Natalie and Shayne

A foggy day, jewel tones, a bride with an amazing dress, spectacular shoes and heartfelt moments. Why yes I do think you might enjoy this wedding as much as I’ve enjoyed writing the story today!

Natalie recalls how she met her husband Shayne. “We met while still at university in Lismore, I was working the door at a uni band night and he was there with friends.  Later on that evening at the local night club he approached me and I tried top fob him off, not realising that he had actually been sent over to talk to me as a way for his friend to approach mine.  After a few more chance meetings we ended up together while our respective mates never did.”

Lakshal Perera took today’s photographs with such richness, such depth and such beauty. I feel like I’ve been swept up in the day – like the rain? It’s not a big deal because I can see Natalie smiling through it. Photographs are the best when I forget that it’s a photograph. Natalie says “It was important to us that anyone we involved in our wedding was not only excellent at their job, but also was the kind of person we were happy to hand money over to.  Lucky was both and then some.”

Natalie and Shayne ‘s memorable moments started at dawn. “One of the most memorable parts of the day was first thing in the morning when we went for a quick run together.  We decided to do a sneaky practice of our dance on the side of the road below the homestead only to hear the sound of applause and realise that all our Bridesmaids were out on the veranda watching.  Shayne then surprised me with a pair of amazing Swarovski earrings which matched everything perfectly.” All the bridesmaids (including the flowergirl!) wore shoes in varying shades of red. Natalie wore red Valentino shoes from Net-a-Porter.

Natalie and Shayne married on the October long weekend at Midginbil Hill, Uki in the Tweed Valley of NSW.  Natalie says “The entire weekend was spent at Midginbil Hill, it is a beautiful property often used for school camps, farms-stays and more frequently for weddings.  Tony was such a great host, we had access to the entire property for the whole weekend so we could utilise the homestead and kitchen for all the non-wedding meals, the lodge for family accommodation, the bunkhouse for friends and the big shed for the reception.  Tony was there to help us if we needed, but mostly left us alone to do our own thing.”

Shayne’s mother’s partner hand painted a large number of signs which were placed around the venue.

The groom wore cufflinks which belonged to his great-grandfather and were made from gold that he had mined himself.

Natalie wore a gown by Oanh Ma to which she attached a special brooch. “The brooch which features on my dress belonged to my Grandmother; she received it for her twenty first birthday.  We started this tradition when my cousin got married and now it has been worn in quite a few weddings.”Her bridesmaids wore gowns from Two Birds Bridesmaids and the girls had their makeup styled by Sophie Esho or 0431294655 .

Another of Natalie’s favourite moments happened while she was getting ready. “Myself and the bridesmaid relaxed on the wedding day, getting our hair and make-up done, sipping champagne and generally having a great time.  It was a hive of activity with at least ten people in the room for most of the day.  Just before we were about to jump in cars up to the ceremony site, I looked around and realised it was suddenly just myself and my four closest girls.  My bridesmaids were my two cousins who’ve been like sisters to me my whole life and my two best girlfriends.  We all got a little teary, had a group hug and took one last ‘selfy’ photo before going to get married.”

Rainy wedding day? Not a problem at Natalie and Shayne’s wedding. Natalie tells “It rained during the weekend which meant that some plans had to change.  We had planned to have the ceremony outside, but ended up hiring a small marquee in the final week when we realised rain was inevitable.  Even though it wasn’t what we had planned, the ceremony felt more intimate with all the guests crowded into the marquee, rather than standing back as can sometimes happen at outdoor ceremonies.  Both our mums and others pitched in to decorate the marquee with hanging plants and pot plants and to set up seating.”

The Byron Bay String Trio played Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky”, (also recognisable as Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up”) as Natalie walked down the aisle. “It’s not the most typical wedding song but it completely suited us.  We’re very much into our music but our tastes don’t lend them themselves to the usual songs, plus it seemed appropriate for the ladies to enter to, after all everyone was ‘lookin extra fly’.  Shayne and the groom’s party walked in to the theme from ‘The Godfather’ and after the ceremony we left to the ‘Rocky’ theme.” Andy Kidd officiated the ceremony.

“Our ceremony was the best part of the day for me, we wrote it entirely ourselves and it really reflected what marriage means to us.  We had a Buddhist prayer chant by one of the groomsman’s father followed by his mother doing a Dalai Llama reading.  We also had my Aunty read an excerpt from our song.  We wrote a most of our vows together, but also did two each that were a surprise to each other and got laughs from our guests.  I promised to watch more documentaries with my husband and he promised to tuck me into bed every night.  The ceremony ended with us doing a totally spontaneous shadow box when the string trio started playing the Rocky theme song.”

Shayne wore a suit from Ken Cook with shoes from Florsheim. The groom picked out unique cufflinks for each of his groomsmen and he and his and groomsmen all wore bowties from Cyberoptix Tielab. Natalie says “The design is called ‘beer!’ and features wheat, hops and bees, it was a classy-looking salute to his favourite drop. While the girls were relaxing, the boys were scrambling to get 5 bow-ties tied.  Shayne attempted to remember how do tie them with no success, then not one guest knew how to tie them either.  Finally after tracking down the venue owner to get into the office, they printed some instructions off the internet and a workshop of about 10 men eventually got them tied.”

Natalie and Shayne decorated the reception themselves with the help of friends and family. “We had a really distinct vision of how we wanted the wedding styled.  We wanted to use a palette of deep opulent jewel tones, rather than one or two precise wedding colours.  We ended up using purple, navy, pink, red, green and gold in the decor and while that may sound crazy, it all came together perfectly.  Given that our aesthetic wasn’t the norm for weddings, we had to source everything ourselves, including the deep purple tablecloths which were made by the bride’s mother.  The groom’s mother sourced all the flowers for the tables and along with a group of ladies, arranged all the flowers the morning of the wedding.  The vases, votives and candle holders were all sourced on sale at Target.  We used fairy lights and silk Vietnamese lanterns for lighting.”

“The invitations, menus, and other paper goods were designed by our good friend Jessica Johnson who used a water colour painted by the groom’s mother for the basis of the invitations.”

“Shayne created a DIY photobooth using a 3mx3m pop-up tent, a digital SLR camera, printer and laptop.  This came in at a similar price to hiring a photobooth for the night, except we now own a very fancy camera and a tent.”

Natalie’s family and friends made the day memorable in so many ways for her. “Our wedding was very much a team effort and one of the main reasons we chose the venue was that we could very much shape the entire thing ourselves. My mother even picked up four old lounges from council pick-up and re-upholstered them for use in outdoor chill-out area, while my step-father also created a funny ‘wishing well’ out of an old PC box in reference to our both working in IT. The speeches were a highlight of the night with many tears and laughs throughout.”

“Rather than a traditional wedding cake, we cut a home-made pavlova and the guests were treated to a dessert table of many different types of cakes (made by Marquis De Pastry).  The bride’s mother sourced a range of vintage cake stands for the display.  My mum surprised us by topping our wedding pavlova with bride and groom Smurfs in reference to an embarrassing childhood story of mine.”

The first dance was romantic, sexy and fun rolled into one. “We danced to Bob Marley and Lauren Hill’s ‘Turn you Lights Down Low’, again not the most usual song choice, maybe a little sexy but it has always been ‘our song’, since Shayne first put it on a mix-CD in 2001.  We did a modified Rumba we had been working on which didn’t go exactly to plan but was fun and touching all the same.”

Music played an important part in the evening and DJ Ari Rose delivered! “We are generally huge music fans and our DJ Ari really tapped into our tastes when he mixed up old-school hiphop, soul and funk all night.  I am also a huge Dolly Parton fan though and mentioned this to him in an email a couple of weeks before the wedding.  Mid-way through dinner he played 9 to 5 which was met with spontaneous dancing and singing from myself and several people throughout the crowd.”

Congratulations on your marriage Natalie and Shayne! Thank you for sharing you wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Lakshal Perera for today’s photographs.

Photographs by Lakshal Perera