Article Title:Wedding Belles: An ordinary Kiwi wedding
Category:True Stories
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:24th January 2013 - 12:56 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:12831
Text:It's taken a few days to fulfill a promise made to GayNZ.com senior writer Jacqui Stanford that I would step into her Wedding Belles series and write up the most important day in her life. Partly my delay has been due to finding time because of the need to sit through the incredibly long hours of marriage equality bill hearings in Auckland and partly because I didn't know what to write about what was, in essence, a lovely but ordinary wedding. It has only slowly dawned on me that that was what I and everyone else who was lucky enough and privileged to attend took it to be as well. An ordinary kiwi wedding. The ceremony was held at Dee's parents' rural home. An eclectic mix of families and friends gathered. Kids ran about in unaccustomed frilly dresses and neatly tied ties. Older chaps wandered round sizing up the sheep and the giant barbecue, younger chaps talked ipods and where's the booze. Older women fussed and primped, younger ones carefully negotiated the soft grassy areas in special occasion shoes. Inside the two houses on the property the two brides were separately being got ready, nervous, grinning wildly, trying to look out for other people's interests and quietly reveling in being queen bees for a day. The celebrant waited patiently for quite a long time for the brides and their parties to be ready. Kelly Rice and I filled in some of the waiting moments captioning in whispers the poor woman's every restless move. Rice can be wicked and funny and caring all at once. I came to like and admire her even more. Then the brides appeared, one by one, Dee nervous as hell and Jacqui just loving it all, both unexpectedly girly in floating shimmering white. Before them the pageboy and flowergirls (one petite and sweetly frocked, the other the biggest hairiest thing you ever saw in a blancmange and mascara) strewed white flower petals. The brides, proudly escorted by their dads, crossed the little curved bridge onto what we too cynically termed the "Island of lesbonic luuurve." And there, framed by a bower of white lilies and fragrant jasmine they themselves had nurtured the two women pledged to be one for the rest of their lives. Mothers and aunties sniffled, hard case westie blokes went strangely quiet, elderly rellies got all misty eyed and a licorice-allsort collection of homos drifted into our own, similar, dreams. A bagpiper played and somewhere in the distance a sheep bleated. When the hand-holding and rings and kissing and signing were over, while the brides and their party headed off for photos we all made a dive for the turps and canapes. Poofters introduced themselves to engaged cousins, mormon dads chatted with assorted transblokes, travellers from Ireland and the USA and the Pacific Islands chuckled with long-haired ex-hippies and glam-city dykes. The girls returned and the good kiwi tucker was right behind: roast veges and salads and heaps of roast lamb, chocolates made by a cousin and wines and beers and juice all round. The speeches were by turns funny and gauche and moving and lovely. Inside jokes were shared, a few lifetime embarrassments were recounted and everyone repeatedly toasted the happy couple on their wedding day. Yes, forget the clunky civil union terminology, all these folk had come to bear witness to journalist and all-round good sort Jacqui Stanford, and policewoman and irrepressible spirit Demelza Kaan, becoming Jacquie and Dee Stanford, married women. The cake, an incredibly extravagant rainbow-coloured confection, possibly designed by Miss Ribena's milliner, was cut and shared around with butterfly-decorated rainbow cupcakes. The inner child in us all loved them. The retro jukebox was cranked up, the electric dance floor came alive, laughter and cheers got louder, the sun set glamorously and the marquee glowed into the night with fairy lights and goodwill. It was a wonderfully, reassuringly, ordinary Kiwi wedding.     Jay Bennie - 24th January 2013
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