Two grooms: Keeran and Stephen’s Mitchelton wedding
“We got married on the 8th of December, 2018 - Almost exactly a year to the day that Marriage Equality was legalised in Australian Parliament”. We are so honoured to bring you Keeran and Stephen’s Mitchelton wedding, one that was captured so perfectly by a Mr Theodore directory favourite Corey Wright.
How and when did you meet? June of 2011 we met in person – Prior to that we probably spoke a year or two earlier on an “internet dating site” but never really met up. When we reconnected in 2011 we had both recently become single and though neither of us was keen to get back into dating, we agreed to catch up for coffee to meet new people. We hit it off immediately, totally at ease with one another.
Tell us a little about the earlier days of your relationship... Whilst we weren’t technically “dating” we were mostly inseparable from the first catch up. After about 6 months of ‘seeing one another’ we agreed to call ourselves a couple on Christmas day of 2011. We’d slowly introduced one another to friends and family and both sides have always been so warm and accepting of us both since the first meeting. 8 years on and we still make each-other laugh, and I think that’s a fairly good test of a relationship.
What does Marriage mean to you? Marriage has always been so crucial for us, we all grow up thinking ourselves, and our parents saying “one day you will be married”, so it has always just felt like such a rite of passage in adult life. We got engaged on Christmas eve in 2013 – Even though we knew we couldn’t actually marry it was an important commitment we wanted to make with one another then. Family and friends suggested we head to New Zealand to marry after the legalisation of same sex marriage there, but we wanted to hold firm and knew one day Australia would catch up, and we would undertake that step of our relationship in our country.
Who proposed and how? Stephen proposed to Keeran on Christmas Eve in 2013 at our favourite winery in the Yarra Valley at the time, Coombe Farm. We had both been spending a lot of time at the winery over the years and had become good friends with the staff at the winery. On Christmas Eve Stephen suggested that we spend the afternoon at Coombe to relax before the arrival of our families for Christmas Day. We went to the winery and Stephen took along his camera, suggesting a few shots of the vineyard.
Stephen directed Keeran into the vineyard itself for pictures, ordering him about - “Walk that way”, “Turn your head to the left”, “more left!”. As Keeran turned to the vines he noticed a card tied with ribbon to a Chardonnay vine. Keeran said “Oh that’s cute, they must name each vine!”. On further inspection, and with a confused face, Keeran said “The card says ‘Marry Me?’” - “We’ve walked in on someone’s proposal!”.
Turning back toward a now somewhat teary, smiling Stephen, Keeran realised that the tag, and ring, was meant for him.
We both hugged and Stephen cried. Keeran announced “of course” and the rest is history.
Thankfully Stephen had received a little help from Sharon at Cellar Door to prepare this, and whilst we were in the vines, a tour bus of international tourists had arrived. Sharon had been so nervous about the whole thing that she had to explain why she wasn’t able to concentrate on the group. This meant that by the time we walked back out of the vineyard, there was about 40 total strangers applauding us from the deck. It was certainly memorable.
When did you get married? We got married on the 8th of December, 2018 - Almost exactly a year to the day that Marriage Equality was legalised in Australian Parliament.
What was the main influence behind your wedding day? We both share a deep love of good wine, and Mid-Century design. We wanted to get married in the Yarra Valley where we live, but struggled to find a venue we felt really suited us. We stumbled on Mitchelton Wines, which had recently undergone a massive renovation, but the buildings themselves had been designed in 1968 by Robin Boyd - One of Australia’s most notable architects. From there the style was set - Timeless style of the 60’s, complete with Swing band and velvet smoking jackets for the reception, good wine and locally sourced food. The local landscape of the Goulburn valley provided the all important colour palette and all the flowers were Australian natives.
What was the most important thing to you surrounding your wedding? First and foremost, the venue needed to serve good wine!
Family is hugely important to us, so it was key to us that we have involvement from as many of our family as possible. Our mums walked us down the aisle, our fathers made amazing speeches, our sisters read our wedding readings, Stephens step-brother made a speech and Stephens Nana and Keeran’s sister witnessed the certificate.
We had asked Stephens 95 year old Nana to be a witness to the marriage certificate as they had always been very close and she was a big supporter of Marriage Equality. It meant the world to us both to have had her be a part of our day. Unfortunately Nana recently passed away, but we feel so privileged that she made it to witness and support us getting married.
Where did you find the bulk of your inspiration? For the most part we had always been fairly aware of what we wanted - Classic styling, a nod to the architecture, music and formal wear of the 60’s in Australia. From there we used Pinterest to source images to bring what we wanted exactly to life with our suppliers.
How did you choose your suppliers? We are lucky enough to know many talented business owners and artists that allowed us to work with close friends, such as Matt from Briggins Clothiers, Lisa from Jam Lady Jam, Claudia at Studio Safarian and Rachele from Airographics.
The two suppliers we did have to go in search of were our photographer and our band. Being that Same Sex Marriage was relatively new ground we wanted to ensure that our suppliers really were genuinely keen to work with us and that they would share our passion for the day. We made a point of meeting both our photographer, Corey, and our bands lead singer, Tom, to see how we fit. Luckily both of those gentlemen were some of the warmest people we had met, we hit it off instantly and booked them.
Any standout suppliers? We can’t possibly emphasise just how amazing both Corey Wright, our photographer, and Tom Barton from Mr Boutique have been through the planning process and on the wedding day. These two gentlemen were so genuinely excited to be a part of our wedding – Suppliers who fully support Marriage Equality were pretty important to us.
Both these men make the process so easy and enjoyable. We knew we could trust them to really bring our day to life, and they over delivered. We like to think we have met a couple of mates from this experience.
As Keeran and I walked up the aisle after the ceremony, Corey from behind his camera broke into tears. He really is such a genuine bloke and it was such a pleasure to work with him.
Tom did such an amazing job with his band as well as supplying the audio and lighting equipment for the full day. We have stayed in contact after the wedding to catch up.
Our Celebrant, Janine Tannahill was another standout. Janine was a friend who had worked at Coombe Farm when we were engaged, so it was so lovely to have a Celebrant who could speak genuinely about the early years of our relationship and how she knew us.
Did you find it difficult to translate more common traditions into a ‘same-sex’ wedding? Both of us are reasonably traditional, so most of the classic wedding traditions stuck.
In terms of walking down the aisle we chose to have our mums walk us to the ceremony deck. Both being ‘mummies boys’ made that an easy decision!
The only other thing we struggled with was whose name would go first on the invite! Keeran won that argument (he’s older).
We changed some things up, we chose not to have a wedding party table, instead seating ourselves amongst the guests, and we had all our portrait photography done prior to the ceremony, so we could party with our guests the minute the service wrapped up.
What was the most difficult thing about planning your wedding? The guestlist! Who to invite and who had to be left out. It was a bit heart breaking at times because so many people wanted to celebrate with us, but you can’t invite everyone. In the end our proposed guest list of 80 blew out to 120. We had to leave some people out still and even got removed from Facebook by some friends who didn’t make the cut! It was definitely agonising at times, but we are grateful we got to spend the day with the people we did.
Where did you spend your honeymoon? The honeymoon is TBA at this stage - However we are looking at travelling in September this year. Our plan is to fly into Paris and drive via the wine and cheese regions down to Rome.
Any advice for other same-sex couples planning their day and finding it difficult to navigate the journey? Meet your suppliers and work with people who are genuine about their support of same-sex couples.
Control your budget and keep in mind what your non-negotiables are, be prepared to compromise on the rest. We decided where we were prepared to spend decent money and where we would be happy to cut back on other things.
The best piece of advice we received was to step out of the venue for 10 minutes as a couple and just take in the day. It really does go by in a heartbeat and to have an opportunity to steal away as a newly married couple enables you to reflect on the celebration for just a little while.
Oh, and - Google sheets is a godsend for planning, guest names and addresses, budgeting, etc. - One single source of truth is critical!