Leigh and Maria Sheppard,
Married Saturday, 19 August 2006

Blue Mountains Proposal

Wedding Stories

Wedding Stories

Wedding Stories

Wedding Stories

Wedding Stories

We met during enrolment day for our fresher year at University in February 1998. I helped Leigh re-enrol himself after he filled out the wrong form!! It turned out we were in the same course.

We became great friends and after a year I realised that Leigh was exactly the type of guy I wanted to marry. We had our first date on the 10th of November in 1999. Together we finished our undergraduates and our PhD's. Just before the final year of our PhD studies Leigh whisked me away for a romantic pre-valentines day dinner to the Blue Mountains where he got down on one knee and proposed. He likes to be different so he proposed on the 13th of February, not on Valentine's day! It was a surprise as we had gone out to dinner and when we returned to our room there was a trail of red rose petals leading up to the bed which had two crystal champagne flutes. He had the proposal engraved on one of the flutes, to cherish forever.

We gave ourselves 18 months to organise everything and so we could graduate after the completion of our studies.

We both live in Sydney which is defined by its glorious harbour front. In our minds the only place we could have the reception was on the waterfront overlooking our two major monuments, the Harbour Bridge and Opera house. So we chose the restaurant where we had our first anniversary dinner.

We decided our theme would be ‘contemporary elegance with a touch of romance’. Leigh and I have similar tastes and once we settled on an idea I sourced different wedding suppliers and when we were satisfied with the quality we booked them in. We paid upfront for everything, which saved us a lot and we had a certain security.

We are really lucky working together and on the same thing means we respected the workload and stress that the other had. We also really knew what we wanted so we had no disagreements about the arrangements. The only issue was that Leigh thought he was not crafty enough to help me with some of the more hands on things.

One of the more challenging things to organise was family - because they have a mind and will of their own! Everyone had different expectations and as they all live 80km from where we live, there were initial issues about us not having the wedding where they live, but we overcame this by gentle persuasion (and the fact that the international airport -where our overseas friends were landing- was 10km from where we had the reception!)

The time running up to the wedding day was great, however, disasters happened the week before the wedding. My hairdresser changed jobs (so I got upgraded to the head stylist at the salon!), the bridal bouquet florist sold her business (but she ended up still doing the flowers for me), we both got so sick that we had to cancel the Hens and Bucks nights - which were pre-paid by us. I was so sick that I could not get out of bed and to top it off the chemist made a mistake and gave me an overdose of my prescribed medication to which I heavily reacted. As if by magic (and a lot of medication!) it all came together on the day, but we were exhausted.

Our day finally arrived and being a winter wedding we were a bit worried about the weather but we got the most beautiful cloudless and sunny day we could ever ask for.

We had a traditional catholic ceremony in a beautiful old church. Our parish priest was on holidays but he flew back for one night just so he could wed us. This made us feel extremely special and made the ceremony even more memorable.

A close friend played classical piano pieces prior to our arrival. I walked into Mendelssohn’s Wedding march and we walked out to Handel’s arrival of the queen of Sheba. During the signing she softly played a piano version of Pachabels Canon. It was magic and the music really impacted the mood of the day.

Leigh and I were joking throughout the whole ceremony as we were so excited to have finally got there. But the day was just perfect as I married my best friend and we were happy to have all the people that mattered with us to share our special day. It was a fantastic start to the rest of our lives.

We tried to incorporate a lot of personal touches to the day and make our guests feel really special. I hand-stitched 60 white organza roses with green organza leaves, to use as name tags (which were small personalised wooden hearts attached to each flower with a pink ribbon).
The atmosphere we wanted was one of contemporary elegance with a hint of romance. We achieved this by using lots of dim lighting effects and glass, which reflected all the light!

Also we hand picked our music (different types for different parts and courses of the night) which was aimed at growing the inner want to dance to a maximum by the time we got to the dancing (which was all about the 80's retro music). We achieved our aim as the dance floor was over-filled for all songs.

We had an amazing day with everything we wanted. There is nothing we would really change.

The crowning glory was our 'working' honeymoon which took us all over Europe for 10 weeks. Leigh and I had short term contracts in Germany and were able to take some extra time off work afterwards and before to travel. We went to Berlin, London, Paris, Prague, Cracow and Zurich.

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