Real Life

Real life: My entire wedding was made out of balloons!

Our wedding plans were getting bigger and bigger but on the day they blew me away!

By As told to Take 5

Donna Cochrane, 38, from Noosa, Qld, shares her true life story;

Sitting at the airport waiting for our flight, my partner Jason fished a bag of balloons from my handbag.
"Can you teach me how to make something, honey?" he asked.
As a professional balloon artist, I'd been twisting and tying ever since I started working as a magician's assistant when I was 13.
I'd even won seven international awards for my creative designs, including my beautiful inflatable dresses.
Jason, a business owner, had been asking me to teach him the art since we'd started dating six months earlier.
Sitting at the airport waiting for our flight home to Queensland was the perfect opportunity to show him the ropes.
"Let's start by making a flower," I suggested, plucking some balloons from the packet.
After an hour of grunting and groaning, Jason started getting the hang of it.
He enjoyed it so much he began coming with me to events to help out and flying around the world to attend balloon twisting conventions together.
Me as an assistant for magician James Sleight.
He quickly discovered my friends in the industry were just as obsessed with balloons as me.
We were a big happy family that loved spreading colour and joy.
Jason and I had been together three years when he surprised me with an engagement ring. I didn't hesitate to say yes!
"Are you going to wear a balloon dress on our big day?" he asked.
"Of course I am," I cried. I wasn't even joking - and he knew it!
While I loved my balloon dresses, I certainly didn't want the pressure of making my own wedding gown so I asked my friend, Marie, to travel from Arizona to design it for me.
Some cute little balloon monkeys and fairies!
Then I decided it would nice if the four bridesmaid's dresses were inflatable as well.
And if they were going to be made from balloons, Jason would need a blow-up vest to match.
"We'll need to make a big balloon cake, too," I told Jason. "And wouldn't be great if we could get married in a balloon garden?"
Thankfully, he'd grown to love balloons almost as much as me so he agreed wholeheartedly.
Before we knew it, our plans had blown way out of proportion!
We'd agreed to build an enchanted forest, fairy garden, waterfalls, caves, tunnels, animals and trees.
We were out searching for the perfect venue when I had an idea.
"If we're going to go to all this trouble, why don't we open our display up to the public for a few days afterwards?" I suggested.
My bridesmaids and flower girl all wore balloon dresses.
Jason thought it was a fantastic idea. The only problem was we both knew balloons deflated quickly so we'd need to build the magical venue just 48 hours before we said 'I do'.
So, I jumped online and started messaging our balloon-designing family across the globe.
"Would any of you like to help us create an enchanted balloon forest for our wedding?" I asked.
Within hours, we had offers flooding in from friends across Australia, Los Angeles, Canada and Kansas.
I couldn't wait to ask my friend's daughter Mya, eight, to be my flower girl.
We'd really bonded when I'd taught her to make her first balloon skirt at a convention years earlier.
My heart swelled when she asked if she could make her own dress for the big day.
"That would make it even more special," I said, full of pride.
Jason and I were over the moon on our wedding day.
Jason and I'd always been passionate about spreading the message that balloons are made from latex, which is degradable.
So, I called up my supplier and ordered in 100,000 balloons.
"This is going to be one pumped up party," I said.
But my heart started racing when we arrived at the empty leisure centre two days before the wedding.
It was so big and so empty.
"What were we thinking?" I said to Jason, panicking.
My fears soon melted away when 100 of our friends and family turned up to help out.
"Where can we start?" they asked.
The next two days were exhausting, blowing up 72 balloons per minute between all of us.
I couldn't believe my eyes when Jason and I walked down the 16-metre inflatable tunnel in to our magical balloon forest.
We'd both had a vision for our wedding day.
But our friends and family had blown our plans out of the water.
There were dragons, unicorns, mermaids, fairies, flamingos and other mystical forest creatures.
"I feel like Alice in Wonderland," I said, squeezing Jason's hand.
Our inflatable enchanted forest made the perfect venue.
"I feel like Alice in Wonderland," I said, squeezing Jason's hand.
Tears filled my eyes as I walked down the aisle holding my inflatable bouquet the next day with my father by my side.
Jason and our 150 guests were blown away when they saw my corset-style dress made from more than 500 balloons.
"You look stunning," Jason said, tearily.
After we'd exchanged vows, Jason and I decided to tie a few different knots by creating a silver balloon dog together, using one hand each.
"Only you pair would do that," our friends laughed.
Jason, 43, and I are still floating on cloud nine after our big day.
Turns out we created the biggest inflatable wedding the world has ever seen.
I'd always known I wanted my wedding dress to be made from balloons – that was a given.
But I never imagined we'd end up tying around 113,500 knots to say 'I do'.
For someone who never dreamed of having a big white wedding, it's fair to say our wedding plans were blown out of proportion – literally!

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