I was on an Oktoberfest tour in Germany and Ben was my tour guide.
I thought he was very good looking and full of personality as I’m
sure did most of the girls on the tour. We chatted on the bus home
and he mentioned that he had moved out of his share house in London
and needed a place to stay or "doss" (backpacker term).
I offered my lounge room and he took me up on it and the relationship
grew from there.
We stayed in London a couple more years and then backpacked around
USA, Canada and Sth America before heading home. Whilst in Peru
in South America we decided to trek the Inca Trail. After five days
of very little sleep, very little food and heaps of walking we reached
machu picchu the famous Inca ruins. It was here at sunrise overlooking
the ruins that Ben asked me to marry him. Exhausted as we were it
was a beautiful proposal and offcourse I said yes!
After much time in our lives together we decided to settle in Far
North Queensland and have a Cairns wedding. We had twelve months
to organise our wedding which should have been a fairly straightforward
experience – but it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way.
The organising part of our wedding was a nightmare and caused us
a lot of stress (good weight loss technique for the day).
Six weeks prior to the wedding, after invites had been printed
and gone out our reception venue rang us up and said they could
no longer hold our reception there as the "wedding coordinators"
had up and left. We had booked our reception venue very early as
Cairns has limited venues that cater for weddings over 50 people.
After numerous meetings with the management of the reception venue
we decided we could have the reception their as long as we didn't
expect the help we would have got with the wedding co-ordinators.
We opted for this choice as the invites had gone out and my family
were all pulling together saying they could set all of it up. One
week later they rang me up and cancelled on us again as the chefs
had all quit. This was 5 weeks before our big day. The date could
not be changed as all of our guests were from interstate and had
booked and paid for flights and accommodation. After ringing around
all venues in Cairns (we couldn’t be picky at this time) the
Hilton came to our rescue and matched the price of our original
venue and did an outstanding job of meeting our needs and making
sure we didn't encounter any problems leading up to the day.
With three weeks before the wedding we encountered another drama.
My wedding jewellery was stolen from my mums house. It was at her
house for safe keeping and so Ben could not peek at it. She had
a guest staying at the house (my brother's girlfriends mother) who
little did we know had major Kleptomaniac issues and decided to
steal from mums jewellery box, wardrobe and cupboard whilst my mum
and dad were at work. A very weird, surreal situation to be in.
Once we had found out what had happened, we found all of my jewellery
in country Victoria..... many miles away from Cairns. Luckily I
got all of it back before the wedding and will always have a story
to tell about it.
One last hurdle were the boys suits - Five days before the wedding
they went to pick them up and they had the wrong suits (either to
big, XXL instead of L, too small and very ugly). The company stated
they must have lost the order and it would be rectified before the
wedding. They went back two day later to find nothing had been done.
The boys kept this from me until the day before the wedding when
they said that they had gone to another suit company to get fitted
out. This was two day before the big day.
Now, not everything was challenging and stressful. Some things
went like a dream.
I found the wedding dress of my dreams straight away. A slim fitting
gown by designer Nicolina. It was rouched and beaded at the front
with a very low back and diamante straps.
The day was more than I could have imagined. I married my best
friend, lover and man of my dreams and got to share this day with
all of our family and friends from all over the world.
My hens night was organised by my work colleagues as my bridesmaids
were from interstate and did not know the area.....the hens night
was huge and a night to remember.
The day finally arrived and was just beautiful. We had 92 guests
join us in celebrating our day. It had been a long lead-up preparation
and we were very stressed and tired but both very glad that the
day had finally arrived.
I stayed at a unit with my bridesmaids for the whole week before
the wedding and Ben stayed at the house with his groomsmen. We had
limited time together and most of the time we saw each other it
was for last minute preparations.
My hairdressing salon closed its doors especially for our wedding
party and had strawberries in chocolate and champagne and other
canapés for us to enjoy. My hair was divine, very soft and
all pinned up in curls. The girls hair was meant to be left out
with big loose curls. I was disappointed, as were they with how
their hair turned out. Right after we walked out of the salon, the
heat made the girls hair drop. It was flat by the time the ceremony
The ceremony was held at Saint Mary's Chapel by the sea in Port
Douglas. On the way to the Chapel, our wedding cars (3 jeeps, 1
white and two black) drove through road works. We stopped to inspect
the cars about 5 minutes before we arriving at the chapel. They
were covered in red clay mud. All of the boys who drove the cars,
my brother, dad and step-dad all got out and started washing the
cars five minutes before the ceremony so the girls wouldn't get
dirty getting out. All I could do was laugh.
We hired a coach for everyone to travel between the two ceremony
venue and reception venue as it was a 50 minute drive between the
two. The drive is very scenic along the coastline and the interstate
guests loved having the tour.
Saint Mary's Chapel has a huge bay window at the alter overlooking
the ocean - a beautiful tropical North Queensland view. It was perfect
as we wanted to keep out wedding a very relaxed, tropical affair.
On each side of us we had tropical palms and flowers in big urns.
We had an ipod filled with our music and had a friend sit and change
the music accordingly. I walked down the aisle to Pacabel, Canon
in D - the acoustic guitar version. Other songs played at the ceremony
were Somewhere over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Heaven
- Kate DeAraguo, Waiting on an Angel - Ben Harper.
The reception was at the undercover poolside area of the Hilton
Hotel and it was great to have that indoor/outdoor feel. Again keeping
with our theme we had fishbowls on each table with a fighting fish
in each one. This was a hit with the guests as each table named
their fish. All of our guests behaved and all of the fish stayed
in the fishbowls and were alive the next day.
We had round tables each seating ten. We had mini champagne bottles
with custom made labels for bomboniere seat placing cards and as
centrepieces had round fishbowls each with a fighting fish in them.
Rose Petals from a local rose farm were scattered on the tables.
We had our Honeymoon in Vietnam for two weeks. It was nice to relax,
have cheap drinks, cheap accommodation (5 star), lovely food and
be surrounded by a totally different way of life. Travelling is
a way to relax for both Ben and myself and after 6 years of previous
travel - Vietnam was a place that neither of us had been to.
Our wedding was beautiful and a day we will always remember. Even
though we both enjoyed the day (it was one of the best days in both
of our lives), we would probably go to Thailand to get married,
skip all the planning and send out an open invite to anyone that
wants to come and join us and have one big wedding/honeymoon/ gathering
and get together overseas where things are cheaper and more relaxed.
Overall, try not to stress so much. Given our experience we would
like to share some tips for the day:-
1. Take a breath and laugh at anything that may go wrong - hair,
makeup, cars getting dirty, on the day of your wedding, it is no
use getting stressed at things that you can't fully control.
2. On that point - put things into perspective - what you are thinking
is often 10 times worse than what is really happening. The world
does not stop because it is your wedding day.
3. Give each of your bridesmaids a sewing kit and tissues to carry
in their bags.
4. Read the paper - your future husband may have put in a message
for you. I didn’t read it and found out the next day he had
put in a special note for me.
5. Delegate, all of your family will more than likely want to help.
Get someone to take your overnight bags to the hotel room that morning,
someone to pick up flowers, someone to pick up you girls from hairdressers,
etc. My day was stress free as I had everyone doing things for me.