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Sam + Fraser's stylish black-tie garden wedding

Posted on 06 Dec, 2017
Sam + Fraser's stylish black-tie garden wedding

The Wedding

What was your wedding date? July 1st, 2017.

Ceremony Location? St Agatha’s Church, Clayfield.

What made you choose there? It’s such a beautiful Church and it’s very close to where we had the reception. Fraser and his sisters went to primary school there, and his family has always attended Christmas mass there. The school that I teach at also has affiliations with the parish so it all felt connected.

Reception Location? Fraser’s family home in Clayfield

What made you choose there? We’d always envisioned a big party for our reception, something that wouldn’t finish at 11 pm and could keep going until we wanted it to! We ended up staying until 4.30am so it really was the perfect location. It was a black-tie wedding in the garden with a big marquee, fairy lights, and a dance floor over the pool.

How was the weather on the day? Beautiful, we couldn’t have asked for better weather. It got pretty chilly at night but we had a fireplace and braziers set up around the place, along with a big basket of black throws for guests to help themselves to.

Was there a reason you decided to get married on this date? It was bang in the middle of my school holidays, so it fit in well. A winter wedding had always appealed to us so that it wouldn’t be too hot during the day for the ceremony.


How did you meet your partner? We met through mutual friends at a concert (The Strokes)..it would have been in 2006.

How long have you been together? 7 years

Do you have a proposal story? It was a Saturday morning and I went out to breakfast with a friend. When I got home the entire place was filled with candles, flowers and balloons. It was really special. Fraser had organised for our families to have a BBQ that afternoon and it turned into an impromptu engagement party with about 50 people filing through at various hours to celebrate – it was the best day!

The Wedding Details

Theme? Black and white. We wanted it to be elegant but simple, as it was Black Tie.

Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? I’m not really sure. I think it was just conversations between myself, Jane (my mother in law) and Cate (our wedding planner).

Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? We erected the flower wall (fake ivy) and then the florist came and put fresh flowers in which looked great as a backdrop for photos and the gift booth. We also had fake ivy covered hoops with fresh flowers put in the ivy and then these were strung up on ribbons around the place. These were really cost effective but still looked beautiful (no-one could tell it was a mixture of real and fake!) and we can now keep these and pass them on to friends who want to use them again. We also bought chalkboard paint to create chalkboards to advertise the various drinks and had a separate sign for the bar that opened up at 9 pm serving Espresso Martinis, Rum and Cokes and Baileys on Ice. I think the best idea we had was to have The Cheese Pleaser come in and open up a pop-up at 10 pm serving cheese toasties and raclette. It was a hit!




Bridal Party

Bridesmaids – who/relationship? Felicity, Grace, Vanessa, Ash and Lauren, who are all friends from high school. 

Groomsmen – who/relationship? James, George, Robert, Sean and Nick, again all friends from high school and un. 

Flower girls/Page boys – who/relationship? Molly (daughter of family friend and granddaughter of the wedding planner!)

Wedding Gown (the most important part!)

Samantha looked stunning in her custom-made 'Harper/Nina' gown with high-low hemline and BESPOKE sleeves. 

What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? It was one of the first places that popped into my head, I had always driven past the shop and the gowns looked so beautiful and the store looked so inviting. I actually had my first wedding dress appointment there.

How many gowns did you try? I tried about 4 on in my first visit, and then I had a number of other appointments around Brisbane over the course of about 8 weeks. I actually had purchased a completely different dress from a different store and there was a bit of a disaster with it all – cut to 5 weeks before the wedding and I didn’t have a dress. I went straight back to Karen Willis Holmes and the lovely Louise at the Paddington store pulled together some gowns for me to try on and I just fell in love with the one I ended up choosing. The dress had cap sleeves and I wanted to extend them as it was the middle of winter, and KWH could not have been more accommodating despite the tight timeframe. The dressmaker Aniko was absolutely the best.

Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? Paddington, Brisbane.

What did you especially like about your gown? Everything! The V-back, the sleeves, the train, the material, the quality, the fact I could eat all the cake I wanted and nobody would know because the cut of the dress was so forgiving ... the list could go on!


Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? All the dresses were different, ranging from Alice McCall to Camilla and Marc. I just asked the girls to find something long and black (which is not very hard!) but they all looked fantastic. It was really important to me that all of my girls felt beautiful and comfortable. They all had the same earrings, bouquets and lipstick colour which pulled it all together.

Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? Peter Jackson. The boys looked fantastic!

What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? My earrings and the bridesmaids’earrings were Arabellita and I could not recommend her more. She was so accommodating and helpful and made recommendations for me based on what the girls were wearing. Each piece is handmade and designed by her.

Where did you get your shoes from? My shoes were a cheap buy! Good old Iconic. I knew we would be dancing in the garden all night and couldn’t justify spending too much if they were going to get ruined.

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


What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? We had 180 people and we were hosting it ourselves, so I am very thankful we had a wonderful wedding planner to organise it. If you are hosting at a private venue I would recommend a wedding planner! Otherwise, choose a venue that will support you with all the little decisions along the way.

What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Don’t be afraid to try on lots of things and keep coming back. I found my gown on my second visit to Karen Willis Holmes, and once I put it on it everything else paled in comparison. Don’t be afraid to ask for alterations too! What looks good on one person may not suit you. Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day.

Something Old and Something New? A bangle that my parents-in-law gave me on the morning of the wedding. They had it made but used the diamond from my mother in law’s engagement ring. It is extremely special and is both old and new!

Something Borrowed? The forest green fur coat that I wore on the night (thank you, Erin!)

Something Blue? A little blue ribbon that Karen Willis Holmes had on inside my dress.  

Other? I also loved the car we had (a pale yellow 1969 Jaguar E-Type). We drove away from the church and home to our reception where we got to greet everybody straight away. We didn’t have many photos, just ones of the ceremony, outside the church and then candid photos from the reception. I loved being able to start the party straight away without having to spend any time away from my guests.



Wedding Planner – Cate from Mother of Weddings (and my mother in law Jane!). Most of these suppliers came from her expertise.

Photographer – Kait Barker Photography

Car – A Vintage Pale Yellow 1969 Jaguar E-Type on loan from a family friend.

Florist – Lyn at FIG Flowers

Music – PADJ Entertainment

First Dance – Naïve Melody (This Must Be the Place) – Talking Heads

MC – Tony Andrews

Celebrant – Fr Anthony Mellor

Menu – Catering provided by Standing Room Only and The Cheese Pleaser. We also bought a lot of mini-magnums and had those coming around with the cake.

Cake – Hansel and Gretel Cakes (chocolate, vanilla and peanut butter & chocolate!)

Bombonieres – Wedding Stubby Coolers with the date and our faces plastered all over them!

Hair – Amy Bushell

Make-Up – Lilly Rathie MUA

Wedding Rings – We got them from Power Jewellery in Hong Kong.