Offbeat partner: Zoe, Lawyer/Go-go dancer
Offbeat partner: Dominic, Filmmaker
Date and location of wedding: Bride’s parent's hobby farm, 'Byfield Farm,' Mahogany Creek, Perth, Western Australia — December 29, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
I'm a ’60s loving retro go-go dancer who produces music events on the side and Dom is a filmmaker and musician. We're both (loveable) weirdos so we wanted our wedding to truly reflect who we were. My favourite highlights that I think achieved this were: my 5m maypole (built by amazing friends), our rock-paper-scissor vows, our pirate celebrant (also a best friend), the giant Soul Train dance line we had with all 200 guests coming down in pairs, our very silly first dance to Marvin Gaye's “Let's Get It On,” my dancing down the aisle to “Ain't No Mountain High Enough,” my four wardrobe changes (and killer headpiece), our gong for speeches, the amazing lighting Dom's film crews rigged around my parents' beautiful property, and so much more.
Tell us about the ceremony:
My fave part! I had four bridesmaids, a bro-maid, and a Maid of Honour, and Dom had two groomsmen and two best men. Our niece and nephew and my MoH's baby girl were our ring bearer and flowers girls, and my older nieces handed out ribbons and bubbles prior to the ceremony. Held in the leafy garden of my parents’ home, under an arch they built for us; I wrote the ceremony and Mick, our celebrant, absolutely nailed the tone. He also dressed as a pirate which I originally asked for as a joke, but became more attached to the idea as time went on (a running theme!).
We started with an acknowledgement of country which was important to Dom and I, to recognise the strength and resilience of the traditional owners of the land. We did rock-paper-scissors to determine who read their vows first — which turned into the crowd laughing along as we tied three rounds until I won. Marriage equality had just been legalised in Australia, which led to a cheer from everyone when our celebrant read the new words of the monitum.
One of my bridesmaids read 'On Marriage' (The Prophet), followed by a less serious reading by my Bro-Maid from Rick & Morty. We had a Scottish handfasting ceremony, partly as my dad is Scottish, and partly as I lose things so we joked that we needed double symbolism for when I inevitably lost my ring. Our personal vows were short and sweet. I woke up and wrote mine that morning. Dom's started "I've loved Zoe since the first moment she punched me in the face." I wore dresses #1 & #2 for the ceremony.
Tell us about your reception:
Our reception actually started pre-ceremony, with everyone arriving and the bar open as they set up tents in the bottom paddock. After the ceremony, everyone headed to the top paddock where we had long tables made from pallets, a bar from my parents leadlight shed, and a giant dance floor we'd built into my Mum's horse arena.
Dessert was already out as I believe in eating desserts first. This included artisan paletas and a donut wall. We had four DJs in all, mostly playing vinyl records, and a large live band "Randa and the Soul Kingdom" which included a horn section. Our first dance was very silly, (Marvin Gaye's “Let's Get It On”), followed by 'Give Me the Right' (an old calypso song).
At some stage, my bridesmaids, who were also members of my ’60s go-go dance troupe, The Beehives, performed to “Proud Mary” with the band, and did a specially choreographed dance to Dom to "Do You Love Me" by the Contours. We also had everyone form two lines at the height of the band's set and pairs Soul Trained down the aisle. There were some pretty mad dance moves.
We had lamb spit/roast gravy rolls, and paella for food. We ran out of food! We had dedicated bar staff but I saw friends and family do bar takeovers, too. My father-in-law was joyfully pulling drinks at about 3am. We had a lot of wine (it all went), champagne (all gone), and both easy drinking and craft beers (very gone). We had speeches (which included a giant gong in case we wanted to gong anything out). I retired at about 5am. I wore dresses #3 & #4 for the reception.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Meep. The 'vibe' of the thing is so much more important than the small details (even some of the big details — like we RAN OUT OF FOOD, and people still had a great time).
Especially for DIY weddings, it's important not just for you to set the time after which you stop setting up and start being the bride, but the same goes for other key people. In my case, my mum — it was time for her to stop getting things ready and just enjoy being the Mother of the Bride. Trust your gut! Multiple food vendors told me I was ordering too much food. So I ordered less and we ran out.
People suck at RSVPing — remember this when you're no longer the bride and RSVP as a guest to other people's weddings! At the end of it, it's just one day (or two days in our case). Enjoy it and be in the moment, but remember, it's not the end of the world. Don't put too much pressure on it.
BRIDE’S DRESSES: Vows dress (dress #1): Jarlo London, ASOS • Headpiece: Miss G Designs • Photos/reception dinner dress (dress#2): Chotronette • Dance time dress (dress#3): ASOS • Rest of the evening dress (dress#4): Chotronette • Bridesmaids dresses: ASOS • Bride’s hair and makeup: Beauty by Bobbi Jo • Flowers: Tanglewood Farm • Main photographer: Matsu Photos • Girls getting ready photos: Giselle Natassia • Guys getting ready photos: AJ Coultier • Celebrant: Mick Moroz • Band: Randa and the Soul Kingdom • DJs: Razor Jack, Lenny Rudeberg (Funk Club House DJs), Diger Rokwell & John MacLiver • Food: Soul Provider Paella • Booze: Mountain Goat Beer • Sound: Lewis Ryan • Lighting: Eduardo Martinez (Sam Winzar, Ben Berkhout & Eamon Dimmitt) • Maypole: Ash & Jason