I went to the UK in 1999 and ended up living and working in a town called Swindon. There were about 20 other Aussies working with me and we all went out every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It was through them that I met Allan. He was a chef by day and a DJ by night at a bar we frequented. He had a long term girlfriend at the time and we were just good mates who knew how to party.
About a year later he was single, and so was I. We began to see each other as more than friends, although we were in denial for a while and tried to keep our affair a secret from our friends, unsuccessfully! Soon after, we moved in together and the rest is history.
Allan and I moved back to Australia in May 2003 and applied for a de-facto visa in May 2004. By the time the 'ok' was given it was June so we only had 5 months to sort everything out. Which is one of the reasons we chose to get married on a Monday. Not as popular as Saturdays and we saved about $3000.00 on the reception!
When I first started thinking about our wedding I wanted a very traditional event, big dress, church, the lot. But when it came to organising it I found I was bored and decided I wanted something completely different, (I like to be unique). Out of the blue, Allan suggested a 70's fancy dress theme and I of course my instant reaction was ? "What the ....!"
About a week later and some serious thought I decided it would be fabulous. The biggest high was getting my dress, what a saga! When Allan and I still lived in Cardiff, Wales, I had seen this dress on a website, it was different and in no way traditional. I had even shown him and we agreed if we were getting married in Las Vegas it would be perfect! At the time I was still thinking I would have a traditional wedding.
So when we decided on a 70's theme I knew straight away I had to try to get this dress. The website I saw it on was an American one so I called New York with the hope that they could send me the dress and I could get it altered to fit here. New York put me onto a place in Berkshire, England who put me in touch with their representative in Brisbane, Australia, called 'Sugar & Spice'.
I spoke with Sandra and told her about the dress which became known as "The Elvis Dress" she said she would have to get back to me. Fifteen minutes later she called to say that amazingly she did have the dress but it was the only one as it had been brought over from the US specifically for a Fashion Show and it was a size 8.
My heart sank as I am a size 10 but then to my surprise, Sandra said "It's an American 8, which is an Australian 10!" At this point I was SO excited. Then she said they were coming to Melbourne in two weeks and would bring the dress with them!!! I can't tell you how much I prayed that it would fit and you guessed it ? it did!!! Happy Dance! You could not get the smile off my face for weeks! I mean how lucky was I? It was as if they made the dress for me.
With the rest of the wedding planning most things went to plan, only a few minor things didn't but I knew that would happen as I used to be a wedding co-ordinator. The trickiest thing was finding a hair style that suited the theme and something that I liked. Once I found that it was just a case of finding someone to do it. The easiest thing to arrange ended up being the favours. I found them in a gift shop in Williamstown, they were coloured and jewelled elephants with the photo clip coming up from their backs. There was Pink for love, Purple for happiness, Orange for longevity and Gold for wealth. I used them as place card holders as well as gifts for everyone. The looked great on the tables. Although I found there was a greater demand for wealth and longevity than love and happiness!
On the day, remarkably, I was quite relaxed, I did the bridesmaids make up myself and actually thought that might stress me a bit but it was great, they looked gorgeous and I really enjoyed doing it. I kept waiting for the nerves to kick in but they never did.
We were married in St.Kilda Botanical gardens, in a gazebo in the rose garden. Our celebrant was lovely and a real pleasure to work with, everyone commented on how personal the wording of our ceremony was. Which is why we opted for a celebrant, so we could thank all our friends and family and include them in the ceremony.
We had the reception in a function room at a restaurant in Port Melbourne, it was really relaxed and casual and a lot of fun. I put together a 70's music quiz and the table with the most correct won a bottle of Champagne, it was a great ice breaker.
Al and I both said it felt like a rehearsal rather than the real thing. I have to say having everyone dressed up in the theme made people more in the mood for fun and standing there looking at everyone smiling back at me was awesome. So all in all I wouldn't change a thing.
We had our honeymoon in Port Douglas, it was the most beautiful weather and such a lovely town, I could have stayed forever, well until the wet season at least. But we only stayed for a week, as Allan's family had come out from Wales and we wanted to spend some time with them.