On Love And Marriage - Denise And Barry

Denise and Barry

One night in 1967, Denise and Barry each bought a $0.50c ticket to see ‘Max Merritt & The Meteors’ and ‘Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs’ play at a little three-storey venue in Melbourne known as ‘Sebastian’s’.

When Denise accidentally bumped into Barry at the bar, he responded by asking her to dance. Three years later they were married and enjoying what would be an adventurous life together. They have been married for 47 years.

How did the proposal take place?
Barry: Well we’d been going out for a little while and my Mum turned to me one day and said “Isn’t it about time you got married?” And that was it.

Denise: Barry had said from the beginning that he would never get down on one knee to propose. But I was in my bedroom and I was kneeling down at the dressing table trying to find something and I saw Barry walk in and I thought ‘Well I’m not going to stand up’ so he had to kneel down and ask me.

Barry: That was the start of it, loss of control from that point on! (Laughs)

Describe your wedding day.
Denise: We were married on Australia Day in 1970 at St Thomas’ Church in Moonee Ponds. The reception was at Ascot House. We invited around 120 people which was a big wedding big back then.

Barry: It was a very hot day, over 35 degrees. The wedding itself was formal – with a sit down dinner, speeches and dancing.

Do you have a favourite memory of the day? 
Barry: Well it’s a funny story. We were coming up to Queensland for the honeymoon. We knew we’d need somewhere to stay along the way, so had booked a room at a motel for the night of the wedding. Because we were going to be arriving late, they said they’d leave the key out…

Denise: But they didn’t.

Barry: No, they didn’t. So it was the middle of the night and we were banging on the windows and doors trying to wake someone up to let us in.

Denise: I guess you could say it was not a good start!

What was your wedding dress like? 
Denise: A friend of mine who was a dressmaker designed and made it for me. She was very talented. It was a beautiful dress. She put together the dress but I sewed all of the flowers and detailing myself.

Who took your wedding photographs and how did you find the photographer? 
Denise: Our photos were taken by a photography studio at the time – I can’t remember who now. It was a long time ago!

What song did you dance your first dance to? 
Denise: We did have a first dance but it was different then, there was no particular song, just whatever was going.

Barry: And we’re still the first ones up onto the dance floor, wherever we go.

And finally, the question we all want to know the answer to: What is the secret to your long and happy marriage?
Barry: Trust. Absolutely that is it…

Denise. Because nothing else works without it.

Barry: And….you’ve got to do as you’re told. (Laughs)

Denise: Well no, not just that. (Laughs) Most of all it’s compromise. And stability. We stabilize each other a lot. We’re a good team. It’s always been what’s good for both of us not what’s good for one.

Images via Denise and Barry

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Denise and Barry on 47 years of marriage; thank you for sharing your beautiful love story with us!