a.k.a. Lacey and Adam make their friends and family jealous :)

South West

The Filipich Wedding Extravaganza

When Adam proposed in Colorado on June 5th, he wanted to get married on 11/11/11 for no better reason that it’s a cool date. Sounded great to me. We’d been together 6 years, why wait? And 11/11/11 is surely going to be a hard date to forget. As it turned out, it was an excellent idea because Parkinson’s Law applies equally to weddings as any other activity: planning and executing one will take as long as the time you allow for it. In our case, it took very little of our time because we basically delegated the whole thing to my mother, Fran (thanks Mum!)

And of course, we didn’t have just ONE big event. Why have a wedding day when you could have a wedding month? Being bi-coastal has it’s advantages, such as a legitimate reason to have two parties to celebrate a wedding. We also wanted to separate the ceremony from the parties – at most weddings we’ve been to, the bride and/or groom look exhausted by 10pm. So, that made it THREE events – the wedding (11 Nov), the Brisbane party (19 Nov) and the Perth party (26 Nov) – a wedding extravaganza!

Since only three people were at all three events (us and my Mum), we’ve put together this post with the whole story…

THE WEDDING

We opted to make the ceremony and reception a very small event: immediate family only, just fourteen people in all, including us. I’m sure this was a great relief to my mother, who had to plan the whole thing. It certainly helped us get organised too – turns out 11/11/11 was the most popular date to get married in 2011! Because the group was so small, everyone was able to stay in the same hotel as the reception, we could all use the one limo, no one got lost, no one was late (except the celebrant – no biggie) and, best of all, Adam and I could totally relax. The photographer told me I was ‘the most chilled out bride’ he’s ever seen – I take that as a compliment.

THE BRIDE'S SIDE - LEAVING Q1

We left from Q1 in two batches – Filipich clan first, Whites/Stenhouse/Saunders clan second. Adam and I picked the location the week prior, electing to stand under the sheoaks in the dunes of Phillip Park (or ‘The Spit’ as it is known to the locals) and the setting was perfect – cool, calm, and intimate. We loved it.

CEREMONY LOCATION - GORGEOUS!

I think the ceremony was lovely. I say ‘I think’ because it was a bit of a blur – I was preoccupied for part of it, alternating between trying not to cry (with joy of course!) and trying not to laugh at the celebrant’s incorrect pronunciation of my soon-to-be surname (I am now Mrs Filipeesh apparently). Fortunately I received some excellent advice from the incredible Amber Dotts Salisbury to get the ceremony taped, so I’ll verify it was lovely when I watch it again next week.

I do remember some parts vividly:

  •  Adam looked gorgeous, and I felt certain this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with
  • Having to actively stop myself from singing along as I was walking down the aisle to ‘Sweet Thing’
  • Fran and Jeneen’s readings (Kahlil Gibran’s ‘On Marriage’ and Apache Blessing respectively), which they each chose, and were incredibly thoughtful and moving
  • Tom and Ben were brilliant ring bearers (thanks boys!) and looked incredibly cute
  • Everyone had valiantly stuck to my request to wear pastel colours (thanks team!)
  • Falling over when I bent down to hug Tom – my darned wedges sunk into the sand when I put my weight on the heels. I just hope they got it on video!

JENEEN READING THE APACHE BLESSING

SEALING THE DEAL

FAREWELLING MY EASY-TO-SPELL SURNAME

Following the ceremony, we did the official photos (again, super-easy with a small group), sent the family off to hang out at Q1 then joined them around 6pm for a catered dinner in the sub-penthouse.

FAMILY + STRATEGICALLY PLACED KITE SURFER

CLANCY AND DES - OUR BRILLIANT CATERERS

DINNER ON THE BALCONY OVERLOOKING THE OCEAN, THE SURFERS LIGHTS AND AN ALMOST FULL MOON (YOU'LL HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT)

Since pretty much everyone had to travel to the wedding, we decided to make a weekend of it: seafood buffet at Jupiters, a day trip to Dreamworld and a lot of lolling about in the sub-penthouse. Bliss…

In case anyone reading this is planning a wedding on the Gold Coast, I can happily make some recommendations:

  • Jeff at A Digital Production did our video and was an absolute stand-out. He was professional, thorough and make the whole experience fun. Everyone commented on how lovely it was to have such a happy person involved in the day. And the DVD he produced is nothing short of stunning – thanks Jeff!
  • Suzi Dent and her team for hair and make-up. It was impossible to be stressed with Suzi around (she’s hilarious) and she did such a great job.
  • Charli at Vogue Limousines for transport. Another bubbly, professional person, she really made an effort to look after us and the limo was awesome!
  • Jessica at Circle of Love Weddings to coordinate the set-up. Again, very professional and helpful, and the set-up was perfect – would not have changed a thing.
  • Stuart at Wild By Nature Photography for photos – another relaxed, thoughtful person to have involved. The proofs on the website look fantastic, and I’m sure they’ll be even better when we get our copies of them (all the photos on this post are by our family and friends as we haven’t got Stuart’s ones yet).
  • Clancy and Des at Catering by Clancy – no website, because he doesn’t have one (my hero!) The food was beautifully presented, absolutely delicious and everyone was very well looked after. Thanks for the recommendation, Robo!

For anyone planning a wedding anywhere, I can recommend ordering a dress from Peri Dress in China. Mine arrived 3 weeks after I ordered it, fit perfectly (I didn’t have any alternations – seriously!) and was beautifully made. They answered my email questions promptly and specifically. I was very impressed.

BRISBANE PARTY

This was quite a small event – 25 people in all – but heaps of fun! We hired a room at the Chalk Hotel near the Gabba where Rebecca (the Functions Coordinator) looked after us brilliantly. We ended up kicking on there till after 3am! It was pretty much as you’d expect a party to be, so I’ll head straight to photos after a few specific thank yous to the people whose attendance necessitated a flight and/or long drive: Bec and Chris, Al and Lil, Becky, Peter and Gail, and Shasta – thanks guys, it was AWESOME to have you there! And an extra special thank you to Roy and Jackie, who flew all the way from Adelaide only to miss the big event due to a health issue.

THE INTERMEDIA GANG

THE GRAMMAR GANG

THE UQ GANG

THE GRAMMAR GANG (VERSION 2.0)

PERTH PARTY

With Adam’s extensive family, this was always going to be a bigger affair than the BrisVegas bash. We hired a room in Floreat, got a fantastic band re[TRIO]fit – the whole nine yards. It was brilliant! This time I think the furthest anyone had to travel was from Cowaramup, so it was slightly less taxing on our guests 🙂 Even though it was our third time cutting a cake and making speeches, we were still enjoying it, and had a fantastic time catching up with everyone. By the way, you all looked very spiffy!

THE 'LOVE SMELTER' TEAM - PART 1

THE GORGEOUS SOCCER GIRLS

CHINAS! MY SEXY CUZZIES-IN-LAW...

'LOVE SMELTER' TEAM - PART 2

THE BRILLIANT BAND - RE(TRIO)FIT

THOSE CRAZY FILIPICH FOLK (AND LETCHES, AND DRAGOVICS, AND MAKRIDES, AND...)

THE MARR SIDE OF THE FAMILY (INCLUDING MY AMAZING HAIRDRESSER FOR THE EVENING, CLAIRE!)

THE THIRD AND FINAL CAKE CUTTING! NOM NOM NOM

And they lived happily ever after…

Well, it’s a work in progress. We’re in Busselton these days, eagerly awaiting a flood of visitors (hint, hint) and planning a honeymoon in June – coz we clearly haven’t had enough holiday/relaxation time.

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Busselton: The Mini-Retirement Experiment

I’m sitting in our hotel room in Farmington, New Mexico, after 32 hours of travel yesterday. The long journey has its bonuses – we fell asleep around 22:30 last night. Although I woke up at 04:00 it’s already looking promising on the jet-lag front. Before I launch wholeheartedly into work again, this seems like a good time to reflect on the last three months: our mini-retirement experiment.

For the uninitiated, a mini-retirement is recently coined phrase that forms part of the ‘lifestyle design’ vocabulary. It’s an extended period of time off from work (anything from one to several months) as an alternative to the traditional one-off retirement that usually occurs at the end of one’s working career. Mini-retirements recur multiple times throughout your working life, allowing you to enjoy extended breaks of rest and recuperation (and learning, adventure and fun if that’s what you’re after) at various stages of life.

For our three month mini-retirement experiment, we wanted to make the most of the Australian summer by moving temporarily to Busselton in the south-west. It’s a small town (around 14,000 people) on the beach and the doorstep of the area’s wine region, Margaret River. Summer is prime time – hot days, cool nights – and even when overrun with families enjoying school holidays, you can still be one of just a handful of people on the most popular beaches. The local food is divine and can be bought direct from the growers at the weekend markets. Of course, the local wine is pretty special too.

So, what does one actually DO during a mini-retirement? In our case, the typical day looked something like this:

  • Morning: wake up, have cooked breakfast, move (e.g. yoga, bike ride)
  • Mid-day: make lunch, do something (e.g. fiddle with motorbike, read a book)
  • Afternoon: do something else (e.g. read, watch a movie, go for ride on motorbike)
  • Evening: move (bike ride, swim), cook dinner, watch a movie or series or a bit of TV, go to bed

I did have a number of days that looked more like: wake up, eat breakfast, read, eat lunch, read, eat dinner, read, sleep. Those were great days 🙂

In case you’re thinking either: ‘That sounds incredibly boring’, or ‘You guys are so lazy’, we did achieve some things:

  • Put an offer on a house in Perth, which (fingers crossed) will settle while we’re in the USA
  • Got all our filing in order
  • Wrote some more text for the Money School books (yes, they’re still going)
  • Got Adam’s grandma’s house looking lived-in again
  • Spent ‘quality’ time with a bunch of people – Jenni and Jules, Candice and Rich (and little Ben), Donna and Carl, Jayne and Andy, our mums, Craig and Nicole, Mark, Helen and Shaun, and Adam’s cousins
  • Did some motorbike trips with Adam’s bro, Simon
  • Explored the south-west a bit more (I usually don’t get past the wineries)
  • Lost some weight, got fitter and well rested
  • Read the Harry Potter series from start to finish (OK, that one’s just mine)

We also fitted in a week of work each, and I’ve been doing bits and pieces to prepare for the job in Farmington, and Adam’s leg was operated on to remove a melanoma (all good now). Most importantly:

We learned to live together again
after 6 months of effectively living on the opposite coasts of Australia.

That part is harder than it sounds, people.

So, what’s the outcome of this particular experiment? Personally, I feel fantastic, even after the jet lag. I’m actually excited about going to work. I feel better equipped to manage stress and think I can maintain that during this contract. We’re eating better. We’ve had time to really think about what we want out of life and get a plan in place to get there… and yes, it includes more mini-retirements 🙂

At the Jetty with Donna and Carl

Family fun at the Vintage Festival

Adam and Simon on the Bridgetown/Nannup loop

Feast time at Capel Vale


Hamelin Bay, Walpole and Albany

In preparation for our move to the USA’s Wild West (well, we’re going to New Mexico, it’s close enough) we’ve been holidaying in Busselton since Christmas. Life’s tough, huh.

Despite holidaying here several times over the last seven years, we never seem to make it past Margaret River’s wineries. I admit, this is more my influence than Adam’s – the long suffering man has been chauffeuring me around the region without complaint for a long time. When Mum came down for the long weekend, we decided to make a special effort to see what else Australia’s south west had on offer besides wine, cheese and venison chorizo.

First stop was Hamelin Bay to visit the local friendly stingrays. Mum had a close encounter when an unexpectedly large wave caught the stingray near her feet, which then caused it to turn around and head out, brushing Mum’s leg with its tail. Amazing creatures, but I think Mum was remembering Steve Irwin, hence her hurried retreat from the water…

A CLOSE ENCOUNTER FOR MUM AT HAMELIN BAY

From there, we headed to the Gloucester Tree, which you can climb if you’ve got the nerve (or necessary level of stupidity). The tree is around 60 metres high and offers a stunning view of the canopy. Apparently they’ve only inserted the extra rods for climbing recently – the ‘ladder’ Adam’s holding onto on the left is how it used to be, the right is how it is now.

CLIMBING THE GLOUCESTER TREE

Next stop was Walpole for the evening. We witnessed the most brilliant starlit sky the three of us had ever seen (it’s the background of this blog, actually). In the morning, we took a brief walking tour of the property on which we stayed, and Adam was lucky enough to see this cute little fella hanging around in the forest.

WALPOLE WILDLIFE

We headed to the Valley of the Giants next to view the magnificent Tinglewood trees from the tree top walk. It was an awe-inspiring experience: the sheer size of the trees is incredible. We spent a long time gaping, and though we didn’t have a chance of hugging a tree (Sorry Phill, the biggest had a circumference of 19m around the bottom) we did get to stand inside a couple.

INSIDE A TINGLEWOOD

We took off towards Albany, enjoying the sites along the way – Conspicuous Cliffs, Peaceful Bay, the Elephant Rock Cider Company – all of which were stunning. However, they were overwhelmed when we saw the beauty of Little Beach at Two Peoples Bay in Albany. I haven’t seen such a place since visiting Esperance six years ago, it was simply breathtaking. Unfortunately for Adam (who hadn’t brought any fishing gear) the experience was tainted by the group of ten or so decent-sized salmon that were swimming in the shallows for the entire hour we were there.

LITTLE BEACH, TWO PEOPLES BAY

We dragged ourselves away to see the Gap, the Natural Bridge and then have a picnic at Frenchman’s Bay – all amazing, but still pale in comparison to Little Beach. Sure we couldn’t do any better, we headed back to good ol’ Busso.

Next time, we’re taking the fishing rods…