Lauren & Michael

We’re a big fan of winery weddings around these parts; the sunsets are always more golden, the settings always serene and the stories that unfold are some of the most captivating. So we’re more than a little thrilled to share the story of Lauren and Michael today, captured beautifully by the talented Gez Xavier Mansfield Photography. The bride, a visual merchandiser, was keen to style the day herself. And the result? Something so of the moment, so effortlessly “them” that it simply added extra magic to their big day.

It was on the job that these two met, just after Lauren switched careers to follow her passion. “I had just left my office job (which I hated) to study visual merchandising. My friend’s dad knew I needed some part-time work so gave me a call and offered me some work at his office, I immediately said ‘no’ as I just couldn’t bear being in an office again. Moments passed and sanity prevailed as I knew I needed a job so I gave him a call back and accepted the job offer…I met Michael on my first day there.” The rest was history and Michael popped the question on a weekend trip for the couple’s ten year anniversary.

The groom donned superman cuff-links, a nod to the comparison to superman he often receives.

Lauren made her custom denim jacket herself, finding iron-on decals and making her creation her own.

The couple opted to ditch the wedding party. “Michael and I decided early on that we wanted to keep it in the family and not have any bridesmaids or groomsmen, we wanted our close friends to enjoy the day and be guests without jobs to do. We had our gorgeous nephews Noah, Jack, Charlie and Oliver as page boys and my brother Adam and Michael’s sister Leesa as our witnesses.”

Lauren remembers, “Both my mum and dad walked me down the aisle and the song I chose was ‘Mango Tree’ by Angus and Julia Stone. It’s love wrapped up in a song; beautiful and whimsical.”

Lauren and Michael chose the beautiful Ironbark Hill Vineyard as their wedding venue, telling, “Ironbark Hill Vineyard and the team at Enzo Hunter Valley are just amazing! We chose Ironbark Hill as it offered everything we wanted all in the one spot – beautiful grounds to have an outdoor ceremony but a chapel on site as our plan B if it rained, a brewhouse so our guests could chill out after the ceremony while we had photos, and a magnificent reception hall plus cabins for our family to stay in the night prior and the night of – it was perfect!”

Wed By Kez officiated the ceremony. “We wanted our ceremony to be joyful, funny and totally relaxed and our celebrant Kerryn Tippett at Wed by Kez created just that for us. She wrote a kick-arse ceremony that started with the story about the first thing Michael noticed about me was my butt! It was hilarious and totally us,” tells Lauren.

The bride added a very special detail to her bouquet. “My bouquet had a piece of lace wrapped around the stems in which originally came from a dress my Grannie wore when she was seven years old. Then blue bows were added and the lace was used to make my christening gown; the lace is over 95 years old and become my something old, my something borrowed and my something blue.”

The bride found her strapless, lace Rue de Seine gown at The Bridal Atelier. “I had been following Rue De Seine on Instagram since before we were engaged, I just love their boho vibe! I went dress shopping with my mum and close friend Katie and I found my dress at our second boutique for the day, The Bridal Atelier at Double Bay. I tried on a few dresses but as soon as I put on the ‘Stevie Rae’ I knew it was it, it was me!”

Of their photographer, Lauren raves, “Gez is simply amazing. What he managed to capture just by himself was brilliant. He blended in and became one of the guests, he was visible when he needed to be and was equally stealth-like when he needed to be; we look back on some of the photos and think ‘how the heck did he capture that?!’ We love love love our photos and can’t stop looking at them. He was also raved about by our guests, everyone loved him.”

The flowers on the day were styled by Blooms On Darby. The bride tells, “Nat and Mel at Blooms on Darby are serious floristry artists. They absolutely nailed the brief! We didn’t want anything too perfect or structured. We wanted Australian natives, soft pinks and peaches and my one request was to have King Proteas. I trusted them to make all the right flower and foliage choices and that they did. We were blown away with what they created – it was magical.”

“We had a sign just as you walked in that said ‘Our wedding is dedicated to our parents, who demonstrate daily that it is possible’ and next to that sign were photos of them on their wedding days. We had a Walt Whitman quote also at the entrance to remind our guests to enjoy the night and live in the now.”

Being a visual stylist, the bride decorated the wedding herself. “I spent over a year slowly purchasing decorative items that I loved and styled them together and thank goodness it all just worked! On our way up to the Hunter Valley, the day prior our car was jam-packed full of these decorations and both our families joined in and helped decorate the venue.”

Tells Lauren, “there was no particular theme, we just wanted a relaxed vibe, a look that we would be proud of when we look back on it in 15 years (no cringe). It was a mix of boho, a mix of modern and touch of fun and quirkiness.”

The couple hired a neon “‘Til Death” sign to adorn their reception from Sammy & Lola. Lauren remarks, “our favourite part was the researching; hours and hours spent on Instagram, Pinterest, flipping through magazines and shopping looking for the perfect decorative pieces…then seeing it all being brought together. It’s a great feeling.”

The first dance? It was surprisingly wonderful for the newlyweds, who remember, “Let’s just say we were totally unprepared for our first dance. We didn’t practice at all! But it actually ended up being so great and we invited our parents, siblings and their partners up mid-way through. We danced to ‘Wild Love’ (acoustic version) by James Bay. We danced in front of the fireplace with our neon sign ”Til Death’ hanging above it which made for some amazing photos captured by our photographer Gez.”

A big congratulations to you both Lauren and Michael! Thank you for taking the time to share the stories of your day with us. Thank you also to Gez Xavier Mansfield Photography for today’s celebration.