How did you meet your partner? We grew up in the same area, we knew of each other but never really met until 2010. Crossed paths whilst both on holiday in Queensland December 2010 and realised we lived only a street away from each other back in Sydney. We continued chatting into the New Year and one Saturday night in February he was kind enough to give me a lift home after a night out with my friends. We shared our first kiss and the rest is history.
How long have you been together? Close to 7 years now
Do you have a proposal story? We had moved into our townhouse in April 2016 and in August I spend 5 weeks in Europe with a girlfriend. Whilst I was away, Shaun completely renovated our place. New kitchen, floors, blinds, paint, furniture and with the help of his mum styled it beautifully. When he came to pick me up from the airport after 5 weeks abroad I was disappointed he didn’t have any flowers or balloons or any type of excitement to see me after over a month apart. Little did I know what I was in for. When we got home he said he would grab my suitcase for me so I headed for the front door. I opened the door to a trail of tea candles leading me from the door through the completely overhauled lounge room to the brand new kitchen. Rose petals, champagne and chocolate strawberries. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing — fresh off a 14-hour flight into a brand new home. The final surprise was when I turned around and he dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him.
What was your wedding date? 09/09/2017
Ceremony + Reception
Location? Peppers Creek Chapel & Barrel room, Pokolbin NSW
What made you choose there? Shaun’s Sister and Brother have both had their weddings at that venue. When we attended his brother’s wedding in 2012, I said to Shaun this is where I want to get married. So we had known for years it was a special spot for us and the whole family. It is such a beautiful spot, it was an easy choice.
How was the weather on the day? The fortnight leading up to the wedding date was a rollercoaster forecast. It was predicted to be sunny and 20 degrees, then rainy and 18, down to clear but 15, back to drizzly and 19. Shaun had predicted rain from the day we booked our venue but thankfully, he was wrong and we had a beautiful sunny day and about 22 degrees.
Was there a reason you decided to get married on this date? We didn’t have much choice with what the venue had available. We could either choose September 2, 9 or first week of December. We liked September so chose the 9th. Only later we realized our date would be 09.09.17 which made is like it even more.
What were your favourite parts of the day? The entire weekend was more perfect than we could have ever hoped. We drove up to the Hunter Valley on the Friday and stayed in a beautiful property with our family from Friday until Monday. This made the whole weekend feel so much more meaningful and enjoyable as we spent time with our families, bonding, making memories and enjoying our time all together in a beautiful house overlooking vineyards. It made our whole celebration feel longer and more relaxed as we could stretch it out over the whole extended weekend.
Our day was so beautiful, happy and enjoyable. Our Celebrant was amazing (it was her birthday on our wedding day) she created a relaxed, giggly vibe from the moment she arrived, cracking jokes and setting the whole tone for the ceremony. Seeing Shaun for the first time in my dress was so moving. I knew he would be emotional but seeing him standing in the spot we’d imagined for so many years was something else. His first words were “you look beautiful”. Our ceremony was not what I had expected but so perfect for us. Shaun skipped ahead of the celebrant and blurted out I DO! Before she had even finished her sentence which got the whole chapel laughing. We wrote our own vows which were so special to share in front of our family and friends.
I lost my dad when I was 18 so it was really special for my younger brother to walk me down the aisle. Having my sister in my bridal party and my brother give me away was something really special and memorable.
The Wedding Details
Theme? Our venue was quite rustic but we tried to keep our style more classic and romantic. Our white and green florals with hints of gold fit perfectly with our venue with its warm timber barrels and stone fireplace.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? I have loved weddings for as long as I can remember so our inspiration came from years of Pinterest and Instagram research. My Maid of Honour is also an amazing party stylist so her advice and opinions helped refine our style and find the perfect elements.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. We chose a simple, clean palate of white florals with lots of green. Our wedding invitations were white with green foliage, so we carried that theme through to the wedding day. We felt this was a great fit with the wine country location and a palate that wouldn’t date. It's classic and timeless.
Tell us about your wedding cake. Our cake was made by a local patisserie in Sydney which we love. She makes the most delicious cakes and helped us design our dream wedding cake. We had 2 flavours (lemon coconut and blood orange). It was 3 tiers with the bottom and top semi-naked with gold leaf and the middle a textured white icing. We had the florist prepare some white flowers to help decorate the cake and a gold “Mr & Mrs Vengoa” cake topper
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions? I lost my father when I was 18 years old so had a memorial locket made with a blue ribbon which I tied to my bouquet so that he was with me throughout the day.
Bridesmaids — who/relationship? 4 bridesmaids.
MOH Cassie Kerfoot, my best friend
Sheridan Lonsdale, my sister
Shell Kerfoot, one of my longest friends (and wife of Cassie Kerfoot’s brother)
Ashley Hochstetter, Shaun’s sister
Groomsmen — who/relationship?
Best men — Brenden and Benjamin Vengoa, Shaun’s twin brothers
Daniel Tamone & Daniel Hadley, Shaun’s friends
Flower girls/Page boys — who/relationship?
Ava Vengoa — Benjamin’s eldest daughter and our niece Adam Hochstetter — Ashley’s eldest son and our nephew.
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
Ash wore the Ava bodice with the Karly skirt and Selena Trains
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I fell in love with the Selena dress when I saw Anita & Ross’s wedding photos on Pinterest. I did my research and found the designer and name of the dress. I tried a number of other bridal stores but tried the Selena on at The Paddington store, then David Jones Bridal and finally again at Alexandria store.
How many gowns did you try? I went to about 5 different boutiques to try on dresses, always showing the Selena dress as an example of what I was after.
Where did you purchase your gown from? The Alexandria Flagship boutique
What did you especially like about your gown? I loved the Selena trains, but wanted to choose a different bodice. I am not someone that likes lace or lots of bling so I thought I would choose a plain bodice and let the skirt be the feature. Then at the Alexandria store, we chose a few other dresses, one being the Ophelia which is very delicate and beautiful with its bodice features. We pinned Selena trains to the Ophelia dress and created my dream dress.
I loved absolutely everything about my dress. The bodice held me in tight and gave my waist a beautiful shape, it fit my chest like a glove and I didn’t have any gaping. The skirt and train were exactly what I thought it would be and the shape it gave my silhouette in our photos was just a dream come true. I felt like I couldn’t have picked a more perfect dress.
The part I loved the most was the fact I knew most people wouldn’t expect me to have chosen a dress like this. Before our wedding, so many people told me they predicted me in a fitted, low back dress. So the wow factor was also a lot of fun.
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Rodeo Show. I wanted my bridesmaids to have 3⁄4 dresses and a style that they felt comfortable and beautiful in so that it would be a dress they kept and got use out of in the future. I chose the colour navy and the 3⁄4 length and let the girls choose their own design from the Rodeo Show Bridesmaid range for the top half.
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I chose simple earrings with a pearl and gem stud, with my bridesmaids wearing similar gem studs. Part of Shaun’s wedding gift to me was a pearl bracelet from Swarovski which matched perfectly to my earrings and dress and was the finishing touch I didn’t know I needed!
Where did you get your shoes from? Tony Bianco bridal range
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? I bought the KWH veil V#7A. On the day I decided not to wear it over my face as I walked down the aisle so I wore it pinned into my bun for the ceremony and photos.
What advice would you give brides organising their wedding? Enjoy the experience, because it's sad once you’re on the other side of a wedding and your day is over! I am a personal assistant and a very organized person in general, on top of being extremely interested in weddings. So I created a spreadsheet and a budget/payment plan to keep on top of everything I was organising or still needed to do. I would highly recommend doing this as seeing it all in front of you eliminates a lot of stress and makes you feel on top of it all as you can clearly see where you’re at, what you need to do and make sure you stick to your budget.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip? Our planning process was really easy and enjoyable. We agreed on almost everything we wanted and had a really clear idea of what we wanted our day to be. Things that were really important to us was finding the right celebrant. We wanted people to enjoy our ceremony as much as our reception and really feel the love!
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Try on every style possible at the beginning to refine what style you want. You’ll surprise yourself with what you feel most beautiful in!
First Dance — Acoustic cover of Shania Twain — Still The One
MC — Matt Hochstetter (our brother in-law)
Celebrant — Kerryn Tippet (Wed by Kez)
Stationery — Terrace Press
Extra features — Our drivers Princess Classic Cars were phenomenal, so were the ladies at Peppers Creek who helped with set up and styling on the day.