No longer a gay wedding virgin

By Eva Bradley

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I'm not really fashionable or metropolitan enough to have gay friends. But despite a lack of exposure, I was like most other Kiwis and totally on board the bus when it came to celebrating the official arrival of same sex marriage last year.

Aside from being in the industry of legalising love, as an individual I'm a total romantic at heart and support happy endings however they come.

And like most others in the wedding industry nationwide, I updated my website to reflect this new diversity and prepared to be inundated by the "gay onslaught" as it was infamously dubbed by the Hon. Maurice Williamson.

I waited. And I waited. I fielded calls from the press seeking quotes on just how crazy the phones had been ringing with gay people falling over themselves to be first across the line.

For me, change is as good as a holiday and given the fact I never get any holidays between October and May, I figured a bunch of friendly gay weddings would be a fine alternative.

What I got was one little email. But such a lovely one that I soon forgot the absence of an onslaught and got into my own little gay fizz about shooting my first same sex wedding.

After patiently waiting, this week it happened for me. Two fine looking specimens of the male species strutted out of the controlled gates of the Port wearing matching waistcoat and tails - a dead giveaway for my target.

Scott and Lindsay had been together for eight years and when New Zealand did what Australia was too scared of and changed the law, they booked a luxury cruise to our shores with a few close friends, and booked me along with it.

But I was a male wedding virgin, and filled with the nerves of a first-timer.

Despite having photographed hundreds of happy couples and a few of lovely, soft and delicately romantic female civil union ceremonies, I had never done it with two men before.

Would they hold hands ... kiss ... dance cheek to cheek? Would I get home without a sore back for the first time in my career, having not spent the afternoon bending down to fluff up a long white train?

It turned out to be all of the above.

For the next three hours, we were a tiny little team riding high on the wave of love and happy-ever-afters. Like a kid that has waited all day for dessert, Scott and Lindsay's wedding was made all the more sweet because it had been denied for so long.

And for me, as I explained to them, it was special because it made me feel proud to be a New Zealander and part of a country that validated the love of two people in the way their own country would not.

And it turned out that creatively, there was absolutely no difference working with two men ... two women ... a woman and a man.

The universal ingredient of marrying The One seemed to be all it took for everything to come together in front of the lens.

As I hauled my gear back to the studio with a warm heart and a weary body, I felt the usual wave of gratitude that in the course of the daily grind I got to be part of such a special moment between two people.

Plus it felt pretty darned fine to no longer be a gay wedding virgin. And I'll always remember my first.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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