Natasha and I worked together a thousand years ago for Flight Centre in Brisbane. Many years later via the wonders of Facebook, Natasha watched whilst I did the 1001 assessments required to become a Celebrant and I watched whilst her romance with Franko blossomed! I was absolutely thrilled and slightly terrified when she asked me to help her marry her gorgeous Columbian – the paperwork was just one of the hurdles we had to overcome!
Natasha and Franko are now happily married and have gone back to Columbia where they run the restaurant they’ve built together on the beach at Palomino, so if you’re ever in that part of the world drop in to Tanko for a meal and one of Natasha’s amazing cocktails and say hello.
I told Natasha that I wanted to start a blog that offered a great story about my gorgeous couples as well as some sage advice. She immediately offered to help, and battled on through the challenges of lousy internet (it’s not terribly reliable in Columbia) and the effects of the bottle of wine she was enjoying having just found out her cat was pregnant again!
An excerpt from Natasha and Franko’s ceremony that tells how they met
The first inkling we had that something momentous was about to occur was an innocuous Facebook post by Natasha on the 05th of Feb and I quote: ‘found an awesome bar in Cartagena (Colombia) that has quickly become my local. Music, cerviche, hookers and strange men sending beer to me!’
I know you won’t find it too hard a stretch to imagine our Natasha sitting in a bar! However on this particular day she found herself the object of some considerable attention from a couple of the locals!
Franko and his friend John who owned the cerviche bar, spent many happy afternoons playing a game they liked to call ‘he who picks up the most female backpackers wins’! I’m not sure who was winning on this particular day, however it was halted abruptly when Franko set eyes on Natasha.
Colombians are a passionate bunch and they tend to do things very quickly, so when they decide they’re in love – that’s it! And when they fall in love, it’s a profound love. “Amor es Profundo”
Franko took one look at Natasha, and without ever meeting or speaking with her turned to his friend John and said ‘this girl is for me, that’s the woman I’m going to love for the rest of my life’.
He then invited Natasha to the first of many nights of Salsa dancing, as Franko explained: my English wasn’t good, her Spanish wasn’t good – our only language was Salsa.
Theme: We didn’t really have one, although Salsa instructors were there to give everyone a taste of our life together. So maybe I would say the theme was “Getting to Know Natasha & Franko” as we had met and lived overseas our whole relationship.
Favorite Wedding Day Memory: The reaction everyone had to the salsa lessons. Everyone including Joan who was 92 and blind got up and had a dance. It was magical.
Funniest Wedding Day memory: Definitely the ceremony written by you Karyn. It was so obvious that you had listened to us and you captured the soul of our romance, our life and our love. There were moments where Franko and I, as well as the guests were laughing out loud. It was such a great way for everyone to get to know us and the journey we had been on.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank : Well there are two. My Dad who had everything except the flowers arranged before I even had flights booked to travel home. He was incredible and so organised.
Second and definitely not least would be you Karyn. Your professionalism and your assistance in helping me – an Australian resident get married to a Colombian was amazing. Your help during our international Skype sessions and the meetings when we arrived in Oz to get to know Franko. And also your professionalism and insistence that Franko should understand every aspect of what was being said, signed and understood. It was greatly appreciated and admired. There is no annulment happening here!
Natasha’s advice for Brides: Don’t take the day too seriously. Plan and think about what you really want and stick to that. Remember that things will go wrong (they always do) but chill it is your day to enjoy with your husband and guests.
Franko’s advice for Grooms : Write your own vows. It will mean the world to her and the guests will be in tears guaranteed. It’s not easy to express what you feel in words as a bloke but it is worth it on the day. Also clean socks.
Engagement Ring: Frankos proposal was a bit unexpected – probably for both of us – so he did not have a ring on hand. After the proposal I mentioned that I wanted to wear a ring of my mothers. She had passed on a few years ago and the ring was very special to me. Franko agreed but when we returned to Brisbane and took it out of storage Franko got down on one knee and proposed again with the ring in front of my father. It was romantic and special.
Wedding Bands: This was Frankos surprise, he had them designed by a friend in Santa Marta and they are matching bands of yellow and white gold.
Brides Gown: I was never going to wear white. As soon as I saw the red Grecian style gown in Santa Marta I was in love. It looked graceful, covered up the fact that I was wearing flats and moved fantastically when I waltzed. Sorry to the wedding police but red is my colour.
Grooms Suit: In keeping with the fact that we were getting married in a boat club in the afternoon, Franko did not wear a suit but looked gorgeous in smart casual attire. After a few weeks of searching we finally found his outfit about 3 days before the wedding whilst in Noosa. Thankfully because things were getting a bit stressful as Latinos like to dress well.
Reception Venue : Moreton Bay Boat Club – they did a wonderful job with the tables and decorations, everyone loved the food and we had ample space and privacy. I would definitely recommend them however their location could be an issue for some.
Wedding Co-ordinator: David Hugh Holloway, Father extraordinare who had everything except the flowers organised before I had even bought the tickets to come home.
Photographer: A friend and partner in crime agreed to take the photos and was amazing. My godfather also took control of a camera. I enjoyed the personal aspect that they brought to the photos.
Stylist: None. I knew what colours I wanted and apart from that the venue organised the tables, runners and chair decorations and it looked awesome.
Flowers: Brisbane Flower Markets at Rocklea. I just went there saw what they had and decided two days beforehand. Can I say CHEAP and BEAUTIFUL, the range and selection were amazing and they looked fantastic on the day.
Wedding Cake: My sister in law made the cake
Invitations: Same sister in law
Entertainment: We did our own play lists for the music during the ceremony but at the reception I organised Salsa instructors from Rio Rythmics, the guys that turned up were great and very friendly.