A couple made history this week when they were wed on board a special flight to Auckland, celebrating the legalization of same-sex marriages in New Zealand.
Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau tied the knot flying from Queenstown to Auckland, in a ceremony involving many traditional New Zealand elements, such as pounamu (greenstone) rings, the Maori love song "Pokarekare Ana" and the New Zealand mountains just outside window seats.
"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," said Bendall, who has been in a relationship with Wanikau for the last 14 years.
Their children, Javarn, 9, Maycee, 7 and Mikaere, 6, and Ally's son Damon, watched the couple walk up the aisle of the aircraft and take vows in the presence of actor and marriage equality campaigner Jesse Tyler Ferguson, of the ABC sitcom "Modern Family."
"It's been an absolute pleasure to be able to celebrate this historic and joyous moment with Lynley and Ally," said Ferguson, who recently celebrated his own same-sex marriage to Justin Mikita. "Marriage equality is something very dear to both Justin and me."
Ferguson also gifted the kids on board with bow ties from their charity Tie The Knot, which raises funds for the promotion of marriage equality.
"The atmosphere onboard was incredibly festive and the applause following the couple's vows was heartfelt," said Air New Zealand Chief People Officer Lorraine Murphy. "It was a great celebration of New Zealand's diversity."
The couple will be celebrating their honeymoon in Palm Springs, Calif.
- Family & Relationships
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson