Whips cracked as the ‘bushrangers’ guided their galloping horses across the paddock and over hay bales. Guests were mesmerised. With the riders dressed in Akubras and Driza-Bones, the show was a nod to the Australian outback and gave Tess Paul and John Sutherland’s wedding an exciting point of difference.
As John had proposed to Tess at the family residence in the Snowy Mountains, the property was the ideal place to host their wedding. “We wanted to get married in a place that held significance for us. When John proposed, he fished a bottle of chilled Champagne he had tied with string out of the cold creek in celebration. The Snowy Mountains is a place we can always go back to and remember our special day,” Tess said. “Our love of adventure and the outdoors brought John and I together and the Snowy Mountains is also where we enjoy many of these pursuits.”
As Tess and John have both worked in project management, their wedding was always going to be a highly organised event with the help of countless spreadsheets and whiteboard brainstorming. As it happened, Tess and her 2 siblings were all getting married in the space of 12 months so their mother was also in full wedding planning mode.
“John was heavily involved in all of the decisions about the wedding from food to flowers and had some very imaginative suggestions. These included training a kangaroo to deliver the wedding rings and hiring a hot-air balloon to take guests for rides!”
On a day with clear blue sky, Tess and John were married under the shadow of Mount Crackenback beside the creek where John had proposed. John and his groomsmen made their entrance riding retro bicycles across the paddock to the ceremony area and Tess’ nieces followed in their lace dresses with sparkling silver shoes and handmade flower chain headbands. “We wanted to create the feeling of being free and peaceful so we chose an open space surrounded by picturesque scenery,” Tess explained. Guests looked on from hay bale seats which Tess had lovingly covered with patterned ‘hippie’ blankets.
The colour scheme for the wedding included hues of pink, purple, yellow, orange, red and white. This rainbow palette contrasted with the dramatic backdrop of the snowgums with their silvery, twisted branches. “I was inspired by bohemian brides and weddings so our theme became ‘refined boho’. We simplified the style to make it true to us.”
Tess and John’s ceremony was intimate, personal and quirky. “We wrote our own vows and made sure every part of the ceremony reflected who we are. After we had been announced as husband and wife everyone tossed confetti and the band kicked it up a notch by playing Sugar, Sugar by The Archies.”
Solar lanterns lit the way to the marquee where dinner was served. The feeling of a large family meal was created with share platters of fresh produce, various meats and warm salads providing a gourmet spread. Guests were treated to the 2-tier, chocolate caramel marble cake with white chocolate ganache. Decorated with roses, eucalyptus, lavender and other blooms it reflected the beautiful natural surroundings.
Eclectic collections of vases overflowing with wild flowers and an abundance of tea light candles created a warm and inviting atmosphere at dinner. “The decorations were designed to add colour to the neutral canvas of the marquee.” Outside Tess had woven silver, bronze, pink and purple streamers through the trees for her own take on the ribbon walls typically used at rustic themed weddings. “My father used the metal circles from old wine casks to create hearts that we placed throughout the property.”
After a heartfelt ceremony and the thrilling, surprise appearance of the bushrangers, a bonfire was lit. By the warmth of the fire guests sipped craft beer, toasted marshmallows and enjoyed the serene view of the mountains.
To see Tess’s style guide, be sure to visit http://www.realweddings.com.au/real-weddings/27/178/tess-felicity-paul-and-john-anthony-sutherland/
Photography by: Alex Pasquali, http://alexpasquali.com/
Touches of Australian natives brought colour and cheer to Jacqueline Hellstern and Todd Gilligan’s wedding at Sergeants’ Mess in Chowder Bay.
Jacqui describes Todd as a true romantic and traditionalist. “We were planning a holiday to Italy where I was secretly hoping he would pop the question. I was however pleasantly surprised when he proposed during a romantic seaside lunch a week before we left.” The couple were able to celebrate their engagement with friends and family before they headed off on their ‘engagement moon’!
“We took a simple and relaxed approach to the wedding planning.” Jacqui and Todd were both heavily involved in the organisation of their special day. “Entertaining our friends and family is what we love to do, so we focused on creating a celebration of love, good food, wine and dancing.”
By settling one important aspect of the wedding per month, the wedding took a year to plan. “The venue set the theme for our wedding. I loved the elegance of the chandeliers, the incredible view and the surrounding Australian native landscape.” As such, ‘A Touch of Native’ was born.
Jacqui’s sister Josie was her only bridesmaid. She wore a bright coral, strapless dress with small train. “The dress was a nice contrast to the soft and romantic tones of the wedding décor,” Jacqui explained. Josie carried a bouquet of roses, blushing bride, tetra nuts and pieris ‘temple bells’. These flowers were also used for the reception decorations.
In keeping with the theme, Jacqui and Todd gave their guests a waratah seedling to plant and grow. “We hope it will always remind our guests of our growing love. The Waratahs are also Todd’s favourite rugby team and having just won the Super XV it was an easy choice for us.”
Todd wore a midnight blue suit with black lapels and bow tie. “I wasn’t allowed to see him in his suit until I was walking down the aisle. Just like my dress, it was a lovely surprise,” Jacqui said. Ironically, Jacqui wore the Karen Willis Holmes ‘Jacqueline’ dress with jewel-beaded embellishment. “It was meant to be because it had my name on it!”
The couple had their first dance to Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight. “Todd often sings this song to me so it was a meaningful choice for us. I will always remember it as our song.”
To see Jacqueline ’s style guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Society Photography
When Nicole and Matthew met, it was love at first sight. Nicole shares the story of their 18-month engagement, and the happiest day of their lives, with Real Weddings.
Matt proposed to me at his uncle’s holiday house in Daylesford. He popped the question whilst we were having a cup of tea one morning before we were headed for a spa session at Hepburn Springs. Before I knew what was happening, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I cried and then remembered to say yes!
That night went to Sault for a delicious dinner to celebrate. It was the first time we had been (to Sault) and we fell in love instantly. I said to Matt, “I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, as we only did just get engaged, but we could get married here!” We spoke to the owner about a few details and then a week later, we booked it in!
I always loved the look of flower halos that some brides wear, however I felt I couldn’t pull it off, so instead I chose an amazing headpiece from Jaenette Maree in Armadale. I described to her what I envisioned and we created a beautiful halo. I paired it with my best friend Marysia’s Tiffany pearl earrings (my ‘something borrowed’), which was really special, as she had worn them on her wedding day.
Joy in Tradition
Walking down the aisle was the happiest moment of my life; seeing Matt for the first time that day. I couldn’t wipe the smile of my face, even if I tried. Matt said this was his favourite moment of the day as well, seeing me in my dress for the first time.
Getting our photos taken before the reception was also so much fun. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! Spending time with our bridal party and having lots of laughs. It also allowed time for Matt and I to catch our breath and have a little chat before we went on to the reception.
My dad made beautiful wooden love hearts as table numbers for us; he also made our table-seating chart. Matt’s step mum Vivienne created our guest favours, which were glass jars filled with little lollies.
I made a box filled with anything a girl could possibly need to freshen up and left it in the female bathrooms. It included perfume, Band-Aids, hair spray, and Panadol. The most popular item was the Mentos!
We also organised a Sunday catch up the next day, for any guests to come and have a drink and debrief about the wedding. It was so good to listen to everyone’s stories from the day.
To see Nicole’s style guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Figtree Wedding Photography
Jessica and Aaron held a cocktail style wedding at Gunners’ Barracks in Mosman, New South Wales. It was an intimate and elegant affair and Jessica looked radiant in her bespoke, soft peach wedding gown.
Jessica had trouble finding a wedding dress that was “just me” so she didn’t end up trying on a single gown. Instead, she took a range of images of styles she liked to Miss Carla, a dressmaker in Manly. Alexander McQueen was a source of inspiration for the gown that was created specifically for Jessica. It had a corset structure to the waist and was detailed with black piping and button fastening. It had a strapless neckline with a sheer back and the A-line skirt was layered with silk and tulle. “The finishing touches were a rose gold metallic belt, cuff and shoes. The look was romantic yet modern and suited my style perfectly,” Jessica said.
Jessica and Aaron’s ceremony took place just before sunset so they chose to have their photographs taken prior to the ceremony, before the light began to fade. “It was so special to have a private moment together before the wedding. Aaron was standing at the end of the long driveway near the waters edge at Gunners’ Barracks and I walked down the ‘aisle’ towards him. It was very touching and personal.”
“My mother and my father walked me down the aisle at the ceremony.” This is another unique choice that Jessica recommends to brides, “It was comforting to have them both beside me as they are equally important in my life.”
“Gunners’ Barracks is an intimate venue that required little decoration. We really wanted the beauty of the place to shine through,” Jessica explained. Jessica and Aaron were able to mix traditional and modern styling through their floral arrangements, Jessica’s gown and the existing décor of the venue.
The floral arrangements consisted of lush greenery with predominantly white flowers. King proteas, peonies, tulips, succulents, jonquils, lisianthuses, corkia, berry and asparagus fern were used. Aaron’s buttonhole was a combination of cymbidium orchids and succulents and was tied with burlap.
To see Jessica’s style guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by My Lens of Love
Krista and Joel always knew they wanted to get married at Stillwater at Crittenden, with Krista frequently visiting the restaurant as a child. Many special dates were also shared; with Joel one day joking to Krista she could go ahead and book in their wedding for the following year. So unbeknownst to Joel – she did!
Upon returning home from work that night, Joel was greeted by a scrabble board with jumbled letters and told to try and decode the message. Eventually he decoded ‘I booked a date’. The pair remained secretly engaged for a week before Joel officially proposed with a timeline of photos from their life together, trailed through their house amongst roses and candles.
Being creative people, Kirsta and Joel wanted to make as many things for their wedding as possible. Their styling followed a wooden, navy blue and grey theme, with feathers used throughout.
The pair chose to make their invitations; hand-stamping the information on plywood. It took several days to hand-cut, sand, and stamp all of the invites; a labour of love. Each invite also came with stickers guests could stick on their calendars to save the date. Each invitation was then tied together with twine and a delicate feather.
Wanting to support an Australian designer, Krista wore an ‘Essence Australia’ wedding gown. The strapless design had a sweetheart neckline and intricate lacing at the back, with a trumpet shape that flowed beautifully into a small train. Joel and his groomsmen wore navy blue suits, continuing the navy theme. Wanting the boys to feel relaxed on the day, Krista and Joel chose less formal navy spotted shirts and navy bow ties to finish off their look. Krista and Joel’s bridesmaids wore stunning full-length gowns with a Grecian feel, and intricate beading at the neckline.
As she was about to walk down the aisle, Krista realised she had forgotten to put on her veil. She raced back to their on-site villa and quickly put it on. “I made it down our long aisle and got to Joel, but as I took his hands a gentle gust of wind came and blew my veil away! Luckily I was able to grab it quickly and whip it back in before the ceremony started. I thought it was hilarious!” recalled Krista.
At their reception, Krista and Joel chose sharing platters rather than set meals, continuing their relaxed style and encouraging their guests to get to know each other.
As Krista and Joel love to garden, and wanted create favours theirs guests would treasure, they chose to plant succulents in recycled, hand-decorated jars. An individualised stamp was made with ‘Let Love Grow J+K 28.11.14’ stamped onto swing tags, attached to each plant.
To see Krista’s style guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Milk Photography
Fresh air, the scent of lavender and local wildlife provided a beautiful atmosphere for Anna Steffensen and Jonathan Fyfe’s secluded, country wedding.
What was your motivation for choosing the venue?
Melross is a working horse and cattle farm sitting on 200 acres of land. Our top priority was to find a venue without limitations where we could celebrate with our friends and family until the early hours of the morning. It was an idyllic setting for our ceremony in the afternoon sunshine.
How did you create a private wedding?
We loved that our venue enabled us to create a wedding away from the public eye. However I think it’s important for other brides to know that a DIY wedding is a lot of hard work to put together especially when the venue is far from a city centre. Nevertheless it does allow you to create the foundations of a great party! Our venue had no capacity or time limitations and the on-site accommodation meant our families could stay in the same location for the whole weekend of festivities.
How did you approach the styling of your wedding?
We wanted our styling to align with the theme of ‘rustic chic’. We also had hints of the 1920s with a kind of Gatsby-esque style present in the décor and my gown. A black tie dress code meant that there was a wonderful juxtaposition between the natural, earth-toned colours of the countryside and the formal attire of the bridal party and guests.
What are the key elements of the styling of your wedding?
The inside of our marquee used sweeping white fabric and masses of wild flowers, gum leaves and branches to bring the outdoors inside. Festoon lights were woven through the fabric with hanging mason jars and plants encased in macramé. The table flowers included roses, hyacinths, echinaceas, lisianthuses, snapdragons and ivy berries and were set between a large number of candles. The hanging material billowed in the breeze as we dined on long, timber, trestle tables below the glow of chandeliers and cane baskets with inset globes. Was there a highlight of the day? The bridal party’s entrance to the reception was a particular highlight. Jonathan and I had chosen a song for each couple that we thought suited their personalities as a surprise. When they were introduced they had 20 seconds to dance to their song. It was very amusing watching everyone standing outside the marquee practising their moves.
Is there a story behind the cake topper?
We received the porcelain cake topper at our engagement party from two close friends who had recently been married. The groom was Norwegian and had made their wedding cake himself. He gave the cake topper to us as a challenge for Jonathan to do the same. Jonathan created a 3-tier, white chocolate mud cake with buttercream icing that was then decorated by our florist. At the end of the evening we cut the cake and passed on the cake topper to two of our close friends who are due to be married in Canada. We have fondly named it ‘Ole’s Norsk Tradition’.
To see Anna’s style guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Blumenthal Photography
The landscaped lawns and lush gardens of Oatlands House provided a romantic backdrop for Elaine and Lymer’s June wedding.
With its pillared terrace, Georgian architecture and renovated ballrooms with gold embellishments, Oatlands House epitomises French opulence. Elaine and Lymer fell in love with the gardens of the venue and the elegant décor of the main house. “The venue was spacious and comfortable. Oatlands House ticked all the boxes for us,” Elaine said.
The couple chose an ivory, gold, black and blush pink colour scheme. “We had champagne coloured tablecloths, ivory blooms and an assortment of votive and tea light candles to decorate the reception space.”
Elaine and Lymer had white salt and pepper shakers in the shape of love birds for their wedding favours and had created their own stationery for their invitation suite and place settings. “Conveniently my sister is a graphic designer, so together we created stationery that was classic and simple. Our invitation suite was tied with an ivory ribbon. They took us 3 months to design, cut and print,” Elaine explained.
Elaine and Lymer had a 3-tier cake with layers of black velvet, white chocolate and strawberry salted caramel. It was iced with buttercream frosting and complete with gold heart cake toppers that sparkled in the candlelight. Copious amounts of soft coloured flowers encircled the cake.
Elaine looked radiant in her strapless, A-line dress with bias, full skirt. The glittering bodice was fastened with an oversized bow and she carried a bouquet of roses, peonies, sweet peas, berries and dusty miller in pastel peaches and lilacs that matched Lymer’s buttonhole. Lymer looked suave in his navy tuxedo and patterned bow tie. Elaine’s bridesmaids wore dresses with convertible straps so they could add their own style to their outfits.
“Enjoy your wedding day because it flies by so fast. Although I was a little nervous as I walked down the aisle, by the time the reception started I was so excited and relaxed!” Elaine remembered.
To see Elaine’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Silk Truffle Photography
The 2015 Met Ball was held on May 4th, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the Costume Institute exhibition “China: Through the Looking Glass” is showing this spring, also the theme for the ball.
One of fashions most highly regarded events, our eyes were glued to the red carpet, as an abundance of creativity and colour was on show.
Here in the Real Weddings office we have compiled a list of our favourite gowns, including our choice for Best Bridal Look – Amanda Seyfried in Givenchy. We also must give a nod to the dapper gentlemen in their stylish tuxedos!
Amanda Seyfried in Givenchy and Justin Long
Brie Larson, Courtney Eaton and Annabelle Wallis
Amal and George Clooney
Images via vogue.com.au
The 57th Annual TV Week Logie Awards were held on Sunday night, at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne, and here in the Real Weddings office we eagerly awaited the red carpet arrivals.
Plunging necklines and plenty of black gowns were on show, as well as sequins galore.
Here we have selected our top ten ensembles from the evening, with Davina Smith taking out Best Bridal Look. Former ‘Real Weddings’ bride Rebecca Judd wore a punch of watermelon in a stunning gown by J’Aton, pictured below.
Scherri Lee Biggs
Photos via Popsugar
On a trip to Europe with friends, Lauchlan staged a romantic proposal to Bonnie in front of the Eiffel Tower. Leading Bonnie on a lap of the entire tower before he built up the courage to get down on one knee, Lauchaln then proposed with a stunning diamond engagement ring. Shortly after she said yes, The Eiffel Tower’s light show began, making the moment truly magical.
Wanting a venue that could tie in with their Old Hollywood theme, yet have a modern feel, Bonnie and Lauchlan fell in love with Yering Station in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. They admired the beautiful grounds, and the restaurant’s high ceilings and vast windows overlooking the property had a striking impact at their reception.
Bonnie’s ivory French lace gown was hand crafted by Maria Gonzales Bridal Couture, and set the Old Hollywood theme for the day. To show off the button detailing on the back of her gown, Bonnie chose a short veil with boarded lace.
Lauchlan wore a classic black tuxedo and bow tie, with a small white peony button hole, to tie in with the theme.
In keeping with their elegant Old Hollywood theme, Bonnie and Lauchlan chose a simple black and white letterpress design on thick card stock made by Peace Love Letterpress. A single outlined heart motif was used on their invitations and RSVP’s, which was carried throughout their on-the-day stationery, on their menus and seating plan.
When Bonnie and Lauchlan’s guests entered their reception venue they were greeted with their ‘Love Story’; a photography display of unforgettable moments in their lives together. An illuminated ‘LOVE’ sign also adorned the edge of the dance floor, and became the background to many of their loved ones’ photos for the evening.
Bonnie and Lauchlan chose to combine their guest favours and place cards to create something special for their guests. Delicious mini snickers and mint cake jars made by The Cupcake Occasion sat at each guests place setting, adorned with name tags by Peace Love Letterpress, each with their single outlined heart motif.
Bonnie and Lauchlan chose a simple ivory, three tiered wedding cake with fresh bloom embellishments. Chocolate mud, caramel mud and white chocolate raspberry made up the three tiers, with decorative fondant hand crafted with tiny dotted detailing.
For their grand finale at the end of the night, Bonnie and Lauchlan walked through a pathway of waving sparklers as their guests sent them off as husband and wife.
To see Bonnie’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Joseph Koprek