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Destination wedding, where should we go?

The biggest argument for not having the wedding of your dreams or not having it in the location your heart desires, isn’t budget, it is people pleasing. Budget is a huge factor in what you do decide, be it your money or someone else’s. In most cases it is hard earned cash and should be spent wisely, there is no doubt about that but the wedding of your dreams usually has 2 versions. The hollywood glitz and glamour and the one you have already compromised on, within yourself, based on your own reasonable budget. If you haven’t had that yet, chances are you haven’t started to get quotes or pricing. This step may come, sticker shock can take a long time to get over – so allow time for that. Don’t rush in to contract or make hasty decisions after your first set of quotes (see ours below). Spend some time to remember why you are doing this and what and why it is important to you before proceeding. If the first quote for the wedding of your dreams is less than you expected – double check the contract, if everything is included – lock that baby in!

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 8.44.43 AMFantasy-Faire-Wedding-Concept2-2

I know many people who wanted a destination wedding, some just 2 hours from “home”, and they gave up their dream to please someone. Family, friends, the people who they had been told were important to attend and couldn’t drive, fly or sail to where ever it was. I attended some of those weddings while the outcome is the same – they got married – the planning, day and aftermath leave a lot to be desired. One couple were so disappointed with their families treatment of them on their day, after giving up just about everything they had wanted for their wedding, that they truly wished they had eloped rather than have these people at their wedding. Every element of their wedding reflected someone else’s need, want, demand, whinging. The day was less about them and their commitment to each other than it was about having uncles and grandpa there, they had given in to it all as time went on. Only to end up with a day that was meaningless and more stress than it was worth – other than the fact that it was the best day because they got married. Those 10 minutes of peace at the alter didn’t do much for the hurt when the guests all left before the meal because they had “other plans”. Those 10 minutes could have been much more meaningful, in the location of their choice with the few people who could make it and none of the upset to follow after. Upset that hurts more when you changed your wedding to suit someone else’s “needs” only to have them leave 40 minutes after you say ‘I do’ because they have something else on. That is a sting I can’t relate to and I hope that none of you will either.



The inspiration for our invites

My wedding planning wasn’t easy, don’t get me wrong. We had parents RSVP no, which is never a pleasant feeling (we didn’t even think it was an option that parents would decide they didn’t want to see their child married – parents on seemingly good terms with their child – but it happened to us, so it does happen), and constant extreme guilt trips about the people who could not attend due to the distance and their age or budget or it isn’t what they pictured for us, why not have it somewhere they would actually want to go.

Sorry that my wedding isn’t about being the wedding of your dreams. Sorry that you feel it is ok to tell me all the things you hated about yours and therefore you need to live vicariously through ours to have the wedding you always wanted. Sorry that you have this ideal image of what a wedding should be and that should be the image we also have and because we don’t there isn’t a point to our wedding. Sorry that you are racist, if I had realised how badly racist you were, I wouldn’t have actually invited you. There I said it. I am not worried about people who couldn’t afford to go, only those who said they couldn’t afford it before they knew the cost. I am not worried about it now. They missed out. I was worried about it then. We did have people who we knew couldn’t afford it, that was fine. We did invite them and got a sincere apologetic decline. Not everyone was so truthful in their no. Truth is, we don’t need a reason. If you just said no – that was fine. People felt a need to give a long and detailed lie as a reason and that really bothered us. Why lie. If you are afraid, you are afraid, if your busy spending money on other things, we get it. Don’t lie. I don’t need a reason, just say ‘sorry, I can’t attend’ and leave it there. Probably do say sorry but don’t feel the need to add any sort of reason. We know it is overseas, we don’t expect everyone can go.


Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to

There will be people who cannot afford to go to your wedding, even if it is in their home town. Don’t force them. Don’t be offended. I was. It sucked. Trying not to take something like that personally. It felt like they had picked up a bag of ice and slapped me across the face and then dropped it on my toe. It hurt, stung and burnt and was ice cold. I had time to deal with it though. Destination weddings need notice. People need to save and get time off work. We gave about 10 months notice, some people got 9, depending on the mail.

No matter what you decide for your wedding, someone will have an opinion and you will constantly hear criticism. Constantly. About every choice or details you chose to (or not to) share, you are going to hear a whole heap of trash talk about what is better or why you should do this or that instead. I look at it this way – they listened when people did it to them and their wedding was unfulfilling and not what they would have actually planned. Most weddings morph in to some huge concoction of plan vs budget vs people pleasing compromise and while almost every bride and groom will say their wedding was the best and they loved every minute of it. If they had their time again they would have kept the little things they compromised on as they wanted, hired a videographer or not cared so much about pleasing everyone. Sometimes the advice is to save you from straying too far from your own desires and other advice is because they have something in mind they want to attend or they want you to have what they missed out on – forgetting that making someone else have what they wanted is what got them in to that place to begin with.

Once the day is over it is easy to see if the $15,000 worth of flowers (or castle hire) was worth giving up the horse and carriage or not. During planning it is very difficult to judge. You want everything and you want it perfect. Even simple weddings are stressful and there are things to plan. Court houses aren’t just a case of walking in and it is done, you need to book and have witnesses. Before the wedding you might not care about something and then after you do – like photos or video – by then it is too late. You might care to the extreme about something before the wedding and on the day really not notice it at all.


Schloss Neuschwanstein – Walt Disney was inspired by this castle 🙂

How can you know before the event what is going to be most important to you after? Most people agree photos, do what every you have to do but don’t skimp on the photographer. While I agree, the best you can do within your budget may not leave you with any poster print worthy pics. I was so worried about the photos and not having ones that I loved from our wedding day (well before the location or country was pinned down) that when we travelled, I took wedding style dresses with me (white, flowing but not actually literal wedding dresses – but they could be) and we staged wedding photos. Us, wedding attire, camera and tripod. Running around the Bavarian countryside, Munich, Rome and also at home in Australia. Some of the photos at castles in Germany are still my favourite photos. I thought this would take the edge off as I had some lovely  memories of taking the photos and I had photos I really enjoyed. It may have added to the stress in reality, what if, I with my tripod and camera, could do a better job than the person I hired. It was now a new risk. One I didn’t have before. Hmm, my plan to reduce anxiety may have increased it. Well, that was unexpected.

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Schloss Lichtenstein – stopped by a stranger for a photo. TW took a photo of me being stopped for a photo. She nuzzled right in which was unexpected but it was really nice that she thought we were special enough for a photo.

We used these photos that were so fun to create in our wedding invites. Sending a wedding invite with people dressed up was, well, drama causing. We were told that photos like that meant we had already gotten married and why send an invite to a wedding overseas if we were already married and had been for years now because we hadn’t been to those countries recently…. you get the picture.



It is your wedding, yes. No one else has any interest in your perspective. Once you realise that, and come to terms with it – like I did about 7 months after our wedding – everything will be easier.

Don’t expect your bridal party to be your slaves. No. They have lives outside of your wedding. In fact, think long and hard before having a bridal party at all. Are they necessary. Are you adding burden on to them that they don’t need.


Schloss Lichtenstein I just loved this castle. I wanted to move right in!

Attending a wedding, even a local wedding, is not cheap. Not for guests and I think it is easy for a Bride and Groom to forget that because they are paying a bucket load of cash but they aren’t cheap. It isn’t an open bar and free meal, its a new wardrobe, hair and makeup, accommodation, gifts, pre wedding parties and expenses, babysitter costs, fuel, parking, possibly time off work, travel. They are expensive, for everyone. Even if they have their dress or suit in their closet, they are going to spend a lot more than you realise to attend. Yes you feed and water them, generally they give you a gift, you decorate and incorporate other fun things but they are spending, even if you haven’t asked them to, they will be spending hundreds of dollars or more. If you make them part of the bridal party – their costs will at least double that of a standard guest.

It isn’t cheap. Nothing relating to a wedding is cheap. Even if you go to the court house followed by a nice meal – it can still be the single most expensive day of your life where you didn’t buy/repair/replace a house, car or asset. You do need witnesses, they are likely still going to polish themselves up for the occasion and again they are probably spending just as much as you are on the day, if not more, per head.

Wedding Photos

Lake Palace, Udaipur. India – Always need an attitude shot

We thought about this long and hard about this, it isn’t just about what we are willing to spend, it is also what it will cost other people to attend. We wanted overseas but how could we justify forcing people to pay a few thousand dollars to attend our wedding. Well:

  1. No one had to come – except parents and siblings, we did expect them to attend and despite an rsvp of no, they did.
  2. We had attended weddings 2 hours from home that cost us over $5,000. For that we had 2 nights of accommodation, the rest were costs relating to attending and the gift. We have been on 2 week holidays that cost a lot less. A lot less, including the international flights.
  3. The wedding is about us and no one else. We want what we want.  We have things meaningful or important to us, unique to us. What others have done, paid, included, excluded, expected, received or not for their weddings is irrelevant to our wedding and our relationship. You can’t force us in to your idea and then call it our wedding.
  4. If our guests were going to get stuck paying thousands of dollars to attend, which I am sure is not usual (I think standard is a few hundred) but if they were going to pay all this money to attend our wedding then sure as hell were they going to get bang for their buck!
  5. Australia only allowed 1 man and 1 woman to marry, we believed that gay people should also be allow to marry and it just seemed so unlikely anything was going to change. It has now, and in the same year as well but we didn’t want to be married in a country where we were forced to say that our friends who are in relationships can’t be married as part of our wedding vows because their partner is the same sex as them. I don’t want kids, does that mean I shouldn’t be allowed to marry? Women who can’t have children, are they unnatural? The arguments are ridiculous to us as to why gay marriage was and should not be allowed in Australia. To be legally required say something we not only don’t believe but vehemently opposed in our vows just wasn’t an option for us. I am certainly not going to start my marriage off by spouting out some hate a politician added in to the law, late at night when he was unsupervised. No. I don’t judge those that do it, I just don’t want it for myself. Yes, it was a recent thing, most of our parents didn’t have to say it and we certainly didn’t accept it as required for our own wedding or marriage.

Our throne, a banana, a random cat, bare feet, fairy lights. Isn’t this everyone’s dream?

We got the wedding of our dreams. Beyond our dreams and yes maybe there were tiny little things we would change, most of that was stress. We wouldn’t have stressed so much. TW’s tailored shirt was cut too short across the shoulders, at the fitting he complained so they took it back to widen. They didn’t have material left so they couldn’t let it out, they did let the waist out – the waist had fit fine at the fitting. So on the wedding day when we get the shirt again, it is still too tight on the shoulders and he threw a fit. Literally lay down on the floor and kicked and hit it. A proper 2 year olds tantrum. He wanted it to be perfect, it wasn’t, so the only way he thought he could deal with it was to lay in his undies on the floor rather than get ready. Surprisingly this tantrum didn’t widen the shoulders so he had to deal with it and once the day started he really didn’t care anymore. Afterwards, he didn’t know why he had been so upset. No one else noticed, no one cared. He made a very upsetting start to the day because he was slightly uncomfortable in his top. HELLO! Wedding dress over here. Put your dang shirt on and quit the complaining or I will show you UNCOMFORTABLE!

Wedding Parade

Mum and Dad getting their photo with us. We worked hard to find an ethically treated elephant for our wedding morning entrance.

You will need to make compromises and be flexible. Expectations may need to be adjusted, you may not even realise that your current expectations are wildly out of reach. When we found out how much things cost and how quickly the little things compound to be crazy expensive, we sat and thought about what we really wanted. We knew we wanted overseas but tossed up the idea of something in Australia as my mother was having Chemo for aggressive breast cancer. We went back and forth with her. We had contacted Disney again but Walt Disney World as it was the cheaper wedding option between the two. I had contacted a few ranches in rural USA due to their amenities. Spoken with a band we had met and some amazing university a cappella groups. Ultimately we decided to go with our very first choice. Something we had dismissed years before. We put it in then too hard basket but after coming so far and waiting so long, watching mum with her cancer, life is too short not to do what you want. You don’t get a do over on your first time. We can do a vowel renewal, we can take photos anywhere in the world but we can’t re-do the original wedding. It will always be the special one, lets make it exactly what we want.


How my wedding dress was packed


It stayed like this, in my bag, until 1-2 hours before I had to wear it.

So what is the point of this post? If you want to get married at home, Disney, Mexico, Bali, Fiji, the Bahamas, Canada, Elope, at the court house, South Africa, France, if you don’t want to invite anyone or you want to invite everyone. Work together, work out what is important to you individually and as a couple, what you are comfortable spending and build from there. You may not know where you want your wedding but if you start from a place of what is important to you both as people and a couple you can build the wedding of your dreams. Always work out what you are comfortable to spend. We paid for our wedding and not everyone does. I hear all the time “my parents are paying so we have to do what they way”. If your parents would like to give you money for your wedding, ask them to give it to you as a wedding gift and plan the wedding on your own money or set the boundary right up front:
We thank you for offering to pay or contribute to our wedding. The wedding will be based on us as a couple and we will be proceeding with decisions that reflect us. This might mean we do not take your guidance or suggestions. If you think you won’t be ok with this, we respectfully decline your offer.


Model much?

It may not seem like the best idea to turn down “free money” but if the money comes with the condition of having a wedding that someone else wants, is it worth it?

Want a destination wedding but don’t know where to go, look in your heart and if you still can’t decide I am willing to talk through some options with you and pros and cons. I have been to 33 countries, 47 of the US states.

Afraid to speak up and say what you want? Don’t be. The last thing people want is to make you miserable. Money can come with conditions, if you clarify at the start – or as soon as possible if you didn’t right at the start – it can save a lot of conflict down the line.

We wouldn’t change our wedding not for the world. If we had given up everything to have a wedding at home, some of those people still would not have been able to attend, even ones in our city. There was illness, hospital stays, surgeries, tumours, all kinds of things happened in peoples lives and we could have given up everything we wanted so that people could be with us, only for them not to be there. IMG_2827 (1)

Follow your heart and you can’t really go wrong.

This is the back story, our wedding planning will follow. If you have questions or need advice on how to approach people etc. Please do, I am here 🙂

Honeymoon day 6.5 to day 8


From the last post you can see that the sun was setting quite quickly as MT finished up her droning for the day, being daylight saving time, it was already after 9pm and at this stage we were still just outside of Regina with no solid plan on where / when to stop.

We start looking at google maps to see some viable options, Winnipeg? Ideally yes, but no, it’s too late to drive that much further. Moosomin, another fantastic town name, just like medicine hat, but still in Saskatchewan, we need to at least make it into Manitoba. Virden, it’s on the right side of the border and a managle drive of ~3 more hours tonight.

Off we Set again, TW at the wheel and MT logging into Expedia to find a cheap motel to get some much needed sleep after the banff debacles. Alas, no hotels are showing available online in Virden, we decide there probably are hotels available but with our arrival time and given they are likely small or local hotels they may not be open when we arrive, even if they have a room.  Back to Google maps. What’s the next town. Can we make it to Winnipeg? No, still 6 hours away. Brandon – looks a decent size town just 45min – 1 hour down the road from Virden. Done! Super 8 booked. MT takes over the drive for a while while TW naps a bit for the last leg of the drive. 

The drive had been pretty but repetitive so this portion of the trip we didn’t mind doing after the sun went down. We felt we weren’t going to be missing anything. Being summer time we didn’t actually spend too much time driving in the dark so we did still see the landscape and other points of interest. We saw a hay truck on fire at one point and MT almost jumped out of her seat trying to make sure everyone was ok. It was on the split highway and they were on the other side of the road. It appeared to just have happened and the whole truck is fully engulfed in flames. MT’s father used to be a truck driver so she has a quiet little tear in the uncertainty that everyone is ok or not, I hold her hand. It is probably ok but did she want to try and get over there to help? There are no turning bays and we have now passed the fire trucks and ambulance on their way so she says we should keep going. There had also been a ute/truck on scene and she hopes this person got the driver out before the flames took over, if the driver was unable to do so himself.

We drive through Virden and not only is there a number of hotels, they all appear to be open with rooms available. Oh well, our room is booked now so we have a reason to push on. It would have been nice to stay next to a Tim Hortons though. We haven’t tried it yet and all we have wanted to do is try it. Every time we go in there though the line is just too long to wait. It can’t be that good, can it?

Crap! We missed the Welcome to Manitoba sign. Dang it, not going to drive all that way back. Well, this photo will have to do.


Was a little windy when we arrived in Saskatchewan.

Time is all over the place, we left Sydney for Hawaiian time and then to Vancouver and crossing Canada west to east means we are driving in to time zones that are behind the one we just came from. It literally means we are driving against the sun and the days, although long, are shorter in this direction than if we had booked our flights in the other. We tried to do it that way but couldn’t get 2 seats on the same flight or the dates we needed or the city we wanted, it got too difficult so we booked the way we could book.

We have adjusted to a new time zone, we are no longer on Sydney time, I don’t think we are on Hawaiian time now either but I do not know which time we are in. Hawaii feels like a life time ago and Whistler a distant memory but we have only been in Canada a couple of nights. I wonder if that means the road trip is going well.

With this now behind us the rest of the trip looked the same, the sun had now gone down completely. We arrive in to Brandon. Our hotel is right on the highway making it easy to find.

The hotel itself was pretty decent. We were given keys to one room but it hadn’t been made up. We received many apologies and given keys to another. Our original room may have been in a quieter spot of the hotel but the room we had was nice, big and decent value really. The bed was very comfortable, we slept well. Breakfast was included with the room but we planned to be up and gone before it started.

As it turned out breakfast was almost over by the time we woke up, we decided that it would be easier for TW to get a coffee here than to stop down the road so he rushed down to see what was at the breakfast and hopefully get a coffee.

MT had a shower and got ready as quickly as she could. Breakfast was 5 minutes from ending when she was ready and went to see if anything was left. She had only taken 5 minutes so was pretty pleased with herself. TW was pretty pleased with himself at that moment as well. They had waffles in their spread. He made some, enjoyed them and was off to shower and get ready.

Mt’s waffle making skills were not amazing, she hadn’t used enough batter but given breakfast was now over, she had to make do and couldn’t really ask for a fresh batch of batter be brought out because we had overslept. It was a decent and unexpected breakfast, we saved a little bit of money by making the effort to go down to it and we were on the road only 3 hours later than planned. There goes our extra time at the lakes, but hey when you need sleep and have a comfy bed, you have to take it right?

We did just eat but we are a little peckish so our first stop is in Portage la Prairie. Just over an hour down the road. We have adjusted to this road trip life. It might just be thirst, so we go in to the shopping centre. Most stores are not open, we are confused about the day of the week. Maybe it is Sunday so the smaller stores are closed. It is a bit eerie so we leave to go to the fast food place outside.


Finally, we step foot in an A&W. We both hate root beer, unless that root is ginger, as ginger beer is fantastic (well MT thinks it is ok and TW really enjoys it). We don’t know how we manage it or why TW keep persisting on choosing a line, but without a doubt every time, he will choose the line with the most annoying and slow people in it! Figure out what you want to order before getting to the counter, don’t wait until you are at the counter to then ask your kids what they want. We have been in line behind this one person, just one person, the only person in line when we arrived (and her 8 kids, plus grandma, mother, uncle, two husbands – we can only assume one is ex and one is current but didn’t ask – all of whom were somewhere else at the time of the line and came up one by one to order, argue, change their mind and leave. When the order was confirmed the lady at the counter would yell back at everyone, who were scattered across the back of the restaurant. Once the order was placed and confirmed she then decided to tell the cashier she wanted to use as many coupons as they could. The coupons were for completely different things to what they ordered. The yelling started again, can you change X to Y so you can get the drink for free. Until ultimately everyone is confused and we will see just how well how this bamboozlement of an order pans out), while we have been in this line of 1 person ahead of us, 15 other people have been served at the next counter. We cannot explain why we did not, at any time, move to the other line. Possibly because at no point was there a line in that line. People just walked to the counter and ordered, efficiently, and then sat and waited for their order. We are not sure we understood properly that it was a line. By the time it is our turn to order, the cashier ushers us to the next counter – the one with prompt and efficient service – to order because she has to process the 52 different items ordered at her counter in order for the coupons to be valid.

Anyway, the burgers are nice enough and after about 1.5 hours of line waiting and 10 minutes of eating we are back on the road to Winnipeg. The order of the lady in front of us – they ate their food but she had said her youngest kid was not allowed the full size drink that came on the voucher so she was given a small. When all the others arrives as a large she kicked off about how her kid would feel left out and that couldn’t be her fault for asking for a smaller size it must be their fault for listening and given her what she had asked for. Do they not know what kids are like. So the drama continued, for them. While we ate we heard them chatting and they were on a long road trip so everyone just needed to get used to it or it was going to be a very long day. They left home 3 hours ago and still had 4 to go to their destination. It sounded like they were going to have the vacation from hell but maybe they learnt that one adult and one kid should order and hand over their coupons/vouchers rather than one person doing it all.

We take highway 100 and bypass downtown Winnipeg by accident, it was only an hour or so ago we ate and we tell ourselves, once we realise we are on the bypass, that we don’t have much interest in seeing anything in Winnipeg anyway.



We are actually here.

We head to the border, making great time on these good highways. They say Saskatchewan is a great state to drive through but so was Manitoba. We only stopped 3 times: Sleep/Food/Petrol. The highway was fast, clear, easy. We were on the highway, probably in the boring part of the state so while it is actually a great state to drive through when we make it back to Canada we will drive north and spend time in the state. There is a lot to explore but maybe not right on the highway. We had been warned about how horrid the drive would be. We have driven a fair way already and the roads have been great. They were a little slow Whistler to Banff but we can’t really imagine wanting to drive any faster than we did. All the twists and turns and the magnificent sights to behold, just can’t see it getting boring, no matter how often you drive it.

MT is asleep as we hit the border of Manitoba and Ontario. Having a 50% strike rate with off ramps, this time TW does see the off ramp for the “Welcome to State” sign and pull off and wake MT for some quick snaps.


Water, water, every where. The scenery changes from flat to lakes, rivers and forrest.

The second you enter Ontario the speed limit drops to 90kms, the split highway ends and signs saying “if you speed 10kms over the limit we take you to jail and throw away the key” appear constantly. Possibly even helicopter dropped in front of your car and fines handed to you via drone. Well maybe not that extreme but it is clear they don’t tolerate speeding in this state. Not entirely a bad thing as the scenery picks up again and starts to rival British Columbia. We are definitely out of the prairies and farmland.

We are starting to get hungry. Again. Time to think about lunch, there are tonnes of small towns off the highway on super pretty lakes we could stop at but we can’t decide which one or where or what we want to eat so we stay on the highway. Finally we decide on Kenora.


Poutine as a full meal with slow roasted lamb.


Kenora is a slight detour off the highway but well worth the stop – probably worth spending a day or overnight here as well if you have the time. You drive down a hill into the town around some lakes on either side. We stop before we get in to the town, not knowing it is just around the corner, a top of a hill. We see Casey’s Bar & Grill and decide that is where we will go for lunch. We thought was a local diner only in Kenora, turned out to be a chain but still well worth it. Ribs and poutine thanks. Poutine now being one of TW favourite snacks/meals/beverages. It now rivals air, it is needed to maintain life.


For some reason we decided we both needed a meal. We really should have shared one.

After lunch we drove through the township, which was very pretty, think 1930’s style town and buildings, fairly busy for the area. No time for sightseeing, back on the highway. Being single lane 90km you can get stuck behind trucks and slower cars quite easily and really need to plan you passing and overtaking to make the most of the minimal passing lanes that are available. This is where, we decide, all the urban legends about this drive being terrible originate. Wintertime could be horrendous with snow. There are many, many warnings about snow on these tight and winding roads. Getting stuck behind a log truck in winter, that could set you back. We got stuck behind a log truck, he was doing the speed limit, even up the hills, it was really not any kind of bane in our existence. 


It reminds us or Albury, Goulburn and many other towns in Australia


It is on a lake, we both like the town


Very cute little town.

GPS. When you get back in the car, program in Thunder Bay and get very confused about what the GPS is trying to tell you. It is 7:30pm and we have 1 hour and 10 minutes of driving left but we won’t arrive at 8:40pm we will arrive at 9:40pm. Eventually we worked out we were not insane, we had crossed a state border hours ago but the time zone we are in now is Central and just before Thunder Bay it changes again to Eastern Time which is 1 hour ahead of us now.


Confused for hours so took a photo. Then googled it.

While it looks like mid afternoon it was actually closer to 9pm that we hit the landmark of 90 degrees longitude West. The start or finish, depending on your point of view, of Eastern Standard Time Zone. Another quick pic or two as we watch all the cars and trucks we had worked so hard to pass in the last hour whiz past, before getting back in the car for the last leg to Thunder Bay.


The photo TW wanted to use. MT not such a fan.


MT thought this option was the better option. Both made it just to be truly fair.


The other side of the same sign. Getting excited for Thunder Bay. Probably because of the name possibly because it is on Lake Superior. Maybe because of the jokes and innuendo. Certainly because of the sleep that is ahead.

Finally on the last stretch of road to Thunder Bay. It’s been another long day of driving, but this time with some wonderful scenery. We take a turn off that has been glaring on the GPS for hours. I don’t know why but I’m really excited about Thunder Bay, I think the name makes me think it’s really cool and interesting, so my anticipation grows as we get near, Then we get into town. “Huh’ well ok” a bit of a let down. I don’t know what I was really expecting, but whatever it was, it wasn’t there. The town itself seemed like a working class / docks town. Nothing too bad about it, but just nothing special. We checked into our hotel, the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel, a bit dated and could do with some maintenance – a lot like Thunder bay itself really. Once again with this daylight saving time it’s deceptively late, the sun has just gone down, but it’s near 10pm. We no real options we walk to Mcdonalds, a block or 2 away for some dinner. I end up ordering way too much and upgrading every item; Coke, no I’ll have a shake, regular fries, no I’ll have poutine, regular burger, no I’ll have the angus blah blah. $28 later I’m full and we navigate the drunken teens and adults on the street back to the Prince Arthur for some much needed sleep.


Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel

Ontario is probably one of our favorite states so far. Very pretty lakes and forests at every turn, there are a lot of of them here and we are hardly in it. It is exciting, if tomorrow is half as good as today, we will be blinded by beauty. Given we have just arrived at one of the great lakes we think it is going to be better but time will tell and we are excited.

Most of our remaining time in Canada will be in the state of Ontario and with the brief introduction today we are happy with the decision to get here as fast as we could. MT thinks we are really going to enjoy it here, unless we constantly decide to hang out in the sketchy parts of towns like Thunder Bay. Then, maybe no so much but content with our chosen direction of travel and how the trip is now likely to pan out, we drift off to sleep.

Learning to use iMovie

We received our wedding video edited but we asked for all of the footage and I am working on making my own edits. I know it is going to be difficult for me, I have never used editing software. I don’t know how to layer sounds. To start to understand what I need, I used the iMovie wizard to create a trailer. We only got our wedding video not a teaser or trailer. It didn’t take long to make for a first attempt but for something I am happy with, I think it will take me months. We have so much footage and so many different things happening, to reduce it down to something cohesive and watchable will be difficult for me. I am enjoying watching all of the out takes and generally remembering the day.

So here it is.

Lupe, I am putting this out of sequence just for you.

Enjoy and I look forward to hearing your feedback on it!



My first attempt at any video editing ever. I followed the template for the movie trailer “love story” in iMovie. It was easy and if I had been through all the videos and picked what I wanted to use ahead of time it would have been fast using iMovie but as I was looking and loading things in from the memory stick it did take me half a day to create it. I was really upset that I couldn’t do much with the sound, other than mute my own clips.

Google and youtube videos taught me some amazing things. Everything was so simple, I just needed to know it was there. Others have already created “how to” blogs and videos so I googled the key terms for what I wanted to learn – how to add music to iMovie. I thought I HAD to use what was loaded in. I learnt not only can I remove what is there, I can add in many of my own layers. I learnt how to fade sound in and out, how to manually soften or automatically. There was even a function to slow or speed up the footage and most importantly youtube showed me how to detach the sound from the video so I could have voice overs playing.

I spent a day googling, youtubing and practicing the skills on my own video.

I was excited to show TW what I had done. When he got home, his comments were really focussed on the camera shake where videos were filmed free hand. This was so annoying. I spent all day learning things and his first comment is about something not only can I not fix but I didn’t create. So I sulked a bit overnight and then googled how you might get rid of shake in film.

There was a wonderful youtube tutorial on this software and plug in you could download. I was happy, it looked like the shake could be removed but I couldn’t be bothered to download the software just yet. So I went back to iMovie and was going to share what I had before I deleted it to start the real one. I need to get real music as well. I had a lot of fun playing on this learning edit but to get some atmosphere music I recorded what was playing thought the microphone record in iMovie. This app really does seem to have everything I need, for an amateur edit of a wedding video. It is time consuming but the time also flies by because it is really fun and I am learning a new skill. I don’t know I will ever need it again but now I get to make multiple movies with different themes so it is exciting times.

The edit where I am practicing my skills is:

I did find the voice clips to include nice things about TW but I decided as this was just a learning tool that I had learnt enough. There was no more disk space on my computer so I wanted to save and delete the project to create the room required on my laptop to make the real version or a more planned version. This one was still my original template but I added more content, changed some, put sound in, used slow mo and speed up, shake reduction etc so there wasn’t a point in making this to the full video as it wasn’t what I wanted anyway.

Secrets of India are the tour company we used to plan our trip and wedding.

So after a month of editing this is what I came up with. We had issues with sound because the project played the levels differently than the theatre/completed item. I haven’t run this through the sound checks to adjust as needed to meet the needs of the tv but I will, then I can save the file and delete the project to move on to the next.

This is the low res version.

Honeymoon 130 hrs + 5 min – 159 hrs

Ok. So that was a pretty intense 5 minutes to get water and my brain wouldn’t shut off. I could picture all the things crawling in the walls, the ghosts, the people. Sometimes supernatural is not about supernatural things but just scary normal people.

I was aware pretty quickly it was my reflection in the glass but it didn’t make the thoughts that I had in those moments go away or the ones that were coming stop. My sleep was non existent. If I closed my eyes I could see every scary movie, tv show, urban legend and if they were open I could see ghosts and ghouls in the darkness. Shadow creepers trying to get to me, weaving their way through the tree branches on the wall. Waiting for the right gust of wind to cast the right shadow through the curtain so they could get to me.

Tossing and turning, trying to sleep, afraid to sleep. The hours passed. I dozed. No real sleep. Any sleep I got was accidental and would result in a frightful and abrupt wakening. TW slept beside me and while he got a lot more sleep than I did, my constant jumping and actually physically waking him up to tell him I was too scared to sleep ensure he also didn’t get any solid or decent sleep.

In the day light TW says he will pack the car and I should try to get a power nap in. He comes running back in to the room just moments after leaving. I am in the bathroom, of course, that is the natural thing to do in the morning. He is running around the room yelling for me (not a room large enough for running around in but from the kerfuffle I hear it is what I picture to be happening). He is yelling for me to come quick, get out, quick, now. Not really the kind of thing I want to hear while trapped on the throne. I tell him I am in the bathroom and will be there as soon as I can. He quietly screams back at me to “hurry”. Well that isn’t concerning at all, not after the night I have had.

I open the door, tired, stressed, not quite sure I completed the task I had set out to do properly, dazed and confused. TW is running in circles – Moose, Moose, Moose. Hurry up there is moose. Oh, thank god. We aren’t being murdered, it was my reflection. YAY a moose.

We go out and look. I try to get probably too close for a photo. How exciting. There are 3 in the parking lot and as we are leaving we see a big one sitting beside another building.

Later, we see a road sign. I say – hmm that is a moose, that isn’t what we saw. We eliminate deer because we know what they look like and decide they were Elk. Not AS exciting as a real life wild Moose hanging out at our motel but still pretty dang cool.


This guy was too cool for us all:


Now if you don’t believe me about the scare and lack of sleep, I have photos that show how bad it was….

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We survived the supernatural hotel and managed to see some real wildlife, the day was off to a good start.

We had a quick look around Banff during the day. Reminded us of Whistler – a ski town, pretty, kind of cold for summer and we decided we preferred BC as a state.

Today was going to be a big day, which is a shame because it came after the worst night. Originally hoping to get from Banff to Winnipeg we decided we would just get as far as we could, given the lack of sleep.

After Banff the drive was much less interesting. It was still very pretty and we drove along the mountains but the drive from Whistler to Banff had been so unexpectedly beautiful the next section paled in comparison. Possibly because we now knew what to expect from the mountain pass or due to lack of sleep. My favourite part of the first leg of the drive was arriving in to Medicine Hat. I am not sure why anyone would go specifically to Medicine Hat but I really enjoyed the road down in to the town/city. We stopped for lunch at the Costco for some more Poutine. It was really good there, we got chicken pieces as well, no pizza though.

Medicine Hat is a fun name of a city. It is on the river, and on our way out of town there was a big Tepee. It is apparently iconic but we had watched a massive train go through the town while we were exiting Costco and that was pretty interesting.

From Medicine hat we drive non stop to Regina. Regina isn’t our intended stop but we are tired and hungry and it has been a few hours without a break. The drive itself is nice.

Dinner in Regina was one of the better American style meals I have had. It was a place, far too cool and chic for us but also with that all your refills are free mentality and not the $8 tiny glass of coke we get in similar places in Australia. We sat and ate and debated stopping for the night. We could explore the town. We spoke with our server who gave us a host of things to do in and nearby, with his list finally complete we decided it was best to keep going.

On the radio we hear a replay of a comic festival. There is a comic debate on, it is about drive through for and against. One team says what do McDonalds and Saskatchewan have in common? They are both great places to drive through. This becomes hilarious to us as the scenery is pretty but it is flat and the highway runs along big farms so we literally drive through. Phew, so glad we didn’t get stuck in the “drive through” state.

We did take time to stop and I took some drone footage as it really was quite a beautiful state. The sun was setting, it was really nice. I was driving and woke TW up pulling on to a dirt road, he thought I was crashing. I had some pretty great droning skills  for my 4th flight because I had to land on the box I carry it in to avoid smashing the camera with debris or falling over and damaging the drone with the uneven rocky road service. TW took some video on his phone.

This is not the drone footage – it is the iPhone footage. The fly over was on my phone but it ran out of memory and had some issues so we took all the photos off and where they ended up being backed up, I don’t know, everything is potentially lost.

I can’t find a link to the comedy festival debate but it was funny and interesting. They had two topics that we heard – hot tubs and drive through. Canada 2017 comedy festival, somewhere. If you want to try and find it.




Honeymoon 130-130+ 5 minutes

We were getting settled in to our room, it was a hot room so I went outside to the Ice and Vending room we passed on the way to our parking spot. It was just outside our room. The rooms were arrange in a I – I manner, where I were the blocks of rooms and the ‘-‘ was the ice and vending room and it looked to be a supply closet. The rooms on the ground level, which we were on even though at check in we were told level one (the lovely lady was from Denman so I know she speaks the same version of Aussie as me), had a front and back door. Our back door opened to the ‘-‘ part of the building but the door to ice and vending was on the other side. We were 1 room in and there was a gate from the store room to our building preventing people walking in to the block any further than the first room. So I had to walk through the gate.

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I don’t remember our room looking like this but it is from the hotel website so it would be similar. Door front and back.

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This is the hotel location, generally it backed on to nature reserve. The top level (only 2 storey)  may have been continuos rooms but the ground was broken apart. A true motel where you basically drive up to your door and access to anything is via the outside, a concept I am quite unfamiliar with these days.

For reasons I don’t remember, I decided to walk over alone. TW offered to come with me but I was quickly checking if there was anything and if there was I would come back for money. I left the back door open, went through the gate but closed it and went to look in the ice and vending room to see if I could buy a cold bottle of water.

I went in and there was no vending machine that I could see but the ice machine was massive and blocking the view to the left side of the room so I stepped in to the room the door closed quickly behind me. It was pitch black, I turned to find the light switch and put it on. The ice machine overwhelmed the room and no light got beyond it. I looked around it and there was just bare wall, as I had suspected but I really wanted a cool drink of water.

It was a bit creepy and had nothing of interest so I made the obvious decision to leave. Every door had a glass panel, our front and back door, that of every other room and the door I came through for the ice and vending room. Glass panelled wooden doors. Every single one. So as I leave, I am confronted by an unexpected image in the glass panel.

What my brain processes I am seeing.

I don’t know why my reaction was to look behind me but I did and when you look back the image is gone, right. Every single time. It doesn’t stop your heart racing and your stomach jumping to your throat. Why didn’t I bring TW with me. What the hell did I just see. It is late, I am tired, try not to look like you are running from a murderer while you leave the room – just in case someone was on the outside. Play it cool.

I check the room I am in once more, I am safe in here if I need to lock the door. I put my hand on the light switch, turn it off, it is pitch black so quickly turn it back on. Open the door and BAM!

Yay for eyes and my brain filling in the blanks with every horror movie / supernatural reference it can find.

The room opposite, its front door, its glass panelled front door, shows the creepiest image anyone can see at 1am. A stranger, standing at the door, the light behind them, staring.

If I have learnt anything from TV. All I have to do is safely get back to my room because these guys are about to show up and make sure we are safe.


Queue Sam and Dean and the Supernatural rescue where not everyone gets killed, hopefully.

So ok, I know how this goes. Now I realise what we have done. We have checked in to every Supernatural hotel room every, backing on to a random forrest – where all the creepies hang out – and I am outside, alone, with the back door to our room open for anyone to enter.

Why! We literally have twin beds in our room (it was a queen and a double).

Welcome to Supernatural – where all your motel lodging dreams come true.

New plan. Stop looking in to that room, turn off light, walk like you aren’t about to be murdered back to room, lock all doors. No. Get to room, check if anyone else is now in there, make sure TW is in there, lock all doors. Re lock. Lock again. Maybe push a chair up against the doors.

With my fright I had moved my hand off the light switch and the door had closed on to me. I was partially in the doorway but I had to open the door again to turn off the light. Why I am worrying about a light, I don’t know, environment or something. I open the door and turn it off. It is now quite dark. There were some lights for the path but not near me so it was light coming through trees and although I couldn’t see if from where I was there would be light from our room because the back door was open.

The person in the other room is no longer there watching me. I don’t wait around to see if they are going to leave the room or if they have simply moved to the window and not door way. I round the corner walking like I am about to get murdered but pretending I don’t really think that. Struggle with the gate, like you see in every horror movie and get back to our room. Door still open. TW on bed. I close the door, look in the other rooms, lock the door. Lock the front door. Check the back door. Check the front door. Drink some tap water. Sit in bed.

And wait.

Honeymoon: 96-130 hours

We drove to Whistler directly from our Costco Lunch. It was a very pretty drive. Through downtown and around the mountains on the ocean road.


Nice bridge to start the exit from Vancouver

We arrived at our hotel a few hours after we planned, due to flight delays, but still at a reasonable hour or so we thought. While the sun was up and it felt like mid afternoon we were actually arriving closer to 8pm.

We checked in and in our room we found a lovely note, welcome wine on ice and chocolate covered strawberries with pistachio. It was amazing. We had booked the hotel 6 hours before and they still managed to get a personal letter and honeymoon gift in there. I was more than impressed.

Welcome to Canada

Welcome gift and letter from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler

The room itself was quite large, we had a Juliet balcony and appeared to be on one of the highest floors (level 8 and the lift went up to level 10).


I couldn’t help but think these rooms and this hotel would be amazing in winter. It was lovely now, in summer, and I couldn’t imagine all the snow of winter but the rooms had such a warm and cozy feel I felt they would really shine in winter.

When we went for dinner, we found that our room was on the top floor of that section of Hotel. TW was happy with this. He also put his head outside the window when in the room to confirm his findings.


Pretty Hotel – Fairmont Chateau Whistler – all light up after dinner.


View of our dinner restaurant from our room.


View of another portion of the hotel from our window and the mountain scape behind


I liked this sitting area. It is in the lift well. i guess if all are being used, you may as well be in comfort and take in the view while you wait.

We got up reasonably early but still late for what we would want to acheive in a day.

The scenery was amazing. Photos don’t do it justice. It is worth driving between Whistler and Kamloops. You might get a bus or train but it is stunning and if you don’t have to fly over/bypass it, I wouldn’t.



It was just really nice to drive through the hills.

Lunch, we stopped at Salmon Arm and had a picnic by the lake.


Our Lunch Spot. Super peaceful.

They had these by the boat ramp. I did think it was really cool.19893544_10155787868349610_942946504_o

We finished the day off with a visit to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. I had heard many good things about Lake Louise but after the scenery of the day, it wasn’t the highlight. Possibly people had talked it up or the fact I have seen nicer lakes (The Alpsee – Neuschwanstein Castle), or maybe 9pm isn’t the best light. I was expecting to be blown away and I was instead content. It looked like a great summer holiday spot but I would still rate Whistler and surrounds as nicer.

We headed in to Banff, checked in to a hotel – we walked in and asked for a room, how old school. We went directly to dinner because if we went to the room we were likely to skip the meal.

Mexican at Magpie and Stump. Nice generic American Mexican. Completely inoffensive food but lacking fire and flavour you get from real Mexican. We always take that risk, it rarely pays off.


I couldn’t get a good photo of the food. So here are the drinks.

We got back to the hotel. Found our room. Parked out front and unpacked the car.

This brings us to just before midnight and rounds out our 130th hour.

Honeymoon: 72-96 hours

Check out was 3pm so after lunch we went back to the room, did a final pack and check for everything. We could have, and a reasonable person would have, paid a minimal fee to extend the room until 8pm. Given that TW spent such a long time in the bathroom of the room and he was feeling a decent bit better, lunch had settled well, we decided checking out would force us to enjoy some of the facilities we had just toured.

There was a poolside relax, cake, drinks, a swim.


Coconut cake by the pool. It was a very soft and fluffy sponge cake.

Our bags were stored by the porters. Including my drone – which was put in a back room for safe keeping.

After the cake and swim TW needed to shower (I didn’t swim) so we went to the hospitality suite. Having now used the facilities we can clearly see how much of an asset this room is. It looked good before but when faced without your own room to retreat to this really is a little haven to relax in, out of the heat/sun, while you wait (for transfers/check in etc).


There are lockers, big enough to store bags. Perfect for a flight that arrives early and you can’t check in yet.


The room is also the business centre. It has a shredded and everything else you could need.


Decently comfortable chairs and the far sitting area has a TV.

We looked at the time and had one more meal at steak shack, did I mention these simple meals are one of our favourite things about Hawaii? I wasn’t joking. We got there half hour before it closed and there was a line of over 20 people waiting for their meals to be cooked. I guess everyone else decided to have dinner just before they closed.


A small portion of the line. Most people in the line have ordered for 2-4 people who have, like I was about to, gone and sat somewhere else.

Even though we did have about a 20 minute wait, it is still a quick and easy meal.


I found a seat off to the side and enjoyed the sunset.

8pm our driver was ready to take us to the airport. The same driver that picked us up. We had another great chat. The ride to the airport was very comfortable. I really like the car they used. I took the cheapest option but it was very luxurious and we each had a lot of space.

10:30pm our flight departure time, we left near enough on time.

6:30am we landed late.

We went to the lounge nearest our arrival gate. Had a seat and I typed up the previous 24 hours events. We also booked a hotel for the night, Whistler. Finally we knew where we would be going to after we landed. It was nice to have this narrowed down.  With about 40 minutes to go before boarding we headed over to the departure gate. We were leaving from the remote terminal. There was a lounge there as well but I found the general seating area comfortable and less crowded. The lounge was very small.

Our plane arrived, possibly late but it was taking a long time to get to the gate.

We found out it had a flat tyre and we would need to wait for it to be replaced before we could board. The delay was close to an hour. Once onboard, there was an error with the equipment and the pilots were speaking with the technicians, it had to be sorted before we could take off but we had already started the push back. I fell asleep. TW says it was about an hour on the plane on the tarmac to get sorted. We arrived an hour late, so we made time up in the air.

We arrived and as we had not changed any of our original plans, the only plan being a hire car we had booked and a night in Ottawa, and our new plan to go straight to Whistler, we make a bee line for the hire car. Time has already been lost and initial thoughts of lunch or some sights in downtown Vancouver were quickly fading. Our car was booked with Enrerprice and they are an offsite operator. For us this was perfect, a shuttle driver takes us away from the bustle of the airport AND their location was right next door to a Costco.

Lunch had just sorted itself out!


You can get chips, poutine, chicken and they still have Hawaiian pizza on the menu – unlike Sydney.


So we got chips and a slice of Hawaiian!

Lunch essentially rounds out these 24 hours.