I apologise if this is a little long, but think of it this way, this will probably be the only time I speak for an extended period without Sean interrupting, it may even be the first and only time you ever hear me speak, so I’ll get this all out now then settle in to a life of blissful silence.
Plus, there’s alcohol available, so knock yourselves out.
On behalf of my roommate and myself, I want to start by thanking everyone here for making the time to come down here to Torquay to be a part of this special day for us.
Being able to be here with you all to celebrate really does mean the world.
But this day is bigger than just having to work extra hard to find a wedding card that doesn’t mention the word ‘Bride’, ‘Wife’ or ‘Mrs’, it’s so much bigger than two homos getting hitched. Today is about the love that exists in so many different forms that has been shown to us over our lives, and celebrating life together – leaving the negativity of the world on the other side of these walls.
Sean and I have been so lucky to have been shown love by so many people, and today we take a moment to thank the people who have been there for us, supported us, and loved us throughout our lives.
And no one knows the rainbow-coloured, glitter-coated shitstorm that has been my life for the past 26 years better than my mum and my dad.
So, Dad; Thank you for showing me the hard work that a father and husband puts in to give his family the best in life. Thank you for showing me also that a father and a husband can be 100% head over heels in love with his wife and his family every single day. I love that over the past six years we have started hugging every time we see each other, and thank you for always having a bottle or two of wine ready for consumption whenever I come over for dinner.
Linda; my mum and the epitome of a super woman. The lady that worked two jobs to put us through school, and never missed a single one of my swimming and rowing races, parent-teacher interviews, and was able to name every one of my friends. Whether it’s your family or your friends you’re a shoulder and an ear for everyone, and you’ve shown me how to conquer the world with a cappuccino permanently in hand.
Not everyone in this world is lucky enough to have parents that are the perfect mix of fun, inspiration and love, and I owe you guys everything for that.
My brother Andrew, our beautiful little flowerboy, even though you responded to the news of Sean and my engagement with a text reading ‘that’s illegal’, you’ve been the biggest fan of Sean and my relationship since day one, and that has really meant more than you’ll know.
Thanks for giving me my nephews, Teddy and Baby Ned, who have shown me what true happiness and love is – and I promise that we’re working on giving them some cousins sometime soon.
Olivia, you’ve been the best sister and friend anyone could have asked for over the past 26 years. Our childhood predominantly consisted of us hiding in the other room at social events, so thank you for getting me out of my shell and into my life. Whilst I may never understand your love of other people’s feet, the love and friendship you have always given to me has made life so much more enjoyable.
Melissa and Jaiden, my newest siblings. One of you has loads of hair and is really loud, the other has no hair and is quiet, but you’re both excellent, and I can’t wait to hang out as a posse of siblings together until we’re all old.
And to my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins; my life is great simply because you guys are in it. Family lunches and dinners are something I always look forward to, because I know that whatever front door I walk through, there will always be memories made and love shared.
Mama, thank you for organising the flowers today, and Pa, even though you’ve been gone for two years and two days, you are in my heart and on my mind every single day, as I strive to make you proud through everything I do – thank you for leaving behind the rings for today, Sean and I are so proud to be wearing them today and forever.
Today is bittersweet, because as I start life as Michael Towner, it means I am no longer a Winn – and with that I am no longer a Hyden, Gluning, or a Ross-Soden.
I didn’t always love being Michael Winn; but every single day I was proud of being Linda and Ron Winn’s son, Andrew and Olivia Winn’s brother, the Grandson of Ken and Aileen Hyden, and Arthur and Edie Winn, an Uncle to Teddy and Ned – and a cousin and nephew of the Gluning’s, Hyden’s, and Ross-Soden’s
So, thank you to my entire family, for being a source of pride for myself, and for being a place of love and strength throughout my life.
In my 26-years here, there has been no more heart-warming experience than being welcomed so openly into the Towner family. And in a family where Saturdays are for footy, and work is done in high-vis with heavy-machinery on worksites – this little fairy fitted straight in.
There’s not many people who called me a ‘Poof’ as a term of endearment, that was until I met my father-in-law, Andrew Towner. Although he looks like a bikie, and has the most utterly terrifying glare I have ever seen, underneath those tattoos is the most kind-hearted, caring man I have ever met. A man who loves his family more than anything and would give everything he has to protect those that mean the most to him. Andrew, it means the world to Sean and me that you are sitting here today, healthy and happy, as you bear witness to the gayest fucking moment of your life.
And to Trace, I don’t know how you’ve put up with Sean for 32 years, but you’ve done such an incredible job of raising him to be a kind and respectful man. Kindred spirits though we are, with our love of Towner men, love of smashing bottles of wine, our love of mediums and being hyper-emotional, … Although now I am the one who has the mammoth task of feeding him three meals a day, there is no way that I could ever measure up to the enormity of your heart, and the love and care you show every day for your family, your friends, and anyone who has the good fortune of coming across you in their lives.
I’ve heard you’re not meant to like your in-laws, but to be honest, I prefer you both over Sean.
And to Sean’s groomsmen today.
To my new brothers, Leigh and Mat, although I may not be who you thought your little brother would be marrying when he came into your lives thirty-two years ago, you have always been so kind and so welcoming to me, and I’ve always wanted some big, scary brothers who make me look badass by association – instead I was stuck with a 32-year-old Flowerboy.
I’ll also work on mastering those bro-handshakes – no matter how much I practice, I just can’t work them out.
The annual Towner family holiday to Mooloolaba has been a highlight of my year for the past four years now, and I look forward to building onto these memories as we head into the future.
And Az, Sean’s best man today, and best friend in life, although you’re exactly one year younger than me – when I grow up I hope to have an impact on the world as positive as you have. I have never met anyone as universally liked as you, and I thank you for being the sensible one in the wedding party today, which really is saying quite a bit.
I have been so lucky to have been welcomed into this family so readily from both ends of the spectrum of the Towner/Mansfield family, from Nanny Val and Poppy Ron who made me feel accepted and loved from the get-go, all the way down to the youngest, Nicholas, who provided me with my first foray into life as an Uncle.
I remember when we first told Nicholas about the nature of Sean and my relationship, and how some people may not always be supportive of us, he was about five, and he told us with complete (and terrifying) honesty that he’d promise to beat anyone up at his kinder that made fun of his gay Uncles.
Now whilst I don’t exactly condone violence, the heartfelt kindness beneath this statement certainly meant a lot.
And to my girls.
I wasn’t going to say this tonight, but I think it’s really important to be honest. After Sean and I were engaged, and I chose to have ‘Groomsmaids’ in my wedding party, I was embarrassed in myself about having three women in my wedding party because I thought that it made me less of a man.
But when you have friendships this pure, this loving and life-changing, fuck gender. We need to be appreciative and grateful for everything we have, and I am thankful every day that I have had these three powerful, loving women by my side throughout my life.
Jessie has been my everything since I met her in my first week of uni – granted for no reason I just fucking hated her and her sensible Mum-haircut – but the next day in class she sat next to me, and I haven’t stopped laughing since.
Whether we’re passing out drunk at concerts during the first song and waking up during the encore, or moving interstate to become journalism superstars, you have been the greatest housemate, wingman, and best friend I could ever have hoped for …and with the divorce rate as high as it is right now, it’ll be no time before the two of us are married and we can finally have the life we had always planned together.
Danae, my beard all through high-school, and a woman who shocks the hell out of me every day with her drive, her love, and her ability to prove people wrong. Whilst she is 5 foot nothing, and weighs about as much as a plastic bag filled with feathers, she is the toughest, most fiercely loyal person I know, with a heart of pure gold.
She was the person I needed most by my side throughout my teen years, being my pretend girlfriend when I needed to butch up my image. So butch in fact, that I designed her dress and organised her hair for my Year 12 formal.
She’s also a readily available MILF for any potential suitors out there.
And, of course, TorTor. It’s no exaggeration that we have been the best of friends since you fell out of your mum, 26 years ago. And in that time, we have been through all of the best and worst that comes with life. From dressing up in tutu’s and making potions together in your backyard, through the rollercoaster that was high school, there’s been tears and tattoos together, and now we’re pretending we know what we’re meant to do as adults. This woman is everything to me, and whilst I don’t deserve you, there’s no way I’m ever letting you go.
To my friends from primary school, family friends I’ve met through my parents, or through Tracey and Andrew, to the footy club, my incredible WAGs, and those who I have met over these last nine years with Sean, I am so incredibly lucky to know you all, and to have you in our lives.
Thank you for what you have given to me, and given to Sean, it really is our honour to have you all sitting with us tonight helping us celebrate.
Sean and I haven’t had an easy run getting to where we are today. It certainly hasn’t been a fairy-tale, and I truly hope no one gay, straight or otherwise ever has to go through what we did when they find love. It took support and love from our friends, our families, the Australian public, and a Kardashian, but today, being able to legally call Sean my husband is the greatest feeling in the world.
And whilst we may not have had the perfect fairy-tale romance, we got our happy ending, and I promise to fight every single day to make sure it remains as perfect as possible.
And now, to this guy…
Sean, hubby, you’ve somehow fallen in love with this boy who has the body of a praying mantis, and a nose bigger than Julia Gillard’s.
Thank you for taking on this complete and utter hopeless case, and making him feel strong, talented and beautiful every single day.
Thanks also for organising champagne glasses tonight that are big enough for me to fit my nose in.
I’ve never kissed a boy in front of as many people as I have today, but you make me feel braver than I ever have before, and I am proud to be by your side today and every day for the rest of our lives.
Who would have thought that getting a job at a yoghurt store would be the best decision I ever made?
Getting here wasn’t easy, but I’d do it all over again just to get to this moment, here tonight.
And so, my love, my husband, I said you couldn’t drink too much tonight until after the speeches were done. Well, the speeches are now officially done, so let’s get fucking rowdy.
Thank you again everyone, you’re all superstars and I owe you the world.
Have a good night!