You may be wondering why this blogger gets to have 2 weddings. It certainly wasn’t what we set out to do (I thought planning one was stressful enough!) but upon discovering what paperwork we’d need to make our Thailand wedding legal we decided to do a simple legal ceremony in Sydney instead. Justin was in charge of researching and booking this part and he did a great job at finding a celebrant who could marry us right next to Sydney Harbour. What was going to be a quick I do times two in a dingy registry office became a chance to get legally wed in one of the most beautiful parts of our adopted city.
The planning for this part of the process was a breeze. We booked the date and time we wanted online and paid the bargain $350 fee via credit card. Michael, the celebrant, then got in touch with a clear email on the next 3 steps we needed to take.
First we had to lodge our Notice Of Intended Marriage. We could do that in Michael’s North Sydney office were he would act as the witness or, as was easier for us, you can print the form online and have it witnessed by an authorised person. We popped to the Courts of Justice and had a Justice of the Peace do so within 10 minutes. Then on the day we just had to remember to bring the signed notice, photo ID and two witnesses.
A few weeks before the wedding I got a message from a lovely reader of this blog who said she was a British photographer based in Sydney and she’d love to shoot our Sydney ceremony for us. (I love how this blog introduces me to awesome people – the new hubby included!) Olivia had been through the same partner visa process as Justin and I so we bonded over that when we met for drinks a few days before the ceremony. She’s so wonderfully friendly and approachable that we immediately felt like we had known her for ages and I found myself easily confessing that Justin and I were not the most natural of models. She took note of our concerns and told me more about her candid way of capturing weddings. The results that I share with you now are sweeter than anything Justin and I could have imagined.
As has been the theme with our wedding experience we did not have the best of luck on the day. It had started wonderfully enough when I popped to my local hair salon for a blow wave and they threw in a complimentary make-over when they found out I was getting glammed up for a wedding. (Thanks again Lincoln and Bec!) From inside the salon I watched nervously as the sky got darker and darker, optimistically thinking it would blow over, not knowing that the only things that would be blowing over during the ceremony would be us!
We arrived at Milson’s Point just before 11.30. The rain was only spitting but being down on the harbour meant we were getting blown at quite hard. The cloud cover was so thick you could hardly see the Opera House on the other side of the harbour and despite huddling under an umbrella my bouncy blow-dry was just a distant memory within the first 5 minutes of arriving. Olivia, who kindly agreed to be our witness as well as our photographer, arrived looking chipper and I tried to pretend I wasn’t shivering all over.
Further along the harbour we spotted another couple getting married and as Michael wasn’t with us yet I wondered if he was the celebrant for this wedding too. Sure enough, at dead on 11.30 I saw a suited man with a big red book and occasional table start moving towards us. “You must be Jayne and Justin,” he said with a warm hand extended.
Although this was the second time we were exchanging vows with one another this time felt much more serious. Our first ceremony had been all about romance and personalisation but for this one Michael had to state all the legal formalities so it felt like we were making a much more formal commitment. It certainly wasn’t all stern faces and seriousness though. Michael added an element of humour and friendliness and we all found ourselves laughing as I struggled to see through the hair that was whipping around my face and threatening to smother both Justin and myself. As my dress was almost blowing away and it took both of us to hold down the marriage certificate in order to sign it we didn’t hang around any longer than was necessary. Michael wrapped the whole thing up in around 20 minutes and left Justin and I to get photos with his Dad, our other witness.
Some of the best advice we received when planning our wedding(s) is to make sure you have a stellar photographer as the images are what you have for long after the day has ended. We feel so incredibly lucky that Olivia was there to capture these moments, through the wind and rain and apocalyptic-looking harbour! We may have got married on the one day Sydney wasn’t looking her most photogenic but Olivia has created a beautiful album for us, which wonderfully reflects the laughter, love and legality of our ceremony.
Photography: Oliva Moon Photography
Dress: Jennifer Gifford Designs
Hair and make up: Lincoln and Bec at Bauhaus Hair, Waterloo
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Jewellery: Forever 21
Celebrant: Michael Teulon at Simple Ceremonies