When I finished college, I moved to Queensland for two years. I eventually became home sick and moved back to Canberra. I was out partying one night with girlfriends at a bar and Mark asked a mutual friend to introduce us. We danced for a while and he asked me out to dinner the following Saturday night - I knew he was the one from that first dance. We bought a house together two years later and lived there for three years - Mark told me that he had won a prize on a local radio station for us to go skydiving. I had never done anything like it before and was very nervous, but he kept telling me that it would be ok and that I would love it. We went up in a tiny plane and when we reached 10,000 feet, it was time to jump - just before Mark jumped out, he looked at me and asked me to marry him! Of course I said yes and jumped out after him. When we landed friends and family were waiting for us with champagne and of course, the ring. It was very romantic and a huge surprise.
We had 15 months to organise everything, which is quite a long time, and I thought I would be very organised - but as well as planning a wedding, we were building our own home - not using a builder, but actually building it ourselves as well as working full time jobs. My father also suffered a heart attack and I had a car accident - so it was definitely the most stressful time of my life, but we managed to get it done and the wedding could not have been more perfect.
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to be married in a garden. So once Mark and I were engaged, I went on a hunt for my dream garden, and I found it at a beautiful old homestead just outside Canberra - we had the reception in the homestead and the ceremony in the garden, with 98 guests and a semi-formal theme - it was perfect.
The hardest thing for me was trying to concentrate at work during the day after working on our house all night and trying to find the time to plan all the little bits and pieces that go along with a wedding - when I look back, I can't believe I did it!
The reception was amazing, held in a beautiful old homestead with polished timber floors and big bay windows looking out over the garden. The best part of the night was the dancing - the verandah doubled as the dance floor so as we boogied the night away, we got to watch a full moon rise over the garden and all the stars - it was magic.
I spent my last night as a single woman at my mum's place, and Mark stayed at his best Man's. I woke up at the crack of dawn and sat outside to eat my breakfast - the weather was perfect and I didn't have any nerves. My family arrived from Adelaide that morning and we had lunch together before getting ready. My bridesmaids came over and helped me arrange our bouquets. Probably the worst part was the drive to the wedding venue - this is when the nerves started and it was a 40 minute drive!
The easiest thing to organise was definitely my wedding gown, I found it really quickly, it was exactly what I wanted and hardly cost a thing! The hardest thing to arrange was my bomboniere, as I decided to make it myself. I had to make 100 tiny little boxes and they took a long time, but they looked beautiful and it made the table arrangements that much more special to know that they were hand made by the bride. The bridesmaid dresses proved to be a bit difficult as each girl was so individual - so in the end, they all wore something different, different colour, different style but they looked amazing.
When I look back at my wedding, I don't think there is a single thing that I would change - sure, there were a few scary moments, but that's all part of getting married.
We only had a short honeymoon because we wanted to get our house finished - we spent four relaxing days at Bawley Point on the south coast and stayed in the most gorgeous tree top cabin at Bundle Hill Cottages.
I have always heard people say that nothing changes when you get married, but it did for me. I love Mark even more than I did before - I didn't think that was possible but I feel even closer to him as his wife.