I’m completely on board with celebrating the gift of a loving parent. However, I’m aware that this can be a difficult time for those who don’t have their father around, so if this is a trigger for you, please click off now and take care to be kind to yourself this weekend. I know how lucky I am to still have my father with me and this post is to honor him and share a little about our loving relationship.
My dad walked me down the isle in July. As a mature bride I was so fortunate that dad was able to take part in the celebration of my marriage to Sam. At eighty-seven he’s endured two hip replacements and a knee replacement. If he has to walk any distance, he uses the aid of crutches. He was determined to walk me down the isle. I think, in some part, he still sees me as his little girl.
At the reception, he managed to dance a gentle waltz with me so I'd have a special father-daughter moment with him. After he was again seated at his table he said, “I didn’t think I’d be able to do it.” But he was smiling broadly. It makes me emotional to recall this because it shows how he’d pushed himself because he knew what it would mean to me.
His whole life is centered around his family. His children are very important and he always admired mum for the wonderful job she did with looking after us all. But he was there, providing for his family and guiding his children with his wisdom.
As the baby of the family, I was indulged. I sat on his knee to watch TV until I grew too tall. He played ballet music on the stereo so I could dance to it. When I’d tried to make myself stilts (they were all the rage with the kids at the time) with nailed together bits of wood, they kept falling apart so Dad made sturdy ones that were screwed together and braced. I had heaps of fun walking around on them.
Widowed two years ago, his focus is now on his two daughters. He alternates Sunday nights with me and my sister. We make a roast dinner and send him home with enough leftovers for two more meals for dinner during the week. We visit during the week and each night we take it in turns to call him and have a chat about our day. But he's very independent and still does his own supermarket shopping and brings homes treats for us to enjoy when we have lunch with him.
I find at this time of life I’m also grateful for what I’m able to do for dad. Like my sister and brother in law, Sam and I take dad on holiday with us. We enjoy going out for lunch and visiting attractions. Dad is happy to do whatever Sam and I like and of course we're happy to take dad to see the things he would like too.
In my romance writing dad inspires my heroes. They hear the call to action that fatherhood requires and are sensible of the responsibility that it carries. Angus, from 'The Scottish Billionaire's Secret Lover', is a father in waiting. He has the welfare of orphans at the center of all he does and is a father figure to a little boy in need of surgery to repair disfigurement. He thinks he needs an aristocratic, arranged marriage but subconsciously he really wants a wife who possesses a nurturing heart, with whom he can make the family he always wanted.
Alessandro, from 'The Italian Billionaire's Secret Baby', was a boy when he lost his father in a racing car accident. Determined not to put a child of his through the same ordeal he refuses to have children while pursuing the same career but he discovers he has a toddler son. He immediately wants to step up and be a hands on father, but he has to understand what that really takes in order to win a place in his son's life and the heart of his estranged wife.
Dad showed me what it is to be a father who takes that responsibility to heart. He loves his children and supports them to the best of his ability. This Father’s Day, it’s my pleasure to have dad for Sunday dinner. My sister and husband will join us and it looks like my kids will be coming too, as they usually do on Sundays to see their grandad. It will be a roast, probably lamb, which is an Australian staple, with apple sponge and ice-cream for dessert. Dad will be the guest of honor and I can’t express how lucky that makes me feel.
Dora Bramden writes heart-melting, passionate romance.
When Sam and I decided to move our wedding forward so that we could travel later in the year it meant we’d be having a winter wedding. We found that although we wouldn’t have the advantages of longer days and warm weather that you have with a spring wedding, it provided us with significant benefits.
1. The price per head, that reception venues charge, is cheaper in the winter. Also, keep an eye out for an added winter discount. Many reception venues advertise price reductions to attract bookings during, the slow months of the year. We saved almost a third on the cost of the reception at Ballara Receptions and were given exactly the same service and quality of food that we would have had in the spring time.
2. Finding a venue that suits you with dates available is much more likely in the winter. Spring weddings for popular venues are usually booked eighteen months to two years in advance but winter weddings are obviously much less in demand.
3. There are no worries about if it will rain and ruin a garden wedding. It probably will rain in the winter, so have a lovely chapel or beautifully decorated space organised to marry in. We chose a venue that had a chapel attached which came decorated with white flower garlands and urns as part of the hire price. I loved the gazebo effect of where we were married.
4. The days are shorter but you get gorgeous twilight photography opportunities. We had a skilled photographer, Peter Layton, take our wedding photos which I'm also using in this post. So far as taking photos outside, on our day it did rain on and off but we were able to gets lots of good shots between showers. I got sprinkled with light rain when Sam and I were having our photos taken after the ceremony but you’d never know from the photos.
5. Winter wonderland charm for your white wedding. In Australia, winter is in the middle of the year so we often have Christmas in July, I took it a step further and had a wedding in July. On Pintrest I saw a picture of a bride wearing a white fur stole and decided that's how I wanted to stay warm. I also really like the lacework of the bare branches on the trees at this time of year.
6. You can savor a hot meal when it’s cold outside. We had hot appetizers, entrees, main meals and hot puddings for dessert. The food at our reception was delicious. Our guests raved about how good the food was. The quality was exactly the same as if we’d paid the high season price and we got to enjoy our hot meal more because of the cooler weather in winter.
7. Choosing the desired celebrant, photographer and DJ/master of ceremonies, and singer for the ceremony is easier as they are less booked up in the winter. I have a post on making our wedding plans and who we used and I'll link it here.
You can still get lovely flowers in the winter. There are flowers grown in hot houses or shipped in from warmer climates available. It's even possible to put a bouquet together the day before the wedding, like I did. Your florist will be able to advise you.
Time of Ceremony
Plan to wed earlier in the day. We had chosen a lovely venue whose staff were experienced with winter weddings. They were able to advise us what time to plan the ceremony in relation to the daylight hours we would have, how long it would take for photos. They had a warm reception foyer where our guests were served canapes during that in-between time. On the day, it was perfect timing.
If I had my time over, I would still choose a romantic winter wedding.
Dora Bramden writes heart-melting, passionate romance.
Some of you may have read the post about our honeymoon over on Romancing the Genre's blog where I'm a contributor on the first Thursday of the month. This week's blog is a re-post for my regular readers but with a video and some photos not seen before. Besides that there are extra details about what we did. Starting with the following little story.
As I was getting ready to on our wedding day, my sister asked if I'd told the B and B we were staying at that it was our honeymoon. When she heard I hadn't, she said I should make sure they know because they might do something a bit special for us. I sent them a text confirming our accommodation and expressing how much I was looking forward to spending our honeymoon with them. The owners made an extra effort to make the rooms romantic.
On Monday, we arrived at Carlyle House in the afternoon. The Victorian facade, with gables and verandas, was decorated with iron lace that set the tone for our romantic honeymoon. The owners greeted us and showed us through the ornate entrance hall to our suite. Carlyle House had once been a doctor's residence and we were staying in what had once been the consulting rooms, now converted into a lovely lounge, bedroom and en-suite. Named The Tokay suite it would be our base for the next four nights.
On entering we were greeted with a white MR & MRS sign sitting on the fireplace and rose petals scattered on the hearth area. On the king size bed was a tray with champagne and chocolates and a little dish of blueberries and strawberries. After the romance of our wedding, our honeymoon suite didn’t disappoint.
An extra piece of information, The Tokay suite with a lounge room was the same price as rooms that only had a bedroom and en-suite. For what we had it was very reasonable.
The first evening we went to one of the pubs for dinner and enjoyed well-prepared staples. It was crowded in the pub and we enjoyed noticing who else was dining there.
We began exploring the wine district on Tuesday. After a walk up and down the shops in the main street, and a drive around the town of Rutherglen, we had lunch at DeBortoli. Sam and I couldn’t stop talking about how delicious our meal was. The glass wall of Tulleries Restaurant looks onto a formal and elegant courtyard. A center fountain focal surrounded by artistic plot plant displays which added elegance to our dining experience.
During our morning walk, I wandered into a second hand bookshop and picked up some light reading for our stay. Of course I chose something romantic. Being a Jane Austen fan, I couldn't resist a fan fiction novel of Pride and Prejudice from Mr Darcy's point of view. There were two to choose from by different authors. I chose this one because I enjoyed the writing style of the first few pages best. Every day I looked forward to dipping into Amanda Grange's world of 'Mr Darcy's Diary'. Once or twice I didn't agree with what Amanda thought he say or think that but most of the time I was right there with her. It was fascinating being inside his thoughts about his world and his opinions of Elizabeth and the comical characters like Mr Collins.
In the afternoon, we enjoyed a country drive to Corowa (a nearby town on the Murray River) and walked the shopping district. We noted that a few wineries on way and made plans to return in a day or two. We headed to another pub for dinner and recognized a group of two couples that had been dining where we were the night before. They nodded to us and we smiled at them.
We decided to go for a drive farther afield on Wednesday. We lunched at Beechworth, a town renowned for its bakery. I'm a Coeliac so I couldn’t eat there, but we found a cafe that had a GF frittata on the menu. We enjoyed browsing the many boutiques and gift shops. For dinner, we had a booking at the renowned Taste Restaurant in Rutherglen.
While savoring our entree at a table close to the front window, who should walk in? The same group of four that we’d dined with the last two nights. We took a look at each other and started to laugh. “Hello again,’ we said. They stopped and talked to us for a while about where each of us was staying and what we’d been doing. It turned out they had also been to Beechworth that day for lunch and that they had lunch reservations at the same winery as us for the following day.
Thursday morning we did some wine tasting at Warrabilla Wines because we’d enjoyed drinking their Shiraz with our meal the night before.
We left with a box of Shiraz and then went on to the Terrace Restaurant at All Saints for our lunch. We were enjoying our main meal when our new friends came in and it was like a party. We had so much fun talking all about our holiday week in Rutherglen and discovered that we were all leaving to go home the next day. I also found out that one of the couples owns the Newsagent that I’d been going to for about 20 years!
We visited the cellar for tasting after lunch and bought another box of wine. Sam is feeling very happy at this point but I'd kept a keen eye on how many drinks I'd had, so I drove after lunch.
We left after breakfast on Friday for the drive home, stopping at Glenrowan to visit the Ned Kelly (Famous Aussie Bush-ranger) attractions.
I found a lovely antique shop called Mr Morgan Store with lots of girly things for the Shabby Chic side of me to enjoy. The following video of the delightful shop is an added extra for this blog.
We stopped for lunch with my cousins, who live an hour down the road toward Melbourne. It was a special time catching up with them. Now we're back home. I've been totally pampered and have enjoyed making many happy memories during our Wedding and Honeymoon. I’m still basking in the glow of it all.
In extra news, Sam and I are going for another longer honeymoon to romantic Italy and Cyprus later this year. I'm now in organizing mode for that exciting holiday. Of course there will be blogs to follow about what we are going to do there and travel blogs on our return.
Dora Bramden writes heart-melting, passionate romance
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, including rescuing a couple of old rose bushes and planting new ones.