I have never done things the ‘normal’ way…
My wedding day was no exception.
Growing up, I was not particularly interested in marriage. As my views became progressively more left of centre, the concept of solidifying a relationship through government recognition seemed ludicrous. Additionally, as feminism became a larger part of my life, I rejected the traditional aspects of marriage – a Father giving his daughter away, the bride wearing white to represent her virtue – it all felt wrong to me. All in all, the idea of marriage seemed outdated and unnecessary.
However, I have always loved a good party.
Although the concept of marriage is not one that I am particularly attached to, the idea of celebrating the love between two people is something that I could definitely get behind (and I do enjoy a poofy dress). As a Navy WAG, I also knew that one little piece of paper could protect us. A marriage certificate would legitimise our relationship and if Josh were to be posted elsewhere in the country, I would be able to join him. This may not be the most romantic reason to wed, but I have always been a practical person.
So, we decided we would be married. I chose a ring, and Josh squirrelled it away until he had planned a perfect proposal – on top of the Ferris Wheel in Darling Harbour. It was then time to plan an engagement party.
Originally, it WAS just going to be an engagement party… But as time went on, the stress of planning the party became increasingly intense. Everybody had an opinion about something – who to invite, where to have the party, what to feed the guests. I very quickly realised that, if this was how the engagement party was going to pan out, the wedding would never be the quaint, intimate function that I’d hoped for. This was when we decided to elope.
We figured that the engagement party would be the perfect time to elope. This way we could have our own private ceremony, where we could commit to each other openly and honestly without judgement, but still be able to celebrate with the people we love. With the help of our wedding planner (Sophie from ‘Help Me Host’) and my best friend, we planned our perfect wedding – a barefoot forest ceremony with a surprise wedding reception for our friends and family.
The ceremony took place at Cougal Cascades in Currumbin Valley on the Gold Coast. We could not have asked for a more gorgeous setting, captured beautifully by photographer Erica Wheadon. We were lucky enough to be married by an elopement specialist, Candice Wilson, who made us feel so secure in our decision.
After the ceremony, it was time to let our loved ones in on the secret. The wedding reception opened with a short (but incredibly moving) video of the ceremony, shot by Andrew from Poetry in Motion. Josh and I then made our entrance, and we were welcomed by tears of joy and hugs from every direction. Thanks to our very supportive families, and the staff at Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, the reception went off without a hitch. James Bolin captured the special night.
I never fantasised about a wedding. I never had an image in my mind of what I wanted it to be like. I was so opposed to the traditional ideas, so opposed to the interference, the debt and the stress… I hadn’t realised that a wedding could be whatever I wanted it to be. Once I recognised that there were no rules and regulations, we were able to create a day that was 100% ours. The 6th of August, 2016 was the most perfect day of my life. I believe that if it did not happen this way, it would not have happened at all.
“I always knew you’d do something different” my Father said to me, as we sat on a sagging green couch with vegan pizza in one hand and organic beer in the other, “you have never done things the normal way.”
And truer words have never been spoken.