When a dame and a gentleman decide to marry, a dame occasionally organizes a celebration to commemorate this special union, which is sometimes referred to as a ‘celebration,’ or ‘wedding.’ This is usually a small job, consisting of 380, 839 or so separate tasks, 90% of which will only begin to look like coming together in the five days leading up to the big day, sometimes referred to as ‘the big day.’
An army of helpers will generally be enlisted to lessen the burden placed upon the dame to be married, including but not limited to wedding planners, florists, cake makers, makeup artists, dress makers, hair stylists, photographers, videographers, musicians, caterers and muscle men to cart around any bridal magazines she may purchase for inspiration.
Here are some insights from one such bride, who went through this exact process for her wedding in December. Following is her account of exactly what she organized for her ‘big day,' who she called upon for help, what happened on said day, and a detailed account of her expression when she realized the morning after that she had forgotten to throw her bouquet.
Now, in her own words... Zoë Blake!
‘I married the love of my life, several lives perhaps, in a very small ceremony that was genuinely the best, most fun, perfect day of both our lives. People always say that about their own wedding day, and I generally assume them to be employing hyperbole in exact proportion to the amount of cash, energy and effort they spent on their day, but now, now I get it. It is a very, very special day indeed.
All photos taken by the magnificent Alana Landsberry.
We had only 22 guests and two magicians* but it was still quite the task putting it together, if when you say the word ‘quite’ you raise your eyebrows and intonation substantially. There were supposed to be three more guests, my sister Antigone, her husband Justin and my impossibly cute niece/flowergirl Juniper, but my sister gave birth to my nephew Tycho the morning of the wedding, which added even more specialness to the day, taking the Overall Specialness to levels thought previously unattainable. When we got the call from Justin that Tycho had arrived, mum had just finished having a solid hour of makeup applied to her gorgeous mug, and of course, as you would expect, she burst into tears of relief and joy. Being A Selfish And Anxious Bride, the first thing I bellowed was, 'MUM! Don't cry! DON'T RUB, no, no, for the love of new nephews, don't rub!' What a swine. I of course cried the moment I got on the phone too, but I was only at foundation stage, so no one ("me") could yell at me about ruining my makeup.
We chose to go small for many reasons, most of which will bore you, dear reader, but in the interest of not offending those who would not be attending but who we loved very much, it was important we kept the wedding under wraps until the actual day (on which we sent them personalised letters to let them know it was happening that afternoon, and we loved them, and would be thinking of them). To our surprise and relief, we managed to successfully keep the event a secret until it was over, with only four minor heart attacks. Each.
During the months leading up, although we had a very clear idea of what we wanted, I was a voracious consumer of wedding shit. Mostly online: Tumblr and Pinterest and various wedding blogs I found via image searches. I loved perving on what others did, their flowers, cakes, chairs, insect repellant choice and so on. Details! All the glorious details. A wedding really comes down to a couple’s specific selection of thought-injected details, I realised.
I will arrogantly assume you, dear reader, may also be interested in detail, and generously, self-indulgently list four million of them pertaining to our wedding for you over the next few posts.
Start your bonboneries…
INVITES AND STATIONERY
I called upon the spectacularly talented illustrator and designer (and friend), Allison Colpoys to do all the paperwork, as it were. She has done all of my book covers (each of which I have loved on first sight, no changes required – rare!) in her capacity as a book designer genius for Penguin Australia, which she now freelances for, having departed to start her own stationery range, which will be absolutely phenomenal. Hame and I love fancy cards, and the idea of being King and Queen for a day, so we thought our own personalized playing card invites would be fun. (Complete with some of our motifs hidden in them.)
One chat – ONE CHAT – with Al on the blower and she pretty much came up with the final design the next day. Such a talented pixie. I wrote the copy, we found a great letterpress company in Melbourne (Fun fact: Letterpress is the most expensive thing in the world, customised Lamborghinis aside) and voila, the most beautiful wedding invitations (too much?) ever made were ready, and wrapped in ribbon, and good to go four enormous weeks out from the actual day. Al also did the menu and the program, which we did in the style of a wedding guide, and which I immensly enjoyed writing. The cover is below. It is breathtaking.
VENUE AND FOOD AND CAKE
We held the wedding at Wolgan Valley Resort in the greater Blue Mountains. It is an exceptional resort and a very beautiful location, smack bang in the middle of an enormous bowl of walloping great mountains. We’ve been here a few times, and as most wedding spots are, it’s a 'special place for us'. It began as a pie-in-the-sky wedding idea to have our closest family and best mates here for a regal, long table feast, but guess what happens when you love pie and have a long sky ladder? Things. Things happen. Everyone stayed the night of the wedding and we jammed a delicious, hangover soaking brunch into them the following day so that they wouldn’t be “forced” to pull over for apple pie in Bilpin on the way home.
Food is a huge part of Wolgan's appeal, they do it very well, and being utter
professionals, they didn’t bat an eyelid when we presented them with our (let’s
be honest, erratic, mismatched and confusing) menu. We essentially chose all
our favorite meals and hurled them together into one motley mega feast. Cute.
The cake, I have to say, was a bit of a pain in the arse. All we wanted was a Snickers flavoured cake. Not 14 tiers and crystal-encrusted, kitten-ear pink icing. Just Snickers flavour. You get it, right? Caramel, roasted peanuts, chocolate… pretty simple, no? Except that when I had my rad wedding planner (more on her soon) ask all of the 'best' cake shops in Sydney to do it, NO ONE WOULD. Only one even tried. And I am talking about the cake shops in Sydney everyone goes to for their weddings, or fancy events or bloody whatever. It baffled me. I realized half way through that we were going the wrong way about it – especially by approaching stuffy wedding cake people who focused much more on the external of the cake than the inside, which seems to be the Way Everyone Does It.
Bugger that, wedding cake generally tastes foul; we wanted one everyone would actually eat. (Especially us.) (Mostly us.) But even the ‘tasty’, avant garde, modern, rustic bakers wouldn’t try. It was frustrating to me how inflexible everyone was. Not least because the external of the cake was about as tricky as a burp: no layers and simple royal icing, with a floral arrangement done by the florist on the day. (Here is my visual reference I gave people.)
Anyway. Turns out a friend of mine, Chantelle Ellem, (my bestie’s little sister and the fantastic dame behind Fat Mum Slim, happens to excel at this brand of chocolate-bar cakery. Always has. So I asked her. And despite living in Queensland, and being a busy successful awesome woman, she agreed to do the cake, and even send down a sample for us to taste! She, of course, smashed it. Everyone loved it. And Hame and I ate huge slices for dinner the night after the wedding. God bless Chan and her deep comprehension of roasted peanuts.
Here's the cake, (and where Wall-E and Eve, those gorgeous rascals, enjoyed their view of the reception from.) In one of my more procrastinatey days, I ordered an engraved cake server/knife from Etsy. Etsy is a DANGEROUS DEN FOR BRIDES. Beware.
Because the wedding was a secret, I couldn't very well annouce to my facialist that I needed the best skin of my life and commence a program of twice-weekly facials leading up to December. But what I could do, is just kind of start having a few more facials in October (I had a lot of instore events and flights then anyway; a legitimate excuse for more facials when you're lecturing people on good skin for a job, I suppose) and then ramp them up late Nov, saying I had, uh, a lot of photoshoots. What a fiend!
Because I am asked by a lot of brides what kind of program I recommend for their wedding, here was what I did, and which, therefore, I recommend. The point is to get your skin in as good shape as possible so your makeup looks fantastic, stays in place, behaves as it should, and you need less of it. And even the most close up shots of you, hours into the event, are lovely.
So! Here's what I did. A fortnightly facial with Natasha (phone: 0422 650 773 - she's in Double Bay and she is outstanding) my decade-long superstar facialist. These fed my skin nutrients and got it healthy again after months of too many flights and no skin love. Also, I had weekly Omnilux (LED lamp wonderful for getting glow and bounce in the skin) sessions with gorgeous, clever Jocelyn at The Facial Room. I bumped up to two weekly Omnilux sesssions in the final fortnight. Yes, it must have seemed pretty suss.
At home I pulled out the big guns of serum: I used the La Mer The Essence program (from DJs, enormously expensive but outrageously powerful) for the final three weeks, (I had been saving it for this specific use and I must say, in terms of texture, plumpness of skin and general skin health, it was magnificent) underneath Sodashi Samadara at night, and my usual Olay sunscreen through the day. Occasional SK-II cloth masks after flights and before events, too. The morning of the wedding, I exfoliated and applied Sodashi's brilliant brightening mask for 20 minutes for a final pre-makeup plump-up after a preeeeeetty sleepless, excited night. My skin that day was probably the best it has ever been, or will ever be. I miss that skin.
To summarise: For at least six weeks before, use a powerful, do-it-all, rejuvenating serum each night under a hydrating cream, get thorough exfoliation (this might mean a few peels; I had a couple of gentle ones) and skin-boosting nourishment from traditional facials in the final month, and invest in a course of Omnilux (at least four in the final fortnight, with one two days out from the day) if at all possible.
Then glow like the gorgeous bridal bastard you are.
Just on shoes, they're still to come.
Other things also to come on this self-indulgent wedding blog bonanza include hair, prep, photographer, dresses, flowers and the exact amount of espresso martinis I recommend you serve guests to produce the kind of dance moves usually reserved for Slurpee-saturated youngsters or possessed tribesmen.
*We were the magicians.