Yay! We finally got the whole scoop on this beautiful, two-girl, two-dress wedding in an Australian winery.
Her offbeat partner: Erin, Human Resources Manager
Location & date of wedding: Margan Winery, Broke NSW (Hunter Valley) Australia — 5 December 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: We booked some amazing accommodation for all our guests for the weekend — each room is lavishly decorated with its own fantasy theme (complete with matching lingerie sets!). We stayed in “Casablanca,” others in “Moulin Rouge” and “Out of Africa” to name a few, and is set on acres of rolling vineyards, making for an awesome weekend and some amazing photos.
The ceremony/reception was held at a nearby winery. At the ceremony, guests formed a spiral which we entered from separate sides and the ceremony took place in the middle. The spiral symbolised the labyrinth of life — whilst we entered through separate sides of the path, it is a shared one, and the centre symbolized oneness.
Our original idea was to bring everyone together for dinner at the one table somewhere magical that would be an experience to remember. We had seventy guests and one large banquet table in the winery's working cask hall.
The cake was liquid — a chocolate fountain, and we dipped strawberries rather then cut anything! We had two dancers perform our first dance for us in our matching colours — we started the dance and spun off to the side and the dancers came on and did a contemporary piece that reflected our story… it was stunning.
Our biggest challenge: Marriage between two women isn't currently legalized in Australia, yet we wanted to create a Partnership that had as many rights that would be accorded to a “traditional marriage” and we wanted our family and friends to understand that for us this was real. We wanted to be able to say, “this is my person — its not a phase — this is what we are agreeing to live our lives by.”
It was difficult to actually track down the sorts of legal documents we'd need. And disheartening to finally acknowledge the discrimination in the laws. Coming from accepting families and living in gay friendly areas, you don't have to face it daily.
We researched a lot and spoke to solicitors until we found the sorts of things we'd need — a domestic partnership agreement, medical enduring guardianship forms, registration of the City of Sydney relationships registrar, wills, financial power of attorneys etc., but we worked it out!
We outlined what each of the documents were during the ceremony and what rights they ensured for each other. The signing of documents part took about ten minutes — way way longer then the song we'd picked out (oops). A few guests came up to us afterwards and said they thought the silence after the song had finished was really powerful as we continued to sign documents — a quiet statement of how much extra we had to do then a normal signing… so worked out well!
My favorite moment: We weren't pronounced wife and wife, in fact there was no pronouncement. Instead my “bride's babe” read Puck's last speech from Shakespeare's a Midsummer nights dream after we had said our vows.
I'd recited the speech to Erin on a picnic early on in our relationship, after she'd told me she'd watched a version of the play in the gardens we were sitting in — a very romantic moment. And ever since we have called utterly romantic experiences “Shakespeare moments.” The speech itself took on a whole new meaning at the wedding, as it was originally written as an apology to the King, it requests those to not be concerned or offended by what has taken place (two girls marrying) and, by giving their applause, Puck would cast a spell to make it all magically wonderful.
She recited ” Give me your hands if we be friends and Robin shall restore amends” and everyone gave us a standing ovation and we kissed.. classic “Shakespeare moment!”
My offbeat advice: It will feel right when it is and when it doesn't let it go! Dont get caught up in making a statement, get caught up in what feels right.
Theres an image in your head of how you'll look, how they'll look, what it will be like — if you look closer theres sounds and smells and feelings too. Share that with your partner, your family and your friends. Think big, get creative, Google everything. A tiny thought can blow into an amazing concept that you'll remember always and collaboration of those ideas. WOW!
Don't freak out about whether your punk butch friends will mix with your Chanel wearing types or your country boy cousins and the eighty-year-old grandma. Create some fun things to get conversation starting. We had trivia cards with multiple choice questions on us e.g. “Whats Erin's Porn star name — (first pet name, first street name)” that were a massive success. And fun Willy Wonka top hats and feather boas for crazy photo taking, guest signing rocks, plus fantastic wine and awesome music! The experiences made people relaxed and with things to do together it was amazing how well everyone mingled — people who would never approach normally acting like they'd been friends for life!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:
- Dresses – designed by us and custom made by Gloria Amparo
- Bridesmaids – convertable dress in aubergine
- Accommodation – Casuarina Estate
- Ceremony/Reception – Margan Family Winemakers
- Jewelery – Erin (blue dress): Glammadonna and Erica (red dress): Baku
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: