“We can give something valuable to people that they can’t give to themselves.” Creative Canberrans…
After meeting at ANU four years ago, romance blossomed out of friendship for Molly and Ikmal.
But when Ikmal mentioned marriage a week after they started dating, Molly jokingly told him that they had to be dating for at least a year. Exactly one year later, on vacation in Italy, Ikmal proposed.
Ikmal got ready at his groomsman’s family home, and I got ready at mine, where I’ve lived since I was a baby.
My bridesmaids slept over at my house, and in the morning we went to breakfast and then the hairdresser, then came home and our makeup artist came to us.
I went shopping with just my mum, to about four different boutiques around Canberra. We first went to La Belle Bridal, in Gungahlin. I absolutely loved the first dress I tried on there, but felt I should keep shopping around just in case. I tried on about 30 dresses in two days, and ended up choosing the first dress I’d tried. It was absolutely classic and my mum loved it, which was the most important part.
I love sleeves but wanted to show my décolletage, and wanted an A-line dress which defined by waist but then puffed. Ashleigh at La Belle altered the dress I chose, to add sleeves and extra lace on the skirt. I loved it because it had sequins underneath the lace in the skirt, so it sparkled in the sun.
The grounds of the Royal Canberra Golf Club are absolutely spectacular. We felt that most wedding venues are quite similar in terms of the rooms, the food, and the decorations, so what really set the Golf Club apart for us was the huge forest (Westbourne Woods).
The woods meant we could have our ceremony under enormous trees in the Rose Garden, and bridal party photos on the lawns by the lake. That expansive nature scene was something not a lot of venues could offer, and it meant guests didn’t need to travel between the ceremony and the reception.
Everyone always talks about how quickly the day itself passes, and they’re exactly right. It’s a blur! I wasn’t nervous until it came time to walk down the aisle; I burst into tears as soon as I saw how many people had come to celebrate with us. I remember feeling incredibly loved, and lucky to have that many people so happy to see us tie the knot.
I really loved the flowers we had, from Barton Flower Bar. We had bouquets for each of the women in the bridal party, boutonnieres for each of the men, and some kind of decoration (brooch, corsage, flower crown) for everyone in our families.
We also had big centrepieces for the tables, which meant that we needed very little other decoration – just candles and mirrors. I thought the room looked so gorgeous with the flowers everywhere. I was also stoked with how the bridal party’s wardrobes turned out, and I was so happy with the photo booth our photographer (Alex Orme) supplied; people had a lot of fun with it and the photos were brilliant.
People said they could really feel the personal touches; the ceremony and reception felt so natural and intimate, even though there were quite a lot of people there. They also loved that we weren’t taking ourselves too seriously – we stumbled over our vows a little and were happy to just laugh it off.
A few people said they’ve literally never seen the bride laughing so much at a wedding. Everyone just let loose and danced the night away; it was especially easy to relax because our photographer and videographer were completely unobtrusive.
ADVICE FOR FUTURE COUPLES
Definitely do NOT try to cut costs with the photographer! You’re putting so much time and effort into the day, and you’re barely going to remember it. The most important thing to spend on isn’t the dress, or the food… it’s the memories.
I do have a controversial opinion on DIY: It’s not really worth it. We originally planned to have the ceremony and reception a friend’s house, who has a huge house on the outskirts of Canberra. It’s a beautiful location, but the planning was a nightmare. When I realised that the hire company expected us to wash the cutlery before returning it (so my mum would have been doing the dishes at the end of the night!), and when I added up the costs of food + drink + hire, etc…. It came out to be just as expensive as going with a fully catered venue, and so much more stressful.
I made the invitations, the place cards, the photoboard…. I did a lot of DIY work. Maybe it took longer and was harder because I’m a perfectionist, but I would say it was 100% not worth it. The cost of materials was almost the cost of purchased invitations, and I spent so many hours working on the stationery alone.
Maybe if you were happy to go with a simple design, it would work, but if I had my time again (not that I plan to!), I would definitely purchase most of the things I made myself.
One thing you can cut costs on is the outfits: A lot of places do raise their prices for anything that is at all ‘wedding’ related. My bridesmaids’ dresses were from Forever New, as were the shoes. I think the same dresses from a wedding store could have been twice as expensive. My earrings were borrowed from my mother, and the bridesmaids’ jewellery was just from Lovisa.
Also, gifts for guests are mostly a waste of money, I think. You’d probably spend a minimum of $2 per guest for something that honestly, they probably don’t particularly want. People care about the food, the drink, and the atmosphere at a wedding – they don’t mind if they don’t get sugared almonds or a bottle opener with their name on it.
Anything you’d do differently?
Just not worry so much! Once you’re in the wedding world, you can’t stop thinking about the tiniest little aspects of the day and worrying that something, or everything, is going to go wrong. It probably won’t! And if it does, it doesn’t matter that much.
Everything falls into place in the end and the huge disasters you were worried about end up being tiny hiccups. I wish I hadn’t been so hesitant to make decisions, and hadn’t tried to micromanage so much. The vendors you’re working with know what they’re doing, so if you just trust them, it’s all going to work out.
Probably the first dance with my husband. We’d had a few dancing lessons (do recommend!), so we were comfortable with the dance and able to just enjoy it. Everyone crowded around the dance floor applauding, and it was just so much fun.
THE LITTLE DETAILS
PHOTOGRAPHER Alexandra Orme Photography
VIDEOGRAPHER Native Weddings (Melbourne)
CELEBRANT Rosemary Hackman
BRIDE’S DRESS + HEADPIECE La Belle Bridal
BRIDE’S SHOES Borrowed from family
JEWELLERY Just earrings – borrowed from my mother, who had them made from a pair of my father’s cufflinks
BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES Forever New
GROOM + GROOMSMENS’ SUITS Rodger Bartholomew
BRIDAL PARTY’S HAIR Denyse Fitzsimmons
MAKEUP Melissa Ann Makeup Artist
FLOWERS Barton Flower Bar
VENUE Royal Canberra Golf Club
CAKE Pip & Lou
STATIONERY DIY by bride
FIRST DANCE SONG Everything, by Michael Buble