How did you and your partner meet?
I was saving a bunch of orphans from a fire, again! She happened to be walking by as I boldly brought ten Latino kids to safety. She knew I held the “heroic” quality she was looking for in a man and fell in love with me at first sight........ O.K. that might not exactly be the true story, but I like to think that the truth is just as heroic!
The first time I laid eyes on Renee was back in 2002. It was in the back of her car when she had offered to drive us boys to Mentone Station on our way to an underage party. The first thing I noticed was how beautiful she was!! That image of her still remains fresh in my mind, as if it happened just yesterday. This was day one of "Operation infiltrate the Badaraccos", a 10-year journey that proved to be the best decision of my life!
But by 10-year Journey, I mean 10 year wait!
It was not until 2012 for Walter's (Renee's younger brother) birthday party at a club in St Kilda that we would meet again. Although most believe that finding true love in the club is not possible, we defied the odds. We hung out for hours talking about things which are a foggy memory at best, but when the lights came on we realized no one else was left in the building and it was time to leave. That's pretty much a metaphor for our relationship now. With millions of things going on around us, it's still always about the two of us. And in the end, as every good relationship should be, it will just be us here for each other- the only two left in the club!
Now you're probably wondering where the "heroics" were in that story? Well, let me tell you, dating your mate's sister who I am quite sure has family connections with the Italian Mafia, in my book, is nothing short of heroic!
We were celebrating my brother Walter's 25th birthday at Big Mouth St Kilda. I was happily dancing the night away minding my own business when I had turned around to "OMG, you are even hotter in real life!". Shocked by his immature comment, my reply was, "Oh, you must be Adam Goulding!". Now for those that don't know, Adam and Walter are high school friends, a definite 'no-go-zone'! I had seen and heard of Adam many years ago when I was in my late teens, however, I have no recollection of our meet-cute (but apparently, Adam does). The rest of the night became a blur with lots of dancing and drinking -- who would have thought it was the beginning of something so wonderful! 10 months later, we were presented with the biggest decision of our lives: Adam's move to Hong Kong! As an incredibly intelligent and in-demand civil engineer, Adam was offered a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity with the construction of the longest bridge in the world over water: The Hong Kong Macau ZhuHai Bridge. July 2013, we had made the decision to do long distance. I was unhappy and missed him dearly so in September 2013, I decided to leave all that I knew behind to follow my heart. Luckily for me, it paid off! Let's fast forward 3.5 years to Chinese New Year’s Eve Feb 7th 2016, where Adam bent down on one knee, on the highest pillar of the HK-Macau-Zhuhai bridge and asked me to marry him! The rest, well, you will all be a part of and will witness the start of our lifelong love letter come Chinese New Year’s Eve Jan 27th 2017. I am so excited that I get to be the other half of you!
It wasn't until the week before the Chinese New Year 2016 long weekend that Adam told me he had scored a last-minute deal to Macau, although he had to go into work the Sunday morning and then promised he would make it up to me. He had convinced me to get up at 6:15am Sunday 7th February to see the job site. Now, this isn't out of the norm for us, as travelling into work on a Sunday together has occurred twice before. The only catch was that this time he had to lug around our suitcase as he "had planned" to head to Macau straight after. We arrived at the pier in Tung Chung and there wasn't anyone around (normally there are always workers etc., however, I had not clued in at this point). The boat arrived, no one on board (still not clued in). We sailed past the construction of the bridge, it had changed so much since the last time I had seen it. Adam was proudly updating me of its progress and what he had personally contributed to. I was very impressed! We arrived at the tallest pillar of the bridge and I asked where his office was. He answered with, "I want to show you the view from up there and then I'll drop you off at the office, while I finish up what I have to". "Ok cool" (still not clued in!). We climbed the 50m of scaffold, which was quite nerve-racking for me.
Finally, at the top, I was impressed and wow'ed by the view. It was such a clear day in HK, the clearest of the year to date. We could see the man-made island and the China side of the bridge on the horizon. Adam proceeded to direct me to a certain section of the pillar and to gaze back at Tai O, a local village. My gaze had totally missed what he was alluding to. I was too distracted by the amazing view and had turned around to take it all in. Adam proceeded to direct my gaze back to Tai O village on the horizon. I was confused, but then I looked down and I saw THE SIGN, a stencil he designed and spray painted on the inside of the pillar! I was in shock, I looked back to Adam and he was on one knee with the ring. "Renee, will you marry me?!", "OMG are you serious??" "Yes, I am!!" "Of course, yes, yes, yes!" I couldn't jump up and down as I was very aware that we were standing on a man-made scaffold that was hanging out on the side of the highest pillar of the bridge, 50m over the water! We then climbed into the pillar and I sprayed "Yes" on the sign. That moment will forever be with the bridge and in our hearts.
Safe to say, there was no trip to Macau, and he had led me on the whole time. Although, for those that know Adam, it didn't stop there. He had organised a private car, a swanky room at the Ritz Carlton (where we had celebrated our 1st year anniversary), a 3-course meal and a spa package. He had truly planned the most epic proposal I could have ever imagined and I am one lucky woman!
Is there a particular reason as to why you chose your venue?
We (I) wanted to be by water, however with 187 on the guest list, we needed to find a venue that could accommodate our family and friends. Amongst the many hours spent googling, I found The Park, along with a few other venues and sent my parents on a mission on our behalf to scope them out.
We ended up choosing The Park, because we could conduct the ceremony, canapés and reception all at the one venue. Not to mention, the blank canvas, the location, the staff, the reviews, the flexibility, the lake views, the food and drinks, the DANCE FLOOR and the amazing sunset photo opportunities! It was/is such a magical venue and can be styled any way that you desire!
Your favourite part of the wedding?
This is a hard one!
Seeing my future husband for the first time at our reveal in Catani Gardens, St Kilda. It was such a private moment and a surprise to the both of us. We had his tuxedo and the groomsmen's suits all tailor made when we were living in HK. I only attended the first fitting with Adam where we chose the colors of the tux and suits. Adam had searched the colour "ivory", and was blown away when he saw me, as he was expecting a more yellow tinged and smaller dress. The moment allowed us to take our whole day in, and we were able to really be present and calm for the remainder of our wedding day. Many family and friends mentioned how composed and calm we were. The reason being is from all the advice I had received leading up to the day: Ensure you take in every moment as it will flash before your eyes & make sure you and Adam take time out away from everything to truly be present with each other.
Close second, was walking down the aisle with my father (who did not stop crying the whole day), by my side. In that moment, surrounded by our dearest family and friends, I was walking into my next chapter in life and was so incredibly humbled by all the support and love surrounding us.
How did the dress make you feel?
My beautiful "Darlene", with her 5+ layers, gave me the well-known butterflies one hopes for when wearing THE dress. I felt beautiful! Stepping into the gown for the final time on my wedding day; I was nervous, elated, in love, excited, beautiful and calm all at once. All the planning and prep work completed, it was now time for my moment. Adam and I decided to reveal ourselves to each other before the ceremony so that we could enjoy each moment and truly be present when it counted. Looking back, I couldn't wait for him to see me and vice versa (as we kept the completed tuxedo a secret) at our reveal at Catani Gardens, St Kilda and I am so happy that we decided to do so. His first words "you're so beautiful, you look like an angel."
Tips for brides-to-be!
1: Glass of champagne in hand, with Pinterest open and wedding mags, start constructing your vision on paper.
2: Give yourself a timeline
3: Sit down with your husband/wife and discuss what part of the planning process he/she is willing to contribute to and what he/she isn't fussed about, make it about both of you.
4: Trust your girls and family, they are there to help you
5: Be confident with your vision when discussing with suppliers
6. Save and hire a photographer and videographer!
7. Treat your suppliers well on your wedding day; ensure they eat the same time as the bridal party so they too can rest. This way they will give you their all to ensure your day is amazing.
8: When it comes to your wedding day, wake up, smile and stay calm. This is the point where you need to roll with the punches as everyone else WILL ensure your day is perfect!
9. Take a moment with your partner, to take it all in!
Dress: "Darlene" by Demetrios and Kelly Star from Raffaele Ciuca http://www.raffaeleciuca.com.au/
Make-up and Hair: Cathy In Beauty
Suit: Manning Company http://www.manningcompany.com/
Celebrant: Words and Music
Photographer: Pro Shot Photography http://www.proshotphotography.com.au/
Videographer: Allure Productions http://allureproductions.com.au/
Wedding Stationery: Adorn Invitations https://www.adorninvitations.com/
Cake: Vitts Cakelicious https://www.facebook.com/VittsCakelicious/
Event Stylist: Levian http://levian.com.au/
Limo: Exotic Limo
Mustang: Pony Passion
Wedding Favor Succulents: The Terrarium Factory https://www.facebook.com/TheTerrariumFactory/
Band: Baker Boys Band http://www.bakerboysband.com.au/
Location: The Park, Albert Park https://www.theparkmelbourne.com.au/
Link to wedding video: https://vimeo.com/206337900