Before true romance blossomed, Jason and I had known each other as friends for a number of years. And in that time both of us could honestly say that we didn't see any future beyond that. Our friendship began to develop into something more after I came home from a seven month trip overseas. A few 'travel tips' from me turned out to be the necessary catalyst for us to keep in contact after he left on his own adventure.
Nine months past before I ventured back to the UK on a working holiday. I stayed with Jas and few other friends from our hometown. Our attraction for each other increased and our close friendship developed into love during a holiday to America. Culminating in a magical night in New York when, for the first time, we uttered those special three words "I Love You!!"
Three years later on that very same day Jas took me out for a romantic dinner overlooking the Murray River for our anniversary. After dinner we sat on a park bench whereby Jas surprised me, by asking me to marry him. He presented me with a silver box which contained a cut out picture of a diamond ring. It popped out to me when I opened it. I couldn't believe it. I was ecstatic and I kept on having to ask him if he was serious before I could really digest what had actually happened. Naturally I said "Yes" and afterwards we went and had ice-cream, and took a romantic stroll along the river. I was still in disbelief, but on cloud nine just the same.
The next few days I was a bride to be on a mission. A date for the wedding had to be organised. I knew I wanted to have a ceremony in my family's Catholic church. So that was easy enough. With my family being Italian, a small wedding was out of the equation. This limited our choice of reception locations. The 11th of October was the best suited date for us. Spring would be upon us and the occupied weekends of the football season a distant memory.
With the basic essentials finalised we had 10 months to arrange the wedding, which I felt, was plenty of time. Definitely being organised was a key to success. Jas and I went to a Bridal Expo in Melbourne which was a great way to gather ideas. One of the easiest things to organise was my wedding dress, which was quite surprising. It was a big thrill trying on dresses. Peter De Petra is a master at Bridal Couture and his designs really do make you feel like a true princess!
The 11th of October finally arrived and it was coolish spring day, but the sky was blue. I woke up early but was more anxiously excited, rather than nervous. It was a relaxed morning with a trip to the hairdressers and then back home for our make up.
The videographer and photographer soon arrived and it was time to finally put on my beautiful gown. Jason had a leisurely day spent relaxing with the boys at Jason's family home organising the cars. Jason's brother came back from overseas to be a part of our bridal party, which we both felt was rather special.
Our ceremony was held at St Augustine's Catholic Church which in recent years has been renovated and become a very modern church. I arrived with my father in Jason's Dad 1960's white Ford Anglia. It was great little car. I walked down the aisle to the Moulin Rouge song "Come what may" and when I saw Jas standing at the altar I must admit I really had to fight back the tears. I felt very emotional as all of our organising had come to this very moment. I will always remember the instant when my father gave me away. Jas looked into my eyes and whispered "You look beautiful."
We stood at the altar and said our traditional vows, surrounded by our family and friends. My favourite part of the day was when Father Dave announced that we were husband and wife and we could finally kiss and cuddle. As we walked outside of the church to the sound of the church bells ringing, our bridal party and close family members released Monarch butterflies in memory of those closest to us who couldn't be there to share our special day. It was a beautiful moment and so many guests have since told us how wonderful it was too see the butterflies.
One major aspect of planning a wedding, which was very significant for me, was the development of relationships. Meeting many new individuals and spending extra time with the people you care about most. Mine and Jas's mum's were always there for advice and support. Along with my sisters and of course my two wonderful helpful bridesmaids, Claire and Sally. The countless road trips to Melbourne for dress fittings were always highly anticipated and a huge amount of fun for all of us.
Our formal reception was held at Shepparton's Goulburn Valley Hotel, in the Cabaret Room. In planning the reception, I had a theme of fun and Italian culture in mind. We organised a bus to transport our guests to and from the reception so everyone could enjoy a drink or two. Our parents, the bridal party, and the guests of honour(us) were formally announced into the reception with 280 people watching. Admittedly this is one moment where I did feel nervous seeing all these people and wondering how I was going to try and get through the night talking to everyone. This was probably the only down fall from having a large wedding.
The room looked great decorated in fairy lights and the tables had candelabra centrepieces along with red chocolate love hearts scattered on the tables. The evening ran quite smoothly. The staff were very professional. The manager, Deanna was a great help in the lead up. There was an abundance of food and drink which everyone seemed to enjoy. A highlight for us was our bridal dance. We had spent a few months going to dancing lessons which was a fun experience. Our dance was to the song "Time of my life" which went really well. Our guests loved it and it seemed to set everyone up in the mood.
We had traditional Italian music which everyone took part in and it was a great moment to see my 73 year old Dad dance his traditional homeland dance with Jas. It had been years since I had last seen Dad dance like that and it was a pleasure to see Jas bluff his way through not knowing what to do at all. He did a great job. We took a traditional approach to our farewell. Jas took off my garter and I threw my bouquet. We danced our final song to "Love is in the air" and ran out of our reception waving good-bye to our guests.
The next day we had a BBQ at our home for our family and friends. For us, this was a much more relaxed atmosphere. It was a great time to catch up with people properly and reflect back on the big day. Early into the evening I surprised everyone and paraded outside in my wedding dress again which I adored wearing. It was definitely a big highlight for everyone and talking subject for days.
We had a few days to unwind before leaving for our honeymoon, which I highly recommend. We left for the Whitsunday Islands bright and early on the Wednesday. It was a wonderful and relaxing honeymoon. We spent 4 nights at Hamilton Island, 2 nights at Peppers Bay Hideaway, 3 nights at Daydream Island and 3 nights at Hayman Island. We ate great food, relaxed, read books, participated in some fun activities, went on day trips and spent lots of time talking and reflecting back on the past 10 months.
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