“Should we have an Engagement Party? It has been over a year since we got engaged…”
I think we said this to each other a dozen times, it was on and then it was off and then finally we decided to ignore ‘engagement party etiquette’ and throw a party, as 2014 was a pretty big year for us. You see, not only did we get engaged (06/01/2014), we also bought our first house, I started full-time work, plus I also decided to train for a 1/2 Ironman, all while managing the demands of two kids under two, life was sure busy! By the end of 2014 we were ready to do something for us.
Within a short space of time we found a venue – The Rose Diner and Bar, we asked a work colleague (Mark Tompkins – Art Director at Huckleberry Agency.) to come up with a design for our eInvite and finally we enlisted a stylist (Kathleen from Wedding Dayz) to help us out with the ‘pretty things’ which Nick and I are not too good with, nor do we have the time to learn!
Soon enough the date was set (10/01/2015), the canapémenu and drinks organised and the styling was left in Kathleen’s capable hands, all that we had to do was to arrange some music, find a killer engagement party dress and to find a babysitter for the night (thanks Mum!).
One year and four days after Nick proposed, we kissed our kids goodnight, said ‘thanks a million’ to my mum and walked/strutted down Bay Street Port Melbourne to our Engagement Party Venue. What we saw when we arrived was simply stunning. Beautiful arrangements of flowers, candles, glass hearts hanging from the ceiling and a welcoming table that made you say “Wow.”
Once our guests arrived the night flew by quickly! The drinks went down a treat and so did the food (which we saw very little of as we were too busy talking to everyone, but we heard from our guests that it was very tasty!). As the night progressed a few guests (including ourselves) decided to have a little dance, it was after our little spin on the dance floor when I realised that we really do need dance lessons before our big day (recommendations are welcome!)
After an off-the-cuff thank you speech from Nick and I, mini sorbets were served and then it was time to head home. We would like to thank all our family and friends for making our night a memorable one and we simply can not wait to do it all again in a years time!! #NjKjWed16
Our (belated) engagement party was a success thanks to these awesome people:
Images by Peter Krotiris – Best Man and pretty handy with the camera
Ms Gingham says: A beautiful night! Congratulations Kate and Nick!
Kate says: Love training for triathlons, living close to the beach & going to the South Melbourne market with my family every weekend.
Before Tinder there was Compare Hotness on Facebook. Several times I clicked that this man in a suit was hotter before I noticed he had a very similar surname to me – just 1 letter difference. Even more coincidental, his name was Jon Gardiner and my grandfather and uncle are both John Gardner’s. We started chatting, jokingly calling each other hubby and wifey and began getting to know each other via Compare Hotness.
Six months later we met in person when he was on holidays in Brisbane (from Sydney). That night when I went to bed I distinctly remember having a moment when I thought to myself “remember this night, this is the man I will marry”. Since then we have been in a long distance relationship for 25 months, lived in Sydney together with his mum for 18 months, lived in Brisbane with my parents for 12 months and then bought our own home in December 2013. We’d been together 5 1/2 years when he proposed on 21 November 2014.
About the proposal:
Jon graduated from The QLD Corrective Services Academy on 21st November 2014 and I attended to watch him graduate as an officer. After the graduation he told me that his class was coming back into the gymnasium for a class photo and a hat toss.
Since I’m a photographer, he asked me to stand on the stage and photograph it. He said that there would be 3 beats of the drum and they would throw their hats. Instead, to each beat of the drum, a hat was revealed with another letter spelling out “Will You Marry Me Nat?”. He then marched toward me and took me to the centre of the room. With my parents, his parents, my sister, his fellow officers and their families watching, he got down on one knee and proposed.
He had bought the most stunning ring that he had helped design from the pictures I had sent him. He picked a stunning colourless white diamond that shines as brightly as my love for him.
Jon had always said he was going to propose when I least expected it… And I definitely did not expect it on his graduation day!!!
In the 5.5 years we had been together I had (not so subtly) dropped hints about the proposal. I had gushed about how amazing a public, unexpected proposal would be and how wonderful it would be to have a photographer capture it. I never expected that he would get ME to photograph my own proposal. As well as that, he had the Corrective Services photographer photograph it. And it was very public!
My sister captured the video of the proposal:
The evening of the proposal, I was in wedding planning mode – within two weeks the wedding was planned! Now the long wait until July…
Ms Gingham says: Congratulations Nat! How amazing that you have your proposal caught on film for you to show future generations! I can’t wait to hear more about the planning and the wedding!
Nat says: “We have planned a country DIY wedding at beautiful Branell Homestead in Laidley with some amazing vendors!”
We were married on 25 May 2014 at Poet’s Lane. As the leaves welcomed autumn with their crimson shades, we knew that our special day had arrived. Our year of preparation, which included handcrafted cards, invitations, guest lists, flowers, songs, origami, and so much more, was to culminate on this very day and we could not be more excited. This bubbling of excitement manifested quite differently for each of us. While Jo was completely relaxed, comfortable, and enjoying the day’s proceedings, my emotions could be accurately described as a bundle of frayed nerves and a hyperactive mind. Nevertheless, in our hearts we knew that it did not matter much if things went smoothly today or if it was an utter nightmare. Regardless, dreams were coming true.
Our celebrations began on the previous day with both of our extended families gathering for our Chinese tea ceremony. Dressed in traditional Chinese garments, Jo’s a gift from her grandmother’s brother and his wife, and mine a shirt that my Dad bought during his visit to China, people looked on as we served tea to our older family members and relatives. In return, we received much appreciated, little red packets of moolah that definitely helped to pay for the wedding. As was apparently traditional for the groom, my family brought a full suckling pig for afternoon tea, much to the surprise of our guests. Jo’s grandmother also made a sweet dessert for us which we later found out was associated to the number of children we would have in the future.
Image by Samuel Chan
Image by Samuel Chan
Image by Samuel Chan
Image by Samuel Chan
The day I had been waiting for was here, but I don’t think I ever felt more anxious. Our first item of the day was the preparation shots with the photographer. My shoulders were frozen tight in tension, my stomach filled with anxiety about anything that might be forgotten or out of place (I later found out that Jo was completely relaxed and enjoying herself). Nevertheless, I smiled for the photographer and laughed at jokes made (funny or otherwise). Finding myself constantly checking with my groomsmen about timing, placements, and guests, I was chastised pretty soon for worrying too much. Marrying my wife was a dream, something beyond doubt. But my head continued to spin and wonder if everything was perfect, and I couldn’t stand or sit still.
Jo says: “My perfect day began at my parents’ house, with a rainbow painted across the canvas of the blue sky. My bridesmaids and I had our hair and makeup session in the morning, and we were so appreciative of the wonderful professionalism and talent of Miss Aimmey and The Makeup Glossary. Our beautiful bouquets were created by our talented friend Amy from goldpop flowers. My dress and veil from Le Chateau Blanc Couture fit perfectly, but could hardly contain the excitement that was bubbling inside of me. We had plenty of photos taken by First Impressions Photography during our preparations and with my family and after lunch, our dapper chauffeur and friend Daryl drove the four of us to Poet’s Lane in my brother’s car, which had been decorated with beautiful, purple ribbon across the front.
I walked down the aisle with my Dad to the song “Marry Me” by Train – conscious not to trip on my dress while having the biggest smile on my face. The chapel was packed with our loved ones, some of whom had come all the way from Malaysia and Singapore to be here. Our bridal party looked respectively beautiful and dashing in their different shades of purple and grey. It was also such an honour to have our previous young adults pastor, Josiah Conner, conduct our ceremony for us. He was engaging, encouraging and humourous, and lent a light casual vibe to the proceedings. Two of our friends led the congregation in a couple of songs that we chose and also sang and played while, witnessed by our mums, we signed our marriage certificate. We also had a dear friend read a couple of our favourite Bible passages for us. We wrote our own vows, which were kept secret till the day. Al’s vows took the form of a heartfelt poem.
Michael from First Impressions Photography was very professional in organising everyone for our many group photos and then patiently helping us to capture the perfect couple shots with the beautiful autumn scenery as our backdrop.
Two of our friends were MCs for the night and they did a great job keeping everyone entertained and informed. Our bridal party entered the reception room ahead of us, bowing and curtseying to each other before making their way to their seats. Poet’s Lane had cooked up a lavish spread, even after all the canapes that they had served before the reception started. Entrees were alternated between veal white wine tortellini and minted lamb parcels, and as for the main course, there was bocconcini chicken and crispy pork loin. The highlight of the night according to our guests, only in regards to the food I am sure, was the dessert buffet.
Our parents, maid of honour, and best man gave excellent speeches and toasts, while Jo and I did a combined speech, where instead of Jo tossing her bridesmaid’s bouquet, we presented them to our Mums on the night. Later in the night, we cut into our beautiful masterpiece of a wedding cake made by my sisters Connie and Cassie as more photos were taken. The cake had layers that took turns between chocolate and butter, and was gorgeously decorated with flowers, butterflies, and birds. Our night ended with our “first dance,” where we danced a few steps to “All About Us” by He is We, before singing the rest of the lyrics with myself on guitar.
Our wedding day was everything we had envisioned and we are deeply grateful for all our willing helpers and generous support that we received from family and friends.”
Ms Gingham says: A beautiful post! I love having both the bride and the groom write about their experiences of the day.
Jo says: I enjoy laughing and crying through chick flicks and the fuzzy moments that make my heart melt. D&Ms are one of the best ways for me to connect with my friends, especially over a delicious home cooked meal made by my husband. I would like to visit as many beaches around the world and explore as much of the world as I can.