Fish and Chips (and a Kiss) Sealed the Deal

For Cherie Rochelle King and Ilka Tiedemann, it proved true that the third time’s a charm. First, they saw each other. Second, they met each other. Third, they agreed to a date.

The two first crossed paths on Nov. 19, 2016 at a women’s dance after the Perth Pride Parade in Australia. “We only saw each other momentarily without actually talking to each other,” Ms. King said.

They met the next day at the monthly Lesbian Walking Group’s November walk. But it was at the December walk where Ms. King asked out Ms. Tiedemann. She said yes.

On Dec. 14, 2016, they had dinner at Istanbul Turkish Restaurant in Fremantle, which has since closed. “We chatted heaps,” Ms. King said.

After dinner, Ms. King said, “I insisted on driving her to her car.” They made a stop to walk along the ocean in Rockingham. “We held hands for the first time, and we talked about a lot of stuff, some quite personal,” Ms. King said. Ms. King was the child of a Holocaust survivor; Ms. Tiedemann had lost her father at age 7. Both women had experienced difficult breakups with long-term partners.

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Three days later, they met for a drink, and the next day, Ms. King helped Ms. Tiedemann furniture shop. After shopping, “We went out for fish and chips, then we went back to my place and had our first kiss,” Ms. King said. “After that, we considered ourselves a couple.”

Ms. King, 55, is a customer service officer for Medicare who was born and raised in Australia. She has an online bachelor’s degree in nursing from Charles Darwin University in Central Australia. She was previously married for four and a half years and divorced in 1995.

Ms. Tiedemann, 51, does administrative work for the corrugated cardboard company Visy and has a bachelor’s in computer science from University of Applied Sciences in Bremen, Germany. She holds dual Australian and German citizenship.

The couple now live in the Perth suburb Coolbellup.

The two quickly realized they had met their match. “When I know I know,” Ms. King said. Ms. Tiedemann said, “I liked her straightforwardness and openness. And she really wanted to know the person I am.”

They moved in together in February 2018.

On Dec. 6, 2019, Ms. Tiedemann’s birthday, Ms. King proposed at Hamptons City Beach, a beachside restaurant. “I told her there was a present in my pocket, and I made her get it out,” Ms. King said. The gift, of course, was a ring of rose gold and diamonds.

The two were wed Nov. 22 on the five-acre property of their friends Marie Broadhurst and Donna Haynes in Baldivis with 86 guests. Hand sanitizer was provided and guests brought and wore masks at their own discretion. Halimah Halse, who holds a Certificate IV in Celebrancy, an Australian requirement for performing weddings and other official ceremonies, and is registered with the Australian attorney general, officiated.

The brides were escorted by their sisters from opposite sides of a circle formed by guests to a shamanic drummer, Michelle Sear, and a didgeridoo player of Aboriginal heritage, Johnn Maksimovic, who goes by the nickname Kookaburramann.

The live-streamed ceremony included a ring warming, a handfasting and a tribute to the aboriginal people. “I acknowledge that this wedding is being held on Whadjuck Noongar land,” Ms. Halse read. Mr. Maksimovic stayed for the reception and painted people’s faces with aboriginal designs.

“Cherie told me she believes they are a reward for each other,” Ms. Halse said at the ceremony, “for what they’ve been through in the past.”