A Wedding in the Rain

September 11, 2015 in General

Gay weddings don’t come along very often. At least, not among my circle of friends. They’re either too young, too hip, or can’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 wasn’t until this year. My friends Courtney and Mel had a civil union a few years back, but that was prior to Louisa Wall’s Marriage Amendment Act, so has to be discounted on a technicality. (Sorry girls.)

Photography by Claire Gordon.

Photography by Claire Gordon.

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 wasn’t expecting a phonecall out of the blue one day as I was walking to work.

“We’re getting married!”

“In four weeks!”

“Will you please MC our wedding ceremony?”

Turns out Chels and Sami had been planning to elope, but at the last minute decided they’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 – just a mad rush to make sure everything was ready in time.

Photography by Claire Gordon.

Photography by Claire Gordon.

Hamilton’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 “pull my finger”. In lieu of actual flowers Chels and Sami had crafted paper flowers from pages of a Harry Potter novel – the outer shell of the book was then repurposed as a cover for the marriage vows. It was uniquely them.

Until now I’d never come across the concept of hand washing at a wedding. The brides’ 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 brides’ wrists, binding them together – 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 “tie the knot”.

Photography by Claire Gordon.

Photography by Claire Gordon.

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 we’d been let into a secret – 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 café for lunch, and then the small group disbanded. There was no fanfare, and there were no emotional speeches – 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.