On 14th January 2013, Natalie, a policewoman with inoperable ovarian cancer, married the love of her life Matthew. Modern Wedding had the privilege of helping to organise this very special day along with some fantastic wedding professionals whose dedication and generosity will not be forgotten. The gorgeous wedding aired on channel 9's A Current Affair this evening (jump onto the ACA website if you missed it!). We know so many of you have been on this journey with us through facebook and twitter so we wanted to bring you the story behind the story...
I was cooking dinner one night last October when I saw out of the corner of my eye a story on A Current Affair about a policewoman called Natalie who was suffering from inoperable ovarian cancer. I was moved to give the story my full attention and during the interview, Natalie happened to mention that she was engaged to this lovely man called Matthew, also a policeman, but with all the focus on her medical situation they hadn't had the time, energy or dollars to get married. I was moved to tears by their story, particularly because Natalie has an eight year old daughter called Emily.
I jumped onto Modern Wedding's facebook page and said "let's give Natalie and Matt the wedding of their dreams". Within one hour I had over 70 offers of donations and the offers kept coming right up until their wedding day. The generosity of the Australian wedding industry was completely overwhelming!
The next day I contacted channel 9 and told them we could give them a wedding and the ACA Producer, Victoria Owens, told me Natalie's dream would be to get married somewhere like the Hunter Valley. So I immediately got on the phone to my friends at Chateau Ã‰lan at the Vintage and they graciously agreed to not only give them a fantasy wedding but a honeymoon as well!
And the offers kept on coming...
Next step was for myself and our celebrant, Sarah to meet with Natalie, Matt and her mum Kerrieanne (who is a very gorgeous and glamorous young nanna who incidentally loves bling) along with their 6 Chihuahuas... Shelley, Manly, Coogee, Cronulla, Belles and Avalon. It was quite a manic meeting with the 6 puppies jumping up and barking the whole time! It was hard to get a word in amongst all the yapping but it was clear from the start that we all got on like a house on fire! We had lots of laughs and I soon understood that Natalie is an amazing and courageous woman...with a wonderful sense of humour and a great sense of style. I fast ascertained that she wanted a wedding that was simple, sophisticated, beautiful and romantic. I wasn't allowed to reveal the details of the wedding to anyone (ACA wanted to maintain the surprise element) but I felt confident I understood what Natalie and Matt wanted.
So we got to work.
First step was the gown. Wendy Makin flew to Sydney from Brisbane and brought 12 wedding gowns in her suitcase - what a great packer! We met at Marry Me in Mosman and the design was agreed upon - a blush pink, silk ballgown with a lace bodice, with pearl, crystal and diamante detailing. The veil was also to be blush. Emily tried on some delightful flowergirl dresses but Wendy decided to design a dress specially to match the bridal gown! Wow!
The gown decisions determined the wedding colour palette - soft pink, silver and white.
Everything flowed from there - one-off silver bridesmaids gowns (satin and lace) were designed by Diane Lewis for Natalie's sister, Sarah (a real joker and sweetheart) and Natalie's best friend, Michelle (also a policewoman). Michelle opened up to me saying that in the police force she had seen some awful things but this whole experience with Natalie and Matt's wedding had reminded her of the best of human nature.
John W. Thompson, Master Engraver, designed Natalie and Matt's unique wedding bands in white gold, which are engraved with "You and no other" in French "vous et nul autre ». They are also engraved inside, with the wedding date in Roman numerals and their names.
We went men's suit shopping next at T.M. Lewin. Bearing in mind the silver, pink and white theme I coaxed the boys to try on pink shirts with a light grey suit and silver tie - I thought they looked great but they were clearly very uncomfortable (though too polite to say so). They were greatly relieved when they tried on the white shirts with silver ties - and a white tie for Matt so the groom would stand out. We would have to add the pink via calla lily buttonholes.
All the details came together...invitations, the cake, dessert buffet, flowers, decorating, lighting...all following the theme of "sophisticated romantic". We wanted the reception to look like a fairytale - billowing, white fabric was draped across the ceiling, a chandelier hoisted from the centre and fairylights galore (you simply can't overdo fairylights). A wall of white fabric and more fairylights highlighted the bridal table and the scene was set...truly magical!
The week leading up to the wedding on 14th January was ultra-stressful for everyone involved. Natalie was so sick she couldn't lift her head off the pillow and kept vomiting. We weren't sure she would make the wedding. She was so bad they forcefully admitted her into hospital. We had all our facebook fans praying for her to get better...and mercifully she did.
The complete real wedding will be featured in edition 58 of Modern Wedding magazine. Check the blog tomorrow for Part 2 of the story behind the story...