While Amy and Bec struggled through times where their family didn’t support their same-sex marriage, their wedding day showed nothing but love and support from their favourite people.
Words by Bec
Amy proposed to me when we had been together for three years. We were showered with love from our family and friends. Still, we also experienced a kind of backlash that we could never have expected. A few people in our lives had the opinion that our marriage would never be a ‘true’ marriage in their eyes. We were pretty shocked and entirely heartbroken to have these things said to us, and our happy engagement bubble was burst pretty quickly.
Amy and I had been friends for years before we fell in love. We spent a year in a long-distance relationship before Amy moved to Canberra to study nursing. Being together completely changed both of our lives. We finally felt like the missing pieces had been found, and we became more healthy and happy and stable than we ever knew possible. Neither of us really believed in the idea of soulmates, but it’s hard to explain our connection any other way. We were made for one another, like every cliché ever!
A few months later, the Australian Prime Minister announced the marriage equality vote. We had already booked bits and pieces for what we thought at the time would be a civil ceremony, so we naively thought ‘good, about time, let’s get this over with – maybe we will get to have a real wedding after all!’. Only a few days into the campaign, we realised the gravity of the situation. Everyone on the streets suddenly felt like they had the right to give same-sex couples their opinions on their relationships. Wherever and whenever they felt like it. It was utterly soul-destroying.
By the time the results of the plebiscite were read out, we were so broken we barely even felt relief. Just exhaustion from months of battle standing up for our rights. I don’t think any LGBTIQ+ Australian will ever forget exactly where they were and how that moment felt. The biggest win for us was that the change in the law came with a shift in opinion from some of those close to us. They had come around to the idea of viewing our relationship as equal to theirs.
Now that we DID get to have a ‘real’ wedding, and being in the extremely lucky position of being one of the first same-sex couples to be able to marry in Australia legally. It didn’t feel right not to reflect what we had just been through in our ceremony. We had everyone who had supported us during the plebiscite present with us. We used the opportunity to thank them and share our love and gratitude for all that they had done in the fight for marriage equality as well as all those who had been paving the way and fighting this fight in the decades gone by. One of our favourite parts of the ceremony was when one of our sisters read out a beautiful quote about equality from Penny Wong’s Marriage Amendment Bill – that one got a lot of tears and cheers!
Politics aside, focusing on the incredible, strong and inspirational women in our life was also so important to us. We wanted our mums to walk us down the aisle and for our bridal party to be full of the women who have made us who we are. It felt so moving for these women to forge the path down the aisle ahead of us. Making us feel safe and so loved.
We wanted to make sure that our bridesmaids felt comfortable and just completely like themselves and gave everyone a rough colour guide and let them go for it. We didn’t know what everyone was going to be wearing until we all got to the ceremony venue. One of the most beautiful parts of the day was seeing how all of our favourite women had chosen to express themselves.
After all the seriousness of our ceremony, our reception was the party of a lifetime! We celebrated love and friendship with bottomless tacos, frosé, and complete mayhem on the dancefloor. It was such a perfect end to everything we had been through to spend a hot Australian evening outdoors with everyone we loved. Seeing the joy on everyone’s faces and knowing that we were so loved, so supported and that we were equal to everyone there, not only in their hearts but also in the eyes of the law, was something we won’t forget.
I always wanted a vintage wedding dress – I loved the idea that the dress would already have been part of the best day of someone else’s life, and I would give it a second chance to be a part of the best day of my life. Weddings aren’t always the most sustainable kind of event. We tried to plan ours as mindfully as we could. Anything that we could do to make ours a little more environmentally friendly was non-negotiable.
I had kept an eye on a few vintage bridal websites since we had first started talking about getting married. And I actually ended up buying my dress before we even got engaged – it was love at first sight, and I couldn’t bear to miss out on it! I still remember the day my dress arrived as one of the most exciting moments. It fit absolutely perfectly, and I was so moved when I realised it had been handmade. Probably by somebody for their own daughter’s wedding fifty years ago.
Amy found her sequinned jumpsuit and cape online at BHLDN, and it was the same story. Her face lit up, and we just knew it was the one! We both felt fortunate that we managed to get through the entire wedding planning process without stepping a foot in any kind of bridal store!
My favourite moment of the day was standing in front of the arbour my sister had made for us, while she was standing beside me. Listening to the vows I had written for Bec (which I had written before I had even asked her to marry me) come out of my mouth for everyone to hear. It was the scariest, loveliest, and the most genuine moment I think I’ve ever had. I was then trying to hold back tears (and failing!) while Bec read her vows to me. It was just perfect and made all of the planning and lead up to the wedding worth it.
We undertook so many DIY projects for our wedding day!
We were working with a reasonably small budget. Never ones to shy away from craft, so we made some calls early on where we could save money by DIY-ing. Bec designed our save the dates and invitations, and we printed them at home. Our good mates from Two Boys One Crop handmade all of the jams and relishes from produce grown in their own garden for our wedding favours. We hand-sewed patches from Etsy on to our bridesmaid’s gowns to personalise them for each bridesmaid.
We spent months collecting all of the vintage amber glasses and decorations for the tables from op shops all over Canberra and New South Wales. Combining them on the tables with olive branches from my Mum’s garden and eucalypt from my Nanna’s garden.
One of Amy’s very talented sisters did all of our flowers for us, and another handmade our arbour! Another friend offered to hand paint all of our signage. My Nanna altered my dress and handmade my sash. We felt incredibly lucky to have so many talented friends and family members willing to help us out. And it made the day feel so much more personal and unique!
During the ceremony, Amy’s Mum read a beautiful Bible passage that had been read at her own wedding. It was important to us that this little piece of our upbringing and history were incorporated into the day.
It was a considerable journey and not one I would rush into taking again. But it grew us so much as a couple and made us strong enough to handle anything that comes our way in the future.
Photography by Thomas Stewart
Bridal Boutique BHLDN
Bridal Gown Maggie May Bridal
Catering Cantina Movil
Celebrant Nina de Borde
Ceremony Spring Grove Dairy
Cinematographer La Lune Cinema
Earrings En Pointe Collective
Engagement Rings Khim Jewelry, Ingram Cecil
Entertainment Nick Rigby Music
Espresso Martinis My Little Peony
H&MU Boho Hair and Makeup, Niki Simpson, Makeup by Megan
Hire Items South Coast Party Hire
Jumpsuit & Cape Aiden Mattox
Mobile Bartender Nomad Bartending
Plant Hire Paradise Indoor Plant Hire
Reception Upper River Hall
Robes Best & Less
Shoes Steve Madden, NineWest
Wedding Bands Natalie Marie Jewellery