Hervey Bay gay couple: 'We couldn't wait any longer'
TODAY Natalie Wolff will look into her partner's eyes as she says the words that will bind them together for the rest of their lives.
But it won't be the marriage ceremony that she and partner Nicole Stone were dreaming of.
Instead the Hervey Bay women will exchange vows in a civil union, with Natalie simply saying "we couldn't wait any longer".
She said Nicole had wanted to wait until same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, but Natalie feared it could take years for that to eventuate.
Others have told the pair to go to New Zealand, but their marriage would not be formally recognised in Australia.
Natalie said that if same-sex marriage was to be legalised down the track, they might renew their vows at a registry, but there would be no need to have another wedding ceremony.
"This is the real deal to us," she said.
While she hopes that same-sex marriage will be legalised sooner rather than later, Natalie says she doesn't want a plebiscite to decide it.
The estimated cost of a plebiscite would be $160 million and she said that would be a waste of taxpayers' money.
Natalie said it would be better for the parliament to do a conscience vote and decide the matter that way.
She also fears that spending that amount of money on a plebiscite could result in "bad feelings" about gay marriage and the expense attached to legalising it.
But for now, the couple's whole focus is on enjoying their special day.
"We're very excited," Natalie said.
Natalie works as a wedding planner at the Waterfront Restaurant in Urangan, where she and Nicole will celebrate their relationship with their friends and families today.
Natalie's sister-in-law Natasha Wolff said that after planning weddings for hundreds of brides, it was now Natalie's turn to enjoy the most special of occasions.
Natalie said it had been harder to plan her own ceremony than it was to plan for other brides when she was confronted with the range of choices she had to make.
While the Waterfront Restaurant has hosted commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples in the past, Natalie said it would be the first time a legal civil union would be held at the venue.