J&M Wedding {Part II} The Ceremony

Welcome to Part II of our wedding wrap up…The Ceremony! The most important part and the beginning of our marriage!

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We had a clear idea from the start of how we wanted our ceremony to be – us. Relaxed but traditional. Shortish but containing all the important things that we hold dear. A mixture of fun and serious. And we pulled it off with the help of my amazing Dad, who just happens to be a Minister and our celebration of choice!

We also knew what we wanted our ceremony to look like. We wanted to take full advantage of the beautiful view overlooking Byron’s Main Beach, while at the same time creating a gorgeous, stylish and breath-taking atmosphere that would take our guests by surprise.

Silk marquée? Check. Rose petaled aisle? Check. Lemonade on arrival? Custom made sign as the backdrop of our ceremony? Plants and fairy lights lining the way to the Groom? Rustic looking furniture to add charm? Check check check. It all came together in the end.

Walking into the Surf Club was amazing. I hadn’t seen it beforehand, I stopped myself from going anywhere near it on the morning of as I had absolutely no control over whether it all came together or not. And I had to do a LOT of self-work beforehand to accept that some things are not going to be displayed as I would like, and that is completely fine! Nothing was going to ruin our day!

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The amazing Byron Bay put on a spectacular day for us on our wedding day and after a week of pouring rain {70mm in one day the previous Saturday!} it was a sunny, blue sky, not a cloud in sight kinda day. We both sensed we were going to be blessed with good weather but neither of us wanted to say it out loud just in case. And very very bless we were!

After spending the morning getting ready with my family and beautiful girls {catch up here}, I was so ready to see my future Husband by the time the ceremony came around. I was all done about an hour and a half before the ceremony and had to sit on a chair {not moving because let me tell you, that dress did not let me dance around the house until it had softened to my body a bit throughout the day!} for the next little while, waiting for my car to arrive from dropping the boys the five minutes down to the Surf Club.

I remember it very clearly – our ceremony was scheduled to start at 2pm, but we had planned that I would arrive at 2.15pm, which meant the car would pick us up at 2.10 {Byron is clearly a very small place!}. 2.10 came and went and I was twiddling my thumbs, keen to get going. Turns out our lovely driver Carl had taken the boys on the scenic route which had pushed our plans back by 20 minutes!

Never mind, we loaded my dress into the car and Mum and I made the journey behind the bridesmaids’ car towards the Surf Club. At one stage, when she turned and looked at me and whispered “you’re the bride in the car that everyone’s looking at”, I grabbed her hand and we both sniffed back the tears. It was an emotional start to an amazing day.

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Seeing Jamie at the end of the aisle was one of the most memorable moments of the day. We chose Maroon 5’s cover of Alicia Key’s “If I Ain’t Got You” as it was everything that symbolised our relationship and staring at him at that moment was intense. We locked eyes and I didn’t take my eyes off him until we got to the end. I was beaming. I’ve never been so happy in my entire life!

Apologies to our guests who didn’t get the usual polite smiles from me that they might have been expecting. I had one person I wanted to see at that moment and I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight! When we got to the end of the aisle, Mum lifted my veil and kissed me {as we had practiced!} and I got a kiss from Dad too…and my Husband to be! He couldn’t resist, the cheeky thing!

I was so happy to see him! He leant over and kept whispering to me how amazing I looked and how much he loved my dress. It was so surreal for this moment to finally be here, the one that you think about for so long and wonder how it will pan out. It was all of that times a million. Indescribable.

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We had the pleasure of having my Dad marry us, meaning my Mum got to walk me down the aisle which was so special and important to me. We couldn’t have imagined having anyone else but Dad marry us, he knows us both so well and also knows our relationship is rock solid, ready to stand any other tough times that come our way in the future.

We chose readings that meant a lot to us and had people we love read them. It was  perfect and so ‘us’.

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I actually didn’t stop grinning the entire time. I remember being aware of other people but so intensely focused on this amazing man in front of me and overwhelmed by the moment.

I think you can tell from my beaming face that I was just a little bit happy to be marrying this guy I had grown up with and loved for the past decade…

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Photos from the very amazingly talented Amy Oliver {we love love love you!}

Here’s a snapshot of our amazing wedding suppliers who helped us pull the whole thing off!

Location: Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club, Byron Bay

Catering & food styling: Eat Drink Catering

Flowers: The French Petal

Lighting: Byron Audio

Plants: Radiance Plant Hire

Styling items (suitcases, large mirror & signing table/chairs): Little Gray Station

Hire items: Byron Bay Wedding and Party Hire

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J&M Wedding {Part I} Getting Ready

It’s been a while since the best day of my life. Six months actually. You know what they say about time flying!

I thought it was high time to share some pics of our special day. I’ve been hanging to do these posts but in between life, work and having some very annoying technical difficulties with Little Ray of Sunshine, they’re coming to you later than I would have liked. But never the less, welcome to the first instalment of our wedding series…

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Part I: Getting Ready

I remember it so clearly, the few days leading up to our wedding. I’m staying in a beautiful Queensland-esque {because technically we are in NSW} house in the amazing town of Byron Bay with my entire family and my closest girls. We have bunk beds. It’s a sleep over of Year 7 proportions and I”m giddy with happiness.

But there’s also a lot to do. And I’m pretty much house-bound to avoid a bump in with my future Husband. We’ve decided to spend the two nights before our day apart and it’s strange knowing he’s just up the road, we’re in a holiday town but not technically holidaying together…yet!

It’s Friday morning, the day before our wedding and while I’d love to say that the girls and I are kicking back with cocktails relaxing, it’s far from it. We’d had a fabulous lunch The Balcony with our family and friends the day before. It was the first chance to see a lot of our friends who had travelled interstate {we’d already been in Byron with my parents for a few days} and it was such a lovely time.

Then we headed off to the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club for a quick walk-through of our wedding. It’s amazing how many people don’t think to do this but it makes such a difference. Knowing where to stand, where to walk in from and how the ceremony would work helps calm wedding day nerves and makes the whole beautiful experience run so much smoother.

After the rehearsal, we’d ducked back to the apartment where my future Husband would stay for the next few nights and desperately tried to figure out a few steps for our First Dance that would make us seem like we knew what we were doing. We were giggling and doing stupid moves.

All of our guests were in holiday mode – something about the sleepy town just makes you feel instantly on holidays. But we were still trying to cram things in. Our mobiles were going nuts with people wanting to catch up while we were desperately paying invoices, choosing songs with our DJ, stepping through things with our amazing photographer and meeting our caterer for a last minute catch up before the Big Day {more on our amazing suppliers later}. It was hectic {to give you an idea, I didn’t step into one shop in Byron the entire time!} but it was always going to be organising a wedding from another state. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way!

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But back to the getting ready part. Friday was a blur – there was a seating plan to write on a beautiful art deco mirror, a last minute frame to be purchased, nails to be done, presents to be given and more importantly, wedding movies to watch – Bride Wars and Bridesmaids specifically. So much for beauty sleep, before we knew it, midnight had passed!

Saturday morning came around and at 6am on the dot, in rolled in my beautiful friend Di {Diane Robertson Hair and Makeup} with my Dad who had been an angel and picked her up so early! I had woken up a few times during the night but forced myself to go back to sleep, eye mask on. I could hear one of bridesmaids, Bron, stirring as well at about 3am. We both knew the other was awake but also knew that if we said anything to each other, sleep would be done.

It was hair and makeup time! Being in PR, I had spreadsheets and schedules galore {sorry ladies} and an iPad set up so everyone could see their times for hair and makeup. I was second last so took the opportunity to go for a stroll along the beach and spend some time alone before the day got crazy. Walking along on the sand, I was unbelievably excited. I could not wait to see him. A coffee {and a bump in with my beautiful parents} at the best cafe in Byron – The Top Shop – and it was off home for brekky and getting ready time.

The first tears of the day came when my sister pulled me aside and gave me a card and present from Jamie. In a blue box. It was the words on the card that got me first and made me even more eager to see him. And then the present which was a replacement of the 21st present that I had lost a year or so earlier.

Tears wiped, it was time to get pretty! That morning was the most amazing morning ever and such a special time to spend with my beautiful family and girls. Thanks to Di, everyone remained calm and nerves-free. The girls chose their own hairstyles {all Bron wanted was a braid in there somewhere and she got it!} and before I knew it, we were ready to go!

Welcome to an insight of our special morning…

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Photos – Amy Oliver Photography

 

Love and sunshine. xo

J&M Honeymoon: Boracay, Philippines

Welcome to the third and final installment of our honeymoon adventures. As we’ve now passed our six month anniversary, it well and truly feels like an age ago, but I’m still so keen to share this amazing destination with you lovelies.

Boracay is one of the better known islands of the Philippines and is frequented by tourists from Eastern Europe and Asia. It’s not as popular with Aussies as Bali or Thailand {which is the main reason why we chose it!} but it’s definitely still a tourist hot spot. Compared to the quiet tranquility of Palawan, Boracay was a bit of a rude shock when we first arrived!

We had two amazing weeks to explore what the island had to offer and we did a great job of ticking off activities and things we wanted to do throughout that time. Having a bit more time than the usual 7-10 day beach break also meant we were able to have a few different experiences – staying at a more local place right in the craziness and then retreating to a beautiful rainforest resort to recuperate before heading home to reality.

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{Puka beach on Boracay}

Getting there

Not as tricky to get to as some of the island resorts off Palawan, you’ll catch a one hour flight from Manila to Caticlan and then a boat over to Boracay, Be aware of the ‘porters’ who offer to carry your luggage. We had our transfers included as part of our accommodation, but got stung for a few more bucks by the ‘lovely’ men {from the same company as our airport transfer which was all of a two minute drive to the marina} who carried our two suitcases onto the boat. Having said that, the boats are tricky to maneuver large suitcases on, so it’s probably worth the few dollars you’ll pay for the sake of your arm/back/dignity!

What to do

Coming from sleepy Palawan, we were slightly overwhelmed by how busy the island is. It’s known as the ‘party island’ of the Philippines and has been voted one of the best islands in the world. There’s no doubt that Boracay is beautiful – 4km in length and  about 1km wide. Half of the island is covered in white sand with blue water {aptly named White Beach} and is dotted with hundreds of resorts and restaurants. At the peak time in summer {when we were there}, the water is so warm that algae starts to form, which was a bit off putting at first but worth wading through to get to the good stuff.

Once you arrive at the main stretch of Boracay’s White Beach {really, the only place to stay!} you’ll get hassled by people selling boat rides, snorkeling, sailing and the like. It’s annoying but if you’re into activities {which we are} it can be fun to haggle them down and get the best price.

We made the most of the activities on offer and had a hand at sailing around the island on a catamaran and watching the sunset from the middle of the ocean, quad biking up the tallest hill, renting a motorbike to explore the hidden spots, making the trek to Puka Beach twice to soak up the sun {and shopping for shell jewellery} and parasailing above crystal blue water. This was in between cocktails, amazing food and relaxing on the beach, of course!

{our private catamaran for the day}

{our private catamaran for the day}

{carefree on the boat}

{carefree on the boat}

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{parasailing fun}

{parasailing fun}

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{Puka Beach}

{Puka Beach}

Where to stay

Our first week was right in the action, staying at the amazingly named Nigi Nigi Nu Noos. Their bungalows are cute and set in a lush garden right off White Beach, It’s not luxurious accommodation but very clean and spacious. The food at Nigi’s is great though – an eclectic mix of Mexican, Italian, Filipino and other cuisines all mixed into one menu. We ate here quite a lot and it’s one of the best along White Beach.

Nigi’s cocktail list is a whole other story – wow! Happy hour is two-for-one cocktails {try the Long Island Ice Tea if you’re game!} and you can prop yourself up on a chair to watch the glorious Boracay sunset, cocktail in hand. It’s such an amazing sight and didn’t get old after two weeks.

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After a week in the hustle, we were looking forward to chilling out again and made our way to Mandala Spa for our final stop and the last week of our first holiday as Mr and Mrs. Mandala is just divine. I had been scoping this place out for quite some time and was thrilled to find a deal on Agoda which helped us nab a great price for a week.

There are only 12 bungalows on the property, making it exclusive and very private. You feel as though you’re the only ones there which is lovely amongst Boracay’s sometimes mad atmosphere. Mandala offers daily yoga as part of your stay and it was lovely to get back on the matt after an almost four week break. Adding to your relaxation time, enjoy a complimentary massage every day {one per room per day}.

Breakfast is also included in your stay, which is a lovely experience in itself! I found the food on Boracay {and the Philippines in general} tough on my tummy – there’s no such thing as gluten free and a lot of their food is processed, but the brekkies at Mandala were simple and delicious – fresh muesli and fruit or an egg white omelette with basil and tomato – take your pick! The breakfast staff were also half the fun and made you feel instantly welcome.

As lovely as Mandala was, it was still great to stay along White Beach for the first week. Not only did it make us appreciate our amazing accommodation in our last week, it was also a more authentic stay and we were able to experience everything the eccentric island of Boracay has to offer!

Definitely worth a trip!

Love and sunshine. xo

J&M Honeymoon: Palawan, Philippines

Welcome to Part II of our honeymoon story! It may be very belated trust me, it’s worth the wait.  Enter Palawan

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{we took this photo. seriously}

Definition: (1) the most incredible place on earth (2) from your dreams (3) magical destination where all there is to do is relax with your beloved and drink cocktails all day long.

The Journey

Now, I’ve got to be honest with you. Getting to this magical place was an adventure in itself. You see, our flight landed in the capital of Palawan – Puerto Princesa – which was all good and well, except that we needed to get to El Nido, which is in the north of Palawan. Enter travel story #2 {remember the first? Our friend with the tricycle who wanted to charge us his yearly income for pedaling us around Manila for a day? C’mon…catch up here}.

Luckily, as we were packing up our gear in Manila the night before, we decided to check out our Lonely Planet {cannot stress the importance of taking this baby with you wherever you go!} to see what lay ahead of us the next day. Given we’d been so focused on the wedding and making it to Byron Bay with all of our wedding bits and bobs, neither of us had really thought about our honeymoon. Or logistics. Or checked anything…

Our trusty guide {buy it here} informed us that because of our flight destination, we’d be spending the good part of our day {read…all} travelling in a mini-van with a few other passengers. For approximately six hours. We did some quick calculations and realised that we’d be arriving at our destination in the dark. Uh-oh.

Once we arrived in Puerto Princesa, we found a mini-van, crammed in with 15 other people {noted van capacity of 14} and spent the next six hours travelling north to El Nido.

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{Husband not looking overly impressed on one of our travel stops}

El Nido was a bit crazy in the dark but in between bad reception, we managed to organise with our resort El Nido’s Miniloc Island to charter a boat from the marina to the island, about 30 minutes. We loaded our suitcases onto a tricycle and were zoomed through the markets to the marina, where we were met by a few security guards and a guide from the Island. Long story short, we arrived on Miniloc at about 9pm, with the hotel staff greeting us with a beautiful song and disbelief that a) we were arriving so late and b) that we had travelled all the way from down south…and not flown into the airport located at El Nido.

Massive sigh.

Miniloc Island Resort

Upon rising the next morning {and both sleeping like rocks} it was well worth the extra travel, even if most tourists don’t do it that way!

Miniloc Island is spectacular. Like nothing we had ever seen before. It’s the kind of place where there is literally nothing to do but relax. Unfortunately, once we had both stopped, we got colds. But if you’re going to be anywhere with a cold, this is the place to be.

Cocktail in hand. Husband by my side. I could really get used to this view…

{honeymooners in front of the resort}

{honeymooners in front of the resort}

We stayed in a beautiful garden cottage and, perched alongside the cliffs, our balcony had a beautiful view of the Island and beyond.  We could not believe this was our home for the next seven nights and, especially after the craziness of Manila, we were so excited to slow down on what was our first holiday in over two years.

What to do

  • A must-do while staying on Miniloc is swimming with the 1.5m jack fish that are fed twice a morning at the end of the resort’s pier. Amazing. Grab your snorkel gear and wait for them to brush past you.
  • Snorkeling at Miniloc is sublime. There is a lot of marine life right out the front, including jelly fish. You have been warned! I managed to swim around these stingy suckers, but Husband was not so lucky and had a few red, sore marks across his chest to show for it.
  • Grab a sea kayak and get yourself off the Island and into the natural lagoons stat! The Big and Small Lagoons {very original names!} are accessible via kayak or you can hitch a lift in the speed boat. If you kayak, you do feel like you’ve earned the fabulous views, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough! Half the fun is also being out on the open sea {I must admit I’m slightly petrified of this} and making your own way there.
  • Private lunch on Payong-Payong beach. This was by far one of the main highlights of our time on the Island and we managed to sneak in two private lunches. You choose your lunch the night before {from four cuisine options no less} and jump on a speed boat anytime in the morning to be delivered to your private beach for the day. At about noon, a staff member arrives on boat with your lunch, sets it all up for you, explains what everything is and whisks him/herself away again to leave you to dine in peace. Just check out that spread. Divine.
{the big lagoon}

{the big lagoon}

{private beach}

{private beach}

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Aside from these main activities, our days usually consisted of nabbing a good lounge on the beach, reading books that had been sitting idly by while we planned our wedding and, of course, consuming numerous cocktails and slowing making our way through the entire menu!

For more activities while you’re on Miniloc, check out the resort’s page.

The Island staff were also amazing and extremely hospitable. Yes, I know, it’s their job, but I felt like they always went above and beyond to make sure we were happy with everything. The food was also divine and the addition of crepes for dessert a few nights ticked all the boxes after the strict wedding diet to ensure The Dress fit!

Let’s just say that after leaving Palawan, we were a bit more squidgy than when we arrived.

Stay tuned for J&M Honeymoon Part III … Boracay! Fun times ahead.

Love and sunshine. xo

J&M Honeymoon: Manila, Philippines

I can hardly believe that we’ve only been back for three weeks! While the time has flown, we’ve settled back into life so quickly and our wedding/honeymoon seems like so long ago!

While we’re awaiting our profesh photos from our Big Day, I thought it was the perfect time to recount some of our honeymoon adventures so welcome to the first instalment, revealing…Manila! 

{the view from the top of the fort}

{the view from the top of Fort Santiago}

Our first stop on the most amazing holiday ever {aka honeymoon} was Manila for two nights. When people heard that we were going to the Philippines, one of the first things they would say is that there is nothing to see in Manila and that we would be disappointed. We were still determined to give it a go, and so allocated two nights at the start of our honeymoon to check out the sights and get a feel for the city.

The first thing we noticed once we stepped out of the airport terminal was the traffic. Mental. We were told that normal taxis weren’t allowed to pick up travellers from the airport as they notoriously ripped people off. Never mind…we hopped in our transfer excited to get to our hotel and get exploring!

We stayed in Makati which is considered a great place for tourists to stay and has so many restaurants, bars and the biggest shopping complex you will ever see. Seriously.

Makati

Some of our highlights from Makati include…

Greenbelt Mall

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This shopping centre shows up anything we have in Australia with its lush gardens and beautiful restaurants lining the shopping complex. There are five sub-sections of Greenbelt, divided up according to the different shops {designers, high street etc}. We spent a few hours exploring the shops {and approx 6 hours here on our way back through to Melbourne!} and ate at a few restaurants here.

The main thing we noticed with most of the ‘nice’ places we went in Manila was the security. It is intense! Every time we entered a Greenbelt Mall, my bag was searched, as it also was each time we returned to our hotel. Once inside these buildings, you do feel safer knowing everyone’s bags have been searched but it does make you wonder why everyone is being searched.

If you’ve done your research prior to getting to Manila, you’ll understand that it’s a city with a reputation for violence and ripping tourists off, so it’s pretty excepted that security in the Westernised places should be high.

Corner Tree Cafe

Not only does this little restaurant {it’s seriously tiny and seats about 20 people} pump out amazing food, it’s tucked away in a little corner off busy Jupiter St and is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of Manila’s busy traffic. We read about this place in our Lonely Planet {seriously don’t leave home without one!} and not only was it the best food we ate probably for our entire honeymoon, I’d even go as far to say that this is one of the best places I have eaten. Full stop.

Corner Tree Cafe is vegetarian and pretty much all of their dishes are also gluten-free. Awesome for those of us with funny tummies. My new husband was reluctant to try this place {quote ‘something needs to die for it to be a proper dinner’} but he was very impressed with his spinach lasagne and admitted the food was amazing.

Makati Gardens

Another thing we noticed walking through Makati at night was how many people were out exercising! Take a stroll through some of the many parks and gardens and watch with wonder as people exercise long into the night.

The lowdown on Makati was that we felt pretty safe here. There’s lots of security and more Westerners than other parts of Manila, which brings us to…

Manila

Jamie and I have both done our fair share of travelling to Asian countries and between us have ticked off Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Vanuatu and Fiji {ok some of those are Pacific countries but you get the drift}. Despite what we had heard and read about Manila, we were pretty determined to create our own memories of the place and set about exploring. It was HOT. Really hot. And with the intense traffic {not to mention the crazy way that people drive…for example bumping into each other like dodgem cars and not pausing to apologise for any dings they may leave on your car}, just a few hours in the open leaves you pretty sweaty and dirty.

Again, Lonely Planet tucked in my bag, we set off to explore the main section of Manila and here’s what we discovered…

Fort Santiago

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Fort Santiago reflects Manila’s Spanish background and a time when the Spanish controlled Manila. During the Spanish colonial period and WWII, Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero, was imprisoned here before his execution in 1896. Inside the fort, there are shrines and statues dedicated to Jose and his final footsteps are embedded in bronze. There’s also a building where you can read up about Jose – who was wrongly implicated of causing a revolution which led to his execution. He was a scientist, an artist and a Christian – and his battles between creations from science and God can be seen through his artistic work. Fascinating guy.

Other sites of Manila

We also checked out a few other sites during the day and were pushed around in a tricycle by a local for a few hours. The main things to check out are the old Spanish section including San Agustin Church and the Spanish Colonial House directly opposite {gives you a great feel for what things were like back in the Spanish colonial era and insight into how the rich lived}, Binondo/ China Town {if you’re going to walk around be warned that it’s not the safest place, we heard many stories about tourists being drugged and robbed…don’t say I didn’t warn you!} and the location for the motorbike chase scene from the most recent Bourne  – The Bourne Legacy. Queue tourist photos below…

{motorbike chase location from the latest Bourne}

{motorbike chase location from the latest Bourne}

{San Agustin Church, Manila built in 1607}

{San Agustin Church, Manila built in 1607}

{Spanish House opposite San Agustin Church}

{Spanish House opposite San Agustin Church}

Photo disclaimer: Yes, we are both wearing runners {a look I don’t usually go for…}. Really the only way to do it if you’re planning on cramming things in. And yes we both just happened to be wearing grey t-shirts. Cute! And yes, we are incredibly sweaty in almost every photo, the perils of humidity and extremely hot weather!

Now, the real warning about Manila. Following on from our glorious day of sight-seeing, we went to pay our tricycle peddler and had a rude awakening to the people of Manila {not everyone I’m sure} when he informed us of the price. We had originally bargained him down to 100 pesos for half an hour, so given we had ended up with him for three hours we figured we would pay him 600 pesos. Hmmm…that didn’t go down too well when he decided he was actually very tired and decided that 1200 pesos EACH was the correct amount. Let’s just say that we eventually settled on about 1200 pesos but it involved security from a cafe we were at, and the knowledge that he was probably concealing some sort of weapon. Ah. Brilliant end to our day.

The biggest thing to remember about Manila {and South East Asia in general} is that you need to agree on a price before you embark on any transportation journeys or tours. We learnt the hard way and should have known better after our travels, but it does make for an interesting story to tell.

Hope you enjoyed the first instalment of our honeymoon! Can’t wait to share the actual honeymoon locations with you. Next up is El Nido, Palawan

Images: Greenbelt Mall image courtesy of Nerissa’s Notebook

J&M Wedding: Sneak Peek

As most of you know, over a month ago now I was lucky enough to marry the man of my dreams in the most beautiful beach setting – Byron Bay.

We were blessed with beautiful weather on the day, despite the north coast of NSW flooding the week before. It was the most spectacular day of my life and even better than I thought it would be! I can’t wait to relive all the details with you in a little while…

While we were off honeymooning in the Philippines, our amazing photographer (and friend) Amy Oliver sent through a sneak peak of some of our wedding photos. They completely blew us away and we’re holding our breath to see the rest of them. Amy was an absolute delight to have as part of our day and she did it all while juggling feeding a five month old baby. Superstar or what?

At the moment, I’m busy preparing some posts on the finer details of our wedding {stay tuned!}, but couldn’t wait to share these first photos with you all!

Enjoy!

527647_10151521251379306_953523311_n 577627_10151521251364306_1199530401_n 486474_10151521251299306_1951681144_n 601142_10151521251284306_2146937081_n 541205_10151521251269306_1261185343_nLove and sunshine. xo

Images: Amy Oliver Photography

J&M Wedding: Invitations

Welcome to the first installation about our wedding! Yipppppeee! As you read this I’m on a {jet} plane en route to the fabulous Philippines with my new husband! But thought it was a great time to share some wedding details with you all.

First cab off the rank is our invitations.

I had no idea how time consuming the whole process of designing/printing/addressing the invitations was going to be and between everything shutting down over Christmas and into January, we ended up pretty stretched for time. We ended up sending them out seven weeks before our wedding, and while it wasn’t ideal, it was literally the best we could do! We also figured that given our guests had their save the dates and most had booked their flights and accommodation, it wasn’t the end of the world that they were a few weeks late.

Which brings me to the invitation process. It was a LOT of fun amongst the chaos of trying to get them out as quick as possible and we are SO happy with the end result. Here’s how we got there…

As the invitations is the first sneak peak that guests have as to the style of your wedding, we wanted to incorporate our wedding’s colours – charcoal, white and a touch of light pink – while at the same time reflecting the fun, casual nature of Byron Bay, where we’re getting married. We also wanted to communicate our plans to guests – like the casual Sunday drinks/lunch and the ‘get to know each other’ lunch on the Thursday.

Then we needed to find someone to design them. Jamie designed our engagement invitations, thank you’s and wedding save the date and did an awesome job but we decided to take the stress out of it by brining someone else on board with plenty of experience in wedding invitations.

Enter Erin from Bow & Arrow Designs, found by a friend through Etsy {ahhhh Etsy you gold mine you!}. We sent Erin invitations that we liked and she put together two awesome options, from which we selected one and then tweaked bits and bobs until we were left with the most stunning {in my opinion anyway} invitation set I’ve ever seen!

The next part {printing} took a lot longer than I anticipated, largely coupled with the fact that by the time we had finished the design process, shops were closing for Christmas and most didn’t open until mid-January. Word of warning to March brides – get your invitations printed and sorted before Christmas! Trust me, you’ll feel a whole lot better for it and won’t have invitation-induced-stress* over the festive season.

We had to print off a few proofs to get the right paper/ink combo but I’m so happy with the result. May have taken a few days longer than I’d hoped, but completely worth it! The lovely guys at Snap Printing sorted me out for printing and were very obliging with this bride-to-be wanting her invitations printed and cut in oh, 20 minutes. Kidding, I gave them 24 hours…I’m not THAT much of a slave driver!

As our guests {should} have received them all by now, I can now proudly show off our gorgeous invites…

photo 2

{the finished product…of course I had to do a copy for Jamie & I to keep!}

{events card with an adorable map of Byron Bay printed on the back}

{events card with an adorable map of Byron Bay printed on the back}

{the whole kit}
{bundled together with twine in matching colours}

{bundled together with twine in matching colours}

We were so lucky to have my gorgeous Mum and Dad not only bring us over dinner one night but also VOLUNTARILY help with the addressing of envelopes and stamping of names. I feel so blessed to have such beautiful parents, who stayed with us until about 11pm until they could barely keep their eyes open and their tea had worn off. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Here’s some behind the scenes actions of the invitation making for your amusement enjoyment…

{behind the scenes: Jamie and Dad, part of our production line diligently stamping everyone's names with INDIVIDUAL stamps}

{behind the scenes: Jamie and Dad, part of our production line diligently stamping everyone’s names with INDIVIDUAL stamps}

{making sure no one gets missed on the master guest list!}

{making sure no one gets missed on the master guest list!}

image-3

{making sure the address stamps dry…our kitchen table was covered for three days!}

About to embark on your own invitation journey? Here are my Top Five Wedding Invitation Tips…

  1. Get a professional to do the legwork designing for you. The result is SO much better than anything you could create…no offence! You can visit Erin’s Etsy store here. She is a dream to work with and I couldn’t recommend her higher.
  2. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to print a few proofs and be 100% happy with everything. Start the process four months before your actual wedding date and you’ll be sweet!
  3. Get a stamp made with your return address for those pesky little RSVP envelopes! Life saver.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff aka keep it all in perspective. We had cow stamps on our RSVP envelopes. Seemed like a big deal for 5 minutes, until I realised how ridiculous I sounded.
  5. Think carefully about printing. We originally wanted letterpress printing which is ridiculously expensive. And not worth it in my mind. All those costs add up and you could blow your budget on things that your guests won’t even notice!

Most of all, ENJOY the process. This is when it starts to feel real. YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!

*this is a made up condition and really…if invitations are stressing you out at night, go and make a cup of tea and get back to bed, you need your beauty sleep!