Jos proposed to me at Muriwai beach in the carpark. I had an inkling it was coming and was delighted to say yes. That was January 12th 2004. (more info: refer to my bride diary) We chose the month of December 2005 at that time so that we could focus on buying a house in 2004, which we did in October of that year.
We started planning the wedding in January 2005. I knew exactly what I wanted which was a day that we'd both enjoy and be relaxed about. I knew Jos and his brother (the best man) weren't comfortable with really formal occasions so I wanted to make it relaxed.
At the same time, I didn't want to worry about the weather so I decided to have a church wedding followed by a formal afternoon tea and an informal dinner. I chose the restaurant first (Cafe Midnight Express, Auckland City) as we'd been going there regularly since we started dating in 1999 and I knew Jos loved the food and the Turkish atmosphere. They wouldn't allow us to book them on a Saturday so the date was settled - Sunday the 4th December.
We then looked around for churches and found the perfect one quite close to home. The photographer was the next thing to be booked and I just found her by looking online a lot. We knew that we had a tight budget so I kept a close eye on everything but at the same time keeping key elements which were important to us.
The key to planning a wedding is to pace yourself and not try to do everything at once. Take time to research your options and savour each bit of the planning as you probably will only get to do it once.
The first wedding related item I bought was the invitations. I knew the theme and then the book man who comes once a week to work had boxes of cards which were elegant and beautiful and cheap. I bought 60 cards (2 boxes) for $30. I bought some small ribbon roses from spotlight and stuck those on the back of the envelopes when I sent out the invites.
I put a quote on our order of services from "Good Wives" by Louisa May Alcott in which Amy says to Meg on her wedding day how beautiful she looks and how she's afraid to hug her. Meg responds with something like "please do not mind my dress, I want it filled with creases of that sort." I added a comment that people weren't to mind my dress either. And a lot of people came up to me afterwards to give me a hug and "crush my dress" which meant the quote worked just the way I wanted.
My mum chose our cake which was perfect, my mother in law did the church flowers which were gorgeous and everyone else who helped did a fabulous job.
We did wedding-favours towards the end of the whole process - I folded black boxes and stuck roses on them (slightly bigger ones to the invite ones but in the same colours). The restaurant put Turkish Delight in them for us. My sister-in-law and I put two bouquets of flowers on the tables at the afternoon tea.
Our theme evolved over time. It started as being "Roses" but it became more of a "Summer Wedding with village atmosphere" with roses being used everywhere I could think of without going over the top.
We both gave the ceremony a lot of thought and consideration, which made it even more special. I think looking into one another's eyes (the rest of the church faded away) as we said our vows was the nicest bit.
The afternoon tea was special because we were able to chat to everyone who had come to share our day. Plus the best man's speech had us all in tears. The dinner was amazing as well - a lovely informal dinner where we mixed and mingled, ate great food and generally basked in that newly married glow with no stresses about speech making etc.
I wore a white gown with embroidery on it from Xian Bridal in New Lynn. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford a very expensive dress so I was lucky that the one I really liked was also reasonably priced. Everyone commented that I looked stunning and that it looked like I'd had the dress made. My veil went to the floor and had a ribbon trim.
My flowers were dark red roses, burgundy calla lilies and these orangy/pinky berries. My necklace was a whole lot of fresh water pearls.
My bridesmaids each wore a dark dusky pink knee length summer dress from Shantons ($40), a black necklace from Jackie E ($30), a pair of black heeled shoes from the Number One Shoe Warehouse ($20) and their bouquets were burgundy calla lillies, orchids, white roses and more of those berries. My flower girls wore white dresses with pink rose buds in their hair and carrying a basket of pink flowers (various shades).
We had one white Daimler Sovereign to take us to the church. And it was lovely.
There isn't one moment that stands out as the most romantic moment - the whole ceremony was beautiful and I'll treasure the memory of it forever. We also had lots of little moments where we just enjoyed being together as husband and wife and being surrounded by people we love.
There were, however, three moments stand out as being the funniest moments:
- The car arrived a little late and I realised that I should probably take a cheque in case we went over the 1 hour booking. Not only that but Mum was bringing the presents back to our place and she didn't have the alarm code. And if that wasn't enough, my feet were starting to hurt just a little so I needed to grab some plasters. With no handbag, there was only one place they could go - the cheque, the paper with the alarm code and the plasters went down the front of my torsolette so I got married with a bust full! In my haste, having stored all these things away, I set the alarm, shut the door and forgot about the long veil - which got stuck in the door behind me. With a little tugging, it finally came free with only the tiniest of bit of fraying.
- Just after I'd signed the register, I turned around and mouthed to my Mum "I'm Married!!!!!" which caused the whole congregation to laugh.
- We'd finished signing the register and were waiting up near the altar for the final blessing and prayers when I realised we hadn't had our "first kiss". So when the minister joined us, I whispered to him "Do we get to kiss?" and he said he'd forgotten it but that he'd do it next. So the organ stopped and he said "I have just been reminded by Melanie that we have forgotten the very important first kiss. So Jos, you may now kiss your bride." Everyone laughed then as well but we got to have a really really lovely kiss!
My old and blue were my knickers - sounds bad really it wasn't. I wore my favourite, comfy but quirky superwoman "S" knickers. Jos was most honored. My new was my dress and my necklace. My borrowed was my petticoat.
- First and foremost, we had the day we wanted within the budget we had set and no one, ourselves included, felt like we'd missed out on any key elements just because we'd done it on a budget.
- Hair and make ladies from Fusion were worth their weight in gold. It was also great to be able to spend a good length of time with Beth from Trinity Photos at Bastion Point
- The afternoon tea thing followed by the dinner ($30 in lieu of presents)
- The dinner venue
- The one hour car hire
- Our bridal party have pre-marriage counseling - it's a nice bonding time and something to fill in those quieter moments.
- And, of course, choosing each other to be husband and wife :)
- Wear shoes in!
- Cut down on the number of family photos - I think you need about 7-
1) B&G with her parents
2) group 1 plus siblings and nieces/nephews
3) group 2 plus any extras
repeat for grooms side and then one big one of everyone there. We had 20 or so and we treasure them now but they were big groups and everyone had gone into the afternoon tea so it took time to round them up.
We spent 2 nights and three days in luxury lodge (and it was luxury) on Great Barrier Island - fantastic.
We love being marriedt - it is surprisingly better than just being a couple. Marriage will make everything more intense - your love, your commitment, your plans, your team work etc. It's also true for any bad stuff in your relationship as well - it doesn't fix them, it makes them more intense so I recommend fixing those issues or niggles you have before you walk down the aisle. I wasn't the most beautiful bride out there but we were told that we were the happiest and most contented newly married couple anyone had seen.
Photos by Trinity Photos - contact Trinity Photos (Auckland) at www.trinityphotos.co.nz, mention my real story and she will give you vouchers towards a engagement portrait.