After four years as friends in different states and three and a bit years as lovers and partners living together, the day finally arrived when K and I were to be married. We’d already had an unofficial ceremony and banquet in China in April 2014, but this was the real deal.
The lead-up to the wedding was, I think, relatively stress-free. Every time someone asked me how the wedding planning was going, I would shrug and say “Fine. It’s pretty much all sorted.” That largely came down to our decision to not get bogged down in the little details and to focus on the big picture. Would it affect our vows? Will it affect our enjoyment of the day? Will it cause us stress on the day? If it didn’t do any of the above, then we simply let it slide.
For instance, cake toppers. We spent a few days discussing what kind of figurines we wanted on the top of our multiple cakes, before we realised that we were spending too much time discussing something that nobody ever remembers or cares about. So that fell by the wayside, and we didn’t even bother having them in the end.
This relaxed approach certainly made the planning a lot easier, especially as we were determined to do everything ourselves, together. There were to be no Bride-zilla moments as all decisions were made jointly!
I spent the night before the wedding at an apartment in Quest World Square (K and his best man were in Rydges World Square). As much as I wanted to claim that I wasn’t nervous in the leadup to the wedding, I have to confess that I woke up around 4.30am, and was unable to get back to sleep as my mind was racing a mile a minute! Luckily I had arranged to meet up with my closest girl friends from high school, all of whom had flown up from Melbourne for the wedding, for a leisurely breakfast where I could relax before I went back to Quest to have my hair and makeup done.
My friend Amanda, a professional event photographer, flew in that morning to shoot our whole wedding after catching the red-eye from Auckland to Sydney. I can’t thank her enough for her generosity and professionalism, capturing different moment and elements of our wedding day for posterity.
My cousin Charlene, my maid-of-honour, arrived at the Quest to start getting ready as well. She had cut short an internship in South Africa in order to return to Australia for my wedding. Having grown up together as the only two branches of our family to immigrate to Australia, she is more like a sister than a cousin to me – when it came to deciding who I would ask to be my maid of honour, there was simply no question.
Michelle Mae of Mae You Be soon arrived to do our hair and makeup. When I first started looking for makeup artists, I wanted to find someone with experience working with Asian features, as well as someone who could help me achieve a classic, somewhat retro kind of look. In the trial that we did in the few weeks before the wedding, Michelle helped me create a makeup look that was soft and muted on the eyes and cheeks, highlighting a bold red lip. My hair was done in a soft finger wave that finished in an side-up-do. She was an absolute professional, and really turned both my cousin and I out perfectly in the four hours before the wedding!
I was very very lucky to be gifted this beautiful “Bronwyn Marie” style Maggie Sottero wedding gown by the owners of Abbey Bridal. They are long-time patients of my father-in-law who is a GP, and once they heard that K was engaged, they offered a gown from their collection to his bride as their wedding gift to us. It was remarkably, remarkably generous of them, especially as they hadn’t even met me at that point! It really speaks to the strong relationships that my father-in-law is able to build with his patients, that they felt moved to offer this as a gift to K and I.
I spent a long session in the bridal salon early in 2014 with my mother-in-law, trying on dress after dress. Having gone in with an idea of a princess-like ballgown with a full skirt, I slowly began to realise after multiple fittings that I was more suited to something simpler, without fifteen layers of tulle and a tight bodice. Amani from Abbey Bridal who looked after me, steered me towards this beautiful “Bronwyn Marie” gown, which was the perfect choice. With two separate layers, a full back and short cap sleeves, the gown allowed me to wear my own bra rather than being confined by a corset, and most importantly, was light enough to not stifle me in the heat of November.
It really was the perfect dress, and I can’t thank Abbey Bridal enough for what they did for me!
K and his best man arrived at our ceremony venue, the Hall of Longevity in the Chinese Garden of Friendship, to start greeting guests. Backdropped by their remarkable dragon sculpture wall, the venue was the perfect nod to the Chinese heritage that we both share.
The boys are wearing suits by Uberstone, purchased in the January sales early in 2014 from David Jones. Shirts and ties are both from Declic. Cufflinks featured red Lego bricks, purchased from Etsy store Poppy and Willow.
My bouquet was purchased from Etsy store Paper Vintage Love. I knew I didn’t want to have fresh flowers for the wedding because of the additional hassle that it involves (pickup/delivery of fresh blooms on the day etc), and I also wanted to be able to keep my bouquet as a memento of my wedding day as well. The roses that made up my bouquet were made of red card, and pages from a Harry Potter book – I wanted to incorporate some of my favourite things into the day!
Before we knew it, the music started for our walk down the aisle. K and I chose The Beatles “All You Need Is Love” as a cheery and classic song that we thought would work well especially as we didn’t want to play the traditional wedding march. It wasn’t until later that my brother reminded me that the wedding scene in Love, Actually is set to “All You Need Is Love”…maybe my subconscious made that decision on my behalf?
I debated for a long time about whether or not I wanted my father to walk me down the aisle. For the longest time, I disagreed with the whole concept of being “given away”, as quite frankly, I’m not property to be handed over from one man to another. I’m a woman, making my own independent choice, to marry a man of my choosing.
Things changed when my mother passed away in 2013. Since then, I’d become a lot closer to my father – I was flying home to Melbourne more often to spend time with him so he wouldn’t be alone, and we spoke on the phone every few days. Our relationship had changed, and given that my mother wouldn’t be there on my wedding day, I wanted my father there with me every step of the way.
The decision was made. I walked down the aisle with my father, and I’m glad that I made that choice, as I sure needed that steady arm to hold on to to help calm my nerves as I stepped into the hall and had eighty people turn to stare at me!
Our celebrant was my colleague, Louise Keys. We wanted a celebrant who knew us, and who would be ready to make our wedding ceremony the fun celebration of our love that we wanted it to be. From the very beginning, she made it really easy for us to customise and change elements of our ceremony to reflect who we are as individuals – and didn’t blink an eye when we put in a million pop culture references into our ceremony!
Family and friends, good afternoon and welcome to the beautiful Chinese Gardens to celebrate a very special occasion – the marriage of Amanda and Kieran.
Thank you all of you who have travelled to be here today including a third of the guests who are from Melbourne, as well as those of you from overseas. Today we stand together to witness the commitment that these two cool cats are about to make to each other and to wish them every happiness in their life together.
In the words of astute social commentator Jane Austen, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” In this case, at least two of those three things are true.
Amanda and Kieran first met after being introduced by mutual friend Michael in 2007 but were living in different cities at the time. This didn’t stop ‘sparks from flying’ every time they met and their relationship grew over time with lots of late night long-distance phone calls. Amanda moved to Sydney in 2011 and within four days’ time it was ‘Facebook official’ – which is of course, the only real way to know that it’s a real relationship!
Anyone who knows them knows that these are two people with a love of food, fun, adventure and a unique outlook on life. They have travelled together around Asia and within Australia, and have big plans for world domination…or at the very least, travelling the world. They enjoy the simple pleasures of spending time with each other relaxing, reading, and marathoning six seasons and a movie of a TV show in a single weekend. When you can sit in silence with someone for hours on end you know that you are with your true companion.
Amanda and Kieran already share a life of fun, friendship and laughter and it is with great pleasure that we can share the next step in their journey together.
I will now ask Amanda and Kieran: Are you prepared to make this commitment to each other here today?
Amanda and Kieran, you have chosen to become partners in life and it is now my honour and my privilege to invite you to exchange your marriage vows so please face each other and hold hands as you now go hand in hand to your new life together.
Amanda, I promise to laugh at all of your terrible puns, to chauffeur you to boy band concerts, to let you have most of the doona at night and to bring you tea refills whenever you desire. But most of all, I promise to be with you through thick and thin, to always be honest with you, to always try and make you laugh, to forge a future with you, to never take our relationship for granted and to love you, forever and always.
Kieran, I promise to pay attention when you start talking about the Reddit front page, to try all your random experiments in the kitchen no matter how questionable, to bring my own packet of tissues to the movies so I stop using your shirt sleeve to dry my tears, and to make you shake your head with my punny jokes. Most of all, I promise to be by your side through any adversity, to never go to bed angry, to love and to cherish you and our relationship, to build our future together, and to be your supportive partner in life, forever and always.
Amanda and Kieran will now express their love for one another by the exchanging of rings. These rings are a symbol of their love and lifelong commitment to each other.
Kieran, please take Amanda’s left hand – no, her OTHER left hand – and place the ring onto her finger, symbolising your commitment to her.
Amanda, please take Kieran’s left hand and place the ring onto his finger, symbolising your commitment to him.
The rings you have now exchanged form part of the vows you have made to each other. They symbolise your commitment to share your life in partnership. From this time on, when you look at the ring now placed on your finger, may you remember these moments and cherish the day that you stood in front of each other and became lifelong partners in crime.
Family and friends, Amanda and Kieran have declared before all of us that they will share their life together, symbolising this with the joining of hands, the taking of vows and the exchanging of rings.
And so it is with very great pleasure that I now, with the powers vested in me by the laws of this country as your celebrant, I pronounce you partners in life, till death or zombie virus infection do you part.
YOU MAY NOW SNOG AWAY!!
We took the snogging a bit too seriously and had to have a quick touch-up to tidy up the smudged lipstick on both our faces!
We took a quick interval to sign certificates and forms, to make our wedding official! My younger brother Jackie, and K’s younger brother Patrick were our witnesses.
Today Amanda and Kieran begin their married life together, to continue growing on the foundation that they have already begun to build. Some last advice for them from poet Ogden Nash:
“To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it
Whenever you’re right, shut up”
It is now with the greatest of pleasure that I would like to introduce our newly hitched couple – Amanda and Kieran!
To share in this special ceremony, declaring our love for each other in front of our family and friends…it was truly breathtaking. It feels almost like a cliche to say that it was the best day of my life…but it truly was.
We then took the opportunity to take some photos before we moved on from the Chinese Gardens to the reception. First, a photo with K’s family.
And a photo with my family, and photos with all our friends as well!
And of course, we just had to take advantage of the beautiful Chinese Gardens, and went around to take a number of photos together.
And just like that…we were married!
Next Up: Our Wedding Reception at the Ivy Sunroom!