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Amanda and Matthew’s Magical Forest Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Amanda Hocking

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Amanda and Matt

Matt and I are high school sweethearts. I met him when I was 15, through my sister. We dated for six and a half years before getting engaged and nine months later we were married. We couldn’t imagine life without each other.

Even before we were engaged we both knew we wanted an outside, rustic, personalised wedding. One of Matt’s groomsmen helped us design our invitations – four separate cards each with their own design tied together into a paper package with a map on the back.






My bridesmaids and I got ready at one of my bridesmaids’ family’s dairy farms, surrounded by Australian bush.

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I wore a custom dress from an Etsy seller and a flower crown at the reception. I tried to keep my look as natural as possible whilst still feeling like a princess.

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One of my favourite gifts was a handmade garter made by my grandmother. She used lace that belonged to my other grandma who passed away a couple years ago; it’s small details like this that made our day so special and personalised.

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My bouquet as well as my bridesmaids’ flowers were so pretty and colourful; the blooms were so beautifully large and I chose many colours and types, including gum leaves, hydrangeas and roses.

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As my bridesmaids were all different heights and shapes they all wore different styles of dresses made from the same material which flattered their shapes.

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When one of my bridesmaids showed Matt and me a paddock of forest owned by her friends, that was surrounded by Kuitpo Forest and filled with pine trees and old gum trees, we knew we had found the most magical ceremony location! Although at times a logistical nightmare, the forest created the most peaceful yet powerful setting and was a dream come true to get married under a big old tree!

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The forest was decorated simply with mix match chairs, hay bails, tree stumps and a rainbow of flowers, it had a real, authentic feel.

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To keep the individualised styling going, the boys all wore the same suits but different brown shoes; it looked so good and saved them some money if they had a pair already!

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The air was filled with sweet acoustic tunes from five of our very talented musician friends, and an unexpected gathering of butterflies! We had a simple, mouth-watering afternoon tea after the ceremony featuring homemade lemonade and an array of our families signature sweets.

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From here miracles kept happening! We found and fell in love with a cute winery in McLaren Vale, Coriole Vineyards, for our reception – it provided the perfect backdrop for our photographs too! Our photographers, Amanda June Photography and Lux Photography captured so many special moments!

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Coriole Vineyards has the most beautiful garden and fitted perfectly with our rustic, vintage, outdoor theme. And it just so happened that my brother knew the owner! We had a cocktail wedding reception with 130 guests and a lot of food!

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The colour palette of seafoam green and coral swept through our wedding from the bridesmaids’ dresses to the bunting and even the beer labels.


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It was such a beautiful wedding full of colour and hessian. From decorating jars, choreographing a surprise bridal party dance for our guests, to painting wooden signs or stitching bunting, our wedding reflected our fun, adventurous and spontaneous personalities in every way.

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I am a crafty, homemade person so I always knew I would have a lot of DIY features at our wedding. It was really important to us to involve our friends and family as much as possible – from our invitations, flowers, cars, cake, to the makeup, photographer, even the micro-brewed beer! This made everything so much more meaningful and cost-effective. It allows you to show those closest to you how much you love them!

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We had homemade jam, five types of custom beer with custom labels and custom stubby holders, a photobooth, an icecream cart, a bible guest book, and the cutest page boy and flower girl you ever did see.

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Our guests caught our joyful bug, sending us off through a tunnel of sparklers before encouraging an encore out of our amazing jazz band. It was the most perfect day!

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Ms Chinoserie Says: Congratulations Amanda and Matt; the romance of marrying in a forest under a big tree is truly dreamy! Just like a fairytale!

Photographer: Lux Photography / Photographer: Amanda June Photography / Reception Venue: Coriole Vineyards

Anita and Charles’ Pretty Southern Highlands Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings


Anita Perrottet

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Anita and Charles

Our wedding was held in Sutton Forrest in the Southern Highlands, New South Wales at a beautiful heritage listed estate called Rona Lodge. All along I knew I wanted to get married in a place where I could have it all done there – from getting ready to wedding photos and the reception, as well as staying onsite. Rona Estate was the perfect place for us.

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My bridesmaids and I got ready at Rona Estate, with hair done by the beautiful Megan Pine and makeup done by the lovely Yvette from Ethix Makeup.




I wore a beautiful Lisa Gowing dress and Charles wore a custom-made suit from P. Johnson Tailors.

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The bouquets and corsages were made by Absolutely Flowers in Bowral.

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Our church service was held at the historic St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Berrima and started at 1pm; my bridesmaids and I arrived in 1945 Silver Bentley’s from Cloud 9 Wedding Cars.





After the service, Jonathan Dear from Vibrant Photography took our photos back in the grounds of Rona Estate.


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Guests arrived by bus at 5.00pm to drinks and canapés on the lawn with the beautiful acoustics of The Usual Suspects playing jazz music under the grey clouds.

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Our reception was held in a marquee at the back of the estate, with Centennial Vineyards doing all the catering and supplying the champagne and wine for the wedding. Everything was beautifully thought out and planned. I work in events, so we did all the planning ourselves and made as much as we could including wooden signs for the day to direct people where to go, the reception flowers, table settings, table numbers and the seating chart.


Our guests were then treated to a four course dinner, that was beautifully created by the head chef at Centennial Vineyards, Robin Murray.

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I made the favours for our guests; macarons from MakMak Macarons in small apothecary jars, with a name tag attached that was purchased from Etsy. Each jar was tied with twine and doubled as a place card.

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Our beautiful cake was a 3 tier caramel mud cake which was made by Vickie from Totally Cakes in Sydney.

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After dinner, guests were treated to more music from The Usual Suspects; all our family and friends were on their feet dancing the night away to our favourite songs.


Guests travelled from near and far to join Charles and me for our special day, including Charles’ family who had made the trip from the US.


Charles and I danced our first dance to Michael Buble’s, ‘Everything’.

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It was the most perfect day – and we were lucky the rain held off! The year of planning and designing was all worth it!



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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Anita and Charles: I love the pretty soft colour palette of pinks and creams.

About Anita: I had just the most beautiful wedding day – working in events certainly helped with the planning! We finished our wedding off with a wonderful honeymoon in South America and Barbados – it couldn’t have been any better!

Photographer: Vibrant Photography / Reception Venue: Rona Lodge / Catering: Centennial Vineyards / Bride’s Dress: Lisa Gowing / Groom’s Attire: P.Johnson Tailors / Flowers & Decor: Absolutey Flowers / Cake Baker: Totally Cakes / Hairstylist: Megan Pine / Makeup Artist: Ethix Makeup / Band: The Usual Suspects / Favors: MakMak Macarons / Transport: Cloud 9 Wedding Cars

Stephanie and Mark – A Surprise Sunday Proposal

by | Inspired Engagements, Weddings


Stephanie Vrakas

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My fiancé Mark proposed to me in the most beautiful, meaningful and surprising way last December. There is no short version of this story. Mark had lots of ideas for the way he would propose to me, but he knew that the most important thing in the entire world to me is family. He knew that if he were to include our families in this special moment of our lives, it would be the singularly most incredible day of my life. And so begun the months of lying and deception from Mark and our families!

Mark and I had organised to go out for a nice lunch in Sorrento. On the way, Mark had suggested we drop in at my Aunt and Uncle’s house and I was really looking forward to seeing them until I realised how early in the day it was. After a little bit of back-and-forth, Mark convinced me that it would be fine to drop in unannounced on a Sunday morning. I almost didn’t make it inside. Little did I know that this morning was going to change my life forever. While I was inside, kicking my heels off and making coffees, our families were hiding in the garage getting ready for a surprise that I could never have imagined.


After using an excuse to lure me outside, I opened the front door to make my way out to the garden. That’s when I realised that I was the only one that was not part of the wonderfully orchestrated plan that was our proposal.


Across the road, stood all of our immediate family, cousins, uncles and aunts. I knew what was happening before I had a chance to read the huge red letters that Mark had spent weeks making himself, spelling “Will You Marry Me?”


Before I knew it, I had burst into tears. This was happening, and it was so much rawer, special and “us” than I could have ever dreamed. He nailed it. And the ring… I was astounded. He had been designing it with jeweller Janai Jewellery  for months. It was the most perfect ring I had seen. He organised my cousin to capture the moment, and his brother to record the whole event for our families overseas.


Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, Mark turned me around and pointed out my Aunt waving from the window. At that moment, I realised why Mark had chosen the spot he did to propose. My Aunt has suffered from Motor Neurone Disease for many years, and due to her illness is unable to leave home. Just before I opened the door to reveal the surprise, my Uncle had led her to the front window where she had a clear view of the proposal. She was just as much a part of the day as everyone else. Had it been anywhere else, she wouldn’t have been able to experience it with us.


Celebrations kicked off that morning, with everyone having organised food, champagne and Scotch (in true European style!) Mark had made a reservation for us at Vue de Monde, and while initially I didn’t want to leave our family, it was just wonderful to be able to take some time out by ourselves and reflect on this special moment.

Mark is far more caring and thoughtful that I could ever have dreamed of, but this day was the most special of my life.

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a wonderful surprise – those amazing letters would have been hard to hide! I’m not sure how everyone kept it a secret for so long!

About Stephanie: I am a 25 year old office manager, working for a data analytics firm in Melbourne. I have a love of glamour, makeup, fashion, wine and food. I have organized some corporate events before but nothing could have prepared me for the whirlwind of planning that has been our engagement party – and upcoming wedding!

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