With glorious images and tempting recipes, Michelle Crawford’s blog, Hugo and Elsa, shares her own slice of heaven from her rambling old country house in Tasmania. Her daily magic seems so effortless and we were so thrilled to be able to have a Glass of Bubbles with her and chat about her equally dreamy wedding day.
Tell us about you and your business/blog?
I live in a little weatherboard farmhouse in the Huon Valley in southern Tasmania, with my husband Leo, and two children Elsa and Hugo. I work as a freelance food stylist, food consultant, writer and cook. My husband Leo and I left Sydney about 10 years ago seeking the slow life. I started writing a blog about our life in 2008, called Hugo and Elsa, sharing our tales, and our story was recently turned into a book, called A Table in The Orchard. It’s a memoir with photos and recipes that tells the story of our adventure, from city slickers to country bumpkins.
Tell us about your wedding?
Leo and I were married 11 years ago on September 4 2004 in Sydney’s Nielsen Park. We had the ceremony at Greycliffe House, drank some champagne and canapés in the sun before walking down to the Nielsen Park Kiosk on the beach for the reception. We had about 60 guests, it was a sunny spring lunch time wedding. Our daughter Elsa was about 18 months old.
It was pretty low fuss affair. We did a lot of things ourselves or friends helped out. My friend Jamie Carroll from Leading Hand Designs made our gorgeous invitations. My beautiful beaded dress was bought off the rack from Helen English in Paddington, and one of my oldest friends Erica Wells, is a stylist for film for television, did my hair and makeup. My mother in law and Leo’s sisters did the flowers for us.
I had beautiful beaded earrings and a bracelet made especially to match my dress by a young Australian jeweller called Elizabeth Bower, who was just starting out in her career and now has a very successful business based in New York.
We wanted to have a casual beachside lunch with long tables, white table clothes, bentwood chairs and sunny windows. We had share platters of delicious Italian food and good wines with our close friends and family. It was such a casual but special day. Very Sydney, being on the harbour with the sparkling blue water. We arrived and left by water taxi which was perfect, I had to take my shoes off and paddle in the water to get in and out of the boat.
It was three months later that we would pack up and move to Tasmania, so it was so special to get all our friends together for a celebration before we truly did embark on a new life.
What was your most memorable moment (or moments!)?
There were so many! But one of my favourites was during the toast; we poured everyone a glass of this divine Italian Moscato sparkling wine – everyone thought it was regular sparkling wine, but all our guests gasped when they took a sip, it was such a delightful surprise. It was this one moment when everyone was enjoying the same thing, with lots of wows being spoken around the room. For us, our wedding was about bringing family and friends together to celebrate and feeding them well with good food and wine, so to me, this moment kind of confirmed that.
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
We didn’t have a wedding cake, because we had all these beautiful Italian desserts, we felt it wasn’t necessary at the time. But looking back I wish we’d had a big wedding cake and had taken lots of photos of us cutting the cake. Maybe I’ll make myself a wedding cake one day!
Who are your favourite vendors?
Apart from the ones already mentioned, we didn’t use a lot of traditional wedding vendors, because most of it we did ourselves or with friends and family. However if I was to get married today, I would have my wedding at The Apple Shed in the Huon Valley, I’d get Bek Burrows to style the event, Smolt to do the food and Jonathan Wherrett to photograph everything.
Who was your photographer?
At the time, I was working for Object, The Australian Centre for Craft & Design, and I worked with a guy who was a really talented rock photographer. His stage name was Stevens Las Vegas, (real name Andy Stevens) he was showing me these incredible photos he took of PJ Harvey at a concert, and he just captured something really magical. I wanted him to do the same for our wedding. Our photos aren’t the traditional style, but I love them just the same. It was shot on film and Andy used lots of black and white film and slide film, which we had cross – processed to get a really beautiful colour saturation. Which is all done with Photoshop these days!
What advice do you have for others planning their wedding?
Seek out people starting out in their career, young dress designers or jewellers, photographers or event stylists to be apart of your day, that may not only be a cheaper option, but it’s also good to help people starting out in their career and it can give your wedding a fresh new feel.
Involve friends and family to help with hand made elements, like writing place cards and doing flowers.
Try not to stress over little details that may not be how you imagined them, at the end of the day, it’s not what the day is about, it’s about sharing a special day with family and friends, the people you love, and those little things aren’t that important in the scheme of things.
Thank you Michelle for sharing your enchanting wedding story and magical images with us; with beautiful food and wine, how special it must have been for everyone to celebrate your marriage with Italian Moscato sparkling wine before your move to Tasmania – what wonderful memories! For other ways to find the simple beauty in life, visit Hugo and Elsa for your daily inspiration!