Nick and I met the old fashioned way ... in a pub. I was living in Sydney at the time and Nick was doing fly in/fly out in Queensland and he was on his week off. We met in an Irish bar in Bondi (called the Cock'n'Bull). Not the most romantic story. I think I was the only Australian in the bar at the time. He took me on dates for the next 3 nights before he headed back to work. That was it! It was pretty much love straight away. We kept in touch and he'd spend every week off with me in Sydney. After 6 months of dating Nick was offered a job in Qatar and he asked me to move with him. I thought why not? So we lived in Qatar for 4 years and have travelled a lot together since. We're the best travel buddies.
I didn't realise that Nick had actually asked my dad if he could marry me 2 years earlier. I must have been a pain for the following years for him not to propose, but he later told me he wanted to wait until we were in my home town so we could share the news with my family and friends.
Nick and I spent 6 months in Australia 2018/19 (after leaving Qatar) over the summer period and we were living in my parents rental property. Just before Christmas we decided to set up a Christmas tree. We borrowed my Pop's chainsaw and ute and went our to find a tree. After finally deciding on a tree we went home and set it up. Nick said don't turn the lights on the tree until it's all decorated. Once it was done, it was dark and I sat on the couch, then Nick turned the lights on, he was there on one knee. I couldn't really see what he was doing cos the lights were on strobe like mode and were flashing so quickly. He asked me to marry him, I obviously said; Are you for real? But it was always going to be a Yes. Nick proposed to me with a temporary ring as he wanted me to design my own. Which we did a month later with Simon West in Melbourne. We also had our wedding bands designed and made all at the same time.
Planning a wedding when our families are from opposite sides of the globe was a bit of a challenge. However, we both loved Italy and thought it would be great idea to have a 3 day wedding where our family and friends could meet each other, whilst also holidaying. We had planned to get married at Castello Di Gargonza in Tuscany in September 2020 and we had everything sorted; venue, food, music, hair/makeup etc. I had my bridesmaids organised with a local stylist (Kellie Nobes) in my hometown so they/and I didn't have to stress about their dresses. I had already got my dress from Bluebell Bridal in Melbourne and flew it to Dubai for our wedding in Italy. During this period Nick was living and working in Dubai and I flew back to Australia for an operation... then COVID hit!
Not only did we have to cancel our wedding, I was now stuck in Australia and was not allowed to leave the country to see Nick. All flights to Australia were cancelled. After months and months of paperwork, stress, tears and every other emotion possible we finally were able to get Nick into Australia; he did his two week quarantine and then straight to see me. It was definitely the most emotional day of our relationship when we finally saw each other at the airport. The day I knew Nick was coming to Australia I went straight into wedding planning mode; I had 1 month to plan a wedding. I also had to get my dress back to Australia; I was lucky to have a friend in Dubai who was able to send it back for me.
I was so lucky in a way that most weddings were cancelled as it made a lot vendors available. I was probably the only one stupid enough to plan something in the middle of a pandemic. But we had to be married so that we could actually be together. All of the vendors were amazing and so flexible and understanding of my situation and we all basically had to take it one news announcement at a time in regards to restrictions. Our wedding plans did change a couple of time because of the restrictions. Darce from St Bee's catering was amazing, she so unbelievably understanding and kept me relaxed.
We decided to be married at St Paul's Church in Mount Gambier. And our reception was the be on our family farm in a tent; another risk to take as the weather in the South East is never really great in early October. Sure enough it rained non stop in the lead up to our wedding whilst the marquee was getting sett up. Mick from Limestone Coast Party Hire was amazing and we came up with ways to get around the sloshy paddock.
As I hadn't lived at home in while and didn't know where to start to organise a wedding so I got some help from Emma from Little Crafter Co who made my life so much easier in regards to the planning. My bridesmaids had used her services for my hens party and I loved her work from that.
Choosing a photographer/videographer was probably my biggest thing, as I knew that's what you have to look back on for your memories. I saw Dan Evans work on Instagram and loved it straight away. So I got in touch with him and we were so lucky he was available. I said I would like a videographer and he recommended his best mate (who actually happened to be from my home town) Matt Dwyer. Both guys were so chilled and relaxed which is what we wanted as we don't think we're the most photogenic couple.
The Wedding Day
The sun was actually actually shining on our wedding day. We were so lucky that the State borders opened up just that week so our friends and family were able to make it from NSW, Queensland and Northern Territory, unfortunately not to Victoria or Western Australia though. The borders actually closed again the following week. It was always going to be an emotional day as we were sad not to have Nick's side there with us.
My bridesmaids and I got ready at the stunning Delgattie Estate in Mount Gambier. My friend from high school (Bridget Stubbings) did our hair and my hilarious friend Camille did our make-up, so I didn't really feel too nervous (the bubbles probably helped that), just excited to see Nick. My mum, two best friends (they were my bridesmaids) and my nephew and niece (they were the page boy and flower girl) were there to get ready with me. Nick's mate came down from Sydney and they got ready together at Aloha accommodation. Nick was feeling a mixture of excitement and delight that the day had finally arrived after all we went through to get him to Australia.
Harriet from Blomme Flora did our flowers and I forgot to tell her about some extra floral items. She was unreal and whipped them up then and there.
I arrived at the church in my Pop's Dodge Ram (he drove us bridal party around for the day). The ceremony went so quick, I hardly even remember walking up the aisle, probably because my Dad went so fast. Think he wanted to be rid of me (especially after living with them for so long being stuck in Australia).
I walked down the aisle to a piece of music called Welcome To Cork. It was a nod to Nick's home in Ireland. Nick’s mother in Ireland had written the prayers, which my Nanna read out at the church.
The reception was in a marquee on our family property in Glencoe, South Australia. The marquee was set our overlooking our farm with firepits and festoon lights outside.
Our wedding cake was the one Italian thing we had. It was a Millefoglie (sort of like a vanilla slice - but better). We cut the cake first. A really close family friend was our MC (I was the flower girl in her wedding when I was little). The food came around like canapes as restrictions would not allow a sit down meal. We had all sorts from fresh oysters and sushi, to pork belly and Guiness Irish stew - plus loads more. We then had speeches, which were a little emotional. I surprised Nick with a video from all his family and friends who weren't able to be there. We had lounge area set up with whiskey and cigars and also had bar set up with cocktails being made by a local (Keith Hamilton), he did an amazing job.
As it was a fairly cold night I changed into a long sleeved black velvet dress. We were also lucky that we were able to have dancing at the time - so we had a DJ (Tommy Ags). We wanted a more upbeat song for our first dance so our first dance was to You’ve Got The Love by The Source (with Candi Staton). It’s one of our favourite songs.
Everyone partied on til the early hours of the morning.... and the next day.
Only a few days after our wedding, Nick had to fly back to the Middle East. So we weren't able to have an immediate honeymoon. Six weeks after our wedding, our marriage certificate came through and I was finally able to leave Australia to be with Nick. We ended up going on a honeymoon in early December to the Maldives. We stayed at the All Inclusive - You & Me by Cocoon in a bungalow over the water with a pool. It was seriously the most stunning resort. The sunsets every night were amazing and the resort had an underwater restaurant. Definitely something to add to your bucket list.
Any advice I would give is seriously don't sweat the small stuff. So many things went wrong with our wedding plans that I just didn't worry anymore (which probably stressed other people out), being apart was the hardest part. So many things went wrong, from forgetting my nephews bow tie and my earrings my parents bought me as a wedding gift. My veil also fell off my head halfway down the aisle. At the end of the day you guys are getting married and that's all that matters. And if you're from a small country town like me; try and keep things local. Especially in times like these. I was so lucky we had so many family, friends and local people who were happy to help out with our wedding. It made it much more special. After all of the drama of being separated, we are finally together and living in Melbourne with our first baby on the way!