All wedding photographs by Soul Harmony Photography
Hello my dearest goddess sisters,
When we last left off on our epic wedding planning post, I was off to the sea to marry my love.
It makes my heart so happy to finally get to share this with you.
I’ve been pouring myself into this post, wanting it to be just-right-and-just-magical and all things true.
And now it’s time to just adore it for all it is, and set it free.
I want to tell you the story of our wedding.
Just like you were there.
A week before our ceremony, me & my love & my daughter, my sister and my love’s dear cousin & her son – we roadtripped up to a sweet little town by the sea (Bowen, for those playing at home). And there, inside an old white stone building that looked down over white tipped waves – we stood before a judge and we pledged to be faithful, committed and loving to each other.
(You see, we needed to do the legal bit before the sacred ceremony!)
And afterwards, we took photos outside that were FILLED with magnificent orbs of light.
And SO much laughter. This is us, trying to fit in the frame as Rory (3 years old) attempts to master our SLR camera.
They were fairly standard vows we said in that church.
And yet still – still our hearts lit up, and my love cried.
And those vows, those vows they were so easy. They were vows we aren’t making newly – they are ones we’ve always lived by.
Sometimes we mess it up. Sometimes we fuck it up. On a daily basis, we are very human. We are two Scorpios, and we gnash and we bite. We argue often. We misunderstand each other. We speak different emotional languages. We have different emotional wounds and pains. On any given day (or moment), he is driving me completely bonkerdoodles or I’m rapturously in love with him.
(Part of me believes there is nothing on God’s green planet that I could do that would drive him bonkerdoodles, however evidence is to the contrary.)
And yet – and yet. We love each other. We dearly want to be together. We want to grow old together. We work on it.
We look at each other – and see SO MUCH LOVE in each other’s eyes. Our souls are very happy to see each other.
And so we evolve. We change. We transform.
We do the work that is necessary to keep walking beside each other.
There is a great joy to all of this.
A great joy and a fucking relief to say – you know what? We are human. We don’t have it perfect. But we’re damn well going to do the best we can. We are going to try.
I am a Goddess. And he is a God. And at the same time, in the same hand, in the same sweep of the clock’s hand – we are also extraordinarly human, and flailing.
We see the highest in each other, and we see the lowest in each other.
And we still clear a path ahead for us to walk it together.
I don’t believe in fairytales. I used to, of course. I used to think one man would come along and heal my hurts for me. He would make my life whole and healed and good. Happily ever after.
And we would look so damn good on that white horse together.
Good thing he didn’t come with his own emotional bullshit you know. There wasn’t any room in my fairytale for that. There was only room for one person to be rescued, one person to be made whole.
I’m pretty sure that’s called “Not Really A Person.”
His name would be Mr Illusion.
I held very firmly onto my fairytale belief for quite a few years into our relationship. I struggled and I fought and I was thrown askew when I realised my hot, handsome prince needed just as much unconditional love and acceptance and space to heal his own shit that I did.
And I didn’t know that I had it to give.
Now I do.
In the last year of my life, I have lived A Great Initiation. When I’m feeling not quite so medicine womanly, I call 2010 “The Year That Sucked Great Panda Balls.” One day soon I share my story of Post Natal Depression. But for now, I need to say that a great part of our love story is that that particular time has ended, and that we are left still standing by each other’s sides. For that to be the case is a great healing miracle all of its own.
I want to tell you the story of my wedding.
And I want to be very real too.
I’m never going to tell you that my life is perfect.
But I celebrate the fuck out of every dang blessing that comes my way.
My life is damn good, yes.
But it’s not without it’s own medicine.
And I don’t want you to every compare your worst parts to the best parts of my story.
My fairytale is this:
I got married. And it was incredibly beautiful, and sacred, and blessed.
In the spirit of full disclosure though,
there were so many things that
aren’t what movies talk about.
My wedding was perfect. All in its own perfect way.
But there was other stuff happening as well.
Arguments. Weird shit. Weird family energy.
But here’s the thing:
That is NOT my truth.
That’s not how I live my life.
And that is not what I will remember.
Until the end of my days,
this is what I will remember:
I made a video. You can watch it if you like:
So let me tell you the story of our wedding.
The only way I know how.
We gathered by the sea.
By that special place of heaven where river meets ocean,
where sea turtles fall in love,
where eagles float overhead.
It’s the place we had our first date and our first kiss,
and it was standing in those waters
that my love asked me to marry him.
It is our sacred and holy heart’s home.
I was so over-the-moon excited for MONTHS in advance
knowing that I would get to share the magic of this land
with my friends & family.
And so they did gather. Our tribe.
45 of our closest families and friends.
And we talked and laughed and ate and hugged and got silly.
We made pizzas for our wedding-eve,
and after pizzas, I stand and let rip
my most undulating of bellydancing calls
It was time for Sacred Hen’s Night.
In the darkness,
we women walk down the road to the beach.
We clamber down rocks, giggling furiously,
getting stuck, holding tightly to each other’s hands,
until our feet meet sand and
It is so dark we cannot see each other’s faces:
we just hear the roar of the wind and the sea.
Ellanita, the wise woman who first showed me this work
leads the space.
My women’s circle sisters are there,
my dear high school friends,
my mama and sisters,
aunts and cousins
from my tribe and my love’s.
And we draw a healing circle between us,
a sand mandala of light,
and we all step into it to receive a healing.
This is the only way I could ever have imagined having a hen’s night.
The morning of the wedding, I wandered down with Starry to the big open air room we were holding the reception. My mum-in-law was there, as was my Dad and my bestie.
“Waddya reckon Leonie? Should we do some decorating?”
“Yeah! Why not!”
I’d bought a bunch of stuff from ebay one night.
They were laughably small – I’m not particularly brilliant at translating measurements into the physical. I thought I was buying massive paper lanterns. But they were baby ones. Cute ones, of course. But not quite what I was imagining.
But I didn’t care.
I also had handmade miles of bunting from rainbow scrapbooking paper and ribbon.
And then more family and friends turned up to the impromptu decorations party. My sister started setting up the candy bar. And the decoration-making got more and more sugar-driven.
And then my sweet friend Zetty collected white flowers, but then my cute uncle realised they were poisonous, so we disposed of them.
My love, Starry and I went for a walk with our friend Zetty and collected handfuls of (non-poisonous) canary yellow flowers in large bunches. And we threw them on the table, along with angel cards and white feathers and green leaves.
WA LA! Instant table decorations!
My dad and uncle raided their ute toolboxes, and produced flaming red insulation tape to hang everything with.
And in a fit of inspiration, used large pools of bright fluro pink surveyor’s tape to decorate the halls with streamers.
It was hilarious.
And then someone said
“Hey Leonie! It’s like an hour before the wedding! Didja wanna get ready?”
And I laughed, and said
“I probably should!”
But I didn’t.
I got ready in 15 minutes (including shower).
I didn’t brush my hair.
It was still wet.
That’s just how mermaids roll.
I forgot most of my jewellery.
But then my love’s mum turned up with a small velvet case.
“I thought you needed something borrowed.”
And inside there was beautiful blue vintage glass jewellery.
I adorned them my wrists.
And it was all perfect.
It was raining.
Everyone had been saying
“Well this rain better stop!”
We were supposed to be getting married on the beach.
But the heavens were strung with deep grey gleaming clouds
that shouldered all the surrounding mountains
and sunk rain deep into the soil.
“This rain better stop!”
But I laughed, and I didn’t care.
“It’s not acid rain! I’m still getting married today.”
When I stepped outside, it was still raining.
My sister stood in front of me:
“Well sissy! It’s raining. What did you want to do? Still on the beach? Or in the shack?”
I thought she meant the shelter by the beach.
She meant the shelter where the reception was to be held.
“Yup! Shelter it is! Let’s do that!”
She ran off to tell the tribe.
And once we realised the mistake, we grabbed umbrellas, and walked to the reception building to tell everyone to move.
We were feeling tense, but just as we arrived where the tribe was gathered, the rain stopped.
And we laughed wildly, and said
“To the beach everyone! Let’s move the wedding!”
And we kept on walking.
My love, me, our daughter.
Leading the way down to the beach.
It took the tribe a few moments to realise we weren’t joking and to follow us.
We were laughing so much.
It felt like a flock of worry birds took off from us.
We just looked at each other, laughing and walking.
It was probably my favourite moment of the wedding.
Walking down to the beach along the quiet stretch of street,
laughing with my love,
my umbrella pulling at me like Mary Poppins.
My niece and nephew and cousin and sister following us giggling like the most perfect impromptu wedding party.
When we go to the beach, it rained again.
So we huddled into the beach shelter.
I pushed the long windows out.
And in that tiny shelter,
The one where I’d picnicked in as a kid
The one my love visited when he was young
We got married.
Could we have ever known that we would
Find each other
And go back to our favourite place on earth
To marry in that shelter?
It felt good and true and right.
For all that we are human,
We are still
A light filled boy and girl
Looking at each other through
Loving each other
Pledging to be together.
The ceremony was a great dove,
A wash of love.
Our dear mentor Ellanita led us
In a ceremony that was filled with
Love, soul, honesty and reverence to Great Spirit.
When I’d asked her to be our celebrant,
She’d asked us what we wanted.
“I trust you,”
“Whatever comes through you is perfect.”
And it was.
We received the blessings of the four directions.
North. East. South. West.
My sister. My love’s mum. Our oldest friend. Our closest friend.
Ocean. Earth. Fire. Air.
Emotion. Groundedness. Passion. Insight.
There are no words to speak of it, just this:
Pure wonder. A breath together,
Breathless with gratitude. Breathless with blessings.
And most of all, this:
I love you
I honour you.
I see you.
We held each other,
Wrapped in each other’s arms
And just gazed into each other.
It felt like the most sparkling, joyful home right there.
Later, my dad, that big burly centaur farmer he is said
“I just couldn’t stop crying.
The way you two were looking at each other.”
And then we got married.
Standing there, looking into my love’s eyes.
A whole world there.
That felt very right.
Just as it was.
Sacred, true, human.
Two humans promising to love each other as deeply as they could.
Ostara, of course, was the most shining beam of rainbow light there could ever be.
You could see her wings.
This daughter of ours?
She is brave and clear and joyful.
She giggles with her whole being
Her voice is a Laughing Brook,
The glint of sunlight on water.
She was a koala bear during the ceremony, slithering up and down my body like it was a eucalypt.
Mostly, she sat entwined in my skirt, speaking, gesturing, pointing and conveying with great sweeping gestures her story with the watching crowd.
She spoke during the whole ceremony.
She was translating everything Ellanita spoke into that clear centered song of child spirit.
And it was pure magic.
It makes me light up and grin wildly just thinking of it.
Afterwards, we walked down to the ocean together.
Ostara stayed with her Grandad and continued regaling him with stories.
We hadn’t exchanged our rings yet.
And spontaneously, we walked to the sea together,
washed our rings in the ocean,
and gave vows to each other.
My love’s were simple,
and I will hold them in my heart forever:
Let’s have an amazing life together.
Then we clambered onto the tray of my Dad’s ute and drove (slowly) back down to the reception building.
We felt like King & Queen of the Show.
As we drove along in our chariot, a man drove past in a van and stuck his head out, calling
“Oh my GOD! CONGRATULATIONSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!”
And then we feasted on an Asian buffet of noodles and sushi and rice.
I got food all over my dress.
I didn’t care.
For weeks, we talked about what song we would have playing for our first dance.
My love, the music buff/aficionado/snob went through our entire iTunes library of music searching for the right one.
He didn’t find one.
So I told him I was choosing. And when it came to the time, I put on the music, and we gathered in each other’s arms.
All my teenage wet dreams came true that day.
I got to marry my Dawson. (SERIOUSLY! I’m Mrs Dawson now!!! WEEEEEE!!!!)
And we got to first-dance to Ronan.
And as we twirled to those distinct late 1990’s tunes, I grinned like a lunatic.
And so did my love.
To all the world, it would have looked like he was smiling because he loved the song.
But I knew better.
He was smiling because he hated it so much.
I hate this song,
And *I* love it. That’s what happens when you leave music selection to me.
My mum loves this song. She is going to LOVE that you are playing it.
And we look over, to Chris’ mum & dad dancing entwined together.
And true to Chris’ word, she was smiling this faint smile,
singing along to every single word.
And just so you know,
I do think I chose just the right song.
Even if it does remind Chris of Hugh Grant.
Compared to me, he’s a quiet bean.
But I look in his eyes, and I see everything I need to know:
about what he’s thinking, what he’s dreaming
and just how much he loves me.
(Plus! RONAN! SQUEEEEE!)
Then my sister’s incredible candy bar opened.
And adults turned into squeeing children.
There were a lot of lollipops.
My crowing moment was laying on the ground as
my darling goddess sister Sone shooting
a metre long sherbet straw into my mouth.
I had sherbet in my hair
and down my back.
Just like all shimmering unicorns should have.
The next morning, as we made our way to breakfast,
we found out
Chris’ cousin had a wonderful reason for not turning up.
His first son was being born.
I feel a kind of kinship with him.
Two new Dawsons in one day.
And after breakfast the next morning?
We all jumped on the giant jumping pillows.
And I sat there
surrounded by rainforest
and mountains and sea
in the place that is my soul’s land,
watching my favourite people in the land
trying to out-bounce each other.
My sides ached from giggling.
And my heart was oh so full full full.
So my darling.
I am married. I’m officially a Dawson.
And I like it.
Very very much.
Dear Mr Dawson,
Before I even knew you,
I knew I would marry you
and we would have a daughter
and that I would marry a Dawson.
And I couldn’t predict
how that would happen.
But it did.
Thank you for growing with me,
for glowing with me,
for teaching me everything you do,
for letting me shine as brightly as I like,
for making me cranky,
for making me deliriously happy,
for making it through,
for being very very hot
and for being the most mythical, sacred, wise man I know.
I look in your eyes,
and my soul is happy.