We have something different, something truly special to end off the week. Because although we’re pretty down with a western-style wedding, weddings from the other cultures around the world, are weddings we want to share more of. Today, we’re celebrating the wedding of Natasha and Ben, in their own words, The couple, who are of the Bahá’í faith, held a Bahá’í ceremony at a Brisbane country hall.  Captured by Eric Wang Photography Natasha and Ben’s Baháʼí wedding was all about their tight, close-knit community, Everyone helped contribute to the day (if only through adding their moves to the dance-off!) celebrating the newlyweds with a lunchtime reception in the sunshine. Special shoutout to the bride’s father who travelled from Papua New Guinea and after testing positive for COVID (but being asymptomatic) had to quarantine for five weeks to make it! 

I met Ben through a mutual friend. We both practice the Bahá’í Faith. There is a yearly festival in the Bahá’í Faith called Ayyam-i-Há which is a 4-5 day festival consisting of gift-giving and charity.

During Ayyam-i-Há 2020 Ben had decided to donate blood (which he had never done so before) and had heard that the previous Ayyam-i-Há I had organised for a few friends to donate. He messaged me asking for some information and I had sent him the Lifeblood donation link and said find your nearest one.

A few days later I got a message from Ben saying he was at the donation centre in the city and as I was on my way home from work I looked around a realised I was near the centre. So I had decided to pop over to say hi. FYI I don’t do well with needles and blood, so as Ben gave blood I sat near him looking away as I spoke. And that was pretty much our first date, chilli chips and juice boxes as we sat at the blood donation centre chatting for a few hours.

There’s not much of a story for our proposal, we were cooking dinner one night and we turned to each other and said let’s get married…

Our flowers were beautiful Australian Natives. A friend of ours who is a retired florist offered to do all of our flower arrangements. She meticulously sourced the natives one month beforehand and arranged the bouquet, arbour and other decorations at the wedding. It was stunning and you could feel the love that went into making these arrangements.

We DIYed pretty much everything. We have wonderful and TALENTED friends and family. Everyone offered to pitch in. We had friends doing the grazing table which we sourced food from many places, it was laid out on brown linen table cloths, banana leaves (sourced from another friend’s garden), traditional PNG baskets from my grandma and many wooden chopping boards collected from family and friends.

Another family friend made chai, our mums collected the cakes and additional sweets and another friend did all the flowers (including the arbour). The table setting was very simple, we used the green picnic benches at the venue and dressed it up with a white runner, some woodcuts and a vase of flowers. We had pastries from Miettes Bakery, a grazing table of cheese and charcuterie from Adam’s Continental Smallgoods and a wedding cake by Jocelyn’s Provisions.

If you want cheap crockery, utensils and cups go to IKEA. It was cheaper purchasing everything than hiring. Facebook Marketplace has lots of wedding items. Our entire wedding cost just under $4k including the photographer, venue, food and flowers…

We didn’t walk down the aisle, we decided we decided to be there before our guests arrived so we could welcome them alongside our families.

We married at Pullenvale Hall. We wanted a venue which was on a hill with a view and nature around us. Pullenvale Hall was a hilltop wedding venue. Outdoors, horses in the field next door, picnic tables on one side.

I wore the silver sequin gown by Rachel Gilbert, I wanted to be able to wear my hair out in its natural curls so managed to keep it tamed with a heap of products, clips and some flowers in it. Ben wore a modern navy suit, with RM Williams boots.

We had a Bahá’í ceremony whose only requirement consists of the reciting of vows “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God”, in the presence of two witnesses. We also included numerous readings from the Bahá’í Writings which members of our families read and some friends played music. Ben’s sister also sang. The feeling of the ceremony was uplifting, joyous and calm. Our favourite part of the wedding was the devotional program and having all our friends and family work together and offer their assistance.

One of the readings from the Bahá’í Writings explaining what Bahá’í marriage is from our program:
Bahá’í marriage is the commitment of the two parties one to the other, and their mutual attachment of mind and heart. Each must, however, exercise the utmost care to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other, that the binding covenant between them may be a tie that will endure forever. Their purpose must be this: to become loving companions and comrades and at one with each other for time and eternity…

The true marriage of Bahá’ís is this, that husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God. This is Bahá’í marriage.

And a Prayer:
O ye two believers in God! The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favour in the Kingdom of heaven…Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.

Natasha’s dad travelled from PNG and planned to be in Brisbane one month before, however, he tested positive to COVID-19 in PNG the morning he was set to board the flight and then spent 5 WEEKS in Hotel quarantine (3weeks PNG +2weeks AUS). He arrived 2 days before the wedding. He called himself the COVID Conqueror. Was quite stressful, we didn’t know if he was going to make it.

Ben’s family made it into Brisbane just before the borders closed to NSW.

We were clear on the spirit and atmosphere we wanted to create at our wedding. Have a conversation before you start planning on the type of environment you’d like for all to feel. Such as calm, joy, relaxing. We found it helped bring everything into perspective when we were planning. We kept coming back to our vision if we began to feel overwhelmed and this helped us. Also, if you plan to do a DIY wedding, delegate, delegate, delegate….and try to have a budget.

We didn’t have the first dance, instead, Natasha’s sisters surprised us with a RAP of how we met. We then LAUNCHED into a Dance battle with our friends and family.

Our favourite part of the day was the love that was showered upon us by family and friends, the joy and excitement that was felt amongst our family and friends, having most of our immediate family there to witness our union in person, the Sunny  and Covid restriction-free day. And did I mention the radiant spirit?

Our photographer Eric Wang Photography was amazing. He is joyous, thoughtful, and easygoing. Very flexible and sociable. He made us feel comfortable. He took fantastic photos, which captured the day.

Natasha and Ben! How fun to be able to share your wedding! Thank you for taking the time to share your beautiful story with us!