A lot of you would have seen my recent photo post on the BootCo Facebook page from our wedding in San Francisco. The day was really amazing, the weather was beautiful and we were able to have family members and friends present. Our celebrant, Lissin, tailored the ceremony around us, referencing important moments in our relationship along the journey to our marriage. All in all, it was such a perfect occasion and a solemnisation of our life together and a commitment to our future.

I asked Andy to marry me on the Sunshine Coast in January 2014 and we both felt strongly that we wanted a proper marriage rather than a committment ceremony. For us, it was not so much the legal recognition, but that our love and our commitment is than same as a straight couple. We believe we have just as strong a bond; just as deep a love and that this should be recognised equally. We found out through friends that we could get married in California and as we both love San Francisco and have a lot of happy memories there, it was like happy fate.

The planning for the trip and the wedding was fairly involved: we wanted an outdoor venue but also needed to keep the weather in mind (being Winter in USA). We tried heaps of places but followed a tip to try Golden Gate Park and find somewhere the day before. We also got a great recommendation for a photographer, Kegan Marling, and when we met him for a drink(s) we knew he got what we wanted. The highlight of our planning was that both Andy and my mums were able to come over and be there on the day. To be able to take our parents around our favourite overseas city really brought the family connection home.

We also found a celebrant who provides a personalised ceremony based on interviews and questionnaires around our relationship. These included details such as how we met, our first date (had to clean that response up a bit as I was pretty much naked at the beginning of our first date), when we fell in love and what we meant to each other. Lissin also suggested that, as most of our friends could not be present, that we ask some to provide some words so that they were involved. To hear from them on our wedding day really helped to make it feel like they were with us.

Our ceremony was on the 15th March and Kegan met us at the hotel and took some photos of us getting ready with our family and in the limousine. It really sank in how real this was. The park was packed but luckily the area we had chosen was quiet and we stood in a small circle amongst some beautiful trees, surrounded by family members and some friends and formalised our relationship. I really can’t put it all into words: it was simply the best moment of my life. Standing there, holding Andy’s hands I pledged to love him, to be the best that I could be and to bring out the best in him. I promised to be there in time of joy, sorrow, love and laughter. I gave him my hand, my heart and my life always and forever. It was such a powerful moment.

Our reception was very simple, drinks and tapas at a wine bar – they serve an amazing beer I can’t remember the name of – with lots of laughing and celebration. So many people in the bar overheard us talking, came up and congratulated us on our wedding and wished us the best for our future. When we went with our celebrant on the Tuesday to the City Clerk’s office to lodge the documents we received the same congratulations from other couples, other the clerks and the register. It brought home to me what equality really means. I loved the fact that people didn’t congratulate us on our ‘gay wedding’ but on our wedding. Many said that they hoped we would be able to get married in our own county soon too.

I am so glad that Andy came up and said hi to me at Bootco back in 2009, that we kept our friendship going and had such a special day in San Francisco. I can’t wait for our marriage certificate to arrive. I also can’t wait for the day that we get married in Australia. We have quite a way to go in that regard and we can all play a part in helping that change.

One of the things you can do is join the Australian Marriage Equality mailing list to keep up to dates on events and alerts: http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/subscribe-to-our-supporter-database/.

You can also take part in equality calling and leave a short message for your local MP and Senator about why you support Marriage Equality: http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/equalitycalling/.

See you at Military, guys… make sure you come up and say hi!