For the Love of Love! The Same Love Wedding Day.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you would have definitely heard the FAB news that legislation has FINALLY been put into place to allow same-sex couples to get married. This momentous event allowed many Aussies to marry the love of their life, starting on January 9 this year. Cue many, many happy dances.
In Brisbane, this historical change of laws is being celebrated by a group of creative wedding vendors, who are providing four lucky (and very worthy) couples complimentary petit weddings at Hillstone St Lucia on February 10th - THIS weekend. (Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see the entire list of amazing vendors involved!)
In the lead-up to this exciting and love-filled event, Must Love Stories caught up with Alana Salm, owner of Whiz Bang Weddings Club and superstar celebrant, to find out more...
What inspired you to come up with the idea to host the Same Love Wedding Day giveaway?
Before I had anything to do with the business of weddings, I believed in the rights of my local gay community. I spent my teen years and my twenties working in trendy hair salons, befriending the most wonderful gay men and women. Their stories and experiences broke my heart and ultimately opened my eyes to the injustices they suffered by living in a country that treated them as “less than” humans.
Campaigning for Marriage Equality was really important to me. Some people thought I was participating because as a celebrant I had a vested business interest in a positive outcome... what bollocks! I had a vested interest in Marriage Equality because I'm a bloody human being and a mother. I want to my kids to love whomever they love and show compassion for others.
When the legislation finally passed, my phone went bananas! Heaps of well-wishers asking me if I was celebrating the win. Oddly enough, I wasn’t. Not meaning to rain on anyone's Mardi Gras parade, afterall I was glad to have the battle done with, but I was sad about how much time and money was spent on this silly war (all wars a silly though aren’t they?) over people's rights to love and be loved. Who the hell did I think I was to even have these thoughts and feelings by the way?! I was just a self-entitled straight, married mother living in a Queenslander and fussing about pet chooks. What do I know about being denied rights?
I started to think about how I might feel if I wasn’t allowed to get married and have a wedding with my husband like we did 10 years ago. Before we had a mortgage and kids. When we were indulgent with our time and income. For long term couples, families who were denied a legal wedding - back at the same stage in their relationship most hetero couples choose to - but got on with life anyway, might still have financial or logistical obstacles blocking them from finally getting hitched.
Putting myself in the shoes of a gay person living a life parallel to mine, would we be able to or prioritise our savings and time to get married and have a wedding now?? Nup, I don’t reckon we could. And what a kick in the guts that would be!
Lucky for me though, when it comes to marriages and weddings - I know people. Great people and talented vendors and friends who I know to be good eggs and who have big hearts. I floated the idea of hosting a day to marry long-term same sex couples quickie style, for free, to Donika the events manager at Hillstone St Lucia and she loved the idea.
Once the date was set, I started to ask other industry mates if they could help me out with photography and flowers and I spoke to other WHIZ BANG Weddings Club Celebrants about donating their time too. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I only asked the vendors for basic services that would ensure at the end of the day each couple getting married would receive everything needed to be finally legally wed at last. They could hold a celebration in a way that was nicer than what would take place at the Registry Office and walk away with a handful of great photos to document the occasion.
After announcing the competition details on social media just before Christmas, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Couples were entering, but were still somewhat in shock and didn’t think they would be chosen to be one of the winning couples.
Word spread and more wedding peeps stepped forward to offer their services to the free wedding packages. Overnight, the quickie weddings snowballed into proper full weddings with cakes, styling, hair and makeup, lighting, pet sitting, cars, gelato and cheese, plus many other things were all added to the packages. The generosity from those Brisbane businesses has been unreal.
How did couples enter the competition?
Online entries were open over the Christmas/New Year period. It was important to us to make sure that the winning couples were all in long-term and very committed relationships. So, a condition of entry was to supply evidence that could carbon date the coupling. We hoped people would get creative with this and we weren’t disappointed. We were shown screenshots from social media accounts where they had posted first date photos or changes in relationship statuses, travel pics with dodgy haircuts and cartoon portraits dating back years ago.
We also asked for recent photos of themselves and families and for them to explain what Marriage Equality has meant to them and why marrying their partner is important. SO MANY TEARS were shared while the vendors and I went through the entries.
It must have been really difficult to choose the four winning couples. What made their entries really stand out?
We were wanting to celebrate couples who have already put in the hard yards, so we were interested to learn how long they had been together, why they hadn't already just jumped over to NZ to get it done with, and why they thought Marriage Equality was important. The stories were remarkable and we couldn't have selected more deserving couples to win.
Of course, each wedding celebration will be unique. Without giving away too many surprises, can you share a couple of the special touches that will be incorporated into the ceremonies?
Inviting loved ones to read a prepared poem is pretty standard these days, but Whiz Bang Weddings Club Celebrants are known to take it up a notch with sing-a-long. One of the family members will be sharing their own birthday with their son's wedding, so there might be a surprise birthday cake from Vanilla Pod Speciality Cake Kitchen and a party hat on standby. And for the love of cheese, we might have plans for a Cheeseologist from The Cheeseboard to pay one of the post-ceremony cocktail parties a visit.
What are you most looking forward to on this epic day?
Can I say drinking a beer after we send off the last couple to party the night away? Planning and hosting and coordinating multiple weddings to take place between 11am and 6.30pm has been no small undertaking, I can tell you. I’ve also got the honour of celebrating one of the ceremonies myself. Seriously though - I’m looking forward to all the tight hugs and tears and laughter that I’m going to be witnessing throughout the day. The air will be electric I’m sure.
Thank you so much, Alana and a bloody big High-5 for this genius idea! Stay tuned for some truly gorgeous love stories and photographs of the Same Love Wedding Day on February 10th. Preparations by these generous Brissie wedding vendors are well and truly underway now! There won’t be a dry eye in the house when, at long last, these four lovely couples say ‘I Do’. I know this little black duck will need a tissue or ten and I feel honoured to play a tiny part on this incredible day… Cannot. Wait.
The Fabulous Team Behind
the Same Love Wedding Day...
Venue | Hillstone St Lucia
Photographers | Kaitlin Maree Photography
Invitations | The Sundae Creative
Glam Team | Bella Brides
Florals | New England Flower Co
Cake | Vanilla Pod Weddings
Cutlery | Gold Wedding Hire
*All images kindly provided by Whiz Bang Weddings Club.