I think I can safely say that March 2017 was the best month of my life so far. I married the love of my life, surrounded by family and friends, and then got to explore one of my favourite cities with my new husband.
We kicked off the more formal celebrations with a dinner for the bridal party and our immediate family at The Potting Shed. It was the first time we have ever had all of our parents, siblings and best friends together in one room (well, green house) which was extremely special.
Unfortunately my nan was not able to make the trip to be here for our wedding. Although I had known this would likely be the case when we decided to get married in Australia, as the date drew nearer it was hard for us both. I was therefore all the more grateful that Oliver’s grandparents had made the journey from Adelaide to Sydney. They are two wonderfully special people, who I am very lucky to have made some wonderful memories with. I’d be lying if I said that spending time with them doesn’t make me miss my own grandparents even more though.
The Grounds at night really is just as impressive as during the day. We opted for the set menu due to our group size and continued to be astounded by the amount of delicious food they brought out. Our server invited us to explore the grounds themselves while they cleared our tables ready for dessert.
My mother-in-law very kindly made gift packs for all of our friends and relatives from overseas to welcome them to Australia!
The following day we packed everything in the Mini and drove up to Palm Beach. The sun was shining and after a week of on/off rain we were optimistic we might be able to have the outdoor ceremony that we had planned. I checked in to the Pavilion House which I was staying at with my Mum, Roy and bridesmaids the night before the wedding, while Oliver went to join the boys in their own beach house a few streets along. The house was even more stunning than I had expected and I ran around like an excited child on Christmas morning admiring the Scandinavian details in the beach style home.
We spent the afternoon settling in and making the most of our beautiful surroundings until it was time to head to Governor Phillip Park to meet Oliver, the groomsmen and our celebrant, Liam Chapman, for the ceremony rehearsal. We practiced our walks, finalised aisle placement and made sure everybody was happy with the wet weather contingency plan before we said our goodbyes, knowing the next time we saw each other would at the very same place but in entirely different circumstances.
My last night as a Miss was spent with my parents, siblings, nephew and bridesmaids eating a delicious barbecued feast and absorbing so much love and excitement. I took myself to bed to try to get some beauty sleep and drifted off to the sounds of my loved ones having a wine-induced planning competition!
Before I went to bed, Tash gave me an extremely thoughtful gift of a bridal survival box. She had carefully chosen things that she thought I might need or like to prepare for the next day, including a bath bomb, lip balm and a sheet face mask.
That night I slept very well, which should come as no real surprise to anybody since I am a champion sleeper! When I woke up at the crack of dawn, like I knew I would, I reached for the face mask and forced myself to stay in bed a little longer. I called my nan in the UK and soaked up her advice for the day ahead.
I peeled off my mask and headed downstairs where I could hear my smart little flower girl Pearl was eating her breakfast. Once everybody was up we wandered to get coffee and took a minute overlooking Pittwater to think about the day ahead. Luckily it turns out we just missed the boys who spent the morning kayaking, otherwise we would have broken our self-imposed ‘no contact before the ceremony’ rule!
We headed home to make eggs to go with the coffee and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. Actually, with the ceremony at 4.30pm, most of the day was quite leisurely! It was almost like being back in (a really beautifully designed) university getting ready with my mum, sisters and bridesmaids. The dining room table became one bit make-up counter and my gorgeous sisters became the resident hair stylists.
A couple of weeks before the wedding, when my other plans fell through, Tash came to the rescue by revealing her bridal makeup skills, so I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends doing my make-up, while I did my own hair. I don’t wear much makeup in everyday life so was nervous about feeling too ‘done’, so it was the perfect solution having somebody I trust and who knows me so well. I think she did a brilliant job.
The weather that week was unpredictable, with bright spells breaking up daily rain showers, so we carefully watched the sky but felt buoyed by the sun peaking through the clouds with regularity throughout the morning. My groom had been lumbered with the job of making a call on whether we would implement our wet weather plan, so I was delighted when it seemed he had been receiving my subliminal messages and it was confirmed that we were going to risk it and go with Plan A of an outdoor ceremony.
While it had seemed like we had hours stretching ahead of us, they very quickly disappeared and before we knew it our wonderful wedding photographer Sophie Thompson was back and ready to take photos of the girls helping me into my dress. Once my shoes were on and I’d made it downstairs without tripping over my hem, I had a couple of moments to compose myself before jumping into our Mini with my dad and heading to meet my groom.
The rest of the day was the most incredible day, far exceeding my expectations in every way. But that’s a whole other post!
The morning after we woke up as Mr + Mrs Shawyer, overlooking a drizzly Palm Beach but blissfully happy. In true Saturday morning tradition, we headed out for takeaway coffees and banana bread from Whale Beach Deli while we caught up on the day before and filled in the gaps from the hours before the wedding.
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay in our hideaway forever, we had to check out eventually and we had three whole weeks together to look forward to.