These Guys Are the First Same-Sex Couple to Get Married at Mardi Gras
Australia celebrated the 40th annual Mardi Gras on March 3, and while the parade in itself was a momentous celebration, it was all the more sweet for one couple, who became the first couple to get married on top of one of the official event floats.
James Brechney and Stuart Henshall exchanged "I dos" on top of a giant wedding cake in the parade, surrounded by friends, family, and the wider LGBTQI+ community.
"We're still on cloud 9, it was the most incredible and surreal experience. Being able to get married at Mardi Gras, especially on the 40th anniversary, means so much to us," Henshall told POPSUGAR Australia. "The community has been fighting for so long to achieve marriage equality and now we have it. To be surrounded by not only our friends and family but hundreds of thousands of smiling happy faces was just magical."
Henshall said the wedding took over 100 people to organise and bring to fruition on the night. This included the float's design and build, working with suppliers such as Colossus Jewellers for their rings and Roman Daniels for the glitter suits, along with 65 dancers who carried out the choreography.
The pair have been dating for over two and a half years, and got engaged following the same-sex marriage Yes vote late last year. James is the founder of DIY Rainbow, a community that chalks rainbows around cities to promote marriage equality and LGBTIQ rights.
"James started the DIY Rainbow chalking movement in 2013 after the rainbow crossing at Taylor Square was ripped up," Henshall said. "After all the years being involved in the campaign for equality, it was a really beautiful full-circle moment to say 'I Do' where the crossing used to be. If you're listening NSW Government, a beautiful wedding gift would be the restoration of the crossing!"
However, they also noted that the night was bittersweet. "We got married at the parade with the blessing of a few of our 78er friends, who sadly haven't had the chance to marry their partners as they passed away," Henshall said. "We know we stand on their shoulders after everything they have sacrificed and worked towards for over 40 years."
See the pictures from James and Stuart's special night below!