May 4th 2015 was without a doubt one of the best nights of my entire life. It really WAS our dream wedding, and in hindsight worth every ounce of stress. And yes, there was plenty of stress in the lead up to our big day.
When people found out that we won the 2014 Bride and Groom Magazine win your dream wedding most people would comment on how lucky we were. Yes, we consider ourselves very fortunate and grateful to have won but I still don’t believe it had all that much to do with luck. We poured our hearts and souls into our entry and really tried hard to weave a picture of what our dream day would look like. I was so attached to it that I felt separation anxiety when I had to post it in to the entry box, I think I would have much rather passed it directly into the judge’s hands. It might have been hard to send it on its way but I was certain that my entry was going to be chosen, and in the intervening weeks I thought of little else.
Thankfully we didn’t have to adhere to what I had written word for word; otherwise I’d be stuck with my then 4 year old twin’s vision of me in a huge light up purple dress riding on a white unicorn with only chocolate and marshmallows to feed the guests. We did however keep the deeply personalised aspects. I’m an artist so it seemed natural I should include our family in a way that reflected that. Each table was dedicated to a different family member, so instead of table numbers to find your seat you had to match up the right hand drawn picture of them.
I’d like to offer some words of wisdom from a sometime wedding planner. If you can fit one into your budget, do hire actually hire a wedding planner. Having one would have removed so much of the stress I was under in the last few weeks, especially if you are also holding down a job and caring for children.
I am terrible with the finer details so Sean and I lived by the shared google document where we planned everything from the guest list and budget, to the menu and honeymoon activities, it’s also a great way to keep track of what you are spending.
Create a vision board to keep your ideas cohesive and make updated versions once you have made purchases, like the dresses and reception decorations. There are plenty of free image apps that you can down load onto your phone or tablet for free.
Discuss with your wedding party from the outset about any obligations they have to meet if you’d like them to purchase their own outfits. It’s so important you are all on the same page. It will prevent stress and tears closer to the wedding date.
There are so many people we need to thank who have collectively pulled together to make our day amazing. Firstly the thank you to the Bride and Groom Magazine who chose us from the thousands of other entries to receive such an amazing prize. And thank you to the wonderful talented people who offered their services free of charge to help create our one perfect day. Rosie Brown our celebrant. Calla Bridal who provided my beautiful dress. Astra Bridal who provided my stunning shoes and veil. Frank Casey Formal Suit Hire who contributed towards the cost of the suit hire. Angela Scott from Weddings in Vogue, who captured our family spirit in photography and took images that bring tears to my eyes. Craig Walsh from Creative Video who captured our wedding on video and received excellent feedback from the guests about his ability to coax everyone into contributing to our video guest log. First Class Classics who provided the wedding transport so the bridal party could arrive to the venue in a vehicle that the Queen had been in! Alyssandra Striking Stationary who went above and beyond helping us to create the most perfect invitations. Zhakita Cake Designz, who not only made a beautiful cake, but one that tasted amazing. Chocolates by Insignia who helped us create a personal touch to our wedding favours that also doubled as place name settings. Hilton Lake Taupo who hosted Sean and I for our short honeymoon after the wedding and our thanks to Air Vanuatu and Iririki Island Resort where we will be staying in December, after they rebuild from the recent cyclone damage.
There are other people we need to thank, whose services we engaged and were amazed by. Vidabela Florist, Mike Steffens DJ, Party by Design, Chay Roberts Makeup artist, Frana Evans, Hair Stylist, and of course the beautiful venue and the staff at Gracehill Vineyard Estate in Kumeu. We also had countless family and friends who helped set up decorations, offered a shoulder for a meltdown or two and generally just be awesome.
Two weeks before the big day there was an incident of a phone call to my Mother declaring that I wish Sean and I had just eloped. Her response was so poignant that I believe it will be one of those memories I will hold on to forever.
I won’t go into why I was so upset, but needless to say weddings bring out a little crazy in all of us. My Mother calmly listened to me sob and then stated simply, “Emily, don’t you know this wedding isn’t just about you, it’s about the whole family.” Trust your Mother to swing on your ankles and tug you back down to earth. Although many people might have misread her comment, I actually didn’t. I understood that she was using humour to make me feel better which worked. But just because she might have been joking doesn’t change the trueness of what she had said, which was even more engrained by the Saturday before our wedding day.
When we arrived to my parents pre-wedding BBQ I received the biggest shock I’ve had since the end of Sixth Sense. My Aunty who lives in England, who hates flying and swore she would never fly half way around the world. Who I never in a million years thought would actually come when I sent her the invitation was SITTING in my parents’ house! It felt like I had been wandering in the dessert and she was a mirage, either that or the wedding stress had finally addled my brains. I am over joyed she is here, her presence has meant so much to Sean and I.
It was later that night, while watching Dad and my Aunt chat quietly in the corner that I whole heartedly agreed with my Mother. Weddings aren’t just about the Bride and Groom, so all those people who quote ‘Your day, your way’ have got it all wrong in my way of thinking. A wedding is the beginning of a marriage and a lifelong commitment. The family and friends you invite to share that special day with you are equally as important as the wedding party. These are the people we surround ourselves with, the people who will support us, and laugh with us in the decades to come. So Mum, I know you don’t hear this very often from me, but you were right. May the 4th 2015 wasn’t just about Sean and I getting married, but about all of us. It brought us all together, and seeing everyone so happy brought joyful tears to my eyes over and over.