September 11, 2015 in General
Gay weddings donâ€™t come along very often. At least, not among my circle of friends. Theyâ€™re either too young, too hip, or canâ€™t be bothered with the expense. For many the battle for marriage equality was a matter of principle; and not based on a desire to get married any time soon.
So my first gay wedding wasnâ€™t until this year. My friends Courtney and Mel had a civil union a few years back, but that was prior to Louisa Wallâ€™s Marriage Amendment Act, so has to be discounted on a technicality. (Sorry girls.)
Chels and Sami have been friends of mine going back several years. I knew they planned to get married one day (next year? The year after?), but wasnâ€™t expecting a phonecall out of the blue one day as I was walking to work.
â€śWeâ€™re getting married!â€ť
â€śIn four weeks!â€ť
â€śWill you please MC our wedding ceremony?â€ť
Turns out Chels and Sami had been planning to elope, but at the last minute decided theyâ€™d like to include a small circle of family and friends. It felt like a rather large conspiracy.
Four weeks was just enough time for several dozen people to change plans, ask for leave, and book flights. There was none of the agonising anticipation that comes with being invited more than a year in advance â€“ just a mad rush to make sure everything was ready in time.
Hamiltonâ€™s Taitua Arboretum was a perfect venue for the wedding. We gathered under a gazebo as the brides exchanged vows, promising to love each other and always be there for when someone was needed to â€śpull my fingerâ€ť. In lieu of actual flowers Chels and Sami had crafted paper flowers from pages of a Harry Potter novel â€“ the outer shell of the book was then repurposed as a cover for the marriage vows. It was uniquely them.
Until now Iâ€™d never come across the concept of hand washing at a wedding. The bridesâ€™ mothers came forward with a bowl of water, and all four washed their hands together to symbolise a new beginning. Then we wrapped cords around the bridesâ€™ wrists, binding them together â€“ each ribbon a different colour of the rainbow, tied by a different family member or friend, and representing a different aspect of their relationship. Everyone played a literal part in helping them â€śtie the knotâ€ť.
And then it was done. There was a low rumble of thunder, and the skies opened around us. Raindrops bucketed down as we cut the cake and popped open the bubbles. It was a fitting answer to a beautiful ceremony. Somehow, the terrible weather enhanced the wedding. It was as though weâ€™d been let into a secret â€“ a very special moment happening in the middle of a deserted park, with nobody else around to witness the celebration.
Just like that, it was over. We stopped at a cafĂ© for lunch, and then the small group disbanded. There was no fanfare, and there were no emotional speeches â€“ just two people very happy to be able to pledge their lives to each other.
It was low-key. And it was perfect.
Photography by Clare Gordon.
Cake by The Girl on the Swing.