Ok so, settle in, this is a long one.
In the sh*tstorm of chaos that 2020 gave us, it also gave us this day, so it’s hard to be completely mad at it.
Those of you that know my story, know that I consider Chris and our love to be a beautiful little reward at the end of a complicated journey.
That’s exactly what this day was to us – a celebration of life’s unexpected yet impossibly perfect little rewards.
From the moment Chris began loving me back together, it was like discovering sunshine.
Hence the concept I chose for our wedding – here comes the sun.
(Ok, the cheese stops there, promise…)
Vibe your vibes
I knew exactly what I wanted and what I didn’t want for our day.
I wanted realness, chill, laughter, well-thought-out and meaningful details and a gross neglect for the rule book.
To focus on a marriage and not on a wedding.
To have a day free of awkward obligations (ie: “So lovely to see you after 17 years, Aunty Ethol”. Piss off, Ethol!).
To hear the laughter and see the awkward dance moves of the people we love the most.
I didn’t want a “Pinterest” wedding that ticked all of the Instagram boxes. I was just like: “But why though? Surely we don’t NEED to do the awkward posed shot of my wedding-day perfume placed in a calculated manner next to the letter Chris just wrote me”).
I wanted grit, in its truest form.
Hence my choices in suppliers.
I chose people that we wanted to spend time with.
A photographer that I felt happy to have in the room when I ugly cried and zipped up my dress. Videographers who captured honest moments.
A musician who has been a front-row fan of our love story and we now call a friend.
A make-up artist who laughed with me and casually threw out f-bombs with me.
That dress isn’t white, though?
I knew that I wanted a bespoke wedding dress from minute I got engaged (ok who I am kidding, I knew it before then #oooshescutebutaphysco) and it was something that I wasn’t prepared to compromise on.
In the words of New Girl’s Schmidt, “I’m not being overly dramatic when I say that I would rather sit naked on a hot grill… than wear something off the rack”.
I have loved Hanrie’s work for ages and I couldn’t have made a more perfect choice for my vibe.
I knew I wanted a dress that was anything but traditional. I told her that I wanted a dress that was as happy as I felt inside. Just joy, happiness, light, feels. This coral colour felt like just that and the little custom petals (that Hanrie freakin hand-sewed on) made it soft, floaty, whimsical and bridal while still keeping it edgy and a little bit extra.
In my final fitting, I believe my words to her were “you made effing wearable art”.
Thank you for this coral joy (and for not being bummed that I chose to wear Nikes with it).
Wait, is that…the Tiger King?
I’ve got a soft spot for bold and daring grooms who want to do more than the standard navy suit and skinny tie. When Chris told me I could dress him in whatever I wanted, I’ll be honest, I saw nothing but leopard print (or as I like to call it – “neutral print”).
The fact that he even entertained the concept and didn’t bolt before the “I do’s” is a wonder to me. But bless him. Look at how he worked it like a damn sex panther.
We went pretty loud for his shirt, but then toned it down with a traditional blazer and black chinos and we ditched the tie to keep it 2020.
When he tried it all on a few days before the wedding, I definitely slapped his ass and growled at him way more than he felt comfortable with.
“Regret No Children”.
You guys – I. LOVE. Kids. At. Weddings. I don’t care what people say!
The look in a little girl’s eyes when she sees a bride is just pure magic (I know that because I WAS said little girl).
My nephew and my best friends’ kids were our little “flower girls and ring bearers” and they made this day! I wanted the little girls’ outfits to match their personalities, so I went for extra and sassy. Leopard print dresses and glitter high-tops, because is there even any other way?
The boys rolled in little mustard button-ups, skinny chinos and veldskoen – I’m deceased.
Also, Joshie refusing to walk down the aisle without his juice box and Liberty completely freezing in the middle of the aisle are the things I live for at weddings (well, that, and the kiddie dancefloor jams in pjs, followed by crashing next to a dangerously loud speaker).
“Those flowers though!”
I can’t say enough about this woman. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Nix on many events that we have done together and when I called her to tell her to keep a date open for MY wedding, we both got totes emosh with the excitement of knowing that we could go rogue.
I told her I wanted black palms and coral pampas and yellow billy balls and basically, anybody else would have been like: “Guurl, are things okay at home though?”
But Nix legit was like: “Ooooooo I see that. Love it. On it.”
Then look what she made.
Also, we made the choice to use moveable floral displays so that we could use them for the ceremony and the reception and I’m so glad we did cause this display was too good to just be seen once.
Buttons and Blooms – you have a gift and you are a gift.
So, you’d think that having dabbled in the wedding industry, I would care way more about the decor. But that’s not where I wanted to focus my energy (or our budget). So I made some thrifty choices. I bought carpets as the “aisle” that we now use next to our bed. I bought fabric napkins from Mr Price Home that I gifted afterwards to my nearest and dearest to use for their future dinner parties and I bought matt black ceramic and mustard vases that I knew I would like enough to use in my home (side note: sometimes it costs the same to buy as it does to hire, write that down).
My main decor choice was actually the venue. We have always loved the aesthetic of The Barn Owl and we knew that we wanted it to be “the star”. It requires basically nothing to make it look gorgeous. So the venue brought the goods where it mattered and we simply enhanced it a little.
Can you just not, Covid?
Covid was a bit of a killjoy for us, ensuring that some of our important people couldn’t be there.
In the interest of transparency – yes, tears were shed many months leading up to the wedding while Chris stroked my back and tried to distract me with online shopping.
But if you’re a bride who is worried about this, i’ll say this to you. Just look out for the magic moments, they are there, they just look a little different.
My brother wrote us a letter that our MC read to us at the reception (cue my mom’s hysterical sob-tears) and my best friend wrote me a letter and sent it to me through my Maid Of Honour, which I read about 2 hours before walking down the aisle (before my make-up had been applied…luckily).
And our friends set up a Zoom call for the ceremony so that our special people could watch us get married.
Those extra little touches
Chris is a bit of a geek (wait, what? the guy who loves Star Wars, surely not? I know, right?) Anyway I wanted to surprise him so we arranged a bunch of lightsabers and at the end of our first dance, we killed the lights and all of our best friends surrounded us with lightsabers while the Star Wars theme song played. I’ll have you know that in that moment he exclaimed through near-tears: “This is the best moment of my life!” (to which my internal response was “I walked down the aisle towards you just a few hours ago, but mkay. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Moving on…)
We served drinks during the ceremony so that people could get “gazebo’d” while we said I do (we figured they deserved it while they sat there sweating in the middle of a field).
I handed over the “wedding co-ordinator” role to my two precious employees – Mia and Morgan – the first time I have ever trusted anybody enough to relinquish control. They nailed it (not a shocker).
We gave everybody caramel popcorn to snack on. We made a custom drinks menu and named the drinks after our fathers and did the same for the desserts and named them after our mothers.
We had a fire pit and a s’mores bar at the end of the night.
We asked my father to marry us.
So I asked my mother to walk me down the aisle (which wasn’t emotional at all….naaaaat!)
The kicker? At the end of our first dance, when the dance floor was about to open, our families surprised us with a flash mob.
I didn’t know my mouth and nose were capable of making sounds like that – I viscerally reacted with adoration as we watched our siblings, family and parents take turns to dance choreographed routines for us to our favourite songs.
When the moms came on and started thrusting out actions to Lil John’s “till the sweat drop down my balls”… I was like: “stick a fork in me, I’m done”. I can now die happy.
Side note: if you’re in the market to give a loved one the greatest gift they will ever receive, consider co-ordintaing a family flash mob. Thank you to my baby cousin (she’s 26, but still) Eri for all of the secret Zoom calls, video demos and hours that you put into gifting us with the most perfect memory.
So basically, what I’m trying to say is: your wedding doesn’t have to look traditional for it to look like your ideal day.
You do you. In the best way you know how.
If you want to check out our wedding video by the incredible S&B Films… click here.
Photography: Dean Maber
Venue: The Barn Owl
Florals: Buttons & Blooms
Dress: Hanrie Lues Bridal
Co-ordination & styling: Kitted
Make-up & hair: Blush Pro Makeup
Music & sound: Your Human Jukebox
Videography: S&B Films