Natalie & Mark’s stress-free wedding in the Australian heat

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 | Photography by Kim Cartmell

The Offbeat Bride: Natalie, Registered Nurse (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Mark, Swim Instructor and Triathlon Coach

Date and location of wedding: Ewing Uniting Church, Malvern and RACV Country Club in Healesville, Victoria, Australia — March 9th, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We both had things that were important to us. Mark wanted to be married in a church of his family's faith by the ministers he has known since he was younger, runners for the first dance, and trying to minimise the bird decor. I wanted something other than a giant white frock, no weight loss insanity, and awesome food. For everything else, we let people run with it. After looking at what our vendors did, I remain convinced it was the right move.


After a few hiccups at the beginning of our wedding planning, Mark and I made the decision that this wedding was going to be as stress-free as we could possibly make it. As a control-freak by nature, this was a steep learning curve for me, but has actually made life overall a lot easier to deal with. If I can't control it, I don't dwell on it.


Tell us about the ceremony:
Given that we were married in a Uniting Church, we went with a pretty standard religious ceremony, but picked readings and hymns that we liked. We worded our vows to reflect what we wanted for our marriage (none of this “obey” business). Given that this was something that was important to Mark, I took a back seat, unless something made me really uncomfortable. My brother gave a secular reading, and Mark's brother gave a reading from Ruth (1:16-17) that was a reflection of how we want our relationship to be.



Our biggest challenge:
I come from a family of curvy women, and dieting and weight loss were always a focus when I was growing up. I've been at the point where I'm confident and happy with how I look for a long time. The focus for me is getting my body fit so that it can do what I want it to (come at me, five-day hike!), regardless of what my weight does in the mean time.

At the beginning of wedding planning, the inevitable “how much weight are you going to lose for your wedding” discussions came up. It took a very frank conversation about how those comments made me feel, and why I'll be getting married at whatever weight I am on the day, following a particularly embarrassing Facebook comment for the discussions to end. Now this is no longer a topic of conversation, and my relationships are a lot better because of it.


My favorite moment:
My dad had said before the wedding that he didn't want to make a speech. He's a quiet guy by nature, so I had been expecting that. Then he surprised us all by giving a heartfelt, off-the-cuff speech! I was also surprised that he had always had a song in mind for the father/daughter dance, too. SO MANY FEELS!



Chilling out for a picnic in the park for our photos was a genius idea, too. It was peaceful, I was smart enough to pack a cooler, and we got to chill out before heading to the reception. Kudos to our photographer, Kim Cartmell, for this suggestion.

My funniest moment:
We had some funny challenges: my cat ripped a hole in my veil, last-minute underwear reconsideration given the temperatures (thank you, Modcloth!), the car had to be changed the day before the wedding, as it wouldn't make it in the heat, the minister dropped the rings during the ceremony (cue mad fumbling trying to find them), the family candles refusing to light, etc. So many LOLs. Most of our wedding photos are of us laughing our heads off.



What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Learning to negotiate family dynamics, finding areas where your opinions differ, identifying what each of you considers important — wedding planning is just a rehearsal for marriage. We look at our marriage as two individuals who choose to go through life together. Knowing that we each have love and support from the other in whatever it is we're doing gives me a great deal of strength, and to let go of all the little things that I shouldn't be wasting my energy on.



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Comments on Natalie & Mark’s stress-free wedding in the Australian heat

  1. OHHEY! I know where that church is, and I had a look at the RACV country club! Hello, fellow Melbournite!

    I love the picnic idea, you all look so calm and happy.

  2. I looooove that picnic idea. Perf. We’re eloping in an arboretum in Boston, and I’m pretty sure this is gonna happen now.

    You’re gorgeous. You remind me of a very close friend whom I love dearly.

  3. You look absolutely gorgeous! That dress flatters your lovely curves beautifully. Most of all your beautiful smile is just contagious you look relaxed and enjoying your day congratulations 🙂

  4. Ooohhhh i know where that RACV club is…….my family comes from around there ? totally love your dress you look so good.

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