Pettina and Melissa
I can not even tell you how much, we need to share the story of Pettina and Melissa. Because this story? It has been in the making for over thirty years, thirty years of adventures and love stories together. And although they tied the knot unofficially over twenty years ago, when Australia finally made LGBTQ marriage legal, they knew that they had to make it official. We’re very lucky to have their story today, that kicked off at the Brisbane Registry Office, before a reception filled with their favourite people, complete with beautiful photography Lightsmith Images.
Over to the brides to fill us in on not just how they met, but how they tied the knot the first time around. “We met in 1985 when we attended Hospitality College together. We became friends and one thing turned to another over time and we got together in 1989. After being together for 5 years we decided we wanted to be ‘married’ and have a family. We knew that other countries in the world were legalising same-sex relationships, but we didn’t think this would happen in Australia for some time. We decided to have a non-legal binding, but love-binding commitment ceremony in front of family and friends. On the 27th August 1994, we celebrated our love, commitment and happy future together.
That day was very special. We celebrated with all the usual wedding fanfare such as Jaguar bridal cars, white and red roses, string quartet, exchanging of wedding bands, intimate ceremony with champagne and canapes for all at the ceremony. After photos, a small group of close family and friends were invited to share a 3 course a la carte lunch, wedding cake and dancing in a private dining room at the Powerhouse Boutique Hotel (now the View Hotel Brisbane) overlooking the Brisbane River at Hamilton. We travelled for 3 months around the world as our honeymoon.
When it finally became legal for us to marry in December 2017, we knew we wanted to finally get married ‘legally’. We only ever wanted to legally marry on the same date as our initial commitment ceremony as we always recognised this as our Wedding Anniversary. It seemed to make sense to wait until our 25th Anniversary to celebrate and ‘renew our vows’ by doing it legally this time! The legal part to go with the love part from 25 years ago. We decided to nickname it our Weddiversary to recognise both special occasions.”
Pettina and Melissa chose the Brisbane Registry Office for their wedding ceremony, sharing “We chose the Brisbane Registry because our very dear friend Roger is a celebrant at the Registry and he married us. Additionally, the views were amazing!”
The brides didn’t choose a song for the processional. Instead of adopting for the registry music, but that was for a very special reason, “We had a string quartet playing Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” at our original Wedding, we didn’t want to overshadow that wonderful memory. To have our daughter walk us down the aisle was extremely special.”
As much as this was a day about, well making it official, it turns out it was the unexpected moments that made it the most special. “Our make-up artist became very ill the day before and advised us she wouldn’t be able to do our make-up. Athena decided to come early and do it for us. We were getting ready and we actually were feeling quite nervous (we didn’t think we would be) and came a knock at the door?! Athena had arranged for mimosa’s for us all, so we sat having our make up done by our daughter drinking champagne at 9.00 in the morning. It was a fabulous mother-daughter moment!”
Both Pettina and Melissa added special heirloom pieces to their outfits for the day. “Melissa wore a silver and ruby bracelet that Pettina gave her on their Wedding night. One ruby for every year they had been together before getting married which is inscribed as such on the inside.
Pettina wore a set of stainless steel cufflinks which belonged to our close friend Therese’s grandfather. The cufflinks are special in the McLean family as they had been worn at many Weddings and family gatherings.”
What made this day extra special to Pettina and Melissa? “All the lesbian relationships that came before us in history, to bring us to this point in time where we can legally celebrate our love and have it recognised by all.”
Of their photographer, Pettina and Melissa rave “Danielle is an absolute professional. She has an uncanny ability to capture people’s personality within moments of meeting them and portraying them accurately moments after in a photograph. It is a true skill. Pettina found Danielle’s website when we were considering to ‘elope’ for this Wedding and she felt she knew the people in her images just from Danielle’s style and ability. Danielle met with us twice and undertook location scouting before the big day to ensure she captured us, our guests, and the location to it’s best potential.”
Advice for you from these two? “For the Wedding, get a great photographer.
For the marriage. Respect what each person brings to the relationship. This will ebb and flow depending on what’s happening in your life at the time. NEVER stop talking.”
Guests gathered at Thyme2 Restaurant, Sofitel Brisbane for a lunchtime reception tell the brides “We chose Thyme2 at the Sofitel as it offered a beautiful buffet lunch and we thought this would cover off all tastebuds and appetites, including the kids! Thyme2 also offered a separate area to the restaurant where they could section off for us and they dressed the tables with white table cloths, so with the flowers, it looked amazing!”
Daughter Athena chose the blooms for the day from Flowerlovers, tell Pettina and Melissa. “We didn’t carry flowers, but we both wore small rose (nod to our first Wedding) buttonholes.
Athena arranged the reception so she had ordered vases of a variety of soft white flowers in mason jars which dressed the table beautifully.”
Special details were not such a focus for this day, explain Pettina and Melissa. “It was more about special friends then special details. We never wanted this Wedding to overshadow our first. We had dear friends attend this Wedding that attended our first and that was very special.”
A big congratulations to you both Pettina and Melissa! It was such an honour to get to share your well overdue day. Thank you both and thank you to Lightsmith Images for sharing today’s wedding with us.
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