The delightful Dunsborough wedding of Hayley and James really did capture my attention. Beautiful celebrations under the stars after a classic black and white styled ceremony. The couple chose a venue they had fallen in love with while they were dating – it allowed them the freedom to have a stunning ceremony, dinner under the stars and plenty of dancing – just as they had dreamt of! Gavin Wyatt Photography captured the day in beautiful photographs.
Hayley starts us off with their story. “I lived with James’ cousin Michelle in London and we met through her and also knew each other through my close friend Mikki.”
Indy Bloom created the floral arrangements for the day, Hayley telling, “Our flowers were put together beautifully by our florist Tahnee at Indy Bloom, who’s creativity was overwhelming! The first time I cried was when Tahnee brought in the beautiful bouquets. I didn’t have much to do with the flowers I just gave her my theme and some colours and what she produced was beyond amazing!”
Hayley wore a strapless gown with a sweetheart bodice by Pallas Couture. Her bridesmaids chose black gowns from Seduce.
Hayley and James chose Empire Retreat for their wedding, remembering, “We stayed at Empire Retreat and fell in love with the property, especially the shearing shed. After 6 months of being together, it was our first weekend away together and although it was probably a bit premature but also off-the-cuff, we both said ‘if we ever get married we will absolutely do it here!’ and nearly 3 years later we did!”
Hayley walked down the aisle to “Higher Love by James Vincent McMorrow (performed by our acoustic musician Melanie Timms – beautiful).”
Of their photographer, Hayley tells, “We used Gavin Wyatt Photography. James was mates with Gavin through a mutual friend and he also had done some work with James’ dad in the past. Even though Gavin had moved interstate we loved his photos and style from other weddings he had done. We didn’t know he was there most of the time. He was brilliant to have around on the day!”
There were a few fun DIY touches, including massive letters! Hayley tells, “The huge J and H letters were something we saw in a bridal magazine and loved them. James was given the task to build these letters and he made them as big as possible. He brought his dad into this task and they many laughs. Not really sure what we are to do with them now?”
The speeches were a highlight of the night for the bride who remembers, “The speeches and readings our friends and family gave were really special to us, also the MC is a close school friend of mine (Hayley’s) and was brilliant on the night.”
The first dance was to Angus & Julia Stone – Babylon. Hayley remarking, “We love the lyrics, and have our own interpretation of them.. “rest your head – you’re all mine. And I stay awake, I won’t go home.” Hayley has trouble sleeping so James will normally try to stay awake with me until I fall asleep. Also when we first stayed at Empire (where the wedding was) we played Angus & Julia on repeat – particularly that song. We talked a lot during the first dance, we laughed and swapped stories on how our day was going so far – it was a great moment de-briefing the night so far.”
Congratulations to you both Hayley and James! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Thank you to Gavin Wyatt Photography for sharing today’s wedding!
Matt and I met when I was 17 and he was 21. I had just moved to the regional uni town of Wagga Wagga to start my uni studies. We initially met at the local pub but were then set up by a mutual friend on a date. After being together for 7 months I had a horse riding accident in which I became an incomplete paraplegic. Matt stayed with me through the 6 months I was in hospital/rehab. After hospital I moved back to Wagga to resume my studies. Since then we’ve travelled, moved to Sydney, got jobs, grown up, moved in together and then 8 years after we started going out got engaged and then a year later got married.
I found my dress at a vintage show however being made in the 1950′s, it didn’t fit my 2014 shaped body and so was recreated from vintage lace by Alyssa at Kitsch Bitsch who was amazing. Hair was done by our local hair dresser Mesmerise Hair and makeup by Liv Lundelius. The flowers for the tables and down the aisle were sourced by us, however the bouquets, my floral crown and the boutonnieres were done by the local talent of Piccolo Pear.
Deciding on a venue was easy. We knew for a long time that if we were ever to get married it would be in my parent’s garden on the Central Coast. My Mum is an amazing gardener and over 20 years of living on the central coast has created a garden oasis. Having a wedding at home also meant we could tailor the wedding to exactly how we wanted it – casual and laid back. Matt and I have had a bit of an up and down journey throughout our 9 years (with my accident) and although we wanted the wedding to be about us we also saw it as an opportunity to thank everyone who had supported us and gotten us to where we are today. So basically we wanted to throw a big party for 180 of our nearest and dearest (yes all 180 of them are pretty special).
For most brides walking down the aisle is a given, however for me I had to decide whether I was actually going to walk or use a wheelchair. If I was going to walk, I needed to decide how I would do this. I can walk a bit over short distances with crutches with some practice so in the end I decided I would walk down the aisle with my mum on one side and my dad on the other. This way I could include them both in the ceremony and also have them both strategically to lean on. The song we chose was ‘First Day of My Life’ by bright eyes. We did the wedding seated and used two chairs that had been bought at a thrift shop so they became the something borrowed and something blue. The ceremony itself had a lot of personal touches, included as many of our closest people as possible and was beautifully written by our fantastic celebrant Jessie Cacchillo.
We wanted people to feel welcome and have a good time so we decided to break up the reception. So first up was a picnic which was technically the ‘starter’ which also kept people entertained so that we could have our photos. Then we moved into the reception for the formal part and main meal.
Almost everything was homemade or sourced from the local op shops including the 200 something vintage plates which my mum spent months and months collecting from op shops, garage sales and Gumtree.
Matt and I are not big fans of the alternate meal (one person gets chicken, one gets fish and then everyone switches their plates around). We wanted a meal that brought everyone together and where there were enough choices for people with dietary requirements. Therefore we had huge pans of paella made by the people at Paella Casa.
We threw a few of the traditions out the window, we didn’t have a first dance nor did we have a cake. Therefore the end of the night was spent dancing along to the very talented The White Tree and eating gelato (being January it was very warm) with everyone that we considered to be very special in our lives and have gotten us to where we are today.
Hannah and Simon wanted a crazy mix of an Australian bush wedding ceremony, a Parisian style picnic and a celebration in a tipi and with big ideas, come big dreams and big plans and somehow this eclectic mix of plans and ideas formed itself into an incredible outdoor bush wedding that had everything. The scene was set for a wedding extravaganza and Sarkodie Photography was there to capture every moment of the day.
The newlyweds met across the seas in the UK, Hannah remembering, “Simon and I met years ago at a church camp in the UK. We stayed vaguely in touch, but nothing major. We re-met after Simon had being doing mission work in Cambodia, he was having a break in Australia before doing mission work in Africa. We met at a church camp with the theme ‘Real Love’ in Sydney. The theme song was the same song we sung at our wedding.
We started going out and had one week together (including my sister’s wedding) before Simon went to Africa and then England. We began the difficult process of a long distance relationship, but through visits, pixelated Skype conversations, games on Skype (like scrabble, guess the jelly bean flavour, bubble blowing competitions, trivia, monopoly deal etc), candlelit dinners (well candlelit breakfast for Simon!), a book of thoughts and letters, sleepy time difference phone calls, parcels in the post and messages we began to fall in love.”
Of the mood for the day, Hannah tells, “We wanted it to have elements of us both, our relationship and represent both our countries. Using sites like Pinterest made choosing a wedding theme difficult, as there were so many great ones on offer. Eventually we decided to just combine them all! We planned to have an outdoor white wedding ceremony in the Aussie bush, a vintage Paris picnic in the paddock, and a tipi for our wedding reception. It sounds bizarre but seemed to work out in the end.” The couple chose Hannah’s parent’s property in Dooralong for the celebrations!
The all white bush wedding ceremony kicked off with handmade bunting leading the way, Hannah explaining, “The venue for our white wedding ceremony was in the bush on my parent’s property. We cleared a winding path, which was lined with white lace bunting made by my mum. Then the bush opened up into a big circle clearing, surrounded by lace bunting. The entrance to the clearing was an antique white door draped in vines. We had bottles hanging with moss and white flowers, logs with white flowers and white bird decorations in the trees. Our aisle was sprinkled with white rose petals and lined with flower-filled tree stumps. Simon and I stood in front of hanging white orchids strung between two tree trunks. It was amazing to be surrounded by trees, in a circle full of your friends and family and to promise to love each other for the rest of our lives.”
Hannah remembers, “We walked down the aisle to an orchestral version of the Coldplay song ‘ Fix You’ by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.”
Hannah notes, “The favourite moment of our day was hearing the vows we had written for each other. They were a surprise and deeply personal. It was surprising to hear how similar they were! We promised to love each other for the rest of our lives…it felt amazing.”
Guests headed to the Parisian inspired picnic after the “I Dos”. Hannah telling, “After the ceremony, we went to the paddock for afternoon tea. Simon and I drove down on our vintage Vespa we had hired for the day. We shared picnic baskets full of awesome slices, cakes, tarts, baguettes, dips, macaroons and more. My auntys and grandma made these for us. It was a real reminiscent Paris meal and setting for Simon and I.
Guests sat around on giant picnic rugs, enjoying the food, swinging on the swings (my brother in law put up) or hammock, going in the fabric cubby houses (we set up), playing Kubb and volleyball, reading our poem walk (poems and stories we had sent back and forth in a long distance book – printed on canvas material and hung up with pegs) and looking at the decorations.”
“We had old ladders with jars of flowers, doilies, vintage cameras, coloured bunting, suitcases, books, lace kites and more. My Mum made the lace kites and both mothers made the bunting. We had a wooden drink stand (from my cousins) serving drinks in glass bottles with vintage straws. We had an English Tea Stand with lovely vintage cups and saucers. We also had a bug stand with everything from tweezers and tea tree oil to Aeroguard to protect everyone (especially the visiting Brits!) from any bugs that might have been around.”
Of their photographer, Hannah remarks, “Our photographer was Joseph Sarkodie who was brilliantly artistic, laid back and funny. He made us feel relaxed and comfortable being ourselves. He was able to take fantastic candid and posed shots. On the day, Joseph took all the photos we asked for and more. He managed to capture all the details, moments and flavour of the day. He really added to our day and we were both so excited about how amazing our wedding photos looked! Joseph even turned out to be British as well as our band, so Simon was happy to have the extra support Simon is a photographer himself, so he can be ultra picky. Being a designer he also wanted something unique and quirky. Joseph met all of Simon’s high expectations and he was as thrilled (as thrilled as it is possible for an Englishman to be!) with the photos.”
The final part of the day was the reception- held under tipis! Hannah remembering, “When I first began preparing our wedding I was looking for something different for our venue. We were planning to have our outdoor wedding ceremony and a reception on my parent’s property and so I began the painful process of looking for a marquee for the reception. Most were typical, white plastic with windows cut out and draping material offered. I definitely knew that was not what we were looking for.
As I began to search more and Google was offering things like Yurts or giant plastic overthrow sheets…we came across Katalane! I was SO excited when we found them; they were exactly what we were looking for. Something fresh, unique and striking. We knew it would make the perfect addition to our wedding. The tipis looked absolutely beautiful in the bush and suited our wedding theme and decorations perfectly. On our wedding day, we and our guests absolutely loved the tipi. People couldn’t believe it and kept asking where we had hired it. It really made our day special. For the reception, the tipi had a cozy, comfortable and warm atmosphere, which really added to the vibe of the evening. The wooden furniture was perfect and guests loved sitting on the bench seats in the marquee. It was a magical day in a magical venue.”
“Everyone drank different cordials from vintage glass jars. Inside the tipi we had draped the bamboo poles with green vines and fairy lights. Strings of sheet-music paper cranes and hearts hung around the edges, along with handmade wind catchers and fairy lights. We had a note tree, which was hung with personal notes on a luggage tag for each guest.”
Hannah says ” Our reception had a fantastic vibe with beautiful smells coming from the giant woks of Spanish and Thai food (catered by SpanThai). It was held in giant tipi-marquees joined together. These were absolutely stunning and had a very unique and warming effect. We had also hired from them, beautiful wooden trestle tables and benches and we covered these with blue, brown and clear bottles filled with flowers. Everyone had a canvas favour (made by my mother in law) with our personal stamp on it (we designed) and inside was a note saying ‘combine the flavours. A sip of Britain and a bite of Australia’ with an Anzac cookie and a silk bag of tea.”
Hannah tells, “The speeches and items were hilarious and the vibe was very relaxed and joyful. We both loved the best man speeches (both British) which contained a play script on Simon’s life and hilarities like: Luke Buckler: ‘only this morning I ran into a duckbilledfunnelshark and a koala with a knife!’ ‘Simon went to Australia…Nek Minut…it’s not just the animals you need to look out for’ Tom Peel: ‘Act 1, Scene 2…Simon Peel is sat alone’ ‘Act 1, Scene 3, Tom Peel sits surrounded by all his friends at Conference’ (laughter) ‘Well this is going a lot better than I expected!’ and the bridesmaids did a hilarious item to the song ‘wave your flag’ about a fight between Britain and Australia for both of us.”
“At the end of the night we went down to the dam and let off little wooden well-wishing boats with a candle in them. They looked beautiful floating on the dark water and it was the perfect end to a perfect day. ”
Congratulations Hannah & Simon! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Thank you also to Sarkodie Photography for sharing today’s story with us!