Joel and Rick



It was a mystical summers day when Joel and Rick celebrated their marriage at Red Hill's Montalto Vineyard with a foggy summer mist descending over the vines, adding to the ambience of this intimate and joyous celebration.

Photographer Adrian Tuazon | Venue Montalto Vineyard


Tell us how and when you met? We met online, back in September of 2012

What does marriage mean to you? Marriage to us is the biggest commitment we can make to each other. You would think building a house and having a mortgage together was pretty significant. This was another level for us.

Joel - Marriage was never important to me, nor did I ever think I would choose to get married - until I met Rick. As our love grew I reached a point where my feelings for him were so strong that I needed another way to be able so express to him how special he is to me. Getting married was the ultimate expression of my love for him - to call him my husband, and to announce to our family and friends that he is the one I wish to spend the rest of my life with.

Rick - I always wanted to be married in a country where it was legally recognised, and no different to any other marriage. Originally, we thought that would mean getting married in Canada or New Zealand, however, when the laws changed in Australia we were able to change our plans and get married in our local region, something that we were very grateful for and made our day even more special.

Who proposed and how? Joel proposed on the first night of moving into our newly built house, which we designed together.

As we didn’t really know who was going to propose and when, we had made an agreement that we would focus on designing and building our house together first - then we could look at getting married once we had settled in. The agreement was that ‘no one was allowed to propose until we had moved into the house’. Joel thought it would be cute to propose on the first possible day he was allowed to - the day we moved into the house! No rules broken.

Joel - After a long day of moving furniture and with everything still in boxes, we set up a picnic on the lounge room floor for dinner. We had some nice relaxing music on, a picnic rug down, champagne glasses and dim lighting. It was actually pretty romantic for a picnic on the lounge room floor.

Rick was surprised with a bottle of Dom Perignon (not something we drink everyday). As the champagne was poured I explained that we weren’t just toasting the house tonight, that tonight was also special for another reason.

Rick looked confused for a moment (probably thinking he had had missed something important), I then got down on one knee and pulled a small black box out of my pocket. All I got from Rick was “Yeah, right” and a cheeky grin.

Once the box was opened (he may have shrieked a little) he then understood it was for real. Obviously he said yes without holding the suspense too long, and the rest of the night was enjoying the champagne whilst calling family.

When did you get married?
 On Friday the 14th of December, 2018 

What was the main influence behind your wedding day? We love good food and amazing wine. The venue and table setting theme was based on our love for visiting wineries and staying at venues with a woody, earthy feel and the beautiful greenery of the vineyard.

What was the most important thing to you surrounding your wedding? Our wedding was about expressing our love and celebrating the life long journey we will take together. So, it was important to chose every aspect of our wedding day together - The venue, ceremony details, celebrant, photographer, table arrangements, our suits, gifts, we even wrote our vowels together and stayed together the night before. We had no intentions of being separated on the day of our wedding either.

How did you choose your vendors? We tried to stay with local suppliers to the Red Hill region. Etsy was a great source for table decorations and customisable guest gifts.

Any standout suppliers? Yes, our photographer Adrian Tuazon was amazing. His cool, calm and collected approach made us feel comfortable being in front of the camera. He was polite, professional and our photos are seriously incredible!

Our florist, Poppies of Red Hill were fantastic. Lajia had great photos on instagram of wedding flower arrangements, with a few emails and phone calls, she put together amazing arrangements that were exactly what we were after.

M.J Bale – Chadstone. Billy helped us out all the way through with our suits and fittings. We were so comfortable both being suited up with Billy, he made the whole experience easy. 

Did you find it difficult to translate more common traditions into a ‘same-sex’ wedding? All of our siblings have had more traditional weddings, so we felt this was a great opportunity to decide what we wanted to keep from their weddings, and which aspects we wanted to personalise for our own.

Some of the more traditional aspects were a little challenging, such as walking down the aisle. As we didn’t want one person to be seen as the ‘masculine’ and the other as the ‘feminine’, we decided to walk down the aisle together. We both felt very comfortable with this decision as we didn’t want to be separated at all on the wedding day.

Due to wet weather, there was a last minute change to ceremony location to an undercover area, which made for a very short aisle. Thanks to a great suggestion from our celebrant, we did a ‘meet and greet’ approach instead, and we were there to welcome our families as they arrived at the venue. This was amazing as the less formal approach really helped settled some nerves before starting the ceremony.

We went against the tradition of ‘not seeing your partner on the morning of your wedding day’ , but that was not a difficult decision to make as we both felt so strongly about staying by each others side the whole way through. No one had any issues with our decision either and understood that’s what we wanted.

Overall - we had no problems or hesitations making the day exactly what we wanted it to be, whether it fit with tradition or not. The day was about us, so we did it our way. It really does help having supportive family who were happy for us to do whatever made us happy.

What was the most difficult thing about planning your wedding? Not really knowing what you’re doing, or having a “how to guide” for same-sex weddings.

Where did you spend your honeymoon? Thailand, Hansar Resort on Koh Samui and a luxury Tree House Resort on Koh Yao Noi.

Any advice for other couples planning their day and finding it difficult to navigate the journey? This is your special day, so be sure to make it your own. It’s easy to follow tradition, however, if that isn’t the path you want to take then don’t be afraid to have some fun and create your own variation.

Surprises will happen on the day, just relax and enjoy. Don’t sweat the small stuff.