Archive | 19:32

Being Wed in a Land Down Under

20 Sep
“Living in a land Down Under
Where women glow and men plunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, and take cover.”
– Down Under by Men At Work

I come from a land Down Under. For those of you who don’t know where that is, it’s a little-known place called Australia, across the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the world (from America anyway!).

australia

Australia from a global perspective / Image via Wikipedia.org

The reason people call it the “Land Down Under” is not just because of that song by Men At Work quoted earlier, but because, relative to the rest of the world, Australia is located “Down Under”.

Unless of course you use my fiancé, Mr Bighorn’s, favourite map ever:

upsde-down-map

The “Upside Down World Map” – Down Under is now Up Over! / Image via culturalintelligenceblog.com

But with silliness aside, let’s continue!

Specifically, I live in Sydney which is located in the state of New South Wales. But my wonderful fiancé Mr Bighorn and I will be getting married in the Hunter Valley, which is a 2-hour-drive from there. For you visual learners:

map_NSW_Syd_HV

A map drawn showing New South Wales (inset, right) and the locations of both Sydney and Hunter Valley (inset, left) / Personal image transcribed using Google Maps and designed through Photoshop

 Now the thing with Australian weddings that one should know is the difficulty in communicating unique ideas across and planning a “unique” wedding. Unlike America, where trends are accepted quickly and spread just as rapidly, Australia is only really starting to grasp the “rustic”, “vintage”, and “quirky”.  Melbourne, which is located in the state of Victoria south of New South Wales,  accepts these more readily as the “crowd” there are very much into trends taken from high-end fashion and the like, be it bridal or no.

vintage_melbourne_PDB

A Vintage Melbourne Wedding / Image via polkadotbride.com, photography by Julia Jane Photography

Unfortunately, New South Wales – and more specifically, the Hunter Valley – does not fit the same sort of “lifestyle”. This is because the Hunter Valley is “country” New South Wales and things such as Pinterest aren’t grasped as greatly.

Mr Bighorn and I are, and always were, a “quirky” couple and also incredibly nerdy. So it’s been rather difficult planning a wedding while trying to infuse our personalities into it.

For example, I recall mentioning that my Maid of Honour will be dressing in a different shade of blue from my bridesmaids and got a, ‘GASP – that is so original, I’ve never heard of that before!’

Cue nervous laughter here.

I’ve also found it incredibly hard to find a wine box for the “wine box and love letter” ceremony we want to do and had to search high and low for parasols for my bridesmaids!

So for those Hunter Valley brides out there don’t be disheartened, because I have tips:

  • Make sure you have a clear “direction” in mind. Mr Bighorn and I don’t necessarily have a theme, but as we knew what we wanted, we were able to give our vendors direction on what we wanted and how we wanted it done.
  • Be patient. Sometimes you get frustrated because they don’t “understand XYZ” but it’s not their fault! With the world of the Internet, Pinterest and Instagram, information is taken on quickly by the younger generation and most of the vendors you’ll find in country towns (at least in the Hunter Valley) are used to a different way of thinking. So you city brides, be patient! It’s not their fault. Just stick with the first point and it’ll be aaaall good.
  • Make sure you get it in writing. This is one of those ‘duh’ things, but sometimes it happens that a bride or groom will forget to get it in writing. During times when Mr Bighorn and I weren’t too sure that they understood what we wanted, we got it in writing to read over and ensure that our ideas were understood.
  • Search around, compare, and search s’more. In Australia, in general, and pretty much anywhere in the world, the word “wedding” inflates prices. Therefore, wine boxes are expensive, cake toppers are expensive, wedding parasols are expensive. But with my good friend Mr Google I was able to find places that sold relatively well-priced merchandise for a fraction of the price! So it’s good to search, search, and search s’more! And don’t forget to compare prices too!
  • And finally, try to enjoy the experience! It feels good to share my ideas and inspirations to those who’ve never heard of them before. A part of me does feel bad for “taking” those ideas as my own, but that’s just what wedding planning is, taking an idea and adapting it to either your theme or vision! And of course, I never state that the idea is my own – I’d never be able to come up with something as imaginative or as beautiful as the ideas I’ve seen.

So those are my tips! Hopefully they’re helpful for those brides planning a “non-traditional” Hunter Valley wedding. For Sydney and Melbourne brides, I also recommend going to at least one session of One Fine Day, a wedding expo with a difference. They give great inspiration for brides looking for unique venues, vendors, and the like! For other brides in Australia, if you can make the trip to One Fine Day, I recommend it too. They have great photographers and videographers there who are wiling to travel, so take a punt! You may get lucky. For international brides who are planning on getting married in Australia, One Fine Day has an awesome website (linked above) with a list of the vendors. I recommend checking that out 🙂

Did or does anyone else have trouble communicating ideas to vendors? Did anyone have a hard time finding things for their wedding?

Part 2, Wedding Traditions: Something, Something.

20 Sep

Hi Hive!

In a previous post, I talked to you guys about Chinese wedding traditions that we’ll be including in the wedding. I also talked about the Chinese tea ceremony and it’s importance (and I may have overused the Jared Leto gif, just a bit).

In this post, I’ll talk about the “Western” wedding traditions that we’ll have at the wedding.

Unlike the Chinese traditions, we’ll only have a few key “Western” traditions for our wedding. Mr Big’s parents are too traditional and Mumma/MIL Bighorn doesn’t have any Dutch traditions that she wanted doing.

This post isn’t necessarily for those wanting to know about Western traditions, but more for those interested in knowing, as these traditions are pretty ‘common’ in “Western” weddings:

The “It’s Bad Luck for the Groom to See the Bride Before the Ceremony” Tradition

This is a quintessentially Western tradition and originated during the time when arranged marriages were common.

The betrothed couple weren’t allowed to see each other as marriages during this period (read: the Medieval land-owning period) were mostly seen as a “business deal”. The father of the bride wanted his daughter to marry a rich man, but feared that the groom would annul the marriage if he saw the bride before the wedding because he thought she was too unattractive. The veil that a bride wears served a similar purpose.

Nowadays, this tradition is less about the fear that the groom wouldn’t want to marry the bride, and more about the fact that it’s a “tradition you must have”. There’s also the belief that it’s bad luck to see the bride before the ceremony (and my parents are all about luck). It’s also believed to add to some sort of excitement leading up to the ceremony.

However, more and more couples are doing a “first look”, or seeing each other pre-ceremony to take formal bridegroom portraits.

Bamboo for Two: A Twirl and a First Look :  wedding boston pictures pro pics recap Twirlin01 twirlin01

Mrs Panda’s First Look. I love that twirl! Photography via Lisa Rigby Photography.

The reason we’re keeping with this tradition is because Mumma/MIL Bighorn really wanted it. It’s basically the only tradition she seems to want to use, so I’m more than happy to oblige!

This is why Mr Big will be blindfolded during the ‘auspicious time’ tradition mentioned in my previous post, so he can’t see me before the ceremony. We’ll also, hopefully, be getting pretty pictures of a blindfolded and suited up Mr Big and dolled up Miss Big in her white wedding dress.

An example of the “Not First Look”. So pretty. Image via Emmaline Bride. Photography via Dianne Personett Photography

The “Something” Tradition

This is a tradition which I’ve been struggling with and have only recently figured out. Let me explain more…

So, everyone has heard the rhyme:

Something old
Something new
Something borrowed
Something blue
And a sixpence in her shoe

I won’t be bothering with the last line, since it’s not a common part of the poem that most people know of, but I’ve been trying to think of my “somethings”.

“Something new” is an easy one – my dress, my veil, my shoes, and more. In Chinese weddings, it’s customary to buy “new” things, so most of my attire will be brand-spanking new! My ‘something new’ was therefore a no-brainer.

My “something borrowed” is a necklace belonging to my ma, Mama Bighorn. It’s a silver necklace which has an almost yellow sheen to it, to match the yellow gold of my ring.

Here’s a picture:

wedding jewellery_1

My “something borrowed”, my ma’s silver necklace. You guys also get to see my earrings and bracelet! Personal image.

I tried on the necklace and it’s gorgeous. It complements my skin tone, as it has a soft yellow sheen to it, and will look perfect with my dress! I can’t wait to wear it on the Day.

Now the last two were the difficult ones.

As my mother was wed in Indonesia, and her wedding was mostly controlled by an overzealous mother-in-law, she didn’t get to buy a wedding dress or anything that could be considered sentimental. As a result, I don’t have anything from her wedding but the pictures. So my “something old” was difficult to pinpoint.

As for my “something blue”, I had no idea what to use! The ideas ranged from a garter, to a Portal charm to hang off my bouquet, to an earring for my second piercing on my left lobe. All of those meant I had to buy stuff though, and I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on those ideas.

Today, however, after chatting with Mama Bighorn about different traditions, she mentioned that she may have something which might prove useful.

Enter this beauty:

somethingoldandblue

Isn’t it pretty? ❤ Pardon the bad nails! Also, that’s Mr Big’s leg! Personal image.

It’s not what most would consider “old” (it’s only 15 years) but it’s gorgeous and blue and belongs to Mama Bighorn. She’s bequeathing it to me since she has another sapphire ring which my papa gave to her five years ago.

So there you have it – my something old, new, borrowed and blue!

What do you guys think? 🙂 Are there any traditions which people have or will include when they get married? Still think I could make it as a hand model?  (double not.)