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We had so much laughing and chatting with Abbe as she looked back on her intimate winery wedding; with the heartfelt ceremony followed by the magical reception, she remembered how important it was for the day to be just as she and Will wanted.

“Do what you want to do, as the day is about you two! ”

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Images by Annette Wilson

Lauren and Jason

Jase proposed while on our month-long overseas trip; it was Valentine’s Day and we were trying to decide on something special to do. I decided to look up Mexico’s best beaches and found a beach called Playa Norte on a little island called Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. We caught the ferry over and toured the island, had lunch and did some shopping.

We both bought some jewellery as a little memento of the day. Jase sneakily took and hid the little jewellery bag.  Later that evening I had planned a beautiful romantic dinner at Thai Lounge in a wooden bungalow on the bay. After we had finished dinner, Jase pretended to go to the bathroom and worded up the Mexican waiter to jump out of the garden with a bottle of champagne after he had popped the question. Jase got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. I said yes of course! He pulled out the jewellery bag from earlier that day and put the ring on my finger. We celebrated with champagne and dessert!

Image  by Lauren Dickinson

I am a stay at home Mum five days a week (or should I say 24/7!) and on the other two days I work in Product Development for a company called Hunter Leisure, a toy and stationery company in Tullamarine, Melbourne. We have just had our first beautiful baby boy, Jett, nine months ago. Jase is an electrician six days a week and a stay at home Dad one day a week. Together we juggle looking after Jett and our working life.

Jase and I have been together for almost five years. We met officially at his sister’s wedding in Bali. I was one of the very charismatic bridesmaids and Jase was the lonely bachelor. Sparks flew at Potato Head and at a Fatboy Slim concert, we exchanged kisses and cocktails. Here’s a funny story – prior to us getting together we both worked for his family in their business for seven years but never met.

Image by Lauren Dickinson

I always wanted a boho relaxed vibe for my wedding. I love earthy colours and textures. My bridesmaids wore different outfits and jewellery which were all made out of the same materials. I love raw materials, wood, metal and natural stone so I wanted to incorporate these with my theming.

Image by Lauren Dickinson

I found my dress designer in a bridal magazine at an airport. I knew I wanted a boho type looking dress and Rue de Sein do just that. I had to make my decision quickly as I was already 12 weeks pregnant and needed to decide on a dress. I tried on about ten dresses at various shops. I made about three trips in total until I found my dress. I loved the experience.

It helped to know what type of dress already complemented my body type. Some dresses that look great on models don’t always look good on yourself. I love my dress, I thought it looked really different; it was something special that I had not seen on a bride before. The dress I chose was called the ‘Florence’ gown. It had an embroidered halter neck with intricate vine detailing on the lace. It had a front seam split, back keyhole and full train. I had a long cathedral length veil and half a flower crown at the back.  I found my dress in a bridal boutique on High Street in Armadale called The Bridal Atelier.

The first wedding fair I attended was the Vintage Wedding Fair at Docklands and I found my photographer Corey Sleap; he was my first vendor. I fell in love with the photo album that he had there and his personality. He was very chatty and likeable and I thought that Jase would really like him too and would feel comfortable with him.

Corey suggested Stu from Love Soldier to take our video – I loved his work so I booked him too. The rest of my vendors I found travelling to Mansfield and visiting the Mansfield Wedding Fair.  Everything is word of mouth there. The owner of Play Shack, our venue,  recommended Megan Knapp from The Kitchen Door – I visited her and she recommended Kim from Mansfield Party Hire. Kim then suggested a florist – Lisa from Edith and May…it goes on. I love that about a country town.

Our ceremony was held in Play Shack’s gardens in Merrijig. We invited about 70 guests which consisted of 13 children. We had all of our nieces and nephews in our bridal party to open the ceremony. We were married in the back garden with beautiful leafy trees surrounding us. They created a beautiful back drop which shaded our guests from the sun.  Our vows were simple with a few laughs thrown in.

We used a special ring box from Sketch and Etch in our ceremony ritual called ‘warming of the rings.’  We passed the box around to each of our guests and they would make a wish for both of us and pass it onto the next person. I love the fact that I now have a beautiful box at home with all of our marriage wishes inside from our closest family and friends.

The reception was at the same location as the ceremony, literally a stone’s throw away. I had the tables styled by Alpine Events Co with assistance from Lisa at Edith and May; they were set up next to the beautiful flowing Delatite River. It was all outdoors with festoon lighting framing our feasting and dancing area. We went with a sharing menu to strum up conversation between guests and so everyone could sample everything on the menu.

The styling was super simple. I had rustic wooden tables scattered with amethyst and rose quartz stones with faux deer antlers and a few brown bottles with matching foliage to tie in the pinks and purples. I wanted the decorations to be minimal and for the surroundings to be the feature. The gardens and river were spectacular at different times in the afternoon. The sun moved across the lawn and peered through the trees in the most romantic way – the photos really capture this.

I started looking around online at Melbourne venues and wanted to find something really different; I didn’t find anything I liked. It was either beach, winery or a garden somewhere which were not our style. So I thought about a country wedding, somewhere Jase and I both liked and that connected with us. We decided to get married in the high country, somewhere near Mansfield.

Jase went snow skiing every winter with his family to Mt Buller when he was growing up and my family owns a holiday house in Gough’s Bay where we went for holidays as well. The high country just made sense. We looked at Play Shack first as the pictures of it online looked beautiful; stunning house and gorgeous gardens. We then looked at another five venues in Howqua and Mansfield. We decided in the end to choose Play Shack as the house could accommodate our large bridal party and The Sebel Pinnacle Valley Resort was across the road for the rest of the guests to stay at. It was perfect!

For the bridesmaids’ outfits I started with a pair of gladiator sandals that I found on Pinterest and fell in love with them; they were a pink animal leather and looked amazing. I thought that these would look awesome on me and the bridesmaids. Jase is a shorty and I didn’t want to be taller than him in our wedding photos, so flats were a go.

From these pink sandals the theming grew. I had them made in Bali – I sourced and sent over the pink leather that I bought in Brunswick. The flowergirls’ headpieces were DIY as I thought that they would be a nice keepsake for the girls so they could play with them again. My mother in law also made a macramé hanging hoop that were married in front of and another macramé piece that hung in front of our bar. They looked awesome!

I have two other favourite details from the day:

My custom-made wooden table signs from Arlo and Co.  I had six of these printed on bamboo planks.  The table names were locations which were significant to Jase and me. We had:

Bali – where we had our first kiss

Mexico – where we got engaged

Elwood – our first house

Brighton – where we brought Jett home

Gough’s Bay – lots of memories shared

Merrijig – where we exchanged our vows

My other favourite detail was my bridesmaids’ jewellery. I wanted all of them to wear a piece of jewellery that went with their outfit. I bought a cool belt online that I loved from Gypsy Loving Light, and when it arrived I saw that the belt was from a company called Minc Collections. I contacted the owner and she agreed to make me some more custom pieces for the rest of the bridesmaids.

I created the storyboards for each maid’s outfit with the type of clothing, hair style, shoes and jewellery selection to suit their body type. I emailed them to the owner at Minc and she made my pieces. I also wanted to incorporate a rose quartz stone on each jewellery piece. She sourced the stones for me and added them to the jewellery so they all matched.

My only words of wisdom for couples planning their big day is to take your time. Have a really long engagement. If you book vendors early you will get exactly what you want. It’s painful waiting so long but in the end you will have thought of everything and it’s all perfect. Pinterest can be your best friend. Look at as many images as you can and create boards of things that you like; they make it easier to source items you are after.

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Lauren and Jase; such an intimate celebration in a beautiful part of the world; your theme suited the mountains perfectly!

Photographer: Corey Sleap / Bride's Dress: Rue de Seine / Bridal Salon: The Bridal Atelier / Cinematographer: Love Soldier Weddings / Venue: Play Shack / Catering: The Kitchen Door / Rental Furniture: Mansfield Party Hire / Flowers: Edith & May Mansfield / Ring Box: Sketch and Etch / Styling: Alpine Events Co. / Signage: Arlo & Co. / Bridesmaids' Belts: Minc Collections
Bride with modern sheath bouquet

From the flowers and the music to dress decisions and make-up choices, as Kate looks back on her Canberra garden wedding she remembers that it was important not to get too fussed about things and enjoy the day.

“Savour every moment – and keep things simple.”

ACT wedding
Bride wearing Gwendolynne Burkin Ophelia
Sunset wedding portrait
James of ALl grown Up Weddings
Gwendolynne Burkin Ophelia
Bride in oyster gown with modern sheath bouquet

Images by James of All Grown Up Weddings