Why get married in Australia you ask??? Well, I wanted to go away to get married and had always been fascinated with Australia. I still remember being a little girl and making a collage of the Sydney skyline out of construction paper for school. Once we got engaged I read up on “destination weddings” and came across a place named Australian Dream Weddings which looked exactly like what I was looking for so we decided to get married and have our honeymoon in Australia. It seemed like a dream come true just to be able to go to Australia and getting married there was the cherry on top. We told our families and friends what we were doing, but we wanted it to be just us and I have no regrets. It was a great day just about the two of us.
We arrived in Sydney on a Sunday and got married on Tuesday. The night before the ceremony I was so nervous, but not for the reasons you would think. What I cared about most, besides making it legal, was to have great pictures. The morning of the wedding Chris woke up early, got ready and waited in the bar so the hair/make-up lady could do her magic on me in the room. I have to say, I was really happy with what she did with me! I met Chris in the lobby and out we went to the waiting limo. The driver was a hoot and actually stalled the limo leaving the hotel. I panicked only slightly, then found it pretty amusing. The wedding was to take place on a harbor beach called Balmoral and we got to drive across the harbor bridge to get there.
In attendance was Grant, the wedding official, as well as the wedding planner and photographer who acted as our witnesses. While we were waiting to start they told us stories of all the poisonous creatures they had come in contact with and like most Australians, brushed it off like it was no big deal (no worries mate…I was only paralyzed for three days).
The ceremony took place in a rotunda on the grass next to the beach. It was so beautiful. Chris and I held hands during our vows and he squeezed my hands extra hard each time I was about to cry. Crying would not have been good for the pictures. Balmoral is a public beach, but it was a Tuesday in spring and not terribly warm so there were not many people there. So to our surprise when in the middle of the ceremony two naked little girls ran behind me through the rotunda! Their mother was horrified, but we thought it was funny.
Our marriage certificate actually has a kangaroo and emu on it. Please forgive my nails, I thought I could get them done in Sydney, but then I did not remember until the day before the wedding and concierge tried and tried to find someone to do them, but everywhere was closed because it was a Monday.
After the ceremony it was time for cake and champagne! I was happy to have some cake since I had not yet eaten anything that day. During the planning stage, which all took place over email, when I asked what kind of cake came with the package, I was told “fruit cake”. For some reason I thought she meant white cake with a fruit filling….NOT. It was actually fruit cake like you would get at Christmas….and iced with royal icing!!! Royal icing is rock hard and it was impossible to cut it. We eventually hacked into it to find the fruit cake and I was a little disappointed.
The cake was the only thing about the entire wedding I would have changed. I just filled up on champagne instead. Now however I am feeling quite in vogue since Kate and William’s cake was fruit cake, which is a tradition in Britain and the top portion of their cake was saved for the Christening of their first child so Prince George was celebrated with fruit cake as well.
Then it was time for more pictures. Chris normally does not like having his picture taken, but he was great sport about it since he knew how important it was to me. The wedding planner put together a web site with some of the pictures so our family and friends could see the pictures right away and know that we were officially married.
We paid for a certain number of pictures to be taken since this was before the days of digital cameras and the photographer told us how to pose for all but one of them. For the last shot she let us pose however we wanted and we chose this one by the statue of Billy. I do not know where the ribbon around his neck came, but it matched my bouquet perfectly. Our driver told us the story of Billy. There was a street sweeper in the town that was greatly loved by everyone as was his dog, Billy, who accompanied him for 17 years. When Billy passed on the town put up this statue of him. This is my favorite picture because I think we finally relaxed.
I know this is not everyone’s idea of a wedding, but for Chris and me it was PERFECT (except for the cake, which we still laugh about now). We celebrated after the ceremony with a lunch of “bugs” and then had dinner at a fancy place with a view of the opera house.