Claire and James
The festive season is making me feel rather romantic, so today’s wedding of Claire and James seems like just the right fit for my mood. Claire wore her mother’s wedding gown, a gown she used to play dress ups in and dream about as a little girl. The couple married at a cafe they love – where they spend Sunday mornings with the paper and their coffees.
Claire recalls how she and James came to be. “James and I met when I was 16, and still at high school living in the country – although he was a city boy, attending university in Perth with my brother. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful older brother! We didn’t start dating until I was 18, and had moved to Perth to attend university myself.”
The delightful photography this afternoon is by Lauren Wellington who has captured so beautifully the intimacy and romantic feel of today’s celebration.
Most of Claire’s outfit was previously worn by family members, starting with her jewels. She explains “My jewellery was given to me as a gift from my Nanna and Papa on graduating from university. I decided to keep them and wear them on my wedding day. Papa had given it to my Nanna shortly after they were married.”
The dress Claire wore was her mothers. “I wore my Mum’s dress. I used to play dress-ups in this dress and veil as a little girl (I have a photo of a little 6 year old gap-toothed me all dressed up as a little bride). The petticoat was also worn by my Mum on her wedding day, and Nanna had sewn around the bottom of it lace from my Nanna’s, my Great Grandmother’s, and my Great Great Grandmother’s wedding veils. I had generations of my family with me on my wedding day.” Claire wore handmade shoes from Benelli Shoes.
Claire remarks, “The wonderful lady who did my makeup was Amber, and she did an outstanding job!” One of Claire’s favourite memories was getting dressed. “I loved getting dressed with Mum helping me into her wedding dress and veil, and Nanna’s jewels, then seeing the look on Dad’s face when he saw me – that’s not a feeling I’ll soon forget.
Claire put together the flowers with her family and friends. She recalls “The day before the wedding, I made an early morning trip to the flower markets with my Mum and best friend and bought armfuls of my favourite in-season blooms. I then had an afternoon tea at my house for all my favourite ladies, and we had a flower arranging afternoon! All the flowers were done that afternoon except for my own bouquet of Nanna’s roses, which was arranged by my Mum and Nanna on the morning of our wedding.”
Claire and James were married at Moore & Moore Cafe. Claire explains “We had both the ceremony and reception at Moore and Moore Café, in Fremantle. This was fantastic, as it meant that our guests could relax and enjoy yummy drinks and nibbles together in that in-between time, while we nipped out to take some photos.”
James had one very special request. Claire explains, “James was so sweet during the preparation for our wedding. He was very easy, and really wanted whatever I wanted – the one thing he had a definite opinion on that I hadn’t really thought about terribly much, was what song I should walk down the aisle to. So of course, there it was! I walked down the aisle to Air (Bach), played by Heavenstrings.
I’ll always remember that moment walking down the aisle, with both Mum and Dad by my side. At first, I was just taking it all in, looking at all the smiling faces turned towards me, but as I adjusted to it all, my eyes found James, and I couldn’t stop grinning (yes, grinning!). He had the sweetest smile on his face and in his eyes, and tears rolling down his cheeks! It was so precious, to see him so happy. I never want to forget that moment.”
James and his groomsmen also had a nod to the vintage vibe of the wedding. Claire explains “James’ suit was a gorgeous vintage brown woollen pinstripe, which he wore with a cream cravat and vintage gold tie clip I had bought for him as a gift. It’s his absolute favourite suit. He has worn it many times before, and will wear it many times again – so it already has lots of wonderful memories. The groomsmen wore grey suits and vintage brown-tone ties, and they all wore blue shirts. This was completely James’ domain – I left their outfits up to the boys, and I think they all looked very dapper.”
Claire remarks “Doug Booth was our celebrant, and we really couldn’t have asked for any more. He made it personal, intimate, involved our guests, and was truly outstanding. Both he and Amber worked with my Mum, and were known to some of our guests.”
Of their venue, Claire says “It’s a wonderful art gallery/café, and it just felt so right for us. We’re regulars there on weekends for breakfast or coffee, the staff are amazing and so friendly. We love the feel of the place, with their mismatched tables and chairs, beautiful white-washed walls adorned by ever-changing artwork…I could go on!”
The bridesmaids wore mismatched red gowns. Claire says “My bridesmaids wore beautiful bright dresses all chosen by themselves, to tone in with one-another. They are from Cue, Karen Walker and Review.”
Of their photographer Lauren, Claire says, “We had an engagement session a week or two before the wedding, and I couldn’t have been happier. She’s the sweetest girl, we all got along so well, and I am over the moon with the images and moments she captured.”
Claire remarks, “What was so precious for me was that we were surrounded by 50 of our closest family and friends, on the day that we were married. It was wonderful that everyone contributed to our wedding, that there were so many links, and it really felt like a community wedding. However, I couldn’t help thinking that while everything looked beautiful and came together just as I’d hoped and planned, if it hadn’t, deep down, it wouldn’t really have mattered. Because James and I are now married, and even if everything else had fallen apart, there’s no way that never could.”
Claire and her family styled quite a few elements of the wedding themselves. Claire remarks “I suppose I constructed quite a few of the details for our wedding myself, and with the help of family and friends – and it was so much fun! I made all the save the date, invitations and placecards/guestbook myself, using vintage unused postcards. I also made the seating chart myself, and had a wonderful time doing the flowers, bouquets and button-holes. My Mum and Nanna put together my bouquet with roses from Nanna’s garden, and Mum and Mother in law decorated the cake with a few pretty roses (the cake itself was made by a friend). I had collected an assortment of old English sweets (as well as a few other favourites – milk bottles, anyone?), and had these placed along the tables in some of my own favourite dessert bowls – a la family tradition at Christmas feasts.”
The couple put their one vintage touch on the day. “Before our wedding, we visited Her Handpicked Harvest, and became very excited about the beautiful pieces they have collected. From them, we hired some props for our photobooth (vintage hats and bowties, among other things), lovely vintage embroidered napkins, and exquisitely mismatched plates for the tables.”
The reception was held surrounded by beautiful artwork. Claire recalls “The reception was then held in the main art gallery space, which was just fantastic. They set up three long tables for us (we wanted it to feel like one of our big family dinners – which, with only 50 guests, it almost was!), had part of the room for a dance floor and the bar, and had another part of the room set up with couches – one of these, we used for our own little photobooth!”
The decadent cake was definitely a highlight of the reception, gushes Claire. “The cake (a delicious sponge cake smothered in fresh cream and strawberry jam) was baked by a good family friend, Kylie. She put it together, and the flowers were placed by my Mum and Mother in law.”
Claire and James made the paper goods themselves using vintage treats. Claire remarks “All of the wedding stationary was created by myself. Save the date cards and invitations were all typed on my Mother in law’s sweet old Princess typewriter, onto vintage unused postcards (we had a great time collecting these!). We also used these postcards as a placecard and guestbook in one, inviting our guests to write us a note or a piece of advice for a happy marriage.”
The speeches were beyond memorable, Claire tells “James astounded me again. He made, what my Nan has since told me, was the best bridegroom speech she has ever heard. It was sincere, true, sweet and loving, and made me laugh, smile and cry all at the same time.”
The night ended with a sweet first dance. Claire recalls “Our first dance was a very sweet moment for us. We danced to ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’, sung by Billie Holiday.”
Congratulations Claire and James! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Lauren Wellington for sharing today’s photographs with us!