If you liked that rainbow ribbon veil that Ariel showed us last week, or if you died over that gorgeous waterfall shot, then you're in luck! Here's more drool worthy photos and the rest of Theresa & Andy's wedding story! -Coco
The offbeat bride: Theresa, anthropology lecturer (and OBT member)
Her offbeat partner: Andy, marine biology PhD student
Location & date of wedding: Daintree Eco Lodge, North Queensland, Australia — June 4th, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: Andy and I made sure to have our wedding reflect us. As an anthropologist, I kind of get my geek on about rituals, so we had thought carefully about every part of the traditional wedding ritual so that we could keep what we liked, tweak what we could to suit us, and get rid of anything we found really annoying.
What this ended up turning into was a small ceremony in the rainforest with our parents and one brother (other siblings couldn't make the trip), followed by a cruise on the Daintree River which is known for its population of saltwater crocs. The boat we went on, the Solar Whisper, runs on a solar-powered battery. Afterwards, we all came back to the Eco Lodge for a delicious vegan meal.
Andy and I wrote the ceremony, which included a non-pagan handfasting, a spiel on how awesome titanium is, and a reading of ‘A lovely love story‘ by Edward Monkton. We hung out before the ceremony and then walked in together. We ended up DIY-ing a lot more details than we had originally planned to do. The day after the wedding we spent time with our families, since they had all come so far to see us (my parents from the US, Andy's parents from NSW).
Tell us about the ceremony: At the start, our celebrant read out some of the really nice things our families had written about our relationship last year for my permanent residency application. I think that really drew them in so that everyone felt like part of the ceremony from the start. Andy's brother Michael read us all “A lovely love story” by Edward Monkton and gave out a big “Rawr” at the end.
My favourite part of the ceremony, though, was probably the handfasting. Andy and I decided that we aren't such huge fans of “unity candles” and other unity ceremonies. I'm an individual, damn it! The symbolism of two people being bound together, though, was really beautiful. Andy spends a few months every year in Papua New Guinea for research, so he had his boat driver over there make a string of kina, or shell money. This is usually given to the bride's family before a wedding, but instead we used it as the cord binding us together.
Our biggest challenge: Indecision. Andy and I are both ridiculously indecisive, and deciding on what we were doing for our wedding took about six months. Luckily we were engaged for two years, so we had plenty of time to change our minds (over and over again).
The other challenge was last-minute changes to the plan. Our long engagement gave us the chance to feel like every minor detail was sorted, but we had a few unforeseeable problems. For instance, Andy's dad found out a few weeks before the wedding that he needed hip replacement surgery — five days after the ceremony. Andy's brother's flight was cancelled so he ended up arriving an hour before the ceremony. We realised it was all out of our hands and everything would work itself out so we didn't stress too much.
My favorite moment: The ceremony was overall pretty important because Andy and I had spent a fair bit of time writing it.
It was also just really lovely to have our family members there with us. We had originally planned on eloping. I'm from the US, and Andy is from New South Wales. Our families are on different continents, and our friends are scattered around the world. North Queensland, where we live, is really far away, but we couldn't imagine getting married anywhere else. We thought the logistics of getting everyone in the same place would be a nightmare, so we planned to just be by ourselves in the rainforest. In the end, we realised our families would love to be there, and since our only objection to them coming was that it would be stressful, we decided to invite our parents and siblings. When it came down to it, I'm really glad we did because it was great to spend that day with them.
My funniest moment: After our hands were tied together, the celebrant had a bit of reading about marriage. But I couldn't really focus on what she was saying because there were mosquitoes buzzing around right in front of Andy's face. I nearly slipped my hand out of the ties to shoo them away, but just laughed all the way through it instead.
My advice for offbeat brides: Don't completely discount package deals. We compared the costs of organising things ourselves with some of the deals in the Daintree area, and found that it was more economical (and less stressful) to let someone else sort the details for us. For less than $3000 we got three nights of (super expensive) accommodation, our whole ceremony, a bouquet and buttonhole, sparkling wine for toasting, and dinner for everyone. And the resort we settled on matched our values — the Daintree Eco Lodge is eco certified and has a real respect for the local Indigenous culture, working in partnership with the community. Its restaurant features local ingredients, especially Australian natives. And most importantly, they didn't make a big fuss out of anything, which completely suited our goal of a stress-free day.
Also, be willing to compromise on little things (but never compromise your overall vision). Inviting our parents was something we decided to give in on, because their happiness was worth our slight inconvenience.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Accomodation, Ceremony, and Dinner: Daintree Eco Lodge
- Celebrant: Natasha Kollosche
- Dress: handmade for me by my good friend Ruth Groundwater
- Photography: Ali George from catseye productions
- Hair & makeup: Mermaid's Wave
- Daintree River Cruise: Solar Whisper
- Cake topper: Etsy seller byapryl
- Everything else was made by us — we did the invitations, my ribbon veil, our mothers' fascinators, our fathers' buttonholes, the cake, and the cake plate. A long engagement = lots of crafty time!
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!