Tayla & James

With many gorgeous handmade details and heartfelt moments, this lower Hunter Valley country wedding is a dream! Set in the beautiful grounds of Walka Water Works, not even a cold and grey day could dampen the joy that came as Tayla and James were pronounced husband and wife. Ava Me Photography captured the day.

The bride and groom met on Tinder in 2013 and had their first date in Newcastle. Although Tayla was late, James waited, and with a coffee, ice cream and a walk along Nobbys Beach, it all fell into place. Tayla shares of the proposal, ”James and I would usually picnic in our favourite spot at Walka Water Works. On a Sunday we went down for a picnic and took blankets, pillows and a cheese platter. After lunch we began packing up, I had been bitten by 20 green ants and was ready to go home. As I turned around to grab the blanket James was down on one knee with a cheesy grin and asked me to marry him!”

Finding a wedding dress for their country and rustic theme was made easier with some company. The bride shares, ”Eight months before the wedding I went wedding dress shopping with my mum and sister. I fell in love with this two piece dress that was modern and not the usual, traditional frock. Two weeks before the wedding I tried my dress on again and absolutely hated the fitted body skirt. My amazing sister got twelve metres of tulle and wrapped it around my waist. She sewed my new skirt which I absolutely loved, I felt like a princess spinning around in it all day.” The groomsmen wore braces and bow ties while the groom wore a navy jacket, to compliment the bridesmaids’ plum gowns from Lulu’s. Tayla was thrilled with KK.hair and Bess Prischl Makeup and says, ”They created a positive, fun environment of getting ready and our hair and make stayed perfect all night and day. Fantastic team who worked effortlessly together.” 

James created a gorgeous arbour for the ceremony, Tayla telling,”We wanted something different at our ceremony. I saw a triangle arbour on Pinterest which I fell in love with. So James made the arbour and I attached native flowers to match our bouquets. It made for an amazing backdrop for photos on the day.” The rustic wedding ceremony took place on the grounds of Walka Water Works. The bride shares, ”We wanted a laid back, relaxed and fun ceremony that reflected our personalities. We wanted to share memories and stories from our relationship that were special and hilarious. Our ceremony was quite short, but we made sure we included our own vows to each other. My mother walked me down the aisle to Louis Armstrong’s ‘What A Wonderful World’.”

Sourcing the flowers from Newcastle Flower Markets, the bride made the beautiful native bouquets herself. She tells, ”James’s favourite flowers are natives. We chose bright, vibrant flowers to match the bridesmaids dresses and I made all the bouquets myself.” Tayla also created special moments on the day with a gift for James, sharing, ”James’s granddad passed away a couple of years ago. I made a brooch with his photo and arranged for his mother and grandmother to give it to James when he was getting ready on the day. I also walked down the aisle to his granddad’s favourite song.”

The Lower Hunter Valley provided a stunning backdrop for the newlyweds and they found the perfect photographer, Ava Me Photography, to capture the day. They tell, ”Joel is an amazing, incredible, brilliant photographer! I can not recommend or thank him enough for his photos. Being very unphotogenic we didn’t want staged, posed photographs. Instead Joel captured moments and memories of our day which we will cherish forever. He was so fun and happy which created natural reactions of laughing and smiling. He effortlessly moved around the venue unseen or heard and captured the most amazing photos.”

Some advice Tayla and James took to heart became a favourite moment of the day. The bride tells, ”We were given advice to take a minute to spend with each other to soak up the moment. After James and I had finished getting our photos we had twenty minutes to relax and enjoy the time together. We huddled together in the cold on a bench seat and told each other about our night before and morning of. We laughed and shared stories of things that went wrong and couldn’t believe it was miserable weather. It was nice just to spend that moment together as husband and wife before we celebrated with our friends and family.”

The location of their wedding day already held sentimental value for the bride and groom, proving an easy choice. They share, ”We knew from the start we wanted to be married in our favourite spot at Walka Water Works. We were able to have the ceremony and reception in one place, it was so easy for our guests to start the party straight away.” The couple made the place their own too, purchasing hay bales and blankets for the ceremony seating, which was then moved to the reception. Tayla recalls, ”We DIY-ed as much as we could to save money and put our own personality into our day. We made the arbor, table decorations, seating frame and easel and bar decorations.”

After cutting the multi-layered chocolate wedding cake, the newly pronounced husband and wife had their first dance in a very romantic setting. Tayla tells, ”We danced to Van Morrison’s ‘Crazy Love’. The song reflected our relationship perfectly. We danced on a raised stage in darkness except for the thousands of fairy lights and candles reflecting around the room.”

Thank you to our gorgeous bride and groom for sharing your day, and congratulations! Thank you also to Ava Me Photography for sharing your photographs.