Lauretta & James

Lauretta and James wanted their wedding day to be reflective of them – relaxed, down to earth and a little quirky. So they headed to the country (Ararat and Wickliffe to be exact) and celebrated their marriage with a traditional country church ceremony and a farm reception. Each moment of the day carefully considered, each detail lovingly crafted and up-cycled to form their handmade country wedding day captured by Shannon McDonald Photography.

On how they met, the story goes a little like this. “James and Lauretta are high school sweethearts. One day I (Lauretta) remember saying to my friends “You know who I think is really good looking?………. James Brain.” We’d both had a bit of a ‘thing’ for each other for a while until James finally plucked up the courage to ask me out on the way back to the classrooms after lunch!”

Lauretta got ready with her bridesmaids at home, remembering, “I loved spending the morning with my family and my best friend at home. It was so lovely and relaxing and my mum organised letters from my family for me to read and they are so special – that was just the beginning of the water works!”

Lauretta chose an elegant white wedding gown by Clare Schreenan – Clasch Design, Ballarat with shoes from Gorman.

Lauretta and James married at Ararat Catholic Church, somewhat of a family tradition! Lauretta remarking, “It was really lovely to be married in the church right next to our old high school. It was also the same church my mum and dad, grandparents and aunties and uncles were all married in.”

Lauretta walked down the aisle to”Endless Summer” by Josh Pyke from Triple J’s ‘Like a Version’ session. She remembers,”I loved the trip to the church in the Kombi with my dad and my sister and walking in to the Church to see all our beautiful friends and family and waving to my girlfriends in the back row and seeing their happy faces. Dad was in a hurry to get down the aisle and didn’t want to wait for our cue in the music. Dad and I both welled up and I remember seeing James as a blurry vision and almost not being able to look at him as I tried to hold it together!”

Lauretta notes, “We just had the BEST day!! It is a rare chance to have all of those you love together and thank and remind them how much they mean to you and to celebrate such a special day with. It truly was amazing – so full of so much love, laughter and happiness with all of those we love. We feel so lucky and thankful for all the help from our family, friends and all our wonderful vendors. It is so lovely to be married!”

Of their photographer, Lauretta tells, “I had seen photos of a friend of a friend’s wedding that Shannon had photographed and I knew when we got married that I really wanted Shannon! Her photography has the perfect mix of quirkiness, fun and it looks really natural! We loved spending some quiet time with her having our portraits done. She was just a lovely calming presence on the day and we were just amazed at how wonderful our photos are. She captured all the special little moments so beautifully.”

Celebrations continued on a family farm – Narrapumelap Homestead, Wickliffe. Lauretta remarking, “We were also very lucky to have our reception on James’s Grandparent’s farm in Wickliffe. The beautiful Narrapumelap homestead has been lovingly restored by James’ uncle Kevin.”

“Guests were served Pimm’s cocktails in jars on arrival at the reception with games of croquet, bocce and badminton on the lawn (some very heated battles of croquet were played!”

The handmade elements really came into their own during the reception. Lauretta noting, “We had so much fun planning and making things for our wedding. James was amazing – he made all of our signs, pizza boards and crates and my Mum, Nan and I made the bunting and picnic rugs and collected lots of jars!” Guests enjoyed a dinner of pizza and ice cream.

The speeches ended the night beautifully, with the bride and groom holding them as their most precious of memories. Lauretta remarking, “At the reception we just loved the beautiful speeches which made us laugh and cry, especially my Dad’s speech as he acknowledged those in our family who are no longer with us in the most beautiful way. We loved crazy dancing with our friends and family and then reliving it all together as we drove to Dunkeld for our wedding night and feeling so happy and amazed at how perfect it all was!”

“We wanted our first dance to be a bit of fun so we chose “Ho-Hey” by the Lumineers. We loved dancing on the grass in our little marquee but we definitely should have practiced our moves a little more!”

Congratulations on your marriage Lauretta and James! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Shannon McDonald Photography for sharing today’s wedding!