Until we were a few years into our relationship, we had thought that we met in a gym, where I was working and Ryan was a member. One day, whilst cleaning out my wardrobe, a particular outfit caught Ryan's eye, and he remembered that we completed our First Aid course together a year before we 'met'.
Despite living over an hour apart, our lives seemed connected in so many ways, with mutual friends, and Ryan's parents and I also attended the same wedding just months before Ryan and I connected at the gym. Was it love at first sight?! Well...at the first aid course there was a spark...and when our paths crossed again at the gym, we knew straight away that we'd met our best friend. There was no one moment where we said 'this is the one', but it was evident as soon as we connected that we'd met our match and that was it.
Ryan proposed so beautifully on New Years day at Whale Beach - where we had enjoyed our first date many years prior. I had thought he may propose on New Years Eve, as he had specifically chosen to spend the day and night together without anyone else. When the fireworks had finished, I was content and figured that it wasn't the time for a proposal, and happily forgot all about it.
The next morning, we woke up for a stroll on the beach and a swim - with fitness in mind, I start speeding along the beach with Ryan behind me. He called out my name, and when I turned around he was kneeling down and holding my ring. I ran back over to him, joined him on the sand and said yes.
The PlanningPlanning was exciting, fun, special and everything we could ever have imagined. We had over a year and a half to plan everything, and organised everything early so that there was no last minute rush or stress.
Our families were amazing, and celebrated our engagement together and offered their support.
It was so important to us that we did not spend extravagantly, and that we personalised our Wedding day as much as we could for everyone. We opted for a Surf Life Saving Club, which meant that our costs were reasonable, and our money went back into a fantastic community organisation. This also meant we could choose our own wedding suppliers, and even decorate ourselves with the help of Amy from Cloud 9 Events, and some of our amazing friends and family.
We spent the time getting to know every wonderful supplier, many of whom were friends (and those whom we didn't know before, felt like friends by the time our big day arrived). We couldn't have asked for more wonderful people to be a part of our Wedding day, and planning was honestly a dream.
We took the time to enjoy every step of the process, and some of my favourite memories are of the special things we did on the days we had appointments with our suppliers - visits to the park before cake tasting; walks on the beach when we were looking at the venue; a day out with Ryan's family when we were sampling the menu; a night out with a friend to check out the band, and the many trips to the dress shop with mum, and my wonderful bridesmaids (*usually accompanied by dumplings, or chocolate!)
The Wedding DayThe 'day' extended across a few days - the set up for our wedding happened on Thursday. Ryan and I packed my car with all of the decor, dresses and suits and hit the road with my Maid of Honour - the drive was a mix of laughing about cherished memories, and feeling shocked that the music of our generation was on the oldies radio station.
Setting up was by far one of the most fun ways to get in the spirit; I had the help of my best friends (bridesmaids) and some family, who made it fun, and Ryan made sure we were all well fed. My playlist meant that we'd already given the dance floor a workout and had a laugh.
The night before our wedding, Ryan stayed with his family and family friends in a house near our wedding venue, and I stayed with my parents and bridesmaids in a house nearby as well. The water views were beautiful.
Ryan and I were texting and missing each other, as we rarely spend nights apart. My bridesmaids, and my mum and dad, all enjoyed Thai, a lot of laughs, and watched the Gilmore Girls (sorry dad!).
We had an early wake up with some earth works happening on the beach at 4am - my bridesmaids and I took advantage of the funny situation and went out in our matching PJs for grumpy photos with the council workers, and had a laugh.
The day was so relaxed - it didn't 'fly by' as everyone says - we took the time to really enjoy it. Neither of us was nervous at all. When I arrived at the ceremony, Claire (our celebrant) came and checked in to see how I was feeling - I was relaxed but wanted to know how Ryan was. She said he was excited and super relaxed, which made me feel great. Then she said he'd mentioned he missed me so much the previous night, and we all melted just a little bit!
Seeing my parents so proud and happy, and having Dad walk me down the aisle were two of the biggest highlights.
The CeremonyOur families and closest friends (who are all like family to us) were all there to share in the day, as well as a huge surprise from some fantastic colleagues who surprised me and made me feel so special. , The ceremony was outside on the grass, overlooking the ocean. Dad and I walked down the aisle to a beautiful acoustic version of 'You're my Best Friend' performed by our wonderful band. Our decor was simple but beautiful and the flowers were stunning.
The mood was relaxed, and happy. We wrote our ceremony together with the support of our celebrant, which meant it truly reflected who we are. We have always settled everything by playing scissors, paper, rock, and so we used this game to decide who would say their VOWs first - doing this gave everyone a laugh and kept it nice and relaxed.
Our ceremony was about our bond, but also about our friends and family, who have truly shaped us and our journey to where we are today. It was important to us that they felt special and appreciated.
The ReceptionOur reception was a blast! It was held in the Narrabeach Function Centre, overlooking Narrabeen beach. My cousin Dominic was our MC and he did such a wonderful job of acknowledging everyone, making sure we kept things flexible and went with the flow of the evening, and kept everyone laughing.
The speeches were both beautiful and hilarious, our first dance and my dance with my Dad were beautiful and really special moments. When we cut our cake, our beautiful niece and flower girl Heidi joined us for a cuddle, and to lick the icing!
By 8pm, we were all on the dance floor singing and dancing the night away - it was great to see all of our guests (many of whom had travelled so far to be with us) enjoying themselves surrounded by their loved ones. If we could do it all again, we absolutely would...and we wouldn't change a thing!
The HoneymoonWe enjoyed a day with family and friends the day after our wedding, and then a day at home to prepare for an amazing two week holiday! We enjoyed a week in Maui where we kicked back on our Ocean view balcony, ran along the beach, had multiple daily dips in the ocean, hiked, drove the Road to Hana, and enjoyed many Happy Hours at Mick Fleetwood's restaurant. We then enjoyed a week in Oahu, where we again hiked, swam, shopped, and travelled the Island to see our favourite beaches. We are hoping to head back in 2018!
Most memorableOur family and friends, as well as the amazing people who worked on our wedding day are truly responsible for making our special day the fun and memorable day it was. It was the best day of our lives, and we are so grateful.