Monday, October 25, 2010

How to have a simple wedding

David and I decided early last year that we would get married, after he romantically proposed during a holiday at a place called Secrets on the Lake in Montville. The how and when of it was all up in the air. The thought of organising a wedding was very daunting for both of us as we have become real hermits in recent years! But it was pretty obvious to us from the onset that whatever we did, it would have to be very simple and low stress!

By holding the ceremony in the cute and quaint backyard garden of a local celebrant, and only inviting parents to witness it, a relaxing lunch for 6 topped off the day and rain by no means dampened the mood.  The day was all about David and I celebrating our love and making our marriage official, skipping a lot of traditions but keeping the few that were meaningful for us. Below I outline the details of our little wedding for future reference, and how we organised it in about 6 weeks and for a cost of less than $1200 (if you don't count our rings!).

Our major purchase
The most expensive things we bought were the rings. We got those about 18 months ago when David's mum Beverly worked at Michael Hill so we could get a discount. We decided we could afford to splurge on these so got ones we both really liked, as these were the items that would last forever. We even got David a diamond engagement ring, as I feel it's very important that he get treated like a 'prince'. Getting married should not be all about the bride being 'princess for a day', imho. We got titanium and diamond engagement rings and plain titanium wedding bands to match, once made these can not be resized but we preferred it to white gold so we wouldn't have to get it coated every year. Soon after getting them we realised we had no idea when we would make our wedding official. It seemed a shame to not wear our wedding bands for an indeterminate amount of time, seeing as we were otherwise married and living as man and wife. So we put our rings on each other one night at home alone soon after buying them, and that was about 18 months ago. I usually wear my diamond ring when leaving the house, and David wears his on a neck chain, as he can't wear both at the same time on his left hand and it doesn't fit on his right hand.

What's in a name
Now I'm pregnant we realised life would be that little bit more convenient if we had that same family name in time for our baby's arrival. Of course, you don't have to be married to have a baby, and the wife certainly does not have to change her name - I didn't for my first wedding. But that was a lifetime ago and I really do feel like a different person now with different motivations. My sister has 4 children but did not marry their father for a long time. But recently she said it was just too inconvenient and too annoying for her to have a different name to her children, so they got married in a very simple family ceremony early last year. I took that as a cue and decided that I should do the same before our baby came.

The first thing to do
As winter drew to a close, the spring weather turned beautiful and inspired us to think what a great time to get married so started to make plans. We short-listed about a dozen local celebrants, which took us a while, but by the 7th September we were ready to start emailing them. But we had to check with David's mum when she would be back in town as she had told David but he'd forgotten. It takes a month and one day's notice to put in the form of intent to marry, as it turns out Bev had already arranged a trip with Michelle for the 1st of October so it wasn't meant to be. David and I went ahead and organised our wedding by emailing the celebrants, having little idea who we could ask to be our witnesses. We simply settled on the most local celebrant who replied to our email the quickest. It turned out Joy Jensen was a lovely lady, gorgeous with her manner of speaking and poise. She turned out to be the perfect celebrant for us.

The matter of witnesses
Every wedding needs two witnesses, if you elope you can often ask staff members to witness it. Joy offered to supply the witnesses, but by that time I'd already asked my mum. Our original thought was simply to invite the two mums only, that way hopefully the rest of the family wouldn't be too offended. For me, the matter of witnesses turned out to be the most unnecessarily stressful part of organising our wedding. We purposefully wanted something simple to avoid all that. We should have just had two witnesses that were not in the family at all, as I just felt too obligated to 'do the right thing' by every one else, especially the parents. But like all weddings, it pulled together beautifully in the end. We had a perfect wedding where both our father's came and signed the registry which was simply gorgeous. My mum and David's step-mum helped during the ceremony by holding our rings, which was really nice and special.

Our reception
For our celebration we went for lunch afterwards at one of our favourite places called Fleet Street in Indoorpilly. It was a bit of a drive away, but once we got there we knew it would be perfect. I worried the whole time how long everyone else had to drive that day, only coming for a day trip 2 or 3 hours away, then having the return trip. The other option was Yum Cha at the Landmark, which we love doing and would have been a lot of fun, but even if we made reservations it's such a popular place, we probably would have had to wait to be seated,  even on a weekday. So Fleet Street it was, and at one point we had the place to ourselves, so we could have a leisurely lunch and really enjoy the food. David and I insisted on paying for the lunch, for only the 6 of us it was considerably cheaper than a traditional reception. We even took photos of the deserts for a laugh to share on Facebook.

Including the rest of the family and friends
A month before the wedding we created a Facebook group called 'David and Teena's Virtual Wedding' and invited people from our friend's list. We kept the date a secret for as long as possible, simply telling everyone it was coming up. A week before I announced the date, and joked that our virtual gift registry had just one item on it, a toaster! We asked our friends and family to post 'virtual' gifts of toasters or whatever they wished on the page. We got a few pictures of funny and pretty looking toasters, as well as a punch set, which was fun. I was careful to point out that for a 'virtual' wedding, only 'virtual' gifts were appropriate, so I was very glad that almost everyone respected that. When we got home after lunch, David and I quickly chose about a hundred favourite shots to download immediately to Facebook to share with our friends and family. This was our way of having a virtual wedding, so we were able to invite and include everyone on our special day.

What's in a date
It turns out to be convenient later on if you choose dates carefully. David is not one likely to forget such a thing, but making the number easy to remember helps make life that little bit easier. We wanted to get married in October, or possibly early November. It being 2010, I knew the 10th of October would be especially lucky. The problem was it was a Sunday and it would be hard for me to get my hairdresser to help me on a Sunday. Then there was the option of the 20th of October, I was surprised I didn't realise earlier what a neat number it was (Twenty Ten Twenty Ten 20.10.2010). That was a Wednesday so I could get help with my hair, which I really wanted as my hair would have been a real flop if I tried to do it myself! I did have a problem with the hairdresser, as the first couple I wanted let me down, then the salon I had wanted screwed me around so much I went somewhere else. So it was the 5th hairdresser that did it on the day. I knew she would do a good job, but she has a problem of running chronically late, which she did do on my wedding day but it was no surprise so it wasn't a huge disaster. Just would've been nice if we started on time. Maria, a beautician at Amaroo Essential Therapies, helped me with my make-up, which was fun.

What to wear
I did try on some ivory coloured wedding dresses at a maternity store, but they just weren't right. I also tried on some expensive dresses which just looked silly. In the end I found a really nice simple maxi print dress at Katies for a bargain price! The good thing is, I can wear it again and there is room for baby to grow. And blue is good luck!  I've been married before and have done the whole 'white wedding dress' thing, so I didn't feel like I had to. But David hadn't been married before, and I wanted to make an effort for him. I didn't want him to feel like he missed out so I tried to look as nice as I could manage. When our relationship started to get more serious years ago, we were joking about getting married one day and that we would wear blue. I really didn't think at the time that it would come true, I was very much of the mind of 'wait and see'. Now the four years is up and we are happily married and all has turned out well. We decided David should wear the white instead so found him a very smart white shirt from Myer.

Whether the weather's fine or not
We were thinking to have the ceremony in a park, but Joy offered us her backyard. I was doubtful at first but it turned out to be very simple and easy to just do it there. She has a very cute garden with a gazebo and it was perfect. Although the weather forecast was fine, we always had the option to stand under cover if it was raining. If we went to a public park it would not have been so good, especially if it was raining. The two days preceding our wedding were beautiful and fine, the forecast for our day was partly cloudy and otherwise fine. But when I left the beautician it was pouring down with rain! It was fortunate indeed that we had kept that 'in case it rains' in mind when deciding where to hold the ceremony. In the end, the rain caused us very little inconvenience at all because of that, and everyone kept telling me 'rain on a wedding day is good luck'. And I think it was ...

Taking the photographs
We thought to get professional photographers, mainly because I didn't do that for my first wedding and regretted it. But they wanted waaaaay too much money for something that would be all over in 30 minutes! And then you don't own their images, can you even put them on Facebook? We all own digital video cameras, so decided we should do it ourselves! With only the 6 of us and Joy there, how many photos were you going to need to take? The minimum photographer's package we saw was something like 4 hours which was laughable, we just didn't need that. In the end, we took our own photographs, everyone had a camera and away we snapped. After lunch we were able to download them to our computers and select the best 100 to share on Facebook with all our family and friends who missed out on being there. It turned out to be the best way for us.

Beautiful Flowers
I was pretty sure that if I was wearing a dress that didn't look like a wedding dress, I needed a bouquet. Just to help make it look a bit more like a special occasion. That turned out to be a bit of a drama, unfortunately, because when I went to the florist I had in mind with less than a week's notice she literally freaked! I swear I could see the whites of her eyes when I made such an outrageous request so I walked out of her shop. I rang my mum that night and she told me not to worry at all, that she would ask her florist friend, Wendy at Wendy's Flowers to help. The professional bouquet she prepared was perfect. David's father also brought a lovely bunch of home-grown roses and lavendar from his garden, and my high school friend secretly sent a bunch which arrived on my doorstep as a surprise! So in the end, there was plenty of flowers, even without worrying a stressed out florist who couldn't handle the pressure!

So with the purchase of wedding rings well out of the way 18 months before, the preparation of our official wedding took just 6 weeks. My initial guess was it came in under a grand, but after adding it all up, including several trips to the beautician, it was just under $1200. But it wasn't about the money so much as keeping it simple and low key. In the end, the day was about David and myself celebrating our love and making it official legally. We had a lovely day, skipping a lot of traditions but keeping the few ones that were meaningful to us.


  1. I congratulate the two of you. You make a handsome couple and it sounds like you put a great deal of thought into your wedding day. You managed to have a frugal, yet wonderful and special day.

  2. It looked like a beautiful day Teena!

    Simple is definitely the way to go. All weddings should be about focussing on each other and not entertaining masses of guests.

  3. Beautiful to read about your lovely Wedding, and great that you have the confidence to do your own thing and suit yourselves.
    Wishing you many many happy years together.
    God Bless,

  4. Yes it was a perfect day for you and David. So glad to see you both happy, and so glad you included us in your nuptuals. All I did was organise the bouquet and us to be there. No stress for the parents, either! Hope the honeymoon never ends luv mum

  5. you can hire wedding bands that play very well with just a few hundred dollars :

  6. i like very cute wedding bands that are lined with satin clothe and some velvet colored stuffs too `."


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