Anne-Louise & Jon's casually elegant party with bubbles and a tango

May 10 |

This couple's fan favors were featured in a Monday Montage. They were perfect for a very hot wedding day. Here's the rest of the story.

Sneaking away at sunset
Photos by Kevin McGinn

The offbeat bride: Anne-Louise, Project Manager (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Jon, Programmer/Graphic Designer

Date and location of wedding: Rosehill Stables, Guildford, Perth, Australia — March 10, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had two years to plan, and I spent the first year just playing around with ideas and researching suppliers and shops. We made our own invites, played with latex for centrepieces, a friend made my dress, another friend did my hair, and the photo booth was created by some more good friends. Our first venue dropped out on us around a year beforehand. In hindsight, I'm glad they did since our venue in the end was great.

Ceremony Location

We picked a few traditions that we felt were needed and dropped the rest, making sure that we had a lot of time scheduled to mingle. Our inspiration was house-warming parties we'd had previously with piles of food, good friends, and plenty to drink. It ended up being a great party that just happened to be a little dressier than usual, and included some extra formalities, speeches, and a bubble machine.

During the Ceremony

Tell us about the ceremony: Jon is the proverbial Peter Pan, so any ceremony about "binding" or "becoming one" made him a little uncomfortable. We're not religious and definitely wanted a short ceremony, so we cut out anything that didn't involve a greeting, the required words, our vows, and a ring exchange.

Exchanging Rings Part 1

Jon did not want a celebrant, and we were originally going to do the ceremonial part ourselves with the bridal party introducing what was going to happen (civil ceremony would happen the day before). However, the mums just weren't okay with that at all. So we got a celebrant, who luckily enough was happy to cut a lot out of her usual ceremony, and keep it to the bare bones. Here were our vows:

Anne-Louise: I do not marry you to change you, bind you, or restrain you. Instead, I marry you to live with you, love with you, stand by your side, and sleep in your arms. Home will always be where you are. There is little to say that you haven't already heard, and little to give that is not already freely given. Before you asked me, I was yours and I am devoted to you in every way. I marry you with no hesitation or doubt, and my commitment to you is absolute.

Jon: I want everyone to know what I have understood for a long time. Anne-Louise completes me. She lifts me up, beyond what I would be without her, and makes me whole. Before I met you, I was the guy looking for you and now I am the one who found you. There are no words I can find for the joy you bring me. I will adore you, be faithful to you, and praise you for as long as there are days in which to do so.

The Group Photo

Our biggest challenge: At the beginning, everyone's motto was, "whatever you want will be fine." Then when we got around to telling them details, they seemed to suddenly have very strong opinions. In fact, I think my biggest issue with the wedding was the assumption of ownership. I care a lot about family and wanted to make it special for them as well as for us. There were a few tense moments that I hadn't actually expected, but nothing too serious. In the end, I am pretty sure that mum missed our joke of a guitar case used as a wishing well (i.e. busking for money), which was probably a good thing,

The Kiss

My funniest moment: I almost had a runaway groom! At the beginning of the ceremony, the plan was to turn on the bubble machine when everyone turned away to watch the bridal party arrive, so it would surprise them all when they turned around again. Jon turned the machine on, only to discover it wasn't turned on at the wall, 15m away and around the corner. So he dashes off to fix it. The first bridesmaid reaches the gazebo and realises something is missing… the groom. The celebrant and photographer were just about to stop everything when Jon runs back into place. Hardly anyone noticed, but it amused me greatly to hear that he'd given the celebrant and my bridesmaid such a shock!

Don't Drop the Bride!

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Our dance. We'd been to a few tango classes over the two years between the engagement and the wedding, and it sounded far more interesting than a waltz. I highly recommend learning to dance as a way of exploring more of your relationship. I had to learn how to follow, and this caused much frustration and hilarity.

All our best moves were completely impossible in the dress, and we stepped on it constantly. We were grinning, our guests were laughing, and we got through it in the end. His attempt to dip me took three attempts, and he almost dropped me on the second try!

So I Married an Axe Murderer


A Month of Mixbooks:
As part of our partnership with Mixbook, this couple has been given a free wedding photo book to show off their wedding photos. We'll be featuring some of these Offbeat Bride Mixbooks in a few weeks!

My advice for Offbeat Brides: We live on the other side of the country, so we took a full two-week trip for this event. I highly recommend doing this if you're traveling for the wedding. The first week was for finishing touches and setting up, while the second week was to see all the people who'd traveled and the Perth-based friends we hadn't seen in a while. It still wasn't long enough, but we had a great time and it was definitely worthwhile.

I'd also suggest planning the honeymoon for a month or so later, which allows you to finish your thank-you notes and other obligations beforehand. It's also something to look forward to so you don't get the post-wedding blues.

The Bridal Party

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? We were really surprised at how much our relationship changed after the engagement. After 10 years together, I didn't think too much would change. More Flowers We learnt how to argue better and work together more. Learning to tango had a fair bit to do with that, strangely enough.

Also, get family focused on an aspect you don't have strong feelings about (for me it was the flowers), and leave them to debate and plan that. It'll leave you to do the other tasks in the background, and you won't necessarily have to mention those details.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Photography: Kevin McGinn. Kevin was AMAZING!
  • Venue: Rosehill Country Club. The venue did most of the work, were easy to deal with, were upfront with no surprise costs, and happy to consider whatever we wanted.
  • Bride's dress: A custom job done by a friend. She makes corsets using the brand name "Hollow" that sell in Beyond the Trapdoor in Subiaco. I've owned a few corsets, but never any quite so comfortable.
  • Hair: Wildilocks. I loved my extensions and curls.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. That dress is exceptional! It looks like an amazing shindig.

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  2. Love the dress! And I can't believe a bubble machine hasn't occurred to me before for a wedding! So awesome! *rushes to Amazon to price bubble machines* My wedding is going to be like an Offbeat Bride I Spy game; how many ideas from OBB can you spot in this wedding?

    1 agrees
  3. "Also, get family focused on an aspect you don't have strong feelings about (for me it was the flowers), and leave them to debate and plan that. It'll leave you to do the other tasks in the background, and you won't necessarily have to mention those details." This is the most BRILLIANT advice on the website yet.

    1 agrees
    • Lol, thank you so much! I have a tendency to want to tell people about lots of things, but in this case, need to know is a good strategy for any of the less easily acceptable ideas ;) Now I just need to work out how to use this strategy at work…

  4. We love filming weddings with bubble machines. Makes for great footage – especially when kids get on the dance floor before the First Dance …

  5. Thank you all for your lovely comments :D
    It was an awesome day and I did love how everything came together in the end with no real colour scheme or plan upfront!
    Oh and if you do want a bubble machine, they are awesome and not too expensive, but apparently played hell on our photographers autofocus!! I think he managed though ;)

  6. i **LOVE** your vows. That's exactly what I was having a hard time putting into words. Neither me nor my boyfriend are big into public declarations of anything, so the way you both worded it is heart warming without being IN YOUR FACE. Absolutely gorgeous all around :)

    • Thank you :D Jon can say the soppiest things and be so sincere, but I feel very self concious saying similar stuff. I struggled so much with vows, before stumbling onto an OBB journal entry which included the 'sleep in your arms' bit. I wish I'd bookmarked it to thank the author!

      We did have the shortest ceremony I think I've ever attended :D

      • I love short ceremonies! I've been to a Catholic one that was at LEAST 2 hours!! Nothing against religion, of course! But 2 hours is rather excessive

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