The offbeat bride: Cali, Cultural Development Officer

Her offbeat partner: Richard, Architecht

Location & date of wedding: Rocky Point Island at Balmoral Beach, Sydney, Australia — October 16, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We dreamed up a ceremony that was true to us and created a celebration of creativity soul and love. Our families fully supported our authentic vision, and it was a real blessing!

The unique things included:

  • Although not planned, the groom helped dress the bride on the morning of our wedding.
  • The groom visiting the bride at the beautician half an hour before the wedding to check what he was supposed to do next.
  • All flowers, live music, cars were made possible through the heart, soul, and generosity of our dear family friends
  • We each designed our own outfits buying ready made pieces and creatively put it together
  • Our colours represented a union of heaven and earth, feminine and masculine i.e. red representing our connection to the earth, and purple representing our connection to the sky and black, just because it is more our taste than white .
  • I had five bridesmaids and two bridesmen and Richard had a tribe of best men…
    The Tibetan singing bowl
  • Both my mum and dad walked me into the ceremony.
  • Richard the groom played a tibetan singing bowl which called me into the ceremony.
  • We wrote the whole ceremony ourselves and included our very dearest friends in reading poems and quotes throughout the ceremony.
  • A very dear friend and teacher conducted a spiritual blessing before the celebrant married us, and asked all of our family and friends to send blessings- we truly felt blessed!
I love her dad's snazzy hat.

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was finding a celebrant who supported our unconventional ideas. My tip here is keep looking until you find someone who is as inspired about your ideas and you are!

The other challenge was creating a ceremony which truly reflected both of us, that was designed collaboratively, that we were both equally involved because this was really important to us (as explained above).

The final challenge was how to keep our wedding in budget. We overcame this by really looking at lots of options and exploring all possibilities and low cost options. We thought of some gorgeous ideas here, like a moonlit picnic wedding under the stars (we can save that for another celebration). My motto is if you can't afford it then be more creative about finding another option which realizes the essence of your idea. You know it usually ends up being far more original and creative than just going out and buying it.
We looked at all the resources we could muster through engaging friends and family with special talents like graphic design, photography, floristry, vintage cars etc … it really gave it much more heart and soul.

The gist is write a budget, look at what is a priority, what you can go without and seek the friends with skills who may be prepared to give you a special rate, and then regularly review the budget! It needs to be a living document not one that gets put in the draw.

My favorite moment: sharing our love for each other with the people we love!

My advice for offbeat brides: My tip is this, when you start creating your wedding go out and buy some butcher's paper, coloured pencils and crayons, then stick up a couple of sheets of butchers paper on a wall, where it can stay permanently for a few months — use this as a “collaborative idea board” and dream up your wedding together. It is an amazing process. Firstly, its a great way to see how you create together. Secondly, you get to truly grow and cultivate your ideas together. In our case we created a whole new concept in the process and threw away our original idea!

With our first idea to hire a hall and bring in catering we became quite stressed. At this point we reminded ourselves that we wanted it to be a celebration not an “event management” experience, so we pulled our ideas board down and started again with fresh sheets of butchers paper. We decided anything that caused stress was out and anything that created inspiration and joy was in. This next “dreaming up our wedding” caused our ideas to flow, we simplified everything and focused on fun and making things easy, and this time it came with-in budget.

Getting married is so sacred and special, keep it simple, it really doesn't need anything added!


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? On the day there will be disasters, whether it's a gust of wind, rain, sunshine or in my case my corset getting tangled when my mum and dear friend tried to do it up for me ten minutes before the wedding, or that so and so was late, something didn't have a button hole, we didn't have a bottle opener, etc. but we decided to let go and let love carry us, and you know it makes all the difference.

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Comments on Cali & Richard’s fun, free spirited, bohemian, vintage, moulin rouge wedding

  1. I’ve never seen red, purple and black before together, and It looks really pretty!!!! Nice ride too!

    • Virginia, the ever talented Bri did the flowers – she’s such a talent! I wanted free spirit ‘fresh’ flowers rather than contrived ones and found a picture online of bridesmaids with flowers of different types kept in their respective bunches but all in different shades of purple- Bri went to the flower markets at 6am the day of the wedding……she chose purple flowers of all types in season and kept them bunched together ie. orchids, lilacs, tulips etc. – I would definitely recommend doing it this way !!:)

  2. “Getting married is so sacred and special, keep it simple, it really doesn’t need anything added!” = Genius!

    Awesome and wonderful. Congrats!

  3. I love the stress-elimination, only-inspiration strategy. I use that for throwing parties now and it works really well, so will definitely do so for my wedding!

  4. This wedding is fantastic, and the photography is AMAZING! The colours are so dramatic, it’s just beautiful

  5. omg! i am dying over how gorgeous her hair is! i hardly ever do my hair, even on special occassions and my FH is always talking about how he loves it done up. shame on me for not humoring him more often, this gives me inspiration to do it for him in a simple, elegant style.

    • wow !!! thanks!!!! you know what my tip is….I had my hair styled by Zelco at Ambo Ars with just a curling wand and minimal product….I wore my hair styled for the ceremony…then guess what – i let my hair down for the rest ! free spirited, natural and it was perfect for the photo’s and keeping it real 🙂

  6. I love how the groom looks like he’s having as much fun as everyone else. It seems to me, the groom always has to look serious in professional wedding photos. But everyone looks like they’re having a good time, groom included! Warms my heart. 🙂 Beautiful wedding!

  7. That shot of the back of the bride looking out over the water is stunning – what a beautiful dress and veil! I love, love, love this wedding!

  8. These are lovely photos!!! It’s fantastic to have the backgrounds b/w and accents in vivid color….amazing and beautiful.

    • Thanks for your lovely comments Oriah, yes that was the wonderful Wendy McDougall with the photography – she is a true artist.

  9. wow, this wedding looked absolutely amazing!! just my style. i love the brides outfit and flowers!!! <3

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