It is no secret that Australia is a beauty, but the Southern Highlands truly take it to the next level. Something is enchanting about this region, the trees, the green, the historic buildings, the country estates. It’s just about the most perfect setting for a wedding full of classic charm. And that is exactly the mood that Jacqueline and Mitchell wanted for the big day. “Our theme was timeless elegance” explains Jacqueline. “We’ve enjoyed travelling throughout Europe and wanted a romantic European garden feel.”
And with a lush country estate as their backdrop and the duo of Society Photography, this is a wedding where you’re going to want to pour over every beautiful detail.
Jacqueline and Mitchell met as teenagers, though it was not a clear and easy road! Jacqueline filled us in. “We met at an 18th birthday party. The birthday party was my boyfriend’s at the time. We met a couple more times at other mutual friend’s parties. Mitchell added me on Facebook and asked me out on a date. I said ‘No! I have a boyfriend!’.
He kept asking and asking – very persistent. I was shocked that he would ask me out when I had a boyfriend but I also liked his determination. Eventually, my ex and I broke up. I finally accepted Mitchell’s invitation to date. Our first date was at a student art exhibition. I liked that it wasn’t a standard movie or dinner date.”
Not quite a decade later, it was after burgers, on a seaside walk that Mitchell managed to throw Jacqueline off the scent, that a proposal was coming. “We had our Mexican Burger lunch and went for a walk to The Skillion, which is a big cliff that looks out over the ocean. The cliff is huge and takes an effort to walk up there, but it has a beautiful view.
Normally, Mitchell takes a quick look at the view and walks back down, but this time, he was lingering – very unusual – something was up. We started walking back down the cliff. I was a little (ok, very) disappointed – I thought he was going to propose to me on the top of The Skillion. He asked me to sit down on a bench halfway down the cliff, where he popped the question! After waiting almost 9 years, of course, I said yes!”
Mitchell’s favourite memories of the day were in the quiet when he and his groomsmen prepared for the wedding together. “I remember my brother styling my hair for me – I looked good and received a lot of compliments like ‘this is the best you’ve ever looked!’.
The girls were getting ready in their room across the hotel courtyard. I remember looking across the courtyard in lead up to the ceremony. I could faintly see movement in their room. I felt bad for looking, but couldn’t help but wonder if she was looking back at me (it turns out she was spying on me too).”
Mitchell donned a blue suit from Rundle Tailoring. Jacqueline explaining “Mitchell wore a traditional tuxedo. He got it made to measure – very fancy! There’s something special about getting a suit made just for you.
It was dark navy with a black lapel. Mitchell looks good in blues. We purchased extra fabric from the store that we bought the bridesmaid’s dresses and got the bowties and pocket squares custom made at the suit shop.”
Jacqueline hired Makeup by Teneka to style the makeup looks for the day, sharing “I chose my talented MUA sister-in-law, Teneka, to do my makeup. Not only is she stunning at her job, it just felt so special and emotional having someone close to me get me glammed up for the biggest day of my life.”
Jacqueline found her dream gown – a strapless lace dress with sweetheart neckline, at Christina Rossi. She tells “I wore a strapless lace-up dress, with an A-line skirt. I really wanted the bodice to have a sheer look or a bit of contrast to show off the lace. I loved the lace detail on the dress and how it subtly sparkled in the light.
The number of dresses I tried on before I found ‘the one’ is banana. Maybe 30 dresses and seven different stores? I found that the salespeople always pulled out dresses way out of my budget, thinking I would fall in love and make an exception to the cost. So, I started telling people that my budget was lower than what my maximum was, knowing that they’d pull out more expensive dresses – but that actually fit my budget.
I started dress shopping right when Covid started impacting NSW in May 2020. I had to rush to decide because we were about to go into lockdown. I bought the dress on the last day that the shops were open! My mum gave me ‘something borrowed/blue’ which was a blue dove that I pinned to my dress.”
Emily Cooper Floral Decorator kept the classic wedding style going with elegant floral details, says the bride. “My bouquet was made up of hydrangeas and David Austin roses. I kept the colour of the bouquet to creams and whites so that it wouldn’t take away from the detail on my dress. Our buttonholes were David Austin Roses.
At the end of our aisle, we had two urns filled with white and pink flowers to compliment the bridesmaid dresses and to frame our ceremony. There was a vase of flowers at the end of each row of chairs, lining the aisles. All the flowers at the ceremony were reused in the reception, with the urns behind the bridal table and the vases on the tables. Mitchell’s Aunty said ‘she hasn’t seen this many flowers since the royal wedding!’ lol”.
Jacqueline walked down the aisle with both of her parents. “I walked down the aisle with my mum and my dad. I’m very close to my mum and I felt it was appropriate to have them both give me away. The song was ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ – I tear up every time I hear this song. My dad is a huge fan of Elvis and I think ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ made the song popular! The song was sung live/acoustic by a solo musician from The White Tree.”
“We were worried about it storming on our wedding day for the week leading up to it. The forecast did not look promising” remembers Jacqueline. “Thank god the rain held off! Mitchell’s favourite detail is that the sun came out right as I was walking down the aisle. Light rays shone through the tree canopies – it felt really special.”
The ceremony, outside under a canopy of trees was officiated by Love by Lauren who performed the legal part of the ceremony. Jacqueline explaining “We had our close friend, Lauren, deliver the ceremony. We felt like we really wanted a personal touch – someone who is really special to us to do this. She told the story of how we met but in a funny way (she’s a bit of a comedian) and read an excerpt about what marriage is. The poem is called ‘An Excerpt from The Art Of Marriage’ by Wilferd Arlan Peterson.
An actual, legal celebrant stepped forward to legally marry us as well (also named Lauren). My brother, James and Mitchell’s sister, Teneka signed the marriage certificate for us. It was our way of including our other siblings.”
Even the rings had a personal touch! “Mitchell’s brother-in-law’s Nan, Julie (the jeweller) got our wedding rings custom designed and made.”
Mitchell and Jacqueline have nothing but rave reviews for their photographers. “Dave and Lara from Society Photography were so wonderful. Dave told us what to expect and look out for. Our bridal party commented about how professional Dave and Lara were and how they made us feel calm. We are thrilled with how the photos turned out. We highly recommend them.”
The day ran beautifully smoothly, but an impending arrival did, however, cause a little stress prior, says Jacqueline “Mitchell’s best man’s first child was due to be born the week of our wedding. This caused a lot of stress because we weren’t sure if he would be able to make it to the wedding. The baby, Claire, was born two weeks before our wedding and was able to join us on the day.”
Jacqueline and Mitchell chose the beautiful Milton Park. “Our ceremony was held at the Tulip lawn and our reception was held in the Orangerie at Milton Park Country House.
The gardens at Milton Park are mesmerising, with lush greenery and beautiful flowers. The lawn is surrounded by huge trees, making you feel like you’re in an enchanted forest. Many of the buildings have ivy growing over them, adding to the European garden vibe. The reception venue has a french provincial feel – which is totally our style. The bridal table backdrop offers more views of the garden lit with fairy lights as we transition to night.”
The beautiful, painted wedding cake was the work of Sprinkles and Cream Cakes, Jacqueline noting “The best part about wedding planning was cake testing! We tried cakes from about five different vendors – each of them providing about five different flavours.”
Jacqueline, a lover of crafting made sure to lend her hand to plenty of projects for the day. “I designed the invitations, save the dates and wedding website. We made the details consistent – with the same font being used throughout the wedding – becoming our ‘Jacqueline and Mitchell’ logo. I made all the table numbers and place cards. I made the welcome sign and seating chart using my Cricut to cut vinyl stickers for the signs. We even made the stands to hold up the arch-shaped signs – it was a lot of work.
We included a polaroid camera (which was an engagement party gift from my sister) and a photo guest book. It was fun to see all the silly informal photos that our friends and family took to fill the book and write cute and funny messages. Something that we will be able to look back on and remember the day with.”
In keeping with the personal touches? “Mitchell’s Aunty Ava and Uncle Fortunate grow figs and made homemade fig jam for the bonbonniere – so delish! Spread the Love!”
One of the things we adore about stories like Jacqueline and Mitchell’s is how much they include moments that are unexpected, but so personal, like a dessert chant! Jacqueline explaining “My family shouts out a chant ‘we want dessert’ every time we have dessert. My sister, who was the MC, got the whole reception to chant ‘we want dessert’ before the wedding cake came out. The tradition climaxed with my brother leading ‘What do we want?! DESSERT!’ And when do we want it?? NOW!’ ”
“Choosing the song was the hardest decision we made!!” exclaims Jacqueline. “What is our style? What message/lyrics do we want it to portray?? We ended up going with ‘City of Stars’ Duet from La La Land. We like the lyrics and I’m a huge fan of musicals. We had a choreographer teach us the dance.”
The couple chose The White Tree to not just dominate their dance floor (“It was really important to us to have a live band – they bring such an awesome atmosphere and everyone was dancing – so much fun! ” Jacqueline noted), but also to capture a film of their day.
A big thank you to both Jacqueline & Mitchell for sharing your story! Congratulations on your marriage! Thank you also goes to Society Photography for sharing today’s lovely celebration.