Bec & Sam
Bec and Sam, who tied the knot in Clare Valley, South Australia, made a big deal of highlighting everything local – from their gorgeous venues, to the amazing food, wine and even bonbonniere. The couple has ties to the area, making it all the more special. They held their ceremony at St Aloysius’ Church, which Sam visited many times as a kid, and their reception at SLATE at Pikes Wines, where Bec’s dad is the general manager. The couple loved the idea of sharing the area with their family and friends. There to capture all the magical moments was What Pete Shot Photography and Little Darling Films. Snapping all the incredible details of the reception venue was Pilot Studio Co. Below, Bec retells her and Sam’s love story, how the proposal went down and how their wedding day unfolded.
Sam and I met the traditional way… at a mutual friend’s 21st! I had snuck away from a conference dinner with a friend, and went to the circus-themed party. Sam remembers me in a black dress with my hair pinned to one side, and I remember Sam in red pants and a rainbow shirt – a decent costume I thought until he continued to wear the red pants on numerous other occasions!
Sam was quick to request my friendship on Facebook, and the relationship took off from there. After nine years it’s hard to remember life without each other!
The proposal happened on my 28th birthday. Sam took me back to the hall the 21st was held in, where a surprise lunch and a proposal was waiting! In hindsight, there had been a few suspicious moments leading up to that day, including Sam being VERY insistent on knowing the whereabouts of my dad on a particular random weekday. But on the day itself, it was only when we pulled up at the Mitcham Hall that I cottoned onto what was about to happen!
The hall was set up with enough spots for our immediate families, and once I had said yes, they were given the all-clear to surface from the local coffee shop and share lunch with us.
Our wedding stationery was simple, but it came to life through a gorgeous colour palette, textured embossing and a personalised wax seal. We had been the recipients of many invites from Magnolia Press, and so many friends had raved about Sharon’s work. Her attention to detail is incredible. If I haven’t sold her enough, her efficiency on emails truly made her a bride’s dream!
I’ll never forget opening the door to our beautiful bridal bouquets by Hygge Studio. I couldn’t believe such amazing bunches had been created just for us! It may have weighed the same amount as a small child, but I just wanted to carry it with me everywhere!
For my wedding dress, I used Helen Manuell, a bridal designer from Melbourne. I’d been stalking her for a few years on social media. I took Mum to Melbourne, ‘just to see what she was like’, and as soon as we met, it felt like we were old friends!
My experience with Helen was one of the best things about planning a wedding! Being a Haighs chocolate nut, I’d stash my shoebox with chocolates from Adelaide each visit. We still text regularly, about cooking, baking and life in general. She is a wonderful human being.
My dress was a fitted lace bodice with an invisible low-v neck and open back, with a full silk organza skirt. I picked the lace over text message, and I looked at it every day leading up to the wedding. I just loved it! The dress was so comfortable and suited me so well. We paired it with an off the rack Steven Khalil veil, one that was decorated with Swarovski peals and crystals.
I also had a reception dress, as I was a little indecisive and knew the volume of my skirt wouldn’t work on a dance floor! I was lucky enough to find the last in my size in the country of a Maticevski dress I’d had my eye on. It was comfortable, elegant and party-perfect!
My bridesmaids were my sister, a childhood friend and a close friend and wife of one of Sam’s groomsmen. Picking dresses for the girls was one of the easiest parts of planning, although it came with a degree of difficulty. One girl was due to give birth two months before the wedding, and another lived rurally, so the first time they tried them on together was the night before the wedding!
I’d had my eye on a gorgeous deep green Acler dress. Naturally, there was only three left in stock and could only be purchased online. I took the risk, and they fit the girls perfectly!
The boys wore black Gibson tuxedoes, white shirts and black bow ties. Sam also wore a black cummerbund, and all four boys wore suspenders. The groomsmen and both dads were gifted RM Williams boots to wear on the day, to finish off the look.
Three of the four boys (including Sam) had been groomsmen in a wedding earlier in the year, so we ended up using the same suits and shirts!
I walked down the aisle to ‘Canon’ by Pachbel. Classic, wedding-y, and we knew we wouldn’t change our minds and hate it later!
At the ceremony we had two oversized urns with mixed greenery, orchids, hydrangeas and the most incredible pop of red roses.
We felt that a church ceremony suited us, although it isn’t always the done thing anymore! We kept the prayers light and chose ones that centred around love and relationships, and also wrote some of our own shorter readings. Our priest was witty and had a fantastic (and wicked!) sense of humour. It kept us on our toes during the ceremony, but also helped us to feel relaxed and enjoy it!
Our photographer was Pete from What Pete Shot Photography. I have known Pete for about 15 years. He was a schoolteacher in his past life! When picking vendors, we figured it was much easier to go with what we knew, and not fall into the hole of scrolling endlessly through social media to find someone. Pete fit that brief. We spoke to him three days after we got engaged and he was in! Pete has an eye for incredible photo locations and was such great fun to have around. It’s amazing now to look back at the little moments he captured that otherwise would have been forgotten in the blur of the day.
Hygge Studio had a gorgeous oyster cart that was part of their hire collection. It was a point of difference and we knew it would be perfect for pre-dinner canapes. Whilst the bridal party were having photos, nibbles and a viewing of the reception space, the guests were out on the Pikes’ lawns having drinks, canapes and freshly-shucked oyster. According to everyone they were a hit! Because of the timing of everything, we never ventured out to the lawns or saw the oyster cart! But from the rave reviews we received from guests, we’ll take their word that it was one of the best parts of the wedding!
The aim was to have a relaxed country vibe, with some classic touches. The colour palette was simple – olive green, navy and grey, and was highlighted with the subtle colour palette and occasional pop of the florals. There are so many other options than the traditional white tablecloths and crockery, and we were lucky to have access to Pikes‘ gorgeous navy and cream crockery and Hygge’s hire linens.
We decided early on that we would utilise a planner, and had been loving the work of Hygge Studio. The decision paid off, as their work in the months leading up to and on the day was priceless. They took the decision fatigue out of things. We didn’t want to be deciding between seven chair quotes!
We liked the fact they were a one-stop shop, as along with their planning services, they offer in-house floristry, carpentry, a hire inventory and on the day coordination. The run sheet for the wedding day itself was military-precise and took every little logistical detail into consideration. It meant everyone that had some involvement in the day could just enjoy it!
In the end, we gave Hygge creative control of the flowers to run wild, and we’re so glad we did. What they came up with blew us away! The bridal table had a stunning feature backdrop of greenery, neutral-tone wildflowers, with roses and orchids scattered throughout. Our potted table settings were gifted to guests on their way out at the end of the night.
Our tables were shared, meaning our guests could interact and share a meal with both old friends and someone new. We chose to have a relatively small guest list of 130, which reflected the wonderful circle of friends we’d created over the course of our relationship. We also didn’t feel compelled to invite people for numbers or to please others. Everyone in the room was there because they meant something to us. The list also was manageable enough to spend time with each group for a meaningful conversation or a dance!
Looking back on our day, it couldn’t have run any smoother. It was perfect and very us!
We wanted to highlight all the things we love most about the Clare Valley – the food, wine and beautiful locations. We were so lucky to have an on-site restaurant and keen chef. We didn’t have a menu tasting beforehand, but trusted that he’d create an amazing menu, and he did! Our suggestion of a ‘few things for a dessert table’ turned into a full grazing buffet! Where possible, we tried to use local produce too- our bonbonniere were little take-home bottles of locally sourced oilve oil.
For our first dance, we danced to an acoustic cover of ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’. We spent ages stewing over ideas, as we didn’t have a special ‘couple song’. It took going back through our Spotify playlists to find this gem. Our band (The Uptown Seeds) learned the song, with a transition into the upbeat party version for us to involve our bridal party in.
My advice for soon to be newlyweds? Enjoy the planning! It’s not often you get to plan a party that is all about you, so choose things that celebrate the uniqueness in your relationship and personalities.
It’s also easy to keep scrolling through social media once you’ve made big decisions. Delete any profiles or hashtags that might feed any indecisiveness you might be feeling!
If time permits, have a sneak peek at the reception space before the guests arrive. It was a gesture so small by our planner, but it was amazing to see all the plans and dreams we’d had over 18 months come to life.
Most importantly, take time to relax and enjoy the company of your loved one. It’s so easy to divide and conquer the room, but you’ll be forgiven for taking the time to dance together or to just sit back and take it all in!
Little Darling Films were our videographers. We LOVED them. Little did we know it was Anthony’s first time as the lead videographer. He absolutely nailed it! They were professional, fun to be around and were so subtle in obtaining their footage. The video itself sums us as a couple and the day up perfectly. No matter how many times we watch it, we still get chills… or in my case, tears!
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.
- Locally sourced olive oil