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Sunday 09 April 2017


Shar and Tee's Civil Union

Posted in: Weddings & Civil Unions
By Theresa Cole - 4th December 2011

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Theresa Cole (24) and Sharleen Swami (23), who prefer to go simply by Tee and Shar, celebrated their Civil Union at Tarureka Estate in Featherston.  Tee shares their love story and tells us about their special day.

Shar and I met in our first days in Dunedin after moving into the same hall of residence. We met and became friends practically immediately, but it took a month of wooing to convince Shar to date me. I was to be her first and only girlfriend. We had known each other for about 4 and a half years when we came up to Wellington for a weekend away. We went into the city centre to meet up with a friend, then Shar insisted on taking me out for dinner.

Afterwards, we took advantage of the stunning evening and walked along the waterfront in the twilight towards the train station. Shar suddenly pulled me aside, and with a delighted and cheeky smile she got down on one knee and asked me to marry her. Of course I said yes!

She was feeling rather cheeky because she knew she'd beaten me to it. I had been planning on asking her! We both had bought rings for each other, but Shar had to wait until we were back in Dunedin before I could counter-propose. The counter-proposal was in the form of a sonnet on Shar's breakfast tray.

Shar and I have been the closest of friends since we met. We went through a rough patch in which we broke up for a while, but remained close friends the whole time, and needless to say we were delighted to get back together and somehow find our relationship stronger and more loving than ever. We adore each other so much because of the complete and utter confidence we have in being ourselves with each other and never, ever fearing that we will be judged for it. We love that we can let every corner and quirk of our personalities come out and have no reservations about a negative reactions. Shar simply embraces all that I am, freeing me of my self-consciousness and thereby allowing me to better enjoy all the wonderful things about her, and Shar feels the same way.

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We had our wedding at Tarureka Estate in Featherston, in the Wairarapa. It is a simply stunning venue where we were able to have an outdoor ceremony in the garden (with a backup indoor option for if the weather was poor), and our reception dinner and party inside. It is a perfect venue for any civil union or wedding.

Our wedding day started brilliantly with our celebrant (Dawn McCallum) spotting that I was stressing over the running of the day, and pointed out that a wedding is "an inexact science". Best. Advice. Ever. Everything went a lot easier after that.

Shar and I got ready separately with our respective bridesmates. We had our bridal party photos with Kathryn Wilson Photography before the ceremony to allow more time to see our guests before the reception. Our ceremony started with Shaniah Twain's "From This Moment", with Shar being led in with her parents on either arm, then my bridesmates and I followed, also with my parents accompanying me. Our ceremony was beautiful. We (and our guests) had a wee giggle as we signed the register while Gin Wigmore's "Oh My" was playing in the background. We had a couple of lovely readings, and then exited the ceremony to Seal's "Like A Kiss From A Rose".

Straight after the ceremony we had the cutting of the cake with bubbles and canapés. It was wonderful then to have the opportunity to get some photos with our close friends and family and just catch up with some friends who had travelled so far to be there with us.

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The reception was held upstairs inside of the Loft, which is a historic barn. We had our meals, provided by Guten Appetit Catering, followed by the speeches which went a little bit something like: the father of the bride, the bride, the bridal party, the father of the bride, the bride, and the bridal party. The speeches were lovely, and a couple of the guests were lovely enough to dash up to the head table with tissues when necessary.

Finally, after the speeches, everyone headed downstairs for the first dance (Kiss' "Forever") and the dance part of the wedding. All in all, our day went perfectly.

Our hopes and dreams for the future include us seeing the world together, developing as individuals and a couple, improving ourselves and raising a healthy, happy family in a happy home.


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Theresa Cole - 4th December 2011