Heidi & Phab's Laos/Australian paper wedding in the clouds!

June 10 |

The fourth day on our fabulous plus size bride week takes us all the way to Australia. Where Heidi & Phab had a magical and mystical wedding in the clouds! -Coco

Happy

The offbeat bride: Heidi – Cheetah Keeper and amateur actress

Her offbeat partner: Phab – Town Planner and (would be!) entrepreneur

Location & date of wedding: Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens, in the gorgeous Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia — March 7, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We were married in the gorgeous cool climate gardens of Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens in the gorgeous Blue Mountains in NSW, Australia.

Phab and I were never interested in ticking anyone else's boxes and in every decision we made we tried our best to be authentic; everything we did we made sure it meant something to us.

Combining Phab's South East Asian Laos heritage and my own twist on Australian culture was important to us.

I wore a 1950's party dress made out of beautiful printed Japanese cotton and carried a bouquet made of paper. Phab wore a hat made of woven paper. We opted for a vegetarian wedding (though neither of us is a strict vegetarian) because we liked the idea of being able to celebrate without an animal having to sacrifice it's life.

Tell us about your ceremony: I wrote a poem about trees for my best friend to recite during the ceremony. (For as long as I can remember I have had an imaginary army of trees. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of gazing out the car window on family trips and picking out trees to be in my Tree Army. When I was younger and something was worrying me I would call on my trees to help me; still to this day I credit them for my lost dog coming home.)

Groom's dad tying a white string to tie around the bride and grooms wrist to symbolize a blessing
To honor Phab's Loation heritage we incorporated Laos blessing strings into the ceremony. Guests were each given a white string to tie around our wrists to symbolize a blessing. As the guest tied the string they spoke a blessing aloud for the us. Laos tradition requires that the ties not be cut from the wrist, so the wearer must wait for them to fall off or loosen enough to slip them over the wrist. These strings took around four weeks to loosen enough to remove from our wrists, they became a wonderful reminder of our wedding.

Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was not losing focus during the many, many things that went haywire on the day!

Almost gorillas in the mist

The Gardens forget to set up for the ceremony, leaving my guests to do it and me to turn up for the wedding to find an empty field. When I saw my guests all dressed up carrying stacks of chairs I had a mini melt down in Dad's car.

I guess what got me through it was thinking that fifty years from that moment Phab and I would be sitting on our from verandah, sipping cups of tea and the fact that our ceremony was a bit of shambles simply wouldn't matter.

Perspective always helps.

My favorite moment: An almost fleeting moment during the reception is the moment I return to in my mind time and time again. Everyone was finishing lunch, talking, laughing and drinking wine. I took a moment to stop and just look out over everyone and be quietly thankful for every beautiful friend and family member in my life. Mist began to roll through the windows in the reception room and I really felt like life was grande!

Phab says the most meaningful moment of the wedding for him was listening to his sister's speech which detailed how his family emigrated to Australia in hopes of a better life. The room was completely silent and most people were in tears and I think it was one of those moments where everyone realized how blessed we all were.

Stocking up at the candy buffet!
My funniest moment: Our dear friend Nathan MC'd our wedding and as part of his speech he mentioned the tree Phab and I planted when we first met. He drew an analogy between this strong adult tree and our strong relationship.

It got a few laughs when Phab stood up during his speech and confessed the tree had died within six months of our planting it.

Our dance…

My advice for offbeat brides: Most of it doesn't matter. Seriously. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Having the perfect shoes, matching candle holders, the weather, whether Aunt Grettle will mind facing the windows…none of that matters.

I turned up for my ceremony to an empty field (the staff at the venue had forgotten to set up) and guests carrying stacks of silver chairs (they set up instead!). The afternoon before my wedding I overheard the head chef saying some unsavory things about my wedding party. There was a wheelbarrow of drying cement just outside the reception room windows…

Vegetarian feast! Mmm
The point is; what do I remember about my wedding? I remember Phab crying when he said his vows, I remember the mist rolling through the reception room windows in between courses and most of all I remember being able to spend a whole day surrounded by the people I love most in the world.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? If I learned nothing else it is this; the marriage is so very much more important than the wedding. If you stay true to yourselves it won't matter what does or doesn't happen – you're always going to be happy.

We are all blessed.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Beautiful! I absolutely love your dress!! And your words of wisdom about not sweating the small stuff. I'm finding more and more that people can't remember the little details of their weddings, they only remember what people said and how they felt.

    I need to remind my mother of this whenever she brings up chair covers…

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    • :D Your comment about your mum made me smile. Mums can be funny about weddings sometimes…

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  2. This is seriously one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. As a bride to be, I find myself freaking out about minor details and my wedding isn't going to happen until Oct 2011! This truly helped me remember to breathe and enjoy. Thanks for the morning weepies.: )

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    • Thank you for your compliment. Don't stress about anything, relax and try and enjoy everything that happens. Not a single detail will matter once you see your husband to be at the end of the aisle. :)

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  3. Cheetah keeper? Please, please trade jobs with me, mmmmmkay?

    Congrats on what looks and sounds like some seriously beautiful nuptials. And the fog that your Tree Army called is was a really classy touch – very few things make me as happy as fog.

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    • Awwww, :) I didn't think about it like that! You have just given me another precious memory for the day…my Tree Army called in the fog. :D
      Thanks Stranger! x

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  4. YES! *fist pump* When I saw the foggy photos for this wedding on the OBB Flickr pool, I was HOPING you'd profile it here!! Thanks OBB Web-Goddesses!

    I really, really hope it's foggy like these photos for our wedding. It probably won't be, but it can't hurt to dream a little. ;) The fog and mist make such gorgeous photos.

    Congrats to Heidi and Phab!!

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    • Thank you! I'll see if I can't pull a few strings with the trees ;)

      Congratulations on your up coming marriage, no matter what it will be perfect just the way it is.

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  5. Cheetah keeper? Awesome! I love the foggy photos, it makes it look like you really did get married in a cloud <3

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  6. LOVE THE LOCATION, THE MIST!, THE DRESS, love everything! Thanks for sharing…
    Me so jealous..wink…

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  7. I LOVED this wedding on Flickr! So many beautiful pics :)

    • Thank you for the compliment. Ever since I was a little girl I was far more interested in investing in the perfect photographer rather than the perfect dress. I figure when I am old and grey and have holes in my memory, my photos will fill the gaps.

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  8. How gorgeous! The setting looked so romantic with the fog rolling in

    • Wow, I feel funny! I have never thought of myself as thin. I have always identified as plus sized. Ariel's right, I did self ID as plus sized.

      Anyway, you're right, plus sized is subjective huh?

      Cheers to Ariel and the team at Offbeat Bride for letting us put our own labels on!
      xxx

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  9. I forgot to tell you that I love this.

    I've never herd of the Laos blessing strings before but the idea is inspired!

    • Thanks Jessica :) You can Google the blessing string idea and get lots of information about it. x

  10. I love this! You guys are cuuuuute :) And no matter what size, you are absolutely beautiful! I'm very impressed by how gracefully you handled things like the venue forgetting to set up, and you are so right it is about what you remember in the end that counts. Congratulations to you both!

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    • He he he, thank you Sabrina. I am not sure how graceful my poor father thought I was when I had a mini breakdown in the car. :D

      It's all good now though. x

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  11. so so lovely! awsome photographer who captured all the details and moments! totally agree with Heidi on investing in a GREAT photographer instead of dress.

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  12. what a beautiful wedding! i had goosebumps looking through the photos, haha. awesome advice for brides-to-be, as well; i'm getting married next summer and growing more excited every day! thank you for sharing! :)

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  13. Wow, lovely wedding and beautiful smiles in all the pics! Congrats. The veggie food looks really good. Which restaurant made such yummy foods?

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