It was eleven years ago, at a youth group session during high school that today’s newlyweds, Laynie and Nathan first met. “We become best friends straight away after realizing we had so much in common” remembers Laynie.

The pair, who have filled with life with family and love, wanted that every same vibe for their wedding. The pair choosing a stunning lakeside garden to say their vows, in a way that honoured their family, their love, but also their story. Says Laynie  “It was a beautiful summer’s day, completely outdoors DIY chic-garden style wedding. At night it turned into fairy lights galore with AMAZING Indian food and a raging (sloppy) dance-floor.”

With the most gorgeously green setting, photographer Hayley Sefo Weddings came along for the ride. Grab the tissues for this one, because there are that many sweet and sentimental moments, you’re going to need them!

Laynie tells us how the groom dressed in blue. “Nathan wore a chic but casual blue suit jacket with a fine red lining and blue chino pants. This worked perfectly with his brown boots and his ‘cricket’ themed socks. He topped it off with a deep maroon tie, with small kingfishers on the tie and a matching pocket square. This perfectly sums up Nathan, as someone who loves to dress up for an occasion, but is still modern and casual at heart. He specifically wanted to wear something that didn’t feel like another ‘day at work,’ but something nimble enough to still get down and boogie.”

Laynie found her simple yet beautiful gown at La Belle Bridal. “I wore a (half) custom made dress from La Belle Bridal in Gungahlin” she tells. “La Belle was the second shop I went to with my sister. When I arrived, Ashleigh immediately pulled out a dress and asked me to try it on. On the rack, I wasn’t too sure of it, but when I tried it on my sister and I both knew it was the one. With that said, I wasn’t too sure on the bottom half (it was a bit too lacey for me) so Ashleigh worked her magic and basically put two dresses together to make the amazing dress I wore! Cannot describe how much I love that dress….”

Laynie’s dad, was a really special part of the day, and it is a story of him, that remains one of the couple’s favourites. “One of the things we loved most about our wedding was the number of stories that came from it, it truly was one big party” says Laynie. “In saying this, one particular story that comes to mind for Nathan was right at the end of the night when we were about to leave the venue. Just as things were wrapping up, Nathan took my dad for a short walk to discuss the day and just to say ‘thank you.’

It was at this moment that my dad told Nathan of how much his daughter meant to him, but it was only right that he handed the honour of protecting (not that she needs it ) and being there for her now. It was in this highly emotional moment, that Nathan remembers that marriage is really more than just the two people standing up the front of the ceremony, it really is two families, two friendship groups, two tribes that are coming together as one – how special.”

Laynie and Nate chose stunning guesthouse Redbrow Garden for both their ceremony and reception. Laynie noting “We liked the idea of staying in one place for the whole day. We also wanted to get married out of Canberra for a change of scenery so this venue was perfect. The venue was a B&B which meant our guests could stay the night of the wedding. This venue was truly the garden party of our dreams!!”

Nate’s favourite memory? “For me, as the husband, there are so many nerves, standing up the front, waiting for the love of your life to walk down that aisle. The mix of emotions cannot be described – as you ride the highs and lows of a small heart attack. But nothing (absolutely NOTHING), will beat the feeling of seeing your (future) wife walk down that aisle. I am not a huge crier, but wow did a cry like a little boy! It was not only the best (and most memorable) moment of the day, it will always be the best moment of my life – I love you Laynie x

It was an emotional walk down the aisle for Laynie, who remembers “My dad walked me down the aisle and no joke I loudly SOBBED/blubbered the whole way down. I walked down to “Bloom” by The Paper Kites which Nate and I had loved our whole relationship. Our friends sang as we walked down the aisle which made it all the more special.”

We’ve told you this day was filled with handmade touches, but can you believe the couple even made their wedding arch? “One special detail of our day was a hand-made triangle, built by Nathan and his best man, that can be found at the alter. This was especially special due to the meaning of having God at the centre of our marriage – something small to remind us of what marriage means to us as people.”

Flower wise the couple worked with floral designer Desert Pea Floral Design.  “We went with natives arranged by the amazing Jane” explains the bride. “We wanted dark reds and greens to go with the business of the venue which we think worked so well. The bouquets were big and lush and stood out amazingly against the brown background. She put up with our ever-growing list of floral requests as our ideas kept growing. She is a freelancer and managed to make the venue even more beautiful – thank you!”

“Our favourite photo is Laynie crying while saying her vows. This picture still makes both of us tear up. The photo represents so much, the emotion of finally being at the altar, the vulnerability of our vows and promises, and the pure joy of having all our favourite people in one space. That photo will forever bring back all the emotion from the day, we’re so thankful it was captured.”

“We wanted the ceremony to feel like a garden, summer wonderland” tells Laynie of the vibe the pair decided upon for the official part of the day. “Walking in we wanted guests to be amazed by the natural beauty of the venue because Maxx and the team who own Redbrow had worked hard to make the gardens just perfect. The wedding venue backed upon a privately owned lake that showcased the natural beauty of the country. Nathan’s sister Josie did a reading from Ecclesiastes 4:12 and Ephesians 4:2, both passages with specific meaning to both us.”

Planning the wedding was a little tricky for Laynie, who admits “For some reason, we both decided to start new jobs and I started masters (degree) the year we got engaged, so wedding planning was stressful at times. I’m personally so thankful for Nate who stepped in and basically planned the whole wedding a few months in so I could focus on my studies. I came back in and helped in the last couple of months but Nate totally owned it and loved it.”

“Hayley (Hayley Sefo Weddings) was an absolute angel” raves Laynie of the couple’s wedding photographer. “Right from the get-go she made us feel special, comfortable and happy. We decided to have an engagement shoot to warm up to being photographed and it was amazing having Hayley make us laugh and remember our love story. Love you, Hayley!”

Yet to walk down the aisle? Laynie gives you this advice. “For anyone looking forward to their big day, remember – this day is the biggest roller-coaster of your life and it will go quick! So many people will want to talk to you, congratulate you and dance with you, it can sometimes be quite overwhelming! So make sure you spend a moment (even for 5 minutes), to go for a small walk, sit down and go ‘wow, what the flip – WE JUST GOT MARRIED!,’ you will not regret it!”

The couple put their own touch on the decor. “Basically the whole wedding was DIY. The venue kindly let us use their tables and chairs, but everything else was sourced from amazing small business from around Canberra. We got to hand-pick everything from the lawn games to the cutlery to the table decor.”

Guests took home custom made candles as wedding favours. “Our amazingly talented, generous friend Madeline Cardone gifted us with hand-made personalized candles for our wedding favours. She spent hours and hours creating and glazing these stunning gifts which could then be used as espresso cups when the candle burned out. We were completely blown away with the gifts and the guests to this day comment on how amazing they smell (over a year later!!).”

Guests enjoyed a feast of Indian street food, thanks to food truck Tikka Stand. “It was incredibly special having the Tikka Stand food truck cater the wedding. We really wanted people to experience the food we grew up eating and get a glimpse of our cultural heritage. Though we were both born here, we were bringing generations of culture together. Everyone absolutely loved the food!”

As the stars twinkled above them, the newlyweds took to the dancefloor, to “their” song. Says the bride “We chose “Next to Me” by Imagine Dragons as our first song. The lyrics resonated with us so much, we listened to the song together often danced in the kitchen in the lead up to the wedding and still do!”

A big congratulations to you both Laynie and Nathan! What a stunning celebration we are so honoured to share. Thank you both and thank you to Hayley Sefo Weddings for sharing today’s celebration with us!