Wedding: the first month of planning!

It’s been just over a month now since Mario and I got engaged, and things are moving quickly!

The planning process:

I signed up for which has been really useful in helping us to put together a budget. We wrote a first draft for an invitation list to give us an idea of numbers, which we’ve determined will have to be capped at 130 (I’ve got a big extended family and so does Mario, which those combined puts the number near 80 alone – yikes!!).

In the meantime, Mario sat down and worked out a joint budget for us to figure out how much we would be able to afford to put away each week. I hate budgeting, and let’s be honest, I’m pretty shite at it, so I was more than happy to hand that over and await the outcome.

Once we had an idea of what we could afford to save each week, plus how many people we were looking at having, we knew we would be able to start scoping out venues. We weren’t set on a particular date so that made things flexible, particularly as we weren’t too worried about whether it would be this year or next. It would simply just boil down to availability and cost.

The venue:

First we had to figure out what kind of style of wedding we wanted. I originally suggested a beach wedding but was met with a flat out “no way”. That was off the table, not even negotiable.

I then suggested maybe something a bit rustic, think country or garden style. For me personally I didn’t want anything over the top with florals because that’s not exactly my style (read: too girly). We did some googling, and fell in love with the hinterland weddings on the coast. Beautiful outdoor weddings, in a field under a big tree – something along those lines.

There were a few we were interested in, namely:

Based on the numbers, Spicers was immediately out. Flaxton held some concerns for us, namely a wet weather contingency as they could only fit 70 people indoors. From all the photos that I had seen of Yandina it looked lovely, so we decided we would at least just go and check it out.

I fell in love with it the second we arrived. The old wooden houses were gorgeous, and even though it was a rainy day, the land around the venue just seemed so appealing. The bonus of it being a wet day was that we got to see what our options were if it did rain. We had seen photos of ceremonies being performed under the Moreton Bay fig outside, which we thought was ideal but obviously not an option if it was raining. As it turned out, the beautiful old Dairy is perfect for wet weather receptions – it could easily house all of our guests and no one would have to get drenched (except maybe me on the way there from the car). Just look at these pictures, isn’t it beautiful?


Credit: Yandina Stationyandina_station2

Credit: Yandina Station

We chatted with the owner for a bit (it’s a working farm and they do weddings as a side business) and asked a ton of questions about details, what they do and don’t allow etc etc. Finally we asked if there were still any dates available for this year. He proposed a couple, one seemed the most logical to us, so we thanked him and said we would go home and think about it some more.

We got home, checked the budgets to see if we could afford a wedding by the date, and we could! Even though it’s going to work out to be expensive, we were so in love with the place and it just felt right. 

To make sure we’d covered all of our bases we organised quotes for some other venues to compare so it wasn’t that we were just rushing into the first place we had looked at. It turned out Flaxton Gardens was more expensive anyway, so we scratched that immediately (concerns about fitting everyone combined with more expense = no thanks). We also compared to a Surf Club venue as an idea of what would be a cheaper venue, and going cost for cost, it only added up to a 2.5k saving at 130 guests. It would have meant going to a venue that wasn’t really our style at the sake of saving just a little bit more money, and ultimately we decided to go along with the dream venue. It just meant that I’d have to save a bit harder 🙂

2 days later we emailed them and confirmed it. We now had a date and a venue!

The photographer

I had warned Mario there were two things I knew I would be a “bridezilla” about:

  • The music
  • The photographer

I guess it stems from the fact that I have a bit of a passion for each. While I certainly can’t play music, I do have a bit of a music snob thing happening. I can take photos (in the age of the digital camera everyone can), and have dabbled a bit in the creativity side of things so I know a little bit about various techniques. I wouldn’t say I’m great at it by any means, but I know that I can be pretty picky when it comes to images I like. On top of that I feel awkward in front of the camera, so I knew that I was looking for a photographer who could capture natural images. When I pose for pictures, there’s this “neck” thing that I do (my friend Michael will vouch for that). It’s like I try to elongate my neck giraffe style, then stick it forward a bit. Then for added benefit I paste this weird smile on my face, and all up you just get a really awkward picture. Pretty sure I don’t want any of those.

I started searching online, as well as checking out some of the recommended photographers from the venue. While I thought their images were incredibly beautiful, they didn’t seem natural enough for me so I kept looking.

After about the 10th photographer web site, I realised I really was living up to my suspicions of being a bridezilla. I tweeted about it in frustration, and in response one of my wonderful twitter followers replied with a link. I looked, and I fell in love with what I saw.

Behold Morgan Roberts.

I read through his twitter feed a bit and appreciated his sense of humour immediately. After messaging him, we found out that by pure luck he was holidaying on the Sunshine Coast with his family and was more than happy to catch up. I wanted to see how we all interacted in person to make sure there was a lot of laughter and it wasn’t awkward. I left feeling very optimistic, and after confirming it with Mario we knew we’d found our man. Awesome.

On a side note, I know that photographers can vary dramatically in price, and I know there are people out there we could organise that would be cheaper than Morgan. This was a point of contention with some people that I spoke with. But I find that for the amount of hours that he puts in, and the quality of the images, I’m more than excited about our deal and believe he’s going to be worth the coin. On the flip side he’s actually cheaper than quite a few that I’d looked at, and while their images are beautiful, I really do prefer Morgan’s. I also highly respect the fact that he gives you a limit on the fully edited images (for the package we’re paying for we’re getting 350’ish). I was always sus on the photographers who say they’ll give you all images following the wedding – surely it’s not practical to single-handedly edit every image if there’s hundreds if not thousands? It just smelled like auto-correction and automation in photoshop to me, or other equally cheap shortcuts. I respect when professionals have boundaries on the way they work – it tells me that they take pride in what they do, and not bending to the market desires just to get work.

To sum up everything in the above, I’m super excited about finding Morgan and can’t wait to work with him on the day.

(I haven’t linked to any of Morgan’s photos on here as I haven’t checked out his policy on republishing his images, but I strongly recommend you check out his site and his blog).

The celebrant

This was something that Mario and I have found we have a point of difference in. He would like a beautiful, emotional and romantic wedding. In my mind all that spells is tears!

Some background information about me – I am not good at saying anything nice that’s remotely deep and meaningful, otherwise I cry. I do it at work all the time. Even handing out a simple employee of the month award to my team results in the wobbly voice, and I struggle to keep it together. My annual employee award that I handed out resulted in a speech along the lines of “I’m going to keep it short so I don’t cry so hooray for xyz for the great job”. It totally lacked the power of the moment it deserved.

When it comes to the wedding day, I know that there’s going to be tears. I know that I’m going to have wobbly voice moments, and I know that I’m going to reveal my inner girly girl. So I’ve got to come up with some strategies to combat that, and a bit of humour is key.

When looking for a celebrant, I knew I needed to find someone that had a bit of humour to them, a bit of “realness”, and not someone who was super traditional. If it was all formal and super loved up I felt like I would be uncomfortable, and it would all drag on a bit. I wanted someone who made it feel fun!

One of the first sites I happened upon was Lynette Maguire’s. I shot her through a request for a quote, as well as to some others including recommendations from family, but I just kept coming back to her site. I almost felt like I had this instinct that she was the one for us. Her opening paragraph on her site really summed up what I was after:

I love to work with couples who just want to enjoy their wedding day rather than get caught up with the bs of getting married.

We organised to meet up with her, and in the meantime we spoke to a couple of other celebrants (one who was an exorbitant cost that we just couldn’t justify – $1100, ouch!) but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that Lynette was for us. I really can’t explain it.

Due to our schedules we had to wait for a few weeks before we were finally able to catch up, but when we did, she was fantastic. She had a great sense of humour, she stood up to the grilling questions of Mario, and she was real. I walked away feeling like it was just right.

Mario was unsure, but when he tried to put his feelings into words, he actually realised he was totally fine with it after all. He was only unsure about choosing someone without actually seeing them in action, and his concern was related to the taste of the day. He certainly didn’t want cheesy jokes at his expense, and I assured him that no one would do that (other than me – I make bad jokes when I’m nervous). I reminded him that we would be having a more formal meeting to talk about what we both wanted from the ceremony, and that it was her job to design something based on what he wanted, and if he wanted lovey dovey then I’m sure she would throw that in. I’m positive he just wants to see me cry!

Before the day was out I had messaged her on Facebook to let her know that if she was willing to marry us, we would be honoured to have her. At first she joked she was busy (we’d had a laugh over what she says when she feels that she may not be appropriate for the couple) but said she adored us and would love to marry us (to each other of course haha). I was stoked!

You can read more about Lynette on her website (I’ve even found a story on her back in 2009 on the daily).


I’m so thrilled with how things are going with the wedding planning so far. We’re not stressed at all, our relationship is solid and I’m reminded daily that I really have found the man of my dreams. I never thought I could be this excited to get married!

Just a note as well, no one has paid me or discounted their services to get a mention above. I’m just sharing this information because I’m seriously so excited about each one and want to shout about it from the roof tops. It really feels like everything is already coming together to make a perfect day – I hope everything continues to run this smoothly!

The next few things to do are to have the engagement “parties” (we’re just doing a couple of bbq’s for the families to meet, and as an excuse to catch up with friends), and start with the dress shopping. I’m sure there will be plenty more stories in the future!

Does anyone out there think I have the potential to become a bridezilla? Or is a groomzilla more likely?!

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