Millie & I stayed at my Mum's house the night before the wedding, while Noel & Ben stayed in the city. I fell asleep on the couch by 8pm that night; I was exhausted, and slept well through the night. I woke up at about 6:40am, and surprisingly, wasn't too nervous. I think I was still slightly in disbelief that today was the day. Mum cooked us some breakfast & we showered, dressed in casual clothes and meandered around for a bit while we waited for the makeup artist to arrive at 8am.
Once Kara, our makeup artist was there, it started to feel a bit more real. Jeanette, our hair stylist, arrived about half an hour afterwards, so it was rather busy for a couple of hours as Millie & I, my Mum & sister, got our hair & makeup done. Mum picked up our flowers from the florist, and then Allison, our photographer arrived just as we were finishing getting dressed. I was a bit nervous at first, having so many photos taken, but Allison was wonderful - it was easy to relax around her. The morning really did fly by quite quickly, but everything went relatively smoothly. The car arrived just after 12pm to take us to the gardens in town, and then we were really on the way.
When we arrived at the gardens, Millie & my sister both started talking about how nervous they were, and I was trying to reassure them both that they would be fine. Allison laughed at how the bride was the one calming everyone else down, but I really didn't feel -too- nervous; mostly I was excited. I didn't start getting nervous until I saw our friends & relatives in the gardens, waiting!
The music started, and Millie went first, then my sister, and then Mum & I (she was giving me away). It was a fairly long walk actually, through arches in the rose garden. &then I saw Noel, and he looked so happy, and that's when I got tears in my eyes. I was smiling so much, and felt so happy walking down the aisle. It felt like such a long walk, but when we got to the alter our celebrant smiled at me and told me to take a few breaths, and she let the song finish before she started speaking (there wasn't much more to go by the time we got to the alter, only a chorus I think). I walked down the aisle to "Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk, which really did seem perfect for us.
Saying our vows seemed to go quite quickly; I was nervous, but when I was looking at Noel, I just seemed to forget that there were other people watching; it was just him & me, declaring our love & intent to stay together forever. We signed the registry and marriage certificate to Tori's "Gold Dust", and then the celebrant declared us husband & wife (!!) Then we were able to talk to everyone which was lovely; I was so grateful to everyone who came to help us celebrate and witness our vows, and we had quite a few relatives who had come over from interstate that were so lovely to see again - for some of them, it had been a couple of years since we'd last seen them.
After a little while, we went with our photographer (as well as Millie & Ben, Leah & my mum) to have photos taken. We had photos taken in the Botanic Gardens in various locations, and then in various places walking up towards the State Library, where our reception was being held. Again, Allison made us feel really relaxed as she was taking our photos. For some of the posed shots, she would have Noel & I do something, and then Millie would keep running in at the end to give us both a big hug and have a photo as well! It was really sweet. Noel & I were kissing a lot, and Millie kept saying to us, "get a room!" hahaha. Ben was so patient with all the photos too - I know it must have been strange for him but he was wonderful. I think Allison would have gotten some beautiful photos of the kids, and I am really looking forward to seeing them.
It was about half an hour or so after the reception had started that we finally got to the venue, and all our friends and family were there waiting. The room in the State Library was SO gorgeous, I just loved it. There was plenty of food being handed out by the wait staff, and drinks & wine. It was so hard to try and spend time with everyone who was there and I felt bad that I wasn't spending more time with people, but I suppose that's normal for weddings and parties in general, and I think people understand... (I hope so anyway!) We didn't have any speeches - Noel & I just thanked everyone for coming & for supporting us, and my Mum for all her help with the wedding preparation. We also didn't have a dance as we didn't really want to be the centre of attention for any longer than we had to! We much preferred talking to people and making our way around the room without having everyone's eyes on us! We did a cake cutting (we had tiers of mini cakes, with a top tier that we cut), and Millie announced a bit later that she had eaten 3 of the mini cakes... I don't know -how- she managed to eat 3, as they were quite rich! She was running around with my cousins (who are about her age), and I think some of my friends were chatting to Ben, so there was some nice interaction there.
Our reception ended after 3 hours, and Noel & I, and a handful of friends/relatives had drinks at the hotel we were staying at that night. The whole day really did go SO quickly, but it was so wonderful; some parts are a bit of a blur, but it was truly so wonderful, and everything I had wanted it to be. I had gone from not wanting to have a wedding at all, to being scared of having everything we'd planned ruined, to having the most magical day of my life. And now Noel & I, after everything we have been through, are married, and I couldn't be happier.
Some of my favourite moments from the day:
[these ones are all Millie moments!]
x. While we were waiting for the makeup artist to arrive, Millie was out in the backyard. She came in and said to me, "I've just been talking to your Dad." She believes in ghosts too, you see. I didn't even know she remembered my Dad; she only met him a few times and she was so young then. She told me that he was there with us that morning and I nearly cried.
x. My sister's dog was quite sick that morning, and Millie spent some time comforting her as she lay forlorn on the ground. I thanked Millie for taking care of the dog, and Millie replied, "anything for this family". My heart was so filled with love when she said that, I could have burst.
x. In the car on the way to the gardens, she asked me whether she should still call me Jade, or Mum; of course I said that she should just call me Jade. My own Mum & I made the comment that I was still always a friend (as opposed to just being a parental figure), and Millie said, "the BEST friend".
I seriously just want to wrap her up in my arms and never let her go.
[okay, a couple of other special, non-Millie moments!]
x. My mum, who has previously always hated having her photo taken (we have very few family photos at all, as my mum detests being in pictures -that- much), was wonderful with having her photo taken that day - I am so happy that I will finally have some pictures with my Mum, because I really do have so very few. I'm very proud of her.
x. My sister, who had been so excited for months about being a bridesmaid; she said she felt so beautiful with her hair & makeup done, and I know she doesn't often feel that way, so I'm glad that she could feel special on that day too.
I put my bouquet on Dad's grave a couple of days after the wedding; I thought that he should have it. I know he was with us that day too.
it feels like I'm all the way back where I belong