Mark and I met through mutual friends April of 2013. It took me until November to realise I was interested in him. We would always hang out with our mutual friends in a group, but one night no one else was keen on a night out so we went on our own. Mark was such a gentleman and actually asked me if he could kiss me before he did. My heart just melted. He asked me to be his girlfriend and in the same sentence told me how in love with me he was. Again my heart just melted. It didn't take me very long to tell him I loved him back. We spent all our free time together.
A few months into our relationship we fell pregnant with our gorgeous son Lincoln. He is now almost 3 years old. He has made our relationship stronger and better than we ever thought possible! I knew Mark was the one for certain after our son was born. He is the most perfect daddy in the world and watching him with our boy has just absolutely made me find an even deeper and greater love for him than I ever thought possible.
Mark proposed on a weekend away to the Jenolan Caves in April 2016 in the NSW Blue Mountains. It’s his most favorite spot in the world. We did a few tours around the caves and on the last day we went for a final walk around the "blue lake" which is the most gorgeous shade of blue - hence its name! We stopped at a beautiful spot for some final photos together. Mark asked some nearby girls to take our photos. (I have the BEST photo of his nervous face!) Then he got down on one knee, he was SO nervous he barely got out the words "Will you marry me?" but that’s Mark. It was the most romantic moment of my life and he was so thoughtful capturing his proposal on camera. The girls taking the photos cried.
Planning our wedding was THE BEST fun I've had. It was never stressful for me and I am so gutted that it’s over. It has actually got me looking into it for a profession. We went and visited some venues in June 2016 and on June 24th 2016 we chose our reception venue. We booked a date for August 2017 thinking over a year would be perfect timing. We always knew we were having Justine Milne as our celebrant as she did Lincolns naming day on his first birthday and we just love her! I contacted her to lock in our date! Unfortunately she was already booked, when we tried to change it with the reception venue the only date that worked for everyone was June 24th 2017. Exactly a year from the date we initially chose our venue. Perfect right!?
Mark was the perfect helper with planning, he didn't mind too much about a lot of the decisions, he was happy to let me have what I wanted. I am such an indecisive person though, I would come up with a few ideas and Mark would choose from them and make the final decision. Our method worked perfectly for us. Our families and our friends were over the moon. Everyone wanted to help and everyone did in the best way.
We chose our bridal party early on and selected six people each. It was never a hard decision who we would have by our sides. And we certainly chose well. Our bridal party was amazing, coming to tastings, helping make decisions, you name it if we asked for their help they were there for us.
The Wedding Day
We were married in the middle of winter, but you would not know it at all the weather was absolutely perfect, barely a cloud in the sky. I spent the night before in a hotel with my mother and my bridesmaids and Mark spent the night at his parents house with his groomsmen. We are definitely not traditional people (hey we already had a child out of wedlock!) but we definitely wanted to stick to some traditions, so we didn't see each other until I walked down the aisle. The morning of our wedding was so busy and such a rush but was also very exciting. There were so many of us in my room getting ready, myself, my six bridesmaids, my mother, father and 4 brothers too!
Lincoln stayed with Mark in the morning and came to me just before we left for the ceremony. It hadn't sunk in that I was getting married until I gave my mother her gift. I gave her a compact mirror with a photo of us and a message on it, a personalised handkerchief with a poem I wrote embroidered on it and a wrist corsage that matched the bouquets. As she was opening that and the bridesmaids were opening their similar gifts I started crying. Everyone came running over telling me to stop crying or I’d mess up my makeup!
Our ceremony was at the Wollongong Art Gallery, my mother in law had suggested it. At first I was unsure but we went and had a look and it was absolutely gorgeous. The ceremony itself was very casual. Lincoln just wanted his mumma and looking back both Mark and I really appreciate that we had him up there with us on our most magical day. He went and sat with family for the important parts like vows, ring exchanging and the kiss. Our vows were very casual and we both made some jokes to each other in them which everyone had a good laugh at.
We talked about and included my brother and his long term boyfriend. We believe in marriage equality and Mark and I both wore our "until we all belong" rings. And although the boys knew we were doing it they, and the rest of our guests didn't have a dry eye. It was so emotional but I am so glad we did it.
Justine (our marriage celebrant) even surprised us by including part of a poem in our ceremony that we wrote and read to Lincoln on his naming day, "Lincoln... with a darling face and a head of blonde hair, starry blue eyes, such a cute baby bear" as bear is our pet names for each other. Neither of us knew she was including that and it had us and everyone else who recognised it in tears too!
We had the most amazing wedding reception, our Wedding Stylists from Darling Events along with our planner from our venue at City Beach, had the place looking exceptionally better than we had ever imagined. We were complimented on it by every one of our guests. They all loved the personal and handmade touches from me too.
We decided to have a formal theme, its not often you get to be super dressed up and have a great night out so we wanted to see everyone in their best! It was absolutely perfect. We were right on the beach; we had a balcony with the most amazing views. We had our photographers and videographers stay all night and it was definitely one of the best wedding decisions we made! They even made us a 5-minute "Same day edit" and displayed it on a projector for all of our guests before dinner. It was absolutely phenomenal what they put together in such a short amount of time, our guests got to see us getting ready as well as the photos after the ceremony that they missed out on. We received so many compliments about it.
I surprised my mother with a mother daughter dance and a many of our guests were my best friends and their mothers who I'm close with as well so half way through the dance we had everyone that had a mother there get up and join us. Mark and his mother included. We spent the whole night on the dance floor. Kids and all. Everyone had the best time ever. So much laughter
No honeymoon yet. We decided to spend the money on the wedding of our dreams and take a belated honeymoon when Lincoln is a little bit older.
Wedding Advice ...
ENJOY planning, so many people get too stressed with it and hate the process, but you can absolutely make it the most fun time ever. On the day, stop for 5 minutes with your partner. Take those 5 minutes to appreciate the day and spend some time together. Sure you're essentially hosting a party for all your friends and family, but you definitely need to stop and appreciate the moment because as everyone will tell you, the day truly flies!