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Rachel & Brendan's Beautiful Balmoral Beach Wedding

Posted on 09 Dec, 2015
Rachel & Brendan's Beautiful Balmoral Beach Wedding


How did you meet your (now) husband? Brendan and I met at my maid of honour’s wedding in 2010 - I was a bridesmaid and Brendan was one of the guests.

How long have you been together? We have been together pretty much ever since, so nearly six years!

Do you have a proposal story? I just finished my last ever university exam and Brendan told me he wanted to take me out to celebrate. I was so focused on finishing university that I didn’t even think anything of the dinner. He took me to the same restaurant we went to on our first date and after dessert he got down on one knee and proposed – I had been watching the table next to us sing Happy Birthday to someone so needless to say I was in complete shock! When we arrived home our families were there waiting to celebrate with champagne. It was an amazing night.

The Wedding

What was your wedding date? Friday 28th August 2015

Location (Ceremony and Reception)

Where? Ceremony was on Rocky Point Island at Balmoral Beach and the reception was at Public Dining Room, also located on Balmoral Beach. 

What made you choose there? I am not very much of a beach person but I have always enjoyed Balmoral Beach as it is such a beautiful spot. When considering where we wanted to celebrate with our family and friends we wanted it to be a place that meant something, and somewhere we could easily return both together and with our children in the future. Good food and wine were also a must for us, which is why Public Dining Room was the perfect option for the reception.

How did you find it? As I said above, we had been going to Balmoral Beach for a few years before we got engaged, so we knew the area well before the time came to pick a spot, which made it an easy decision.

How was the weather on the day? The forecast had said rain all week and so I was slightly nervous given our outdoor ceremony, but the day ended up being slightly overcast but lovely (even if it was a little bit windy).

What made you decide to get married on this particular date? There was nothing particular about this date.


The Wedding Details

Theme ? We definitely wanted bright, fresh flowers to be the focus of the styling. These were styled in and around a lot of copper toned vases, tea candles and terrariums. We worked with a stylist to create the perfect look that was on trend and modern.

Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? Through looking at wedding magazines and also a bit of Pinterest.

Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? My husband and I made the bombonieres – we sourced the macarons, glass jars, ribbon and custom made labels and packaged these the day before the wedding.


Wedding Gown (the most important part!)

What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I had looked at your website and seen your gowns featured in several bridal magazines and was surprised by how many different styles I liked by the one designer. I thought it would be a good way to determine which styles to cut out of the running – I didn’t anticipate falling in love with several KWH dresses!

Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? In bridal magazines and online.

How many gowns did you try? I tried on four Karen Willis Holmes gowns, and honestly loved them all for different reasons. I had to do several trips with my mother, bridesmaids and other friends to determine which of the dresses embodied me the most – we ended up agreeing that this was the Vanessa gown!

Where did you purchase your gown from? Akina Bridal Couture – this was based in Castle Hill but has since shut down.

What did you especially like about your gown? I am not a particularly over-the-top dresser in my day-to-day life and wanted a dress that was understated and worked well with the shape of my body – I felt this dress was those things for me (as well as extremely comfortable!).



Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Zimmermann

Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? Institchu

What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? Both my and the bridesmaid’s earrings were from Samantha Wills. I also gave each of my bridesmaids a personalized clutch from The Daily Edited. My belt was from Karen Willis Holmes.

Where did you get your shoes from?W Tony Bianco

 Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? My veil was also from Karen Willis Holmes.



What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? Don’t overthink it – there are a lot of elements to a wedding but if you can break it down into small, manageable tasks per week there should be no need to stress or run out of time – remember it isn’t meant to cause you stress. Also, keep a book with you to write down notes or questions – there were many times I was out with a friend or at work when an idea/question popped into my head and having that book meant I didn’t lose the thought before I could action it.

What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Don’t be afraid to try on dresses that you aren’t instantly drawn to on the rack – I have had friends (myself included) who have done this and it has ended up being the gown they choose.

Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day – Our wedding was originally planned for November 2015 in the Hunter Valley – we had some real trouble with our venue and ended up losing it in late December last year. Even though re-planning a wedding in a completely new location was stressful, we wouldn’t change our wedding for anything, and it showed us that there are great people out there who are willing to go above and beyond to help ensure your day is perfect.


 Stylist/Florist – Piccolo & Poppi (https://www.facebook.com/piccolopoppi?fref=ts). I found this supplier through Facebook, and fell in love with all the images of previous weddings they had done. Once I had my first meeting I was sold on their vision, and Ashleigh and the team delivered above and beyond what I expected. The team set up both the ceremony and reception, and also did all of the flower arrangements as well as the bouquets and buttonholes. I had such faith in the Ashleigh’s abilities I just requested certain colours for the bouquets and only saw the end result on the day of the wedding – needless to say I was very happy. 

Photographer – Cavanagh Photography (http://www.cavanaghphotography.com). I found Adam through the Hunter Valley Wedding Planner when my wedding was going to be in the Hunter Valley. Again I made sure I looked at all his previous work and just fell in love with the way his photos turned out. Adam was incredibly easy to work with and I had all my photos the week I returned from my honeymoon (three weeks later). I am extremely happy with how the photos turned out and would recommend him to anyone.

Videographer – Encore Media (http://www.encoremedia.com.au). The videographer was a last minute inclusion to the plan but a great one in the end. Troy simply shadowed Adam our photographer and they worked seamlessly together, so much so that people assumed I had two photographers. The video is great and something that we will treasure forever.

Music – The music for the ceremony was a singer and guitar player from Red Soda Band (https://redsoda.com.au/red-soda-wedding-band-sydney/). The musician was incredible and really set the mood for the ceremony. Hunter Valley DJ (http://valleydj.com.au) was our music for the reception. Again this company was booked when our wedding was going to be in the Hunter Valley and they graciously moved to our new venue when they heard about the change. They dancefloor was full almost the entire night which was testament to the great work they did.

First Dance – Our first dance was to ‘One Great Mystery’ by Lady Antebellum. Both Brendan and I like our country music and when we heard this song at Lady Antebellum’s concert in early 2015 we knew it was the perfect song for us.

MC – My brother Greg and Brendan’s brother Brad were the MC’s for the evening!

Celebrant – Laura Craddock (http://www.sydney-celebrant.com.au) I found Laura online and when we went to meet with her I was so impressed at the level of detail she went into that we booked her on the spot. Laura was great on the day and very reassuring for us both before the ceremony commenced.

Stationery – Rosie Tea (http://rosietea.com.au). Rosie is a friend of one of my bridesmaids, and I had seen work she had previously done and knew I wanted to work with her. Rosie gave me several amazing options and worked tirelessly to ensure we were happy with the final product, which we were.

Cake – Emma-Lee Cake Designs (https://www.facebook.com/emmaleecakedesign?fref=ts). I was connected with Emma through Piccolo and Poppi, and was extremely happy with the end result.

Bombonieres – Were a DIY – had the tags custom made on Etsy and the macarons were from Adriano Zumbo.

Hair – Natalie Black Hair. Natalie has been my hairdresser for years and so was my natural choice when it came to finding a hair stylist who completely understood the look I was going for. I was extremely happy with the end result.

Make up – Jes O’Brien Makeup (http://jesobrien.com.au). I found Jes through a friend who used her for her own wedding, and I was so happy with the result. Jes instantly felt like a friend and so I was extremely comfortable having her there on the day. I would recommend Jes to anyone.

Wedding Bands – Nicholas Haywood Jewellery Concierge (http://www.nicholashaywood.com.au) Nick has made my engagement ring so we knew we wanted to go back to him to have our wedding bands made. Nick is incredibly laid back and made the whole process as simple as possible. He is never getting rid of us as clients now!