Lisa and I met online in October 2018, both living in regional NSW towns 6 hours apart. Lisa lived in Barham NSW and I lived in Parkes NSW. We met for the first time in December and spent Christmas together. Lisa and I had an instant connection even before we met, we had so much in common and talked like we had known each other for years. Before Lisa and I had met we knew it was love. In March 2019 I moved from Parkes to Barham (small town on the New South Wales and Victoria border) to be with Lisa and it was the best decision I have ever made.
Lisa and I had spoken about our future and part of that was getting married but we hadn't spoken about when, where or the proposal. Turns out in September 2019 Lisa had ordered a ring to be made and was awaiting its arrival in the mail. Lisa had planned to propose on my birthday on the 21st September but the ring didn't arrive in time. The ring took longer than expected to arrive and I think Lisa had to make a number of phone calls but the jewelers were very helpful and tracked it down and the ring finally arrived on the 10th October 2019.
On this day Lisa and I were both at work and when we arrived home Lisa wanted to take the dogs for a walk (we live along the Murray River and it is a beautiful walking spot). When Lisa put the dogs in the car I was very confused but just thought she had found a new walking track so didn't think much of it. We stopped at Koondrook wharf on the Victorian side of the Murray River. We walked down the wharf to the water and sat down. I was still a little confused as we were meant to be taking the dogs for a walk. As we were sitting by the beautiful water Lisa took the ring out of her pocket and proposed, it was such a beautiful surprise. Obviously I said yes!! And we finally took the dogs for their walk.
Planning was easy, Lisa and I wanted the same kind of wedding. Something small with close family and friends at a venue along the Murray River. We also agreed on a date very easily, driving to work the day after the proposal I mentioned that the 10th October 2020 was a Saturday and Lisa agreed that sounded perfect, date done. As my bridesmaids lived 14 hours away I had to go wedding dress shopping on my own, but the bridal shop was amazing and made that decision so easy for me, dress done.
Everything was running smoothly, family from New Zealand had already booked their flights and friends from Northern Territory had submitted their leave. Everything was organised and paid for. Then COVID hit. Lisa and I had to make a hard decision as we didn't want elderly family travelling during that time and friends in the police force were having their leave cancelled. We decided to post-pone for 12 months and have the wedding on 10th October 2021 which is a Sunday.
It was really difficult as everything was already organised. As Lisa and I discussed it more we decided that 10 October 2020 was special to us, being 12 months from the proposal and we really wanted to keep that date. In the end we decided to go ahead with the wedding, with a celebrant and 2 witnesses. A few weeks before the wedding Victoria went into another lock down and we were worried the celebrant wouldn't be able to attend, thankfully the lock down was lifted just before Saturday 10th October and we were able to have the Celebrant, our 2 witnesses which were 2 friends from work and a photographer. We had to cancel the entertainment and the cake. But were able to keep the accommodation, venue at Spoons Riverside along the Little Murray River and the local hair and make-up lady.
The Wedding Day
Saturday 10th October 2020 was a beautiful day in Swan Hill VIC along the Little Murray River, blue sky and around 27 degrees. We had booked a cabin along the Murray River which we stayed in the night before. We had also arranged a second cabin for our witnesses. I got ready in one cabin while Lisa got ready in the other cabin. The ceremony was just down the road at Spoons Riverside which meant that Lisa travelled down with one of the witnesses and 10 minutes later I travelled down with the other witness. Lisa and I didn't see each other before the ceremony and Lisa hadn't seen my dress yet either. The hair and make-up lady and the photographer both commented that this was the most relaxed wedding they had ever been a part of.
Lisa and I were both calm and easy going. It was just a fun day that we had been looking forward to and were just thankful that it was finally happening. Unfortunately it was hard not having any of our close family and friends there to share the moment with us but we joked about the fact that at the start we did both say we wanted something small and we definitely ticked that box.
The ceremony was held on the deck at Spoons Riverside, a beautiful restaurant along the Little Murray River at 4 pm on Saturday 10th October 2020. We had arranged a flower wall and rose pettles for the aisle. When I arrived at the ceremony I went to look up the song I was to walk down the aisle to, only to find that all songs had gone from my phone. Thankfully the venue jumped into action, found the song on their computer and had everything sorted within minutes. I walked down the aisle to 'Life' by Conrad Sewell. Lisa's face when she first saw me put the biggest smile on my face and it was such a beautiful moment. Although we weren't able to have our family and friends with us on the day, my best friend Sam had contacted the celebrant and provided her with some words to read out during the ceremony. It was such an amazing and sweet thing to do and made the ceremony even more special. The only attendees at our ceremony were the celebrant, 2 witnesses, photographer and the Spoons staff looking on from the back. But Lisa and I only had eyes for each other and the comments from everyone about how in love we looked at each other was exactly how we felt.
Unfortunately due to COVID and not being able to have guests at our wedding we didn't have a reception. However, I organised with Spoons to provide each person their own savory platter after the ceremony (we weren't able to share a platter due to COVID rules). This allowed the 6 of us to stand around, have some drinks and some nibbles which made the day even more relaxing. The food provided by Spoons was delicious and to this day we still comment on how amazing the platter was. I had booked Spoons till 5 pm and it was already 5:30 pm, but the staff were so nice and allowed us to take our time and enjoy the afternoon. The venue really did help make our special day perfect.
It would have been amazing to have the wedding as we originally planned with all our family and friends there to support us, however we wouldn't change anything. It was a beautiful day and was made special by having it small and intimate. Having everyone wearing face masks (except us) in photos gives us memories of the current time and something that we will remember forever. We had planned to have a vowel renewal on Sunday 10th October 2021 on our 1 year anniversary and have everyone attend but have made the decision to post-pone that due to the current uncertainties that continue with COVID. We will one day celebrate with everyone, maybe on our 5 year anniversary but it will happen eventually.
Once again due to COVID we unfortunately didn't have a honeymoon and to this day still have not had a chance to honeymoon. Lisa and I had 4 days off work, Friday to Monday, with the wedding taking place on the Saturday and that was it. Back to work on the Tuesday. Luckily we both love our job and we didn't mind at all. We do have plans to travel to Tasmania for our honeymoon once we can freely travel. But for now we bought ourselves a little farm and have plenty to do at home which keeps us busy.
My advice to other couples would be that although a big wedding is special make sure you make the day about you and your partner. You two are the ones who will remember this day the most and celebrate it each year. So make it memorable for you. Although 2020 was hard on many people Lisa and I were very lucky that we were able to get married and continue to work as essential services. My heart goes out to those who haven't been as lucky.