If there is one small piece of advice I could offer to any bride, it would be to take things slowly.
By slowly, I mean take a few minutes to simply breathe, have something to eat as no doubt you’ll get caught up in everything and you’ll forget to have a bite. While you’re at it, have something delicious to drink like a cup of coffee or if you’re really wanting to let loose, have a glass of bubbly while getting ready.
At the end of the day, take as much as time as you need to only get ready; but also to be in the moment and above all: do not panic!
It really is in those little moments you don’t think of, until looking back on wedding photos, you realise the women and men in your life will all come together to help you through this uplifting moment. It will always mean more to you than you could possibly imagine. So, take a deep breath and don’t rush.
He or She will still be there at the end the aisle.
After discussing our thoughts about following tradition and wanting to recreate my parents footsteps, the groom and I did not stay together the night before the wedding.
So the morning of the wedding day, my Best Woman and I awoke to sunshine pouring through the curtain edge, people murmuring outside our little townhouse and the feeling of butterflies in our stomach.
It was in the moment of clasping hands and sharing a few words of silence as we stared down at the newest and deeply adored generation sleeping in between us, I heard Kaffy let out a little sniff and we both turned to look as Lois snuck into our bedroom.
There within the quietness of the house and those who still slumbered away, we quietly spoke of nerves, the butterflies swarming around in my stomach and how I had spent a majority of the night awake because I couldn’t sleep.
As we retold funny stories of family members and my Mother’s own wedding day and how thirty plus years after being told, “I give you six months” by both sets of parents; I watched as Lois wiped away her tears of happiness and sadness. Not being one to leave her crying alone, I wiped my own tears away as I admitted to feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness as these were the remaining hours of being known as Eliza O’Chunky.
Sharing a much needed hug and kiss, we left Kaffy and Baby O’Chunky to slumber a few more minutes and made our way downstairs to welcome the rest of the bridal party and family members floating through the front door.
Music flowed freely as people feasted on a leisurely breakfast of pancakes, fresh fruit, toast with preserves and yoghurt with mixed berries, before lounging around the living room.
Eventually, we shoo-d everyone out the door so it was just the bridal party who remained and it was only then, did we laugh and relax. We shared jokes and advice on marriage, having a happy, healthy and hearty relationship with your spouse and what I should expect as a bride on my wedding night.
Which left me blushing and giggling uncomfortably.
Lois manned the phone and answered any enquiries and concerns about the wedding, getting lost and provided directions to the venues. Whilst answering the frequently asked question of would there would be an afterparty after the reception.
She even sent the groom a message, on behalf of me, asking if he would be there at the end of the aisle. As well as clarifying, I would be the one wearing a white dress and this was Mr. Darcy’s final chance to run to the right.
After laughing at the response and shedding a tear or two because it really was happening, I cleared up any concerns regarding the groom having cold feet. Having gathered my Kiwi tipuna wahine (Grandmother) into the bridal circle, we settled back and chatted away about adventures I had undertaken in the past and what my dreams and hopes for the future were.
As to my future, never short of any woman wanting his attention or his chubby little arms reaching out for a cuddle, Baby O settled into Tita’s arms before succumbing to a nap.
Jessica began weaving her magic as she got to work on our makeup and hair, creating looks that had the girls inspired but also murmuring with excitement as I looked on with amazement and joy.
Having known Jessica personally as she’s Lady Blacksnot III’s sister, I had secretly always wanted her to be the makeup and hair stylist for my wedding. Least to say, I was beyond thrilled when she accepted my proposal.
When it came to Yang and Tita’s makeup, hairstyles and dresses, I gave them free reign to pick and choose whatever styles they wanted. I worked on the concept of Tita having olive skin from her Spanish inheritance and Yang resembling something of an English rose.
As for their dresses, all I asked was for the dress to be floor length so they could wear any type of shoe, they’d be comfortable as Tita was several months pregnant and they felt gorgeous.
On the wedding day, the girls settled on a soft and elegant makeup look. It encompassed various tones of purple, bronze and browns that accentuated and highlighted their differently shaped eyes and colours; before finishing with two different mauve and berry toned lipsticks that make the utmost perfect hue for them.
Yang and Tita looked the most ravishing and beautiful bridesmaids that a woman could possibly ever have.
When it came to my wedding look, I was heavily inspired by Bollywood and the fabulous bold colours worn by beautiful South Asian brides.
Not wanting to be a bride with a heavily applied foundation and live to regret the moment, I was so impressed with the girls dewiness that I asked Jessica to use the same foundation. The glow and dewiness was what I’d always imagined when it came to bridal makeup and had wanted to portray as a blushing bride.
The inspirational photo used loosely, focused on varying shades of taupe, chocolate brown with a faint trace of black. It wouldn’t be Bollywood inspired without a dash of glorious bronze dotted on the eyelid and a cat eye to accentuate my almond shaped eyes. Whilst bringing attention to my eyes and my lips as well.
As for my lipstick choice, I decided to forgo the sickly washed out beige and sippy-pink tones for something that fitted nicely with my bold and slightly in-your-face personality. With a final smattering of 24 hour stay lipstick in a beautiful bold red colour, my look was completed.
Now, it really was time to start getting ready.
Sticking to traditions of ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’, I was deeply moved by all of the gifts given to me.
For something sentimental and packed with history, there were a few items that I couldn’t imagine getting married without. The first being, my sapphire and diamond engagement ring that had originally belonged to Lois and had been presented as an engagement blessing when Mr. Darcy proposed. It was also, the ring I used to slip onto my finger as a child and proclaim wildly, “this shall be my wedding ring.”
With eighty years or more of loving wear and tear, teeth marks from generations using it as a teething ring and hundreds of ounces of love, the only jewellery I wore on my arm was my rose-gold bracelet. My bracelet is not only an extension of my being and person, but it contains the knowledge, wisdom and depth from the women on my mother’s side of the family. Rather much like the necklace I wore on my wedding day.
I asked Lois prior to the wedding if I could wear the necklace she’d worn on the day of her own wedding, when marrying my Father. Guaranteed there wasn’t a dry eye in the house that day, I have always felt a connection when wearing this piece of fabulous history.
For something new, my high heels were from Nine West Spring/Summer collection and I fell in love with them at first sight. These shoes were the ‘Carrie’ to my Mr. Big and they made me sigh in comfort, love and lust when slipping them onto my feet. What sealed the deal was the fact I was able to strut down the walkway at Myers and never felt ridiculous at all.
The perfume choice for the wedding had been originally purchased as a birthday gift from Mr. Darcy and I kept it sealed in its original packaging because I knew it wasn’t the right time. Having always grown up with the scent of Chloé by Chloé lingering in the air and on clothes as it is Lois’ favourite and only perfume she wears, I felt a soul connection with everything it entails.
For something blue, I wore two things.
The first being, I wanted an extra bit of spice and luck to my future marriage and a hand sewn, blue robin was added to my lace garter.
Secondly, a beautiful set of sapphire and diamond earrings. They left everyone breathless and itching to know where and whom they came from.
As for something borrowed, one of the greatest gifts given to me was in the form of wearing ‘Eliza’.
A rather profound and unique wedding dress that had been designed and painstakingly created for two completely different brides.
So much so, when Yang sent me the very first photo of her trying on ‘Eliza’ and my immediate reaction was to burst into tears and call her up saying, “You look bloody beautiful and you found my wedding dress!”
Least to say, I squealed and hugged Yang within an inch of her very traumatised life when she asked if I would wear Eliza as my wedding gown. I felt very honoured to not only wear the dream gown I had envisioned wearing. But it was also knowing I could personalise to my own tastes and style preferences that left me teary eyed on the day.
When getting dressed, I wanted my Best Woman and Sister to be the one to help get me dressed into my wedding gown.
Although it’d been a terrific idea in my head at the time, Kaffy and I soon discovered it wasn’t that easy and it would take a village to help with assisting the bride into her gown.
In our case, we needed an extra pair of helping hands and we lassoed my fabulous wedding photographer, Tara, into helping us.
I was then laced into my wedding gown.
With a few knocks on the door and questions being asked by my brothers, I gripped onto the door handle in fear of being seen by my family as I wanted Lois to have the first glimpse of me.
Having asked Tara for marital wisdom and advice on what it takes to be a good wedding and lifestyle photographer, I watched as the look of pure joy and excitement animated Tara’s face with a radiant glow as Kaffy finished lacing my gown.
I bid farewell to Kaffy and thanked her for helping me get ready.
Outside of the bedroom door, there were murmured words of love, support and encouragement between the person waiting outside and Kaffy.
Turning to Tara and asking her if she was ready to capture this pivotal moment in time, I let Lois linger for a few more anguished moments.
Only then, did I open the door.
Lois’ expression and tears were treasured moments, captured for all of eternity.
We were both so giddy with excitement and nervous, that it was almost palpable to the touch. Before joking about Bridget finally getting her chance to marry Mr. Darcy and becoming known as Lord and Lady O’Chunky-Darcy.
It was only then, Lois realised I hadn’t completely gotten finished and I asked her to put my veil on and help with the few remaining essentials…..
Before shedding a few more tears.
With the veil in place and a quick peek at my garter, Lois turned to me and said I was the most beautiful bride she’d ever seen.
Sharing a quick kiss and squeeze of the hand, Lois asked me if I was ready to show the world.
Never having been a fan of unfinished appearances and very much resembling my Nanna in those few seconds, Lois tweaked my crown until she felt it was perfect.
Before walking downstairs to alert everyone the bride was going to make her grand entrance.
As my loved ones gathered down below and hushed words were spoken in amongst them, Tara gave me the green light to ‘knock their socks off’.
I took a deep and very nervous breath before descending down the steps. All the while, reminding myself to take it slowly and to not trip down the stairs.
It was only then, did my family see me as the blushing bride and in my finest gown of all.
My most favourable moments were seeing Queenie, my tipuna wahine, shed a few tears. She whispered about the unlimited amount of joy and happiness she was experiencing and had experienced when witnessing my parents wedding, all those years ago.
Having acknowledged my Mother’s traditions and ancestry with my jewellery, I wanted something that acknowledged not only my Father’s side of our family. But also, started a new tradition within our family.
Having always loved the idea of the Mediterranean fathers’ giving their blessing for their daughter to get married, by putting the final pair of maiden shoes onto the daughter’s feet.
I asked Red to follow in the traditional foot steps and be the one to put my wedding shoes on my feet.
By taking a knee and somewhat struggling with the process, I watched in hysterics alongside the other women in the room, before lending a helping hand to Red.
With the final touch applied, I felt an overwhelming sense of being deeply loved and adored by my Daddy.
I also felt truly blessed that my parents had encouraged me to step outside of the box and go on the first ever date with Mr. Darcy, after having thought of cancelling at the last minute due to not ‘feeling butterflies’.
Mr. Darcy and I both knew my parents and siblings had happily and lovingly accepted our relationship. As well as, welcomed the groom into our extremely, close knit family unit.
As I shed a few tears of my own, I thought about how Red had given Mr. Darcy permission to propose to his first born daughter and in a matter of a blink of an eye, I was less than an hour away from changing my last name.
As the minutes slowly began trickling down, we took some family snaps outside.
All the while promising Tara, we would never truly become your typical family.
Though my favourite ones shall always be those candid moments, caught precisely at the right time.
And finally, it was the moment I had been anxiously waiting for.
It was time for me to board my vintage car of dreams.
For it was time, to leave for my mid-afternoon ceremony in the most beautiful place I could ever imagine on earth.
I will tell you all about it in the next chapter.