Staring at my reflection in the op shop mirror, I couldn’t help but smile.
I can’t believe I found my dream wedding dress at Vinnies! I thought, admiring the ivory gown.
Dreaming of my big day since I was a little girl, I’d always wondered when my time would come.
But I’d only just started dating a lovely new guy, so I reluctantly put the beautiful frock back on the rack.
A few weeks earlier, I’d met Travis, then 18, when he sent me a message out of the blue on Facebook.
Noticing we had a few mutual friends, I agreed to meet him at the local ice-cream shop, in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Waiting for Travis to show, I was very nervous.
Little did I know I was about to meet my future hubby!
With his sparkly blue eyes and gorgeous smile, he was so handsome – and we clicked instantly.
I fell for his quirky, fun-loving personality, and we made it official a few weeks later.
Holidaying together on the coast one year later, Travis’ goal for the trip was to teach me how to swim.
Kicking my feet from one end of the pool to the other, I took a moment to take a breath and wipe my eyes.
Then I spotted a hopeful Travis, down on one knee.
‘Will you marry me?’ he grinned.
I couldn’t say yes fast enough!
Scrimping and saving every penny for six years, we planned a very low-key backyard wedding for 2019, with a few of our closest family and friends.
During that time, we’d welcomed three beautiful girls, Irene, by then six, Evelyn, four, and Annabelle, two, so we had to tighten our purse strings even more.
And with a few picky eaters in the family, we decided catering from our favourite fast-food restaurant KFC would keep both our guests and our budget happy.
Scrolling through Facebook one night, I spotted a post by Channel 7.
They were looking for couples willing to get married on a TV show called Extreme Weddings: Australia, for free!
‘I’m signing us up!’ I told Travis.
‘Will you marry me?’
A call from Channel 7 a month later, told us we’d been chosen to wed on telly!
‘I can’t believe you scored us a free wedding!’ Travis cheered.
Even though we didn’t have to foot the bill, we still wanted KFC to cater for our big day. Better yet, we wanted to tie the knot at our local restaurant!
‘I can’t believe my little girl is getting married,’ my mum Alice said, excited.
Now I just had to find a dress. Back at Vinnies with Mum, I rustled through the racks.
‘What do you think of this one?’ Mum asked, holding up a strapless beauty.
Stepping into the dress, I paraded out of the fitting room to show her.
‘It’s perfect,’ I said excitedly, swirling.
‘What a bargain for $50!’ Mum smiled.
Waking up bright and early on my wedding day on July 20, 2019, my home was filled with camera crews.
When the bridal party’s hair and make-up was done to perfection, we drove to the KFC in town.
‘I can’t believe you scored us a free wedding!’
As the car pulled up outside, my girls skipped through the electronic doors and down the aisle, in pretty white dresses with red sashes – and tears pricked at my eyes.
Walking behind them, my hands felt sweaty as I gripped my bouquet.
With a quick look around, I noticed the table centrepieces were buckets of fried chicken and cartons of fries.
Some of our guests even had their mouths already full of the tasty treats.
Travis looked so handsome, standing by the ordering counter in his grey suit and red bow tie.
As I reached him and held his hand, I felt the camera crews, and my fears, melt away.
Sealing the deal with our first kiss as a married couple, I opened my eyes to see all our friends and family cheering for us.
Afterwards, we sat down for a meal of fried chicken, chips, potato mash and gravy with our loved ones.
Sopping up gravy with a chip, I was in heaven.
Moving the party to the local RSL club, Travis and I rode in a KFC truck embellished with a Just Married sign on it. Instead of cans trailing from the back, we had empty cardboard chicken buckets!
Partying the night away, we had the best time.
‘It was better than I could have ever expected,’ I said to Travis.
‘Can we go get married again?’ the girls ask every time we drive past KFC now.
And since the show aired in October last year, people in town often recognise us.
‘You’re the KFC couple!’ strangers say as we do our groceries.
The girls love telling everyone who will listen that their Mummy and Daddy got married at KFC.
Travis and I have since welcomed two beautiful boys, Tank, two, and Ragna-Alex, nine months.
They are doted on by their sisters, Irene, nine, Evelyn, seven, and Annabelle, five.
Funnily, throughout my pregnancy with both boys, I craved KFC chips and gravy!
Looking back at photos from our unique wedding, I feel so lucky. Our big day was finger lickin’ good!