Article Title:"The perfectness of it all"
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:23rd September 2013 - 12:19 pm
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Story ID:13961
Text:Jess Lawrence and Kate McClenahan are settled back into their Newcastle, Australia, home now, reflecting on the dream wedding which saw them flown to Queenstown, just days after Gay Ski Week, for the best day of their lives. When the original winners couldn't make the trip Lawrence, 24, and McClenahan, 26, were drawn as replacement winners and were on a plane within 24 hours. "I was expecting a boring call," says McClenahan, and to be honest I thought it was a hoax to start with!" That was Wednesday. Thursday, and the couple, who have been living together for two years and had known each other for a year before that, were touching down in Queenstown. Both have an interest in music which helped bring them together after an unimpressive start. A friend physically brought them together. "But we didn't hit it off at all," laughs McClenahan. However, "Eventually..." Lawrence plays guitar in a band and McClenahan is a guitarist/singer. They like to perform together but music is their hobby, not their work. By day Lawrence is a trainee pilot an McClenahan a pre-school teacher. Marriage, denied to same-sex couples in Australia, is something special for these women. "Marriage is about playing for keeps, it is somehow stabilising," says Lawrence. "The opportunity to be married is an amazing privilege that 90% of people just take for granted!" That stabilising aspect is important when children might enter the picture. Both women see children in their future, though the disparity between expectations of the number of offspring might take some serious mediating. McClenahan would settle for four, Lawrence would aim higher. Much higher. As for tying the knot in Queenstown, "we had been on the net looking at wedding possibilities... we both liked Queenstown, we'd looked at helicopter rides and the beautiful mountains... it was exactly what we wanted, maybe for next year." Once advised of their win McClenahan and Lawrence had to get to Queenstown quickly to start the paperwork going. There is a three day delay between applying for a marriage license and receiving the vital document. Luckily most of their families and friends had a little more time to get organised. "We each had a friend from Newcastle go over, and an Auntie and some cousins and our immediate families... twelve guests in all... that was very lucky." laughs Lawrence. But at least one guest was cutting it fine once the invitation got through. "Just four hours notice!" The wedding day lived up to their expectations."We still can't believe it," says Lawrence. "It was all we could ever have dreamed of, just insanely amazing!" Wedding planners and venue owners in the Queenstown area arranged everything from the celebrant to the reception to the photographer. But not, of course, the vows. "We've always told each other how we feel," says Lawrence. "We just let our everyday feelings come through, spoke straight from the heart." "So easy," chips in McClehahan, "that we wrote them in two minutes!" "Be open and honest," they advise those contemplating marriage vows. "Keep your feet on the ground and remember that getting married is an honour and a privilege." But the relationship terminology wasn't so straight-forward. The terms adopted by some couples, such as 'wife and wife,' or 'life partners' didn't quite suit them. "Wife suits me," says McClenahan, but we weren't so keen on wife or groom for Jess." Instead, they made up their own word: "wubby," a joining of wife and hubby. "To hear us pronounced 'wife and wubby' made me tear up," says McClenahan. "It still does." Returning to Australia, where their union won't be legally recognised, was a little sobering for the pair. "Our Government's got to catch up, the law has got to change. But, regardless, we've had our beautiful day, we're married and anyone who says otherwise can get stuffed!" Lawrence and McClenahan say they want to thank all the people who made their special day so memorable. "We'd love to say a huge thank you to everybody, and from our families too. We're hugely appreciative. Everything was so beautiful... we look back and all we can see is the perfectness of it all."     Jay Bennie - 23rd September 2013
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