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Wedding on a shoestring


The meeting
Matthew and Michelle met at a teacher's conference in Dusseldorf while they were both working at international schools in Europe. "We realised that we were both from Melbourne just a couple of suburbs away from each other," says Michelle. They exchanged details and got to know each other online. They began to meet up for dates all over Europe as they were living in separate countries. "Amusingly, we can now gain access to most living spaces....Matt is so tall he can change light bulbs without a chair and I am small enough to creep into cupboards to find and fix things," she says.

The proposal
Between school years, Matthew and Michelle would often return to Melbourne. "It was in July 2010 that he proposed on the banks of the Yarra. He told me that he was taking me shopping that day and I thought that he was going to finally buy me an iPad!" says Michelle. But she was wrong. "I think the engagement ring was a much nicer thing to shop for."

The wedding day
The wedding day was all about creativity, DIY projects and Star Wars. "Matt and I are very much into DIY projects. We were also conscious of costs and tried to keep it as 'green' as possible," says Michelle. They began the day with a Chinese tea ceremony at home in North Balwyn. As is tradition, they poured cups of tea for their elders who wished them good luck. Their 110 guests were then treated to a ten course feast at the Shark Fin Inn in Melbourne's Chinatown. One of the highlights was Matt's speech which he had tried to prepare in Cantonese. "Although he tried very hard, he didn't make much sense to the Chinese crowd but he got some laughs and a big applause at the end from all the audience," she says. It was a clear choice for the self confessed Star Wars geeks to do their wedding dance to the Star Wars Death March and The Final Countdown. "Our guests loved the choices."

The dress
While Michelle wore two dresses she didn't want to spend a lot. She wore a second-hand Chinese Kwa from Hong Kong. It was made from red silk and featured gold and silver thread detailing. She designed the white gown herself and had it made by tailors in Hong Kong. "All my outfits would have costs about $500...I didn't really believe in paying much more for items I would probably only wear once," she says.

The cake
The pair made the cake themselves from a Nigella Lawson recipe. It was a two-tiered chocolate fruit cake decorated with white fondant icing. "We are geeks so we chose some Star Wars lego figurines for the top," says Michelle.

The flowers
In the spirit of a DIY wedding, Michelle made her own bouquet with roses bought from Flowers by Van Gogh in Hawthorn East. It cost her about $20.

The photographer
Michelle and Matthew didn't want to pay thousands of dollars to have a professional take photos so they got friends to do it. They invited one guest and paid them a small fee to take photos throughout the night.

The honeymoon
As they are currently living in Hong Kong for work, their trip to Melbourne for the wedding doubled as their honeymoon.

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