Justin and Ben: A Christmas morning proposal led to this country wedding



We are so honoured to bring you the wedding of Justin and Ben, a country affair with “a touch of glamour”. This handsome pair have been together just shy of 10 years, and after Justin proposed to Ben on Christmas morning of 2017, the gents tied the knot just 5 months later.

Location Churchill, Taradale | Photography Long Way Home


How and when did you meet? Ben and I met online in 2008. Ben had messaged me out of the blue and his minimalist profile burb of ‘blah’ won my heart...that and his gorgeous photo and smile.

We chatted online for a couple of months as I had just gotten out of a bad relationship and wasn’t really looking to date anyone at the time. Ben would tell you about how l wouldn’t give him my mobile number or agree to catch up, all of which is very true. Ben was persistent and hung in there, and we won each other's hearts through many hours of long online conversations.

Then, one-morning l work up, and he was online, and I thought to myself “It’s about time l caught up with this amazing man”, so l asked him if he had already had breakfast. Luckily for me, he hadn’t, however, later l came to know that he was in the middle of cooking it, but threw it in the bin so we could meet.

We had agreed to meet at Amici Bakery Café on Chapel Street where we talked and ate for hours. We both look fondly on that morning and say ‘‘our fate was sealed that morning”.

Who proposed and how? I proposed to Ben on Christmas morning of 2017. Ben had finished unwrapping his presents when l turned and said to him “Now l have a very special present to give to you, but l need you to turn around and close your eyes” which he did. I took out the ring, got down on one knee and played the song ‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars, then l asked him to turn around. He was shocked, smiling and crying all at once. Needless to say, he said yes ☺.

When did you get married? We were married on the 26th May 2018 just shy of our 10-year anniversary. We had just made a tree change a year before to a little country town in rural Victoria called Taradale, so it was only fitting that we decided to hold our wedding in our country town.

When we first moved to Taradale, we were both out exploring our new country town, and we walked past the Taradale Church, and l said to Ben “We’re going to get married here one day” – little did we know that Australia would vote for marriage equality a year later, and we’d be married at that very church.

What was the main influence behind your wedding day? Considering we were holding our wedding in the country, and all our friends were coming up for a long weekend and staying in the local region, we both wanted to have a country themed wedding, but with a touch of ‘glamour’.

Justin and Ben’s story continues below >

Where did you find the bulk of your inspiration? We both found most of our inspiration online via Pinterest. We had both been to a lot of straight weddings but hadn’t been to a gay commitment ceremony or wedding, so we both didn’t really know what the rules were... if there were any at all.

Luckily we had a close friend (Kirk Samuel) who just happened to be gay, and a celebrant so we chewed his ear off with lots and lots of questions. But even for him, gay weddings were new territory, so between the three of us we worked our way through it, but we had agreed that there were no rules!

How did you choose your suppliers? We were both fortunate and blessed to have found a fantastic Church and wedding venue in our country town which had two of the most caring and lovely wedding planners you’re ever likely to meet – Vanessa and Caris. They run the Church/wedding venue and helped us with a range of suppliers that they had worked with before. Being a country wedding, we both wanted to make sure that we supported local and regional suppliers for the wedding. Literally, all of our suppliers from food, wine, flowers, hair and makeup all came from one little list that Vanessa and Caris provided...the whole process couldn’t have been any simpler.

All of the suppliers we talked to and meet with were so loving and caring, and just generally excited to be part of a gay wedding, as for most, if not all, ours was their first one.

Did you find it challenging to translate more common traditions into a ‘same-sex’ wedding? Not really, no. We went into it saying “there are no rules” so we just planned a wedding around what we both wanted to get out of the day, which, simply put, was for us to express our love to each other, and to our family and friends.

What was the most difficult thing about planning your wedding? Probably no surprise and no different to straight weddings, but it was working through the table seating plan lol…. A few tense moments and last minute requests from family on who they did and didn’t want to sit next too, lol!

Where did you spend your honeymoon? As we had both returned from an overseas trip a few months before the wedding, we stayed in a small country town just out of Bright in Victoria called Smoko with our fur babies.

Any advice for other couples planning their day and finding it difficult to navigate the journey? Just to remember that there are no rules when it comes to a wedding, so just work out what kind of wedding you want, enjoy the process, and just go for it.


Celebrant Kirk Samuel Goodsell

Photographer Long Way Home

Grooms Suits Hugo Boss

Groomsmaid Dress Nicolangela

Hair & Make Up Adrienne Makeup Artist

Church Churchill Events

Reception Churchill Events

Catering Spoonful

Flowers Prunella

Wedding Cake Blackbird Cakes

Entertainment/Music Rutherford Entertainment

Wedding Stationery Inhaus Creative


You can find Churchill Events and Prunella both on the Mr Theodore directory.