I don’t know about you, but I think Michelle and Jane’s love-filled Terrigal wedding, should be “The bride wore red sequins and blue velvet and rocked it”. Because there should always be a place for both and that place today? Right here! This is a story that is just about the very best way to end the week.
Michelle and Jane had one theme in mind for their wedding day and simply put, it was “share the love”. The brides explaining “The overall theme of our wedding was ‘we have a very loving relationship. We are truly blessed to have met each other. In a world often full of pain and fear, there is not enough love in the world. We wanted to celebrate love.”
Inviting photographer Jennifer Burch Photography along for the ride, these two managed to celebrate a day, that was filled with nothing less than what they dreamt of. It was, as it seems always meant to be – especially when you hear the story of how they met!
Let’s allow them to fill us in. “Jane and Michelle’s story so far has been one of grace and much love. The
story of how they met goes like this: Jane woke up one morning with a ‘psychic’ message to start a support group to help people to reach their goals for a more fulfilling life. She rang an old friend who told her about ‘The Artists’ Way’ workbook, so they decided to start an ‘Artists’ Way’ group’.
Jane rang around and soon she had a group of five. At the same time, Michelle had just returned home to Australia after living in New Zealand for nine years. One night, Jane and Michelle were out to dinner with a large group of mutual friends. Before entering the restaurant, they had caught each other’s eye on the footpath and in an instant, they shared a moment. They entered the restaurant to be seated. Jane tried to orchestrate where everyone should sit, so she could muzzle a seat near Michelle, but it didn’t go according to her plan and she ended up down the opposite end of a very long table. Michelle started chatting to a mutual friend Paula, seated next to her who mentioned she was about to start an ‘Artists’ Way group’. Michelle said, “hang on,” reached into her bag and pulled out a book and said, “I just bought this today.” It was ‘The Artists’ Way”!
Paula recounted to Jane the synchronicity of this story, pointed down the table at Michelle, the very woman Jane had been eyeing off. Jane could not believe her luck and waved at Michelle down the other end of the table. Not wanting to appear too keen, Jane yelled down the table, “well, of course, she should join our group!” Throughout the book club, a powerful love emerged between Michelle and Jane, which has developed into an enduring relationship.”
Jane chose a marvellous blue velvet look for the day from David Jones, which held a meaning very special, she explains “I was struggling to decide on what look to go for. I am very intuitive and understood I would be ‘guided to the right place’ to find my outfit.
One morning, I woke up with the strong feeling I needed to go to DJ’s in the city to shop for my outfit. I could feel the presence of my mother, Shirl, who passed away in 2016, who loved to shop. I was walking around DJs when the phone rang and it was Chris, Michelle’s oldest friend and Matron of Honour, who said to me she had a vision that I should wear a ‘blue velvet jacket.’ At that very same moment, I locked eyes on a blue velvet jacket hanging in right front of me. I knew it was the one. That same day, I also found the perfect pants for the jacket.”
Michelle had a very clear vision for her red sequin wedding dress, which she found online. “I always knew I wanted to wear a spectacular, glittering red gown and so I did.”
The music for Jane and Michelle walking down the aisle was carefully considered, tell the brides. “Jane chose ‘Chapel of Love’, performed by Bette Midler: To capture the mood of celebration of the historic victory of the legal validation of our love. We had friends at the wedding who had been advocating for same-sex marriage for more than 30 years. They were beside themselves for the whole ceremony.
Michelle’s parents and brother walked down the aisle first, followed by Jane’s dad, arm in arm with Jane’s older sister, Ann-Marie, followed by Jane’s bridesmaid and Matron of Honour. We wanted our whole family involved.
Then Jane entered the room solo, she raised her arms in a spontaneous victorious gesture (in part for marriage equality and in part for the magical day to celebrate her love for Michelle). The room erupted in a cheer. Once Jane arrived at the front, the music changed to ‘Song to the Siren’, performed by Sinead O’Connor. The room became engulfed by an atmosphere of love and grace, the flower girls entered, followed by Michelle’s bridesmaid and Matron of Honour.
Then Michelle entered solo in her sparkly red gown and everyone took a collective gasp. It was magical. There was not a dry eye in the room as she walked to Jane waiting at the front.”
Michelle and Jane opted to make their processional their own, walking down the aisle individually greeted by their families. They tell “We did not have our fathers ‘give us away’ in the traditional sense of marriage. Instead, recognising the importance of connection to family of origin, we asked our families to stand to give their blessings for our marriage and they were asked if they welcomed each bride into their family.”
Michelle and Jane were married by Louise Spedding. They remember “We wanted the ceremony to reflect us. Love, welcoming, grace, peace. We chose readings and vows that spoke to who we were and our closest friends to read them. We chose Tom Robbins, from his novel, “Still Life with Woodpecker”:” “So Much Happiness” by Naomi Shihab Nye and a reading by HH the 14th Dalai Lama.
“Our favourite part was celebrating the blessing of finding our soul connection with each other. Having all our loved ones in one room, celebrating and sharing our love.” Friends joined the ceremony, performing a handfasting for the brides, while their fathers presented the rings.
Michelle and Jane held both their ceremony and their reception at a very favourite spot, the Crowne Plaza Terrigal. They tell “We chose one of our happy places, the Crowne Plaza in Terrigal. We visit there often for weekends away and it is always fabulous. We love that it is across the road from the beach with beautiful views. For us, it is just the right blend of seaside casual, with a splash of luxe style.
Michelle carried a bouquet styled by Red Fragrance, while Jane’s all-white bouquet was a little more last minute. The brides explaining “Jane only decided that she would have a bouquet the day before the wedding when Michelle was picking up her bouquet. Jane did not want anything too girly, but something simple and stylish. She spontaneously settled on a small bunch of white blooms.
Nurse Megan, Jane’s Matron of Honour, offered to bring boutonnieres and corsages for Jane, the dads and matrons. Miraculously, when she arrived with them on the day, they were made of the same colour orchids as those in Michelle’s bouquet and complimented Jane’s spontaneous bouquet perfectly.”
Of their photographer, the brides share “Jennifer Birch was fantastic to work with and delivered amazing photographs. We liked Jennifer from our first meeting. She ‘got’ what we wanted. Jennifer was warm and cared about the task at hand. She made the effort to connect with us during our wedding planning to get a sense of who we were. She asked about us. She listened to what we wanted and captured our day beautifully. She captured all the big moments and the moments between the moments.”
Michelle and Jane enlisted When Love Sparks to style their day, sharing “Nicky took great care to deliver every detail we requested and the results were magical. The reception theme was a very pretty, glittery pink with dainty flowers and fairy lights.”
The newlyweds crafted much of the decor themselves, Michelle making tiny clay figurines as cake toppers, Jane creating a photo board for their guests. The brides tell “In teaming with the theme, ‘Share the Love’, Jane made a display from a couple of decorative ladders. We collected photos of us with each wedding guest and attached them to the ladders. Photos ranged from old photos from our childhoods to newer ones and included the different people we have met and loved on our journey so far. On the back of each photo, we attached a little note describing what we love about that person and what they mean to us. Each guest could spend time finding their photo and reading their message, which they took with them.”
Those cake toppers, never quite made it. “It took her hours, crafting the little bride figurines from Fimo. She attached veils made from lace from her mother’s wedding dress and crafted mini-bouquets made of baby’s breath, to match our bridesmaids’ bouquets. The cake toppers were left with our friend, Vicki, who generously offered to make our wedding cake. On the wedding day, Vicki drove from Sydney to Terrigal to drop off the cake and accidentally left the cake toppers at home! They were replaced by a ‘’Willow Tree’ figurine of two sisters holding hands, found by her husband in a frantic effort at Erina Fair on the day. Two women, close enough.” The wedding cake a handmade chocolate number, was made by Jane’s friend.
And with a dinner reception, as the sunset, there was sure to be dancing. The new brides surprising their guests with an unexpected twist, they recall “We started slow-dancing to ‘You got It’, Roy Orbison. We organised for our friend to change the music to ‘Nut Bush City Limits’, Tina Turner, about 20 seconds into the slow Roy Orbison song. We pretended we did not know what was happening and looked around the room in confusion. Then after 10 seconds or so of looking peeved about the interruption to our bridal waltz, we broke into the Nutbush. We had arranged for a couple of friends to join in, flashmob style. Then everyone started joining in. It was a great way to get everyone up and dancing.”
A big congratulations on your marriage Jane and Michelle! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding with us! Thank you also to Jennifer Burch Photography for sharing today’s celebration with us!