Updated: Apr 19
One of the best things about getting married is the fact that people will finally stop asking “When are you getting married?”. Zac and I had been engaged for quite some time. We’re both in the wedding industry. We’ve seen it all and for us that made it even harder to settle on something that was just right for us. Finally we did settle on something, something far far away from here, the Italian Dolomites. Picture this, flying onto the mountain tops to be greeted by a sea of wildflowers, just you, your fiancé, a celebrant and a photographer. Sounds absolutely magical right? We thought so. Then came along this little thing called Covid-19. And POOF just like that we’re back to square one. The first thing I did was block out my least booked month being February 2021. Fast Forward 10 months it’s December and Zac and I had 1 free weekend left before February to lock in a date. In the meantime we had tried to book our elopement for NZ, Tassie and QLD all to be stopped by Covid. Zac had said to me that maybe we need to be realistic here and look locally. So that we did. The first and only place I wanted to look at was Redleaf at Wollombi. I hadn’t ever considered it as I hadn’t ever considered getting married. We were always to elope. Safe to say it wowed the panty’s off of zac in and Instant and within 24 hours we had booked our venue and all of our vendors. When it came to booking vendors there was no second thought here. I work so closely with so many amazing people and have always known who our perfect matches were. But I will tell you a little more about them later.
As we could no longer get married in Italy, Redleaf was the next best thing. We had 8 weeks to plan our wedding so we went with Italian theme and just ran with it. Everything was Italian inspired. We didn’t have much time to stew on things for long but one thing we did put a lot of thought into was how do we make this wedding sustainable, eco friendly, local supporting and minimal wastage. Everything from the florals to the shoes I wore were earth friendly. (I will detail a list of all products at the end of this blog.)
Given that Zac and I have almost seen it all the biggest thing for us was to cut the things we didn’t feel we need and splurge on the things that were really important to us. We broke the traditions, focused on being present and curating a day that was not only fun for our guests but for us too!
That means straight up not giving into pressure to invite aunt Betty and Mum’s 3rd cousin Jack Whatsitsface. We had a small wedding of 43 and that number was PERFECT. We wanted to be able to take the time to really soak up everyone’s energy and a simple “Hi thanks for coming” wasn’t good enough for us. No Cake, No signage, no ring, more food, more booze, more entertainment, more fun.
I began the day with an early wakeup and straight into florals. This was honestly the most relaxed I have ever been creating. At 1pm I put the tolls down, sat down with Bonnie from Makeup by Bonnie Lee and chilled out. This girl is EXACTLY who you want to be spending your morning with on your wedding day. She is nothing short of amazing at what she does but the best thing about her is the fact that she is the most kind, loving, soothing, beautiful human. She is your calm, your hype, your laughs and your confidence creator. We are so lucky enough to work together all the time. Couples, please keep this up and book us!! Nothing better than walking into seeing that beaming face every weekend.
After my very quick glam sesh and sit down Zac and I walked down the “aisle” together hand in hand. Weddings aren’t what they used to be. We’ve had sex, we’ve had heartbreak, we’ve had loss, made a legend of a human, we’ve lived and shared so much together. We felt is was fitting as we are going into this a together and simply coming out married. Still together with all of those shared experiences with us. Why not share another?
So we didn’t actually have an aisle. We walked hand in hand to greet our nearest and dearest who were all there in front of us equally important and included in a semi circle. Front row seats for everyone! Our guest sipped on Italian prosecco whilst listening to the sweet sounds of Kylie Jane.
For us the biggest thing was supporting people we love and adore as well as trust what they have to offer to make our day perfect. There was no price shopping or thinking the grass could be greener on the other side. The value was in knowing that we were putting money in the pockets of people we personally know and helping them continue to live their beautiful lives as wedding vendors in the Hunter Region. So here’s where the bit about our epic ceremony and where a few incredible vendors comes in.
Our celebrant was none other than the flippn’ loveable Loz from Hungry Hearts Co. I actually found Redleaf through Rhys and Loz after I modelled for them at this property. They both collectively ooze so much love and laughter it’s hard to resist their charm. Loz pieced together a completely personalised ceremony for us based on who we are as people and a little (lot) of help from a questionnaire we both filled out separately over many wines. We both laughed so much as she told the story of us with all the goss from each other including versions of the story’s we didn’t each know. She had our guests in tears for all the right reasons. We had so many guests say that it was the best ceremony they have ever been to and of course, we agree. So chilled and ever so personal. None of this copy and paste crap for this gal.
After our ceremony our guests grazed, drank cocktails and played lawn games while the sun went down. I took a moment to step back here. What a wonderful feeling it was to see all of our friends and family expressing so much joy and having a genuinely good time all because of us and our love.
Our aim for our day was to set 3 moods as we ramp up into the evening. We started with chilled acoustic songs by Kylie jane for our ceremony followed by the sweet sounds of Soul Glo band during our cocktail hours and lawn games then onto our dinner and first dance. Later we danced the night away to DJ Tim Coffey who definitely set the mood for the rest of the evening.
Following our Lawn Games we moved onto dinner. A candle lit feast full of all the food and all of the wines. Zac and I may have tried a wine or two here and there so choice and quality was what we went for here. 2x sparlings, 2x whites, 2x reds and beers of course.
For our feast we had Robert from Bistro Molines cater for us. When zac and I host were all about bringing people together to enjoy a little slice of our lives. Robert allowed us to do just that. His food is next level amazing and our tasting experience with him just blowed us away. Food is something that Zac and I both love and bond over (much like wine) so it was important to only have the best to share with our family and friends. We did grazing post ceremony followed by 3 entrees, one main and a desert. A real feast fit for a queen. Do yourself a favour, next time you are in the Hunter Valley, go try his food. It’s a must!
Aside from enjoying the incredible food I have to say, to sit amongst our table laid with beautiful blooms was pretty special. For the first time I truly got to sit back and enjoy my creations. I have to be honest with you here. There was a lot riding on these flowers. I felt the pressure guys! I was adamant I wanted to do the florals for our day but knew I couldn’t do it all myself. I was ever so lucky to have the talented hands of Holly Howe and Botanica Bird to work alongside me the morning of the wedding and help bring my vision to life. These girls are incredible. If you are reading this. Thank you SO MUCH. You guys are floral Wizards!
It was really important for me to create true to myself. I didn’t need to go all out just because I am a florist, the venue didn’t need it. It was beautiful as is and all I wanted to do was add a few touches here and there. What was the most important to me was to create 100% foam free floral designs, no preservatives, no dies, no paints. All beautiful and respected in their natural state. And that’s exactly what we did. Simple base arrangements running the length of our table, ceremony flowers and bar arrangement. Simple impact blooms is all you need sometimes.
After dinner we just did the usual. Got drunk and partied! We had our first dance to Give up the Ghost by Radiohead, ate some more food and danced and drank as much as we could handle!
The one there to capture it all was Khara from House of Lucie. I mentioned before it was super important to support people we know personally. Khara has been there to photograph all the big moments of our lives together as a couple. From engagement to babies to now our wedding and hopefully more babies soon! This gal can capture a photo like no other. She just floats around without you even noticing capturing all those details that would otherwise be lost in your memories. I cannot wait to have our stunning photographs printed and up on our walls to adore for years to come.
Place Cards/ Party favours- As a nod to our travel plans I hand made a leather travel tag for each of our guests. I had an old hide that needed to be used and created these using my grandfathers tools from when he was 21. Grandad taught me how to do leather work so this made this process rather special to me. We wanted something that people could keep forever and wouldn’t be thrown out.
Hire- We hired from 2 companies. Tables and furniture from Whimsical Fox events and Flatware etc from Beavis Party hire. I chose Beavis as their range just stood out from the rest and they had our favourite Italian glassware range we use daily so that sealed the deal! We choose Whimsical Fox not only because their range is so beautiful and bespoke but also because we love Teigan and Jobbo as people. Two of the most cruisy people and an awesome husband and wife powerhouse.
Candles- Our candles were sourced from Southern Lights Candle Co who produce Eco friendly candles in the most incredible range of colours.
Linen- This was handmade by my mum. She’s and absolute whiz on the sewing machine.
Shoes- My shoes were from Betts and were their brand Zereo. Zereo are vegan eco friendly shoes made from recycled materials. The BEST thing is they have arch support. I wasn’t going to whole day with sore feet so was so happy when I spotted these.
Rings- I actually didn’t get a wedding ring made however my engagement ring I wore on the day is from Alexis Russell who uses imperfect stones. Zac’s wedding ring was hand carved/designed by myself and cast my Made By A. here in Newcastle.
Dress- Rue De Seine is the designer and these are made in NZ from start to finish in their studio.
Love, The new Mr and Mrs xx