Your wedding day is one of the biggest and most memorable days of your life – and sometimes things don’t go to plan! A sound piece of advice from Nicole following her Brisbane art gallery wedding to Hayden is not to take yourself too seriously and to be flexible with thoughts and arrangements.
“If something isn’t going according to plan – then don’t get caught up in it, just change your plan.”
I met Dave on a blind date that was organised by my best friend Elise who at the time worked with Dave at the Australian Taxation Office. I was in no frame of mind to be thinking about a fabulous guy to meet and fall in love with. I’d had a string of terrible relationships and the male figure was not something I had high expectations of anymore. But what I have found is that those rubbish relationships filled with heart break and regret are worth every second and every tear. Because when you find a good guy you really value how truly good he is compared to the bad you’ve had!
Our blind date turned into a double date at the local bowling lanes because I refused to go and meet up with a guy who I didn’t know and potentially have to fake smile through an hour of rolling balls down a lane. If I didn’t like Dave and wasn’t feeling it, I had a ‘safe’ word so that Elise and her hubby Anthony would know I wanted out – if I were to mention anything about the neighbour’s cat that was the signal to call the choppers in!
Sometimes having low expectations before meeting someone can be a pleasant blessing in disguise. I saw Dave from behind and he turned to greet us. My insides went ‘WOW’, seriously what a babe! I remember his towering height and thinking now this is a man. I hadn’t realised until meeting Dave that I actually had never been with a real man, there’s really a difference between a man and a MAN and until you’ve encountered both I don’t think it would be something I could properly explain in words.
I’ve always wanted to get married, the typical 11 year-old girl dream. But when I met Dave I wanted nothing to do with it. With a broken heart from past relationships in tow, I was wounded and really didn’t care about men’s feelings. I had this thought that once I ‘sorted’ myself out and got back on track, that’s when I’m meet a great guy and settle down. Turns out God had much bigger plans for me because it was when I was at my lowest point that’s when he brought this champion of a man across my path. When you’re down and out and then someone great comes along it’s a great prompter to get up and be better for someone else.
Fast track a year and a half between individually both travelling the world and coming home again I found myself atop of the Booroomba Rocks on a June long weekend camping trip with friends. He was on one knee, nervous and jumbling words but that day he decided he couldn’t, wouldn’t and won’t live without me so on that ring slid. My ring is a stunning razor cut Smokey Quartz that Dave purchased on one of our holidays to Sri Lanka. The wedding bands are a beaded gold and silver design from Pandora. I like unique pieces that sit on the chunkier side of things so it is perfectly suited to my style. Dave’s wedding band was custom designed and made out of Titanium from McGlades Jewellers in Canberra. They looked so beautiful on my handmade ‘Love Conquers All’ wedding ring holders.
Just under eight months later we were walking down the aisle and being wed under a leafy Elm tree like something you’d see in Lord of the Things (without the costumes!). I’m a total control freak because I’m great at what I do and don’t want anyone to ruin it (the true words of a control freak spoken here!) But I refused to be a Bridezilla and by thoroughly planning at the beginning of our engagement, I can happily say no friendships were lost in the process! Everything came together relatively easily.
We spent a heck of a lot of money on our wedding and reception but honestly we didn’t (and still don’t!) care. We had the money and both sets of parents helped in contributing. The most important aspects of the ceremony for us were our hand written vows; we are both set on our words so this was something that was precious to us both. And having communion together, making the time in our day to remember Jesus who gave us life and who has shown us how to love was so significant. After those formalities, our guests were our priority and that included entertaining them with good wine, good food, games and dancing.
Our bridal party was pretty large considering neither of us are Italian or Greek! We both wanted to have friends and family members who have been constant figure in our lives. Along with our babes, our nieces, nephews and cousins, we also had page boys and junior bridesmaid. The girls dresses were all custom made from silk and with two heavily pregnant bridesmaids we were constantly altering sizes.
The highlight for the boys outfits were their chevron patterned wooden bow ties from Wooden Bow Ties which we had sent over from the States.
My dress was an Anna Campbell design, the ‘Isabella’ gown, and I was set on having her make my dress. My Mum and sister flew down to Melbourne to visit the boutique with me. The dress I had in mind looked a whole look better on the mannequin than it did on me so I tried on the next dress that took my fancy. Just for safe measure Mum and Sis made me try on a few others from other boutiques because surely it’s not meant to be that easy. However it was, and I was measured that day. I had to fly down a further two times for fittings as it was a custom piece. I only wish I could sit in my office each day wearing it, what a masterpiece! I had two pairs of shoes both from Novo, one for walking down the aisle and one for dancing.
My gorgeous cousin Sara, who is an experienced makeup artist, did my face along with my Mum’s and bridesmaids’. She is incredibly talented and can make anyone into a stunner. Sara is from the States and has worked for the likes of MAC and Napoleon Perdis here in Australia. Her makeup collection is extensive so no matter what your shade she’s be able to work her magic.
My hair was done by Renee from Meki Hair and she was a life saver. I had a terrible trial run with another hairdresser and two weeks out from the wedding Renee’s details were passed on to me. She is a true artist when it comes to hair styles. She straightened, curled, and even sewed my hair into place. I was over the moon with the end result!
I borrowed my veil from one of my bridesmaids as it was the perfect white and had gorgeous Swarovski crystals at the hem which matched my wedding dress bodice. Word of warning if you’re wearing false eyelashes on the day the veil will get stuck to them! You may notice in our photos that I’m holding my veil taut to keep it away from my eyes.
I always had an image in mind of what type of flowers I wanted (David Austin roses, camelias, yellow Billy Buttons and succulents) and I knew Virginia from Rockabilly Floral Lane would be able to make them look stunning. I have memories of picking camelias in my Grandparents’ front garden but unfortunately they were out of season so instead Virginia suggested some high quality silk peony flowers which still to this day look stunning and you’d never realise they weren’t real. Succulents were another one of the design highlights which popped up throughout our wedding; in my bouquet, the boys flower pins and as part of the table styling.
I loved my jewellery that I wore on the day. My bridesmaids all pitched in and bought me an amazing set of diamond earrings which they presented to me at my hens. Paired with these, the only other jewellery besides my engagement ring was a beautiful blue ring that was my Granny’s. She had so many beautiful pieces and my sister and I as kids were forever trying them on. I remember asking her that if she died could I have her blue ring and she said yes. It was my little way of having her there on the day. My dress had so much bling it was imperative that I didn’t end up looking like a disco ball so the jewels were fairly paired back. I also wore my Mum’s lace gloves that she wore when she married Dad. Along with my girls, I wore a silk flower crown that I made.
I was going through a pottery phase and so I made some white glazed earrings for all of my bridesmaids as their gifts, along with silk flower crowns (thanks to my sister who stayed up late the night before finishing them off). Dave gave his guys Marvel cufflinks; he put a lot of thought into which character to give each groomsman, matching their personality to the likes of The Hulk and The Punisher. Dave was of course Wolverine. All of them were purchased from various suppliers on Etsy.
Both our ceremony and reception were held out at Poachers Pantry just outside of Canberra. They are very well known for their wines and smokehouse. The food is divine and we love to eat! They had a marquee set up for the party time and we decked out as much of it as we could with hand made decorations. I had a colour scheme of pastel pink, yellow and grey with the chevron pattern and you can see the flow of this style intertwined in the invites, stationery and the decorations themselves.
Being an interior designer I felt extra pressure to make the space something quite spectacular. Just as a hairdresser is judged by their own haircut I felt the need to make a bang! But in all honesty at the end of the day, after having a few wines no one remembers what the placecards looked like or what the centre-piece on the table was. But I would always remember, so I put some extra effort into it – including handmade cardboard paper fans, gold beer bottle vases and custom scented candles (in jersey caramel!) by the awesome Nicole from Jammi & Me.
My Mum made the stunning terrariums that sat in the centre of the tables and our table runners consisted of pages from old books and comics. The delicious caramel mudcake with butter icing was made by Sweet Bones Bakery. I made the cake topper from white glazed ceramic.
Our photographer was Emma Hampton and she is incredible! She photographed our engagement party and we knew instantly she was who we wanted on the day. Emma was awesome to get along with and was able to capture some beautiful moments along with helping us not feel awkward while gazing at each other.
We also decided to make the investment in hiring Everclear Productions as our wedding videographer. This was the one piece of advice to ensure we record the day that resonated with us from others that had recently been married. I would love to be able to watch footage of my parents or Grandparents getting married. And I look forward to be able to share our wedding with my offspring; that was the main motivator. And seriously the day goes so quickly you forget a lot of it so it’s nice to have a visual reminder. It was such a magical day!
Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a beautiful wedding Sarah and Dave; the pastel theme combined with your pretty handmade details made it a special day to remember!
About Sarah: My name is Sarah and I live in the beautiful coastal city of Wollongong. For fun besides eating cheese and drinking wine I love to belly dance; this is my passion which gives me the freedom to dance and wear beautiful costumes. I’ve married the best guy I could have ever picked and our wedding day was truly an unforgettable day of love, commitment and partying!
With amazing images and inspiring stories about travel and adventure, the awarded blog, Little Grey Box, is the go-to site for honest, helpful and relatable travel stories – what a wonderful, fun life discovering the world! In our own Polka Dot Bride way, we too have been on a couple of trips too with Phoebe – from sharing her blissful Byron Bay engagement photos to featuring her bright, Spring Brisbane wedding, it was lovely to be able to sit down with Phoebe again and have a Glass of Bubbles with her whilst she reminisced about her romantic big day!
Tell us about you and your business/blog?
Just over a year ago I quit my office job to take a chance on my dreams. I now work full-time as a travel writer. My husband, Matt, and I run Little Grey Box together and I freelance for a few other publications too. Little Grey Box provides really useful travel information and fun videos for regular people, it’s also a great source of travel inspiration and a good laugh if you enjoy reading my awkward stories. Life should be fun and full of love and that’s what we’re all about.
Tell us about your Wedding?
Matt and I are both introverts and pretty awkward people so it was important to us our wedding was relaxed and laid back; we wanted people to have fun and not just focus on us all day. I guess we saw it more as us hosting a party for our nearest and dearest and we just happen to be looking pretty great and getting married at the same time! We had about 50 guests which was mostly family and a few of our closest friends. Everyone spent the entire day laughing and smiling. I can’t remember a more fun day, even when we look back at the photos now we end up with sore cheeks from laughing at all the funny things that happened.
What was your most memorable moment (or moments!)?
Two of our groomsmen are particularly funny and decided to have a dance contest! One ripped his pants at the back, all the way from knee to butt, and the other dislocated his shoulder. There are several photos from later in the night where you can see them both lurking in the background, one holding his pants and the other holding his shoulder.
The other memorable moment for me was Matt’s speech. Being an introvert it was really hard for him to get up in front of a room full of people and speak. I was so proud of him for doing it and the speech he wrote was amazing; he really nailed it and it meant the world to me.
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I would have had a photo booth. We tried to DIY ours and it was a massive failure. Photo booths are so much fun and I really would’ve loved to have those additional candid shots of people being goofy (us included).
Who are your favourite vendors?
Alannah Pritchard of Alannah Pritchard Make-up and Nails was exceptional; she listened to all of the girls and me carefully and made sure our make-up reflected our personalities. I cannot recommend her enough, she is a real talent and absolutely the most lovely person you could ever hope to meet.
Our venue, Spring Food and Wine in Brisbane, was also wonderful; they took care of everything and made the entire day easy and seamless. A few hiccups happened during the night and I didn’t even know about them until a few days later! Not only that but the service was top notch and the food there is incredibly delicious.
Who was your photographer?
Kate Parker of Quince & Mulberry Studios was also a favourite vendor of ours. Kate has a way of getting the best out of people naturally, she makes you feel comfortable and relaxed (even if you’re awkward!) We were running seriously late and somehow Kate got all the photos we wanted and made sure we arrived at the venue on time; she’s incredibly professional, lovely and captures those organic moments of love and joy. If you need a photographer, Kate is your girl!
What advice do you have for others planning their wedding?
Keep it simple and make sure your day reflects who you are. I would also recommend only discussing your wedding plans with a few trusted friends; when it comes to weddings, everyone has an opinion and it can be a bit overwhelming when everyone you meet shares their two cents worth with you!
Thankyou Phoebe for sharing your memories about your romantic marriage to Matt; what a fun day full of love and joy. To be inspired by Phoebe’s other love of travel, don’t miss an update from Little Grey Box – you’ll be planning your next adventure before you know it!