After fifteen years creating thousands of weddings on the beaches of North Stradbroke Island and beyond, there is still a special place in my heart for the little celebrations.
Those tiny, intimate weddings where there are just two people madly in love with maybe only a guest or two to bear witness. How lucky am I that I get to be a part of that?
There was once a time when I didn't feel so lucky and was completely over weddings. I had been through a particularly difficult time in my life and I felt like I had lost my way. Weddings were the last thing I wanted to do but I had bills to pay and commitments to clients, children and suppliers and so I carried on. In order to cope, I turned myself into an automatron and though I made my clients happy I became increasingly miserable.
For many years I thought I had a small life and a small job. I thought that what I did didn't really matter. My clients may have been thrilled with my work and had awesome weddings but it wasn't as if I was saving lives or running a government. I felt like I should be doing something 'bigger' if I wanted to make a genuine contribution in the world.
But then a close friend of mine pointed out that I made people's dreams come true. "Make your dreams come true" is probably one of the most common phrases used in this industry and frankly, it made my skin crawl.
And then I thought about it - long and hard. I went back and read through old client files. Reading all the beautiful testimonials from so many grateful couples was deeply moving. It was as if I was reading them for the first time and to my surprise, many of them talked about how I had made their dreams come true. Why hadn't I noticed this before? My work, while it may not make a huge impact in the world, had made an enormous difference in the lives of my clients.
Not long after that another friend of mine pointed out to me that as mine was the first wedding business on Stradbroke Island, I had blazed a trail for others and consequently facilitated the development of an entire industry, with all the added tourism and associated employment it delivered. I had many awards to testify to that fact so why had I dismissed my contribution for so long? Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees.
And so it was that I came to understand that what I contribute to the world is important, even if it is only to me and my clients. I may be just one little drop in a vast ocean but change comes when each of us stands up every day and works in integrity and service. I think this is the key to happiness. When we work to serve others, our lives become worthwhile.
These days, I love and appreciate what I do (truck packing at 3.00 am excepted). I'm not sure how I manage to get the most wonderful and respectful clients but get them I do. I like to think that's organised for me out there in the spiritual realm (they're very clever up there you know)..
And so it was that Samantha & Chris found me and asked me to assist to create their beautiful little elopement on Home Beach, Stradbroke Island. Samantha and Chris had travelled from the U.K with mum and son Oscar to marry under a little white pagoda on the sand. Traditional and so pretty. I created a sweet pink lily and tulip bouquet for Samantha and as I had flowers to spare, I swapped the silk arrangements she had requested for fresh arrangements of lilies, tulips and fern. One of the things that gives me a secret buzz is to always include something extra for my clients.
It was yet another perfect day on the white sands of Straddie and as I sat at a distance and waited for the bridal party to arrive, I watched all the people stumble across our little wedding setup, exploring it and taking photos, and I thought about how many other people were also sharing in the joy of Samantha and Chris' wedding without ever having met them. Creating something is like the stone thrown into a lake. It sends out ripples and has impact way beyond our initial creation. Those ripples link us to people and places just like Samantha, Chris and family will always be linked to that beach and the people present on that day. And although names and faces may fade, my contribution will always remain a part of their joy. For me, that's enough to make my job worthwhile.
Suppliers:Styling and flowers: Two Little Rows http://www.twolittlerows.com.au/ceremonies
Photographer: Julie Sisco http://juliesisco.com.au/
Celebrant: David Thorburn http://www.northstradbrokeislandmarriagecelebrant.com.au/