Aria & James
When we got engaged I was in my final year of a music degree at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) so we decided to wait until the following year before the wedding (Girl has got to get that degree!) We had 18 months exactly between proposal and wedding.
The first venue we chose was the proposal venue, it was gorgeous and of course held sentimental value. I got the call nine months before the wedding, that the venue was going bust and we couldn’t have it anymore. We were initially crushed but decided to see it as us having a unique proposal that no one else could have now because the venue doesn’t exist! We rushed back down south to find a new location and fell head over heels for Knee Deep Winery in Wilyabrup. The staff were beyond understanding and helped us create a perfect day… then they sold the venue and we lost the staff and catering.
We honestly thought something was against us getting married at this stage. However Brendan, who had stayed on during the transitional period at Knee Deep, opened his doors to hold the wedding (thank goodness! We didn’t want to send out a third round of invitations). We could have the beautiful venue we had fallen in love with, we just needed to staff / cater it and set it up ourselves. Yes stress filled, BUT, this is where Food By the Chef stepped up and offered to act as staff and catering for the big day. George and Kayleigh stepped up for us after multiple venue stumbles and took on more work than was ever expected or required of them, making our wedding a giant gastronomic success.
We planned our wedding to be exactly what we wanted, the date 18/09/18 happened to fall on a Tuesday, but we didn’t care, the people who loved us would take the time to be there – AND they did! We had the ceremony at 11am and had a lunch time reception which was still filled with dancing, drinking and games, remember, there are NO rules about your day and the only people you are required to make happy are yourself and your partner! We like getting up early and spending the night indoors so that’s exactly what we did!
The dress took about a year to come to fruition with the fabulous Nicola from Wild Violet Evening Wear… she hand cut each leaf lace piece and maintained amazing contact with me throughout the process. The piece is completely unique and it was more than affordable (the grooms suit cost more!)
Family can be difficult on these days, we thought to celebrate family by making the statement that family is based on choice, not blood. Every guest was being invited into our family. One way we celebrated this was in the bouquet. Every guest presented one flower to me as I walked down the aisle, we wanted to tell people that although we may be messy as individuals, together, we can be something beautiful. We pushed that further by having our two witnesses be people who, although aren’t related by blood, are honourable father figures in our life. My pop and my partners’ stepfather were more than grateful to be included in such a special way.
As hardcore feminists, a lot of what a wedding is ‘supposed’ to be can be contradictory. We thought the best way to move on this would be to embrace what we liked and make statements on what we didn’t like. My father was only too happy to participate in only walking me HALF way down the aisle. We wanted to point out that we love and appreciate our families for getting us to this point in our lives BUT these steps, I now make on my own. Pointing out that it was MY choice to get married, in no way was I ‘given’ away but I love and adore my families support. Our amazing celebrant Joanne Armstrong even made a patriarchy joke during the ceremony which had my partner and I in stitches (while probably going over other people’s heads). Joanne took the time to get to know our morals and values to really personalise the ceremony. Once again, the day is about the two of you – why be generic?!
The biggest stamp on our individuality was our name change, we both decided to take a stance on ownership and forging your own path by coming up with a brand new surname, rather than either of us taking on each other’s name, it was my (now) husband’s idea. We presented the idea to our parents before the wedding and while it was difficult initially for a couple of people to understand, after some discussion, any ‘opposition’ just melted away with the knowledge that family is more than a word or name, you get to choose your family. The remainder of our guests found out on the day itself and we were thrilled with the response to Mr&Mrs Delcore.
Our family contributed to the wedding enormously. My partner’s father worked on the Valiant Charger for months in the lead up, making sure the car would run perfectly on the day. My mother used her artist skills in creating a welcome sign for the ceremony and my dad helped us set up the venue (since there was no staff, we needed to move tables and chairs ourselves) and hid my wedding gift from my partner.
Our celebrant may as well have been our saving grace for the entire event, through all the venue and catering changes, she was the glue that held it all together. We started looking for a celebrant almost as soon as we got engaged. For us, it was important to have the perfect fit. Someone who matched with our core values, sense of humour and style all while maintaining an air of professionalism.
Approximately 4.5 seconds after I had filled in the ‘contact me’ form on her website, I received a phone call. The call was confident, kind and came with a warning “Just so you know… I’m not like other celebrants” well that was all I needed and my fiance and I were down the rabbit hole!
Before our own wedding, I had only been to one wedding before and I was 10 so my memory on it isn’t crash hot. We were entering into uncharted territory for the both of us, with no idea on how to balance how things are “supposed” to be with our own style and quirks. Joanne was essential in navigating that pathway.
The ceremony is something I’ll never forget. The most important half hour of our lives filled with love, laughter and tears. The script was heartfelt, personalised and relatable to our guests. The immense pressure vanished in her presence and there was only the three of us, chatting and laughing like we had been in the months prior.
As far as decor, we focused on colour, I had purple hair and tattoos out so we built our design from that. The reception had purple everywhere with our DIY decorations and paper floral arrangements on the tables. The back bar was decorated with the significant moments of our six year relationship, including the corsage I wore to my high school ball and the keys to the first home we bought. If there was a design theme… it was essentially just about us, the room screamed us.
Food began as soon as the ceremony ended, with canapes and bubbles flowing. People played giant Jenga and connect four to kill the time while we took about 1000 photographs of ourselves. The five canapes on offer provided something familiar to people along with something out of the box (cheese croquettes next to Kangaroo gyoza). Our lunch time reception was banquet style. The best way to describe this is to think of a giant family Christmas meal, when the table is just full of food and goodies and people dive on in and take what they want. Do you no like fish? That’s fine! Don’t take the fish then. Are you really into the potatoes? (As so many of our guests were). Then take ALL the potatoes. It created conversation, and smiles as dishes full of delicious food were passed from person to person. Our vegetarian, vegan and gluten free guests were more than looked after with personally designed meals just for them.
The reception (although it was a lunch time one) was full of speeches, dancing and games. We had spent a long time practicing a dance to the world’s worst song (also our first kiss song back in 2012) ‘Wild Ones’ by Flo Rida which after food, three glasses of wine and a piece of cake, I didn’t think we’d get right, but we nailed it! We played the inevitable ‘shoe game’ where both the bride and groom remove their shoes and exchange one so that they are both holding one of each shoe. During the game, a series of questions are asked, and the answer is either “the bride” or “the groom.” Instead of answering verbally, you hold up a shoe. I added an extra twist (think the TV show ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ with the tomatoes and capsicums), I made up a bunch of mini signs with a ‘J’ on one side and an ‘A’ on the other (representing either myself or my new husband) and our guests would answer the questions first before the groom and I revealed the true answer. It was a great to get the guests involved and created a lot of fun debate in the room.
On the drive to the wedding my dad turned around and said ‘I don’t think I’ve been this nervous since you were born.’ He walked his half of the aisle with a huge grin but filled with tears as it was time to say goodbye. It reminded me of something important. He topped this all off in his speech when he began with ‘If you didn’t know I loved you before… I hope you know now.’ And for me that’s what weddings are about… love. Creating true feelings and memories for people that stretch beyond that particular event. The creation of new families, no matter what mess of people are inside of them.