Eschewing all the traditional big wedding trimmings the pair gathered in the downtown Auckland registry office with four close friends, two of whom would be their official witnesses.
On the dot of 3pm marriage registrar Jessica Woodcock appeared, friendly, chatty, beautifully groomed and elegantly dressed with the paperwork in hand. This would be the sixth same-sex marriage ceremony she had conducted since becoming a registrar two weeks ago.
The wedding party were ushered into the corner room reserved for marriage ceremonies. Left to settle in for a few minutes there were jokes and laughter and supportive comments and the easy banter of friends amongst friends.
But the moment Woodcock returned an air of quiet and seriousness filled the room, something the registrar smilingly commented on to again break the ice. After arranging the couple in the best place for photos Woodcock started the official proceedings and within a few moments Whitney Keller and Mara Milano were making their vows to each other.Then, quite suddenly it seemed, cameras and cellphones clicked away as the registrar formally proclaimed the couple to be "wives."
There were cheers and laughs and a few hand-claps and congratulations and "kiss again so we can get more photos!" Hugs acknowledged that Keller and Milano were now married women. Then more formality with the signing of the marriage certificates, firstly by the newly-weds then by their witnesses.
Then more laughs and hugs and photos and best wishes from Woodcock and it was over. It had been a relaxed but serious moment in the couple's lives, when each achieved her dream of being married to the woman she loves... just like so many other couples down the centuries.
There was a sense of completeness, of a goal achieved at last. But there was also a tinge of wistfulness. While the newly-weds are now accorded all the legal and personal respect and courtesies enjoyed by any any and all married couples in New Zealand, in Australia, where they base their lives, it still means nothing. But maybe that will change, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Mara and Whitney clearly long for that day.