Elizabeth & Matt
It’s no secret around these parts that we love an Autumn wedding, but when it comes to one full of magic, well we can’t wait to share the tale of Elizabeth and Matt! The lunchtime reception, making the most of the early Autumn light, was a beautiful way to celebrate the marriage of these two, who met on Elizabeth’s 18th birthday, when her future groom drove her friends to wish her happy birthday. “My friends were wanting to wish me a Happy Birthday but with no way to get there, they called in a favour from another friend, Matt, who kindly gave them a lift. As I had never met Matt before my first words to him were “Who are you and why are you in my lounge room?”
And with the beautiful Autumn leaves behind them, family and friends pitched in to help decorate and pull off a day that the bride, who designs wedding stationery for a living, describes as “Boho Autumnal” and which was filled with not only the most magic details, but also the stories to go along with it. Samantha Heather Photography was there to capture it all.
It was eight years into the couple’s time together that Matt popped the question. The bride starts the story. “Matt and I planned our first overseas holiday together, as just the two of us. We spent our first day on a breath-taking scenic cruise through the crystal clear waters of Milford Sound, New Zealand. I had no idea that Matt had been carrying the ring with him all day, just waiting for the perfect moment. Unfortunately, this moment never came as we were constantly surrounded by tourists and the timing just wasn’t right. Matt tried again the following day. But, of course, he had left the engagement ring back at the hotel.
Undeterred, Matt tried once more, this time planning a romantic gondola ride and dinner at dusk. It was here, that Matt intended to propose. On our way up the mountain, I spent the time with my camera, enjoying the spectacular views, so Matt let me be, deciding to postpone the proposal until later that evening. We enjoyed an amazing night with a buffet dinner and entertaining performances but finally, it was time to return to the gondola and make our way back over the sights over Queenstown. We stepped into the cart, and Matt prepared himself to get down on one knee.
Just as Matt was about to propose, a random man jumped into our cart! So there we were, Matt, myself, and a tourist who couldn’t speak a word of English, in a very awkward ride back down the mountain.
Poor Matt was so frustrated that each attempt had failed, anxiously aware that he may not be given another opportunity, he decided there and then to put an end to any more complications. What the hell? he thought I’ll just propose here.
On bended knee, in the centre of our hotel room, Matt popped the question: “Will you marry me?”I responded with “Really? Here?” Perhaps not quite the reply he had been expecting. But, of course, the answer was Yes!”
The beautiful bouquets, hair pieces and ceremony flowers were all styled by Taylor Made Bouquets. Elizabeth remembers “I couldn’t have been happier that we chose to have her to be a part of our day. Not only was she affordable in comparison to so many other vendors but she completely hit the brief of what I was after. When I saw what she created on the day I was absolutely blown away.
I very much had a greenery and botanical theme for the day and I knew that I wanted natives and wildflowers rather than a traditional bouquet. As our colour scheme included a lot of cool colours such as grey and charcoal and I chose to add the colour sage to break up the dark tones which were worked into the greenery with white florals to really make it pop. I also wanted branches and gumnuts to create warmth and wild berries to reflect our wedding venue. Donna made all of this come to life and it all flowed beautifully within each element. In particular, I loved the floral crown that I chose instead of a veil. The one that Donna created made me feel like a woodland fairy princess and when I put it on that morning it just made the whole look complete. ”
Elizabeth found her Sally Eagle long sleeve lace wedding gown at Hope x Page. She tells “It was only on my second day of trying on wedding dresses that I walked into Hope and Page and found my dream dress. I had been looking at one dress online from the very beginning of the planning process, I was attracted to it by its vintage and bohemian feel with beautiful long lace sleeves, and a low cut back to show off my tattoo. It wasn’t too poofy or over the top but elegant and understated.
I had gone into the boutique with a particular gown in mind, but I had tried on so many beautiful dresses that day and at the moment I had forgotten the reason why I went there in the first place and was so certain that I found the dress I was going to take home. However, just when I thought we were done Alex, the shop owner said that she wanted me to try on one more dress which she thought would be perfect for me. She brought out the dress, and there it was, my dream dress that I had been looking at from the beginning. The Genevieve from the Sally Eagle collection. I tried it on and it fit perfectly, it was like it was meant to be. I couldn’t believe my luck, and I couldn’t have imagined wearing any other dress down the aisle.”
Guests were greeted by a caravan filled with drinks thanks to My Little Peony “When I started wedding planning I came across a company called My Little Peony that was a vintage caravan and bar, and I fell in love. I knew they would fit perfectly with the relaxed vibes we were after. Initially, when I contacted them we were intending to get married in April and they were actually unavailable due to the owners getting married themselves. So I actually chose to have our wedding in May so they could be a part of our day. It worked out for the best as the beautiful autumn colours held out to the end of Autumn. ” tells the bride.
The beautiful Montrose Berry Farm set the scene for the big day, Elizabeth explaining ” I came across the beautiful location in my online endeavours and instantly fell in love. It was perfect, not only was I able to choose all my own vendors but it was everything else that I was looking for. It had magical gardens for an outdoor ceremony, beautiful trees perfect for an autumn wedding (my favourite time of year), warm and rustic barn for the reception, and luscious lawns ideal for games and grazing in between. It was everything in one.
When we visited the location for the first time we knew instantly it was the venue for us and was only made by better by meeting the lovely owners Bruce and Fiona and their dog Zipper who all made up feel so welcome. From the very minute we met, leading right up to our wedding day, they were so helpful and accommodating and went above and beyond to help everything come together. They were down to earth people who genuinely wanted to ensure we had the most magical day.”
Elizabeth walked down the aisle hand in hand with mother to Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”. She shares “We had our mums as our witnesses which was lovely, they both mean so much to us and we wanted them to have a special role to play. I also had the pleasure of having my mum walk me down the aisle. My father passed away only 2 months after Matt and I got engaged, so whilst it was hard not having him there, it was great having my mum by my side and giving me away. We also still found ways to include him into our day, I had a photo charm of him around my bouquet and a reserved seat in the front row of the ceremony.”
Elizabeth and Matt chose The Master of Ceremony – Adam Straney to officiate their ceremony, noting “We both wanted something quite simple and straight to the point. Our celebrant Adam Straney did an amazing job at creating this for us and our overall ceremony was light-hearted and fun. Leading up to the wedding he asked us to answer a few questions about how we met, the proposal, and the good and bad about each other. We were under strict instructions to answer the questions separately and not share them. Then during the ceremony, he read out our answers and retold our own versions of how we met and how Matt proposed. It’s quite interesting hearing something you experienced being retold from a different viewpoint. Our answers to the good and bad about each other were also quite entertaining and had everyone in stitches.”
“We exchanged vows that we had written ourselves which I am so glad we decided to do. Adam did an amazing job as our celebrant. He was so down to earth and funny, and we got along with him from the moment we met. In fact, a lot of our guests actually asked if we had known him before the wedding because of how personal the ceremony was.”
“My favourite photo is a group shot with our bridal party where we all collected leaves and then threw them up into the air” tells Elizabeth. ” Sam came up with the idea and asked everyone to pick up leaves but my bridal party had taken it so seriously as if it was a competition as to who could collect the most leaves.
They had all picked up huge bundles of leaves and when they let go it made for an amazing photo. I still look back at that photo and laugh, especially when seeing all the expressions and poses from our friends. This photo captures the overall mood from our day, and I honestly don’t remember laughing so much in one day, it was just a day full of fun and laughter.”
Elizabeth and Matt hired a friend to make their wedding cake, telling “A lot of our vendors were actually
people that we knew. I tried to use my connections as much as possible and not only was it helpful with our budget but also made our day extra special.
Our cake was made by a friend from school who makes cakes as a hobby. She did an amazing job and the cake was so delicious and my only regret was not getting to eat more of it.”
Elizabeth, who works at Sydney Wedding Printing, created the stationery herself. ” I designed all the wedding invites myself, with the help of my talented maid of honour who illustrated watercolour versions of Matt and I which I used right throughout our wedding day. I wanted something cute and personal that would be unique to our day.”
Much of the decor was styled by the couple themselves. Elizabeth telling “As our venue was a blank canvas it was up to Matt and I to source everything ourselves, so with the help of all of our bridal party and family we set up the reception the day before. We hired all the timber tables and chairs but I had my heart set on elevated timber platforms on each table for our shared menu to sit on. So only days before our wedding we were running around different stores for the timber & to find little buckets for them to sit on. They turned out great and really tied in with our rustic themed reception. I did have all these amazing ideas for the reception decor, and I had planned on making so much more then I did but we just ran out of time, so in the end, we kept it pretty simple. I sourced beautiful grey napkins and charcoal vases and had a few on each table with simple greenery. I think at the end of the day the overall atmosphere was more important than having a reception decked out with decorations.”
It was the dream of the bride to serve guests a shared menu for lunch, so she hired Chef and I Catering to execute her vision. She explains “We liked the idea of the guests being able to help themselves rather than having to choose between an alternative menu and shared menus seem to bring everyone together to mingle. We based the setup for the reception around having the shared menus, with long timber tables and elevated timber platforms. We didn’t want it to seem like a formal occasion but rather one big relaxed family dinner.”
Elizabeth and Matt danced to “Forever Begins Tonight” by The McClymonts. Elizabeth explaining ” Our Matt actually had that song picked before we were even engaged, he heard it come on the radio one day whilst driving home and he knew that it would be our wedding song. It’s such a romantic song and we both liked that it wasn’t too popular or well known.
Neither of us was particularly skilled with dancing, but me in particular, I just have no rhythm. We asked a friend who had gotten lessons for her wedding to come and teach us the box step. After that, we were practising in our kitchen for weeks before the wedding and we were starting to get the hang of it. On our wedding day we were pretty prepared but in the moments leading into our dance, I had forgotten to use the bustle on my dress so I couldn’t move my legs. Most people would have just stopped, but instead, I struggled to move trying to do the dance that I had spent weeks practising. I could just feel everyone’s eyes on us watching and I felt like we were doing a bad job so in a moment of panic I spontaneously did a twirl across the dance floor and Matt somehow managed to catch me. All of our guests oohed and aahed and thought that it was intentional. It turns out that no one had realised that I was having trouble dancing or that that the twirl wasn’t planned, so it all worked out.”
After their sparkler exit, the bride and groom snuck off for another round of photographs with photographer Samantha. Elizabeth remarking “Our photographer was Samantha Heather and she was absolutely amazing. One of my friends had her as her photographer and when I saw her photo’s I fell in love and instantly knew she was the photographer for us. We didn’t even look or contemplate any other photographers.
On the wedding day, she was so much more than just a photographer but she was genuinely there to help. She assisted the groomsmen with working out how to fold their pocket squares in the morning, and helping me bustle up my dress so I could dance (after the first dance fiasco). Every one of our guests commented on how lovely and helpful she was.
Neither Matt and I are very comfortable in front of the camera but Samantha just made us feel so at ease, and most of the time we didn’t even know he was there. She managed to be everywhere at once capturing every angle and moment. I couldn’t be happier with how photos turned out, they are so beautiful and are something I will always cherish.”
Way Up High Films captured this utterly romantic film of Elizabeth and Matt’s beautiful day (wait until you hear those vows!).
Congratulations Elizabeth and Matt! A big thank you for taking the time to share the stories of your beautiful wedding day with us. Thank you also to Samantha Heather Photography for sharing today’s beautiful day.
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.
- Sara Winters
- Ceremony Musicians
- Mark Helmrich
- Ceremony Musicians
- Byron Rivera