Australia’s first same-sex wedding moved up to this weekend, so bride’s family can be there
The first same-sex couples to marry in Australia will wed this weekend.
Australia signed into law its equal marriage law earlier this month after the public gave their overwhelming backing to the measure in a postal vote.
Because the country has a month-long notice period for couples waiting to marry, the first wave of same-sex unions will not be able to begin until January 9 – one month from the date of the law coming into effect.
However, a few couples have been given rare exemptions from the notice period – and are set to take the mantle of the first couples to wed.
Lauren Price, 31 and Amy Laker, 29, will become the first couple in the country to marry when they tie the knot in New South Wales on Saturday afternoon.
The pair have been waiting for more than two years to marry.
They were given an exemption from the notice period because Ms Price’s family, who live in the UK, would only be able to attend if the wedding took place this week.
The exemption was granted on financial grounds, citing the travel of close relatives.
Ms Laker told Daily Mail Australia that she was overjoyed to be given permission to marry early.
She said: “We went in there and made our case, the officials left the room to make their decision.
“It was the longest ten minutes of our lives – our hands were so sweaty. When she came back in and said she had good news I just started crying.”
Before Australia’s equal marriage law was passed, the couple had already made plans to get married at the British Consulate under UK law.
After the postal vote, they decided to marry under Australian law instead.
Ms Laker said: “We have been engaged for two years and we have been planning this for a long time, it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment wedding.”
“It is a small wedding, we have 65 guests coming – a lot of people are coming from interstate.”
The pair got engaged two years ago on top of the Eiffel Tower.
Another couple, Stephanie Dyball and Megan Stapleton, 30 and 32, will marry next week after they were also granted an exemption.
The pair had booked their December 21 wedding more than a year ago.
The wedding was originally going to be cermeonial and not legally-recognised, but after the country passed the equal marriage law, they too appealed to clerks for an exemption.
Ms Stapleton told ABC: “We got engaged in 2012 — so quite a while ago.
“We waited and waited and we got a bit tired of waiting and thought, we’re not going to wait around any more for them to change the law, let’s just have a wedding!
“We started planning towards the end of last year because family were coming from overseas and interstate and we wanted to give them plenty of notice.
“We took the evidence that my family had booked their flight from overseas back in about January-February, and we filled out all the forms and then they did say ‘you know don’t get your hopes up’.
“To be honest our hopes weren’t too high. But we were quite thrilled when they put it through.”
She added: “The day was always going to be special regardless, you know it’s the two of us and we’re just really excited to be able to say those words that mean something in front of our family and friends.”
“Everything’s happened so quickly. We just thought it wouldn’t happen this fast even once the law was passed. We just didn’t want to think about it being possible for us because we didn’t want to be disappointed.”
ABC reports that at least one other couple have also been granted an exemption.