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Takin’ Love by the Horns: The Chinese Tea Ceremony

24 Jul

[Just a word of warning guys – if you don’t like ‘family’ posts, there’s a lot of that at the tail-end of this post. So you may want to skip over that bit if you’re not interested.]

After the ceremony, everyone was up and milling about, either casually chatting away to each other or trying to catch a glimpse of the rare bride-and-groom-emon*.

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Aunt Artemis (L) & Uncle Ado (R).

At some point, my photographers managed to catch all my girls doing this (or staged it? I don’t know).

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I’m not too sure when this happened, but I know I love it. I love it lots.

The photographers also managed to get this whopper of a photo. I don’t know how they did it. They just did.

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Yes, that is every.single.guest that was at our ceremony.

My friends also managed to wrangle Mr Big and I for a group shot.

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Don’t you love our synchronised head-cocking? / Photo by Friend Sahara.

After this though, we had to hurry down to the Oriental Pagoda. So in the golf cart we went! We arrived not long after and I literally remember gasping in awe. The groomsmen and DoC Auto had done a fantastic job with the whole thing. Unfortunately, guys, I can’t really show you an empty picture of it (cause there isn’t one, poop), so instead, I give you this:

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Once we got underway, I requested MoH M&MS and GM Iron to get everyone in order. I would’ve done it myself, but I had a long train and well… it’s hard to walk around and be bossy when you’re constantly having to literally flip to turn yourself around (it’s also hilarious).

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Is it bad that I absolutely love this picture? From L to R: Mumma Big, De Papa Big, Mama Bighorn and Papa Bighorn.

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Half of my Indonesian family! Uncle Phung, Auntie Pin, Auntie Men, and Uncle Chung.

Unfortunately, at this point, a few members that were supposed to get served tea were running late, so we had to wait around for a little bit. Our photographers managed to get some really good shots during this time:

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After a little bit, however, we decided that it was time to start, missing party or no. I was originally going to introduce the concept of the Chinese Tea Ceremony to the audience, but decided GM Iron – who had performed one at his own wedding – would do a better job. After a brief introduction, it was up to MoH M&Ms to announce who would be coming up to the two chairs set out in the middle of the Pagoda.

We invited my parents up first:

We give them the tea…

We give them the tea…

…They receive it.

…They receive it.

They drink…

They drink…

…we watch (in a totally not creepy way, I swear)…

…we watch (in a totally not creepy way, I swear)…

… and then we take the tea cups back with a bow.

… and then we take the tea cups back with a bow.

At this point, my parents would then gift us. Remember guys, jewellery is immediately placed on the bride and groom, and my parents gave us a beautiful gift which merged New Zealand jade with Indonesian gold. Absolutely stunning guys!

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Mr Big is too tall!

Mr Big is too tall!

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It was a bit of a struggle to get through my parents’ serving, simply because there were things we encountered that my parents, myself, or Mr Big hadn’t counted on. For example, Mr Big had to get his glasses off to get the necklace on.

Meanwhile, Papa Big was struggling to get the necklace on over my gigantic hairdo so he had to unclasp it. But no matter crisis solved!

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It should be noted that there were a whole lot of people working behind the scenes to ensure that the Tea Ceremony went smoothly, namely my fabulous bridesmaids and Lady Luck, our ‘good luck lady’. GM The Flash and GM NB were also doing an awesome job keeping my girls out of the sun.

GM The Flash – ever the gentlemen.

GM The Flash – ever the gentlemen.

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See that lovely lady in grey, holding the tray (Cat, bat, sat, hat)? She was our “Good Luck Lady” and also GM Xboy’s lovely wife. She was responsible of handing the tea to us and then taking it away. Isn’t she awesome?

Meanwhile, after my parents, it was Mr Big’s parents’ turn, which flowed a lot smoother now that we had one serving under our belt!

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After the Bighorn parents were done, it was smooth sailing from there:

My Uncle B, the oldest of my uncles and brother of Papa Bighorn, and Aunt D.

My Uncle B, the oldest of my uncles and brother of Papa Bighorn, and Aunt D.

My Aunt C and Uncle L, second oldest uncle and brother of Papa Bighorn.

My Aunt C and Uncle L, second oldest uncle and brother of Papa Bighorn.

My Uncle D, cousin of Papa Bighorn and next oldest uncle.

My Uncle D, cousin of Papa Bighorn and next oldest uncle.

Uncle Chong (L) and Aunt Men (R) being served, oldest aunt and sister of Mama Bighorn. Also my godmother, hence the next photo!

Uncle Chong (L) and Aunt Men (R) being served, oldest aunt and sister of Mama Bighorn. Also my godmother, hence the next photo!

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Serving Uncle Phung and Aunt Pen, second oldest aunt and sister of Mama Bighorn.

Serving Uncle Phung and Aunt Pen, second oldest aunt and sister of Mama Bighorn.

Aunt Lee, youngest aunt and sister of Mama Bighorn. Her husband couldn’t attend the wedding.

Aunt Lee, youngest aunt and sister of Mama Bighorn. Her husband couldn’t attend the wedding.

Serving both Uncle Ado (not shown) and Aunt Artemis (shown). Uncle Ado is the older brother of Mumma Big and Aunt Artermis is the youngest sister of De Papa Big, but we combined the two for ease (and time’s) sake.

Serving both Uncle Ado (not shown) and Aunt Artemis (shown). Uncle Ado is the older brother of Mumma Big and Aunt Artermis is the youngest sister of De Papa Big, but we combined the two for ease (and time’s) sake.

With all the elders served, it was time for more photos!

Next up, our group photos are constantly photobombed.

* To those who don’t get the reference – Pokemon. ‘Nuff said.

[All photos by Studio Something unless otherwise stated.]

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Takin’ Love by the Horns: We’re On Top of the World!

22 Jul

[I apologise for being absent guys! Mr Big and I just celebrated out halfiversary, and it’s been pretty hectic here! But I will get back to regularly posting.]

We exchanged rings, kissed, and generally loved up, but our ceremony wasn’t finished! As Mr Big and I looked at each other gleefully, Celebrant J signalled for the music to start, indicating the signing of the marriage documents.

I would now like to invite our witnesses, [BMan Hunter] and [MoH M&Ms], to join with us in signing the official marriage documents. Once these documents have been signed, Grant and Eileen will come back before you, where I will present them with their Certificate of Marriage, and officially introduce them to you.

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Don’t worry folks, our guests (and wedding party) were chatting away while we did the all-important signing!

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In the meantime, Mr Big and I were enjoying our newlywed status.

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After that was all done, we took our places once more and Celebrant J continued:

Grant and Eileen, it gives me great pleasure to officially present to you, before your family and friends, your Certificate of Marriage. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to be part of your special day.

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Family and friends, Grant and Eileen are now joined together as Husband and Wife and so you, their families and friends, are also united through them. Their lives will be strengthened and enriched by the love and support you continue to give them.

Grant and Eileen, today you came here as individuals; now you leave as Husband and Wife. A new bond has been created and a new journey has just begun.

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Continue to enjoy the happiness that a loving marriage brings and always keep sight of what has brought you here today; your love and respect for one another. Take the time to rediscover your love and friendship every day and rest securely in this love. May your family and friends be nurtured and enriched by your love for one another.

On behalf of everyone present, I wish you a fulfilling life ahead. Take care of each other along the way and be wonderfully happy!

Family and friends, I ask you now to join with me as we welcome for the very first time,

[Mr & Mrs Bighorn Sheep]!

Congratulations to you both!

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After a quick smooch…

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The recessional was under way!

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Ending with pure goodness: HIGH FIVES!

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And just like that, we were married! Then there was a reception, we partied, the end.

Just kidding! Next up, we pour tea and bow to our elders at the Chinese tea ceremony.

[All photos by the fantastic Studio Something.]

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Takin’ Love by the Horns: I ‘Wool’ Always Love You, Part I – Some Wine Please

9 Jul

It was time guys. Mr Big and I were standing literally inches from each other, unable to take each other’s eyes off the other. Meanwhile, Celebrant J, commenced the ceremony.

The ceremony was written in collaboration with Celebrant J. We took our favourite pieces, mixed, matched, added, and subtracted until we got to something uniquely us. I’ll talk more about it in my vendor reviews, but in short, everyone loved our ceremony.

For the sake of clarity and to keep the sincerity of the ceremony, I kept our first names as is:

It is my very great pleasure to welcome you to this most joyous occasion, Grant and Eileen’s wedding day. They are delighted that you all have been able to join them in this expression of their love for one another, especially those of you who have travelled great distances to be with them today.

Grant and Eileen are ecstatic that their experiences have brought them to the place where they are ready to fulfil what is theirs to accomplish in this life, to join the forces of their individual spirits, capabilities, and backgrounds.

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For Grant and Eileen, marriage means never being too old to hold hands, remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day, and never going to sleep angry. It is at no time, taking the other for granted. It is standing together, facing the world. It is doing things for each other, speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways, and giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is not only marrying the right partner, but being the right partner.

The commitment they make today is made understanding each other’s weaknesses and accepting them, and knowing each other’s strengths and encouraging them.

And this is as love should be. However, love is not meant to be the possession of two people alone. Rather it is the source of a collective energy, an energy that gives you the strength to live your lives with joy and courage.

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For Grant and Eileen, marriage represents a solemn lifelong commitment to each other. It is walking this life together and helping each other through the ups and downs. It’s being the shoulder to cry on, the crutch to lean on, the enthusiastic ‘high-fiver’, the comforting hugger, and the encouraging presence. It is all about being a best friend, confidant, lover and the best partner each could ever want. They feel their relationship is still securely established in that blissful ‘honeymoon phase’, even though they’ve been together for a little more than three years. Something they hope continues for a long time to come!

Taking the vows of marriage in front of the many people they care about makes today so much more important. Not only are Grant and Eileen uniting, so too are both their families with Eileen joining Grant’s family as a [Mr Big’s Last Name] and Grant becoming a [Miss Big’s Last Name].

The journey that sees Grant and Eileen standing before us today began in 2010 when they met over the internet. After exchanging messages, they chatted regularly for weeks on end. Through their little talks, they got to know each other, paving the way for Grant to request meeting in person.

Upon seeing Eileen for the first time, Grant’s first thought? ‘She’s so little!’ (This got a few laughs!)

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That first date they had lunch, got to know each other a little more, and then watched their first movie together, the “very romantic” Christopher Nolan movie – ‘Inception’. To this day, Eileen still has the ticket stub to that movie – framed and proudly on display!

That first date they had lunch, got to know each other a little more, and then watched their first movie together, the “very romantic” Christopher Nolan movie – ‘Inception’. To this day, Eileen still has the ticket stub to that movie – framed and proudly on display!

Before long, they were seeing each other weekly. Eileen found happiness in their talks but also in the moments of quiet. And she found comfort not only in Grant’s touch and kisses, but by simply being with him. In his presence, she knew she could spend the rest of her life loving this man.

Grant knew he wanted to take their relationship to the next level when Eileen asked him to join her and her family on a trip to Indonesia and China. The fact that he was unofficially a part of the family made him realise he wanted to make it official.

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For Grant, that ‘magical moment’ – the proposal – in the magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand, had been in the pipeline for weeks! This was despite their in-joke that Grant would only propose while intoxicated and would do so with a bronze pipe washer purchased from Bunnings to save money. So when Grant ‘casually’ proposed underneath ‘Sterling Falls’, Eileen was caught off-guard!

Her response, ‘Are you serious?’ had him thinking that perhaps he hadn’t been as traditional as some would expect… so down on one knee he went and asked again! Ironically, he had bought a washer for the proposal and incidentally left it at the hotel 2 hours away. Smiles all around, the momentous event filmed, and post-proposal group-hugs all added to that special day which in fact was Eileen’s 24th birthday – a day that Grant had promised to treat her to ‘something special’.

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Over time spent together, Grant and Eileen have become the best of friends. With their complementing personalities and unique and quirky sense of humour, they’ve lived life and loved the only way they know how: fun-filled and with enthusiasm!

They’ve settled into that ‘special place’ that everyone dreams of: love, contentment, and growing in understanding of each other. As a team, they are looking forward to supporting each other achieve personal goals, while pursuing their own individual dreams.

Everything that Grant has wanted in a life partner; Eileen fills that role. In his own words, ‘she’s affectionate, smart, funny, accepting, and somehow is not only the greatest friend I could want, but the best, most caring supportive partner I could hope for. I think it’s great that neither of us runs the life of the other, and that – having so much in common – we both have a lot of the same hobbies and interests.’

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Grant and Eileen value their time together. They act, not just as lovers and partners, but as best friends, sharing in-jokes and being able to lovingly poke fun at each other. Grant especially loves that they are both capable gamers and even when pitted against each other, he can still be proud of Eileen when she kicks butt!

Grant’s love for Eileen is unfathomable. She loves his intelligence, his deep breadth of knowledge and most of all, his very willing and generous heart.

With Grant, Eileen knows that she can be herself. She’s not afraid to show her weaknesses – and Grant has the ability to play to her strengths. His presence makes even the direst of situations that much less so. In her own words, ‘he’s a constant in a life full of inconstant.’

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As big dreamers, Grant and Eileen’s hopes and dreams for the future are already formulating. They want to travel the world and experience all life could offer; to celebrate every moment and tackle every problem side-by-side. Most importantly, they want to keep getting closer, the way they have since day one.

Grant and Eileen haven’t been happier. Their laughter is never far from their eyes and their love and respect for each other can be seen and heard in their words to one another.

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At this time, Grant and Eileen would like to take a moment to acknowledge the family and friends who were not able to make it here to share in this wonderful occasion, but who hold a special place in the hearts of those here. Specifically, the happy couple would like to recognise their families in New Zealand and Indonesia, who send their love and blessings for this union.

In recognising family, Grant and Eileen would also like to take a moment to acknowledge the relationship they share with their parents, [Mr Big’s Papa] and [Mr Big’s Momma], and [Miss Big’s Papa] and [Miss Big’s Momma].

At this point, Mr Big’s and my parents were called forward by Celebrant J:

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One of the closest relationships in life is that between caring parents and their children. This connection continues to grow and change as these children grow into independent and mature adults. As parents, the love that each of you has shared within your own marriages has been a legacy conferred to Grant and Eileen.

For them, marriage seems natural and you have offered them quiet yet inspiring examples of how it can be. You have encouraged them to live their own dreams and offered them support that has been greatly appreciated.

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Today, Grant and Eileen would like to take the time to honour this relationship. Grant’s parents, [Mr Big’s Papa] and [Mr Big’s Momma], and Eileen’s parents, [Miss Big’s Papa] and [Miss Big’s Momma], represent their families and all of us when I ask them:

‘Do you give Grant and Eileen your blessings, and pledge them your love, support and acceptance of this marriage?’

The Bighorn Parents: ‘We do.’

At this point, Papa Bighorn was supposed to grab my hand and place it into Mr Big’s hand, but because this isn’t a customary thing to do in Chinese culture, we had a hugging session instead, which later turned to a BIG GROUP HUG with all the parents:

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As I repositioned myself to stand in front of Mr Big, Celebrant J then read out the ‘monitum’, a legally binding statement that is compulsory in all marriage ceremonies in Australia:

Family and friends, my name is Jennifer, and as a Civil Marriage Celebrant, I am duly authorized to solemnize this marriage according to Law in Australia. Grant and Eileen, before you are joined together in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn, the serious, and the binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to Law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

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Celebrant J then continued on with the ceremony, asking MoH M&Ms to hold my bouquet as I grabbed Mr Big’s hands in mine:

The hand which you each offer to the other today is an extension of yourselves, just like the warmth and love which you express to each other. Cherish this touch, be sensitive to its pulse, and try to understand and respect its flow and rhythm, just as you do your own.

Grant, I now ask you before all those present, do you take Eileen to be your lawful wife, to share your life with her, and pledge that you will love and honour her, with tenderness and affection, forevermore?

Grant: ‘I do’.

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Eileen, I now ask you before all those present, do you take Grant to be your lawful husband, to share your life with him, and pledge that you will love and honour him, with tenderness and affection, forevermore?

Eileen: ‘I do.’

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After we said our “I dos”, we moved on to the wine ceremony, a ceremony Mr Big and I wanted to incorporate for two reasons: (1) we’re in the Hunter Valley, the wine country of New South Wales, and (2) wine has a special place in our relationship. We split the wine ceremony into two portions: a wine ceremony ritual where we would drink and toast some wine; and a wine box ceremony, which unfortunately we didn’t get still photos of (but heaps on video and our stop-motion).

Today, Grant and Eileen have chosen to celebrate their union through the symbolism of wine. Wine has been called the symbol of life. It is like the blood flowing within our bodies.

The glass of wine symbolises the sum of your life experiences. It contains within it sweet flavours symbolic of happiness, joy, hope and love. This same wine also holds some bitter properties that symbolise sorrow, grief, and life’s trials and tribulations. Together, the sweet and the bitter essences represent life’s journey and all the experiences that are a natural part of it.

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As you drink from this cup, you accept the commitment to draw from your marriage all that you need to wash away the bitter flavours and savour the sweet.

Drink now, and may the cup of your lives be sweet and full.

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By sharing this glass, the two become one and the parts become whole; two paths intertwined, each separate, yet united in love. May all the sweetness that it holds for you be ever the sweeter because you taste it together, and may you find life’s joys heightened and its bitterness sweetened.

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At this time I’d like to draw your attention to the box beside Grant and Eileen.

They have written letters to each other expressing their feelings as they begin their marriage. In these letters, they have detailed why they fell in love and what they truly admire about the other person. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and they have not seen what the other has written.

These letters have already been placed inside the box with a bottle of wine. Together they will seal the box, and on the happy occasion of their 5th year wedding anniversary, they will open the box, drink the wine together, and read each other’s letters.

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Unfortunately there aren’t any pictures of the actual wine box ceremony, but this photo shows you how the ceremony was laid out.

Grant and Eileen, by reading these love letters, you will be given an opportunity to reflect upon the reasons that you fell in love with each other.

I now ask you to place the letters in the box and seal it shut.

Next up, the vows and the big kiss! (OOOOooooooOOOOOO!!). Stay tuned guys!

[All photos by Studio Something.]

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Takin’ Love by the Horns: I Wool Always Love You, Part II – A Big Smooch

2 Jul

Once we had sealed our letters in the box, we went back to our positions at the front, once more holding hands. I could tell Mr Big was getting nervous – I know I was! It was time to exchange our vows.

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As an aside, when Mr Big and I got to thinking about our vows, we both agreed we wanted to write them ourselves. Not being a wordsmith, Mr Big was a little nervous about writing his vows. So when he was the first person to say them, he was feeling the pressure! I think he did pretty well though. Celebrant J also suggested we read our own vows to each other without repeating after her, which meant she was holding up our vows as we read.

Celebrant J:

We now arrive at a special moment, the moment where you try to bundle all of your experiences and emotions into words. The symbolic vows you’re about to make are a way of saying to one another that you both believe in all the things you promised, hoped and dreamed for one another. It is not just a proclamation of your love to one another, but a reflection of your relationship with each other.

Grant, will you now pledge your vows you’ve written for Eileen with the following:

“I call upon the persons here present
To witness that I Grant
Take you Eileen
To be my lawful wedded Wife.”

Mr Big:

I promise to put you first in everything I do,
To be the excited high-five when you’re happy, and the comforting arms when you feel sad.

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To truly listen when you need to talk, and to give good advice when you need to listen.
To be your superhero when you’re afraid, and to bare my soul when you see I hurt.

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To be yours and you mine from here til’ the end of the verse.
Eileen, I love you.

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After Mr Big said his vows, Celebrant J turned to me.

Guys – I thought I’d cry going down the aisle, and when I didn’t, I was pretty confident I’d be ok with my vows. The moment Mr Big said his though; I felt the tears start to build. So when it was my turn, I had to stop, breathe deeply, and then continue lest I start bawling.

Celebrant J:
Eileen, will you please respond with the vows you’ve written for Grant with the following:

“I call upon the persons here present
To witness that I Eileen
Take you Grant
To be my lawful wedded Husband.”

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Miss Big:

Grant, I don’t like clichés.
I like to think that I’m more imaginative than that, but when I think about you, all I can think about is the clichéd, typical semblance of romance – of a girl who loves a boy so much that everything is just so cliché.

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So when I say that you are my rock, you are the man of my dreams, the thing I look forward to in the morning and one of the last thoughts I have at night, I am telling the whole clichéd truth. Like one great spy said to another, you are a gift, a gift that I will treasure forever.

You are my sanctuary, my happily ever after, and my above and beyond. I know that with you I’ll always be truly happy. With you I can be exactly who I am with no judgement and no reservations. 

See that face? That’s the “don’t you dare cry while you’re saying your vows” face.

See that face? That’s the “don’t you dare cry while you’re saying your vows” face.

You make me a better person and I will strive with all of my heart, my mind, and every fibre of my being to be the best partner, lover, friend, and wife that I can be. There are no promises I can make that will ever encompass the love I have for you, so I’ll make it brief. I promise to laugh with you in the good times and stand with you in the bad.

I promise to stand by your side as we walk through life together, hand-in-hand.

But most of all, I promise to love you fiercely and proudly forevermore.

I'm pretty sure he almost cried too.

I’m pretty sure he almost cried too.

At this point, Mr Big went in for a kiss. It was unexpected, and caught most people off-guard (including our photographers, there’s no picture of it, haha!). At that point Mr Big stated: “Got an early one in”. This managed to make just about everyone – including the both of us – laugh.

With the mood lightened, Celebrant J continued on with the ceremony, asking BMan Hunter for the rings:

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Grant and Eileen, marriage is a state in which two people come together and create a union that is greater than the mere sum of two individuals. It is difficult to express in words the profound relationship that is love. These rings are a symbol of your love and regard to one another. From time immemorial, the circle has been an emblem of the sincerity and permanence of a couple’s love and regard for one another and their union. The ring is the symbol of the commitment which binds these two people together.

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The act of giving and receiving of rings reminds us that love itself is an act of giving and receiving. These golden circles are the natural symbols of enduring love. They represent an inward belief and trust in togetherness and an outward sign of love and commitment.

Grant, as you place this ring as a visible sign of your commitment in marriage on Eileen’s finger, please repeat:

‘Eileen, I promise to love, respect, and honour you.
I will always be there for you, with you, and beside you.
Let this ring be a symbol of our love, may it represent our today, our tomorrows, our future and our past.
As this ring has no end, neither shall my love for you.
As I have given you my hands to hold, so I give you my life to keep.’

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Eileen, as you place this ring as a visible sign of your commitment in marriage on Grant’s finger, please repeat:

‘Grant, I promise to love, respect, and honour you.
I will always be there for you, with you, and beside you.
Let this ring be a symbol of our love, may it represent our today, our tomorrows, our future and our past.
As this ring has no end, neither shall my love for you.
As I have given you my hands to hold, so I give you my life to keep.’

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As I slipped the ring on Mr Big’s finger, I could see the look of excitement on his face as Celebrant J began the next section of the ceremony: 

Grant and Eileen, marriage is the joining of two people, the union of two hearts. It lives on in the love you have for each other and never grows old, but thrives in the joy of each new day. 

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Today, before your family and friends, you have openly declared your love for each other. You have joined your hands, pledged your vows, and exchanged rings. You have not only made a commitment to each other, but to yourselves, to face life’s journey together. And so it is with great joy that I now declare you Husband and Wife.

Congratulations, and best wishes from all of your family and friends here today!

Grant, you may now kiss your bride!

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And he did!

We’re not done yet guys!

[All photos by the fantastic Studio Something.]

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Takin’ Love by the Horns: Sending All My Love To You

2 Jul

In my last post I showed you guys our “ribbon-cutting ceremony”, where we blindfolded Mr Big. As this finished, our timetable told us that we needed to get to our civil ceremony at the Hunter Valley Gardens. While Mr Big and I were still at the villa, our guests had started to arrive.

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Mr Big arrived a moment later, positioning himself with his groomsmen at the front of the aisle. We had music playing for our guests during this time – some which people may think are untraditional choices:

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Meanwhile, at the villa, and already approximately 15 minutes late already, I was beginning to panic that we hadn’t left yet. Everyone and their mum assured me it was ok for the bride and groom to be a little bit late to their wedding, but Mr Big had already left and I was stuck waiting. At first, I felt bad inconveniencing our guests and vendors like this, but as it was culturally important, everyone assured me it would be ok.

But time was getting further and further away, and I was still at the villa.

Luckily for me, Papa and Mama Bighorn saw the look of absolute fear and anguish in my eyes that I would be late to my own wedding, and gently ushered me into the car, telling me that they would handle it. I’m not too sure what they did, but after a harrowing five minutes, we were underway, all the while Papa Bighorn cheering me up as he drove.

When we finally got to the ceremony site, things happened quickly.

Waiting at the gate was a golf cart, the driver ready to take me up quickly to the Waterfall Outlook with my parents. After a short ride (thank God for that golf cart), I saw my bridesmaids who were looking relieved that I had finally arrived.

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Yes guys, that is a Ferris Wheel behind them. No, we didn’t get to ride it. BOO!

After a short apology, the wedding coordinator gave me a brief nod and I heard the music start. Now, you guys may or may not remember, but my tastes in music aren’t really conventional. We decided pretty early on that our music would suit our tastes, and so I present to you, our processional song.

Because the song was rather long, and my bridal party wasn’t too big, we decided it would be played for all the bridesmaids and myself. So first off, my girls came down the aisle:

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What you can’t see through the photos was that they were holding parasols all the way down the aisle up until the stairs. As they went down the stairs, they closed the parasols (like MoH M&Ms is doing) and then placed them at their sides as they formed up.

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The girls were amazing throughout the day! But enough with my ranting, let’s get back on track.

After my girls were lined up (as above), I came down the aisle with both of my parents. I knew, from the beginning, that this is what I wanted to do. Both of them play a huge part in my life and I wanted to honour them both.

As we prepared to walk down the aisle, I was nervous! My stomach was in twisted knots and I was terrified I would trip, stumble, or worst – cry! But as I linked arms with both of my parents, our coordinator signalled us to walk down the aisle, and we turned the corner, I saw Mr Big waiting there for me.

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And I know this sounds cliché, but my nervousness disappeared, replaced with a calm excitement.

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Mr Big was looking something like this:

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Folks, this picture and the one of both my parents and I walking down the aisle are two of my very favourites.

As we reached the front and I finally caught a glimpse of Mr Big’s face, I felt my heart explode with happiness. I couldn’t help the smile.

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Meanwhile, Mama Bighorn was finding it hard to hold it together.

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After I gave both of my parents a strong hug, and Mama Bighorn a quick kiss, they took their seats, leaving me standing at the front of the aisle. With Mr Big in front of me, tears in his eyes, I felt a giddy surge of energy run through me.

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We were getting married guys! Up next – the ceremony!

[All photos by Studio Something.]

 

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Need to catch up?

I Programmed (and Signed)

3 Feb

You may recall in a last post I was whining inquiring on whether or not I should do a program for the ceremony. Well, after some mulling, talks with Mr Big, and a quick assemblage of text types in Photoshop, I decided that the program was a goer.

So what did I choose?

Well, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

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Personal image. Names blurred to protect the innocent.

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Personal image.

That’s right, guys.

We chose the program poster in canvas. Initially I was unsure about using canvas due to the expense. A typical 20”x30” canvas poster runs to about $100 in Australia. It was then that I realised I had another friendor in my life who owned his own camera shop.

After I called Friend T, he agreed to do the canvas printouts at a far cheaper rate than normal. He printed them out, giving me proofs on the way, and then had Usher/Friend Cap drop them off at my house.

I’m happy to say they were perfect.

The actual design of the programs was done in conjunction with me and MoH M&Ms, who’s a whiz on Photoshop. She designed the cherry blossoms around the edges and it looked stunning on canvas.

Finally, Papa Bighorn came up with the idea of using different music stands to sit the signs on at the ceremony. The big signs (top) would sit on an altered guitar stand and the little signs (bottom) would sit on a music book stand.

As you can see, I was so excited I took pictures.

All up we had four signs – two big and two little – at the wedding; two of them were programs, and the other two were signs. They worked effectively, looked beautiful, and I love how they turned out. And most of all, when Mr Big and I finally get a house, we can display these somewhere as a keepsake from the wedding!

Did anyone else use canvas program/signs at their wedding?

A Spot of Tea

28 Jan

Hi Hive!

Can you believe it’s already been more than a week since Mr Big and I got married? ‘Cause I certainly can’t. So far, married life is treating both Mr Big and I pretty darn good. We spent most of the post-wedding week catching up with friends and family, New Zealand, Indonesian and Australian-alike. (We may have also gorged ourselves on a little too much food).

I can’t launch into my recaps yet since I’m still waiting on my pro photos, but let me show you a picture of Mr Big and me with some Bighorn Sheep relatives:

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Mr Big and I with some Bighorn Sheep relatives! You can barely see them, but they’re there! / Personal Image.

Now, I did mention in my last post that I had a few more things to talk about. So Hive, let’s talk tea.

In a previous post, I talked about the Chinese tea ceremony and the significance of this cultural event in a Chinese wedding. Mr Big and I were happy to have it in our wedding, and ultimately decided that we would be having it at the Oriental Pagoda in the Hunter Valley Gardens.

However, the one task that proved difficult for Mr Big and I was selecting the tea. I mentioned previously that the type of tea often used for a Chinese tea ceremony is either a sweet tea, such as longan tea, or a standard Chinese tea such as green or jasmine.

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Tea served with lotus seeds and red dates, symbolic of the newlyweds bearing children quickly and often. The sweetness of the tea is also supposed to invoke “sweet relations” between the families. / Image via Are You Gonna Eat That?. Photography via Pelaez Photography (out of business).

Mr Big and I however, ever the non-traditional, decided we’d go with something else.

You see, Hive, in Australia there’s a tea shop called T2 which sells a whole heap of different tea, from green to black, jasmine to tisane. During our first few months together, Mr Big decided he wanted to “try more Asian things” (he’s adorable), so he bought a container of tea called “Geisha Green”. Essentially, it was green tea infused with dried strawberries and cream.

That container was finished within a month.

And so it was decided by Mr Big and me that we would be using the Geisha Green for our Chinese tea ceremony (for obvious reasons). However, about 6 months away from the wedding, we got my parents to try it. My dad took one sip and reeled backwards.

He absolutely hated it.

That was when Mr Big and I realised that, if my dad hated it, his brothers would really hate it and my aunts and uncles from Indonesia would despise it.

Balls.

So what’s a bride and groom to do?

Sit on it for 3 more months, that’s what.

It was in October that we decided to get off our asses and pull the trigger on the tea conundrum. We needed to get this tea thing sorted. Our choices were either:

  1. Go the traditional! That meant either choosing a traditional green or jasmine tea (boooo-ring) or going the sweet tea route (and we had never tried the sweet tea, so we were wary about that).
  2. Find more non-traditional options. Our local T2 was about a 20-minute drive from us and we loved shopping there anyway!

It’s pretty obvious from the two choices above which one we chose (its 2, guys).

So on a Sunday morning, we dragged Groom’s Homie Oddball, MoH M&Ms, and The Don – M&M’s boyfie – out to Parramatta mall. The first shop we hit was T2!

Upon entering, we checked out all of the options and made mental notes on what would work best. The things we needed to consider were:

  • The elder folk and their tastebuds. Papa and Mama Bighorn are used to, and enjoy drinking, traditional tea. So to them, and probably the rest of my aunts and uncles, green and jasmine tea would prove the most enjoyable. On the other hand, Mr Big’s side of the family is used to the “typical cuppa” – tea with milk and sugar. Traditional Chinese tea can be pretty darn strong, so I worried they wouldn’t be able to drink the traditional teas. Therefore, the tea for the Chinese tea ceremony needed to be traditional enough for my side, but light enough for Mr Big’s side.
  • The quantity of the tea. Leading up to the wedding, we had relatives state that they weren’t going to make it to the Chinese tea ceremony. However, Mr Big and I had contingencies in place (read: extra tea and an über jug to brew said tea) just in case they decided to change their mind and make an appearance on the day without telling us (they did).
  • The quality of the tea. It was important for Mr Big and I that the tea not only tasted and looked good, but we also knew was of great quality. We’d heard a horror story of two friends who shopped at a local (and popular) spice mart and had weevils in the spice. This place also sold tea. This was one of the top reasons why we chose to shop with T2.
  • And finally, how we’d serve the tea. We wanted to make it easy for my bridesmaids and our Good Luck Lady Lucky to brew and pour the tea, therefore making it significantly easier for us to get through each of the elders.

So with that, our search commenced. After some faffing around, we decided – ultimately – that the best port of call for us would be to get the helpful suggestions of the ladies at T2. One in particular was extremely helpful, having done tea ceremonies herself.

She suggested Snow Dragon Jasmine as the “base notes” for the tea.

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Tea leaves of the Snow Dragon Jasmine. / Image taken from the T2 website.

This tea combines both green and jasmine tea together. It’s a light tea, good for the palettes of Mr Big’s family, but traditional (and so tasty), which is good for my side. She suggested we brew two to three teaspoons before serving. It’s also “re-brew-able”, which means the flavour lasts for longer.

We thought that was it, but she then brought out a tea from their “Just” range – Just Rose.

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‘Just Rose’ rose buds. / Image taken from the T2 website.

Like the picture implies, the ‘Just Rose’ tea consists of dried rose buds only. To brew this tisane, they recommend grabbing 3-4 of them per 200mls and brewing them in water for 5-7 minutes. It’s also high in Vitamin C and the scent you get from it as you sip is amazing.

Our assistant that day told us to pop just one rose bud in per cup of tea during the Chinese tea ceremony to infuse the flavour and give it a unique taste and aroma. We took her word for it and decided to buy them both. It also helped that I have a thing for roses. We also bought two pretty containers for them in green and red.

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Pretty green container for our green-jasmine tea! / Image taken from the T2 website.

Once we got back home, we brewed ourselves a cup or two (or three) and shared them around. Papa Bighorn’s reaction was what sold us on the idea. He absolutely loved it and went back for another cup. Mama Bighorn was pleased with our choice as well.

And finally, that meant Mr Big and I had crossed off an important to-do on our list!

Who else had trouble pulling the trigger on a particular wedding-related task? Anyone else have to change the direction on something because someone important didn’t like it?

To Program, or Not to Program

21 Nov

Alternative Title: I NEED HELP.

Hey guys!

I’ve been agonising over this for a while, and I know it’s silly, but guys –

Do I make wedding programs for guests?

Seriously, guys!

I know I want people to know who our bridal party is, and I’d like to give some information to our guests, especially as there will be some things that aren’t ‘standard’ at both ceremonies (heck, one ceremony is beyond standard for half of the wedding guests), but… I don’t want to waste the money and time designing and printing programs with the knowledge that it’s going to be thrown away.

I guess the same can be said about our invitations.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about programs is the fact that you have to be succinct about the information you give, but we’ll have a lot happening, and I don’t know if it’s entirely possible.

Granted, I’ve seen some gorgeous wedding programs, and they make me think I should do programs, but I don’t know, hive.

The two I’ve been tossing up are the double sided rack card wedding programs:

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From etsy shop, How Lovely Paper.

And the wedding program in the form of a sign:

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From etsy shop, beth and borrow.

I love the sign idea because –

  • it won’t get thrown away
  • we can have it at the front so that guests can have a gander if they really need the information, and
  • it’ll look pretty.

Mr Big is a goer for this idea and suggested it especially for the Chinese Tea Ceremony. Only problem is, DIY’ing it may be a breathtaking failure, simply because my skills on a chalkboard aren’t fantastic, as evidenced earlier. I could always do it digitally, but I’d need to print it out through a printing website or a brick-and-mortar printing place.

And then somehow frame it.

Buying a pre-made sign may be even harder considering the difficulty in procuring those kinds of goods in Australia.

As for the rack cards, I know I can digitally design something good enough, but then we have to pay for the cost per rack card from a site like Vistaprint. And then there’s the delivery of said rack cards. Vistaprint does awesome deals, but still… that’s some money we’re using which can go towards other things.

So, I’m letting you weigh in.

Do I make wedding programs for my guests? If I do, should I choose the program-per-guest route, or the sign-at-the-front route?

Rock On!

23 Oct

I’ve mentioned before that GP and I have a preference for rock-oriented songs.

Our wedding will be filled with songs which aren’t what people would call “standard” wedding songs. In fact, some people may not know some of the songs played at our reception! Hopefully it’ll run smoothly though. I won’t get into specifics – I sort of want to keep some air of mystery! – but the songs we’ve chosen for important parts of the wedding (sans a few) will be rock-based.

Our ceremony will have a number of alternative and folk rock songs strewn throughout. Since the last post, GP managed to cull about 40 songs from the massive list I gave him (I’m a bad decision-maker, what can I say!). We shifted some songs around to the reception, since we really liked some songs, and some we culled completely (for example, “Teardrop” by Massive Attack – I love that song, but it’s actually sad… and I didn’t realise that until now, doh!). Our pre-ceremony music will go for longer than 30 minutes, about 45, but that’s purely because we’re worried we’ll be late.

Most, if not all, of the songs during our ceremony will have some basis in rock and range from indie to mainstream and alternative to folk. There’ll be a few that only a select number of people will know (The Script’s “I’m Yours”) and others that are pretty darn popular (Coldplay’s “Clocks”), but all of them were chosen because they fit the criteria of, a) easy listening, even for guests who don’t listen to our genre of music, b) not depressing, like 99% of the songs I listen to, and c) fitting for a wedding!

This goes double for the reception.

I mentioned before that we’ll be having a few key things happening at the reception, most of them revolving around music, so it was important that GP and I get it right. We know not everyone will enjoy our type of music, but we hope our song choices will be enjoyed by a majority of our guests. And we’re hoping, for those who don’t really like our genre of music, they’ll enjoy it simply because it softens/lightens/hypes up the mood at the wedding. 🙂

Excitingly, we got the song list from FBIL Muso and it looks good! They’re mostly what I call “slow sway” rock songs, and will definitely suit as dinner music to entertain others while they eat and mingle. I’m not sure about half of the bands (before my time, unfortunately) but I’ve recently put most of them on to a Spotify playlist and am playing through it now. The running time is just under 3 hours, but let’s include the changeovers and getting-ready between songs, and they’ll probably be playing for about 3 hours. We’ll need to see how it can fit into the timeline, but it should be ok! 🙂

GP has also chosen the three songs he wants to perform, but still needs to run this by my papa. De Papa (GP’s dad) and FBIL Muso have an idea. I’m super excited about this one, but nervous for GP at the same time. We’ll see how this one goes. 🙂

As for the dance-portion of the wedding, GP and I have carefully chosen songs which span the ages and suit what we like. We’ve had to negotiate on some songs, but overall, we’re happy with our choices. Our last song of the night will be particularly, we hope, crowd-stomping worthy. Now we need to get all the songs and give them to our DJ. Eeesh, it’s getting closer to the wedding every day that goes by and I’m actually starting to freak out about the amount of stuff we have to do!

Hopefully our guests like/accept our music. It’s the one thing GP and I have both been incredibly thoughtful about. In fact, when we listed what we truly wanted out of our wedding, ‘good music’ was one of the priorities.

What do you guys think? Are we being too narrow-minded? Do you think we should add some songs we don’t really like?

 

Bouquets, Brollies, and Boutonnieres – Oh My!

25 Sep

I mentioned in a previous post that my bridesmaids won’t be holding bouquets as they walk down the aisle and the groomsmen (and groom) won’t be having boutonnieres. This is because the weather may be what one would call stinking and stupidly hot. For the bridal party, who will be in suits, dresses, heels, and walking, standing, posing and smiling all day, the heat could be potentially horrendous. To add to this, half the bridal party are from the much cooler climes of New Zealand, specifically Christchurch (with one from Auckland).

And so, with that said, we’ve decided that the groom and groomsmen won’t be getting boutonnieres as they’ll, likely, not be wearing their suit jackets for most of the day. In lieu of a lack of boutonnieres, the groom and groomsmen will have custom-made shirts that’ll differentiate them from each other!

As for my girls, they’ll be given parasols to shade them from the heat. This way it’ll act as a twofold item – as an alternative to the bouquet to carry down the aisle, and as a way to shade them from the heat when we’re out and about taking photos and being generally bridal-party-like.

For those who aren’t convinced that parasols for bridesmaids are an awesome idea, look at this!

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Bridesmaids carrying parasols, so dainty! / Image via Martha Stewart Weddings.

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Parasols and blue dresses! / Image via Pinterest, photography by True Photography.

We’ll be purchasing the shirts for the guys from this website as documented in this post. And the girls will be getting their parasols from Chinatown Online, an Australian website which sells relatively inexpensive parasols (as compared to the other websites).

So what do you guys think? Was it a good decision on our part to skip the boutonnieres for the guys and bouquets for the girls?