So, if you're Facebook friends with us, you've probably already seen the photos (and if you're not, why not? Follow us on Sixteen Feet Blog on Facebook!) but it's obviously taken a few days to recover and get around to actually writing down some of what happened.
I went down to breakfast with my sister (and bridesmaid) and found most of my family in the dining room. I plonked next to my dad and felt really jittery and shaky. Breakfast was a bit of a whirl of greeting people, eating a little and watching my hands shake. I really wasn't sure if I was so nervous about handing control over to everyone else or nervous about the actual wedding. Either way, lots of texts, last minute chats and check ins, dashing up and down the stairs to fetch things. Finally it was time to go get in the bridal bubble, aka the hair salon.
The weather was looking blowy and miserable, but it was only a two minute walk to the salon, so I was a bit surprised when our photographer and great friend Catemac offered to drive us down. Little did I know it was a plot hatched by J and his best woman - they'd organised a bottle of bubbly and a card with a lovely message. Cue first tears of the day, with Catemac on hand to capture them to show J later.
After we got all glamourous - how cool are false eyelashes people?? - my dad drove us back to get ready. I did a bad attempt at a commando run to get in the back door of the hotel without being seen by the assembling guests, which caused some hilarity I'm sure. We managed to snatch some lunch and climb carefully into our dresses before some beautiful pics with my parents and sister.
Meanwhile, my brothers and our other ushers asked the guests to start following them to the ceremony location, and (shock horror!) everyone got up and moved out very efficiently. We'd allowed a bit of time, assuming that people would be chatting and having a drink, but actually, everyone moved so quickly that the ushers were stunned. Our beautiful ceremony location had been set up by some wonderful friends at the top of the ski run, nestled in under the trees. It was extremely chilly, but somewhat out of the wind. Everyone gathered and the stage managers gave the groom's party the go ahead to come on down. Which they did, with ten huskies pulling the four wheeled rig. Brilliant sight!
My own trip to the ceremony was not without issues - I suddenly realised we had forgotten my feather wrap, and my sister gallantly rushed back for it - but the biggest challenge was deciding when to start walking down the aisle. Little did we know that there'd already been a false bride sighting and everyone had already listened to our entrance music once! Oh well. My sister started off down the slope and my parents and I followed. I was more than a little overwhelmed with the lineup of people, almost all grinning from behind their cameras, and the tears started to well up. By the time we got to the red carpet, I was pretty much blinded by tears, veil and camera flashes so I couldn't see J's face, except for his big grin.
Our celebrant, the wonderful Rosalie, welcomed everyone and read the acknowledgement of the traditional owners, the Gurnaikurnai people, paying respects to elders past and present. She also talked about how J and I wished for Australian marriage law to be updated to remove discrimination against same sex couples. She introduced J's three sisters to read our first geeky reading, Love According to Geeks. We found this reading on Off Beat Bride and made a couple of changes so it reflected us, but loved all of its beautiful imagery and messages about different ways our culture shows love and respect through our dominant media forms.
Hilariously, as J's youngest sister was reading the "Superman" part of the reading:
Love is faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's love.
a pair of mountain bike riders came tearing past on the public path just behind us. Everyone had fits of laughter, and several people asked the readers later if it'd been planned like that!
Our vows were also based on a wedding we'd seen on Offbeat Bride - we used the original words as a template and put in our own personal points. We kept these vows secret and suprised each other - cue more tears!!!
One of my vows was very doggy, in a mushing kind of way:
I promise, both metaphorically and literally, to hold on in the start chute,to call your team over the finish line, to celebrate every finish, especially every red lantern, and to hold your hand when the dogs vanish into the forest.
All our of readings and vows were read from a little blue book, which fans of Dr Who may recognise as River Song's journal. Our last reading, read by my lovely friend CEBG, was a form of the Irish Blessing. The Ring Vows were said as "repeat after me" after the celebrant asked "who has the rings?" The answer was, Ishka, accompanied by her Aunty M. Both of them looked awfully glamourous!!
Its a joke with some of our husky club friends that the You May Kiss The Bride moment is a bit overwhelming. One of our friends famously got very shy and pulled away from her groom at that moment. I was so tempted to do the same - there were so many eyes on us!!!
After it was all done, signed and sealed with a kiss, we were able to greet our friends and family. One of my special projects was attempting to balance my love of throwing rose petals at bridal parties with my dismay at finding rubbish and non-native plants growing in bush land areas. The solution that I came up with, inspired by some of my scrap booking friends, was gum leaf confetti - dried gum leafs, hole punched into confetti, and packaged in recycled blue cardboard boxes. After several nights spent hole punching gum leaves, J was ready to kill me, but the glee with which people showered us with confetti was totally worth it. I ended up with confetti stuck in my hair for the rest of the night.
Then it was time to get moving. Our wedding cars were of course, the canine version - our three boys and 12 of the professional dogs from Australian Sleddog Tours.
After the dog team took us off into the bush, I remembered that I was still carrying my phone, so here's my moment of Bride Cam! I didn't get any moving footage, because although the rig was very stable, the path was pretty rough and the ride was bouncy.
Funnily enough, both J and I were carrying our mobiles for the whole ceremony - lucky no one prank called us!!!
We took the dogs back to the Cattlemen's Hut at the entrance to the village and took some photos - all six of us!! - before the formal family photos.
I have to say a massive Thankyou to Australian Sleddog Tours at Dinner Plain for all their work with our babies. They were prepared to run Czar, Bolo and Frankie in wheel with their own dogs. Frankie ran solo to provide some extra space for Bolo, in his Seavey harness, which was new to B and the team.
You could certainly see the difference in training - the professional dogs waited quietly, while our crazy puppies bounced and squeaked and woohoo'd to get going.