I moved to Brisbane to begin by teaching career in early 2011. Suzanne (Jared's mum) and my mum Louise went to primary school together in Home Hill, remained friends, and caught up when they travelled to see each other every couple of years. Knowing I had moved to Brisbane, Suzanne assured mum that she would look after me ... and that she did
I was invited out to their house for dinner one evening with my friend Susan. We drove for what seemed like hours to arrive at their home in Regents Park. We were used to living in a really small town with roundabouts and no traffic, so making our way around Brisbane was quite different. We had an amazing family dinner and Suzanne reminded me that she had four tradie sons to choose from, and she continued to remind me ever so often. I would also remind her that they were all a little too young for me, but I was happy to become friends with her children. Well so I thought. Jared definitely caught my eye and after that dinner, many conversations arose.
Weeks later I invited Suzanne and Geoff over to my unit for dinner while Mum and Dad were in Brisbane, Suze tried to cook pork crackle in our oven, forgot about it and nearly burnt the unit down. I took a photograph of the carcinogenic matter, tagged Jared in the photograph and then the conversations between Jared and I continued, this time ending in a date offer.
Okay, let me speed this up a little...
The next year was like a whirlwind while Jared went overseas with the boys and would call me at 2am, 3am not understanding the time difference in Europe. After he came home he said 'tomorrow can I wake up beside my girlfriend'. It was very sweet. After giving me an amazing gift of a book where he had written a letter a day to me in every country, I knew this sweet guy was good to stick around. We have been on many trips together, many cruises, Thailand and Bali with our best friends, New Zealand, Melbourne, Rathdowney the list is endless. We then moved in together and haven't looked back.
Then one Christmas I flew back home to my family and Jared surprised me with a day I will not forget. It was just before Christmas (December), during a trip to visit my family, near Home Hill, that he asked me to marry him. It wasn't just any day either, it was two days before Christmas, which is special to me because we always celebrate with my entire family and see all my friends from back home. It was the day of my 10-year school reunion and I had no idea that he had planned to fly home early to surprise me. He had been planning this with many people and I had no idea. Mum asked me to babysit my nieces’ overnight and she drove an hour and a half to pick Jared up from the airport.
When I got home from baby-sitting I walked in to a room with hand crocheted dream catchers (mum), champagne, a ‘marry me sign’ and Jared on one knee! He made an incredible video of the highlights of our times spent together and then surprised me with something every little girl dreams about. In front of my family he got down on one knee and melted my heart. Yes that is right, mum and dad were there and I would not have had it any other way. Dad was filming from behind the door but forgot to press record and asked if we could do it all over again, sorry dad you cannot reenact a proposal. It was almost surreal, the location, the family, the timing everything made this moment perfect, better than any dream I could have dreamed. He found the ring of my dreams and secretly purchased it while I was overseas with Dad and my sister, making me think it had been sold and I was devastated. It was an antique ring from a second hand store in Brisbane and once I saw it I knew it was the one, I love vintage things and things that have stories behind them.
So the same place he proposed, mum and dads home, was the same placed we decided to marry. I was so incredibly lucky that my mum and sister pretty much planned my entire wedding and I was more than happy for them to do that. The only things I really needed to do was choose my dress, my shoes, my earrings, my wedding invites and save the dates, photographer and that is about it. My mum organised the caterers, grew grass in the old tennis court at the back of their house, organised a cold room, port loos, bar staff, decorators, furniture hire, and my sister organised the band, the celebrant, helped mum with the decorations and staff that set everything up. The planning was so much fun. I had four wedding albums on Pinterest and I just loved looking at what other people have done for their special days. We had a budget and we stuck to our budget which was very lucky, we spent money where it mattered and saved some for our little honeymoon. I was never stressed or overwhelmed about our wedding day ... until the cyclone hit.
Two weeks before our wedding day Cyclone Debbie graced us with her presence and was heading right for Home Hill which definitely put our wedding location on the map! This was when we became stressed because our wedding was completely out door and a cyclone can cause a real mess. We were driving from Brisbane to Home Hill, which is about a 15-hour drive along the coast up north. The Cyclone hit Bowen and Airlie Beach so our wedding was safe because mum and dad had some wind and rainfall but no damage to their home or surrounding property. Someone up above was looking after us and our wedding was still on track. School finished early in Brisbane as flooding became an issue and we made it home with water on the roads.
The Wedding Day
Overall our wedding day was so relaxed. There were some small hiccups, like the bus bringing the guests broke down and the guests already at the wedding had to pick them up. Then the umbrellas went flying because the winds were quite strong. But other than that the day was simply perfect. We were both really nervous, but excited at the same time. I got ready at mums and dads house and sat on the chair that mum sat on her wedding day! Jared got dressed at the hotel in Ayr where all of our guests were staying. We had all of our families there to share our special moments and so glad that people travelled to the small town and I grew up in.
The ceremony was short but special. It was very relaxed. We walked down a white carpet on the gravel driveway. The mismatched vintage chairs lined the white carpet and we purchased native flowers from Coles and mum crocheted covers for the stalks of the flowers. We stood in front of a very special Arbor which again my mum had hand crocheted and Jared and I made the frame the day before the wedding. Simple but beautiful and it was a lot of fun spending time with everyone putting together the wedding.
It was magical. The reception was in an old tennis court that mum and dad grew grass in which made it a fairytale setting. We added a dance floor, with fairy lights above us giving us a beautiful light throughout the evening. We hired all vintage mismatched furniture and mum used some of what she had in her house. There were crocheted dream catchers mum and nanny made hanging above us on the fairy lights.
Our honeymoon was booked well in advance where 13 of our friends were coming along on our road trip back to Brisbane. Then Cyclone Debbie hit and all of our accommodation was cancelled. We spent right up until the day before the wedding trying to find new accommodation in Airlie Beach because they had no electricity or water. We eventually found a place to house us all as we still wanted to put money back into the community that had been damaged by a natural disaster.
Wedding Advice ...
If I had my time again, I would have a two day wedding, same place, same venue but over two days. It went way too quickly for our liking. Enjoy every moment, let other people stress for you. It is the one-day people will do anything for you! Make every moment last and take five minutes to sit with your new husband or wife and take it all in, look around at the people who are there to celebrate you and what an impact they all have on your life.