He had to shed 200 kilograms and wait for same-sex marriage to be legalised but Warren Orlandi has made history by marrying his partner atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Mr Orlandi, 49, married Paul Phillips on Thursday, becoming the first gay couple to get hitched on the iconic bridge.
Four years ago Mr Orlandi weighed about 370kg and after watching people climb the bridge – something he thought he could never do – he vowed to turn his life around.
Through sheer determination and lots of exercise he lost 250kg.
“Today’s journey of more than 1000 steps is one chapter of a much bigger journey for us finding each other and this is an unforgettable moment in a very special place that we get to share with our loved ones,” Mr Orlandi said in a statement on Thursday.
“The Sydney Harbour Bridge is truly special to us.”
His 29-year-old husband couldn’t be prouder.
“Obviously there are a lot of parts on that bridge that are quite tight – there are restrictions,” Mr Phillips told AAP on Thursday.
“Warren as a goal for himself really wanted to be able to lose enough weight to climb the bridge and he’s now done it 11 times. We support each other and take everything day by day.”
The newlyweds’ special day arrived just ahead of the 40th Mardi Gras. Saturday’s parade will be the first since same-sex marriage became legal and the couple say their weekend celebrations “will be very special”.
As they took their first steps down the “aisle” on the bridge they were surprised with a live performance by singers from the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir.
Mr Phillips’ older sister Lisa said she was “so excited” the pair were able to make their marriage official after previously having a commitment ceremony in Canberra before same-sex marriage laws were passed in late 2017.
About 30 heterosexual couples have married on top of the bridge since the first couple – Scottish tourists Stephen Tierney and Claire Tullan – got hitched high above the harbour in 2008, according to Bridge Climb Sydney.