Surprisingly, getting married a few weeks after finishing a degree hasn’t made it onto the list of mistakes I’ve made. There were a few moments where it inched towards a bad idea but it never really made it there. The paragraphs following are about how The James & I did the whole wedding thing. There’s some drama (which The James insists was ‘no drama’ in his classic Jamesish voice) and much joy, there’s also a broken foot, an injured back and of course, a wedding. Here we go.
When we started to think that marriage was something we wanted to do, we chose to do it sooner rather than later. Our engagement was about six months long and both of us would say that it felt way too long. Goodnights became so much more painful because we just wanted to be in the same place for the night and say goodbye to goodbye, and temptation became stronger because the abstract idea of one day having sex became something with a date attached to it. We struggled with engagement because really, we wanted to skip the wedding and get to the marriage part.
As we began to plan we decided that there were two things we needed to happen on the day, and everything else was a negotiation without tension: we wanted the gospel to be preached, and we wanted to be married by the end of the day.
Our first step in organising was the invitations. We’ve both seen some pretty spectacular ones from friend’s weddings and The James has kept one that he loved and I’d planned on keeping some but they went missing somewhere among my moving about. We didn’t want to spend all our budget on something that would likely end up lost, yet we didn’t want it to be flimsy. Some Googling led me to VistaPrint and VistaPrint had some templates that I loved. I made a document with my favourites and sent it to James to choose one and, yes, he chose my favourite one without knowing it! We needed 250 and it looked to cost about $250, but a discount code provided by the magic of Google cost that cost down to $150, including some other invitations for a family lunch the day after the wedding.
Family lunch, you ask? We threw around the idea of having a reception but it was a lot of money to have one and we couldn’t see it feeding into either of our needs for the day (gospel preached, get married) so we did away with it and instead did an afternoon tea after the ceremony where there was cake and speeches and general merriment, including a jumping castle. The family lunch wasn’t a big deal in the end. We had both families to the Robson family and they provided everything with generosity I was blown away by. Moving on!
The next step was the dress. I’m happy to say that I never entered a brid
al store at all. The idea of it made me uncomfortable partially because I’m a plus sized girl and their sample sizes wouldn’t fit, and partially because I had a particular thing in mind and knew it would take a while to find a bridal store that would stock it. I saw a picture on a Google search for ‘tea length wedding dresses’ and I saw it. I saw the dress! But n where sold it except eBay. I’ve written before about how where we buy is part of our godly decision making and I couldn’t handle the thought of buying a dress for such an important day from somewhere I was 100% sure wasn’t ethical. Etsy provided what I needed though. There was a store that made dresses from
images, based in Canada. I messaged them the picture and they told me it could be made for $400AUD to my exact measurements, and so HollieXKate on Etsy provided me with a dress. But the wait for it was long and anxious and we’ll pick that up later.
Suits were easy enough and actually more expensive than my dress. We chose a gray suit that made The James’face light up when he looked in the mirror in it and my hands shake a little bit because he looked so damn good and some similar, but slightly different, suits for the groomsmen. They were from Tramps Wollongong, who I find myself eternally grateful to. Why? Later. I’ll tell you later.
Bridesmaids dresses were from my favourite clothing company – Black Milk Clothing. They’re ethically made and so damn lovely. We chose a black dress because we had other plans for colours and I already knew the dress was great. I own it, and so did one of the bridesmaids.
Now, as for colour, we chose a colour theme for the day solely based off of my hair. I intended on having blue, teal, purple and pink hair for the day and so each member of the bridal party got a colour. A groomsmen and a bridesmaid would wear matching Converse in one of the colours, the groomsmen had ties and cufflinks that matches and the bridesmaids (minus the male bridesmaid that I had who wore cufflinks and bowtie) wore petticoats under their dresses.
The other fun colourful touch was the flowers. With the help of friends, I made flowers out of old college books. It took forever but I have no regrets – they were spectacular and they’re still sitting pretty in our hallway.
It wasn’t traditional, I’m told, but it was joyful. We had so much fun seeing the colours come together.
The preacher for the day was The James’ friend and old youth minister, Matt, and the officiant was my minister, Brendan. They’re both clear speakers who love Jesus and it shows when they’re up the front. The booklets (which I made) had footnotes to explain some bits and pieces and the children’s booklets had clear messages too. The kid’s booklets were important because I serve as a children’s minister and it matters to be that children were included and welcome in the ceremony – and so they were. It was also cute as.
Three days before the wedding I got a phone call from the photographer, Rowen, who had
broken his foot. He did engagement photos with us to get us comfortable with him and suddenly he wasn’t even coming… But he’s amazing and had already organised for his brother David to come help on the day originally, so they simply called in a friend who helped out too. I cried about the change. I was anxious about photos and was dreading them. I’d at least had the comfort of knowing the photographer but suddenly I didn’t and it was scary all over again.
The day before the wedding there was a gang of us at the church setting up. There were hundreds of balloons, lots of tulle, a cake to assemble (because why pay money for someone to make your cake when you can do it?), and a million little details to sort out but everything was set. Then… the MC for the reception, one of my favourite humans, called and informed me that he’d hurt his back. I was gutted. Not because he couldn’t MC, but he wouldn’t be there.
That night we settled down in the apartment. The James was about to leave to go stay at his best man’s place for the night and he was casually collecting the suits. He counted off the four groomsmen’s suits and then the male bridesmaid’s… but one suit was missing. His. We tore apart the wardrobes to no avail. It was 5:30pm on a Friday night and the wedding was 10am the next day and the groom had no suit. Alyssa, a bridesmaid who held her composure whilst I freaked out, called the suit store – the aforementioned Tramps Wollongong – where someone miraculously answered. The store was closed and she was the only person left, and she didn’t work in the suit department… but she heard the story and off she went to check for the suit.
Yep. James’ suit was in Wollongong, an hour’s drive away from Earlwood. The girl needed to leave the store soon but James called a friend and asked him to go get it. His friend rushed over and picked up James’ suit while I wept a comical amount from both fear and relief. ‘No dramas’, The James says. Drama, indeed.
The next morning my alarm went off at 4:45am and I snoozed it until 5:15am because no one deserves to suffer that much. My friend Lina showed up and we got to work on hair and make up after indulging in tea and french toast with bacon and maple syrup (I have good life priorities). At about 8:30 we had some photographer friends, who managed to ease my nerves easily. David walked in and laughed immediately. He had been with the groomsmen and liked the small bits of colour they had going on, but suddenly he understood that this was to be an impressively bright day. We finished hair and make up and I donned a dramatic and fun cloak to cover my dress for the walk to church.
The ceremony was great. The gospel was so clear in the words and the prayers and I got to see a little whisper of God’s love for me as James looked at me when I walked down the aisle. My friend Shane walked me down the aisle, and I’m honoured that he was willing to do it. He made it a much easier walk. The rest of the morning is a blur, and the afternoon was full of photos. We finished the day with dinner at a bowling alley at Darling Harbour in our wedding gear, with just the bridal party. It was perfect. Beer and pizza is good celebratory food.
And so, the wedding is over and the fun bit has begun. The gospel was preached again and again and we were married by the end of the day! Goals met. Married life will likely become a new topic for me to write about as we make mistakes and learn from them and discover new joys, but for now… here’s a fun list and some photos to go with.