An iconic Queensland bridal publishing house will this month launch Australia’s first same-sex wedding magazine in an effort to eliminate judgment and exclusion of gay couples.
Paddington Publications has published Brisbane Bride magazine for 27 years and On Trend Bridal for five years.
Publisher Kerrie Gowenlock said the catalyst for the concept — Same Same Weddings magazine — was back in 2014 after a ceremony on the Sunshine Coast.
“In the On Trend magazine I put a same-sex wedding in there about three years ago now, just to basically see how everyone felt about it.
“Everyone really took warmly to it so I knew Australia was ready to see something like that in print.”
Ms Gowenlock said one of the goals of the magazine was to be a directory, free of judgment and exclusion, so couples would know that any business featured in the magazine would not judge them or turn them away.
More than 750 advertisers around Australia are involved.
“They’ve (advertisers) jumped on board because they want people to know they’re welcome to contact them and be treated just like everyone else who contacts them,” Ms Gowenlock said.
“It’s keeping an environment for everyone to feel the same as everyone else and that’s why we called it Same Same Weddings because that’s all they’ve [same-sex couples] ever wanted, was to be treated the same.”
She said couples reported the most resistance from celebrants, photographers and venues.
“They’re the ones that they need to describe more about what they’re doing. When it’s flowers, cakes, etc, they’re not as involved in the wedding planning,” she said.
‘Most exciting time of my life’
Michael Ellison from south west Queensland encountered that resistance first-hand when planning a commitment ceremony with his partner Randall in March last year.
“When I was looking for venues that was my first question, ‘Are you a supporter of same-sex marriage?’
“I did have a couple of venues overprice me because they have the misconception of ‘I can overprice you and turn you away’.”
The pair held their ceremony at Woodlands at Marburg, west of Brisbane, and just six months later bought the venue.
“It was such a hard thing to find, a venue that was accepting and here I am now helping other people’s wishes come true.
“But I still think there’s a lot of people who’ve jumped on the bandwagon. People are so judgemental.”
He said one gay couple relayed their experience where a venue did not make the couple feel welcome, inflated their prices and showed support for traditional marriage values on social media, yet after the Yes vote “were bang on social media saying: ‘We support it, bring your wedding here’.
Wedding of the century
Mr Ellison said despite the majority Yes vote last month, he was still in shock that the law has now passed.
The couple now plan to formalise their union on their anniversary in March next year.
“It’s the most exciting time of my life,” he said.
“It’s so exciting, the fact that it has finally happened. I thought it would be held up in government.”
And they’ll have their families cheering them on — again.
“My family and friends have all called to congratulate me and my Facebook page has gone crazy.
“I actually had a call from my 80-year-old grandma last night saying how exciting it is that it’s finally happened.”
“Everyone has the right to be happy that’s all it comes down to.”
A long time coming
After 27 years in bridal publishing, Ms Gowenlock agreed it was a momentous occasion and a day she hoped would come.
She said the days of judgement were now over and credited the younger generations with driving the change.
“I learn a lot from the young people who are around and the way that the older generation are to those who are different or choose to live their lives differently to what they did.
“It’s not that the young people are more accepting. It’s just that they don’t even think about it, it’s not on their radar that someone should be judged in that way for not being like themselves.”
The free Same Same Weddings magazine will be launched online in December and in print in 2018.