As New Zealand officially recognises same-sex marriage in the country, a lucky couple got to celebrate the historic event on Monday by getting married up in the air. Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau exchanged I Do’s on board a flight from Queenstown to Auckland as the winners of Air New Zealand’s “Love Is In The Air” promo.
Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau with Jesse Tyler Ferguson
The airline hosted the contest to mark the legalisation of the same-sex marriage under the Marriage Amendment Act in the country, which is effective from August 19.
Like other same-sex couples who took part in the contest, Ms Bendall and Ms Wanikau submitted a video entry, in which their three foster children were seen holding placards to tell their love story.
The couple have been together for 13 years, raising 9-year-old Javarn, 7-year-old Maycee, 6-year-old Mikaere together. They tied the knot at 39,000 feet in the presence of their family and friends, including Ally’s son Damon, as well as celebrity guest Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who has been invited by Air New Zealand to witness the joyous occasion.
Instead of rings, the two women exchanged pounamu necklaces, New Zealand’s greenstone, to mark the start of their legal union. Rev Dr Kim Jewel Elliott officiated the ceremony.
“To be married at 30,000 feet beneath strings of fairy lights with our children, friends and family as witnesses makes an already memorable day that much more special. It was surreal to have Jesse play a part in the ceremony too – we’re big fans of Modern Family!” Ms Bendall said of the actor’s TV series.
Ferguson was also with his husband, Justin Mikita, at the air wedding.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to celebrate this historic and joyous moment with Lynley and Ally. Marriage equality is something very dear to both Justin and me,” he said. He and his husband also gave the newlyweds children bow ties from their charity Tie The Knot, which raises funds for the promotion of marriage equality.
Ms Bendall and Ms Wanikau, both from Auckland, were just one of the over 30 same-sex couples who were married on Monday as New Zealand commenced to legally recognise their union.
They also received a honeymoon package from the flight carrier at the Palm Springs resort in Los Angeles.
The wedding ceremony in the air:
Air New Zealand To Wed Same-Sex Couple In The Air [Read]
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