Read more by Leanne!

Everything that you see on social media is hand-selected to make life look perfect. I know that you already know that, but I think it’s important to have a little reminder of that every once in a while. My life for the past year or so has been what dreams are made of – moving to Australia, traveling the world, marrying my best friend and then honeymooning in the most beautiful country of all time. As much as I love to share beautiful images and impacting stories as I experience them, I want to make it clear that this life is real, raw life – and it’s not perfect in any way! In preparing to share something about our wedding & honeymoon, I could have picked out the most beautiful moments and the most awe-inspiring stories. But, I really felt like it would be best to share some less glamorous moments. Some moments that make up what life is really about. After all, can’t we all agree that the bloopers are the best part of every movie?

Real-Life Wedding Moments

1. The morning of our wedding was stressful – well, at least to me.

During the planning of our wedding, I kept imagining how I would feel and act that day. I saw myself as a calm, ethereal bride that had time to lovingly compliment everyone around me and didn’t even need to look at a clock. In reality, I literally forgot the entire schedule that I had gruellingly planned and ran around most of the morning like a chicken with my head cut off. But, thankfully, Chris was stable as ever. He reminded me that I didn’t need to do everything myself, he moved things all over the place for me until I saw my vision, and he’s the one that finally got me out the door from setting up to go eat something. I wish I hadn’t been as stressed as I was, but I’m thankful that I got a really solid reminder that day of what I love about my husband. Neither of us are perfect, but in our faults we can compliment each other. And, when we are both too weak, God is always there holding everything together.

2. I was incredibly cold.

The weather on our wedding day was absolutely miraculous. It was meant to rain all day, but we had the most perfect break of sun for our ceremony. I have ingrained in my memory the moment I walked down the aisle and saw Chris, and how he was surrounded by a halo of beautiful sunlight shining off of the wet lawn. However, even though it was magical and looks quite pleasant in photos, it was COLD. At that point I wasn’t sure what was nerves and what was shivering, but I know I was experiencing both. The rain parted once again for our portraits after the reception – another blessing. It was probably the closet I’ve come to getting frostbite in my life, but it was worth it for the beautiful images and memories of being close to my new husband for the first time.

3. Our first dance as husband and wife was a train wreck.

I’m sure friends and family would say we looked cute but, let me tell you, Chris and I are not dancers in any way. During the dance, Chris whisper-admitted to me that he thought the “practice” we did the night before was just a joke and he had no idea what to do. Somehow, though, I didn’t care that all of our nearest and dearest had their eyes on us while we stepped on each others toes. I remember laughing so hard and being so excited to dance terribly with this guy for the rest of my life.

Real-Life Honeymoon Moments

4. We miscommunicated.

We spent about four days searching for an eski (or cooler, chilly bin, coolbox, depending on where you’re from) because we both thought the other one wanted it, but neither of us actually did. It was only after we finally found one – for $90 – that we admitted we were both only still dedicated to the search because of the other person. However, without this epic search for an eski, one of our favourite stories about discovering a giant fibreglass carrot in the middle of a park wouldn’t have occurred. And, we wouldn’t have learnt a few valuable lessons about communication.

5. We had the worst ferry ride of our lives.

I happen to love boat rides. Airplanes put me to sleep, but on a boat I can stare out onto the sea, read, pray, and feel creative. This boat ride wasn’t like that. We were fairly warned before heading onto the ferry that the sea was looking pretty rough that day. Four metre swells, to be exact (that’s about 13 feet). Chris helped himself to a lot of food before we left the dock, and… let’s just say that he regretted that fairly quickly. We ended up rocking back and forth for about an hour, glimpsing the horizon for just a moment during each side-to-side movement. Finally, the rocking stopped as we pulled into the strait and we enjoyed some gorgeous scenery of the top of the South island. I think the miserable first hour made that last part even better. We were so thankful for the ability to stand up straight above the smooth water and breathe in the salty air.

6. We missed home – without really knowing where home was.

New Zealand was, without a doubt, the most beautiful place I have ever been to. At no point, though, did it feel like home. We stayed in mostly wonderful accommodations, ate fantastic food, and saw the most incredible forests & mountains that made both of us feel close to God. Having just come from one home in the the States and heading then to our next home in Perth, though, I never felt very settled. God is revealing to me lately an even deeper understanding of what the definition of “home” is, and I was thankful for the experience of finding Him in a new place.

I find that reflecting on these not-so-great moments makes the entire experience of our wedding and honeymoon even better. Now I can laugh at how stressed I was on the wedding day, and how much I wanted to hurl on that ferry. And with a light-hearted perspective on the bloopers, the highlights shine even more. I love living life with Chris, and with God. I love that our life together is incredibly real, raw, and an opportunity to learn and grow.

So, enjoy some amazing photos (thanks Maggie Grace Photography!) and an outstanding video (Goose Films is the best!) from our wedding, and some of our very own from New Zealand… and keep in mind that our life is far from perfect – but that’s what makes it life!


  • mom Jeanne says:

    As always, I love your honesty!. You are blessed to stand on the Solid Rock (even on barfy ferry rides), and have a firm foundation in Him as you muck through the messy of real life. xxoox

  • Kelly Schraer says:

    A few days before your wedding day, your dad asked the question for us to describe the girl Chris would pick for his soulmate. Although I felt like I knew Chris fairly well, I admit I was perplexed on how to answer the question, so I didn’t answer. If I were asked again, my answer would be simple “LEANNE”. You are not only beautiful on the outside, but beautiful on the inside. You are right, you guys are not perfect, but you are perfect for one another. Keep writing, it is a gift of yours. Love and prayers, Kelly

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we are the rileys

We are a newlywed couple serving in Christian missions.

God has called us to Youth With a Mission in Perth, Australia. We have a heart for the city of Perth and for reaching Aboriginal people here in Western Australia. We would also love to see transformation and mobilisation through partnering with local initiatives in other nations in short-term outreach trips. Together, we have a passion for mentorship and discipleship of young people. Chris is gifted in meeting practical needs, and Leanne has a big desire for the sphere of Media & Communications.

This is our blog, a place to share what God is doing as well as things we learn as we journey through the adventure of following Jesus!