Jackie and Michael

Sometimes I think I’d love to have a field somewhere just so I can hold beautiful events and parties like the wedding of Jackie and Michael – a celebration in the English gardens, a wander through the golden grasses and a dance under a silk lined marquee with only the stars up above and the sounds of the country around me. Country weddings are so beautiful and today’s is pure elegance.

Jackie tells the story of how she met Michael. “Michael and I both are from Sydney. When I moved to Melbourne a mutual friend told me to call Michael (who had been living down there). I did, we went for drinks and over a discussion about me looking for a place to live he suggested I become his flatmate. I did and we ended up having a fling that resulted in us breaking up but still living together for 8 months (neither of us would leave as we had moved into an amazing apartment (The George, St Kilda) and we both loved it!). We got back together 4 weeks before Michael moved to London. I ended up going with him.”

Photographs today are by Mary Canning Photography. I love Mary’s eye for weddings – clear, intimate and candid. I really love the fresh images of this wedding!

Jackie wore a gown from Pallas Couture. She says “ They were amazing as I fell pregnant after I had selected my dress. This was never an issue and they had extra fittings and worked around my bump in the couple of weeks before the day.” The bridesmaids wore dusty pink gowns from Two Birds Bridesmaid.

Jackie and Michael were married on a private property outside Orange in NSW.  “The venue is a good friend’s property (they also hold about 7 weddings a year). Again, we wanted to avoid the ‘factory’ style wedding and by having it at our friend’s property we knew that we could make it the day we wanted, we could enjoy the set up process as a family in the days leading up the wedding and that we could continue to visit the place where we married.

The property is stunning. We got married in the old English gardens next to the family house and then the guests walked up the driveway, past the geese to the old school house where drinks and canapés were served overlooking the dam and vineyards at sunset. Guests then moved to the marquee overlooking the vineyards.”

Jackie’s mother is a celebrant and helped the couple tailor their ceremony into something pretty magical.  Jackie recalls, “The most special part of the wedding was the ceremony – our guests said they ‘fell in love again’. Our celebrant was a close family friend and we put significant thought into it so it was representative of us and had a strong sense of ceremony. We also wanted the ceremony to be an amazing experience for us, so we didn’t want to over engineer and ‘script it’.

We gave our mothers flowers in recognition of all they have done for us. We also wrote our own vows, some of which we didn’t know  the other would say, and we said them without repeating them. They represented our values – spontaneity and fun, inspiring to reach goals together, giving and accepting support, acknowledging family takes precedence over all other things and to give our unborn baby and future children all the opportunities that were given to us.

We also had drinks before the ceremony which helps get people in the right mood!”

“We asked our friend to say a reading that she thought represented us and we didn’t hear it until the day. Because we love France (Michael proposed there and we are learning French) and she is Tahitian, she read a Victor Hugo (French Poet) poem in French and then English.

We then asked a representative from couples we admire, from all generations to impart words of wisdom on a successful marriage. The people we selected gave different perspectives (again we did not know what they were going to say) including a couple that work together (important to us as we are starting our own business) and Michael’s grandmother who still pines over her late husband after 15 years.”

The choice of celebrant was even more important to the couple. “We chose a celebrant  (Catherine Taylor) who is also a family friend worked with us to create a unique ceremony that was exactly how we wanted. She allowed us to re-jig the usual order of the ceremony and take a different approach to readings. She complemented the tone of the ceremony with her beautiful outfit, gorgeous English accent and appropriately formal tone (these things are hard to find in a celebrant). Of course, she knows us well which made an incredible difference!”

Jackie and her bridesmaids and mums made the bouquets. “We drove peonies and hydrangeas up from the flower markets and I spent the day before with mums and bridesmaids doing the flowers. I picked a couple of magnolias from the magnolia tree on the property. It was lovely!” Jackie accessorized her wedding day look with earrings given to her by Michael upon his marriage proposal to her.

The reception followed the ceremony in a marquee on the property. Jackie says “There were floods in the central west for weeks leading up to the wedding. Two days before I was standing in gumboots being told the ground may be too unstable for the marquee – we had no other wet weather plan! The day before and day of, was full sunshine, the grass dried out and it was spectacular – it went back to rain a day or two later.”

The feeling of the reception was important to Jackie and Michael. Jackie says “We created curtains with big hessian bows to cover the poles. We set the table and created the table settings, including the hessian table runners. Our wedding was Agroturismo style (Italian farmhouse where you eat and drink what is produced on the land), representing our love of Italian values, family, community, local food and wine, sharing the table and a love of nature – biophillia.” The couple found antique silver cutlery with the help of Wendy Varley of the Antique Centre.

Jackie and Michael had Kim Currie cater the event. Jackie says ” She is the caterer who also runs the big Taste Orange food festival. Her philosophy on food matched ours exactly – local, organic food and Italian style eating with share platters in keeping with ‘sharing the table’. Everything she cooked was from a 100 mile radius and many of the vegetables were from her garden. Our dessert was a massive tiramisu and home-made limoncello.”  Jackie’s stepmother made the cake .

I love how Jackie and Michael structured their wedding to make the most of each moment. Jackie recalls “Our first dance was not as special to us as the song we had at the end of the ceremony. We structured our ceremony so the signing of the registry was early so when the celebrant began to pronounce us man and wife our special song – ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers started playing and crescendoed with us kissing and walking down the aisle so we didn’t lose the amazing momentum of that moment.” Guests danced to tunes provided by Somatik of The Loft and Bungalow 8 (an old friend of the couple).

One final favourite memory from Jackie was so apt and beautiful. “After dancing all night, our little baby (I was 5 1/2 months pregnant) was kicking like crazy when we went back to the cottages on the property. This was the first time Michael had felt more than one kick!”

Congratulations Jackie and Michael! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us today on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Mary of Mary Cannning Photography for sharing today’s photographs!