Emily & Stephen’s Secret Garden Blue Mountains Wedding
We met four years ago and as it turned out, unknowingly worked for the same company, lived less than a kilometre away from each other and had mutual friends, but it took a dating app to make our worlds collide, and love story to begin.
Three years later, Steve proposed on Christmas Day in front of my family opening presents. My sister was visiting from London and had offered to do my hair and makeup that morning which was lovely, yet unusual – I usually have to beg her.
Steve was so relaxed and I had no idea that the oversized gift box I was opening had the most gorgeous ring and note inside. I was thrilled. We had been drinking cups of tea but we quickly moved onto champagne. We celebrated well into the evening by the pool. It was really special to celebrate this momentous occasion with the whole family (as we live in all parts of the country and world)!
A couple of months later, Stephen relocated to work in Brisbane for a year, while I stayed in Sydney. This meant we had to plan the wedding from a distance and then live separately post wedding! It turned out fine and we made it work with Skype and weekend trips.
Stephen is a good party planner and had some non-negotiables for the day such as the jazz band and a late night snack – both highlights!
Our ceremony and reception was at Wildenstein – a secluded and stunning sprawling garden estate in Mount Wilson. We knew it was where we wanted to get married as soon as we entered the property. It was breathtaking and we knew we were in good hands.
The men behind Wildenstein, James Stein Junior and Keegan Buzza, were our wedding planners and styled the event, made the florals and managed the vendors. I was friends with Keegan at uni on the Gold Coast over ten years ago. He knew what I liked and the planning process was straightforward and a lot of fun.
We wanted a fun day with top quality food, drinks and music. Most of our guests were travelling from interstate and overseas and we wanted to make sure their first trip to the Blue Mountains was a memorable one.
The ceremony was held in the gardens of the estate when it was in full bloom – multi-coloured hydrangeas were everywhere. My nieces kicked off the event and were the stars of the show walking down the aisle tossing petals. We were not sure if they would run the other direction, so Mum walked with them on the day. They nailed the brief.
Our celebrant not only has a killer jumpsuit collection, but is a brilliant storyteller. I have never met anyone who loves love like Laura. She delivered a beautiful ceremony and helped us write our vows.
Following the ceremony, guests moved to the balcony for the reception and wandered the magical gardens. Sam Panebianco and his amazing jazz band from Sydney played throughout the reception and dinner.
The food was incredible. Our caterers created a delightful menu inspired by Middle Eastern and Asian flavours (we love Ottolenghi).
We had a sit down dinner with the food served on a buffet table and guests helped themselves.
The roving canapes included polenta chips with sage aioli; spoons of tuna and seaweed poke; and steamed Shanghai mushroom dumplings with ponzu.
The mains included confit salmon fillets with Egyptian dukkah; lemon myrtle chicken skewers; and chef prepared rolled Bedouin pitas filled with roasted vegetables and pulled aromatic lamb.
There were big fresh salads and colourful pile boards of vegetables including piles of spice roasted tri coloured Dutch carrots, brocolini with lemon zest gremplata and roasted asparagus with parmesan.
The Pavlova Show
One of my favourite parts of the wedding was the “The Pavlova Show”. Pavlova is a family favourite, so it was our wedding cake.
The waiters decorated the two-metre long pavlova to dramatic classical music in front of our guests with bright fruits, honeycomb and Persian fairy floss. It was brilliant and an ingenious twist on a family tradition!
The speeches were our favourite part of the ceremony. They were hilarious and heartfelt and we were in stitches. I often laugh out loud thinking about them.
The wedding shopping weekend was one of the best parts of the wedding process. My Mum and I flew down to Melbourne to meet my bridesmaids.
The Sarah Seven dress was the last one of a long, but fun day. The bridesmaids helpfully yelled out “that’s it – that’s the one!” It was sleek and simple.
My Mum made gorgeous capes for my nieces (the flower girls) who are three or four. Mum could not decide if they would be happier in sequins or faux fur. She ended up making both and they looked so adorable and enjoyed wearing both.
The hand made Q&A book style invites
My sister Siobhan made the most stunning wedding stationary. This included the invitations, seating chart and menus.
As part of the wedding invitation, I created a fun, comprehensive Q&A for our guests. We addressed a range of topics including: “I was thinking about buying you guys a fondue set. Thoughts?”
Siobhan wanted to reflect my love of reading and she came up with the concept of designing the invite in a book format to incorporate the Q&A. This included a hand drawn map. She drew leaves that were found in Wildenstein Gardens and as the venue is secluded, the map style added to the “secret garden” feel.
Ms Zigzag says: Thank you to the gorgeous bride and handsome groom, Emily and Stephen, for sharing your day with us. Thank you also to Photographer Zoe McMahon for sharing your stunning images. It looked like the most perfect spring celebration and we wish Emily and Stephen endless happiness together.