When the Marriage Amendment Act passed in August, Amanda Betts, co-owner of model and talent agency Red 11, and partner Richenda dived head-first into planning the day of their dreams. This week, she dabbles in the world of cosmetic skin treatments.
'You don't need it mum,' my teen son Izaac scoffs at me over breakfast. 'You don't want to be one of those women clutching desperately to her youth.'
And right there is my double-edged sword: I've taught my son to be open, honest and intelligent in his thinking. And damn it, he’s open, honest and intelligent in his thinking.
'But honey, this is my wedding day,' I retort, albeit a little defensively. 'I want to look my best... I'm 45 years old and don't look like I used to.'
'Mum! Of course you don't look like you used to!'
'Yeah but as an ex-model,' I continue, 'I remember it being so easy to take a good photo of me. Now it's really difficult and there will be a lot of cameras on the day. I don't want to have to live with those photos and feel I could have done something about it at a small cost. It's not as much to do with vanity...it's necessity!'
Izaac stands up and mumbles at me as he collects my breakfast plate. 'Well I'm walking you down the aisle. You're meant to look like my mother, not my sister.'
'Well, I'm doing it anyway!' I stubbornly retort like a petulant teenager. 'I'm getting Botox.'
Even though I'm known to always be smiling, somewhere along the line (get it?), I ended up with a dirty great permanently furrowed brow. And as for that line etched deep across the bridge of my nose looking like a permanent spectacle mark...
This is my wedding day. Who doesn't want to look amazing on such a special day? After all, I've waited for more than 12 years to get married to this woman.
(Notice my justification? If you do it enough, you'll believe the story you're creating. I thoroughly recommend it).
I'm a researcher. I ask around a bunch of people I trust in the fashion industry for the places they recommend. There are a few people whose faces look pulled more tightly than fresh buffalo mozzarella – I ask them so I know where not to go. The one place consistently recommended, though, is Caci Clinic.
I've never been, so am a little nervous. I needn't have been though – Emma from the High Street branceh effortlessly takes care of me. She hands me a mirror and says something along the lines of 'Tell me what you would like to improve'. Before I get too carried away beating myself up, Emma tells me what Caci can do, what she recommends, and gently advises me I don't need as much done as I think I do. I like her already.
I love one of her statements: 'At Caci, we like to help your face reflect how you feel inside.’ I'm stoked because inside, I am not sure I could be any happier than I already am. Oooh, I'm in for a treat, then.
She explains the procedure and most importantly, what I'm opting to inject into my face. It's just natural purified protein that relaxes wrinkle-causing muscles. This I can deal with.
Next, I'm given a stress ball as I lie back on the bed. I've had tattoos and given birth, so this should be a walk in the park. It's not exactly the most amazing feeling in the world, getting those little needles injected in to your face. But Emma is steady, calm and doesn't try and distract me with stupid or weird topics and instead, engages in intelligent conversation with me.
It's over before I know it. I take a look in the mirror and although there isn't an obvious change, I mentally say 'Pi$$ off! I won't be seeing you again for at least four months!' to that furrowed brow and nasty line across the bridge of my nose.
I can't get past the deeply etched lines either side of my mouth, though. I ask if I can get those Botoxed out. I can't. But what I can get is fillers, so I enquire about those.
I decide I want to look as amazing as I feel while still looking natural and, speaking of natural, I want to know that what is going into my body is natural too. I also decide I don't want to look great just on my wedding day, but every day. Why not? I work hard. I'm a good person. I do my bit for society. I contribute to various charities – there goes that justification again.
I book an appointment with Kate for fillers. I can't wait.
My lunch break over, it's time for me to head back to work. I leave Caci confident that Botox is a great investment. Life, not just special occasions, is all about compromise and sacrifice. All I need to do is go without one bottle of wine each week for a few months and my Botox is paid for. I can manage that.