Christmas is my favourite time of year. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise that Tim would propose on Christmas Eve, but it did! In our backyard, under a fairy light canopy, a little vintage garden table setting awaited me on 24th December 2017. Boxes inside boxes with photos of us and a Christmas bauble then a little box, a Mrs Box! and a pinterest perfect, rose gold engagement ring shone brightly in Tim's hand!
We were trying to buy a house and I had Weddings booked to photograph for the next 12 months. We had a longer than originally planned Engagement. We knew we both always wanted a winter Wedding, we've shot far too many hot sweaty weddings and knew we wanted to be cold!
We visited maybe 6 venues between the Gold and Sunshine Coast looking for our perfect setting and fell head over heels in love with Spicers Clovelly Estate. We struggled to pick a date. We were trying to save money and go with a cheaper day of the week than a Saturday. So after much debate we locked in Sunday 9 June 2019 with 12 months up our sleeves.
Picking the Date and Venue
Engagement Party & Buying a house
I can't say I recommend buying a house while planning a Wedding at the same time, it's stressful to say the least. June 2018 we lock in our venue, we race back to Brisbane to view a house, we love the house and put in an offer. Our offer is accepted, we book in for an inspection with our parents, then we get the phone call. Tim's grandmother has passed away. It's a shell shock hard to describe, we were just talking about how to get our Grandmothers to the Wedding venue, we just sorted out food and seating for them. And now Elizabeth is gone and it's heartbreaking. As we struggle with this great loss our house starts moving ahead, it's a bittersweet time.
We contact all our Engagement party guests and tell them we are moving the party to our new house. We will have 10 days to move in and get it ready for the party. We're 3 weeks out and I get the call from my mother, Grandma has taken a turn and I need to get to the nursing home fast. My grandma passed that afternoon, with myself, my Mum and my Uncle by her side. My heart still aches today when I think to that day. The loss of my Grandmother hit hard and the Engagement party was forgotten about but then we needed to book a moving truck as our lease was ending this week.
We've bought a house, have just over a week to get everything sorted for our Engagement Party and we have broken hearts. Our garden party turned into a BBQ with drinks, lots of hugs and some tears surrounded by our nearest and dearest.
What do we need to book now
The first things to book for your Wedding I feel are, your Venue, your photographer, your videographer, your Celebrant and start thinking about your dress. The good ones go fast! Plus if you have your heart set on something, you best get in early to be safe. Picking our photographer was easy, Tim's cousin's wife Kirsty is a Wedding Photographer and we get along like a house on fire. Videography, we cheated here. Tim's best friend Will from Will Gordon Photography did us a solid favour here! Celebrant, check! Kate Mackie had recently officiated a Wedding we were photographing, we loved her, had coffee and locked it.
Flowers, Makeup and Bridesmaid
Around 6 - 9 months I started thinking flowers. This was important to me, my first choice wasn't available... should have asked sooner! And a few others were out of budget... So I took to facebook for help, joined a bunch of Brisbane Bride groups and asked for recommendations. A lovely lady recommended The Posy Co on the Sunshine Coast, it was convenient to book someone local as I didn't have to pay any travel fees, winning! After meeting up with the owner Emily, I knew I'd found my florist! Her prices were great, she just got me and what I wanted, sorted!
With everything that had happened we kind of forgot about invitations, amongst the chaos of moving, renovating and shooting Weddings, this was put on the bottom of the to-do list. Don't do what I did, do it sooner, you will stress less.Turns out ordering your invitations at Christmas for a June Wedding is not really enough time. Some will go missing or get destroyed in the post, fact. They eventually made it out and looked super cute with our personalised stamps from Australia Post, did you know you could do this? I love it!
I spent far too long doing all the little DIY details for our Wedding but in the end it was totally worth it, I thought our Reception looked amazing. I was so proud of myself. I had been to Spotlight and bought rose gold sequin fabric, with the help of Tim's Mum we made our table runners. I designed a magazine with photos of Tim and I growing up and a fact section on who was at our Wedding and how we knew them to keep guests entertained during the reception. I made a photoshop document with little sketch outlines of people (the exact guest number 54, including us) that I printed A2 at Office works for our guests to colour in matching their outfits during the Canapes and Reception. I made little menus which I ordered through vistaprint and we collected branches at the park, spray painted them gold and made our own menu holders. I made little colouring in books for the 2 little kiddies attending.
We were super lucky when it came to our cake, Tim's sister Karen had just finished a baking degree and offered to make our Wedding cake, it was delicious and she had made these adorable gingerbread cake toppers because she knows I love all things Christmas!
I managed to then luck into finding a rose gold sequin flower girl dress online that fit my flower girl perfectly and matched Silvie's Mum's dress, my Bridesmaid Rhyll.
The month before!
I've seen things go wrong on Weddings, it happens and you can't control these things, I know that but that didn't stop me from worrying. And then I was worried about worrying on my Wedding day, thanks anxiety!
I had my Bridal shower locked in for a high tea and spa day at the W hotel in Brisbane city, 10 guests, a small do with my closest girlies. It was the perfect day, we ate, drank, relaxed, the service was amazing and then we woke up 48 hours later to a rash... that's right, a rash. I text my Bridesmaid, does this look like chicken pox? She had spots too. I text two of my other friends, they had spots too. Off to the Drs! Congratulations you have hot tub folliculitis, um ew! So apparently when the PH level in the spa water isn't right and somehow the bug gets into the water and trapped under your togs, anyway. YUCK! And it was itchy, really itchy and spreading everywhere. Things a Bride doesn't want leading up to her Wedding! Thank heavens for antibiotics and GPs is all I can say, miracle workers. Oh and the Spa closed for testing and we are getting a re-do day to try again!
Two weeks out from our Wedding I was away photographing on the Sunshine coast and left Tim a list of things do finish off.
Tim locks in his bucks do for the Wednesday before the Wedding because he's struggling to coordinate his mates, they are going to Zero Latency for some virtual reality, jealous! Then we get a call, a tragedy has struck a close friends family, I won't say more than that but it was awful, just absolutely heartbreakingly horrible. Family first and best friends count as family, bucks cancelled, free hugs on offer. It was a rough time.
We're trying to organise family to fill their cars with Wedding stuff. So much stuff. We had blankets incase it was cold, seating charts, arbour, the poofy wedding dress, vases, candles and more stuff. I had to go out to Kmart and buy those big plastic tubs to put everything in and print labels so I didn't get confused. Thank goodness my Dad has a big car to take half the supplies.
Two days before, I get a call from the florist, the Wedding the weekend before ours at Spicers had accidently broken a chandelier.. bugger.. They have had to replace the overhead lighting so we could no longer go with our original plan to put in floral hanging installations, the florist has already ordered the flowers at this point. Emily from The Posy Co had a handful of different solutions and on the day the flowers looked amazing, you wouldn't have known there was a problem!
Tim was stressed and woke up with a sore throat. I was on cloud 9 and dancing around the house. Usually it's the other way around. This was the sickest he had been in our 7 years together, what are the chances!
Off we head to Montville and I can't even describe how excited I was in the last 1km of driving to the venue, it was nervous excitement, I desperately wanted there to be autumn leaves on the trees, 500 meters, 100 meters, turn left, OMG there's leaves on the trees *insert elated giggles here*. It was freezing cold and raining and misty and glorious, not quite what we were aiming for but it felt amazing, felt like we'd be transported somewhere far away.
My parents, bridesmaid and groomsman arrive, we check in and our room is MASSIVE, we do a venue run through and head downstairs for wine and cheese tasting by the fire, tough life right? We order pizza and hang out by the fire until probably too late, it was just so nice. Then we hear that a family member has had a car accident (not hurt, thank god, just needed a lift organised) We had a guest cancel on coming to our Wedding with 30 hours notice but we just pushed the stress aside. I actually got some sleep, which was a surprise, I had expected to be awake all night stressing.
Tim and I aren't morning people so getting up at 7:30am was a struggle for us! Just before 8am breakfast was delivered to the bridal suite for the ladies and the men headed down to the breakfast room before starting the set up. Hair and Makeup arrived bang on schedule and we were done with so much time to spare! I absolutely loved my hair and makeup.
Tip of the day, pack a steamer and steam your Wedding dress the day before... not 2 hours before!
As soon as we started taking photographs time started to vanish, as we knew it would. We found a pin sewn into the lining of my dress which took some precision surgery to remove. Guests started to arrive, really early and were coming up to my room.. *deep breath* calm blue ocean!
The Ceremony & Location Photographs
2:30pm arrives and it's time to walk down the aisle with my Dad to Canon in D, a long song and thank goodness as it's a really long walk at Spicers! I'd forgotten to put my anti-shoe-sinkers on before hitting the grass, oops!
The sun was shining, a completely different day to yesterday. It was hot today! Kate did a beautiful ceremony for us, she had written some lovely words and we smashed saying our vows! We were worried about our first kiss, as photographers we see some interesting things, mostly 'dead arm' from one party, it looks a bit awkward and we were totally worried we would do this, but we remembered! Yay, go us! Some classic Taylor Swift Love Story to lead us back down the aisle to greet our guest, the band kicked off and the hard part was done!
We weren't born to be in front of the camera, we belong behind it! So it was a bit weird to be the ones having our Wedding photos taken. Kirsty was great and just let us do our thing, which turned out to be a lot of laughing and nose rubbing haha we dodged the duck poo and took photographs all around the Spicers grounds, no need to head off site for photos here! During our last photographs we wanted to do a lift and a twirl, you can see in the video the moment we break my zip and hurt Tim's back! Fail! We survived and gave up on photos at this point, time for some canapes!
We gave ourselves a good 15 - 20 minutes break between the photos and entering the Reception. It gave us time to stop, sit, take it all in and try some of our canapes, the vegetarian spring rolls were amazing! Plus we had a couple of guests that only came to our ceremony so we could catch up to them in this time. We were also able to sneak in a quick first dance practise!
Guests found their seats easily by finding their names in gold on marble coasters, a favour that doubles as a name card, I thought I was a genius!
Entrees came out, Spicers had come up with some vegetarian options for our menu so we could have an almost 50 / 50 vego and meat dining experience. I'm the Bride, so I wanted to be able to eat! Such a good decision and the food as fantastic. Speeches started and Tim's best friend gave a hilarious speech, just gold, we'll remember it forever, especially considering we have it on video! Even our little 4 year old flower girl gave a speech, it was so cute!
The band had a break while we were eating then after mains we all shuffled up to the main 'house' of Spicers to kick off the dancing. Our first dance was Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard, I love the movie Once and this song just gets me. We had practised hard for two nights watching youtube videos and fumbling around our lounge room, it paid off! We go at least 80% of our dance right haha! The Band was awesome, they kept the dancefloor going all night, there wasn't a time the dance floor was empty which is just what we had hoped for! By the time 11pm rolled around I was exhausted. I was yawning while saying goodbye to our guests! Thank goodness we were staying on site and so was a good portion of our family and friends. A huge plus to booking Spicers, having everything in one spot, if you can do this for your Wedding I would highly recommend it.
We got back to our room and Spicers had thoughtfully filled our spa bath and put wine and chocolate in our room, how nice!
The next morning was hard to get up, my blisters hurt. I should have swapped into my flat shoes earlier! Spicers put on a big family style breakfast for all the guests that stayed on site plus a few extras who were staying close by. It was really nice to see everyone the next day and catch up with guests properly, plus I didn't have to do anything for the breakfast, Spicers did it all and made a banging cappuccino to boot!
And that my friends, is the story of the Wedding Photographers' Wedding! I had the absolute best day, I was just so happy and couldn't stop smiling. I want to do it all over again, I has to much fun!
Then came the dress hunt, exciting at first and exhausting by the end (if you've got time up your sleeve, I wrote a whole blog about it here). I probably went to 8 shops I'd say, drove myself nuts! I took my Mum to some, Bridesmaid to the others, did a few on my own, and also asked two of my former Brides, now great friends of mine to tag along and help me make a darn decision! After falling in love with Darb gown and then doing the figures, I couldn't afford it. Don't do that to yourself. I did end up finding another dress I loved too, far under budget at $890 at Gossip Gowns at Norman Park, it was a Sherri Hill gown and I fell in love with the pockets! Other stores that deserve honourable mentions are Angelic Bridal and Wendy Makin, lovely staff and dresses!
We struggled with Bridesmaids dresses. A lot of the Bridal stores had those wrap up dresses, they're quite complicated to do up when you're stressed and don't suit everyone, I wanted something different. Midnight fashions at Jindalee had our answer! A rose gold full length sequin gown $250, perfect!
Then onto makeup, I literally went through photos of all the Weddings I have photographed and picked my favourites and got in touch with them. Twidale was awesome, super duper friendly, great prices and could fit in me for a trial during my weird work hours. The trial was fab, Lock it in!
Where to start! Our Wedding day was amazing, I'm probably biased but hey!
The Venue - We stayed a few extra nights after at Spicers and called it our honeymoon, this was a great idea! It made the Wedding feel like it lasted a bit longer. Worth every cent to have everything in one spot.
Videography - Tim didn't want a video, I did. We compromised and had a friend film for us. This is something I would generally not recommend but our friend Will is a photographer with some mad skills and the video is something I will cherish forever, it's wonderful and delightful to re-watch and see our day again. If you can get a video I would definitely recommend it.
The Band - Money well spent! We wanted our Wedding to be fun, Djs and ipod are great and all but you just can't beat live music. Everybody loved the band and everybody danced. I would highly recommend a band if you can afford it.
Shoes - I bought a gorgeous pair of heels from Nine West and a sparkly pair of flats. I wore them in, trotted around the house like a crazy person in those shoes and thought I was blister safe. I was not. The grassy hilly terrain killed my feet. I swapped into my expensive flats and they hurt! The blisters were all the same spots, urgh, fail! I ended up putting on a pair of Ipanema thongs as they didn't rub all the sore spots. I've seen it on Weddings I've photographed too. The answer to blisters from your heels isn't flats, it's thongs. Trust me.
Flower Girl - Practise makes perfect! Silvie did a fantastic job as my flower girl, she wore the outfit, walked down the aisle, threw the petals and posed for photos. The only thing she didn't do was eat her dinner haha! Rhyll had been prepping Silvie on how to throw petals and we'd done some photo shoots in the lead up to prepare her. I'd been told Flower girls were too much stress and wouldn't walk down the aisle properly. Well boo to them I say! Silvie rocked her job at just 4 years old, she made our day that extra bit special.
Dance lessons - We're glad we didn't wing it but youtube was enough practise for us. We learnt a few basic moves on twirls etc and it was definitely worth the time (2 long nights!) We didn't feel as silly as we thought doing our first dance and actually enjoyed ourselves. For those of you who are like us and not dancers, I would recommend you learn just a basic few steps instead of a choreographed routine, a lot less stressful.
Hair and Makeup - I was overly worried about this! I don't generally wear makeup and if I do it's really light. So at my trial I was stressing 'is this too much makeup', 'I don't look like me!' But I took photos and sent it to my Mum and Bridesmaid who reassured me I was just crazy and it looked great. I went ahead with what we had planned on the day and it felt really good, with the dress on and it being my actual Wedding day felt different to the trial day.
Guests - We wanted a small Wedding, we thought about eloping. Some people may have their noses out of joint for not being invited but we wanted it intimate. We were so nervous about saying our vows in front of a large group of people. We wanted to focus our precious time on our day spending it with those closest to us. This did mean some family and friends didn't come. It doesn't mean we don't love them but we don't see these people all that often, some less than once a year. We basically said if we don't talk to them at least every 2 - 3 months then unfortunately they didn't make the cut. It was a really hard decision but the right one in the end, the guests we invited JUST fit in the space on the deck at Spicers.
Got more questions? Stressed about something for your Wedding and need a sympathetic ear? Just give me a call and I'd love to chat xo
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