For Rachel and Nick, their wedding was as much about saying thank you to their community, as it was about tying the knot. “Nick had been very unwell earlier in the year and spent a month in the hospital, which is what prompted us to finally tie the knot. We wanted a special day with all of the people around us who had supported us during such a challenging time.”
Keeping things relaxed and small. “We kept it quite intimate. We wanted a party, with no sit-down meal or formalities other than the ceremony. We had an early afternoon ceremony and then had roaming food and a grazing table for the entire afternoon. Nick created a playlist (the night before the wedding!) which just played in the background on a borrowed speaker, and everyone just mingled and enjoyed the sunshine. People could serve themselves drinks, we enlisted a couple of guests to keep beers and wine on ice from the eskies and everyone just helped themselves. Nick and I had time to sit and have proper conversations with all of our guests, it truly was just a fun afternoon party (a bit like a relaxed Sunday session).
It’s a glorious day in the sunshine for these two, captured beautifully by Hannah Kate Photography. Rachel’s gown adorned with a scattering of pearls (quite a polka dot if you ask us, so very apt for The Polka Dot Issue) is just one, of oh so many details you’re going to fall in love with.
And to think these two almost didn’t meet! Rachel filled us in on how a friend managed to sway her to head out for a night on the town, which led to her and Nick’s paths crossing. “I was travelling to Rylstone to meet up with a friend from work to have a night out. I very nearly didn’t go, but my friend insisted. She said to me, ‘You never know Rach, you might meet the man of your dreams!.’ We both laughed at this, as Rylstone is a tiny little country town.
When I arrived, we sat in the beer garden at the pub and Nick was one of the first people I spoke to. He and my friend knew each other and her partner and Nick are good mates. We all sat together for the rest of the night and chatted over drinks. At the end of the night, Nick asked me to move in with him as a joke and said I’d never had to mop the floor because he had a steam mop. Funnily enough, the address he predicted we’d live in together was where we eventually did live happily for quite a few years, and he has always done the floors more than me!”
The proposal? It’s a story of Nick leading Rachel completely off the country path, and sweeping her off her feet – twice! “We organised to go out for lunch to a pub about 45 minutes from home, close to Nick’s work. We were meant to be meeting my sisters and their families there. When we got close Nick turned off and said he had to drop something off at work. We continued past his work and I got annoyed as we were going to be late for lunch (haha). Nick drove up a big mountain and said he just wanted to quickly show me a lookout someone from work had taken him to. It was quite a drive!
When we got to the top (I was still fretting about being late for lunch and had no phone service), I was appreciating the view and all of a sudden Nick got down on one knee. He was so flustered he couldn’t remember what to say and then shut the ring box after showing me and put it away. I had to ask if I could wear it! After we left the lookout (still fretting about lunch) we drove straight past the pub! When we got home my sisters were at our house, and the house was full of beautiful flowers and candles, with champagne and a platter ready for us. It was beautiful!
The following morning, Nick told me he felt like he didn’t say the things he wanted to say when he proposed, so he got down on one knee in our kitchen and proposed all over again – the second time was just as special.”
Nick went with a classic, but elegant vibe, opting for pieces from Blowes Menswear. Rachel remarking “Nick wore beige pants with a blue shirt and a navy sports coat, accessorised with a dark brown belt and boots. He didn’t want to wear a suit, as we were trying to keep the wedding relaxed, but he wanted a classic and timeless look. We didn’t properly shop for Nick’s wedding clothes until late on the afternoon before the wedding! I think we took relaxed to a new level.”
Rachel’s gorgeous pearl adorned, polka dot, the tea-length frock was made by Kayt Dickson. “I never wanted a long wedding dress, and have always loved the tea-length dresses with a full skirt” she explains. “There were a few dresses I’d looked at for years and loved, so I took those images to a local dressmaker and we came up with a dress from there. It was quite stressful to find the right fabric for the right price, but once we found the fabric (at Spotlight for 11.99/m FYI) it was smooth sailing.
My dressmaker was an angel and made the whole process so fun and easy. She also only had about a 6-week timeframe from start to finish! It ended up being a nude/blush colour tea-length dress with a tulle circle skirt and long sheer sleeves that buttoned with pearls at the cuff. The dress was embellished with scattered pearls and buttoned down the back with pearls. I wore a pair of stiletto point-toe heels. I just wanted to have a classic and timeless look, that I also felt comfortable in.”
Although it wasn’t part of their original plan, the couple opted for a first look thanks to winter light. This decision? It’s one Rachel well and truly loved. “Something that I didn’t want, but that ended up having to happen for timing, was having the first look photos and our couple photos taken before the ceremony. That ended up being one of my favourite parts of the day, as it was the only time it was just the two of us together in our little bubble. It was really lovely.”
Nick adding “Rach and I decided to do first look photos, and that is the part I remember the most about our day. Our photographer Hannah told me I had to turn around as Rach was being driven up the driveway, and I had to face in Hannah’s direction until she said I could turn around to see Rach. It was a special moment, we both got a bit emotional.”
Rachel honoured the winter season with her bouquet, the beauty styled by Shiralee Archer. She tells “Because it was still winter, I was drawn to dark pink and purple florals as well as natives. I spent a long time looking on Pinterest and found a bouquet that I loved, and in keeping with the rest of the day, was quite rustic. My mother in law knew a local florist, Shiralee Archer, and contacted her for me. She was a dream to deal with and the flowers were even more beautiful than I could have hoped for. She did my bouquet, a topper for the cake, and decorated the arbour that we were married under. They were stunning.”
The couple married in the gardens of Putta Bucca House Mudgee. Says Rachel “We chose Putta Bucca House for several reasons, but mostly for the space and beautiful garden. Such great photo opportunities on the property and plenty of room for all of our guests to mingle. We also had a wet weather option there on the big verandah, in case the weather turned. There are also nice big bathrooms that can be easily accessed from outdoors.”
One of Rachel’s favourite parts for the day? “Being married under the arbour that my grandfather built for us – he’s very dear to me, so it was really special. Charlie is named after him.”
Rachel walked down the aisle arm in arm with her dad to Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender”. “I still get teary every time I hear that song!”
Baby Charlie, the couple’s one-year-old son, wouldn’t be left out. “One of my favourite moments, was probably when our little boy, Charlie, who had just turned 1, made his way over to us early in the ceremony. I hadn’t seen him much that day and had spent the night before the wedding away from him, and once he spotted me he was coming to me right or wrong. We held him through our vows, and it just made it so much more special. I was also very newly pregnant (6 weeks) with our second child, and hardly anybody knew, so in our minds, it was our entire little family sharing that special moment.”
Like every part of this day, it was important to Rachel and Nick that their ceremony was relaxed. Rachel explaining “We wanted a very short and sweet ceremony and chose not to write our vows. We wanted to include our families where we could, as we weren’t having a bridal party, so Nick’s brother presented us with our rings and Nick’s mum chose a short verse to be included in the ceremony. It was very important to me that my mum witness our marriage on the certificate, I just feel like that’s something really special.”
Guests enjoyed a delicious feast, with thanks to Jacqui Wakely Catering. “Our caterer was incredible – she had a shed full of rustic furniture and she let us borrow anything we wanted (buffets, tables, chairs, cushions, outdoor games, the list goes on) and she also helped us cart it to the venue and set it up. So kind of her, far beyond her catering duties! Jacqui did such an amazing job, every single person raved about the food to us and she just kept it coming the entire afternoon. There was plenty!”
“It’s almost impossible not to, but please try to focus on what you want out of your day, and not what is going to keep other people happy. There will always, always be someone with something to say – be clear about what you want and stand your ground. It goes by so quickly and you should be able to enjoy a day that is exactly what you and your partner want it to be. Also, don’t be 6 weeks pregnant on your wedding day because pregnancy makes you sick, tired, and you can’t drink.”
The newlyweds loved working with their photographer Hannah, they tell “Hannah was the perfect photographer for us and our day. She was only just starting out and so passionate. Nick and I are both very camera shy and don’t like being in the spotlight at all. Hannah made us feel so comfortable and relaxed, she was confident, organised and she had taken on board that we wanted a natural, real and in the moment photos rather than heaps of posed photos. She just chatted to us the whole way, I felt like we were friends by the end of the day.
When we got our photos back, to say I was blown away was an understatement. I could not believe the quality of the photos and how she had captured exactly what we had wanted. She is so talented.”
The couple was blessed with the most incredible winter’s day. “The weekend before our wedding was Charlie’s first birthday and it was snowing. It coldest day of the year, snowing, just freezing. Our wedding day, one week later, was almost like Summer! It was so warm, the sun shone all day long, it fit in perfectly with our relaxed vibe. Like it was meant to be.”
Although keeping everything relaxed was the focus, Rachel and Nick still made it a point to include special family traditions throughout the day. “There’s a tradition in my family that all the brides wear the same blue garter that my grandmother wore on her wedding day almost 60 years ago, and carry my great grandmother’s lace handkerchief. I had both of those things, which was special to me as I’m very close to my grandmother and adored my great granny. My grandmother also gifted us a beautiful set to cut our cake with.”
The biggest of congratulations to you both Rachel and Nick! What a joy it is to be able to share in your wedding day. Thank you both and to Hannah Kate Photography. for sharing this one with us.