Cath and Lea's big open wedding will be a massive party for all

WE'RE GETTING MARRIED: Orange Hospital Auxiliary president Tracy Wilkinson with the happy couple Leanne Benson and Cathryn Meagher. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0321jkmarry2
WE'RE GETTING MARRIED: Orange Hospital Auxiliary president Tracy Wilkinson with the happy couple Leanne Benson and Cathryn Meagher. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0321jkmarry2

Leanne Benson married in 1988 and had 200 people attend.

Cathryn Meagher was wed eight years later with about 100 present.

They met in 2003 and had a commitment ceremony a year later with about 40 people watching on.

It's certainly the most unusual fundraiser we have done in 93 years.

Tracy Wilkinson, Orange Hospital Auxiliary

But two weddings and a commitment ceremony later nothing will compare to their big bash at Bloomfield Hall from 11am on Saturday.

On the exact day 17 years after they met the pair will be tying the knot at a wedding ceremony set to be one of the biggest Orange has seen.

They have thrown open the wedding to everyone as a community celebration of last December’s legalisation of same sex marriage.

So far 460 people have registered to attend the event with a difference.

The Orange Hospital Auxiliary is catering for the three-hour event with a sausage sizzle, steak sandwiches and a cake sale plus  children’s activities including face painting and lucky dips.

Ms Benson said the whole event had grown exponentially and would be a far cry from their first individual Catholic church weddings.

“The time we are going for the real one,” she said.

“We wanted to have a small service but there were so many people who wanted to come and see us get married.”

Both women have been long-time supporters of the hospital auxiliary and will be treating their big day as a fundraiser.

Ms Meagher said the auxiliary food would be for sale on the day with cash-only sales.

“All the funds are going to the auxiliary,” she said.

“I’ve worked for health for 27 years and Lea has worked their some time, it’s my family basically.

“They work [the auxiliary] do is jaw-dropping.”

She said they did not want wedding gifts but instead asked people to donate cash which would be divided between the auxiliary, Headspace and the domestic violence crisis centre run by Housing Plus.

Hospital auxiliary president Tracy Wilkinson said they would have 10 volunteers on hand to cater  for the wedding crowd.

“It’s certainly the most unusual fundraiser we have done in 93 years,” she said.

Mrs Wilkinson said her own grand-children would be helping out.

To attend the open wedding you need to register at the Cath and Lea’s Wedding Facebook page.

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