Today’s Expert is Catherine Stephens, Events Manager, of the iconic Lake House. Daylesford is a popular place for Victorians to flock to on the weekend, but to actually live and work there would be heaven! Lucky Catherine and other Lake House staff get to call this town ‘home’, and the icing on the cake must be to work at Lake House, the creation and vision of this gorgeous place belonging to Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker. So with just the slightest touch of envy, I invite you to read all about this exciting wedding and events venue.
Where is Lake House situated?
Lake House is located in the beautiful town of Daylesford, which is known as the Spa Capital of Australia. Daylesford is about an 80 minute drive from Melbourne, and is an increasingly popular haunt for seasoned travellers. In the town itself there is an eclectic mix of artist’s studios, cafes, award winning restaurants, boutique day spas, holistic healing centers, bookshops and nature walks in the surrounding Wombat State Forrest.
Lake House is set right on the edge of Lake Daylesford, spread across six acres off gardens which extend down to the lake shore. On the property guests can have a hit of tennis followed by tea tennis pavilion, a glass of wine by the open fire in the Lounge. There is also the Kitchen Garden planted out with edible shoots and flowers, extensive outdoor terraces overlooking the lake and gardens with everything from koala loved stringy barks to lilac, Daphne, quince, plum and apple trees.
We love Daylesford because….
The team at Lake House really is lucky to live and work in such a rich, beautiful and diverse town. Daylesford has a strong history wound between the settlement of Swiss Italians, the Gold Rush and the discovery of the natural mineral springs in the area.
All of these things play a huge part in what the town has become today – there are beautiful old Swiss / Italian buildings, olive farms and even a macaroni factory because of the original settlers. There are day spas galore because of the mineral springs; so on days off the staff are never far away from a relaxing massage.
But it’s probably the food and wine that area producers that our team love the most (not surprising, we are all foodies at heart!) Including our own restaurant, there are now a number of places to eat around Daylesford, all of which have a strong focus on regional and seasonal produce. Daylesford is lucky enough to experience all 4 seasons, so the produce ranges from mushrooms galore and chestnuts in Autumn, to lamb, garlic, kale and a heaps of baby vegetables in Spring!
Lake House is special because….
At Lake House we like to ‘create memories’ for our guests. Our team is made up of true professionals, who truly love what they do. Having substance and being very down to earth is also very important to us – there are always reasons to our philosophies. We are also very lucky enough to work in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
Do you have wedding packages available?
Yes everything from cocktails and roaming banquets, 3 course menus, or Degustation Menus for the ultimate foodies. We like to tailor make our wedding packages depending on the couples’ desires.
You have a spa and hotel on the property. What are the services they offer the bridal party and their guests?
Having accommodation and our own Spa on the property means we can offer our wedding couple and their guests most things without them having to leave! The Spa has wonderful Hen’s Day packages where the ‘hens’ can float from treatment room to treatment room getting prettied and primped sipping champagne! We also have 35 rooms and suites, so wedding guest can really relax by staying with us. Our Retreat accommodation is the ‘ultimate’ when it comes to the special night for the happy couple – it’s a large country house set in private garden on the Lake House property. It has two beautifully furnished bedrooms with fireside lounging areas, two luxury bathroom and dressing rooms, and to top it all off there is an outside Jacuzzi!
What items can/should a bride source herself when using the Lake House wedding resources?
We can really arrange pretty much everything for our Bride’s to be! On top of our beautiful ceremony sites and reception venues we have a floral and décor stylist and a very skilled pastry team who can work directly with couples to come up with the visions. Also having been in the wedding industry for over 20 years we have a very extensive list of our favourite suppliers – ranging from wedding photographers, celebrants, car hire, bands & DJ’s even the odd butterfly wrangler for couples that want to go that extra mile!
Do you have an in-house wedding planner?
Myself and my team are the combined ‘Wedding Planning Team’ working with brides from the very first meeting and show around of the property all the way until the final day. I would describe our service as being personal, professional and intuitive. We really into tailor making our experience for each individual. We work very closely with all of the departments on the property to ensure that the guest’s needs are met whatever they might be. Taking a lot of pride in what we do – being part of a couple’s day is such a bonus for us! We are very lucky to be able to see a couple and their nearest and dearest on such a happy day, it makes what we do easy! It also creates a real relationship with us and the family, seeing couples come back for anniversary then with little ones is rewarding in itself!
A dream wedding at Lake House would include…..
We have a lot of couples that choose a date in the summer for their date, which is always lovely. But for me one of the most beautiful times of the year is in autumn/winter. The leaves on the trees have turned flame oranges and reds, the mornings are crisp with lots of mist rising on the lake – and the days are blue skied and fresh.
The perfect day would probably start a couple of days before – the bride and their bridesmaids would spend a day in our spa pampering themselves, while the groomsmen could have a round of golf (or have some treatments of their own) in the evenings the bride & groom would have an intimate dinner in our cellar room surrounded by wine, candelabras and their closest friends and family.
On the day itself – the Bride & Groom would stay at separate ends of the property with their chosen few, spending the morning sipping some celebratory champagne while getting ready.
The ceremony would be held on the lake shore and they would take their vows underneath the coloured leaves of the birch trees, followed by photos on the lake jetty, on the terrace overlooking the lake and amongst the gardens. The reception would be held in our Terrace room, guests would have cocktails and canapés around a roaring open fire, then move to be seated in a room with soaring ceilings, full length windows overlooking lush gardens, colourful sails that gently part their way through the space, the heady scent of fabulous flowers and the golden glow of three majestic black frosted chandeliers – it’s the most magical of locations for a party!
After a night of love, good food and wine, and laughter the happy couple would be farewelled to spend the night in their wedding room – the Retreat, with open fires, double ensuite and dressing room, lounge area and outside Jacuzzi.
What is the Lake House food philosophy?
At the head of the Lake House kitchen is our Executive Chef and owner Alla Wolf-Tasker. Alla and her husband Allan opened Lake House as a restaurant in 1984 based around Alla’s philosophy of “Creating a restaurant worthy of a journey”. Today the team in the kitchen work from the ground up producing modern Australian cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal and regional ingredients. They create most items on the daily menu from the ground up – ranging from bread, charcuterie, preserves, smoked goods, chocolates and more.
Our favorite dish of the moment for autumn is….
At the moment on our Autumn menu we have Guinea fowl – which is butter poached, and served with barley and locally foraged wild mushrooms. So good with a glass of Pinot Noir from Passing Clouds winery down the road!
The most beautiful time of the year at Lake House for a wedding is…..
Definitely autumn. When the region was settled by the Swiss-Italian’s they planted a whole heap of trees that reminded them of home. So there are Poplars, Birch, Olive and Swiss Pines, which in Autumn turn magnificent canary yellow, fire-engine red and flame orange. Top the beautiful scenery off with open fires, glasses of wine, cheese plates, nurturing body treatments, walks through the pine forest, misty mornings…should I go on?!
A guilty pleasure for Lake House staff is…..
Being in hospitality means we can all work pretty crazy hours so we try and make sure our team is looked after on their days off with treatments in our Salus Spa, the odd wine tasting as a group and some really great staff parties. The last get together we had was an 80’s theme – Rubicks cubes, old movie posters of the Breakfast Club and The Terminator, and some great 80’s classic music. Everyone dressed up as an 80’s personalilty and there was a prize for the best dressed – was a great night for everyone!
What do you love about your job at Lake House?
Wow. How to put it into words?! I’ve been working at Lake House for nearly 10 years now, so it’s become more like my family than just somewhere I work. I love the environment that we are lucky to work in, and the people. Our jobs are also pretty diverse – so there are always different things going on on the property. Its never boring!
I also really enjoy the ongoing relationships that our team has made with our brides, seeing them so happy on their special day is very very rewarding!
Thank you Catherine for sharing your story with us today. To find out more about Lake House and their wedding services visit their website.
You can also find Lake House in Ms Polka Dot’s Directory
All images courtesy of Lake House