Such busy but exciting times for this bride and groom, juggling building a home, welcoming the arrival of their daughter, travelling through Africa and planning a beautiful wedding.

Photography by Terri & Bec

For Jodi and Ricky Symes, marriage is about their love for each other and their newly-created family. It’s no surprise given all the excitement and events experienced by the couple leading up to the big day.
“The lead-up to our wedding day was a little hectic with a few surpises,” Jodi says.
Jodi, who is presently on maternity leave from Bendigo Bank, and Ricky, a business owner and business broker, had planned their dream five-month trip to Africa.
“I left two months prior to Ricky to go to Ghana, West Africa to do voluntary work,” the bride says. “Ricky arrived in Ghana, and on meeting me at the airport got down on one knee and proposed. We continued our travels throughout Africa for a further three months.  On arrival home we discovered that we were expecting a little girl.”
Now, not only were they thrilled about organising their wedding, but also planning for a new addition to their family. Things certainly moved along from there.
“On arrival home, we started building our new home and also the planning of our wedding,” Jodi says. “This meant a busy 18 months ahead. Our little girl Macey Hazel was born in April and our house was completed early November and finally our wedding on November 19.”
For their special day, the bride looked naturally elegant, in a dress from Fifi and Edgar, and the groom looked quite dapper in his Roger and David suit; all in keeping with the atmosphere they wanted to create.
“We wanted a simple, relaxed atmosphere for our wedding,” Jodi says. “We went with a cocktail wedding rather than sit down and used the outdoor space at Chateau Dore.”
And no source of information was left unexplored when it came to researching everything for the day. When the bride was asked where she went for inspiration.
“Everywhere really,” she laughs. “We had bridal magazines, Bendigo Magazine, Internet, Facebook and talked with friends that had been married. We also leant on (and probably annoyed) the people that were assisting us with the wedding, who were amazing.
“The day of our wedding went very smoothly, however the night before we were both so excited and nervous we didn’t get much sleep. The girls were up nice and early to start preparing (hair, make-up, nails) everything was very organised which made the start of the day nice and relaxing.
“The boys all stayed together. They were also up nice and early to get all of the little jobs done. Terri and Bec and Dustin arrived at 11am for photos and videos and once they got what they needed they then come to visit us girls.
“The morning was full of laughs and we had no dramas at all.”
The wedding ceremony was held at 4pm, and most of the guests were bussed to Mandurang to save worrying about driving. Both Jodi and Ricky had their brothers and sisters in the bridal party along with their close friends. They also had family members do the readings.
“Once the ceremony was complete, our guests moved into the garden area while we moved on for photos,” Jodi says. “We then went back and got introduced. We stayed outside for a few hours before moving inside for speeches, cake cutting and first dance.”
And once the formalities were over?
“The rest of the night was amazing with plenty of drinking and dancing. The night was a huge success and we couldn’t have been happier.”
Besides becoming husband and wife, for Jodi and Ricky the day was an opportunity to share their beautiful moment with family and friends. And not only for the big day but in the preparation and lead-up to the wedding too.
Jodi’s advice to other couples is to be prepared and allow for the unexpected.
“As stressful as this day may seem, I have found being organised makes all the difference,” she says, “but also realising if something isn’t as you planned, not to let this get to you. There will always be something that does not go to plan but I promise you will look back at these things and laugh.
“We’d also recommend surrounding yourself with good people. Everyone that we got to help us was professional but also relaxed and just made the lead-up and our day so much more enjoyable.”