Ashlee & Kate

There is nothing I love more than a celebration that touches the soul and Ashlee and Kate’s heartfelt Yarra Valley wedding, captured by Veri Photography  is full of moments that are so poignantly beautiful you will lose yourself in their story.

Kate tells the story of how she met her new wife. “We met online four years ago and after exchanging a number of emails, we realised we had a lot in common. Up until this point, Ashlee had said that she didn’t have enough ‘winks’ remaining as she wanted to date other people. However, after answering a series of her dating questions, I managed to convince her to go on a dinner date. There was a definite spark on the night we finally met and we talked all night until the restaurant closed. We have spoken every day since that night and find it difficult to spend time apart from each other.”

Of their gowns, which the brides found at Made with Love  and Ti Adora by Alvina Valenta from Eternal Bridal, Kate tells “Both brides chose their own dresses and managed to keep them both secret from each other until the day. We wanted it to be a surprise what each other’s dress would be like, and prayed that they wouldn’t clash! Ashlee spent many hours looking online for the perfect dress and right up until the day, was still unsure which style she would go for (the more revealing look or traditional). For my dress (Kate), the relaxed staff at Eternal Bridal made the process so easy (accepting me as a walk-in) that when I found the right dress, I knew I had found the one. We managed to keep both a secret, storing the dresses at our parents’ place until the big day.”

Of their walks down the aisle, Kate notes “Ashlee walked down the aisle to a cover of ‘Let’s Stick Together’ by Al Green, played by my cousin Gemma on guitar and singing. I walked down the aisle to a recording of 1000x by Jarryd James. Our fathers and stepfathers walked us down the aisle separately.”

Kate and Ashlee married under an arch decorated by In Bloom Melbourne. Kate tells “We actually hired our Arbour from Gumtree (made by mel) and had a florist (In Bloom) decorate the arbour. We wanted the arbour to be simple and unstructured and were on a tight budget. The florist from In Bloom was very efficient and professional – right to even waiting until the last moment to decorate the arbour so it wouldn’t be ruined by the heat. We made our our own bouquets from wholesale flowers we purchased the day before at Tesselaar Flowers and from watching some Youtube videos a few months prior. Each bridesmaid made their own bouquet so they were able to add their own style. It was hard and testing at times but they turned out great! We also chose flowers which were in season and mostly natives which would withstand the heat longer.”

Wendy Bos officiated the ceremony, Kate remembering “We wanted our ceremony to have elements of tradition but for it to be personal and engaging. Our celebrant incorporated our ‘story’ about how we met and fell in love into the ceremony and we wrote our own vows. We wanted to create a feeling of love and inclusion in the ceremony and worked closely with our celebrant leading up to the wedding to make sure it reflected us as a couple.”

“We made sure to include both parents in the ceremony. As our fathers walked us down the isle, our mothers signed our commitment ceremony certificate. It was important to us that both family members were included on the day. We also had photos of our grandparents and loved ones that had since passed on a table, to remind us of their spirits.”

Ashlee and Kate wanted their favourite people around them on the day, so their bridal party was filled with eight! Kate explains “We had a total of seven bridesmaids and one groomsman. Ashlee had her sisters and one brother and Kate had her sister and three friends. There were times when we thought it was impossible to organise the logistics (hair, make-up) of so many bridesmaids but it all worked out in the end! We spent a long time trying to find a suitable dress that each bridesmaid liked, so in the end we decided instead on a colour pallet and let everyone pick their own. It was more important to us that the bridesmaids were comfortable on the day – plus it worked out perfectly as the end result was so beautiful and exactly as we had hoped!”

“We love the photos of us with our bridal party, Everyone was having such a great time in the photo and it captured the fun and relaxed feel of the day. We had a great time taking the photos and no one took themselves too seriously!”

Kate and Ashlee chose The Riverstone Estate for their ceremony and reception, Kate noting “We chose the Riverstone Estate at Coldstream for our wedding ceremony and reception. As we drove up the driveway to Riverstone Estate for the first time, we were taken aback by the amazing views and were excited to have discovered the venue. After our first initial meetings, it was clear we were in the hands of true professionals who were genuinely kind and warm to be around, making us feel at ease. Throughout the wedding planning process, they both truly went above and beyond our expectations – from having long conversations with us about our vision for the day to making insightful recommendations about areas we hadn’t considered.

When I arrived on the wedding day I was so pleased and calm because they had set up the venue perfectly and had drinks and food waiting for us in the bridal suite. Matt was the other star of the Riverstone Estate team who blew us away – a true champion! From helping us to organise an engagement shoot at the venue, to wearing many hats on the wedding day and working tirelessly in the background to ensure the day went off without a hitch- he was amazing!”

Of their photographer, Kate remarks “Our photographer, Veri Photography, was professional and very talented. We wanted natural photos without too much posing so that we could look back on the day and capture the essence of the ceremony and reception. Our photographer, Cheng, did an amazing job of diligently and quietly snapping away and taking stunning shots – all the time we just enjoyed the day and night. He acted like our shadow from the start and managed to capture the surrounds and vibe of the day perfectly.”

Kate and Ashlee worked with Rutherford Entertainment  to kick off heir reception, the bride noting “From the start, music was the most important part of the day for us. Us a couple, we wanted to have everyone up dancing all night and having a great time. We had an image of guests dancing on the deck all night overlooking the views. For this reason, also, we selected the ‘grazing’ menu at Riverstone Estate as opposed to a sit-down meal.

I selected Rutherford Entertainment – a DJ and sSaxophone. Having a live element of the saxophone added a surprise element for our guests and sounded amazing with the DJ. The guests raved about the music for weeks after and asked for their contact details, most of our ears were ringing the next day, but there were no complaints! We were thrilled with the music, there was something for everyone and both the saxophonist and DJ had very raw talent – not to mention they stole many of the guest’s hearts!”

“Dancing on the deck at sunset with the DJ/Sax and hills of the Yarra Valley in the background felt euphoric. The image was heavenly and so unique compared to any other weddings we have been to – it was an image we will always remember. It was a warm night and the guests spent the night on the dance floor which was exactly what we had hoped for.”

“We didn’t do the first dance! We ended up slow dancing with a final dance as the night was ending to ‘The Horses’ by Daryl Braithwaite but it was impromptu and unexpected. Everyone gathered around and swayed together, singing and not wanting the night to end.”

We had planned at the end of the night to leave with a farewell arch from the guests but we were having such a good time that we didn’t want to leave our own wedding! Our pre-booked taxi to take us home came and left and we continued to dance the night away! Our amazing MC and staff member at Riverstone Estate, Matt, was kind enough to drive us home to our accommodation.”

Zarik from Zarik Films captured the day on video, edited by Kate’s sister Lisa Houlihan. Kate notes “My sister hired a friend who was a videographer and student. It was a wedding gift from my sister. We are thankful we have the video as we have watched it many times, it brings back many fond memories and emotions of the day.”

Congratulations on your marriage Ashlee and Kate! Thank you for sharing your words with us and thank you to Veri Photography for sharing today’s celebration!