Allow us to introduce Amanda Betts, co-owner of model and talent agency Red 11. When the Marriage Amendment Act passed in August, she and partner Richenda dived head-first into planning the day of their dreams. With the date set for December 30, Amanda shares the first step in their journey to the altar: the simple – or maybe not-so-simple – matter of a crafting a guest list.
Now maybe I'm generalising here, but gay or straight, in every relationship there's usually one person who's the organiser and the other who acts as support. Well, that's how it is for us anyway.
I lead an intense, full life, which I drive at break-neck speed. As a co-owner of a busy model and talent agency, I organise for a living and as much as I love it, it’s exhausting. My day starts at 5.00am when I'm off exercising – the only time I can squeeze it in. The rest of the day is madness defined, only finishing when I get home at night and collapse into family life as a mother, dog owner, friend and partner to Richenda.
Richenda has a busy life too but nowhere near as crazy as mine. She looks after people in a different way to me - she's a sports and therapeutic massage therapist. Organising anything larger than a dinner party and social get-together isn't her thing.
So you can imagine the chaos when you add to this madness a wedding to organise – and it's going to be a biggie considering we're both in our 40s and have long-standing friendships we’ve built over our 12 years together.
So I make a date with her to commit to making a start, arriving home with a copy of New Zealand Weddings to inspire us.
We get online and start researching venues, but it doesn’t take us long before we realise the importance of a guest list – how did I not see that you can't choose a venue until you have a rough idea on numbers? Running a business seems a walk in the park compared to this wedding planning thing.
I can't deny that the realisation of the possible cost of the wedding is overwhelming. I'm thinking of all the sacrifices we are going to have to make – and for what? An over-glorified party? We've had a fair few amazing barbeques at ours that have been a blast. I suggest to Richenda that perhaps there could be cheaper ways to do this, like doing it on a tropical island, so only those who really want to be there will attend. I also suggest a registry office and maybe a small dinner party at a wealthy friend’s house? Richenda is not impressed. Of all the places to cut corners, she thought our wedding day would be the last place to consider.
So we move on and start the guest list. Things are going pretty well as we nod our heads in agreement, furiously scribbling down the names of close family and friends.
It’s when we get further down the list that we run into trouble.
I mention a couple I would like to invite.
‘What? Why? We haven't heard from them in ages."
And so begins the first conflict and on it goes until eventually, we agree to put the couple at the bottom of the list to revisit later on.
Then it's her turn: she wants to invite her cousin’s best friend’s mother type-thing. We argue about it, and on it goes, until finally I've had enough. This is boring and annoying and I’m getting, to put it politely, really crabby. I dump the iPad on the table and storm off.
You can probably imagine how the rest of the evening went.
Maybe we just needed a bit of a sleep, because the next day we sheepishly agree to give it another go, and book a night during the week when we’re both free.
This time, we're on the same harmony-seeking page as we put the list together. It's totals at around 170 people. Although my heart sinks at weighty number, we feel we have accomplished a lot in getting to this point, and, finally, we are starting to move forward.
Stay tuned for the second installment to Amanda's blog! Next decision waiting to be made? The venue.