Shontayne & Adam Ward

shed

Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

Meet Shontayne Ward; She married the love of her life, Adam in June 2014 in a magical, rustic wedding at Belgenny Farm, west of Sydney. The wedding looked like a winter fairytail fit with romantic lighting, baby’s breath florals and a classic Kombi filled with love. Their perfect day did face it’s challenges though, because half way through their planning, Shontayne and Adam needed to seriously reconsider their budget. They were blessed with the news that they were having a baby and just eight weeks before their wedding, Shontayne gave birth…. to twins!
 
Shontayne shares how she had to re-evaluate her wedding budget and make some difficult decisions about her dream day and gives us some tips on how to pull off an amazing wedding whist managing a tight budget.

You unexpectedly but joyously fell pregnant in the midst of planning your wedding, did you consider postponing?

Absolutely! I had not one, but 2 positive pregnancy tests in my hand (just to be sure!) when I woke Adam up to tell him I was pregnant. Of course, after months of trying, then not trying, we both cried with happiness. We were in complete shock and after doing quick calculations, we realised I would give birth close to our planned wedding date.
In November 2012, we fell in love with Belgenny Farm! We wanted our wedding to be in March 2014 but the first available Saturday was June 7th! So we booked it in. Thank goodness! Otherwise I would have been 8 months pregnant with twins, being rolled down the aisle in slippers.  We realised that by postponing, we would not be getting married for a really long time. So, in true Shontayne fashion, I went full steam ahead with our plans.

The news would have put a few things in perspective, what did you need to re-evaluate for the big day?

Our surprise pregnancy was a blessing but naturally, I started to stress. I was on a contract at work which meant I would have to take maternity leave without any pay, while having to pay bills and still save for our dream wedding.
We immediately had to look at what was important to us, then we started to cut our budget.

babies

Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

I love this photo. I think mine and Adam’s faces say it all really! So much love and admiration.
Scarlett Evelyn & Adeleine June were 8 weeks old.

How did you prioritise the bridal tasks given that your priorities had shifted?

Our number 1 priority was working out how much money we would need for me to be able to stay off work without pay with the girls. We didn’t want to be shoving them in childcare at 2 months old!
Once we had this figure, we focused on what was the most important aspects of the wedding.

We then looked at our big ticket items on the list and looked at where we could save.
 
My Dress: I found out I was pregnant, 4 days after I had paid a deposit on a $7000 Couture gown. That had to go. Funnily enough, I purchased the original dress that I wanted from Grace Loves Lace for $1500.

Flowers: I decided to make the bouquet, flowers for the church and reception myself. Yes, I hauled my sleep-deprived self to Sydney Flower markets at 5am the day before the wedding. We saved around $1800 by doing this.

The Reception:  We had to cull the guest list by about 25 people which saved us $3300. Yes, it was so very hard, but having to send the girls to childcare 2 months earlier than I wanted to would be harder.

Church & Reception Styling: I wanted a stylist to style the wedding but we were looking at about $5000. By designing it all myself, purchasing 80% of the items needed, purchasing the flowers and asking the stylist to come in and put it all together, we saved $2700!
 
So with those cut backs alone, we saved approximately $13,300!

black and white dress

Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

This was my original dream dress by the magical designers, Grace Loves Lace.
My head piece was actually my Mothers! I had it remade by Amy from Teeki Designs.

reception

Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

I wanted to create a warm, romantic, rustic feel for our wedding, which suited us and the reception venue. We filled the room with fairy lights, baby’s breathe and even sandalwood scented candles! It was magical.

What advice would you give to brides who face a challenge in the midst of planning their wedding and need to re-assess their plans?

Sit down.
Have a glass of wine (if you’re not pregnant of course!).
Re-evaluate your priorities with your husband-to-be.
Write a list.
Nothing is as bad as it seems at first.

If you could re-live the day, is there anything you would do differently?

No way! I was a sleep-deprived wreck leading up to it and on the day. Even had Adam asked me if I was going to remember to show up! I was a mess. But I enjoyed every single minute of it. I don’t remember not smiling during any part of the day. 

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give a bride to be planning their special day with a limited budget?

I have a few pieces of advice!
 
Prioritise what is important to you and your husband-to-be. And stick to it!
This is your wedding. Your one magical day that you have been waiting for your whole life.
 
Work out your budget.
If you can’t afford to invite your cousin’s, sister’s, brother’s, uncle, don’t! They will understand. If you can’t afford a couture gown, there are plenty of other amazing dresses you can wear and you WILL feel like a princess the moment you put your dress on. I promise.
 
Breathe and have FUN!
Not just on the day, but leading up to it. Wedding planning will be stressful, if you let it be! Don’t forget to nurture your relationship with you husband-to-be while planning it. Not all conversations have to be about the wedding. Enjoy each other, every day!

Shon & Adam

Photo: Stills of Grace Photography

People have always said they can see the love that Adam and I have for each other and I think on our wedding day, our love exploded.

Shontayne is not only a devoted mother and wife, she carries a career and continues to dream big. She has her own blog http://www.beingshontayne.com where she candidly documents her experiences as a new mum to two adorable little girls as well as a cheeky little cat called Ziggy!

Good luck and happy planning!
Purple Orchid Brides

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