Standing on a bridge, my partner, Buster, 63, and I looked out over the ocean.
We’d gotten together at a work party seven years earlier.
Buster was a truckie and I’d practised driving his truck. We’d been thick as thieves ever since.
Now we were on a holiday, and Buster turned to me. ‘Will you marry me?’ he asked. I was blown away. ‘Yes!’ I cried.
In February, we bumped into a lady called Kim.
‘I’m organising a charity debutante ball,’ she said. ‘Would you do a dance for us?’
As president and secretary of the local Lions Club, Buster and I liked to do our bit to help the community. 'I’m not sure dancing is my thing', I thought, shyly.
But, quick as a flash, Buster signed us up. It was typical of his big-hearted and fun-loving nature. We started dance lessons with teacher, Renee. Soon, Kim, Renee and I were firm friends.
‘You could get married at the ball!’ Kim suggested.
‘Everyone will be there,’ she said. ‘It would be a lovely surprise.’
‘I’m not sure,’ I replied, worried about stealing the spotlight.
Still, we lodged our paperwork with our local celebrant – just in case. Carrying on rehearsals, we started buying our outfits. The point was to keep costs low, so I chose a $30 op-shop evening dress. Then, four days before the ball, Kim reminded us about her wedding idea.
‘Let’s go for it!’ I said, realising it was probably now or never. Buster agreed, but there was much to plan!
Springing into action, Kim and Renee organised the logistics, the toast and even a cake cutter. Renee loaned me her wedding bouquet and Buster picked up the rings.
There was only one snag: out of our close family, only Buster’s brother and his wife had tickets to the ball. So we called them all. ‘
You have to come tomorrow,’ I told my brother, Chris, 39. ‘I need you to give me away!’
Stunned, he and his wife Shirley, 36, said they wouldn’t miss it for the world. Buster’s oldest son, Adam, 39, agreed to be best man and his younger sons Corey, 37, and Cole, 35, also dropped everything to come. On the night, I was a bag of nerves. After we danced, people told me to relax.
‘It’s over,’ they laughed. Little did they know! At 8pm, the MC got everyone to take a seat. Buster and Adam stood at the front, and when Here Comes The Bride began to play, 300 jaws dropped.
Kim and Renee had been so wonderful, I asked them to be my bridesmaids. As I walked down the aisle, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
This is perfect, I thought, as we swapped vows in front our fabulous community. In all, our big Aussie wedding cost just $1000 and took three days to plan.
We’re proof you don’t have to spend an arm and leg to have the time of your life.
See more in this week's issue of that's life!