And here we are! Done with part one, and on to part two of the longest, most waffly wedding re-cap known to man, woman or emu.
Why are you going on about emus? You're always banging on about emus. Enough! Let’s get to...
Did you grow up knowing exactly what kind of dress you’d be married in? Me too! It would be the colour of bark and reveal my stomach. No, no, obviously showing the stomach would be reserved for my groom. But seriously, I figured it would be white and lovely (halfway through last year I considered having a blush tone dress, but then, remembering I was a pure and chaste virgin, decided to go white) and most likely, pretty classic. That's it.
My instinct was to call Steven
Khalil. Had never met the guy, but loved his work, knew he was a well respected Wedding Dress Guy, and
especially enjoyed the fact (having seen his work at the Logies etc) that he seemed to really ‘get’ the female body, and accentuate
it magnificently. Waists! Bums! Bosom! Glorious.
I tried some wedding dresses on in London when I was living there last year, mostly for the fun of it, because you're only a bride once, right Liz Taylor??! But the moment I walked out of the dressing room and my girlfriend looked up at me misty-eyed and said, ‘That’s the one’ in hushed tones never came, and while I felt nice in all of them, and looked like, well, a bride, I wasn't dazzled.
Knew that I didn’t want strapless (I never wear strapless in real life, so why on this most auspicious occasion?) or a huge, voluminous lower-half (although it was a lot of fun swishin' round Browns in a big ol' pouffy dress). Also, no bows on the sleeves. Or battery operated light-up butterflies. Did want lace, though, and a lace-trimmed V neck line, and a sort of old school look. But apart from that, nothing. Similar feeling to designing my engagement ring - I know zero about jewellery design or dressmaking and yet suddenly I was allowed to make enormous decisions in these fields. Felt a bit like a fisherman being asked to design the interior of Jennifer Aniston's new Malibu beach house. Excited, but. Real excited.
When I got back to Australia I met with Steven and had a chat and showed him some dresses I liked on my phone, and he did some very impressive, fancy sketching as we spoke, and before I knew it, my dress had a (2B) heartbeat.
I had four fittings all up, and made some choices about what colour white it would be (yes, there is a spectrum, which was news to me. I had natural white in the end, cream and ivory washed my skin out, whereas the white was all modern and clean and fresh, a good thing when you're utilising 156 kilos of lace), and some very swift, concise decisions which French lace we'd use (‘Oooh, that’s one’s nice, oooh, so is that one, oooooh, I like that one! Oh, that one is so good, just lovely, hmmm, gosh, I'm not sure which one to go with, they're just all so nice…' etc) and each visit to his Paddington store was more exciting than the last, seeing this fabric masterpiece take shape.
On pick up day, accompanied by my two bezzies, (complete with my favourite champagne slotted firmly under one of their arms, although sadly I was already full of adrenalin and nerves and couldn’t possibly fit another thing in) I put it on, and we all cried a little bit because for the first time in my life, I had a waist. No, no, we cried because it was just so perfect, so amazingly fitted, so... dreamy. And I cried because I was so, so thrilled with my dress, and how incredibly it fit, and how I looked like someone far more elegant, and timeless, and grown up and beautiful than I really was. I especially loved the lace back and the buttons, both of which were Steven's idea.
Here, have a gander at her, why don't you?
I say ('write') this with my hand on my heart (the other one is typing and the third one is sipping on lemonade) that I felt the most lovely I ever have in my wedding dress. Ever. That’s what you want, I think. To feel like you at your most beautiful, career best even, but to the power of 10. Suffice to say, I cannot CANNOT recommend Steven and his team enough. Such wonderful, kind, calm people with incredible skills and exceptional talent. It’s such a spectacular shame that you only get to wear the dress once, and for less than 12 hours. I quite fancy wearing it to brunch sometime. (Fun fac: Hame said he has never felt anything about a dress until he saw this one. 'Guys don't care about dresses, even wedding ones, but this was the best thing I've ever seen.' Good boy. Excellent feedback. Five husband points.)
Steven also made my veil, which he (thankfully) convinced me to have fairly light on lace, to keep the look modern, and not too... themey/vintagey. Good move. I only knew I wanted it to be as long as the train of the dress. Long, long, LONG, I said.
'Surprisingly', after a few hours of treading on my beautiful veil, my inner two-year old tired of the long, long LONG element. I went to the bathroom with my chief bridesbabe Sarah to remove it, and spied my (absent) flowergirl's floral headpiece (literally a two-year old) posing as a cute basin decoration. In a move MacGyver (or his wife, at least) would be proud of, we cut and pulled it apart so it would fit me, and placed it around my head, bobby pinning it into place. I loved it - the veil was perfect, especially for the ceremony and photos, but for dinner and dancing, some sweet, soft pink blooms jammed on the noggin seemed more fun. Also, I never feel that 'me' with an updo, so this diffused that perfectly.
My cherished bridesdames (my only guests, parents and brother aside), Sarah, Marie, Bron, Emma and Justine (who had wee baby Scout seven days before the wedding, seven teeny days!), wore a choice of two peachy Bianca Spender dresses (didn't want them all looking toooo same-same) that somehow, despite five different skin tones, looked delicious on each of them. With their hair did and their faces did, and their pretty lil’ gowns all flowin’, they were the perfect blend of glamorous, feminine and sexy, my girls.
I (some say inappropriately) could not stop telling each of them how hot they looked and frivolously smacking their botbots all night. I adore my girls. They are superb on any given day, but on The Day, and the days leading up, they lifted incredibly: nothing was a hassle, any problems were solved before they even became a problem, all five of them helped do up my dress while I stopped breathing for 120 seconds, and even though in the last couple of hours I became somewhat... intense, they were nothing but helpful and delightful and loving and fun.
It's not techincally relevant under a subheading of 'The Dress' but the boys wore lovely grey MJ Bale suits, and we chucked a selection of (fastidiously hand-picked) MJ Bale bow ties and ties at them, which they could choose from on the day, but no fighting or tetching, please. As with the B-maids, I didn't want them all looking exactly the same, like fancy man robots. Hame wore a beautiful suit from a marvelous tailor in Sydney called P.Johnson. Lovely guy, cool shop, fantastic slobbery bulldog called Hector.
These were absolutely intended to be the star of the show, and they were. I love flowers, always have them scattered through the house. They make a room instantly look elegant, exciting, happy, and can transform a sour mood in seconds. I grew up in a home with a garden brimming with special, exotic plants, vegetables and flowers, and mum always took time to create little vases full of flowery delights in every room, even the bathroom. I am a huge and vehement believer in the power of flowers to bring joy, so on the most joyful day of your life, why not saturate the scene with them?
Don't like too-perfect, flowers though. Like them as they are naturally, a bit imperfect, a bit wild, surrounded by wily green tendrils and shiny, lush leaves and just doing their own gorgeous thing. Mr Cook was always going to do the flowers for this wedding. He understands exactly the allure and beauty of cheeky, colourful, haphazard arrangements, and I knew he would do a brainbendingly good job.
Which he did. He made the whole wedding look as fun and bright and gorgeousas I'd hoped. And he REALLY nailed it with the huge floral heart, which features in 96% of photos from the day, and with good reason. (I must give credit to dear friends and valuable team members Abbi and Trin for the heart idea - they had a huge, red heart accompany them during their wedding ceremony, which lit up with Hollywood makeup lights, and then became a centrepiece of their reception dancefloor. Splendid.)
Senor Cook of course also did my bouquet ("Soft pink and peachy peonies and David Austins, please Sean") and the colourful, simple, floppy, gorgeous corsages for the girls' wrists.
As mentioned 3000 words earlier in this opus, the foundation of our wedding was the desire for a long table feast. A short ceremony in front of our big floral loveheart, and then some drinks and canapes in the sun while we nicked off for half an hour of photos, then a long table feast faintly for dinner. It was meant to be a long lunch originally, before we realised why no one has lunches - people need time to travel/get ready/tame their eyebrows. And so, everything else sort of shimmied into place around this basic plan. My dream was for the dinner to be under the stars, all warm breeze and millions of candles and fairy lights/lanterns and unicorns braying gently in the neighbouring fields, but have you ever noticed how weather is a total prick and you can't count on it?
So, we ended up with marquees. One small, adorable one acting as a kind of chapel for our guests during the ceremony, and one big boy for the long table. I say this like it was an easy and obvious decision, but it WAS NOT. I had seven weather websites saved on my phone and several more on my laptop, and checked them several times a day the fortnight leading up to the day. They were like teenage girls, these websites - none ever agreed with each other, and they changed their mind around nine times a day, or hour, depending on the site. (Plus, they listened to far too much One Direction.)
Four days out my wedding planner - Kerri Sharp (an event manager with Lovell Management), a fantastic, intelligent, thoughtful, reassuring, hardworking, gorgeous creature who I recommend with vigorous nodding and both thumbs up and a wide smile; nothing was too big or small a task for her, and she was so on top of everything that I could just sit around smoking cigars and sketching Australian flora as I am wont to do - called me and told me today was the day we had to make the call about the marquees, and gently reminded me if we didn't, we didn't really have a contingency plan for wet weather. So I said yes. You pay in advance whether you use them or not, which annoyed me, but OH HEAVENS TO BETSY, BRIAN AND BEVERLY am I relieved we had them. (If you find yourself in my position ever, for the love of strapless bras, get the marquees. There are enough dingin' things to think about on your Day of Days without stressing on hourly precipitation levels.)
It didn't rain, and it wasn't the warmest day, but that wasn't even why I am glad we had them - they created a sense of closeness, of occasion, and kept everyone grouped and cosy. It made everything feel more ... together, it created a specific area for the ceremony, and dinner, and then dancing, which, when you are saturating your guests with margaritas, champagne, wine and espresso martinis, you kind of need, because they are prone to bouts of high-energy rampaging and delirious wandering.
Also, and this is probably the main reason I ended up loving my Ivory Glamour Tents, they were styled to perfection. We had sweet white wooden pews in the ceremony for people to sit on, a little barrel bar for cocktails earlier, and single malts and cheese platters later, and in the main tent, red and pink flowers bellowing cheerfully from every inch of the table and curtains, a mix of cut glass vases and loads of candles, beautiful chairs (Hame and I had a fancy white cane loveseat - part of a set I found on gumtree and Kerri repainted, we used two of the chairs for the signing table - everyone else had plain chairs at dinner because that's all they deserve) and the star of the day, our floral loveheart hanging from the roof.
The clever rascals behind this visual smogasbord were Kerri, her awesome husbo Gaz, Sarah-Jane Sturtees (stylist) and of course, Mr Cook. I had told them roughly what I wanted, the basic feel of it being colourful, elegant, country-ish-but-not-twee and view-heavy, ('creative director', I liked to call myself in the privacy of my own head) but didn't see any of it til I arrived as a bride, and I was thrilled to the power of utter and heartfelt delight. Lucky me. What a team. What a bloody team.
Other little elements from the event that had me waking up at 3.08 am for many nights in its lead up include:
- Hiring two brilliant latin American guitarists playing throughout the evening (and an acoustic of Dust in The Wind as I walked towards Hame
- A celebrant who wasn't a drongo or who used weddings as a chance to explore their frustrated musical theatre/stand up comedy talents. Found one in Jessie Cacchillo, who was fantastic and young and fun and looked terrific in canary yellow
- Ensuring we organised sliders, fries and Snickers ice cream bars for soakers at midnight so people weren't too pissed, and people who were too excited to eat their dinner ("me") had a second shot at sustenance
- Asking our dear mums to perform readings from children's books, You by Stephen Michael King, and I Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg during the ceremony, because we think children's books, and indeed animated children's movies (See: Up, Wall-E) do an excellent job of simplyfying and condensing the idea of love, and, well, we are kind of children
- Getting a remote-control photobooth inside the little homestead that hosted the wedding sorted, because everyone does these days, but being an enormous fan of dynamic jump shots, I added a mini-tramp into the mix, and everyone bounced their way through their shots, giggling and occasionally holding small chalkboards with (usually) inappropriate messages written on them. I haven't seen these shots yet but cannot WAIT
- Wedding gifts in the shape of pewter goblets with a special regal name engraved on them for people to use during the wedding, (after all, who wouldn't want a fancy drinking cup with Baron Michael Von Wipfli, or Empress Marie of Greece or Grand Lord Davo Foster or Sir Hayden Guppy The Brave on it? No one wouldn't, that's who) which we bought online from England. We also gave everyone little care packs in their room with the program, Berocca, Panadol, Twix cookies care of Chantelle/Fat Mum Slim (told you she understood chocolate bar baking) mints and a CD of songs from our time together. I know that sounds naff, but only because it definitely is
- Organising a sunny picnic brunch for The Morning After. Everyone was, weirdly, a lot less rambunctious than when we saw them dancing to Ol' Dirty Bastard (much) earlier that morning, but the spread laid down - bacon and egg rolls, fluffy ricotta pancakes, fresh fruit and nuclear strength coffee - injected enough animation into them for them to remember to appreciate our 'Just Married Him/Her' t-shirts, which I commissioned Marc Jacobs to make for us.*
Finally, because if I've had enough wedding chat for today, I know you have already closed your laptop and are staring into the fridge wondering about the dinner eligibility of Greek yoghurt with a tablespoon of honey, our 'first dance' was a magic performance. We went through many different permeations of what we wanted to do as our first act as man and wife, but doing a bit of (absolutely mindblowing!!!!!!) magic - a true collaboration - trumped. In a controversial twist, Hame was my sexy assistant and I was the commanding, showstopping, slightly pissed illusionist. The finale saw me putting 10 swords through Hame's head, which was encased in a wooden box. I daren't reveal how it was done, lest we lose our membership to The Magic Castle, but suffice to say he made it out alive, and we've already booked a season in Vegas.
Jesus. I'm spent. Enough for today. But! Hair and makeup still to come. And anything else I have forgotten! Like, I don't know, the type of grass we said our vows on and stuff!
*This is a lie.