Cat’s Non-Legal But Magical Australian Wedding

I’m thrilled to bring you Cat, with her amazing cocktail party Australian wedding. She writes so eloquently about what really matters in the wedding planning/ wedding doing process, and about how and why marriage is important – for ALL of us. So with that, I bring you Cat:
Dani and I were married in a non-legal ceremony on October 9th of last year, in North Adelaide. Our venue was the historic wine cellar turned function space of our favourite hotel. We knew from the outset that ‘traditional’ didn’t suit us, and after talking it through, realised that all we really wanted was a big cocktail party with all our favourite people. So that’s what we did. We booked a Friday night, planned a pre-wedding dinner and photos with our bridal party to make the most of having our nearest and dearest all in the one place, and organised a ceremony on the dance floor, followed by finger food, drinks and dancing.I went into it very much of the mentality that it IS just one day and it is the marriage that matters, not the wedding. That is something I still believe, but having come out the other side I have a new appreciation of why, without losing perspective, it is worth going all out on the areas that matter to you and making the absolute most of the resources you have. I’m not much of a romantic, so I never saw myself being swept away in the emotion of it all. While I knew it was going to be fun, I though that most of the gushing about weddings was hype. I was literally dreading standing there with everyone looking at me during the ultimate PDA, but it is actually true that you forget that there is anyone else in the room.Obviously it didn’t go perfectly. Not something I was ever hung up on, but I could have stood a few less hurdles! We were already planning on a tight budget, but the drama really came to a head when Dani was made redundant a couple of months before the wedding. We had to seriously look at our plans and decide what our priorities were and what could be let go. In a way, I’m glad it happened when it did. We sat down and decided what was REALLY important to us; dinner and quality time with the bridal party beforehand, hair and make up -vain, I know, but I wanted to feel special for a day and I’m SO glad I ignored the ‘waste of money’ voice in the back of my head- and wedding rings. Everything else was up for negotiation and ways of reducing cost.And of course there were the usual wedding hiccups; decorations that dont come out quite right, vendors who lose any record of you paying them. And a mother who moved the ceremony location from one end of the venue to the other without telling anyone. We made out grand entrance, walked to the designated spot… and realised we were standing amongst the guests. Mass confusion, but we got there in the end. During our re-prioritising we had also made a list of things that we were doing because we ‘should’, or ideas that were cool but we could live without., and unceremoniously ditched the lot. My wedding was full of the awesom-est crafty ideas never to make it to the day. I know it gets repeated again and again but none of it mattered. None of it. As soon as the ceremony started, every stressful detail ceased to be of any importance what so ever.The overwhelming thing that stands out when I look back is the love that went into it. Our wedding took a village and as a result we were able to do so much we otherwise wouldn’t have. Both sets of parents stepped up and volunteered enough money to pay for the entire reception between them. Dani’s artist brother designed our gorgeous invitations and his friend professionally printed them in exchange for a carton of beer. My brother, a DJ and blues guitarist, played during the reception and MC-ed. My Maid of Honour and her partner are wedding photographers and they donated their services as a wedding gift. Dani’s cousin wrote and officiated a beautiful ceremony that was everything we wanted and then some. Looking around during a quiet moment during the reception at all the work people had put in, totally unasked, was the most incredible feeling. There would have been less work if we had just paid someone to decorate the tables for us, but the one thing I will always remember from the night was the sense of community, family and love. I wouldn’t change that for anything.Obviously a non-legal gay wedding comes with its own set of challenges, and there were moments of hurt at the reactions of a very small number of people. Looking around after the ceremony at the teary eyes and giant smiles was more than enough to make up for the small amount of negativity though. That so many people would be so supportive and so happy to be there had us both floored and incredibly grateful for the people we have in our lives.I couldn’t pick a favourite memory. Some of the small things that went wrong have become highlights, and funny stories. I remember saying my vows to Dan and the look on her face, not waiting for our celebrant to say the ‘you may now kiss’ part before we did, dancing with my new family and laughing all night. Mostly I remember the overwhelming sense of love and happiness in the room, I couldn’t compare it to anything else.The most important things I learnt throughout the process:

  • Prioritise. Your wedding probably wont look like the ones in the magazines and it will still be amazing. Focus on the things that are most important to you, those will be the memorable things. And it will be more fun to plan!
  • Let people help you. If you have talented people who offer to help, let them! Not only will it take the pressure off you, but you will end up with a hugely personal and love filled day.
  • Most importantly, take a moment to just stand back and absorb as much as you can. It will be over before you know it.

In most practical ways, being married hasn’t changed anything, though in some way that I’m not eloquent enough to explain it does feel different to say ‘wife’ instead of ‘partner’ or ‘girlfriend’. I’m so glad we decided to do it, legally recognised or not. Dani has changed my life for the better and having our favourite people together to celebrate our commitment to each other was incredible. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.Photos: Joel Rusa Photography

Featured Sponsored Content

  • Gorgeous photos…love her tattoo!

  • Cat!! You are the owner of that gorgeous tattoo!! I've seen your picture somewhere else and I remember not being able to stop staring because it was such a beautiful photo and tattoo.

    You and Dani are gorgeous and your wedding sounds so wonderful, legal or not. I did the obligatory dress swooning, but I am also seriously diggin' Dani's shirt. (Seriously, I just got really close to the screen to stare at it to see if I can find one like it. My apologies for inadvertantly staring at your wife's chest.)

    Great advice, great photos, you two are lovely lovely lovely.

  • Mindy

    I L*O*V*E this wedding! so beautiful! the pics are great, and the couple is soo obviously infatuated with each other, and yes- the tatt- its amazing! makes me wonder where my partner and i could put some ink when we get married… i've seen the pics form this wedding somwhere else too-(flickr? another blog?) but it's stood out in my mind as one of those i wish i could have attended :) I'm excited to see it here on my favorite wedding blog! I loved reading thier post too- i couldn't agree more with "let peole help" thats something we're working on with our wedding planning right now…

  • SMK

    What an absolutely gorgeous wedding and love story – congrats to you both!!

  • Just beautiful!

  • was it another blog or did Meg post just that picture of the tatt a while back..? I don't know, I've definitely seen it somewhere before and I remember thinking it was awesome.

    Cat, thanks so much for sharing your wedding with us. Sounds like you two went through a lot to have your wedding but you'd never know it from the joy in the pictures. also, fabulous shoes!!

  • Congratulations on your beautiful beautiful wedding.

  • Beautiful wedding! I love seeing weddings of all sorts of people, it is such a refreshing break from all the other wedding blogs. Meg, you are doing a fabulous job and Cat-your wedding was amazing! I hope you two enjoy a wonderful marriage!

  • Great post! Yay for knowing exactly what the two of you want, keeping all of that and ditching the stuff that isn't important. It's much easier said than done, as I'm quickly finding out. Congratulations!

  • Beautiful wedding! And as much as I'm enjoying planning little wedding details, I LOVE hearing that when the moment arrives, none of it matters. You both look so happy.

  • Meg

    Ariel of OBB posted the Tatt picture in a post about "You'll seeeee…." When Cat sent me her wedding I was like, "OH, you're the owner of that beautiful tattoo!!"

    I think I'm allowed to tell you that it's a verse from their wedding song "Until the earth stops turning" and Dani has the other half of the verse as her tatto. Can we get an awwwwwwwwwwwwwww?

  • love Dani's wedding suit. love it. hot.

  • Beautiful and inspirational!!

  • what a gorgeous couple, story, and wedding. I love the shot with the tattoo!

  • DJ

    Looks like so much fun. I especially like the champagne photo, that honestly is one of the best parts of any wedding. Love, love, love your dress.

  • I'm trying to come up with another word for gorgeous – beautiful, stunning, elegant, fabulous… I completely love this wedding. and oh, how I love a tea length wedding gown! smashing!!!

  • I hate/love that I always tear up reading the Wedding Graduate posts. What a beautiful, loving couple!

    And, I know I should focus on the emotions and not the pretty, but I am totally showing the florist I'm meeting tomorrow that bouquet – exactly the mix of white flower against green that I want.

  • That tattoo is amazing! Also adore her dress. What a cute couple.

    Yay for Australian weddings!

  • Cat

    Thanks everyone! Dani and I are really touched at the lovely comments. And thanks so much for all the compliments on my tattoo. As Meg said, its a line from our wedding song, that is far and away my favourite of our photos :)

    @ Lyssachelle, her shirt is from Ben Sherman's womens range (and no worries, I often find myself inadvertently staring her. Totally understandable!)

    @ Jennifer, my bouquet was cream lisianthus and camelia leaves if you were interested :)

  • Absolutely beautiful…usually reading wedding graduate posts don't make me tear up (although they do make me say 'aww' a lot), but for some reason once I got to the tattoo picture, I just kept getting more teary-eyed as I read. That kind of love and beauty is what marriage should be about. Sometimes I wish everyone who is against gay marriage would have the courage to look at a story like this – maybe it would change a few hearts.

    Congratulations on a beautiful day! And by the way, love the idea of having two halves of a song lyric tattooed on each of you – my sweetheart are going to get tattoos together after we're married.

  • Meg

    I don't fool myself into thinking that everyone who reads this blog is for gay marriage, so I often hope that beautiful weddings like this… if they don't change hearts, maybe they put a tiny crack in them. And with enough tiny cracks, hearts change. They do.

  • Beautiful wedding and lovely words of advice! AND I absolutely LOVE that tattoo!! @meg & mandy: hearts absolutely do change and little posts like this are so damn helpful. Keep chipping away! :)

  • oh, this post made me feel happy! This is why I love weddings and the people who participate in them. Thank you. <3

    Also, Meg & everyone else, DEFINITELY keep chipping away–you're doing us all a huge service by adding more love to the world.