How To Stay Healthy, Happy + Sane (And Get Married): The Wedding Series
Wow. I honestly don’t know where to even begin. Probably from the beginning, right?
When I set out to document the details, the decision making and the emotions of planning our wedding, I had no idea just how much one could learn about themselves throughout the process. Whilst the wedding may be over, the best part truly has been marrying the love of my life and becoming husband and wife.
I won’t lie – throughout our 15 month long engagement, there were a few stressful moments but I can hand on my heart say that I stayed relatively healthy, happy and sane in the lead up to the big day.
I’m happy to report that our wedding day was just as special, magical and heartfelt as I had envisioned it to be and that is certainly my hope for you too.
So… without further ado, here is my (almost!) final wrap-up post in the wedding series, including my personal reflections, our vendors and all the glorious pics! I tried to keep it to one blog post but I’ll be breaking up this final instalment into two parts with the details in this first part and my personal healthy, happy and sane recommendations for a stress-free wedding in the second. I truly hope it helps you as a future bride to really enjoy this incredible milestone in your life and not sweat the small stuff.
The Night Before
Ah… the calm before the storm. With many of our guests travelling to Echuca for the big day we wanted to maximise our time with our loved ones as much as possible. Cue bareboot bowls and a few cheeky drinks to kick start the celebrations! Jimmy and I both knew that the actual wedding day would be over in a flash so we wanted to soak up as much time as we could with our friends and family in a more relaxed setting. Surprisingly, there were no crazy nerves the night before, just loads of excitement and anticipation.
Did I get much sleep? Yes and no. I knew that getting a decent sleep would save me looking and feeling like a zombie but after a hot cup of tea and a shower, I was ready to hit the hay and get this show on the road. It felt surreal knowing that the day was ALMOST here but I managed to fall asleep before midnight and catch some much needed zzz’s. I think the cheeky wines might have helped too!
The Morning Of
My eyes opened around 5am and I felt unusually calm. The sun was shining and with nothing left to do but let the day unfold, it was GO time! Standing in the kitchen getting breakfast ready with my bridesmaids was when it really started to sink in. Mum made us green smoothies and we munched on avo and toast as we excitedly waited for hair and make up to arrive. Getting ready at the house made the morning that little bit more relaxing rather than having to rush off to appointments.
Being the bride, I had my hair and make up done last which meant there was loads of time to kill. We chatted, played some tunes and watched ‘The Morning Show’ which felt like an odd thing to do on my wedding day! Ha. Jimmy and I wrote each other love letters to open up on the morning and exchanged gifts – cue the first lot of tears! Even having the flowers delivered left me overwhelmed with emotion.
Once we were all sorted with hair and make up, it was time to pop on the dress. That’s when shit started to get real! I didn’t think I was going to get emotional but when I put it on and looked at Mum, a few tears started to squeeze their way out. With photo’s done and veil in place, time certainly got away in the lead up to 3pm.
I remember feeling particularly anxious waiting for our cars to arrive to pick us up but as soon as they did, all sanity was restored! The girls did a brilliant job of keeping me calm.
Our ceremony was held in my old high school chapel which was so special to me. It’s quite cosy and just fit our 140 or so guests in, but I couldn’t picture myself getting married anywhere else. It felt intimate, provided some much needed shelter for our 35 degree day, not to mention is beautiful in itself.
After a bit of research and discussion, Jimmy and I decided that we wanted to have an ‘unplugged’ ceremony which meant guests were invited to put away their phones and camera’s before the ceremony started. The main reason we did this was because we wanted people to relax and be present with us instead of worrying about getting that ‘perfect snap’. I wanted to look out at people’s faces instead of a sea of phones and we trusted our photographer and videographers would capture all of the special moments.
Walking down the aisle was a moment I will cherish forever. I had both Mum and Dad walk me down and it honestly felt like time stood still for a moment. The whole time I locked eyes with Jimmy as Eva Cassidy’s ‘Time After Time’ played. I was scared that I was going to be a blubbering mess but I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt an overwhelming sense of ‘I’m so ready to marry this man’ – so much so that I forgot to kiss Mum and Dad on the cheek when I made it down the end. Oops!
Our vowels were simple and sweet as per the Catholic church tradition and yet the three sentences we promised to each other couldn’t have been more powerful. When it came to the big ‘kiss the bride’ moment, there was a bit of confusion but after some nervous giggles, we sealed our marriage with a kiss and exchanged rings. Woo hoo!
Many people had warned me that the day would quick, but I didn’t realise just how quickly it would go. After walking out of the ceremony and greeting our guests, it felt like we were in a dream. Our photographer, Cindy Power made the day so relaxed and we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing all the way through our photos. We also had the amazing Annette and Dani from Burgess Video to capture our day on video and together with Cindy, these ladies added so much fun to our day. Having an epic bridal party to celebrate with certainly helped too!
Behind the scenes, Jimmy and I also had a bit of a surprise in store. To celebrate becoming husband and wife, we decided to perform a little tune with myself singing, and Jimmy on acoustic guitar. It was incredibly hard to keep it a secret from our family and friends over the course of the wedding planning but somehow, we managed to pull it off! At first I was unsure whether I wanted the extra stress, but Jimmy had always wanted to learn guitar so after months of practicing (and a few song changes later), we serenaded our loved ones with a surprise performance. The first surprise (and quick practice) came during photo’s with our bridal party. This was the perfect opportunity to settle the nerves and made for some fun pictures too!
As we entered our reception, nerves came over and thank goodness we had teed up our band, The White Tree to back us up for our song because we were able to enjoy it so much more. Jimmy did an amazing job and I only choked up once which was a win! Choosing the song was the hardest part because we wanted it to be sentimental but not too soppy for fear of blubbering throughout the whole thing. We settled on ‘If I Aint Got You’ by Alicia Keys – a song that I had sung countless times when I used to sing at weddings with my two girlfriends. It was a moment I’ll never forget and we loved seeing the look of surprise on everyone’s faces!
The rest of the night was filled with the most delicious food, speeches and of course loads of dancing. When Jimmy and I sat down at the reception, we finally took a moment to soak it all in. There we were, surrounded by our loved ones in the most beautiful setting – we couldn’t help but feel so lucky and blessed to celebrate our love in this way.
A few little tips for the big day:
- Hydrate! I was so thirsty from the excitement and anticipation after the ceremony so make sure you have water on hand. Or champagne. Or even better – both! The boys had champagne covered but all I wanted was water (ha!) so we managed to quickly grab some along the way.
- I packed a ‘wedding day kit’ in the car which had a combo of miscellaneous things for ‘just in case’ moments. Think mints, safety pins, band-aids, deodorant, extra tissues…it was nice to know it was all there, even if we didn’t need it.
- Let the dress do it’s thing. So many times throughout photo’s I was lifting up the train and veil of my dress so I wouldn’t get it too ‘dirty’. You get to wear it once ladies. Let that train go and embrace the grass/dirt whatever terrain you find yourself in.
- Don’t stress about the timeline too much. It’s inevitable that speeches will go longer and things won’t run to the exact time so sit back, relax and let it all unfold. The pro’s are all over it!
- Take a moment to let it all sink in – just the two of you. You just married the love of your life and pulled off one of the biggest events of your life! Now you get to enjoy it with all your nearest and dearest.
I could go on but I will save the rest for the final (FINAL) instalment!
A big thank you to all of the following people who helped us create our fun-filled, magical day. It was so important for us to team up with not only talented businesses, but really kind, genuine people (who all now feel like friends to us!). Here is a round-up of the peeps/deets!
St Josephs College Chapel in Echuca. Who would have thought that I would be married in the high school chapel that I grew up in! It was very special indeed.
Radcliffes Restaurant, Echuca. Those vines are oh so dreamy and the best part is, the Conservatory is fully enclosed and air-conditioned making it the perfect, romantic venue to celebrate in during the December heat. The staff, food and service were amazing and big kudos to function coordinator Terri who was so helpful in the lead up via email, and also happened to set up the room and table decor for us too. It felt so good not having to worry too much about styling because the venue was already beautiful in itself. It tied in perfectly with our romantic, classic theme.
The amazing team at Wendy Makin in Brisbane created my gorgeous (most comfortable!) dress. When I first tried on dresses, I loved two different styles so Wendy was able to combine all of the elements that I wanted to create a custom dress for me. I wanted something simple, elegant and timeless so the high neck, low back, guipure lace and georgette skirt with the train ticked all the boxes. If I could have worn 3 different dresses on the day I would have (ha!) but it was so nice to wear something specifically made for me and that I could dance all night in.
The Boys Suits
The girls at Michael Innis Menswear in Brisbane sorted all of the boys out with their suits, shoes, accessories and tailoring. They were fantastic in helping us tie the bridesmaids dresses in together too (and they’re hilarious!). We’re so grateful for all their help.
The girls wore Pia Gladys Perey dresses from White Runway. They were all slightly different styles in the same steel blue colour and we added a touch of gold with their belts to give it a bit more glam. I got the lovely Paula Hall in Brisbane to make their gorgeous stud earrings. They looked smokin!
Hair + Make Up
Bec from Mint Me Salon in Echuca did all of our hair and Courtney Edgar was on the tools for make up. Both of them did a stellar job and they made our morning so chilled and relaxed. They come with my biggest tick of approval!
Lisa from Wallingford Flowers went over and above for us in the flower department. She has such a knack and talent for creating the most stunning floral arrangements and my ‘romantic, deep pinky, peachy, messy green, but not too messy’ flower dreams totally came to life. Ha! From my floral hair comb, to the epic flower chandelier at our reception, what she created was truly stunning. Echuca is so lucky to have her!
I didn’t feel that I needed a whole lot jewellery on the day because I wanted to keep things simple. On my hunt for earrings I managed to snap up some beautiful pearl teardrop earrings online from Samantha Wills.
We were well looked after with our wedding rings from the head office team at Hardy Brothers in Brisbane, so my engagement ring and wedding ring felt like more than enough bling for me on the day.
Cindy’s fun-loving tude’ and ability to capture those candid moments won us over from the get go. She was amazing throughout the entire lead up to the day, right up until our photos and wedding book were delivered. She laughed and cried happy tears with us and even helped us to hide the guitar on the day to pull off our surprise performance (#legend). We loved having her capture our special moments!
I can’t even begin to put into words how impressed we were with Annette and Dani – the duo behind Burgess Video. We had umm’ed and ah’ed for ages about getting a video but as soon as we decided to do our surprise song, we knew we had to capture it. These ladies absolutely delivered! Watching the full video gets me teary every time and our highlights video will be a precious keepsake that we’ll look back on forever.
Wedding Cake + Biscuits
My sister Gracie (who also happened to be my maid of honour) has a side business, Cakes and Bakes by Gracie. Shameless plug ha! She did an incredible job with our cake and made individualised biscuits for each of our guests that acted as both name cards/thank-you gifts. She put so much love and effort into her creations and the best part was, they all tasted so good!
Good tunes were an absolute must for us and we cannot recommend The White Tree enough. They made sure we were all having an amazing time on the d-floor and their communication in the lead up (especially in navigating the logistics of our surprise performance) was professionalism at it’s best.
Invites + Wedding Stationary
Brianna from 27 Design Street is my go to girl for all things design – particularly here in this online space. It was a no-brainer to have her help us with all of our wedding stationary too. With myself in Brisbane and Brianna in Echuca, we had everything sorted via email (yep she’s that good!) We were so happy with how everything turned out.
The lovely Ashleigh from Style by Ashleigh K helped us with a few styling pieces for our reception. Think gold tea light candles, table numbers and a romantic chiffon table runner. Instead of rushing around hunting down these items myself, Ashleigh was so very helpful with those special touches.
Phew! That’s enough from me. Now I’d love to hear from you? What are some of your most memorable moments from your wedding day? If you’ve got some of your own wedding day tips to share with the bride-to-be’s out there, why not comment below and help a sister out. It really does help hearing real-life advice.
If you’ve made it this far. Thank you! You totally deserve a medal. I’ve loved sharing this journey with you.
Stay tuned for the final instalment (which definitely won’t be this long!).