Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I got married.

2016. Whatta year.

On the 5th of November, I got married. I really wanted to blog about it so I can properly account for the day - the emotions, the suspense, the excitement. I'm going to give it a good ol' crack now - 6 weeks later - because it really was an utterly special day for me. But I also want to say this here: It's not that much of a big deal. Please understand the distinction - for me, marriage itself and the lifelong commitment it entails is a big deal, and the decision to marry shouldn't be taken lightly. But the whole 'wedding' thing? Overrated.
I don't feel like a new woman. I don't feel extra special or superior to other unmarried couples. I quite like referring to Tim as 'my husband', because its a cute new name to call him and I do feel some small level of validation of our relationship for that. But I'm not thrilled about being married. I haven't practiced my new signature. I haven't been flashing my new surname around at all either. I feel, well, basically the same. Still completely happy, still completely in love, but also... the same.

I worry that women (young and older) place married life as the pinnacle of Life Goals. As much as we don't want to admit it, many of us are still idolising that ring, that dress, that magical day in our lives where we get to be treated like a princess. And like I said, it was an incredible day. Dare I say (gasp), one of the best days of my life. But it wasn't, and nor should it be treated as, the upmost achievement. We had a fun love party to celebrate our relationship. Why do so many of us get so crazy about it all?

Speaking of crazy.
Rewind to Friday the 4th of November, the night before the wedding, I was on the phone to Tim in a puddle of tears and panic. My skin was horrible. I wasn't going to be the radiant, glowing bride after all.
To many people who have never experienced acne, this could maybe seem like a total Diva moment. But I've had acne all through my adult life so far - from my late teens, until now at 28 years old. Until now, on my wedding day.
By the time the wedding rolled around, I had cut out gluten, dairy, sugar and a large amount of animal products from my diet. I was meditating and yoga-ing on the daily. I had spent hundreds, if not thousands, on facials and retinols and whatever other products I set my eyes on. I had spent so many years stressing about it all, but the last year was the worst. The year of being engaged - the wedding looming, the likelihood of being a pimply bride became much more of a reality.
And boy, was I a pimply bride. Probably the worst skin I'd had all year in fact. On my cheeks, my jawline - big, raised, painful cysts. I had lost the battle.
It kind of still breaks my heart thinking about it, because I definitely gave it a good go. But when my hormones, and course - stress, were running the show, I wasn't in for a chance.
I remember waking up on the morning of my wedding day, at 4:30am. I googled 'acne on my wedding day' and cried while reading stories of the brides who felt the same.
I cried while I did my morning yoga.
I felt low and flat and ugly. I was horrified that the day had arrived so quickly, and that I had to spend it in front of everyone, the centre of attention, when I felt like absolute crap.

It was a late ceremony, starting at 5pm, so waking up at 4:30am wasn't ideal. But, everyone was right - the day does bloody fly. After my morning meditation and yoga, I squeezed into bed with Mum and Dad, something I haven't done for about 18 years probably! I felt a little withdrawn and quiet, but they were there for me, and got me out of my head for a little bit. Before I knew it, Mel, Justyne and Julian had arrived. I dished out their gifts (satin dressing gowns, personalised candles, jewellery/cufflinks and a few other things) and then it was all about the hair and makeup. Luckily I had made up some healthy treats for us to snack on through the day. I was downing the peppermint and chamomile teas, feeling calmer and social, and happy to finally allow myself to let go and release the pain of the last night and morning.

I started to get a little stressed around 3ish - the photographers had arrived and hair was running a little over schedule, so it was a bit scary running behind, particularly when we had all day to be ready! But we got there. I had my quick snappy moment with Justyne ("Justyne! Stop drinking champagne and feed me!") but otherwise was fine. Propanolol, you are my hero.
In saying that, the drive there (in the last minute booked black Chrysler sedan) was a little slice of hell - that awful time before an event where you just want to get in there, because the suspense is the most painful part of all!

Pulling into Trofeo Estate, the building was as stunning as ever, contrasted against the snowy grey sky. I was disappointed to see the chairs weren't set up in the back - and had to quickly come to terms with having a indoor ceremony, our Plan B.
The weather was not bad - fresh and windy, but no rain. I am so glad that Tim chose to have the ceremony inside though - with nothing breaking the icy wind over the vineyards, it would have been a shivery and distracting ceremony.
And, inside was perfection. Our nearest and dearests huddled inside, the aisle carved out between the rows of black wooden chairs dotted with bouquets of rustic foliage. The high roof and exposed brick felt solid and nostalgic, a little taste of Nabilla on my wedding day. It was warm and cosy, with huge windows showing off the surrounding sky, land and vineyards.

The ceremony was exactly what we wanted. Relaxed, personal, interactive. Jacinta, Susan and Claire nailed their readings perfectly. Our celebrant, Felicity, constructed the entire ceremony just right - light hearted and meaningful with just the right amount of solemness required to serve as a reminder of the significance and importance of the day.
My parents - strong Catholics and not huge supporters of church-free weddings, adored her. Friends and family that probably just wanted to skip ahead to the food and drinks, adored her.
Then we kissed, signed some paper, and were married. You know the drill.

Photos were fun, and our photographers were so great at capturing candid, relaxed images. It didn't feel like a chore and we still fit all the desired shots in within our free time. We also snuck out a little bit later and grabbed some sunset shots too.

The reception was a hoot. Everyone was in a fantastic mood and were so keen to get up and have a good old dance. Even Jacinta, at 37 weeks pregnant, was up there doing the (longest ever) conga line with me. The band, despite our last minute doubts, we fantastic. A perfect mix of songs for the young and old. The speeches were perfect, of course Dad nailed his. Justyne opened up about me starting the process of egg donation, right before she fell pregnant with Maggie. That was a surprise - almost everyone there that night didn't know that about me, so that was so special for her to share that with everyone. The Best Men, Luke and Andy, did a fun combined speech, and Maureen (with Doug's antics on the side) was beautiful too.

We had so many compliments on the food, drink and service. Everyone seemed so happy with the venue, the band, the night in general. We had our best ever Family Jig (in my opinion) and the bouquet and garter toss was a lot of fun - particularly when Julian caught the garter. Take that, marriage inequality thugs. Love conquers.

And then it was all over. We hugged goodbye to everyone - most of us, by now, a little sweaty and worse for wear. We ran through the human archway built of our love ones, and we were on our way. Married, exhausted, and cheek-achingly happy. What a day.

I wanted to type all of this out, as something to reflect on in the years to follow. I love Tim so much, and I have for almost 9 years now. He is genuinely my rock and a solid, kind soul.
I didn't talk much about Bryan on the wedding day. Four years on, I still think of him every day. I could feel him everywhere on the day - in the smiles of everyone there, the captured sunset, the love that lifted the room. I learned to feel beauty - not in a tangible, superficial way. I felt beauty in the kindness of the souls in that room, the genuine authentic moments of true love expressed not only between husband and wife, but between friends, brothers and sisters. Bryan is everywhere now. He's in Maggie's twinkling bright eyes, Taylor's sense of humour and Noah's determination.

I celebrated our wedding day as a day of gaining, not a reflection of loss. I'm so grateful to able to share a truly heartfelt day with everyone.
I think that's the best thing about this wedding stuff - we dedicate the time to truly express our love and gratitude to all the main players in our lives. It's a celebration of life, of love, of the present moment.
We don't need to spend thousands of dollars to do this.
We can choose to do it any time - so lets.

I got married, and it was fantastic. Simultaneously, it's not a big deal.
That's just my thoughts. x

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