Western Australia is a pretty special place – from amazing wine, to fantastic photographers, beautiful wildflowers and stunning landscapes. Our couple today wanted to honour their favourite region and gave their guests a “taste of Western Australia”. If your guests are traveling from far away, there is nothing nicer than giving them the best of where you live.
Emma recalls how she came to meet her husband. “Andy and I knew of each other through work while both serving in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Richmond, Sydney. We first kissed on Anzac Day 2003 at the Orient Hotel in Sydney. I saw Andy leaving the pub and decided to go out the other exit so I could get around to the where he was leaving before he came out. The next day Andy left to go on an overseas deployment for 6 months. During that time we spent the time getting to know each other via email. We met up once in those 6 months for a short holiday in Airlie Beach, north QLD. At the end of the 6 months we had a short time together before I moved to Brisbane on posting and Andy returned to Perth. We continued our relationship over the distance for 14 months before I took extended leave from the RAAF to move to Perth. 6 months later we bought our first house together, I resigned from the RAAF we’ve been building a life together since then!”
Photographs today are by Melbourne photographer Samm Blake. Samm almost has a touch of magic about her photographs – they sink into the deep emotion of the day while still managing to capture the details, the moments and the thought that the couple put so much effort into. I love the thought she puts into each photograph.
Emma and Andy hired CD Weddings to coordinate their wedding day. “I knew from the start that our wedding would have loads of small details. We also were steering away from a traditional wedding venue plus our wedding was completely outdoors so if a plan B was needed, we definitely needed a wedding coordinator! Cathrin did a great job in the lead up to the wedding confirming all my suppliers and of course was a godsend on the day setting everything up, which meant I had a completely relaxing morning leading up to the ceremony.”
Emma wore a white ruffled gown with yellow ribbon designed by Hilde Heim. “Andy and I were living in Brisbane while planning our wedding so I had my dress made by Hilde. I had an idea of what I didn’t want and how I wanted to feel in the dress and Hilde very patiently created my beautiful custom dress for me.”
The yellow and white theme started with the stationery, designed by Monique Barker. Emma recalls “Monique Barker is a friend of mine who does some work for my small business. She has a great style that was perfect for our stationery on the day. I think the stationery says a lot about your wedding. It’s the first thing people see to give them a feel for what the day is going to be like and all the little extras pulled off the details of our wedding together. ”
The florals were designed by Flowers In The Garden. Emma explains “On a recommendation from a friend I contacted Annita from Flowers in the Garden. I was so pleased with the natural, ‘just picked’ look that she created for us.”
Emma and Andy hired The China Blue Experiment for their music. Emma says the music was “Awesome! We had an acoustic guitar and bongos playing before and during the ceremony. The guys also played a couple of acoustic sets early in the night and then the rest of the band arrived to kick on the party. The guys were really flexible, were able to learn any song I asked for and together with their manager, did a really professional job on the night. “
Andy’s sister made wooden directional signs for the day (wine tasting, pic up sticks, dance floor, celebration, photo booth etc).
The couple held their ceremony and reception at Woodbridge House. Emma explains “We had our ceremony and reception at the historic Woodbridge House which is just behind the Guildford Grammar School. We had our ceremony on the grass at the back of the house with the Swan River in the background. Following the ceremony the guests stayed in the ceremony location where we served canapés and had a wine tasting from a local Swan Valley winery. We also had giant pick up sticks for the guests to play while we went off to have our photos taken.”
Emma recalls one of her favourite moments. “One of the funniest and special moments on the day was when my Dad gave me away. He was very proud and nervous on the day to be walking his only daughter down the aisle. We’d written a few words for him to say when asked to give me away. The nerves got the best of him and he said I do before the celebrant had even used him to give me away! The funny moment really relaxed everyone.”
The celebrant made the ceremony as poignant as the couple wanted it. Emma recalls “Our celebrant – Tysoe Richmond Cooper – did a beautiful job in helping us to create a ceremony that was really reflective of the relationship we have.”
There was a special family member who Emma and Andy were not going to marry without. Emma explains “Suzie, the owner of the café was really flexible and we really had no restrictions. So many wedding venues that we looked at had noise restrictions, drink cut off timings, menus that couldn’t be altered and the biggie for us was – no dogs allowed. There was no way we weren’t going to have our beloved Lab Noogie with us on the day. The venue we had was extremely flexible, ticked all our boxes and allowed us to make the day uniquely our own.”
It was straight into the fun stuff after Emma and Andy were pronounced married. Emma recalls “Straight after the ceremony we served home made lemonade with Andy heart Emma straws.”
The reception was divided into a few fun areas to reflect the theme and atmosphere Emma and Andy wanted to create. Emma explains “Our theme for the wedding was a taste of WA. The house is a historic house in WA and we thought the location, bordered by the Swan River and the Swan Valley was very Perth. We made a wine tasting list and a drinks list that’s detailed what WA beer/wine was being served, the description and what region in WA it was from.”
The little touches were even included. Emma tells “We provided thongs for all the guests so they could kick off their shoes in relax. Everyone was already in them by the time we got back from the photos. One of the best investments we made!” The flowers and candles were placed in glass jars that the newlyweds and their families had collected over many months.
Each guest took hold a jar of Western Australian preserves.
The bride and groom handmade name buttons for each guest. Emma pinned hers to her bouquet.
Emma and Andy had a special moment together after the ceremony. Emma explains “After the ceremony and family photos Andy and I left to have photos taken together. Before we really got into it we sat down together for half an hour to have a picnic and share a bottle of champagne. It was so special to take a moment together to re-live the ceremony and how we were feeling before we dove back into the madness of the reception. The day/night goes so quickly and there are so many people to catch up with, it’s hard to get a quiet moment to yourselves. This was a great suggestion from our photographer and I’d highly recommend it!”
The reception was held at the cafe on the house grounds; Riverside @ Woodbridge. Emma says “We wanted to have a reception under the stars where we could string lanterns to the trees and this place fit the bill perfectly. We removed all the tables from the café to create our dance floor and set up our own tables under the stars on the grassed area just outside. It was a nerve wracking time leading up the wedding because our whole wedding was dependent on the weather. We had reserved a marquee but really won’t keen on having one so made a decision a few days out not to go ahead. Perth really turned on the weather for us that day and it was a full moon so the night was perfect!”
The special touches even came through to the guest book which was set up next to a cigar box, inviting guests to take one “For our guest book we had small cards and a recipe box. We asked guests to write their recipe for love, a small note or best wishes for the bride and groom.”
The “taste Of Western Australia” theme that ran throughout the day was important to Emma and Andy. Emma explains ” A lot of our guests were traveling to WA for the first time or were only traveling for the weekend so we wanted to give them a taste of WA that they probably wouldn’t have time to experience during their visit. This included:
- Wine tasting from a local Swan Valley Winery
- A cheese board with cheeses from regions all over state
- The bonbonniere was a jar of Chilli Relish was the south west of WA
- All the drinks served were from WA with descriptions of the producer, region etc provided for the guests
- WA produce was used wherever possible by the caterer including mini fish and chips wrapped in the West Australian newspaper at the end of the night.”
Emma and Andy had a buffet of delicious cakes (Cake Stacks (now closed) and cheeses complete with handmade signs.
The speeches were one of Emma’s favourite parts of the day. She explains “We had three speeches on the day – one from Andy’s sister to represent his family, my dad and the groom. All the speeches were so heartfelt and full of funny stories that even those who weren’t there at the time could have a laugh at. As a baby Andy is well remembered by his family as always wearing a blue baby bonnet. Andy’s sister found the bonnet and had an adult sized replica which Andy obligingly wore during his speech.”
Throwing out tradition, Emma remarks “We decided not to do a first dance. We wanted to keep the formalities to a minimum and once the speeches were over we wanted the night just to flow uninterrupted like a big party! We were both so pleased that at the end of the night we were able to look back and see that the day was a perfect reflection of us. Plenty of good food and wine/beer, and a relaxed party atmosphere.”
Emma and Andy were thrilled with their photographer, who also provided a photobooth ” It was loads of fun, and a great keepsake for us. When we shared our photos with family and friends we were overwhelmed by emails about tears and laughter looking at the photos. A real tribute to how Samm really captured the moment.”
Above anything else, it was the guests who made the day what it was for Emma and Andy. “The guests! About 60% of our guests travelled from all over the country to share our day. Everyone relaxed and enjoyed the spirit of the day. We also had a casual lunch at local pub the next day which was a great opportunity to catch up with people we didn’t get to speak to on the day (it goes so fast!) We’d also recently moved to Malaysia for Andy’s work so it was a great opportunity to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in awhile. “
Congratulations Emma and Andy! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to by Samm Blake for sharing today’s photographs!
Photos by Samm Blake