We've had specific requests for an Australian/New Zealand theme week, so we've found some Down Under favorites. This time we've got a bride on a mission to find her perfect dress and perfect budget in South Australia. -Catherine
The offbeat bride: Stacey, Admin bitch and offbeat wedding planner in the making (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Jarrod, Employment consultant and pretty tops bloke
Date and location of wedding: Tusmore Park, Tusmore, Adelaide, South Australia — March 12, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: The entire wedding was planned and paid for in only three and a half months on a budget. We picked our date because my Maid of Honor's parents were already coming to Australia from South Africa and I really wanted them to be at the wedding.
We used a lot of contacts for our wedding. The whole day would not have happened if it weren't for our community of friends and family. Our main photographer was a friend of my cousin's new wife and the ceremony location was paid for by my grandparents as an engagement present. The reception function centre doubles as my mum's church. My sisters helped out with everything, despite not being part of the wedding party.
Jarrod's aunt's catering company cooked and served all the food. My friends brought wishing wells from Victoria and helped set up the reception centre. Jarrod's family friend did the videography and his friend donated mirrors for centrepieces. I could just continue to list people forever with all of the help that we had. It was truly amazing and beautiful to have so much love and support in such a short period of time.
We had roughly 130 people come to the wedding, which seems a lot by Offbeat Bride standards, but is quite a small wedding when we both had three or four sets of family to invite. I have over 30 first cousins and we have around about 30 aunts and uncles between us who would traditionally be invited, but we unfortunately had to cut many people from our day and were quite strict on numbers.
My five-year-old brother was ring bearer, but he was on my side of the bridal party, and Jarrod had his best friend and nephew as groomsmen.
When I was 16, I said that I always wanted to wear the dress from Moulin Rouge. Ten years later, my idea hadn't changed. But no amount of dress shopping helped considering EVERYTHING in Adelaide is white.
I had previously sourced a supplier in the U.S., but we couldn't get it in time. I had no idea what to do as I couldn't afford to buy a new dress and I couldn't find anywhere to make it. Then my mum put me onto her friend who is a seamstress, and she made my whole dress for $600. I couldn't be happier with it.
During the planning, we saved, collected, and washed as many jars as we could. I had this picture in my head that I thought would work, so decided to give it a whirl. My mum, sisters, and I decorated the majority of the jars the week before the wedding with different coloured ribbons, sand, and rocks with a tealight candle inside.
Tell us about the ceremony: We had our wedding ceremony at Tusmore Park, a place we both visited a lot as kids. We discovered that we climbed the exact same tree. Naturally, we climbed the tree on our wedding day as well.
Neither of us are particularly religious, so we had a secular ceremony. Jarrod's stepfather is Scottish and my stepfamily is Ukrainian. Both cultures use hand binding during weddings, so we incorporated it into our wedding as well. But we wrote our own reading to go with it. In fact, we wrote the entire ceremony.
We opened up the ceremony to anyone who wanted to come. It was a little overwhelming when I first walked over the park's hill to see so many people waiting for me. Many traveled interstate to be at the ceremony, even though we couldn't invite them to the reception. It was amazingly touching that they had so much love for us that they put aside being hurt to support us. It's something I will never forget.
Jarrod's sister performed a shortened reading of Dr. Seuss‘ “Oh! The Places You'll Go!”, and my sister sang “Happy” by Never Shout Never, a song of her choice that we ending up loving. She was accompanied by Jarrod's stepdad.
Our biggest challenge: Budget! We didn't know where to start with setting a budget. We researched as hard as we could, which drove my hubby-to-be mad. We bought bargains online, made our centrepieces with donated goods and craft bits, bartered to the teeth with vendors, and still found our budget blown out by about double.
We ended up having to borrow money from our families, which we hadn't planned on. Both of our families contributed, and we could not have had our day without them. And then they gave us the “loan” as a wedding present so we didn't start married life in debt! Who could ask for a better gift?
Another big challenge was in my head. My dad died when I was 15, and I'd never been able to picture my day without him there. My big challenge was to try and not think about him not being there, but to think how lucky I am that my other dad (my stepdad who raised me since I was very little) has never treated me like anything other than his daughter. He was able to be there with me, walk me down the aisle, dance with me, and everything else that my biological dad would have been able to do.
My favorite moment: On the way from the ceremony to the photo location, we stopped to see my grandmother at the cemetery, who died just before I met Jarrod. One of our last conversations was about whether I had met anyone yet, and that one day soon, the right man would come along. Within a few weeks, I had met Jarrod, and I owe it all to my Baba and wanted her to be part of our day, if only for five minutes.
Another favorite moment was when we arrived early to the reception and played “I Spy” with our wedding party while we waited.
My funniest moment: We got everyone to pick two songs to go on the playlist for the night with their RSVP. My first dance ended up being with one of my gay friends to “(I've Had) The Time of My Life.” As I ran onto the dance floor, I yelled back to my hubby “Sorry babe! You're not getting the first dance,” much to my mum's horror. It was something that was truly me, as I'm always known for ruining every romantic moment. I even ruined the proposal!
I also threw the bouquet well over the heads of all the women on the dance floor and into the tables behind it.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The weather was supposed to be pretty horrid and we didn't have an alternative venue or shelters available. Luckily, the weather was beautiful.
I also worried about my family mingling. My parents had a pretty ugly divorce when I was very young, and while they both happily remarried, the relationship between the families has never really got any better. In the end, I should have realised that they all respected me enough to be civil with each other and not have worried about it.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Weddings are a minefield, but at the end of the day, I'm actually glad that I stressed as much as I did. When I look back at our day, those are some of the little things that make me smile. All we wanted was to make people smile and have a great time.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Catering: It's Simply Delicious
- Dress: Mum's friend, Tina
- Flowers: Stirling Florist
- Photography: Pamela Graham, Tanya (Pamela's friend), Bonnie-Ja'el
- Awesome cufflinks: Benjamin Cufflinks
- Hair: Steph (most awesome hairdresser ever) at Underground Hair
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!