Most people in their thirties are either married or thinking about getting married. And, regardless of age, planning a wedding is a bit of a big deal. We were no different…except at the age of 35 we quit our London jobs, rented out our apartment, packed our bags, and set off on a travellers’ honeymoon of a lifetime. Oh, and yes, all of this was while planning our wedding. Here is how it all came together.
We first met working in a fine dining restaurant back home in Australia, and very soon figured out that we shared a passion for travel and for enjoying the good things in life. It turned out that the vivacious woman working behind the bar on my first shift, was even more up for squeezing the most out of life than I was.
Seven years later, on a weekender from our adopted home in London, we got engaged in a simple hotel in Reykjavik. Finally, three years after that, and at the end of a glorious, year-long honeymoon travelling from Antarctica to Honduras, we got around to tying the knot. By this time we had travelled to 72 different countries across all seven continents with 52 of those being as a couple. It is not surprising then that travelling played an important part in our wedding.
Several people doubted we would ever get married. The end result was well worth the wait though. We got hitched on a hot November afternoon at a country hall 45 minutes west of Byron Bay in northern New South Wales. We had 120 of our nearest and dearest representing five Australian states and ten different countries. There were watermelon and cucumber mojitos, G&T’s and boozie homemade lemonade to keep everyone well hydrated.
As we took a celebratory Prosecco toast, a lazy afternoon soundtrack kicked off with a few local lads playing the jazz flute and guitar. Big stainless steel, portable ovens were slow cooking lamb shoulders and whole snappers while the wait staff brought around canapés of spicy ceviche and rich beef empanadas. We even had a kookaburra watch over our entire ceremony from the top of the flower adorned arbor, just above our head. It was perfect! The only thing which could have made for a better day was if it was about twice as long.
Image by Mark O’Leary
Planning our wedding while backpacking through South and Central America was all part of the plan. Indeed, we pushed the wedding back by a year to ensure it would come at the end of our honeymoon (versus the start). We wanted the time to plan something special and for that special to come in part from the places we would visit and the people we would meet. And, looking back, we’re both pretty chuffed that is what we achieved.
From our menu to three wedding favours, Fi’s ring to her three outfit changes and a good bit of our decorations, travel inspired a lot of our wedding. The flavours and inspiration for our epic feasting menu came from our travels and was created by the Argentinean / Australian duo behind Francisco’s Table. Recipes from around the world filled our cook book wedding favour, while I sketched the recipe illustrations from the front deck of our beach cabin on the Corn Islands off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.
We surveyed the guests on our Galapagos Island cruise about the best design for our wedding invitation, while an earlier trip to Mexico inspired the bunting which adorned the hall. We found Fi’s 1932 antique wedding band in a little gallery in Venice, LA, her stunning skirt in Beverly Hills while her two other outfit changes and the groomsmen’s suits were tailored in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Finally, the ridiculously good Casa de Porco restaurant in Sao Paolo inspired the origami animals (i.e. the meat from our menu) which formed paper chandeliers dangling above the dining tables, and the dried lemon wheel and juniper garnishes which the super team from The Canavan served up with our G&Ts. The list could go on.
While planning one of the most expensive and stress inducing events of your life from grotty hostel rooms and sweaty chicken buses definitely has it’s challenges, it’s totally possible and at times actually quite fun. Sure, your venue manager might be a raving hippy who doesn’t believe in websites or even a mobile phone (as was the case with ours). Thankfully though, you will have the time to figure a way round it.
We found having a side project great to keep the brain from slipping into a booze fuelled stupor. We also found that discussing the finer points of invitation design with a United Nations of dirty backpackers to be surprising fruitful. Travelling on a budget also inspires a certain thriftiness in your wedding purchases which is great for keeping costs down.
If you do take off like us, you’re hopefully going to be travelling to some amazing, exotic and downright stunning places so make sure you don’t get lost in too much planning tedium. Lay on that white sandy beach and visit that ancient temple. Maybe just ensure you discuss napkin colour on the bus that gets you there.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Fi and Guy: such a beautiful wedding – inspired by your treasured memories of your wonderful travels!
About Guy: My wife and I love to travel, love to eat, and if possible do both at once. Fi is always up for experiencing everything that the world has to offer, is constantly thinking about where we can go next and may have a mild case of Fear of Missing Out or FOMO. I’m a huge proponent of sniffing out the tastiest food I can find and then cooking and eating as much of it as possible, as often as possible, in as many different places around the world as possible. We’re still travelling on our honeymoon of a lifetime, are currently in Latin America but will very soon be moving on to Africa. See our Compass & Ladle blog for travel tales, tips and recipes from our adventures.