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Belinda & Richards Augusta Wedding with a Surprise Annoucement
We took just over a year to plan this wedding.
In regards to our budget I haven’t kept track of everything (and there are a lot of little things) but we think about $21K (I aimed for $15K but I couldn’t bring myself to cull our guest list, and a few things went over budget. We had 89 adults and only invited children that were very young (2 years) or had travelled from Canada. We anticipated having children at our wedding but it turned out we would have had 53. Unfortunately our venue couln’t hold more than about 100. Thankfully most parents were excited at the idea of a child-free weekend.
We bought our lovely bridesmaids received earrings that they wore on the day, and the groomsmen received a surfing lesson (as my husband thought that was a cool idea for non-Australian’s).
The morning of our wedding was exciting, but also a bit stressful as I had my 18month old with us who was particularly clingy with all the change and unfamiliar people. My mother was also still composing all the boquets, boutonnieres, and volunteers were “dressing” the wedding arch with greenery and flowers.
We weren’t able to do this the day before as it would have wilted. I’m not sure everyone realized how many leaves and flowers it would take to make it look as beautiful as it did. Not unusual for a wedding, we were a little late to the ceremony, but it was actually my mother who was still getting ready as she was so busy getting everyone else organised.
What I will say is Delegate, delegate, delegate, as much as you can. Even the tiny little things. And it definitely helps to have a written schedule that can be printed in multiple copies so everyone knows when their hair, makeup, cars are arriving etc.
I started looking for my wedding dress about a year in advance but I couldn’t find anything close to what I wanted. I wanted a classic tea length dress but there was nothing! Finally my mother reminded me that a family friend was a dressmaker and she assured me Gloria could come up with something. I must say I was nervous! She lived in Bunbury and we lived in Victoria and I had a total of 3 fittings, the last being about 8 days before the wedding! Eeek
It was totally ME; even more than I could have even expected, and it was fun and classic all at the same time.
Upon arrival I was mostly preoccupied by my son and making sure he felt comfortable and ready to “go to Daddy”. As I started walking down the (grassy) aisle with my Dad my heart filled with excitement and I looked to my fiancée. As I approached our guests I took a moment to look around at all our friends and family whom had come to share our special day. I tried to absorb the moment and notice everyone as I walked past them. As I arrived at the arch I felt something around my ankle and looked down to see my garter had slipped down! With everyone laughing, my bridesmaid carefully replaced it back where it was supposed to be. It was a funny start to our ceremony and a moment that relaxed everyone.
Richard said "I was thinking I was the luckiest guy in the world. How so much had changed in the last three years. What an incredible path I had followed to end up here at this time in this moment getting married to such an incredible woman who has given me so much, including our amazing son Max".
We choose this place as our ceremony as it’s a favourite place of mine, and my brother and I have been coming here since we were kids. My husband loves it too. It’s such a beautiful, quiet and intimate place.
I’m glad the ceremony wasn’t until 3.00pm. I think the ceremony concluded approximately 30-40 min later (I lost all concept of time – which is what you should be allowed to do on your wedding day!). We had family and group photos then went for our adventure photos with Shannon and Jayde (it was so much fun!). Our guests were welcome to arrive at the hotel for drinks from 5:30pm and we arrived shortly after 6.00pm for the reception.
So here comes the twist: When we were first married (you’ll need to read details further below of our reception to understand) we didn’t have wedding rings so instead we chose a stone throwing ritual. We each chose a stone to represent ourselves, and we cast it into the ocean. The idea is that these stones will experience the tides of time, have beautiful things float by, see challenges arise and experience both calm and rough seas, just as we will. Together we will weather them as one.
Our celebrant, Belinda, was so full of energy and love and she exuded that on the day. She understood our journey, from meeting in Canada, to difficulties with visas, and she had married us 2 years previously but didn’t give away our secret! She explained that we had already performed a stone throwing ritual and explained what it was without sounding suspicious.
Planning from a distance, especially in a small town (we lived in Victoria whilst planning our wedding in Augusta) can be challenging since you can’t just pop over and see what things look, smell or taste like.
Give yourself an extra 3-6 months of planning if you aren’t close by. Otherwise I think a wedding planner is a wonderful idea (something I probably would change if I could go back and do it again).
THE RECEPTION WITH THE SURPRISE ANNOUNCEMENT STORY - Our styling for the reception, I wanted to keep it simple (and less expensive) so we set up the table skirting, sashes and table decorations ourselves (with a lot of help from family and friends). The ‘champagne’ burlap matched the ‘Australian’ theme as it was the same colour as the text on our invitations and menus, and we had a few maple leaves on the tables to welcome our Canadian guests.
We arranged all the flowers and candles ourselves and we assembled some small paper tea light (battery operated!) holders to place on the tables.
Prior to our decision to have the reception at the Augusta Hotel we had booked the town hall and were prepared to hire caterers etc but the time and people needed to set up and clean up were significant, and we were already preparing many aspects of the wedding ourselves.
We did things a little backwards to tradition as our photographers were only with us for an hour at the reception, so we cut the cake pretty much as soon as we arrived. This was followed by our first dance to which we invited everyone to join us for a few ‘hip wigglers’ to get the night rolling. By that time dinner was ready
There were toasts and heartfelt speeches (which were kept brief) then we announced our surprise to everyone. I was actually quiet nervous about our announcement and how people would respond. We explained to everyone (with the help of photos on a powerpoint presentation) that due to Rich’s visa status (he is Canadian) and the risk of him being sent home because of that visa, we were actually legally married 2 years and 4 days prior to our wedding day!
We wanted family and friends to be able to share our special day (which wasn’t possible in 2015) and that’s why we had a ‘wedding’ in 2017!!! The only people who knew were our celebrant (she married us twice) and our two witnesses. You should have seen their faces.... there was shock, surprise and a sudden babble amongst our guests. Everyone was looking at one another, especially our family, asking “did you know?– surely YOU knew?
CTCW Wedding Suppliers:
Ceremony Location: Flinders Bay, Augusta (near Granny’s Pool)
Reception Venue: Augusta Hotel Motel
Photographer: Shannon Stent Images
Brides dress & Accessories: Dress designed and made by Gloria deWold (family friend), earrings borrowed from my Mum, shoes from Georgie’s Bridal Shoes
Bridesmaid's dresses & Accessories: Dresses by Review, earrings from Purdeys Jewellers Shepparton, Victoria, Shoes from Georgie’s Bridal Shoes
Groom & Groomsman Attire: Tuxedo Formal Suit Hire & Rental
Page boy Attire: The Toffee Tree
Makeup: Aprille Atkinson (Personal friend)
Hair Stylist: Kay Molon (Personal friend)
Florist: Bouquet arrangement by Geraldine Kaye Jones (my Mother)
Cake: Lorna Carrier (Personal friend)
Celebrant: Belinda Robinson Southern Ceremonies
Transport: Wedding cars were owned and driven by friends.
Photobooth: None, instead we provided disposable cameras on each table with a list of snaps to catch during the evening.
Favours: We didn’t provide any on the day; instead we hosted fish and chips and drinks on the beach the evening prior to our wedding day. We wanted to see our guests as much as possible!
Stylist: We used supplies from Wez Enterprises, and decorated the reception ourselves.