Belinda Heffernan tied the knot recently. FOCUS talks with Belinda about everything bridal, weddings and marriage.
Hi Belinda. Tell us a little about yourself …
I’m Belinda, and I started working in Armidale 10 years ago, having moved from Walcha to pursue my pharmacy career. I met Nick on NYE 2008/09 at the Wicklow Hotel. And from that night, I knew I had found my soul mate, my best friend, the love of my life. However, it was almost eight years until Nick proposed on my birthday in November 2016.
Do you think that once you have chosen the date, everything falls into place?
Yes, once I had the date booked for the venue, then everything else fell into place. But I was very organised too.
Did you have a theme or a style to your wedding?
I’m like every girl, really! I’ve dreamed of my wedding day for many years. And I’ve always loved colour; hence why I chose the five pastel rainbow colours – purple, blue, pink, green and yellow.
When and where did you have your wedding, and why did you choose those areas?
We decided to get married at St Peter’s Cathedral in Armidale. Nick’s grandparents (John and Patricia Mitchell) Mum and Dad (Barry and Denise Heffernan) and his sister and brother in law (Dwayne and Alyce Blore) were all married in the same church, and the church itself is beautiful. And the church bells are amazing; I loved having them play before and after the wedding.
We had our reception at The Armidale City Bowling Club. I have always loved the Bowling Club for both location and the big auditorium which is downstairs. Sam and Patsy were amazing to deal with, and what they created in the reception was breathtaking. I wanted the pastel rainbow theme to be carried out. We matched the bridesmaids’ dresses to the chair ties, but we blocked them in colours. The bridal table, however, matched the wedding party. The boys had matching pastel ties to the girls’ dresses.
And by chance, we found the most amazing garden, Jocelyn and Ray Winnington’s garden at Saumarez Ponds, 10 minutes out of town. It is five acres of beautiful manicured gardens, a dam with a jetty and little paths that lead to the next magical garden. Jocelyn’s garden is filled with so much colour and was unique. I wanted somewhere different to the regular Armidale locations.
Tell us about the services you used throughout the day.
Photographer: Nita Read (Nita Bread Photography) in Tamworth did our beautiful wedding photos, almost last minute! Nita and her daughter, Jess, were amazing to work with, and the images she has taken are beautiful – more than I could have ever imagined.
Wedding cake: Emma Grills from Cakes by Emma Jane made our gorgeous wedding cake. I loved that Emma sat with me and listened to my crazy idea of having a rainbow cake! Yes, the inside of my cake was the five colours of my bridesmaids, all in pastel and a huge four tiers. It wasn’t tacky, but truly elegant and tasted amazing.
Makeup: Claire O’Connell from GoodtoGlow did our beautiful wedding makeup for my five best girls, my mum and of course, me. I loved the look she created and that she travelled to me. I’m trying to think of the next time I can get Claire to do my makeup! It was flawless!
Hairdresser: Amanda Riggall and Lee Sillitoe did an amazing job; in just under 2.5 hours they both managed six up dos and styled my mum’s and grandmother’s hair. I loved that these two gorgeous ladies listened to what I wanted. After showing them two photos of what we wanted combined together for the girls and then the style I had chosen, when I saw my hair, I cried – it was better than perfect. These two ladies also travelled to my house. So, I didn’t have to leave.
Wedding gown: All Things Weddings in Glen Innes. Hailie was exceptional.
Flowers: Rosemerrin did my gorgeous wedding bouquets.
Band: Terra Firma; who doesn’t love Terra Firma! The boys were great as always.
Stationery: Nikki from Niknee Designs designed our gorgeous wedding invitations, seating chart and three signs which she made for us. Nikki was a pleasure to work with and listened to what I wanted and created our gorgeous rainbow hearts.
Car: Tamworth Luxury Limousines: I wanted a car so the whole wedding party could be together. The Stretched Hummer was perfect; Greig was amazing.
How many people were in your wedding party?
Fourteen! Yes, 14 including Nick and I. We had quite a large wedding party, being the last married and Nick being in five wedding parties. Luke was our best man, whom Nick met 12 years ago, and there were four guys he went through school with: Brad, Chris, Nick and Jay, who are all still very close 30 years later.
I was lucky to have my sister, Amanda, stand beside me as my “best girl” along with Nick’s sister, Alyce and three very close friends: Flo, whom I met 12 years ago in Walcha; Angela, my very first Armidale friend; and Shannyn, who is also Chris’ wife and my only bridesmaid living in Armidale.
We were also blessed with the cutest flower girl and pageboy – our niece and nephew, Phoebe (Amanda’s daughter) and Luca (Alyce’s son).
Choosing guests is tricky; how many did you have?
OMG this was hard, very hard! But in the end, you kind of have to be brutal. Our original list was close to 200 people, and then we sat back and decided – right, who has spoken to us and has made the effort to be a part of our lives in the last 12 months? And slowly we crossed people off. We ended up inviting 140 people.
Did you make any of the decor yourself?
My beautiful mum made my wishing well. It was my dad’s bird cage. She spray painted it silver and had a new base put in it. It looked beautiful, and it was great to have something there to remind me of my dad.
Nick’s mum, Denise, made the pew covers that we used in the church; the flowers were white, but she added paper flowers in the same colour as the service sheets. She spent many hours on YouTube, until they were perfect. They looked better than the white flowers.
Looking back on your special day, do you have any tips for future brides and grooms?
Be organised, know what you want, have a budget, don’t leave things to the last minute. And breathe. Don’t stress over the petty things. And don’t be afraid to ask for help! The day goes so fast; enjoy it. It really is the best day ever!
Who gave you away?
My mum, Heather Scott, gave me away. My dad passed away when I was 10, and I never knew how much I missed him until I was planning a wedding, my wedding. Of all the things I’ve accomplished in my life, this truly was the hardest. He had one job on the day of my wedding, and that was the weather – and he nailed it. It was a beautiful spring day. I used his wedding band as my “something old” to carry my dress around and wore Mum’s eternity ring as my something borrowed. I also had a locket with a photo of Dad and I looking at each other.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue and the dreams you dare to dream really do come true.