It was a very Sydney wedding at the opening night of the Sydney Festival this year, with Greg Small and Avan Tiong celebrating their love and commitment to a crowd of more than 20,000 on Macquarie St.

The same-sex couple shared the stage with two other now legally wed couples at Saturday’s ceremony hosted by Julie McCrossin, who hoped theirs too would one day would be formally recognised.

“It was dream for us, it really was everything we wanted,” Small said.

“Initially I was going to surprise my partner, because we’d been considering having a commitment ceremony for some time.”

Small and Avan began their journey together three and half years ago, both not long having come out and feeling isolated about their gay identities.

“We had a horror first date, including breaking down in a sports car, changing tyres, and an ex-boyfriend having a fit at the end of it,” Small said.

“You can imagine two gay boys in a little back alley, trying to change a tyre.

“I must have done something right. We both knew at the end of that first date that we’d found the person we wanted to be with forever. But we took some time to know each other, became friends first.”

The couple is conscious their special moment has wider implications for the equal marriage movement, and comes after other high profile same-sex weddings like Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker, and Geoff Field and Jason Kerr.

“We’re pretty normal people, we do all the things normal couples do. To have a ceremony on Macquarie St was also a fantastic message for our community,” Small said.

“There’s been a change in government, and I think there’s a positive landscape out there. At some point our hope is what we did on Saturday will be legally recognised, that it will become more the norm than abnormal.”

Small, a New Mardi Gras director, is about to get very busy so the couple won’t be able to take their honeymoon until later in 2008.

“We’ll be going overseas. Part of the surprise from the Sydney Festival was that we won a 14-night cruise later this year,” he said.

Have your say: Should we be having more public ceremonies like this one?

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