16 January 2018

Tears and bubbly flows as Canberra's first same-sex wedding celebrated

| Ian Bushnell
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Celebrant Emma White marries Kara (left) and Sally Bromley on Saturday at Aspen Island. Photos: Photox – Canberra Photography Services

Newly-wed Kara Bromley admits the moment was overwhelming for she and her new wife Sally as they stood before the celebrant and heard the words ‘a union between two people’ instead of ‘a man and woman’.

The tears, as well as the bubbly, flowed at Canberra first same-sex marriage on Saturday since the historic legislation legalising gay marriage passed the Parliament last month following the Yes vote in the postal survey.

“It was very overwhelming actually, I hadn’t realised how hard it would hit until it did, both Sally and I did [shed tears] and it got worse when we looked at each other.

We were both holding it together and both looked at each other and cried,” she said.

Kara and Sally officially tied the knot before more than 100 friends and family on Aspen Island beneath the Carillon where they celebrated afterwards with a relaxed but stylish picnic, sharing food and cutting the cake with a great sense of community.

Last May they had committed to each other in a ceremony but Kara said that it surprised her how different she felt now. “Even calling Sally my wife feels a little different than before, there is a lot more certainty, and it does feel more real.”

The certainty provided by a state-recognised marriage was important to them both as they are planning to start a family later this year.

Kara said it was an honour to be the first same-sex couple in the ACT and the celebration was spectacular.

“We had to cap numbers for our ceremony [last May] but we didn’t have to this time. We had people with us this time that just couldn’t be there last time. It meant we could open up invitations to them this time.”

Sally and Kara with the all-important certificate.

She paid tribute to civil celebrant Emma White who was ‘amazing’ on the day, surprising them with local artist Dee May, performing a beautiful cover of Gravity by Sara Barellis, their song from the May ceremony. “We kind of handed it to her and she certainly delivered,” Kara said.

Ms White said at the time it was just another wedding, only between two women, but when she woke up on Sunday she realised what a momentous event it was.

For her, the two key moments were saying ‘a union between two people’ and the signing of the commemorative certificate with the Commonwealth coat of arms on it.

She said the coat of arms drove it home for Kara, that federal law recognised them now in a way that had never been able to happen before.

“For me to watch her do that, and for both to stand so proud when I said the monitum [explaining the nature of the marriage relationship] were two of the moments that were just gorgeous for me,” Ms White said.

She said the weekend was about legal recognition and choice.

“The thing for me as a non-LGBTQI person fighting so hard for change is that it was one step for choice. You don’t have to get married. You just get to be a person now with choice,” she said.

There had not been a rush of marriage enquiries, with her next Canberra same-sex ceremony not booked until mid-year.

To see more photos of the big day, click here.

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Michele the Celebrant9:15 pm 18 Jan 18

Actually, ALL marrying couples will need to work out between themselves in future, who goes first on the forms and who is Party Number Two, now that the Groom-first convention that applied to ‘Bride and Groom’ has been removed from Australian Marriage Act forms.

Michele the Celebrant8:22 pm 18 Jan 18

I too had a sense of history, similar to Emma’s, when I first said ‘between two people’ during a marriage ceremony. After such a long lead-up to changing the Australian Marriage Act, the change was all very sudden.

On Thursday 7 December 2017, the bill to amend the Marriage Act was passed by the House of Reps. It became law the next day, Friday 8. First thing that morning, we celebrants got an email telling us that, as from the following day, we MUST COMPLY WITH NEW MARRIAGE CEREMONY REQUIREMENTS.

I attended two weddings on Saturday December 9. I said the new legally-required words for the first time at the morning wedding. Only a few people noticed but to me, it felt quite different. Later in the afternoon, when I said during the ceremony ‘between two people’, there was enthusiastic cheering and applause for this historic shift in Australian law.

I have two weddings booked in the near future with same-sex couples. Like Emma does, I see the change in our law as being about freedom and choice for all Australians of marriageable age. I personally hope that very soon, same-sex weddings will simply join the mainstream.

My congratulations to newlyweds Kara and Sally.

I assume they both nominated themselves ‘Bride’. (Or perhaps they chose ‘Partner’). It was always the Groom, being the male, who came first on the forms. Leaving the long-established convention behind of male-first, has created another change for marriage in Australian society. It’s one I didn’t anticipate. I find it surprisingly liberating.

But now there’s a new dilemma that all same-sex couples will need to resolve: Whose name will go in the first column as Party One to the marriage and who’ll be Party Number Two? I wonder how Sally and Kara made their decision 🙂

… and the sky didn’t fall in, either.

Capital Retro9:43 am 16 Jan 18

“There had not been a rush of marriage enquiries, with her next Canberra same-sex ceremony not booked until mid-year.”

So, where are all the people who demanded the right to get married? I think we have all been conned.

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