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Thursday 10 November 2016

Celebrating a year of marriage

Posted in: Weddings & Civil Unions
By Jacqui Stanford - 19th August 2014

Three married couples tell us how life has been since they wed, and what being married means to them - the magic of being able to say "wife" and "husband".

Ally and Lynley


A year ago today Ally Wanikau and Lynley Bendall married on an Air New Zealand plane at 30,000 feet in the air, in a beautiful ceremony. They were escorted by their three gorgeous children Javarn, Maycee and Mikaere and best men – with Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita along for the ride.


A year on, Lynley tells “in the words of our 10 year old, marred life is ‘stupendous’.”

She says: “It has meant a lot to our family to be able to be married, to be legally recognised as wife and wife. It was important to not only us, but our children as well, they could not understand why we could not marry before.”


They’re spending their first wedding anniversary celebrating on the Gold Coast with their children, two of their best men and another close friend. “It's just a shame that it is not legal over in's about time that changed,” Lynley says.

Ralph and Rob


It was a March Christchurch garden wedding for Ralph and Rob, a stunning day that was all about love. Ralph made one of the most beautiful submissions on the marriage equality bill and being able to marry the man he loved meant the world to him.


Now, Ralph tells us married life “has been hectic to say the least”. He explains: “Three and a half years ago, Rob moved to New Zealand because my sister was dying and my mother and niece needed us here to support them. Two years on from the death of my beautiful girls, and after suddenly becoming instant caregivers to a grieving 19-year-old, we find ourselves moving to Perth to help Rob’s family look after his aging mum. Just four months after our wedding, we were separated again, with Rob having moved back to Perth ahead of me, while I tidied up the sale of my house.”

The house sale has just gone unconditional and in five weeks’ time, they will be re-united. “I can’t wait to see him again, to hold his hand, to be able to wake up in the night and pat that warm lump on the other side of the bed and know he is there and everything is ok, and to look into my husband’s beautiful eyes and tell him I love him every bit as much as the day we got married.”


Ralph says the best thing about being married is saying “my husband” and knowing that he is able to live in a country that recognises equal love.

“And Australia, watch out. My husband and I are going to be legally married there as well. We’re ready to fight for it, and we have a 100% success rate so far!!!!”

Gresham and Steve


In March, Gresham Bradley and Steve Rogers married after 17 years together. They had a gorgeous day with guests in rainbow colours, doggy ring bearers, a performance from GALS and even a trip on the Pink Bus!

“Steve and I got engaged on the night of the passing of the marriage equality bill,” Gresham reflects. “A very exciting evening that ended with us each getting on our knees to each other at home and proposing together simultaneously. So our marriage started out equally.”


He continues: “We had the most wonderful wedding ceremony on March 1st held in our garden at home, and reception held at the Auckland Bridge Club which was decorated to the max in our theme which was Rainbow.

“We both feel that the impact of declaring our love for each other in front of our families and many, many friends was the most significant part of getting married. To have our relationship openly declared and recognised in a formal way was more important than either of us thought and that feeling has carried on well beyond the actual moment.”


The couple has just returned from a honeymoon in Europe, which included a cruise from Athens to Venice.

“Spending this time together and seeing our friends over there who could not come to the wedding, has added even more to the feelings we have for each other and our sense of togetherness in all things. After 17 years of living together, that's pretty good. It feels solid, like it’s not just us deciding to be together, but us as a married couple with our wonderful whanau all supporting and being part of who we are together. Life and love is good.”

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Jacqui Stanford - 19th August 2014