We've had specific requests for an Australian/New Zealand theme week, so we've found some Down Under favorites. This time we've got a bride on a mission to find her perfect dress and perfect budget in South Australia. -Catherine

Stacey & Jarrod 12.03.2011 (40)

The offbeat bride: Stacey, Admin bitch and offbeat wedding planner in the making (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Jarrod, Employment consultant and pretty tops bloke

Date and location of wedding: Tusmore Park, Tusmore, Adelaide, South Australia — March 12, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: The entire wedding was planned and paid for in only three and a half months on a budget. We picked our date because my Maid of Honor's parents were already coming to Australia from South Africa and I really wanted them to be at the wedding.

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We used a lot of contacts for our wedding. The whole day would not have happened if it weren't for our community of friends and family. Our main photographer was a friend of my cousin's new wife and the ceremony location was paid for by my grandparents as an engagement present. The reception function centre doubles as my mum's church. My sisters helped out with everything, despite not being part of the wedding party.

Jarrod's aunt's catering company cooked and served all the food. My friends brought wishing wells from Victoria and helped set up the reception centre. Jarrod's family friend did the videography and his friend donated mirrors for centrepieces. I could just continue to list people forever with all of the help that we had. It was truly amazing and beautiful to have so much love and support in such a short period of time.

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We had roughly 130 people come to the wedding, which seems a lot by Offbeat Bride standards, but is quite a small wedding when we both had three or four sets of family to invite. I have over 30 first cousins and we have around about 30 aunts and uncles between us who would traditionally be invited, but we unfortunately had to cut many people from our day and were quite strict on numbers.

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My five-year-old brother was ring bearer, but he was on my side of the bridal party, and Jarrod had his best friend and nephew as groomsmen.

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When I was 16, I said that I always wanted to wear the dress from Moulin Rouge. Ten years later, my idea hadn't changed. But no amount of dress shopping helped considering EVERYTHING in Adelaide is white.

I had previously sourced a supplier in the U.S., but we couldn't get it in time. I had no idea what to do as I couldn't afford to buy a new dress and I couldn't find anywhere to make it. Then my mum put me onto her friend who is a seamstress, and she made my whole dress for $600. I couldn't be happier with it.

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During the planning, we saved, collected, and washed as many jars as we could. I had this picture in my head that I thought would work, so decided to give it a whirl. My mum, sisters, and I decorated the majority of the jars the week before the wedding with different coloured ribbons, sand, and rocks with a tealight candle inside.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We had our wedding ceremony at Tusmore Park, a place we both visited a lot as kids. We discovered that we climbed the exact same tree. Naturally, we climbed the tree on our wedding day as well.

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Neither of us are particularly religious, so we had a secular ceremony. Jarrod's stepfather is Scottish and my stepfamily is Ukrainian. Both cultures use hand binding during weddings, so we incorporated it into our wedding as well. But we wrote our own reading to go with it. In fact, we wrote the entire ceremony.

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We opened up the ceremony to anyone who wanted to come. It was a little overwhelming when I first walked over the park's hill to see so many people waiting for me. Many traveled interstate to be at the ceremony, even though we couldn't invite them to the reception. It was amazingly touching that they had so much love for us that they put aside being hurt to support us. It's something I will never forget.

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Jarrod's sister performed a shortened reading of Dr. Seuss“Oh! The Places You'll Go!”, and my sister sang “Happy” by Never Shout Never, a song of her choice that we ending up loving. She was accompanied by Jarrod's stepdad.

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Our biggest challenge: Budget! We didn't know where to start with setting a budget. We researched as hard as we could, which drove my hubby-to-be mad. We bought bargains online, made our centrepieces with donated goods and craft bits, bartered to the teeth with vendors, and still found our budget blown out by about double.

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We ended up having to borrow money from our families, which we hadn't planned on. Both of our families contributed, and we could not have had our day without them. And then they gave us the “loan” as a wedding present so we didn't start married life in debt! Who could ask for a better gift?

Another big challenge was in my head. My dad died when I was 15, and I'd never been able to picture my day without him there. My big challenge was to try and not think about him not being there, but to think how lucky I am that my other dad (my stepdad who raised me since I was very little) has never treated me like anything other than his daughter. He was able to be there with me, walk me down the aisle, dance with me, and everything else that my biological dad would have been able to do.

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My favorite moment: On the way from the ceremony to the photo location, we stopped to see my grandmother at the cemetery, who died just before I met Jarrod. One of our last conversations was about whether I had met anyone yet, and that one day soon, the right man would come along. Within a few weeks, I had met Jarrod, and I owe it all to my Baba and wanted her to be part of our day, if only for five minutes.

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Another favorite moment was when we arrived early to the reception and played “I Spy” with our wedding party while we waited.

My funniest moment: We got everyone to pick two songs to go on the playlist for the night with their RSVP. My first dance ended up being with one of my gay friends to “(I've Had) The Time of My Life.” As I ran onto the dance floor, I yelled back to my hubby “Sorry babe! You're not getting the first dance,” much to my mum's horror. It was something that was truly me, as I'm always known for ruining every romantic moment. I even ruined the proposal!

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I also threw the bouquet well over the heads of all the women on the dance floor and into the tables behind it.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The weather was supposed to be pretty horrid and we didn't have an alternative venue or shelters available. Luckily, the weather was beautiful.

I also worried about my family mingling. My parents had a pretty ugly divorce when I was very young, and while they both happily remarried, the relationship between the families has never really got any better. In the end, I should have realised that they all respected me enough to be civil with each other and not have worried about it.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Weddings are a minefield, but at the end of the day, I'm actually glad that I stressed as much as I did. When I look back at our day, those are some of the little things that make me smile. All we wanted was to make people smile and have a great time.

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Comments on Stacey & Jarrod’s offbeat lite Aussie park wedding

  1. I love your dress (red is my favorite color). I love the open and loving atmosphere, and I love that everything turned out well.

    • Thank you! Red’s my favourite colour too 🙂
      Don’t get me wrong – the day came with a lot of drama too, but as a whole, it did turn out well – and there’s no sense in dwelling on the drama when I can’t do anything to change it…

  2. Love the dress! I want red with a lace up back and this is the closest I’ve seen. Everything looks beautiful!

    • Thanks Pearl!
      Red with a lace up back is very hard to find… If you’re in Oz, I’ve since heard that Dragon’s Blood do custom designs (along with somewhere in Sydney that OB has mentioned) – if in America, check out Deconstress Designs (? I think that’s how it’s spelled).

  3. Ohhh I love this whole wedding. I love your hairstyle – I am really wanting to do something with braids and I am saving this style to try. Also I was cracking up at: “I’m always known for ruining every romantic moment. I even ruined the proposal!” that is SO ME too! Love it! Congrats to you both! 🙂

    • Thanks Karin!
      Steph at Underground did wonders with my hair – forever indebted to her for pulling it off so amazingly! I just took in about 10 pics of things I like on a USB stick, stuck it in their work computer and said “I want it ALL”. haha. Good luck working out your hair!

  4. I was looking to see where I could get that dress and my jaw dropped when I saw that her friend’s mother made it. It’s stunning!!!!

    • Haha – sorry! She’s trying to get out of the seamstress stuff (she only does it as a hobby) but I’ll email her the link to this post just in case… You can also try Deconstress Designs in America if you’ve got a while to plan (takes a while for colour swatches to get here for approval, get the dress made, and then to ship the dress). I probably wouldn’t have shopped around if I had longer to plan and would’ve just ordered it from them. Dragon’s Blood apparently do custom dresses too, but I agree – Tina did an amazing job of working from pics from the movie to bring my dream to life 🙂

  5. Stacey, Stacey, Stacey, I used to sneak off to Tussie park to have ciggies when I was in high school. Now I take my kids to play there. Your rebellious red wedding dress perfectly captured the spirit of this iconic playground. Your wedding is absolutely beautiful – just like you! May you both have a long and happy life together 🙂

    • hahaha. I love it! Tusmore has been home to many a happy time for me – even pseudo Super Mario karting with balloons attached to us! It was fantastic to have our special day there as well 🙂 As for rebellious red… well. My mum would certainly agree with the rebellious part! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

  6. Hehehe, I’m another one who used to skip school and head over to Tusmore Park, lots of happy memories there and a wonderful place for a wedding! Plus your reception was at Port Adelaide, my most favourite part of the world! You look truly beautiful, your dress was stunning and you both look very much in love. Congratulations to you both Stacey, may your future be bright and happy!

    • Haha. It was a beautiful place for a wedding! Especially (and I feel horrid for saying this) since the kiddy pool was closed so there were no screaming children that we had to talk over with our vows. haha.
      The reception was actually at West Beach, it was just the photos at Port Adelaide – but yes! They have some amazing photo opps down there! Very historic and lovely! 🙂 Wish I could’ve had some with the lighthouse, but my dress kind of blended in too much with the red on it! haha.
      And thank you for your beautiful words 🙂 It’s all happy so far at least! 😀

  7. Squee! I’m kind of addicted to looking at this on OB – it’s hard to believe that our little ol’ wedding is actually on here!! 😀

  8. Things I <33333: your dress!!!!, the tree!!!, collecting jars for candle holders, and asking for wedding songs in the RSVP. Brilliant.

    • Thanks so much Gabrielle! (P.S. That’s my middle name!)
      Something I should’ve worked out before is what was happening with the jars… They ended up getting thrown out, when I would’ve kept them for parties around home (tealights around the garden = magical photos)
      The song idea – we stole that from one of my hubby’s friends, but it meant we didn’t have to worry about the song list – thank goodness!

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