Emily and Gemma met nine years ago, as housemates at University. Four years on they starting dating and shared a dual engagement a couple of years a few short years later.
“We have a tendency to casually decide to do quite significant things together, without any hesitance of guardedness. Things like moving in together, meeting each others family and deciding to buy a flat together. We do things together, make decisions together, and create traditions together. So why not propose together?”
They planned their engagement together, shopping for rings together and decided to take half the day each to plan something to surprise their loved one. Under a tree they had just planted, they asked each other to be their bride.
Wedding planning was a long process. They found a venue, a perfect French chateau on an island across from the city they had met in. Whilst the long engagement gave the couple time to plan for their wedding day, it also meant there was a lot of time to doubt themselves, and second, guess things, it also meant that by the time the wedding day came around they were almost tired of talking about it (almost, not quite).
While Emily and Gemma experienced the typical stresses of wedding planning, they experienced a few extra being two women. They both found themselves wanting to walk down the aisle from either side of the room, which made it tricky to capture for the photographer. Ceremony shots had to include a large microphone for videography as usually a lapel mic would be placed on the groom, and the pair experienced countless ‘mistakes’ from vendors as the assumed one of us was the bridesmaid, and unfortunately, on occasion, they experienced refusal to accommodate two brides.
Mostly, the planning was done together. They shopped for dresses together, which made sure they neither matched or clashed, designed invitations together and grew succulents for their guests favours.
The big day itself was amazing. 80 guests flew in from all over the world, including Emily’s family from Australia. A celebrant leads the ceremony, and every part was written together to be tailored to their relationship.
Four friends read readings, one a poem Gemma had adapted from her proposal another a composite of two poems written by poets. Emily and Gemma each wrote their own vows which were read from spools of ribbon.
As the first kiss happened, guests let off party poppers.
Although the weather was terrible at the beginning of the day, the moment the two newlyweds stepped out from the ceremony, the sun came out and a confetti line was formed.
The reception was at the same venue and included a welcome speech from Emily’s mum, speeches from both fathers and friends. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“There were times during wedding planning, when things got a bit stressful, that we’d keep returning to the question of why were we even doing this? Why do we need to get married? What real difference would it make? We were already happily together forever, did we need to get this stressed out about it?”
But, as it turns out, Emily and Gemma found something incredibly powerful about so many loved ones, from all parts of their lives, that had known them at their best and at their worst, coming together to witness their relationship.
“To reframe yourself as a new family unit, it felt really, really good. We didn’t need to get married for our relationship to each other, but no relationship exists in a vacuum and it felt really good to have our commitment witnessed by our community”.
Photography Paul Read Photography