Tag Archives: australia

The Original Plan

13 Nov

Hey hive!

Let me indulge you in on a little something. This issue had, for the first 6 months of Mr Big and I’s engagement, been discussed heatedly. We went back and forth on this issue a lot, and sometimes, there’d be tears of frustration. I won’t lie and I’m certainly not the first bride to say so: wedding planning is stressful.

So what was this issue, you ask?

Well, hive, here’s my confession:

Mr Big and I didn’t want a wedding in the Hunter Valley.

It’s strange for me to say that, especially as my wedding is fast approaching now. Also, with stunning pictures like this, why wouldn’t you want a wedding there?

hvg_something blue

Taken at the Hunter Valley Gardens. / Image via Something Blue Photography.

So where did we want our wedding?

Well, we wanted it here:

chch botanical_rebecca bijl

Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Also, the bride wears a claddagh wedding ring! / Photography & Image via Rebecca Bijl Photography.

And here:


Trent’s Vineyard, Christchurch, New Zealand / Photography & Image via Jo Grams, Moda Fotografica.

So, in short, we wanted our wedding in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We had it all worked out, to the point that Mr Big and I were all ready to phone places and ask about packages and prices.

However, while waiting on our “auspicious” wedding date, days passed, then weeks, then months, and before long, Christchurch became a distant memory. We didn’t have enough time, we thought, to book the places we wanted, especially as the February 2011 earthquake had struck and a lot of the buildings which commonly accommodated weddings were either under repair or completely destroyed.

This meant places that were open, like Trent’s, booked up fast.

By the time we had our date, there were barely any spots left for Mr Big and I.

We weighed in on our options and, I won’t lie, hive, there were some choice words said between us. It became incredibly stressful for both of us. Mr Big was really looking forward to celebrating in Christchurch, especially as he thought that a wedding in Australia meant less of his friends and family being able to attend. Plus, weddings are expensive.

Australian weddings are even more expensive.

The average cost of a wedding in Australia is approximately between $36,200 and $48,296. That’s a lot of money. We were hoping a wedding in Christchurch would be more within our budget. And it would’ve been, had we had it there.

Luckily, as Mr Big and I tried to figure out what the heck to do for our wedding, Papa Bighorn came to the rescue. He offered to help us pay for our wedding.

The catch?

We had to do it in Australia.

You see, in Chinese culture, it’s customary for the parents of a bride and groom to invite family friends to their children’s weddings. This is considered polite and pays respects to the friends of the family. If we were to have the wedding in Christchurch, my parents wouldn’t be able to invite their family friends as they would not be able to travel over. Hence, a wedding in Australia was my parents’ preference.

With the offer, Mr Big and I reluctantly agreed, but we offered up another suggestion: we have the wedding in the Hunter Valley.

The Hunter Valley was a personal place for both Mr Big and I. Not to mention, just two hours away from Sydney and guests could use it as a mini-holiday.

So it was settled – Hunter Valley was our location.

It took Mr Big and me some time to adjust, but once we began to see the beauty of the Hunter Valley, our regret for not being able to go have our one-perfect Christchurch wedding faded. Plus, Mr Big was extraordinarily grateful and touched that his friends were willing to do the distance and travel over the ditch to celebrate with us. In fact, about 90% of Mr Big’s friends will be flying in from New Zealand to party with us in the Hunter Valley!

Despite the happy ending, I still wanted to have a part of our wedding in Christchurch.

But how? What could we do? I remember suggesting an engagement photo shoot in Christchurch. Mr Big looked at me like I was crazy and said, “then we have to fly the photographers over”.

Oh, right. Darn. I scrapped that idea and life went on. Until, we hit a lucky break. What was this lucky break, you ask? You’ll find out soon!

Did anyone else have initial plans that fell through?

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 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:


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:


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.


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?

An Introduction!

23 Jul

Hey all, young, old and in-between.

Welcome to the Wedding Rollercoaster. Strap yourselves in for a tumultuous ride of…

OK, so I’m not very good at introductions. So, who am I? Well, my name is Eileen – otherwise known as the eichanist – and this is my wedding blog. There aren’t many Australian brides who have their own blogs detailing a wedding in Australia, so I thought I’d drop my two cents into the great pool that is the Internet. I probably won’t get that many posts, but hey! It’s better to have started writing than not to have started at all.

So for some information. I’ve been engaged to my beau (who I shall call GP) for almost two years for about three months now (this Wednesday will be our 2-year anniversary!). And… the wedding planning has been basically disastrous. After today’s particular disaster I thought: “Hey, I need to write a blog…”

So here I am.


That is all!