“I LOVED you yesterday, I love you today, I will love you tomorrow, and forever.”
These words formed part of the vows that Jenny Thompson and Felicity Evers exchanged at an intimate ceremony surrounded by friends and family at a former church in Watt Street, Newcastle, on Tuesday.
“We are absolutely excited and thrilled to be here,” Ms Evers said.
“It’s not before time. We’re very glad to tie the knot on the first legal day. It is a great win for all of us in Australia.”
The couple has been together for 15 years, and while both women were fierce supporters of the marriage equality campaign, they had not anticipated getting married themselves.
“Obviously we were huge supporters of marriage equality, and had been pressing for it to happen for a long time,” Ms Thompson said.
“But we didn’t think we were doing it so that we, specifically, individually, could get married.”
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The couple was sitting together in a cafe in Melbourne when the results of the marriage equality vote came through.
“We were so happy, and we just turned to each other and said, ‘Let’s get married!’.”
At the time, they looked through the voting outcomes from different areas, and were moved by the results recorded in the Hunter region.
“We were looking for the results, looking for Newcastle, and when it was 74.5 per cent we were ecstatic,” Ms Thompson said.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the response of Novocastrians and Hunter residents in supporting the marriage equality campaign,” Ms Evers added.
Friends and family from Ireland, the United States and the Sunshine Coast tuned in at 11am to watch a livestream of their ceremony via social media.
Their wedding was one of three free back-to-back ceremonies hosted by The Sassy Celebrants on Tuesday – the first day same-sex couples could legally marry without a waiver in Australia.
The newlyweds thanked all of the people and businesses, including their celebrant Kim Oakley, as well as photographer Thierry Boudan and The Wedding Designer stylists, who had donated their skills and services to help them celebrate their special day.
“It’s such a special day today, and I actually feel overwhelmed with emotion,” Ms Oakley said.
“I feel so honoured to be able to do what I do.”
Other contributors to the day included Curly Tree Photography, Ben Howland, Hunter Valley Video, Eluminate, Gloss Girl Bridal Story and Wedding Streamerz.
Celeste Pollard and Prudence Hamill also married at 48 Watt Street, at 1pm, on Tuesday.
The newlyweds had previously celebrated their relationship with a commitment ceremony, but they jumped at the opportunity to make their marriage official.
The Sassy Celebrants, who orchestrated the events of the day and coordinated the contributors, originally had six couples register their interest, but it had come down to who could get their Notice of Intended Marriage lodged by midnight on December 9.