On Monday, August 19, New Zealand officially became the 14th country in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Air New Zealand held a contest to host a ceremony aboard one of their flights. The company enlisted Jesse Tyler Ferguson to promote the wedding sweepstakes. Naturally, the Modern Family star and his husband Justin Mikita, attended the nuptials.
The lucky couple to be the first married in New Zealand skies were Ally Wanikau & Lynley Bendall. The two have been together for 13 years. Their winning video featured their three young foster children holding handwritten signs saying why their parents should get married on a plane. Instead of typical airline fare such as soda and peanuts, Air New Zealand served champagne and canapes for 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,” Bendall said after an in-flight ceremony with a choir serenading the newlyweds with a traditional Maori love song
According to New Zealand’s department of internal affairs, about 1,000 marriage applications were downloaded in the week since same-sex applications became available. Roughly 170 were from overseas, mainly from Australia but also from Hong Kong, Russia and the US. Check out pictures from Ally and Lynley’s wedding below. Congrats to them and the entire nation of New Zealand.
On a side note: I just wanted to say how much I love Air New Zealand. Not just for this, but because of my enjoyable experience flying with them last year. They made Brian and my first experience to New Zealand a very memorable one. Plus their in-flight safety videos are probably the best in the industry.
For more pictures, head over to Air New Zealand’s FB.