I think in the end the bulk of my planning went into the reception, because although us getting married was the most important part of the day, we always wanted to focus less on ceremony and more on having fun. We envisioned a really cool dinner party – intimate enough to feel like a family dinner, but with our absolute favourite food. We wanted it to be luxurious and a bit fancy, but still really relaxed and personal… and I think we nailed it. I suppose writing all these details down here is mainly for me – I don’t want to forget a single thing.
At 6pm, we all met at Supernormal in Flinders Lane and went downstairs to their cozy but simple private dining room. The decorations were relatively stark, which is how I wanted them. Three tall vases of japonica blooms, and in the center of each table, a fishbowl full of sparkling lights and paper cranes that I had spent forever folding with Mum. At each place, there was a laser cut wooden name for each person and a box of four LuxBite macarons, each one a flavour to represent me, Nathan, Posie and Rupert (the flavours were rose & lychee, kopiko, sour strawberry and salted caramel).
We all had canapés and cocktails for a while until everybody got settled, and then the banquet began. And oh my god, the food. Supernormal has been our favourite restaurant since I dragged Nathan there for our birthday a few years ago. I always make an excuse to go there whenever I’m in Melbourne – even though I know I should branch out, it’s just always so good that I can’t resist. And it’s such a unique restaurant in the way that it bridges the gap between fine dining and something trendier and more casual – the food is amazing, but it’s not pretentious at all, which we love.
It was also a bit special to both of us in different ways – last year we went to Japan just before Christmas, which was such an amazing adventure, and I grew up in Taiwan (and went there mid-last year as well). It was really cool to have food at our wedding that incorporated inspiration from both of those places, among other countries. We are both really into Asian food (or any food, really) too, so I think we were always going to go a bit non-traditional in this aspect.
Anyway, I can’t remember the exact canapés that we had, but this was our menu:
- Pickled vegetables
- Moonlight flat oysters
- Sea bream, white soy, pickled wakame
- Smoked beef, mustard leaf, clam mayonnaise
- New England lobster rolls
- Prawn and chicken dumplings, black vinegar and chili
- Duck leg bao with plum sauce and vinegar
- Szechuan lamb, spring onion pancake, coriander paste
- Cosberg salad, mint and ginger vinaigrette
- Steamed white rice
- Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel, soft chocolate
- Wedding cake (the famous Lolly Bag cake from LuxBite) and sesame cookies
There were some variations for the people who didn’t eat seafood, which even Nathan’s notoriously picky grandmother ate and loved. We really wanted the night to be special, so we chose about seven cocktails to add to the already super extensive drinks list. It was really fun at the end of the night to look at the invoice and see which cocktails were most popular – everybody loved the espresso martini the best, it seems! I had spent days laboriously choosing songs for our dinner playlist, which went down well too.
We had a little guestbook situation set up with a polaroid camera but unfortunately I forgot to mention it in my speech, so only a couple of people signed it, but… c’est la vie.
I was always determined to make a speech. I write for a living, I have a degree in writing, it would seem odd to me not to write a speech. I lovingly went through a long list of people, thanking them individually. Nathan took his turn to tell stories about how gullible I was, soliciting more than a few laughs. We didn’t want anybody else to have to go to the trouble of making a speech, so we didn’t ask anybody else, but our dads surprised us on the night by offering a short but sweet toast from the both of them – it was so unexpected and so lovely.
We also had two special drinks arrive at our table, courtesy of Posie and Rupert, whose names were etched into the glasses!
A person who shall remain unnamed later told us that she was worried when we said our reception was going to be in a function room at a restaurant, and that she couldn’t see how it would feel like a wedding. But upon arriving, being led into the beautiful space and being given a cocktail, all her fears were blown away. She said that it redefined what a wedding could be for her, and now she wonders why everybody doesn’t do something small and personal instead of the huge things that she was used to.
It feels like bragging, but I am just so damn proud of the wedding that we managed to pull off. It was elegant, it was fun, it was intimate, it was like a really cool dinner party. It was small enough that we got to actually have some conversations with everybody who was there, and there was lots of seat-hopping between the tables, even between our families, which was nice to see. Everybody who came was somebody that we would happily go to dinner with for any occasion. It was so cozy, and we felt so completely and utterly enveloped by the love in the room – it was small, and there were definitely people we missed, but it was so personal and so romantic. It also says a lot that my dad said to me on the night, “can I live here?” and Nathan’s dad has been scheming for a reason to go back as well.
At the end of the night, I couldn’t stand my heels anymore, so Sarah lent me her flats and we walked up Flinders Lane until Nathan and I caught a taxi back to the apartment. Our amazing dog sitter/chaperone handed over his very tired and well behaved charges, I took half a million bobby pins out of my hair and we threw our wedding clothes on the bed in the second bedroom to be dealt with the next day. The dogs were so exhausted from their little adventure and their wedding night sushi dinner that they slept soundly until 7am, then after a quick jaunt outside, went straight back to sleep so we could lie in until 11am – bliss! Then we got Pancake Parlour delivered for breakfast, Nathan fell into a sugar coma and we both napped with the dogs for the rest of the day – double bliss!
It was such a good day/night. So many people have said to Nathan that it’s really quite rare (at least, this was guys talking) to feel like you actually had fun at your wedding. But we did. Even up until the day, I was feeling so unsettled about the whole thing and so indecisive about what it was that I truly wanted for the day, but once it was over, it felt perfect. Like I couldn’t have wanted anything better, and I got exactly what I wanted. We had the best time and even though it was four weeks ago now, we are still harping on about it… it was just such a good day. I understand now why some people feel the need to renew their vows – if a vow renewal could replicate how good that day felt, I’d do it every anniversary, for sure.
So there we are! Now back to my scheduled newlywed bliss.