Carolyn & John’s Classic Outdoor Winery Wedding

by | Australia - Western Australia, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Carolyn & John

The golden green of the vineyards set the most glorious backdrop for the classic outdoor winery wedding of Carolyn and John. The couple, who chose Melissa’s Photography to photograph their day, wanted to honour the classic, traditional sense of a wedding with their own flair- the bride even working hard to create details like a seating chart and even place cards that truly reflected their personalities and love for their guests.

“We met at the Rock-It festival in Joondalup in October 2004 back when Carolyn was 15 and John was 18. Carolyn had attended with her best friend Maria and made their way into the mosh pit. John and Carolyn physically bumped into each other in the Mosh Pit listening to Green Day and John had apologised and helped Carolyn get back up. They eventually exchanged numbers and he rang her a week later to catch up. We started dating in early 2005 and the rest is history!”

Carolyn found her blush pink Elizabeth De Varga gown at Dion for Brides, telling the story “I’ve always liked to stand out from the crowd. Not because I want attention but because I like to be unique. I started getting interested in pale pink wedding dresses as they were very much in fashion then, and I thought would suit my red hair! I started looking around and all of the wedding dresses that were pink were kind of stock standard.

My Mum and I started looking around at wedding shops and the first shop we went into was Dion for Brides. I started looking around at the clothes racks quickly shuffling through them, nothing really took my fancy at first. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the ladies who worked there carrying a pale blush pink dress across the store. I stopped and said to mum “That one! That one!” I asked the lady if I could try it on and I did. I walked out of the changing room and Mum immediately started crying. Walking up and down the store all of the other girls told me how wonderful it looked and I knew then that I loved it. I looked at the price tag and almost had a heart attack. So I put it back and started looking again at other, standard white dresses.

We went to another 2 or 3 stores and everything I tried on I hated. Could it be possible that the first dress I ever tried on was the one? I went home and all I could think about was that blush, pink dress. I wanted it so bad! I called my Mum and let her know I think we found the dress! And that day we rang and put down a deposit on it. I was so excited!”

Carolyn walked down the aisle on the arm of her brother to “Two Little Words” by Reuben Loops.

Carolyn and John chose Sandalford Winery for their wedding, remarking “We decided we didn’t want to get married in a church very early on. We wanted it to be outdoors, somewhere fun and relaxing. So we began looking at wineries in the Swan Valley one weekend when a wedding open day was on. In a similar way to the dress, when you know, you know!

We looked at a few smaller wineries and thought they were lovely, but nothing really took our breath away. Until we walked into Sandalford Winery in the Swan Valley. The grounds were absolutely beautiful. Green grass, green grapevines. We absolutely loved it. Then we went into their reception rooms, with walls lined with beautiful old wine barrels, and beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. We were amazed! I turned to John and he had an equally big smile on his face and we both said Yes, this is the one!”

Cameron Eglington performed the ceremony, the bride remarking “We wanted our ceremony to have the perfect balance of tradition, without being too serious. That’s why we chose our celebrant Cameron Eglington. He was fantastic, with the perfect amount of humour at the perfect times. Our ceremony was short, about 20 minutes. It included a reading by my Mum as this was our way to include her in the wedding. It was a poem entitled “A Blessing For The Journey” which was chosen by Mum as she thought it portrayed exactly the wishes she had for us as a couple. We exchanged vows, although not our own as we though this would add to the pressure (we both get nervous publicly speaking!).”

“Although it was meant to be our special day, I wanted to make sure the wedding was fun and memorable, and definitely wasn’t boring. For this reason, we chose not to go off-site for photos and just had photos around the Sandalford grounds whilst guests enjoyed canapés and drinks.”

Of their photographer, Carolyn tells “Melissa was incredibly bubbly and easy to get along with – which is exactly what you want from a photographer so that you feel comfortable in front of the lens. She was great with her direction and knew exactly what kind of shots she wanted in her mind. Constantly shuffling us into different groups and positions to ensure we had lovely photos. She provided us with a great mixture of both posed and candid photos. She was great! and a very reasonable price!”

Guests dined in the barrel room for the wedding reception. “We loved the fact that people actually came there to celebrate with us, for us. We felt very special – How amazing it felt to know how much John loved me, and I loved him. To know you’ve found someone that actually wants to spend their life with you.”

Special touches were dotted throughout the day, Carolyn explaining “The bouquets and flowers for the ceremony were from Poppy & Willow . She did an amazing job. Our cake was made by John’s sister Tina at Sticky Treats and tasted amazing!  The place settings were little polaroid photos of ideally both John and me with that guest or at least one of us with that guest.”

“I remember our first dance well. I thought I would be so embarrassed to get up and dance in front of everyone but I ended up giggling through the first minute with John because we were just so happy. We danced to the acoustic version of “How Long Will I Love You” by Ellie Goulding.”

A last minute spur of the moment decision, led the bride and groom to add the talent of Neni Films  to their day, Carolyn remembering “I originally wasn’t going to get a wedding video because I thought we couldn’t afford it. I came across an advert for Martina at Neni Films.  She quietly moved around the wedding party all day without causing any disruption at all, I barely noticed she was there. A week or two later I had an amazing wedding video I couldn’t be happier with. She did is so artistically and really has amazing video editing skills. I was blown away with what she did.”

Congratulations on your marriage Carolyn and John! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Melissa’s Photography for sharing today’s celebration!


This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

  • Hairstylist
  • Julie Manalis
  • Makeup Artist
  • Mel Brown
  • DJ
  • DJ Zelamir


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