It was love at first sight. A mutual friend introduced us and I thought, "gee, this guy is great". But we didn't get together until a month or two later when a group of us were away on a summer holiday. Even my parents were impressed by his neatness - the rest of the group had their belongings strewn across the holiday house but Anthony was the tidiest of the lot!
Five years later Anthony proposed to me while we were on holiday in Sydney. It was my first trip to Sydney and it was made all the more memorable by a romantic proposal atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset on January 2, 2001. Of course I accepted, I thought he might try and jump off the bridge if I said no!
We had almost two years to plan our wedding. Which worked out very well because in that time we also wanted to buy a house, which took up a considerable amount of time, energy and money.
We had very set ideas of what we wanted to create for our special day. We really shopped around to ensure we got value for money and that we had confidence in those we had enlisted to help. We wanted everything to be perfect for the wedding so we took our time to source different suppliers and decide which offered the best value for money. We looked at 20 reception venues and I tried on 40 different dresses!
Both Anthony and I wanted to be really involved in the planning. So we spent many nights and weekends making our bomboniere, assembling our stationery (we had it printed but to save costs we put it together ourselves), making our place cards, and even our own colour-coordinated confetti to match our theme. This gave us an opportunity to just sit and chat, and to get a bit excited about our impending nuptials. My hobby is jewellery making, so I also created a Swarovski crystal cuff to wear on my wrist and to match the beading on the bodice of my dress, veil, and handbag. I made crystal earrings to wear also.
Anthony's family is Greek, so from day one I knew that if the two of us were ever to be married it would be in a Greek Orthodox Church. We chose St Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church in East Malvern, Victoria for our ceremony. Weather-wise we could not have hoped for a nicer day. The sun was shining and the birds were singing, a perfect spring day.
Unfortunately, however, I was struck with the dreaded flu and was dosed up with cold and flu tablets to stop my nose from running and to clear my head - not a good look for any bride! Despite this I was very excited when I woke up - just like a child on Christmas Day! Neither of us suffered nerves, we were both very excited because we knew we were marrying the right person. Both of us enjoyed getting ready with our families at our respective homes.
Our wedding was scheduled for 2 pm on the day, but the previous wedding, which was due to start at 1 pm, was delayed which meant ours was delayed by 50 minutes! My parents, bridesmaids and I had to wait out at the other end of the street in the heat (it was 28 degrees) while the other wedding finished. This was the only down point of the day, although the guests didn?t seem to mind, as it was a beautiful day to mingle with friends and family. Mind you, the groom and groomsmen were pacing up and down!
As I was getting out of the car to enter the church my 14-year-old sister Amber, a bridesmaid, burst into tears. She said I looked so beautiful that it brought her to tears. She was teary the whole way down the aisle! It was really quite emotional and when Anthony and I finally locked eyes at opposite ends of the aisle at the church, tears also welled up in our eyes.
A Greek ceremony is steeped in tradition and comprises a number of different rituals, including the marriage service and the betrothal service. Because our marriage was a mix of Greek and Australian cultures the priest conducted the service in both English and Greek so everyone could understand what was going on.
For our reception we chose Quat Quatta, a heritage-listed Victorian homestead in Ripponlea, Victoria. Its opulence won us over the minute we stepped inside for the first time.
Our celebration included some Greek food along with decadent and stylish modern cuisine and traditional Greek dancing long into the night. There was no plate smashing though! Because that would have been an extra expense we could not afford! A highlight was a non-choreographed floorshow by the groom and his best man, Luke, his cousin. Another highlight was performing our choreographed bridal rumba to Come What May from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack at the reception. We received a standing ovation!
We served a citrus mud cake with continental cream. The decoration matched the beading on my dress and featured bride and groom toppers (the groom's request!). Pearl white and silver Christmas tree baubles were put at the base for a unique effect.
Anthony and I had an absolute ball on the day. We enjoyed our fantastic and fun photo shoot in Melbourne's CBD. We had so many good ideas and themes to choose from we could get married about five times and each celebration would be completely different. And we had so much fun that we would love to do it again.
Planning a unique celebration is not all about money, some of the most memorable aspects of our day were the littlest and those that were lovingly handcrafted late into the night.
If we had the chance to do it all again, we probably wouldn't change a single thing. There was not one thing that was particularly difficult to arrange. We really did our homework and shopped around. It was all so enjoyable that we have fond memories of organising everything. Come to think of it, the hardest thing for me to decide upon was my hair! Up or down? Everyone said to wear it up, but I was set on having it down. In the end I compromised and chose half up, half down and it was just perfect.
For our honeymoon we went on a whirlwind three-week round the world trip to New York, London and Paris. It was action-packed and we really achieved a lot in the three weeks. We saw all the major sights, ate a lot of beautiful food, and had a lot of fun.