Francesca & Evan
You’re invited to a day in the country. Imagine glasses of cold bubbles as you take your place under the dappled shade, of a feast fit for kings under the summer dusk sky, the sound of icecream chimes as dessert rolls in. It’s all this and more as Francesca and Evan’s fun outdoor country wedding in Castlemaine comes to life.
And in an ode to The Bridesmaid Issue, Francesca’s leading ladies completely nailing that relaxed, country-style (and proving bridesmaid style in the country is ever-beautiful).
Photography by Sarah J was behind the camera for this one, for a day, a story, in Francesca’s words, that began (and aptly ended, read on for that) with a little of Bonnie Taylor’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”. “My housemate kept trying to set me up with his best friend for such a long time, that I got sick of him trying to make things happen and had no interest in meeting him. We all went out one night for a sing-a-long at a piano bar, we all began singing ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ and when it was time for us to “turn around”, I turned, and at that moment we locked eyes.”
The proposal unfolded in the Philippines, with the help of Hello Kitty and Spiderman, tells the bride. “We were holidaying in the Philippines, floating on inflatable rings down the beautiful beach of Boracay, his a blue Spiderman, mine a pink Hello-Kitty. We floated past a wedding taking place on the beach, Ed Sheeran was blasting out of the speakers (probably the 100th time we’d heard that song for the past few weeks). The sun was setting and I knew what was about to happen, I just knew. He tried getting down on one knee, but the water was too deep. He said, “Let’s get married”. I smiled and didn’t have to say anything because we both knew how we felt.”
Country Castlemaine venue The Diggers Store hosted the big day, the couple spending plenty of waking hours setting up space and decorating it. The bride explaining “Both our wedding and reception were held at the same venue. We hired this beautiful old diggers’ store, now converted to art space and analog recording studio, conveniently located right next door to my maid of honour’s house where we got ready on the day. They have an orchard, chicken coop, stone barn, vintage bed and breakfast, plus a picture-perfect facade with red double-doors leading you into the front room. We got married under the large tree by the orchard.”
The bride found her gown at Belle et Blanc, just the ticket for a hot summer’s day! She shares “I needed something that would breathe, as it was the middle of summer and an outdoor wedding. It was light and flowy.”
Francesca’s bridesmaids, her treasured favourite women, wore floor-length gowns from Cocktail Boutique. “My maid of honour was my best friend Ann” explains Francesca. “We first met in year 8 through band. My 2 cousins, Excell and Edeva, who are also sisters. We grew up together our whole lives. All 3 girls are sisters to me.”
Fransceca styled the floral details herself, a dream come true. She explains “It has always been my dream to do my own flower arrangements, I picked out colours that would complement the bridesmaid’s dresses and the landscape around us. They included a mixture of white and soft pink roses, silver dollar eucalyptus, smoke bush, dahlias, sea holly, bunny tail grass which I picked from a field, Banksia, long gum leaves, ferns, peppercorn and a few other bits and pieces. I used them for different parts of the wedding.”
For her walk down the aisle? Francesca shares “My Father walked me down the aisle. We had a country singer playing guitar and violin player. It was an instrumental of ‘I’ll have to say I love you in a song” .
Francesca and Evan chose Jac the Hitcher to officiate their day. “The ceremony and reception were all outdoors. It was a warm summer’s afternoon. We were surrounded by our closest friends and family – the ultimate family gathering. We really wanted to create a relaxed vibe. Jac, our total hipster celebrant, kept it light, fun and totally personalised. She was entertaining and engaging.”
This truly was a handmade day, right down to the succulent wedding favours! Francesca explains “So much of our wedding was DIY… the invitations (all handmade, hot-glued and hand-painted), bouquets/flower arrangements, table settings, festoons and lighting, the maypole constructed from a truss and calico… the giveaways!!! 80 handmade mini terrariums with little trees inside, sealed and labels printed and tied in a bow. And so so much more!”
“Sarah J. was an absolute delight, ” tells the bride of the couple’s chosen photographer. “We all felt comfortable around her right away which made the whole process so easy and stress-free. She really listened to what I wanted and she delivered. I didn’t want ordinary generic wedding photos, I wanted them to be creative and worth framing. I love her style and there wasn’t a single photo I didn’t love!”
Handmade? Yes, But also sentimental, says Francesca. Even the tables had a little heartfelt joy. “We used a lot of my grandmother’s handmade crochet blankets and doilies to decorate all the dinner tables and rooms. They were given to me after she passed away”.
A summer outdoor wedding requires a feast to suit, Under The Apple Tree made it all happen!. Francesca raving “I must mention our caterer, Jason. Everyone raved about the food. It was all local produce from Castlemaine. We had platters and share plates on the tables. If you want real food at your wedding and not the same old reception food you’d usually expect (chicken or fish?), then check out Under The Apple Tree. (The cake was also made by a local from Castlemaine. Beverages also local to Castlemaine).”
The newlyweds surprised their guests by having Icecream Social to serve up an icy cold dessert treat! “No-one suspected a thing… even I forgot it was coming” laughs Francesca. “The look and reaction it received from everyone was amazement, they clapped and cheered.”
The dance floor singalongs? Francesca’s favourite part of the day thanks to DJ Record Low. “The whole day was special and we have so many people to thank for it. But if I had to pick one, it would be standing side-by-side, or rather turned around, on fold-out chairs (me in my stilettos), holding hands and fist-pumping into the air, as we screamed out on the top of our lungs the lyrics the ‘Total eclipse of the heart’. I think it’s because it felt so momentous, the whole day was really.”
A big congratulations to you both Francesca and Evan! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day and it’s stories with us. Thank you also to Photography by Sarah J for sharing today’s images!
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