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

By on Jun. 10th

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


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!