Jo and Jill

Jo and Jill

On 9th December 2017 it became law in Australia that two people could marry regardless of gender. Love and equality finally prevailed.

On Friday 15th of December something truly beautiful and poignant happened; two people fulfilled a wish of a long time.  A community of strangers; family, friends, photographer, celebrant, magistrate, clerks and registrar pulled together to make this marriage happen in time. It would not be the first same sex ceremony I or others had witnessed in Australia, but possibly the first I had seen recognised by Australian law. It was an emotional moment when I read out the words of the new act; a privilege, an honour, and about time. A sacred moment on a sacred day.

Two words had changed in the Marriage Act, substituting “man a woman”, for “two people”, and for Jo and Jill that changed everything.

The first I knew of their love was a phone call on Thursday from Cittamani palliative care telling me a tale of Jo, a woman with a rare cancer, who wished to finally legally marry her beloved Jill.  It was Jo’s persistence that had kept the idea alive. Jill was unsure how it could be achieved. She had read about the one month waiting period. But how could it happen in their own home at short notice? Cittamani nurses decided to ring me and pose the question. As a celebrant I am aware that under exceptional circumstances a shortening of time can be granted by the Registrar.

I met with Jill Thursday afternoon at the courthouse. She had tried to get all the paperwork sorted, signed, witnessed and lodged with the Magistrate. It just wasn’t possible that afternoon, we needed Jo’s signature, and it was 4.30pm.

I met Jo Thursday evening. Evenings are good for her. She had energy. And her bright blue eyes and delightful smile told me all I needed to know about their resolve to be married. Witnessing Jill and Jo together was a love story, quite convincingly profound. I was taken with the dozens of photos on the wall from their 2013 commitment ceremony – a day of promise, filled with family and friends. A true wedding day. I realised I had met two amazingly beautiful women, with a deep connection and strong commitment to each other.

Jill was firm in her wish that the marriage happen, but was feeling torn. Going back to the courthouse the next day was tricky.  She wanted to stay and care for Jo.  This marriage was important. So I offered to go instead. At 8.30 am the next day, Friday, I was outside the Nambour Courthouse at opening time. The local magistrate understood immediately and faxed the application direct to Brisbane, following it up with a phone call to convey the urgency.

On the other end, the Queensland Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages recognised the importance of this request, and sped through the process.

Within the half hour, the stamped approval came back. I could prepare the marriage papers right away: new formats, fresh from the Attorney General, and those important new words, “two people”. I was ecstatic. Jo and Jill were going to be married that afternoon! They were ecstatic.

Several more emails arrived from Births, Deaths and Marriages. They wished to offer a free registered marriage certificate and what’s more they would do it immediately. This is a process that usually takes weeks. I was so delighted by their care and understanding that I offered to hand deliver the papers to the Brisbane office first thing Monday morning, to help out the process. They made a better suggestion, and we made a plan.

I phoned a colleague and asked if she’d be willing to be photographer at this special event in a couple of hours. I knew she’d say yes.  Thanks to Marion Jonkers for the professional photos of this auspicious day.

A garden lovingly created by Jo and Jill as a shared passion, provided the perfect setting for a wedding; beds of herbs, flowers, rock seats and wooden doorways.  Jo’s namesake rose was in bloom. The herbs were fragrant. Everything looked divine for their wedding.

Jo’s friend cancelled all her clients, and turned up with her hair and makeup skills.  “Do what you can!” said Jo, always in good humour. Jo’s Mum and husband were there. Jill’s sister too.  They had come at a moment’s notice.

We sat in the cool of the garden.  I read from Leunig, and spoke of ceremony, love and choosing. With profound tears in my eyes I proudly read the new marriage statement.  They reiterated their vows from years ago, adding the sentence from the new marriage act.  They exchanged wedding rings, held hands and gaze. Their broad smiles were all that was needed to express a deep and sincere joy at finally being married, wife and wife.  “Hey Mrs”.

We embrace ceremony and ritual when something truly profound is happening in our lives. We do this because we need to make a space, in time and place, to honour the unseen world that we carry within us. Ceremony takes a moment away from the usual hum of life, to contemplate and warmly acknowledge an emotional world. Inner feelings become front and centre for the day. A marriage acknowledges this. It is always a special ceremony. This wedding was extremely special and sacred.

After the vows, I enacted the plan to deliver the certificates immediately.  Births Deaths and Marriages Queensland wished to honour this special occasion by delivering the registered marriage certificate that very day. The Principal Project Officer drove north from the Brisbane office.  And I drove south from the northern beaches.  We met at a roadside station, sat at a truckies’ table and exchanged the precious paperwork.

I then drove back to join the reception and hand deliver their certificate.  Jo and Jill had been approved, married and registered within one day!

When Jill was asked how long have you and Jo been together she responded, “a lifetime; and yet not long enough.”

Jo’s Mum told me, “Today is the happiest day of my life.  On the day I married my own true love, I thought that was the happiest day of my life, and I thought I couldn’t get any happier.  But actually today, I am happier, witnessing my daughter able to fulfil her wish to marry her own beloved.”

Jo’s touching speech recognised a day of love and compassion from a community made up of people she had just met, or had never met, and may never get to meet at all. The day was made possible by the goodwill of a community of all kinds of people with different roles and different commitments and different lives, wanting these two to be married in time.

Endings depend on where one leaves the story.  The tale always continues. We rest here with the newly weds, Jill and Jo, for marriage according to the law of Australia is the full commitment or union of two people.

Kari

Friday 15th December 2017

(with editing assistance by Glenda and Jessi)

Photos by Marion Jonkers Photographer 

Thanks to Cittamani Hospice, Nambour Courthouse, Queensland Births, Deaths and Marriages, Russell, Marion, Tracey and Emily.

Jo & Jill -5same sex celebrant Kari Marion Jonkers Photographer

Jo & Jill -34same sex celebrant Kari Marion Jonkers Photographer

Jo & Jill -48same sex celebrant Kari Marion Jonkers Photographer

Jo & Jill -208same sex celebrant Kari Marion Jonkers Photographer

Hideaway Wedding

Hideaway Wedding

Megan and Trent wanted to be married close to home. So, they sought a place with freedom, a place for kids and family. They dreamed of a place to hideaway for their wedding.

I suggested Halfmoon Hideaway.  That is to say … a tasteful, modern cottage set in the grounds of an old homestead, high up in the hills of Maleny.

Most importantly, they loved it.

t is a place to stay, to play and to be free to design the wedding of choice.  Basically on this family horse and animals property, they say,”Here’s the garden, go for it!”

The wedding ceremony was held on the raised wooden deck under the huge fig tree was perfect… And I knew they had found the best place when their little girl walked down the aisle towards me.

Gillian offered to chauffeur the bride down the hill in her divine, vintage Morris Minor, white with red upholstery!  She is a gem.

The drinks caravan was there too, courtesy of Vintage Bond Wood bar.

AND the divine and delicious food was created by the lovely Matt of The Canape Project.  Yummmmy!

Hideaway wedding with celebrant Kari3

Celebrant Halfmoon Hideaway

Celebrant Halfmoon Hideaway2

Celebrant Halfmoon Hideaway3
Celebrant Halfmoon Hideaway4

Hideaway wedding with celebrant Kari

Hideaway wedding with celebrant Kari2

Hideaway wedding with Morris minor

Hideaway wedding with vintage caravanThe Canape Project

Celebrant Halfmoon Hideaway5

Celebrant Halfmoon Hideaway6

Celebrant Halfmoon Hideaway7

This is what they said:

A massive thank you for being so patient, lovely and caring Kari! Answering all our questions and suppling info to make sure we knew what to expect on the day. Such a calm lady allowing us both to feel at ease for a relaxed wedding we really enjoyed. Thank you Kari for making our day special.

Mr & Mrs Martens

Creative wedding decor

Creative wedding decor

Wedding decor with coconut fronds

Creative Wedding Decor

Decorating your wedding day can be such fun.  There are ideas for special themes, colours or designs.

Sometimes it is helpful to have a specialist help you, sometimes you just want to DIY the entire day.  At a recent wedding at Kenilworth Homestead, Jess co-opted her female family and friends, and they did it all themselves.  From bunting to cocktails, through to vintage teapots full of cottage garden flowers, and hand picked crockery from op-shops.  Read about Jess inspiration.

wedding decor with woven coconut fronds

Something rather different

Here is a totally unique and environmentally friendly solution, not yet seen in any Bridal mag, from local cane, coconut frond and festival artist, Kris Martin.

His new wedding and event decoration business called Artisean was recently launched at a wedding on Stradbroke Island.

The business, based in Mapleton in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, uses natural materials such as bamboo, coconut palm leaf and vines top create fabulous wedding arches, aisles and arbours.

Coconut frond wedding decor

Kris Martin, artist and founder of this creative endeavour is excited to bring some of the magic of the festival and event work that he has been doing for over ten years, to the wedding industry.

Along with his partner Alex, and a team of artists, they have been recognised for their dedication to environmental arts through winning the Glossies award in 2012 (for ‘Ship of Fools’ Project, Floating Land, 2011) and 2011 (for ‘Kabi Canoes’ Project, Woodford, 2010).

Here’s a peek at some of the current designs being developed.  But Kris will design something all new for you too, made to order.  Check out Artisean.

wedding decor with woven coconut fronds and white flowers
wedding decor with florals on woven vines

Something elegant in wedding decor

Carly Laczko runs a gorgeous decorating and wedding planning business, CL Weddings & Events, creating beautiful weddings using simple ingredients that together make that ‘wow’ feeling when guests walk into a room.

elegant table setting for wedding reception

Wedding Styling

Wedding styling can be so variant, from sparkling prettiness to elegant dark shades or charcoals and rich red over to fun vibrant colours that pop with personality. The main aim of styling, Carly espouses, is to ensure it reflects the couple and your personalities together as a couple.

Styling themes

Cl Events’ style is so broad, there really isn’t a certain theme that they don’t like!  And they specialise in creating a theme with the couples name on it, rather than a ‘modern vintage’ or ‘rustic’ tag. Sometimes the best styles are when they get to make a mix of themes to create unique look.

Carly says: “The décor on your day should be handled much like the way you dress, it should fit you.”  

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DIY Wedding Decor

But if it’s DIY you’re into, then check out Jessica and Joel’s wedding decor.

DIY vintage wedding table settings with op shop crockery and florals in teapots

The girls, did it all.  Mum, Aunties, Gran and the bridesmaids all chipped in making all the decor.

It came together over a fun evening the night before the wedding, when the bridal party  went to town in a rustic old Barn.

Here is their story:

Married on the family farm

Married on the family farm

Married on the farm

Congratulations Lisa and Rupert, married on the family property in Obi Obi, Kennilworth.

Arrival of the Groom

The Groom doesn’t have to wait for his bride at the altar, he can arrive in style too! This Groom planned to arrive on the motorbike he had spent many loving hours renovating.  For on their first date, he had whisked Lisa away on a bike to a country village lolly shop…..and….

However on the awaited day, the starter motor was not happy.  His brother knew the answer; kick start it down the driveway of the family property near Kennilworth, then burn up behind the house to collect the Groom on this perfect wedding day.  We had a sneak preview of what was to come, and Rupert’s dream of arriving by bike was manifest.

Arriving on a vintage motorbike

And the groomsman too

His brother Jake rode behind tossing frangipani flowers in a path for the bride; a masculine bent on the flower girl theme.  The bride, Lisa chose to walk on the arm of her Dad behind her bridesmaid.

Lisa and Rupert wanted a fun ceremony, yet one with resonances of their lives together, and as a part of an extended family.  It was a wedding day of relaxed family fun and friendly games and joy in the spaciousness of a private garden.  Beside the dam, the marriage ceremony was held in a gentle breeze, under the shade of the trees.

As part of his vows, he promised to “have as much fun as possible..no matter what.  I can’t wait.” And she answered with  “what I’m promising today is to love you with all I have to give in the only way I know how, completely and forever.”

The guests were part of the ceremony too, having rehearsed their lines before the couple arrived, then everyone had a chance to water in the olive tree with their warm wishes for the couples future.

As the newly weds walked away from their ceremony they invited all to share in lawn bowls, badminton and croquet with champagne.

You can have the ceremony you wish for, just ask!

Photos by Calli B