Tara Murphy and Blake Borgia wedding

Tara Murphy and Blake Borgia wedding Photo: Rachel Murdolo

I’ve read enough cheesy cards to know that your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. With that comes a huge amount of pressure, so I understand how it might cause unprecedented stress for any couple who’ve decided to put a ring on it. I’m happy to say that it really doesn’t need to be the case.

Since hitting my mid-twenties, it seems that my contemporaries are getting married left, right and centre. An onslaught of fluffy dialogue hits and the focus shifts from romantic love to 'musts' and 'essentials' to make their wedding day 'perfect'.

I was keen to avoid that.

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Tara Murphy and Blake Borgia wedding

Tying the knot for me was less about the material things (cliché, I know), and more about thanking our family and close friends for being a huge part of our lives so far. We chose to escape to the north coast of NSW. It all seemed pretty easy; I wasn’t too bothered about specifics and I didn’t sweat the small stuff. Here’s how my wedding planning went:

One year out:

Came home from a birthday breakfast with a new status: engaged. Pretty pleased with myself. November sounds like a romantic month for a wedding. Tell my work buddy who moonlights as a photographer and she seems keen to take some happy snaps.

Tara Murphy and Blake Borgia wedding

Tara Murphy and Blake Borgia wedding Photo: Rachel Murdolo

Three months out:

Had a Skype date with an international buddy and was reminded that I am in fact engaged. Am excited again. Didn't quite get it together for Novemeber, but manage to sound convincing in my bridal tones and state that we are most definitely getting married in February of 2013. Definitely. Maybe.

Woke up to find her flight itinerary in my inbox. She is flying home for this February wedding and there’s nothing I can do about it. February sounds like a pretty romantic month for a wedding. Decide to tell other international friends to book a flight home.

Tell anyone who will listen to start collecting jars for me to house any floral arrangements.

Mother-of-the-bride happens to be in Sydney, meet her in town during my lunch break and find a dress. I’ve got this wedding business sorted, no worries.

Four weeks out:

Realise that we should start to give the guests an actual date, but become distracted by Christmas and all the turkey offerings that come with it. I feel like I’m not taking this event seriously enough. Hmmm, I should probably find a venue, a church, food guys and send some invitations out.

I remembered a church my father had seen in some country fields not too far from our property on the north coast, decide it goes with my dress and book it.

Hero father has also found a local band to play, however, their catalogue of songs does not include anything past 1972. Sounds great to me!

Secure invitations that have the wrong year printed on them, figure most people will get the gist and turn up in 2013.

Head up the coast to do a reccy and lay around in the sun like a starfish before I head back to work.

Two weeks out:

Seem to have a spare Sunday morning on my hands, so decide to get my hair spruced. I accidentally over-share (again) with the hairdresser and mention my impending nuptials. I’m met with squeals and questions regarding my hair and makeup arrangements for the “big day”. My response, “I think I might find a friend to brush my hair and face with respective tools to make me look clean and virginal,” is met with politeness and obvious pity. Have I bitten of more than I can chew? Meh.

Found a wedding band in an antique store that seems to fit pretty well. Have visions of scorned old lady throwing it off a bridge. Am proud new owner of bridge-thrown ring.

Have coffee with my friend’s partner who happens to be an expert florist. I suggest she take creative control and am happy for her to gather whatever is in season at the local markets. She knows her buds and I like her very much.

One week out:

Found some shoes before work this morning. Go me! I love them so much that I hope to be buried in them. (Note to self: create a will ASAP and make this your number one request).

Drive up the coast and stop off in childhood town to have dinner with my oldest friends. None of us seem too nostalgic, however, am surprised with a hundred floral plates for the reception, that the girls have collect from op-shops around town. Best. Present. Ever. Shed a tear for fantastic friends.

Arrive in Scotts Head for destination wedding.

Four days out:

Track down a French bakery that create delicious tarts and make an order for 100. I feel like a king.

Field a call from a local who seems willing to make a pavlova. Feeling confident. I think it’s because it’s my birthday.

Three days out:

Collect future husband from airport and head to the closest town to look for a man ring. It swings around his apparently puny finger and needs to resized. “No worries”, says the charismatic saleswoman, “we can have that with you by tomorrow afternoon.”

Buy excess amounts of streamers to decorate the local surf club - may have purchased an entire town’s supply.

One day out:

Early rise to decorate the surf club. THIS TOOK ALL DAY. I had so many helping hands and together we have created the blue light disco of my teenage dreams.

Round up the little girls to have their hair bound in rags (somewhat of a compulsory ritual for all family events imposed by the matriarch).

Send almost-husband off to buy booze. Good man.

Day of:

Early rise as the folks’ puppy needs a walk and I need a swim, head down the beach for a stroll and a back float.

Realise I have hairy tarantula legs, so head home and straight into the bath to groom the bridal body.

The family home seems a little too crowded and the miniscule mirror does not seem too accommodating. Also, the women in my family are famously terrible with anything beauty related, so I make my way to a friend’s and summon others to help the bride. They all come up trumps. One even manages to produce a plate of fresh sashimi from a cloud of smoke. Curl hair with a hot rod (not the car) and hope it drops (it does, eventually).

Florist/friend arrives with my garland having spent the morning flower arranging in the surf club. I was right, she really does know her buds – she adorns my cranium with the prettiest of flowers and makes me feel like I’m getting married or something.

Hear a knock at the door. A slightly excited/stressed father stands before me and suggests we jump into a clean car, rather than the usually family vehicle that comes with animal hair and sand as a non-optional extra. He’s right; a fur ball is not the finishing touch I was looking for.

Arrive at the church a little early (first time I’ve been early for anything), so brother and father decide it is best to do a few awkward laps of a one horse town. Have a nervous wee at the local pub.

Finally, the church. Van Morrison’s "Sweet Thing" begins to play, and the flower boys and girls begin to shuffle down the aisle a little confused, but too adorable to forget.

Give my father a kiss and waltz on in.

See almost-certain-husband and have a flashback of the ten odd years of growing together in a relaxed, poorly organised and beautifully disheveled manner and feel like I wouldn’t have had this day play out any other way.

Reception:

Dance like it’s 1972.