Sarah & Adam's chilled out, nature-bound Sunday wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

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The offbeat bride: Sarah, OBT Member

Her offbeat partner: Adam

Location & date of wedding: Walkabout Creek, The Gap AU — March 28, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We worked out our basics (say "I do" and party), and added to it from there. We slept together the night before, and got ready together in the morning. Adam arrived at the ceremony in his best mate's Volvo 850R, while Sarah arrived in Adam's fathers old-school Jaguar. Our photographer is also one of our best friends, and was a witness. Our housemate played the guitar before the ceremony, and both of Sarah's parents walked her down the aisle. There were no attendants. Sarah wore a silver bridesmaid's dress, and held a bouquet arranged by Adam. Adam wore a sweet waistcoat, and had his back-length hair held back in french braids.

They borrowed Sarah's parents words for the ring ceremony

Our reception followed immediately afterwards at the adjoining wildlife centre. The balconies looked over a massive aviary, the paddymelon enclosure and the rainforest; and it was set up above the reptile house. We had a coeliac and veg*n-friendly cocktail-style reception, and a stand of multicoloured party cakes in lieu of wedding cake. Decorations were kept to a minimum so as not to take away from the beautiful surroundings. There was no dancefloor, and the music playlist was arranged by Sarah and played on iPod – including tracks from some of our favourite bands: Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Matthews Band and The Fumes. We had an afterparty at a cocktail bar in Fortitude Valley.
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Tell us about your ceremony: You may remember my OMG OBT blog post a while back about including thoughts on marriage equality in our ceremony – we actually had a great twist in luck from our celebrant, who agreed to forgo the "man and woman" crap. She also agreed to read the below passage, which is a great sum of our views on marriage equality:

"Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support.

Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.

Cupcakes topped with candy!
It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a "civil right." Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience."

Sarah's sister chose a short passage from the Sanskrit for her reading, and Adam's brother decided on an abridged version of "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr Seuss. Our non-traditional vows included the line "let us be friends and lovers, and grow old disgracefully together"; and we used the same ring ceremony as Sarah's parents did.

Awesome feather headband!
Our biggest challenge: We really aimed to keep the wedding as low-fuss and casual as possible, so it was hard to find something we found truly challenging. I suppose the guest list was the hardest thing to figure out, and Adam and I had no idea of the etiquette on how to approach it. As it happens, we upset a few people, but compromise and diplomatic bargaining helped us through it. It really was a struggle to contain our guest list to an intimate ninety or so people, but in the end, the people that attended were the people that support our relationship and will continue to do so!

My favorite moment: Sarah: Borrowing my parents' words for the ring ceremony; including our younger siblings for readings during the ceremony (their choices); taking time out with Eileen and Jyames post-ceremony for photos, beers and a cigarette. Looking in Adam's eyes while our celebrant spoke and feeling starbursts of love and happiness exploding in my brain. Listening to the beautiful things our family and friends said to/about us during the speeches.
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Adam: The moment I saw Sarah at the start of the ceremony, and all through till the end of the ceremony; seeing the look of pride on my brothers faces before, during and after; seeing the people I love make the effort to come from so far away to share our day; watching the funny expressions on Sarah's face as said starbursts were exploding in her brain.

My advice for offbeat brides: Work out your must-haves and build on it. Don't take a traditional wedding arrangement and pick bits out – Adam and I found that by 'building' our wedding day, our communication strengthened, and we could analyse why everything we added was special to us.

When people tell you that you can't do something (and they will!), remove yourself from the conversation and remind yourself why you picked it in the first place. Then come back to OBB and re-read Ariel's article "Copy 'n' paste conflict resolution."

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? How to communicate and negotiate effectively – not only with each other, but with family and businesses. I also learnt just how lucky we are to be surrounded and supported by awesomely open-minded and willingly crazy family and friends!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. omg omg omg, you dress has a pattern that look (to me) like mermaid scales. *swoon* your red hair with the silver are perfect! and the aviary was a fantastic idea. thanks for posting!

  2. "Don't take a traditional wedding arrangement and pick bits out – Adam and I found that by 'building' our wedding day, our communication strengthened, and we could analyse why everything we added was special to us."

    Yes! Excellent advice! Andrew and I are building our day together, and it's a heck of a lot more fun and meaningful to decide on what you do want rather than just taking a traditional format and tearing apart what you don't – something about positive vs. negative thinking, I guess.

    On a details note? headband + boutonniere = love. You two are rocking the feathers.

    • I hadn't realised that Sarah had used our ring ceremony (from 24 years ago!). It was a special day but had I have known I would have listened more carefully!!

  3. Oh, this is so sweet and calm and lovely. And is that your mum walking you down the aisle? Is it wrong that my first thought was "hubba hubba"?

  4. I still feel so lucky to have been a part of this beautiful event. My partner and I both said it was the most fitting and perfect wedding we've ever attended as it was such a reflection of Sarah and Adam as a couple.

    Thanks so much for involving us, and congratulations of your stunning feature. It's well deserved. : )

  5. the passage you quoted – where is that passage from? it's beautiful, and it reminds me of a portion of goodrich v. department of public health (the massachusets, usa case that allowed for gay marriage).

  6. Hi Sarah

    Thank you so much for sharing! I love the look of your venue. I'm trying to find a beautiful foresty setting for my own wedding. Would you be willing to share with me where you were for your special day? IM/email me if you like.

    Cheers
    Erin. 🙂

    • Okay I had a blonde moment… I can see where you held the wedding at the top of this post! Yippee for that realisation! Cry for the fact it is in QLD.

      xx

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