Sharne and Arron’s Vintage DIY Canberra Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Weddings


Sharne Kinleyside


Sharne and Arron

 I am in the Royal Australian Air Force and Arron is in the Army. We met in a mess in Melbourne during a Defence sporting tournament in 2011. Because of our careers in the Defence Force, we have been posted to different parts of Australia, and have spent much time travelling interstate, making our long distance relationship work. The bonus is we’ve had lots of adventures together in  Darwin, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. Arron proposed in June 2013, on a chilly morning in a hot air balloon above Canberra. I actually wanted to elope but Arron had his heart set on a wedding, a day for both our families to come together from Queensland and Victoria and celebrate together. As I was living in Canberra at the time, we decided to hold our ceremony on the iconic Aspen Island on Lake Burley Griffin.

Both being in the Military and having met in a mess, we thought it fitting that we had our wedding reception at Duntroon House (Royal Military College Officer’s Mess).

It was actually on Polka Dot Bride that I spotted a bride wearing an Anna Campbell design that I fell in love with. I loved the uniqueness of her designs and I couldn’t picture myself in a big meringue dress. So I met my parents in Melbourne and we went to the Anna Campbell boutique in Armadale. I chose the Gladiator Gown with the Charlotte cuff and tulle headpiece.  It was a tough decision with so many beautiful gowns in the Ivory collection to choose from, my Dad was actually the one who helped me make the final decision!

On my bouquet I attached my ‘something old ‘: my great Aunt Pearl’s engagement ring; something new was the gold cross I bought for my grandmother who couldn’t make it on the day (I later gave it to her); something borrowed was a ring of my mum’s, and my something blue was my shoes.

My four bridesmaids were happy to choose their own full-length dress in black , each being happy they would be able to wear it again. I bought  vintage bows from Etsy for their hair, to tie in with the boy’s bow ties. I made all our bouquets as well as all the boutonnieres.

Arron and I decided to exchange gifts on the day. I gave my husband a watch he’d been eyeing off (and dropping hints about) for a very long time and he gave me a much longed for Kitchenaid.

My bridesmaids down the aisle to ‘All I Want Is You’ by Barry Louis Pulitzer and my Dad and I walked down to ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We wanted the tone to be upbeat and cheery as I didn’t want any tears.

We had an Army Chaplain officiate the ceremony on Aspen Island on the iconic Lake Burley Griffin. Following the ceremony, we put a ‘love lock’ on the bridge and threw the keys into the Lake. A nice little way to mark the beginning of our marriage.

Our niece and nephew were our flower girl, ring bearer. Our flower girl did an incredible job, despite the shoes I bought being a little too big and falling off slightly during her walk up the aisle, she really soldiered on!

Run Around DJs provided music for the evening and we also had my great friend Sara (and a talented musician) sing while guests enjoyed croquet and canapés while we were having photos taken.

The incredible David and Shobana from ‘The Robertson’s captured our special day. They were the first vendor I booked for the wedding and we are so pleased with the photos they took, especially as we were getting ready because they tell the story of the day. We were after a really natural, candid style with no cheesy staged shots. It almost felt like they weren’t even there and they weren’t intrusive or bossy like some wedding photographers can be!

I spent much of the 10 months leading up to the wedding DIYing everything. From the invitations, programs, menus to the bouquets, card box and of course,  the polaroid photo booth. My talented mother made the metres and metres of white bunting. Many guests pitched in with the collecting of over 200 jars for the table styling. If I never have to peel off another label from a jar, I will be a happy lady!

We spent the day before decorating the venue and doing the flowers, many of the roses came from one of my bridesmaid’s gardens! Arron and I aren’t really cake people so for dessert we designed our own ice cream flavour with the help of a local based gourmet ice cream company, Frugii  – we combined Arron’s favourite, chocolate and mine, peanut butter. Guests had fun with our Sundae Bar and enjoyed a selection of different toppings and 3 choices of ice cream including salted butter caramel. As Arron and I aren’t really ‘cake people’, but we do love our cheese, so we chose to create a Cheese tower wedding cake. I sourced the cheeses and assembled the cake with the help of my bridesmaids. I also created the cake topper. We cut the cake with a sword, in keeping with military tradition. However we didn’t foresee how difficult the bottom layer would be to cut!

All our family and friends had to travel interstate for the wedding and we can’t thank everyone enough. It was a really happy and joyous day filled with lots of laughter and shenanigans. We spent our wedding night at the QT in Canberra and then dashed off to New York for 10 days. Part 2 of our honeymoon will be a quick trip to Fiji at the end of the year.

Images by The Robertons

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