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Wednesday 08 April 2009

Two special Civil Union portraits

Posted in: Civil Unions
By Matt Akersten - 12th January 2007

Two male couples celebrated their commitments to each other in the past few weeks - one at the Vinegar Hill gay camp ground, the other at Christchurch's Propaganda Bar. They share their stories and pictures with us.

Edward Brooksbank and Anthony John

Ant & Edd take a stroll
on their Civil Union day
Edd and Ant, the couple who got hitched at Vinegar Hill, say they came to the popular LGBT summer campsite last year and had a wonderful time meeting lots of lovely Wellington residents, who they now call whanau. So they decided to return at get unionised there on Boxing Day 2006.

“The festival has just had its 30 year anniversary, and this was the first legal Civil Union there, so that was a nice honour,” explains Edd.

Despite variable weather at the campsite, the sun was out when the couple said their vows. “The Ceremony was very informal, but natural and pretty,” says Edd.” We had some traditional stuff like swapping of the rings and Best Men. And we walked down the isle/beach together.

“The vows were a bit funny (ha-ha), but basically acknowledged or past and how were looking forward to our future. There was no ‘commandments' in there, like we have to do this or don't do that. I basically offered him my inappropriateness, bad humour & bad stories forever and ever,” Edd smiles.

“We also had friends say a few short things at the ceremony, which was nice. After the celebrant performed the ceremony and finished with ‘you must kiss your partner', we asked everyone else to have a kiss from the person next to them, so everyone else could enjoy the moment.”
Ant and Edd at Vinegar Hill
with their Civil Union guests

The cake was a traditional one - but with two lego men on top.

The two men met in Cardiff, Wales – as a one-night stand… but one night just wasn't enough, and they've now been together for more than three years.

A year and a half into their relationship they decided to go backpacking around the world – visiting to San Francisco, Australia, and then planned to live in New Zealand for a year. Now they have both emigrated as a defacto relationship and purchased property in Wellington.
Having the ceremony at Vinegar Hill added lots of character into union, says Edd. “And it was important to us to have the ceremony there as the people we met there were the main reason we stayed in NZ.”

Craig & Brent make their
Civil Union official...
Brent Mitchell and Craig Brady

This couple's unforgettable night was hosted at Christchurch's Propaganda Bar on the 30th of December 2006. Brent sums it up: “Well, it was an event!”

Starting at 6pm, over one hundred invited guests arrived to what Brent and Craig describe as ‘cruisy conversational music'.

Local Metropolitian Community Church celebrant Neil Hellewell preformed the ceremony. As the pictures show, Brent and Craig were resplendent in tails and Rainbow cummerbunds, before a huge rainbow flag.

Speeches were given by Craig's parents Di and Kev Brady, and Brent's mother Elaine Mitchell. followed by toasts. The cake was cut, and then the first dance was to George Michael's ‘Amazing'.

Brent and Craig have been together over five years, after meeting on the internet - long before the days of NZDating, they point out!

Craig proposed to his life-partner on Christmas Day 2005, “as he couldn't think what to get me for Christmas,” laughs Brent.

Connections Brent makes in his role as the NZ AIDS Foundation's South Island Health Promoter came in handy when it came to getting entertainers. Local Drag artists Miss Cindy and Stella gave great performances to the large crowd of family and friends at the couple's union.

...and then it's time
for the cake!
“DJ Chic then provided fantastic music to keep the partiers going until the wee small hours, until a few then ventured in to CRUZ Bar,” says Brent.

“The Buffet meal kept everyone suitably fueled up with an awesome spread of local delicacies - thanks to Alan for a fantastic job, and thanks to Bruce and Tony and the great team at Cruz, Ministry, and Propaganda.”

Matt Akersten - 12th January 2007