Two couples have tied the knot on Saturday at the first two same-sex weddings held since marriage equality became law.
At MacArthur Park in Camden, south-west of Sydney, couple Lauren Price and Amy Laker were pronounced wife and wife in front of 65 friends and family on Saturday afternoon.
The couple, who had been engaged for two years, both wore white and said their wedding vows under a floral arch.
Wedding guests had been directed to their seats by a hand-drawn sign that read, “Pick a seat and not a side: Either way, it’s for a bride.”
The couple’s wedding was held weeks before the first marriages were expected to begin, with other couples having to give the required one month notice of their intention to wed to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry.
But Lauren and Amy (pictured, below) received a special exemption to wed early because Lauren’s family from Wales had already booked flights to Australia to attend a non-legal ceremony the couple had planned well in advance of the change in law.
The women told Daily Mail Australia their celebrant Janice Bradley encouraged them to apply to have the ceremony recognised as a legal marriage.
“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,” Lauren said.
Ms Bradley said after the wedding it was her honour to be a part of the landmark occasion.
“I can honestly say I have to pinch myself that I was part of such a momentous occasion,” she said.
“It is good to see the girls are where they want to be, legally married to each other.”
A few hours later, Amy and Elise MacDonald (pictured, top) became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Victoria.
The couple had been engaged for a year and, like Lauren and Amy, had also booked a commitment ceremony for Saturday afternoon at Melbourne’s Carlton Gardens, but at the last minute it became a surprise wedding.
The brides were also granted a similar exemption by Births, Deaths and Marriages on the grounds that the arrangements were in place and Amy’s parents had flown over from Vietnam and siblings from the United Arab Emirates to attend the ceremony.
“You don’t choose who you fall in love with and at the end of the day, Elise is the perfect person for me… In the end, love wins,” Amy told Seven News.
Celebrant Maria Aguilera told Fairfax Media that the couple’s exemption was only granted by authorities on Friday, and most guests didn’t know it would be a legal wedding.
“It was a very emotional moment to be able to say the words, ‘Marriage is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others,’ and I’m very happy that we were able to make it legal,” she said.
Another couple, Cas Willow and Heather Richards, are due to be married in Melbourne on Monday.
Cas is battling terminal cancer, and the couple applied to fast-track a wedding ceremony at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre where she is receiving care.
A surge of same-sex weddings is expected from January 9, the earliest date most other same-sex couples can legally wed. Wedding planning is underway around the country, including among Queensland couples.
(Top photo by Epocha Restaurant/Instagram)