summer.

Marshallene has four children from previous relationships, aged 14, 11, 10 and seven, who say they support their mother's choice.

Keyoshe, 10, said:"If anybody teases me I don't care as long as my mom and Alesha love me.

"Mommy's happier now she's with Alesha.

"We go on ferry rides together and play games and go swimming."

As to people's concerns over children living with same-sex parents, Alesha said: "The proof is in the pudding. It's not about who the parents are, it's about the environment they live in and these children live in a loving home environment."

The couple also want to have children together and plan to conceive "naturally" - although they remained tight-lipped about the details.

"A lot of churches feel like, 'God is going to condemn you for what you've done," said Alesha, who described herself as 'spiritual.' "But God is not going to condemn you based on who you love.

"It's hard being gay in Bermuda and I can understand why people wouldn't want to come out. It can often be an up-stream battle.

"There are no discrimination laws to stop you from losing your job, for example."

Well-known guests

Marshallene, who is a field technician, will be wearing a white dress at the up-coming nuptials, and the wedding will have a 'modern theme.'

Alesha's family will all be clad in white linen outfits and they say there will be some "well-known prominent Bermudians" at the wedding.

"A lot of people have been coming out of the woodwork to show their support," said Marshallene, who will be changing her last name from Trott to de la Chevotiere. "There is nothing worse than living in a shell."

What do you think? E-mail feedback to reporter Helen Jardine: hjardine@bermudasun.bm