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My big bridal party

The wedding of Laura and Jamie really was a BIG day!

Laura Kahar Steele, 23, Perth, WA

Unpacking my clothes at the start of my holiday in Sydney, I saw my best friend Serene, 22, come bouncing in the room.

'You should see Matt's friend. He's really cute,' she giggled. Matt, 30, was the friend we were staying with.

My eyes fell on a tanned guy with a shaved head. I stuck out my hand but he leant over and kissed me. 'I'm Jamie,' he said.

He was originally from London and I liked his accent and easygoing manner. He was lovely but when the night ended, so did my thoughts about Jamie.

A year later I went to Canberra for a piano-teachers conference. I gave private lessons and was keen to develop in the field. On my last night, I bumped into a familiar face. 'I know you from somewhere,' we both said.

I was pleased to see Jamie again, and we went for a drink. At 30, he was 10 years older than me, but he was so easy to talk to. We agreed to stay in touch.

Back home in Perth I was up at 6am to help in my parents' newsagency. The phone rang, and it was Jamie. 'I'm on my way to work,' he said. The two-hour time difference between Perth and Sydney meant Jamie became my alarm clock every morning.

'Come over for my 21st,' I suggested. So in August, 2007, he came to Perth and met all my family and friends.

In October that year I was back in Sydney for another conference and by the end of the week, Jamie and I were an item.

'How is this going to work?' I asked. 'We'll make it,' he smiled.

From then on Jamie flew to Perth every second weekend and our relationship just got better.

wedding

In April 2008 we got engaged and Jamie moved in with me and my parents, Lisah and Gunawan.

I had the piano studio at the front of my parents' house so my 36 students, aged five to 15, soon realised I had a man in my life.

'Hi Jam Jam,' they called when he came in. 'G'day,' he laughed.

When the kids found out about the wedding, they all wanted a part in it. 'I'd really like my students to be involved in some way,' I told Jamie.

'I'm not surprised,' he smiled, knowing how attached I was to them. I felt like they were seeds I'd nurtured and watched grow.

At our Christmas concert that year I announced I wanted each of my 36 students to be part of my wedding party. 'You must be crazy,' some parents chuckled. But the children were ecstatic.

In January 2009 I went to Indonesia to get dresses and suits made, and two wedding planners, Rod and Suman, helped organise the rest.

wedding

When I told them how many children were in the party, they thought they'd misheard. 'We'd better make it a two-hour wedding rehearsal,' they gasped.

On the big day, October 18, 2009, when I saw the children looking so lovely, I got teary.

It took 10 minutes for everyone to parade down the aisle, including our five bridesmaids and five groomsmen. All up there were 48 people in the bridal party, including Jamie and me.

After the ceremony each child released a butterfly and made a wish. 'I wished you'd be happy forever,' one student said.

Today, two months on, we're settling into married life. My students now call me Mrs Steele instead of Laura.

I recently heard an Indonesian belief that the more people who walk you down the aisle, the longer your marriage will last. On that basis, Jamie and I will have many happy decades together!

Did you have a unique part on your wedding day? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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