Today our picnic photos arrived in the mail in a cute little brown package tied with twine. Armed with some tea and honey crumpets, C and I sat down and peeked through them anxiously. Your interest permitting (I don't want to overwhelm you with photos of it) I'd like to share a few posts of my favourite photos from the day.
Not being a hugely patient person, I thought I would feel overwhelmingly impatient about waiting for the photos to be ready, but I felt like I wanted to stretch out receiving them for as long as possible because I knew that they were the last little piece of the day, the final vestige of all of the planning and receiving them would signal the closure of it all. I didn't want the whole thing to be in the past already!
Our photos of the day were taken by a lovely man named Justin Spaull. I had come across his website during some wandering on the internet several months before our planning began and thought his photos were some of the most beautiful, unique wedding photos I'd ever seen. I had assumed that "wedding" photography would have been well and truly out of our budget and I'd be resigned to asking a family member or friend to bring their DSLR. I emailed Justin and told him what the day would be like ("not weddingy") and he gave me a quote I couldn't resist. We met up with him for the first time a few days before the picnic for coffee and had a nice chat and he got an idea of what the picnic would be like. I was so worried about feeling awkward with having a photographer and that they wouldn't "get" who we were or what the day was about. We're not hugely traditional and felt like we mostly just wanted some photos of the location (my childhood home) and our friends and family having a good time. He made it totally comfortable, was everywhere at once and stayed much longer than he had to. He was also a good sport when my brother was (playfully) mean to him. And, well, I think his photos speak for themselves.
We couldn't have asked for more in regard to Justin and would recommend him in a heart beat.
I was talking to my mum about the picnic about a week ago and I still had all of this left over stress and anxiety about it. I was by no means a bridezilla, but I am naturally a very anxious person and the days preceding the picnic I was in anxiety hyperdrive. When we were planning, the key word was "relaxed" - we wanted to have a "relaxed" day. In the end, the day was relaxed, but the lead up felt like my worst nightmare at times (and I was literally having nightmares about it, ha).
My mum joked that we could have made a movie about the preparations for this day because there were so many (hilarious) set backs (that I didn't find so hilarious at the time) that other people planning conventional weddings would likely not encounter, including:
Having our neighbours cows break down our fences multiple times and stomp around in the yard, making huge holes in the lawn, eating everything, leaving little presents around the yard and us having to shoo them out repeatedly (sometimes in the middle of the night).
After discussing that the broken pebble-crete floor of the lounge room was a bit unpleasant to look at, my step father decided to spray paint the lounge room floor a nice creamy colour a few days prior to the picnic, which ended up being fluorescent yellow, made the house smell of paint for days and refused to dry. Because of this, there was an obstacle course to get to the bathroom each time, involving jumping from the hallway into a pair of strategically placed crocs and then making another jump to the bathroom door.
After big days of yard work (and getting through the obstacle course to get to the bathroom), we had to shower by candlelight because turning on the bathroom light shorted out the power.
The night before, I hung up some baskets of lemons outside the front door, collected from our lemon trees and possums peeled off and ate the lemon skins. One night we put our full compost bin on the front step to remind us to empty it in the morning and a possum knocked the compost all over the path and we watched it eat out of it for ages. So naughty but cute!
My mum overestimated how much food we would need by assuming that each person attending would want to have two pieces of each thing we made and we were cooking pies, frittatas and cupcakes well into the morning for a couple of days (we ended up with so much left over!).
The lovely goldfish we bought for our newly made pond kept getting plucked out and eaten by kookaburras.
We were so busy I didn't even get time to shave my legs (I was wearing stockings anyway).
Not to mention that it rained on and off for a week preceding the day (the day itself was wonderfully overcast).
The icing on the proverbial cake was that I got a pimple on my chin the day before the picnic and I never get pimples!
After I was almost killed by the garden hose (I bought new garden hose, attached it to the tap, my mum turned on the water full ball and the hose spout wouldn't turn to open so I was looking at it and then it shot off at bullet speed into a tree, narrowly missing my face), my step father was feeling really unwell from spray paint fumes and my mum was moving an old wood stove that C was sure was full of asbestos (it turned out to only be fibreglass) - we felt like we were all going to die in ridiculous circumstances like a B-grade horror movie and our guests would arrive to a humorously gory scene.
I can't say something like "...and I wouldn't have had it any other way!" to the above challenges, but they did make the success of the day seem extra rewarding in the end.
We joked that C learnt how to be a "real man" during the preparations for the picnic because he learnt how to use a chain saw for the first time, put up some fences with my mum, shovelled cow manure and did all manner of manly things. I was really glad mum, C and I got that week together before the picnic to get jobs done, spend time in the house and hang out.
I wasn't sure what to budget for in regard to planning and we had a little bit saved, but I would estimate that we wouldn't have spent more than $2000 in total (cheapest wedding ever?!), including our flights each way, photos, food, the official getting married part, etc. I suppose when you remove having to pay for catering and hiring a location, things start to look a bit less expensive. I don't really feel like there was anything we didn't do because of cost and we self catered for about 70 people (doing this is obviously cheaper, a hell of a lot of work and ultimately did feel worth it. People kept asking me who catered it and I was like "ME!", and mum and C of course).
My mum is basically my hero for the role she played in all of this and I hope I didn't shave any years off her life with the amount of work she put in! Maybe one day I'll do a post just about my mum (she would hate that, haha). She is a pretty unique creature. She likes to jokingly call herself "MumDad" because she really takes on both of those roles and she could do any job a man can do (and usually does it better). One anecdote I like to recall about my mum is that when she was 8 and a half months pregnant with my younger sister (and she and my dad had separated) she was still chopping up huge logs of wood in the bush for our firewood because having a warm house was one of her main priorities before having a tiny baby out in our bush home in the middle of Winter.
When I look back on it, it's easy for me to think of all of the little DIYs I didn't get time for, to think of the clutter that could have been moved away on the day and other relatively minor details, but I had an excellent day. You basically just get to say hello and goodbye to each guest at these kinds of things - I was sad I didn't get to spend more time with each person but I was so happy to see everyone, some friends had flown in from other states and I was so grateful. Our guests said lovely things about the place (it's so hard for me to be objective about a place that I spent so many years living in), the food and the atmosphere. It did all come together in the end and I feel like it was a success and I feel happy inside when I think about it.
I feel like I've written an essay but I've pretty much just brushed the surface, so if you have any questions, let me know. Stay tuned for some more photos in the next few days.