Gerrard and Alexandra’s trip to Uganda to see the mountain gorillas near the border with Rwanda left them feeling profoundly affected.
One year on, Alexandra has decided to sell her wedding dress and donate the money to the local community hospital. Here is their heart-warming story:
"While we were there, we visited the Bwindi Community Hospital. We were so impressed by this innovative and progressive hospital, whose staff are working hard to ensure access to high quality care for the people of this remote district. In particular, we were impressed by programs such as distributing bed nets to prevent malaria; establishing a 'Waiting Mothers Hostel' so expectant mums don't have to deliver their babies alone and without support; and establishing a school of nursing to improve the quality of care in the whole region.
Gerrard and I met in 2009 in the Emergency Department of the Alice Springs Hospital (he is a doctor and I am a nurse). We got to know each other over a number of night shifts in a busy department that often felt a bit like an episode of M*A*S*H! I left Alice Springs shortly afterwards to take up my next nursing contract in Cape York. Unbeknownst to each other though, we both picked up new jobs in Darwin for the following year. Within a day of arriving in Darwin, Gerrard boarded a bus to meet me in the city for dinner. I got on at the next stop, and we have been together ever since.
I was not one of those brides has always dreamt of her wedding day - I had no preconceived ideas! I only knew I wanted something timeless and classic. As I looked through endless bridal shop websites, felt a bit bewildered but was drawn to the gowns with beautiful lace. After one trip to a shop on my own (that was a bit of a farce!) a dear friend offered to spend a Saturday arvo with me (my Mum and bridesmaid live interstate). I tried on a few dresses, and the last stop was Mariana Hardwick. When I was pinned into the Madison Revamp I felt transformed! Suddenly I felt like a bride. I loved the beautiful lace, the A-line skirt, and the cut of the bodice was so flattering. The 'Miss Chatelaine' crystal belt finished it off perfectly. I found the birdcage veil on Etsy.
Gerrard is Jewish, so it was important for us to incorporate some Jewish traditions into our civil ceremony. We were married under a chuppah, or canopy. It represents the home that we have established. It's open on all sides, symbolising that family and friends will always be welcome. We concluded the ceremony with the breaking of the glass. The fragility of glass suggests the frailty of human relationships and the frailty of human life. Even in times of joy, there is there is the inevitable mingling with sadness. The broken glass serves as reminders that no-one walks into a marriage perfect. (The celebrant said her favourite interpretation is that it's the last time the groom gets to put his foot down!).
For my bridesmaid, it was easy. She has impeccable taste, and I was happy to let her choose whatever she liked: she didn't have to match with anyone! It was obvious as soon as she tried it on. The dusky pink suited her colouring perfectly, and the lace was a perfect complement to my own dress. After that, choosing the flowers was easy!
Gerrard had the idea of using photos of us from our travels as place cards for the reception. They were a hit! He put a lot of work into those. We love jazz, so having a swinging quartet of local Melbourne talent was a priority - and we wanted people to get up and dance!"
Congratulations on your marriage Alexandra and Gerrard. Thank you for sharing your photos and story with us!
You too can donate to Bwindi Community Hospital by visiting their website.By Ingrid Szajer