Depending on which of us you ask, the proposal found its roots in quite a few different places.
It could have been when Megan asked if I would accept her family heirloom ring as a promise of her love for me, and of course, I said yes. Or, it could have been when I offered to buy Megan a ring she loved, and when I asked which finger she would wear it on, she simply answered, “I was thinking my ring finger.” Or when I was uncharacteristically shy with Megan, presenting her with the said ring, telling her my love for her was unrivaled, I even loved her just a little bit more than my cat, Harry [my kitty soul mate], and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
But, what we remember most is when Megan drove us home from my cousin’s wedding, slightly tipsy me, told Megan how my Poppy Rusty [Grandfather], who was terminally ill, wished he could see us married also. In early 2017 this was not possible. But becoming civil partners was, so this is what we did on the 27th of September 2017, with Pop as our official witness. We felt fortunate to share this memory with Pop as he sadly passed away not long after our union. Just before the marriage equality law being passed.
Happily with the law being passed, we realized how emotional this ‘legality’ made us. And realized though we had intended to wait for our Wedding 2.0, we couldn’t wait all that long and decided on the big finale. With our wedding taking place on the second anniversary of our union.
We both love the outdoors and enjoying nature, and we knew we wanted our ceremony to be outside. Initially, we were thinking at the beach. But in the end, we decided that we wanted it to be in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. As this is one of our favorite places to spend romantic getaways. Megan wanted a high tea, like an Alice in Wonderland tea party. I wanted a picnic, so we combined the two and had a high tea picnic. We love eclectic mismatched furniture [you should see our home], antique, vintage, and new, so we went with a relaxed vintage-styled ceremony and picnic reception.
We eventually decided on Ruddle’s Retreat after finding pictures of the gardens and a wedding ceremony on Google. Which coincidentally turned out to be taken by Adriana many years ago. Off we went up to view the property. Unfortunately, it was on a VERY rainy day, but it was beautiful even in the miserable weather, and we knew that it was meant to be.
Our whole wedding was DIY!
I hired rugs, chairs, tables, and lace bunting from Sugar Tea Rose Party. Our dear friend Brenny made our arbor and decorated with Megan’s old boss and close friend Shelly. We bought wholesale bunches of flowers from Eumundi Roses, opting for native Australian flowers, gum nuts and leaves, South African Proteas, and wild berries. I spent many hours the day before arranging flowers in jars [collected over six months by my mother and me], which we decorated with twine and ribbon. I wanted dozens of posies to scatter throughout the ceremony and picnic area.
Megan made finger sandwiches, fruit and cheese platters, and flavored iced teas. Which paired beautifully with our dessert table full of cakes and donuts we picked and ordered through Mel from Chocolate 2 Chilli. We displayed these on high tea tiers I sourced from op shops and cake plates from family and antique stores. The teacups and tableware were sourced from op shops, antique stores, and family heirlooms, as were the lace table cloths, table runners, and doilies.
Altogether it took us thirteen hours the day before and from 4 am to 6.30 am the day of to set up everything for our big day. But it was worth it, all coming together to look even better than we had imagined.
DIY can be lots of fun. We saved a little on the costs; however, if I did it all over again, having a wedding planner could have been less stressful.
On the wedding day, I was awake at 4 am, and Megan followed at 5 am, with my parents [who stayed with us at Ruddle’s retreat].
Megan and I reminisced about how we also got ready together on the morning of our civil union. That day, Megan styled my hair, taught a few weeks prior how to do pin curls by our dear friend hairdresser KC. KC styled our hair this time around as a wedding gift to us.
Our make up artist Sally Townsend [who uses Vegan makeup] attended us in our holiday home, making us feel simply beautiful. It was only the second time I had seen Megan in makeup in the seven and a half years together [the first being our civil union]. Once we were all prepped and painted, we went to separate rooms to get ready, as I had kept my dress a surprise from Megan, friends, and family.
Megan was walked down the aisle by her sister Simone, and I followed, holding my mother and father’s hands. Philippa Hollness was our celebrant for both our civil union and wedding. She helped tell our love story and officiate our marriage perfectly. We kissed many times throughout the ceremony. With the big kiss at the end when we were pronounced wife and wife.
Our vows included some wording from our civil union vows, which were special to us. I also promised to protect Megan from the spiders if she saves me from the ants [our biggest phobias]. Of course, I mentioned how each morning I make the bed, and each night Megan hogs the blankets. And once again, I shared how I would promise to give Megan all the adoration and support I give my cat. Megan pledged always to let me win Connect Four and never wear the fitness shoes she wants, toe-shoes, as toes freak me out!
Simone and my Grand Mama, Margaret witnessed our papers, and it was all official, we were Mrs. and Mrs. Noonan-Atfield! We walked back down the aisle to our fifty guests blowing bubbles. With big smiles and many hugs from those we loved. Adriana took us for photos, and then we returned to our guests to cut the cake and enjoy the delicious high tea. Laying around on rugs, chatting and laughing the afternoon away.
We loved our civil union, how intimate it was for the two of us. With just our family, our closest relatives and our best friends, we are lucky enough to have chosen as our family, our ‘sisters.’ At first, we were hesitant about having forty more people join us at our wedding. However, they were our extended ‘family,’ my aunts, cousins, and dearest friends. It meant a great deal to have them all there. In the middle of the week, early in the morning, far from their homes. Seeing their tears of joy for us on our big day, they had battled with us for equality, wanting this day to happen for us, just as much as we did, as love is love and should be rejoiced, celebrated and honored in marriage.
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Photography by Adriana Watson Photography