A New South Wales couple will reportedly become the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Australia after the passage of marriage equality.
Lauren Price, 31, and Amy Laker, 29, will tie the knot on Saturday afternoon, weeks before other couples can.
Marriage equality came into effect last Saturday, and weddings were expected to begin from January 9 after the first couples had given their required one month’s notice.
But Lauren and Amy told the Daily Mail Australia they were granted an exemption to the notice period because Lauren’s family had already paid to come from the UK to attend a ceremonial wedding planned for this weekend.
The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages allowed the wedding to be legally binding on financial grounds, citing the travel of close relatives.
Amy said they also told the registry they’d previously given the British consulate a notice of intention to marry and Amy’s mother was unable to travel to the UK, where same-sex marriage is also legal.
“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,” Amy told the Daily Mail.
“We went in [to the registry office] 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.”
The couple will wed in front of 65 guests in the the town of Camden, south-west of Sydney, the Daily Mail reported.
They met in Sydney and got engaged a year later, when Lauren proposed to Amy on top of the Eiffel Tower.
“For us being legally married is more about automatically being next of kin, and also because we want children so it makes that clearer, this is my child’s other mother, my wife,” Amy said.
On Wednesday, a Melbourne couple also revealed that they’d also been granted an exemption to marry next Thursday.
Stephanie Dyball and Megan Stapleton told the ABC they applied for a waiver of the one month’s notice period because they’d booked a non-legal wedding on that date a year ago.
“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,” Stapleton said.
The Department of Attorney-General’s website contains comprehensive information for celebrants and couples looking to give their notice to marry.
According to the department, a waiver of the one-month notice may be offered if “arrangements and non-refundable payments of a considerable sum have been made for the proposed wedding, or for any celebration associated with the intended marriage, and the date for the wedding or celebration cannot be changed”.
Another example is if “a party to the intended marriage realises that a close relative or friend of the party is in Australia but the relative or friend has a non-redeemable ticket for departure from Australia within less than a month, and the party wishes the relative or friend to be present at the wedding.”
Are you planning to get married in the new year? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org