Hailey & Mick

I’ve never been good at keeping surprises so I am always a little envious of how couples like Hailey & Mick manage to pull off such huge ones, like “Please come to our party… psst it’s actually our wedding”. Plus, they were not only cool enough to pull it off, but they managed to win their wedding photography too!

Hailey kicks us off with their story. “Mick & I met eight and a half years ago and were instantly head over heels in love with each other. He asked me to be his girlfriend after only a few short days and the rest is history.”

The gorgeous, candid beautiful photographs captured today are by Love, Katie & Sarah.

Guests were invited to celebrate the couple’s engagement in a 1950’s style engagement party. Hailey notes, “Most decorations were made by hand. Including the tissue paper pom-poms, bunting flags, heart garlands etc. We had lots of family pitch in and help us. My mum made all of the scatter cushions, my dad made a wooden swing, my nan collected glass jars and my sister-in-law helped me make all of the pom-poms.”

Hailey and Mick chose their home for their wedding, Hailey remarking, “We used our lovely little house in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. Even before Mick had proposed, we had many discussions about how it would be the perfect place for a party (or backyard wedding!). We used many DIY bits and pieces to decorate and on the day it was just perfect! Our guests were so surprised about the level of detail we had gone to… But I’m a designer, could you have expected anything less?”

“An element that our guests loved was the ‘story of us’ timeline feature that I designed, of Mick & I. It was a cute little tribute to our 8 and a half years together.”

“”My amazing groom also spent many late nights (much to his disliking!) helping me hand-punch all of the confetti and paper hearts for the garlands. I designed and created all of the signs and labels for the drinks, snacks & candy table. I also designed all of the invitation & social stationery for the big day (which I now offer as my freelance business ‘The Hello Workshop‘).”

And this is how it all played out… “Once all of our guests had arrived it was time to put our plan into place! We snuck our 2 ‘best people’ inside (our maid of honour & best man) and announced our big surprise. We laughed (because they had worked out our plan months ago!) and then we hugged… but not for long because it was ‘go time’!. Mick & I quickly went over our ‘to do’ list with them and all the things we needed help with. The ball was rolling… I then asked my mum to join me in my bedroom. I was shaking with nerves (How would she react? Would she be angry?) and I had the tissue box ready. As I shut the bedroom door, she immediately saw my dress. I don’t think we shared any words. We hugged and shed a few tears, and I can remember saying “Are you ready?”.”

“Another special element was that I was still able to have my mum involved in the ‘girly’ aspects leading up to the wedding. She was there to help me pick my dress and work with me on my headpiece. It was something that I didn’t want her to miss out on. But poor Mum… she copped most of the white lies!”

Hailey’s wedding gown was found at Alannah Hill My beautiful life clip .

“My ‘best lady’ (maid of honour) and Mum helped me do a quick change into my dress and headpiece, whilst keeping guard of the windows and doors so no-one would see what we were up to. It was 36 degrees on that day, so I decided a quick cool off in front of the air con was in order before the ceremony. This was a hilarious moment when Mick walked into the lounge looking for me and saw me in my dress! I took cover behind my mum while we all squealed and laughed.”

“From there, we snuck down the side of the house and waited for Mick to make his announcement.”

“Mick gathered our guests and thanked them all for coming. He talked about general housekeeping things (where the bathroom was etc) before introducing our friend Nathan. He continued to tell our guests that Nathan was in fact a celebrant and he was here to marry us. Jaws dropped and there were cheers, laughter, punches in the air and a few tears.”

“He asked my dad to meet me up the side of the house where I waited with my mum. I was honoured to have both my parents walk me down the aisle (the garden path).”

“The moment when I walked up the stairs of the back deck and turned the corner to see our guests… I was filled with so much joy. I thought I would cry but I was so excited and relieved that we had successfully pulled off the ‘surprise’! Meeting my groom at the end of the aisle was a breath-taking feeling. We held hands and laughed. We’d actually done it, we’d surprised our guests and we were about to get married in our backyard. That was an amazing feeling.” Hailey walked down the aisle to’ At Last’ by Etta James.

Nathan Russo married the couple. Hailey remarking, “All of our vendors were absolutely wonderful. Agreeing to be involved in a ‘surprise’ wedding is not something to be taken lightly. There was so much planning involved, which included back-up stories and plenty of white lies, all of which they carried out discreetly with the utmost professionalism.

A special shout-out has to go to our wonderful celebrant, Nathan Russo. We hid poor Nathan in a non-airconditioned room whilst we ran about and executed ‘the surprise’, so you can definitely say that he went above and beyond to make our day possible. Mick & I stumbled and giggled the whole way through our ceremony but Nathan was so smooth and charming. We felt at ease and relaxed having him beside us.”

“For both of us, it was really special being able to get married the way we wanted, in our own home with our closest family and friends. It wasn’t, or never was, about ‘the surprise’ (many of our guests were suspicious anyway!), it was more about being able to get married how and where we wanted with no expectations or pressures being placed on us.”

“I loved being able to experience the whole journey as a couple, was really special. We had to thoroughly rely on each other because no one else knew our plans. Some days we’d laugh about it and feel so sneaky, and on other days we’d be really stressed out… but it was a ride that we experienced together. It was a huge achievement for both of us.”

Of their photographers, Hailey says, “Last year Katie & Sarah ran a competition that was featured on Polka Dot Bride. I entered and told them all about our plans for a summer, backyard engagement party that would evolve into our wedding. They fell in love with our idea and we fell in love with them! Much to our surprise, we won the competition and our planning started from there. Katie & Sarah were an absolute delight to work with and truly captured the overall feel of the day, not to mention the raw emotions too! ”

For their first dance, Hailey remembers, “Only a handful of our guests remained so it was a very intimate moment between Mick & I. I simply pulled him aside, my niece picked a random song from the iPod and we did a little awkward sway on the back deck. It was cute and very unplanned.”

Congratulations on pulling off your surprise wedding Hailey and Mick! Thank you for sharing it with us! Thank you to Love, Katie & Sarah  for sharing today’s images with us.