Steve & Craig: Married on the 25th anniversary of the day they met
"The date, March 6th, played a major influence in our wedding day because it was the 25th Anniversary of the day we met."
Location Melbourne, VIC | PhotographerDaniella Melfi
Tell us a little about your story, how and when did you meet?
We met on the night of March 6th 1993, through mutual friends of ours. Steve’s friend Shane, and Craig’s friend Penny were planning a night out together and they each asked us if we wanted to join them. As we recall, neither of us were overly keen on going out but there must have been something that convinced us to go because we’re here now answering these questions!
We all met at Shane’s place in Coburg for a few drinks before we headed out and we both remember having an immediate physical attraction to each other. The nightclub of choice that evening was ‘Inflation’ on King Street in the City, and as the night progressed and the drinks flowed (probably a little too much), inhibitions dissolved away and the flirting began.
At the end of the night, Penny caught a taxi home from the nightclub and we caught a taxi back to Shane’s house for a nightcap. After a final drink, Steve announced he was going home, so Craig, with enough Dutch courage under his belt by then, asked him for a lift home.
Years later Steve admitted that he thought Craig was interested in Shane that night and not him, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth!
Tell us a little about your relationship...
Craig’s friends embraced Steve from day one, and it was the same with Steve’s friends as well.
With our Families it was a little different. Our Families live interstate - so in the early days of our relationship it was only about the two of us.
Steve’s Family had no issue at all with him being gay as he had been ‘out’ since he was a teenager.
With Steve’s encouragement, Craig finally found the strength to ‘come out’ to his Family just after Christmas 1993 – 9 months into their relationship. It took a while for his family to adjust to the idea, but after a few difficulties and a couple of bumps in the road, Steve finally met Craig’s Family 12 months later.
We both very clearly remember it to be an anxiety filled meeting, but it didn’t take them very long to warm to Steve and before too long he was considered another member of the Family.
Back in the early days of our relationship we both had the mentality of ‘It's nobody's business who we spend our lives with outside of work hours’, but as time went on, more and more people became aware of us being a couple and we were shown nothing but love and acceptance from everyone who mattered.
And then there was the proposal, how did that happen?
We had a surprise Commitment Ceremony in front of all our Family and friends 12 years ago at Craig’s 40th Birthday and for a long time we were more than happy to accept from that moment on, we were ‘Married’.
Steve had always talked about making our union legal if ever we had the opportunity to, and as the Same-Sex marriage vote gained momentum over the last couple of years, the reality of us having a ‘real wedding’ became a huge possibility.
Craig would love nothing more than to tell you the proposal he received from Steve rivalled anything you’d expect to see on any daytime soapy...
“Steve organised a romantic picnic lunch in a gorgeous inner city park alongside the river on a warm, sunny Spring day in Melbourne complete with our favourite French Champagne served in chilled Waterford Crystal Flutes. A string quartet emerged from behind a beautiful old oak tree with a soloist, who serenaded us with an emotional heartfelt ballad that Steve had taken 3 months to write especially for me. Then, when that was over I looked up to see a skywriter spelling out ‘Craig, I have loved you for almost 25 years and I want to spend the rest of my life with you – will you marry me?’ across the cloudless afternoon sky.
We celebrated by having a wonderful stay in an exclusive Penthouse Suite in one of the best 5 star hotels in Melbourne, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display that Steve had secretly organised to celebrate our wonderful engagement in the evening!”
However, it wasn’t like that at all!
In reality ... we were heading somewhere in the car (Craig was driving, Steve was in the passenger seat) listening to discussions on the radio about the Plebiscite and the YES/NO vote. After the segment had finished, Steve turned to Craig and said ‘When all this is over and done with and it finally becomes legal for us to marry ... do you wanna get hitched?’
THAT was Craig’s romantic proposal!!
Why did you choose March 6th to be married?
The date March 6th played a major influence in our Wedding day because it was the 25th Anniversary of the day we met, and we were both excited at the prospect that we could Marry on this special day.
Craig and Steve's story continues below gallery >
Where did you find the bulk of your inspiration?
Pinterest predominantly was a wealth of information and ideas, but Craig had many more things tucked away in the memory bank that he would like if the day ever came to be. Internet searches also provided lots of inspiration and most of the special people in our world involved in the planning processes, had their own suggestions and ideas too.
Did you find it difficult to translate more common traditions into a ‘same-sex’ wedding? i.e Walking down the aisle, choosing a wedding party…
Not really. Steve had said from day one of the planning that he didn’t want to follow the traditional guidelines when it came to our wedding day, so we pretty much made up our own rules to suit ourselves.
Craig ‘designed’ our entrance into the venue. He had an idea in his mind of how he wanted it to look. We had the 8 members of our wedding party walk into the room in single file first, then instead of the traditional ‘Groom waiting at the Altar and the Bride making a dramatic entrance’, we were each accompanied into the room by our parents separately, met at the top of the aisle and then continued the rest of the way hand in hand together.
We also opted to do away with the tradition of the wedding party carrying a bouquet of flowers and instead had them each cradling a bottle of Bollinger champagne adorned with a ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle in the colour theme they were wearing.
Choosing a wedding party was simple, as we both chose people who had been important to us for more years than we cared to remember and consisted of a mixture of family members and best friends. The only issue was keeping the numbers down to 4 per groom! Unsure of how we wanted to be pronounced married at the end of the ceremony; we spent quite some time with our celebrant deciding on the right wording to use. Our final choice was ‘Husband and Husband, Husbands for life!’
What was the most difficult thing about planning your wedding?
Once we found the right venue things seemed to fall into place.
Our wedding party was spread all over Australia (and Canada) so finding outfits that worked was a slight challenge, subsequently we decided that just choosing a colour palette would make it easier for everyone to shop for.
We chose a neutral/taupe colour theme so each of our wedding party were able to find suitable outfits that they were comfortable wearing. We gave them pretty much free reign with their choices, as long as they met with our final approval!
We really didn’t have a lot of time to plan (8 weeks from when we booked our venue) and as the day drew closer it felt like there were a million things to do, but fortunately everything fell into place in time.
Any advice for other same-sex couples planning their day and finding it difficult to navigate the journey?
It’s always easier when one person is the ‘organiser’ (as we found in our case) and the other just smiles, nods and says “Yes Dear”
Enjoy the planning because that should be as important as the day itself.
Communicate and remember to laugh, and should anything go wrong on the day it doesn’t matter.
Expect to go over budget.
Take any help offered.
Give yourself plenty of time on the day and try to take a step back to take it all in because it will be over before you know it.