Images by Lina Hayes
A little about these two lovebirds:
“When we were 17, Fran was on exchange in Belgium in my class. The day she arrived, she wasn’t well introduced and she was smiling very broadly and stiffly. I assumed she was a student teacher coming in observation or something. When I learned she was an exchange student, I wanted to be friends with her straight away because I was hoping I could start travelling soon and see the world myself too. I made sure someone was providing her with books, friendly chats and a birthday party.” Noemie.
“We met when I was on a youth exchange in Belgium (from Sydney) and I was in Noémie’s class. We first talked properly in Maths class, when Noémie asked if I wanted to sit next to her. She was wearing a rainbow jumper and at the time my favourite scarf was a rainbow scarf, so I thought she must be an interesting person if she had that sort of fashion sense!” Francesca.
A relaxed atmosphere was at the top of the list when Noémie and Francesca planned their wedding day; a normal day with that little bit extra. Incorporating their values was also a priority, which for Francesca and Noémie includes eating vegetarian, flying less, choosing sustainable options where possible, but also becoming politically engaged to lead to long-term, structural change. And lastly, their intention was that the wedding wouldn’t be a burden on their friends;
“Often there’s pressure for wedding guests to buy a new outfit, spend a certain amount of money on a gift, etc., and that’s something we really didn’t want. So we asked our guests to wear whatever they were comfortable in, to avoid buying something new, and tried to make the evening as fun as possible so that everyone could enjoy themselves.”
In other words, Noémie and Francesca were the quintessential Less Stuff, More Meaning couple, motivated by their values and a sense of greater purpose expressed through their wedding day.
“LSMM was super inspiring because it features lots of LGBT+ couples, which you tend to see less often on traditional wedding websites. What really stood out for me though was the article “2019 wedding trends no one is talking about…yet“. We were recently engaged and all a sudden, I realised we were allowed to really question everything.”
And question everything they did!
“We basically started from scratch and just chose the traditions that resonated with us, rather than taking a more top-down approach to the organizing. That meant that we got rid of things like flowers, decorations, matching stationery, seating plans, etc. that we didn’t feel were important for us. We also stayed together at home the night before the ceremony, got ready together beforehand, and did our own makeup and hair.”
Their rings were made by a friend Cécile Joaillerie from bracelets they had melted down, which ended up cheaper and far more sustainable than buying new gold. Their attire was a collection of clothing already owned, or planned for re-selling after the wedding day.
“We decided to walk hand in hand to our ceremony at the Town Hall (the civil ceremony was held the day before the wedding celebration) and we didn’t walk any aisle during our “gin bar” wedding. It was simple and it felt natural this way.”
“Don’t sweat the small stuff! Nobody cares if the flower isn’t the exact colour you wanted or if one table is missing a centerpiece. By cutting down on the details we also cut down on things that could go wrong, but we think a key part of being relaxed is just going with the flow and accepting that things might not go exactly the way that they were planned. (For instance, our letter cakes were missing a letter and the sizes were weird, so they said “mSmS” instead of “MS & MS”, but we just went along with it and nobody really noticed or cared!) If you’re relaxed about things, your guests will be too.”
“I think there’s a lot of trust in our relationship, and we communicate and talk a lot. I really enjoy that we can laugh together doing the mundane tasks that make up most of life: dancing in the kitchen, making silly jokes while brushing our teeth, that sort of thing.” Francesca.
“We don’t try to be perfect or not human, and we showed our true faces from the beginning of the relationship. It was the real deal straight away; what you see is what you get.” Noémie.
What next? Noémie and Francesca are set to travel to Central Europe for their honeymoon, entirely by train – coming back in the newly reintroduced night train from Vienna to Brussels!
Congratulations girls, your wedding is both touching and inspiring. Thank-you so much for sharing your story so wholeheartedly and contributing to a better world through your wedding. x