Sun, 14 Apr 2024 Today's Paper

WHEN LOVE WINS

25 June 2022 06:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

The newly weds!

 

On the 18th of June 2022, Aritha Wickramasinghe, son of Shirley and Renuka Wickramasinghe, married his long-time partner Dave Hunter, son of Edmund and Mary Hunter, at London's prestigious St. George's Church in Mayfair. Aritha is an award-winning International Finance Lawyer and a Human Rights Activist. Dave is a Civil Engineer and specialist in yacht and ocean-based tourism. The dashing couple's civil registration took place on the same day at the Brydon Room in Chelsea's historic Old Town Hall. Their religious Christian ceremony took place soon after, at the 300-year-old St. George's Church in London's fashionable Parish of Mayfair. 

 

 

Dave and his mother Mary

 

The My Fair Lady Church
St. George's, in Hanover Square, Mayfair, is one of London's most historic churches. Constructed in 1721, the Church is famously referenced in Jane Austen's 1814 novel Mansfield Park. St George's is however most famous for being featured in the musical My Fair Lady. In the film, Alfred Doolittle (Stanley Holloway), having just been provided with an inheritance and having to move into “middle-class morality,” invites his daughter Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) to his wedding at St. George's Church. Following the invitation, he and his fellows sing “Get Me to the Church on Time,” referencing St. George's. 

 

The Ceremony
The moving and emotional ceremony was attended by nearly 200 people from across the world, including the couple's family and friends from Sri Lanka, Ireland and the UK. Notable attendees at the ceremony included several Members of the British Parliament and the House of Lords, including Lord Rumi Verjee and Baroness Elizabeth Barker. Many of the Church congregation, including the Choir, were reduced to tears as the couple exchanged their own vows, in a very emotional display of their love for each other and a reminder of the many hurdles that LGBT+ people face to have their love recognised. The full Mass with Communion, one of the first in the Church of England for equal marriage, included a powerful sermon by the Priest, Rev. Fr. Roderick Leece, on the importance of marriage in bringing together

Renuka giving her son away

communities and Christ's message of love. The incredible ten-person choir impressed the congregation from singing Vivaldi's ‘Gloria’ (entrance anthem) to Paul Mealor's ‘Blessing’ (Signing of the Church register anthem). The couple expressed how important the religious ceremony was for them as a gay couple. Speaking soon after the Ceremony, the dashing groom Aritha said, “growing up, I was always told that love was not possible for me and that God rejected people like me. It always puzzled me. Why would God create me in this way and reject his own creation? But today, we proved that God's love is universal. God is love and love wins, always. Today especially, love won.” Aritha has been a champion of the rights of marginalised and oppressed communities, especially the LGBT+ community, women and children. His activism and legal advocacy has been pivotal in transforming movements and laws across the world to address discrimination and violence. 

 

The Attire
In a powerful tribute to their home country of Sri Lanka, the very handsome couple wore sarongs and jackets designed by Lovi Ceylon. Aritha's jacket was a striking modern Nilame whereas Dave's jacket strongly reflected his Irish heritage

St. George's Church

through beautiful Celtic design. The Best-Men, Abbas Asgerally and Vincent Donnelly were also dressed in Lovi Ceylon. The Maids of Honour, Danel Goonawardena and Amy Hunter were dressed in glamorous sari dresses, representing the merging of Eastern and Western cultures, designed by Indi Yapa Abeywardene. The couple each had their own style of rings, beautifully designed by Sri Lanka's Tiesh Jewellery Stores. The ring bearer, five-year-old Luca Tamburrino, attired in an outfit designed by Lovi Ceylon, did a remarkable job of safely carrying the rings and handing them over to the Priest for his blessings and the exchange of rings. The ring bearer was accompanied by the beautiful flower girl Arya Miller, also dressed by Indi Yapa Abeywardene. 

 

The Mothers
The grooms were walked down the aisle by their mothers. Aritha's mother, Renuka Wickramasinghe, became a heroine for many of Sri Lanka's LGBT+ community as she proudly walked her son to the altar in a beautiful, yellow Kandyan sari. Setting an example to other Sri Lankan mothers on accepting and loving their LGBT+ child, unconditionally. Dave's mother wore a striking black and white Church dress.

Amy, Vince, Dave, Aritha, Abbas, Danel, Luca and Arya

 

Historic Marriage
Aritha and Dave's marriage is historic for several reasons. For many Sri Lankan LGBT+ persons who continue to suffer discrimination and denial of their rights, this union has brought hope on so many levels. Their love and the victory of their love against so many odds, has only brought well wishes from everyone. Several of Sri Lanka's business and political leaders have publicly congratulated the happy couple, a remarkable development considering the homophobia often expressed by Sri Lankan politicians. The moving religious ceremony included a ground-breaking full Mass for the couple, a rarity considering the Church's still evolving position on equal marriage. Both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches are opposed to discrimination against LGBT+ people and accept that homosexuality is natural and not a choice. However, the English Church has adopted a more accepting and welcoming position for LGBT+ persons and marriage. The Catholic Pope Francis has also recently expressed his support for same sex marriage and has become a champion of LGBT+ rights. Both Churches are identical in many of their practices and beliefs. The only difference being that the Queen of England remains the Head of the Anglican Church whereas the Pope is the Head of the Catholic Church.

The Happy Couple

 

The Receptions

Delicious Sri Lankan short-eats and canapes were served outside the Church by Ammi’s Serendips (Founded by Niroch Fernando). The food, beverages and the service by the young team from Ammi’s Serendip’s was simply fabulous! Celebrations continued on at Bar Soho that evening, and at Hoppers London the next day. Co-Founder and Director of Hoppers, Karan Gokani curated a scrumptious Sri Lankan menu that included Pink Hoppers. 

Dave sheds a tear during the ceremony

 

Love Wins
At the end of the day, Aritha and Dave's story is a beautiful love story. It's a story about the union of two souls. A story of overcoming hurdles. A story about how love conquers all. We wish them a lifetime of happiness. On the 18th of June 2022, Love Won! 

 

Aritha with his mother Renuka

 

Just Married

 

Exchanging Rings

 

Girl Power!

 

Husband and Husband feeding each other wedding cake

 

Navinka, Dave, Aritha, Renuka and Ravishki

 

The Ceremony

 

The Going Away

 

The Grooms

 

The Grooms Leave The Church 

 

 

RECOMMENDED WEEKEND ONLINE

Card image cap
Embark on a Gastronomic Odyssey: Iconic British Brands Unveil Their Culinary Charms in Sri Lanka.

06 Apr 2024

More
Card image cap
The 2023 WCIC Prathibhabhisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards

06 Apr 2024

More
Card image cap
AVURUDU MAHA GEDERA

06 Apr 2024

More
Card image cap
Charting Legal Horizons: David McCoy’s Journey in Establishing a Law Firm in Abu Dhabi.

06 Apr 2024

More
Card image cap
Tiny Treasures: The Art of the Mini Statement Bag

06 Apr 2024

More
Card image cap
Massive Social Media Campaign, #NOguti 2.0, Launched to Mark International Day to End Corporal Punishment

30 Mar 2024

More

  Comments - 0

Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment