Same sex marriages booked for January 9 in Newcastle

REBECCA Hickson cannot wait to be able to call Sarah Turnbull her wife “for real.”

In front of friends and family, the couple vowed to love and support each other in a commitment ceremony in October, 2014.

But at 8am, on January 9, 2018 – the first day same sex marriages will be recognised legally in Australia – they will make it “official.”

Ms Hickson and Ms Turnbull will be one of three same sex couples who will marry at 48 Watt Street on January 9.

“We wanted to be a part of history, and to be one of the first couples in Australia to be married under the new Marriage Act,” she said.

Ms Hickson said it was all about setting their relationship, and their commitment to one another, in stone.

“We are really excited,” Ms Hickson said.

“We’ve got our wedding dresses from our original ceremony, so we’re going to re-wear them – hopefully they still fit,” she laughed.

“But it’s going to be a smaller, shorter ceremony, just with immediate family.”

Kerryn Tippett, of The Sassy Celebrants – a collective of Hunter marriage celebrants – said they put out a call to local wedding businesses, photographers and videographers who would be willing to offer their services free of charge for same sex couples on that momentous day.

They originally had six couples register their interest, but it came down to who could get their Notice of Intended Marriage lodged by midnight on December 9.

“We’re doing three weddings throughout the day, all at the same place,” Ms Tippett said.

Two of the couples had previously had commitment ceremonies. The third couple had been waiting a very long time to get married, and wanted to do so as soon as they legally could.

”It has been such a long time coming,” Ms Tippett said. “A lot of people have talked about there being a giant influx of weddings. For someone who wants to get married around their kitchen table in a month’s time, that’s very possible, but couples who want a bigger event will have to wait until venues have availability.

“We’ll see an increase in marriages, but it is not going to feel like the flood gates have opened, because these people have the right, and the want, to have as big a celebration as anyone else. Which means they may have to wait to find an available venue, and photographer.”

All nine Sassy Celebrants will be involved in the January 9 celebrations in some way, and The Wedding Designer will style 48 Watt Street.

“When I saw the legislation had been passed, I had a bit of a cry at work,” Ms Hickson said. “My co-worker gave me a hug, and was crying too. It was pretty emotional for me, and same for my partner, who is going to be my wife soon – for real.”

Other businesses offering their services for the January 9 celebration also include Curly Tree Photography, Thierry Boudan Photography and Ben Howland, as well as Hunter Valley Video, Eluminate, and Gloss Girl Bridal Story.