How did you meet your (now) husband? Josh and I began our relationship on the 9th of March, 2004 while we were in high school. We look back now as adults and can see how mad it must have seemed back then, for us to be in a ‘committed relationship’ at the ripe old age of 14.
Through the years we stayed together through all the milestones a young adult passes. Through it all we have never asked each other to change, but have let each other change, and more importantly, we have helped each other to grow into the best version of ourselves.
How long have you been together? 13 years
Do you have a proposal story? It was two weeks out from our 10 year anniversary when Josh popped the question. He took me on a spontaneous getaway and proposed on a secluded beach at Jervis Bay, NSW. I did assume it might happen, but he proposed hours after we arrived so he still did manage to catch me by surprise! It was such a happy day!
What was your wedding date? 26 September 2015
Location (Ceremony and Reception)
Where? We chose to have our ceremony and reception at Briars Country Lodge and Historic Inn, in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
What made you choose there? We chose this venue for its stunning natural beauty, beautiful floor to ceiling windowed observatory and comfortable suites for our guests to stay all night.
How did you find it? Josh and I treated venue shopping like buying a home, it was serious stuff! We searched online for weeks, and visited various venues. We ended up falling in love with the Southern Highlands and our venue offered everything we were looking for within our budget.
How was the weather on the day? The whole week leading up to our wedding rained, we were so happy that on the big day we had an hour of sun for our ceremony!
What made you decide to get married on this particular date? The Southern Highlands is so beautiful in the spring, it is the driest month of the year (not in 2015 it would seem) and September 26th falls within the school holidays, which will prove to be very handy for anniversaries over the years.
The Wedding Details
Theme? We wanted to create a wedding that was centred around two people who are both in love with each other. We were inspired by the natural surrounds, and included small touches throughout the wedding to make it personal and meaningful to us and our relationship, like old letters that were used as petal cones, and photos of our parents weddings. We wanted the experience for guests to be as enjoyable and relaxing as possible, and invited our family and best friends that we both had from growing up together.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? I researched wedding photographer and videographer websites for inspiration. They post weddings that they have shot and often have great detail shots! I was able to see the ins and outs of many weddings, and pick up on tricks other couples have used for their own special day.
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? The groom, grooms mother and myself styled the wedding. For months our home was overrun with vision boards, props, signs and other hand made touches.
Bridesmaids – who/relationship? I had my Sister Elisa, two sisters-in-law Sarah and Jessica, and two great friends Collette and Sandra
Groomsmen – who/relationship? Josh had his four great friends Leigh, Dan, Travis and Nathan along with my Brother Shaun
Flower girls/Page boys – who/relationship? We had our two gorgeous nieces Mia and Sienna as flower girls
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I searched high and low for a wedding gown, I really love the timeless elegance of a long sleeve gown. After seeing that Karen Willis Holmes offered a few long sleeve options, I just knew I had to book an appointment.
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? Everywhere! Karen Willis Holmes gowns were a popular choice for brides that I was inspired by, on The LANE, in bridal magazines like Hello May, White Magazine and on Pinterest.
How many gowns did you try? I tried so many gowns on, but quickly found out that unstructured long sleeve gowns were not for me! I am so glad I found a way to have sleeves, while still having a structured dress!
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? From the moment I walked in to Karen Willis Holmes I was blown away, the experience was so perfect. My first appointment was in the Paddington showroom, the staff made me feel so comfortable, they were ok with me bringing my bridesmaids, there was never any pressure, just genuine feedback and nothing was ever too much for them! My dress ended up being a mix of two dresses, with some details changed on the bodice. I also purchased a separate crop to get those sleeves I was dreaming of.
The fitting process in Newtown was so pleasant too, they took the time to ensure that the fit was completely perfect, and they even allowed me to take some of the left over lace cuts so that I could add some of my own details to the crop and dress. I could not be more grateful for how they went above and beyond for me.
What did you especially like about your gown? I love the sleeves, I am so glad that I found a way to wear them! I also loved how the dress made me feel.
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? My bridesmaids wore alternating Zimmermann pearl dresses in a silk crepe de chine. I love how the dresses complimented each of their body shapes perfectly. Each dress was a great combination of timeless elegance and fun. I altered all of the hem lines so they were the same length on each bridesmaid.
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? Josh wore a tailored two piece navy suit by Pal Zileri that was a shade darker than the groomsmen suits. He wore a Prada tie with tie bar and tan leather belt and shoes to give it a more casual look. The groomsmen all wore navy wool suits from Rembrant, who were wonderful to work with when coordinating a large group. They wore the same tan shoes and belts as the groom to add uniformity.
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I wanted to keep my jewellery to a minimum, and wore traditional pearl drop earrings. I gifted my bridesmaids pearl coloured tear drop Samantha Wills studs.
Where did you get your shoes from? This was one of the most agonising decisions of the wedding! I was searching for high shoes to compensate for my height, but had the uneven ground to consider. I decided on suede nude Prada heels, with an ankle strap to assist me when walking on the lawn.
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? My beautiful florist made a flower crown for me to wear for the ceremony, I then changed into a headpiece that my amazing Mother in Law made for me for the reception.
What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? No matter how much planning you do in the lead up to the wedding, the final week is just so busy with last minute details. For days it felt like I would tick one thing off my to do list, and another three would need to be added! Take time off work in the lead up if possible, and don't forget to get your bridal party to help you, mine were invaluable!
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Keep an open mind. It is so important to know your own style, and not to compromise for your wedding, however I was surprised about how some styles made me look and feel so much better than others. The dress styles with sleeves that I filled my Pinterest boards with were really hard to find and I noticed that they were all unstructured and unflattering on my shape when I did manage to find them. I managed to meet somewhere in the middle, I wore a structured dress and still managed to get the sleeves of my dreams!
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day. Josh and I combined our wedding speech, which took out so much stress! We each took turns to say a few words to our parents, bridal party and guests, then took a moment to say something to each other which we kept secret until the night.
Something Old? My mothers original wedding band wrapped within the ribbon around my bouquet
Something New? Wedding Dress
Something Borrowed? Duncan family horseshoe
Something Blue? Blue bow on garter
Florist - I met Coralie from Wild Blossom Flowers at a wedding fair, and instantly fell in love with her unstructured and organic floral style. I opted for a large bouquet of burgundy, white, peach purple and green seasonal blooms. The bridesmaids held paired back versions of my bouquet which were all slightly different. I had sourced vintage pots and urns to use at the reception, which Coralie filled with various blooms to give a European flower market feel.
Photographer - We absolutely love the relaxed and candid feel of Mark and Kara’s photography, they manage to capture every emotion of the day in a natural, unobtrusive way. We fell in love with the gorgeous scenery of the Southern Highlands, and Mark and Kara managed to capture the picturesque landscape perfectly.
Music - I walked down the isle to ‘Ocean (Live) By John Buttler Tio. We signed the registry to ‘Holocene’ and ‘Skinny Love’ by Bon Iver. And used ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros for the processional. We used ‘Your Song’ A bespoke DJ booking service the we found through the One Fine Day Wedding Fair. They were able to provide us with a fantastic DJ, Bobby. He met with us for a drink and listened to our plans for the night, then went and created a soundtrack tailored to our taste. We loved our wedding DJ, and received so many comments about the fantastic music.
First Dance - We had our first dance to ‘White Dress’ by Set Mo.
MC - Our MC was our friend Ronan Mason, he was so perfect at breaking the ice and relaxing our guests with hilarious jokes. He was so fantastic!
Celebrant - Our ceremony was officiated by Reverend Michael Earl from Bowral Uniting Church. He perfectly combined a relaxed feel with tradition and humour.
Stationery - I spent months designing our invitations to provide guests with a sneak preview of the day. We had a letterpresses invitation with a blind hand drawn floral impression on the boarder and deep burgundy text, Terrace Press was amazing at bringing my design to life. We then used the same theme on a wedding website created by Josh, which provided all the finer details for our guests.
Menu - We chose alternating warming food, served desert and Alcohol was flowing!
Cake - My bridesmaid and her partner created an amazing cheese tower for our wedding cake. We served this after our ceremony during canapé hour. Our guests thought this was a perfect idea, as they were able to enjoy the cheese along with the tray service of canapés whilst we were off getting photos.
Bombonieres - My mother in law and myself lovingly grew succulents for the year leading up to the wedding, which we then individually potted as favours for our guests. We also included a flower wrapping station, so that our guests could take home and enjoy some flowers from our venue.
Hair & Make up - I couldn't look past Gemma Nichols Makeup Artistry for the hair and makeup for the day. Gemma and Carly travelled from Sydney and had the mammoth task of working on 10 women. From the moment they arrived in the morning they created such a happy and relaxing environment, and even finished early! We were all thrilled with the hair and make-up (which stayed put all day!). It was more than I could have hoped for!