A beautiful setting combined with a wonderful couple makes for one amazing wedding! Nathalie and Ben chose the backdrop of Margan Wines – and even in the height of winter, the sun shone and the beauty of the day was palpable. The couple chose Keegan Cronin to capture the moments of bliss – even deciding to have a shoot pre-wedding. The gorgeous Bride shares the details of their incredible day!

Ben and I met through Tinder just under five years ago. In some ways we are a case of opposites attract. I’m really outgoing and social and Ben is quieter and shy, meaning we balance each other out nicely. We’re both very adventurous souls though who love early mornings, the great outdoors and travel.

We started planning our wedding just weeks after getting engaged in winter of 2018 during a holiday to Tasmania. We were both set on tying the knot in The Hunter Valley and we quickly locked in one of our favourite vineyards; the gorgeous Margan Wines in Broke. This was an easy choice for us. We just love everything about Margan from the rugged natural setting with the Brokenback Mountain Range and vines to the scrumptious food and wines served in their hatted restaurant.

We chose our wedding date, August 24 2019, based around the availability of our incredible photographer, Keegan Cronin. We were really blown away by his gorgeous natural, documentary style photography. When we met him in person we were thrilled to discover he had the personality to match, which was great because you certainly spend a lot of your with your photographer.

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fit for our day and we were so pleased with the quality of the images and the precious moments and memories he captured for us.

After choosing these two big ticket items, I knew it was time to start looking for my dress. I didn’t have much luck around my home town of Newcastle, but about an hour’s south on The Central Coast I found my dream bridal boutique, Final Touch Bridal.

It’s one of those very personal boutiques where every single dress is hand picked and stunning. The owner Nicole was so supportive and kind as I tried on a whole variety of gowns. I decided on low back, lace fit and flare dress by Demetrios and matched with a soft, romantic cathedral veil.

My dress needed a fair bit of altering and I was lucky enough to find Kate Wooden’s Alterations on The Central Coast. Kate was a real character and very talented at what she does. A fun fact is she listens to romance novels while she sews/alters wedding dresses! Talk about setting the scene!

Ben wore a suit from Oxford. He asked me to join him whilst suit shopping because he was really unsure about where to start. We actually found his navy Oxford suit the very first day we set out shopping for it. He went and purchased a cute bow tie later on to complete his look. Ben’s groomsmen had the same navy blazers, but wore chinos for a more casual look.

Ben and I got ready for the wedding at separate estates in Broke. My bridesmaids and I had a really relaxed morning getting pampered at Talits Estate by our incredible makeup artist Emma Wakely and hairdresser Michelle Jackson.

Talits Estate was also where Ben and I did our ‘First Look’ photo session with Keegan before the ceremony. We chose to do this for a few reasons. Not only did it make us more relaxed for the ceremony, but it allowed us to have a photo session before we were with our guests. Being winter, we were also worried about the light fading fast after our afternoon ceremony.

Our celebrant was Julie Muir. She’s a beautiful charismatic Irish woman who told our love story so with much sincerity, charm and humour. We also wrote our own vows. It was so moving to hear each other’s heartfelt vows for the first time on the day. It was really emotional for both of us and for our guests. It’s a moment in time I will cherish forever and a clear highlight of the day for us.

We had the poem ‘The Art of Marriage’ by Wilferd Peterson…the words really spoke to us about what marriage means and how to have a beautiful one.

When it came to music for our ceremony, I was so very lucky to have my extremely talented cousin Elyssa Faith play guitar and sing for us. We chose “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer played on guitar and sung by Elyssa Faith. It set such a soft and romantic mood for the ceremony.

My four bridesmaids wore seaweed green Shona Joy dresses, two in a high neck style and two in a lower cut cocktail style.

Ben’s Mum’s friend Liz O’Toole is really talented florist, so she did all the flowers for our big day. I gave her the brief of native flowers with pops of pink and white and she totally nailed it. My favourite element was the stunning native flower arrangement on our arbour. This was made even sweeter by the fact that Ben’s dad made the gorgeous wooden arbour himself by hand.

Our ceremony was followed by canapés and drinks under the fairy lights in the courtyard before entering the reception in Margan’s stunning barrel room. I adore this room which has so much character on its own. We added some subtle touches including fairy lights by Events to Impress and native green leaves with twinkling lights down the centre of the tables.

When it came to the design and finer touches for our wedding, everything to do with stationary and signage was created by an extremely talented friend of mine (who was also one of my bridesmaids). She’s a graphic designer and the owner of Wish Boutique Stationary. She kept the theme of my favourite colour (deep green) going throughout. She designed our invitations, welcome and seating signage, guest book and our gorgeous laser cut wooden table place names.

The reception truly flew by. The food and wine by Margan was exceptional. Many smiles and tears were brought about by the speeches and the dancing was set to the tunes of our Silent Shout DJ. Instead of a traditional cake we chose to have a cheese wheel cake by The Essential Ingredient which was served with house made lavosh, dried fruits and Margan wines – heaven!

My gym has a dance studio attached so we decided to get one of the dance teachers to teach us a simple wedding dance. We had so much fun learning it – mainly because we laughed our way through it every time we stuffed it up (which was a lot).

We did a simple and romantic dance to Ed Sheeran’s Tenerife Sea…and we managed to pull it off, just! We ended the night with a spectacular sparkler send off. Everyone said that our big day would pass by too fast, and they were right. I did try to soak up every precious moment, but I really wasn’t ready for it to end.

When planning a wedding, I truly believe you should keep in mind that there are no rules. There are only a few words needed to make your marriage official, the rest is up to you and your spouse, so make it totally YOU!

I didn’t wear a garter, toss a bouquet or have a traditional wedding cake, simply because none of those things clicked for me. All we wanted was a meaningful and heartfelt ceremony that celebrated our love and commitment to each other while being surrounded by our closest family and friends followed by a feast of delicious food and wine, so that’s exactly what we did!

Ms Zebra Says: Congratulations to this gorgeous couple – you made the day look effortless and beautiful! Find their inspired honeymoon to the Maldives here