Lauren and Jeremy were never interested in having a big wedding, and when COVID squashed their dream of eloping to Las Vegas, they decided, spur of the moment to tie the knot, with just ten guests, in just six weeks. “In a way COVID provided us with the perfect excuse to have a small, intimate gathering” says Lauren. The pair chose their favourite winery (which just happened to have a stunning outdoor chapel) for their ceremony, before spending the afternoon with their guests over good food and good wine at a local restaurant. Every part of their day was relaxed, easygoing and casual, just as they’d dreamt as evident in the beautiful photographs by Hannah Kate Photography.

Lauren remembers “Considering we only decided to get married six weeks before the big day, I was overwhelmingly grateful for every single vendor we worked with. Nothing was a problem and they were all dedicated to helping us achieve exactly what we were after. There are so many great vendors in Mudgee that it is hard to go wrong, but I think we got the best of the best.”

It was total synchronicity that led these two to meet through a mutual friend says Lauren “We both shared a mutual friend but had never crossed paths. One night our friend was having some low key drinks at his house. When I turned up I went to let myself in the front door as it was always unlocked, but this night it wasn’t. When I knocked, it was Jeremy who opened it… and as they say, the rest is history!”

Purchasing Lauren’s engagement ring a mere seven years before he actually proposed Jeremy decided the time was right on a holiday to Fiji. “We were holidaying in Fiji with family to celebrate my brother’s 30th birthday. It happened to be my birthday while we were away as well, and on the night of my birthday, as we were headed back to our room, Jeremy walked me to the beach and proposed. We were going to surprise his son Charlie with the news the next morning, but he confessed that he hadn’t been asleep like he should have been and saw the whole thing happen through the window, and when we got back to the room he pretended like he was asleep!

I was lucky enough to get a second proposal too. Our Fiji trip ended up being a bit of a disaster with cancelled flights and 3 days stuck at the airport and in horrible hotels. We had purchased my engagement ring about seven years prior (yes really! Jeremy moves at his own pace!) and put it in the safe at my grandparents’ house. Jeremy didn’t want the risk of bringing it on the trip, so had proposed without it. I got quite sick at the end of the trip and when we eventually got home, Jeremy secretly went and got the ring from my grandfather and then proposed again while I was miserable on the lounge at home. It was so special and very much ‘us’ to have a low key proposal, that it almost feels like that was the real one.”

Lauren’s gown is a whimsical masterpiece. “I’ve always known that a white wedding dress wasn’t for me. If we had ended up having a bigger wedding, I had some ideas for a gold or silver sequinned dress to have made. But I came across my dress online and knew it was exactly what I wanted. It was elegant, yet understated and the detail on it was beautiful. Amazingly it managed to arrive in time for me to have it altered slightly for the big day.” Jeremy’s look was equally as casual. “Jeremy wasn’t keen to wear a suit, and that worked well considering the laid back theme of the day. However, his son and I had to convince him to wear braces just to make sure the guests weren’t more dressed up than he was!”

The couple met before the ceremony for a first look, a moment that remains one of Jeremy’s favourites. “We did first look photos before the ceremony and seeing Lauren in her dress for the first time was my favourite part of the day. I didn’t know what she would be wearing so my first thought as I turned around was how pretty she looked. Her dress suited her beautifully.”

“Plan a wedding for you and your partner – not for anyone else” advises Lauren. “In the end, it is your day and you need to love every minute of it. No matter how hard you try, you’re never going to please everyone so make sure you please yourselves! We will treasure every minute of our little ceremony, but we do look forward to organising a big party in the next year or two so that we can celebrate with everyone. It will be like our reception, but without the pressure of it being on the wedding day.”

Lauren and Jeremy are long time lovers of their chosen venue Lowe Wines, says Lauren “Lowe’s winery is our favourite place in Mudgee and we have celebrated many different occasions at the various Lowe venues over the years. Although our wedding was low key, good food, good wine and a beautiful location were things we weren’t willing to compromise. The timing was perfect with the construction on The Chapel not long before our wedding date and I believe ours was the first ceremony with the gorgeous antique doors that now grace the chapel entrance.”

Lauren chose “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds Five to play as she walked down the aisle with her dad. “It’s such a beautiful song with lyrics that sum up how we feel about each other.”

The couple made sure to include the special children in their lives in their day. Lauren noted “Jeremy’s 13-year-old son Charlie acted as his best man and my 6-year-old niece Zara was our flower girl. Charlie wore a matching outfit to his Dad and Zara wore a pretty dress with a tulle skirt. She was most excited about getting to wear her first pair of heels.”

Lauren and Jeremy wanted every part of their day to have that relaxed, causal vibe – even their ceremony. “We wanted to make our ceremony short, but meaningful. We worked with the celebrant to create something unique and relevant to our relationship. It was perfect – relaxed, fun and filled with love and laughter.

Both Charlie and Zara shared readings during the ceremony. After much brainstorming, Charlie picked a poem that he thought suited us and Zara read a Dr Seuss poem. Every part of the day was special, but I will be forever proud of Charlie and Zara for reading during the ceremony. Charlie had taken the time to choose something that he thought was perfect for us. He initially wanted to share some song lyrics, but when practising, he found he couldn’t read them without singing! So he found a poem instead.

Our wedding was a surprise to almost everyone except for those attending, and a 6-year-old can’t keep secrets very well so we didn’t tell Zara until the day before. It was quite a mission to get her to memorise the reading (as many words were above her reading capability!) before the wedding without her knowing why she was memorising it! They both did an amazing job and made the ceremony so much more special to us.”

“We had both of mums witness our wedding and Jeremy was responsible for asking his mum. During the ceremony when the celebrant called for the witnesses to come aside and sign the paperwork, Jeremy realised he’d forgotten to ask his mum! It was a nice surprise for her!”

The deep red floral arrangements for the day were styled by Mudgee Monkey. Says Lauren “I have always loved the work of Dianne from Mudgee Monkey so I knew that is who I wanted to use for our flowers. Luckily she was available at such short notice. I knew that I wanted natives and some flowers which would tie into the colours of my dress. Other than that, I was happy to let Diane do her thing! It was her suggestion to wear a headpiece and I’m so glad I did as it brought the whole outfit together.

She created my wedding bouquet and headpiece, the table and cake flowers, and some bespoke bouquets to honour my grandparents who are no longer with us. That was really special as those arrangements were then left at the cemetery so I felt like I was able to share some of my special day with them.”

“I can’t speak highly enough of Hannah” raves Lauren the couple’s photographer. “We were lucky that friends of ours had found Hannah for their wedding and as she was just starting, we were able to secure her at such short notice. Hannah took the time to get to know us and understand the style we were after. She made us feel relaxed in front of the camera and we could not be happier with the gorgeous moments she captured. Hannah has since become part of our family and completed family, maternity and newborn photos for us.”

“We loved the simplicity of it all! With only six weeks to plan and a limit of ten guests, there was no room to sweat the small stuff – and that suited us perfectly. In the end, our wedding day included everything we wanted. The only downside was not having some more of our immediate family in attendance due to travel restrictions.”

Lauren’s bouquet was adorned with something very special. “In the absence of a full wedding party, our beautiful dog Salt was going to act as my Maid of Honour. She took a turn a few weeks before the wedding and sadly passed away. We were absolutely heartbroken, so it was important that she was still part of our wedding day. Her dog tag was included on my wedding bouquet and Jeremy wore socks with her picture on them, so it was like she was with us.”

The celebration dinner was held at The Zin House.  Says Jeremy “The whole day was nice and laid back and the food at The Zin House was amazing as always. It was the perfect, intimate wedding.” The glorious wedding cake was made by Lauren’s sister. Lauren telling “We weren’t going to go ahead with many wedding traditions, including a wedding cake. But my sister makes amazing cakes and offered to make the wedding cake for us. It was both delicious and beautiful with a flower topper by Mudgee Monkey. We won’t mention that it was being finished in my kitchen on the morning of the wedding in between hair and makeup appointments!”

Congratulations to you both Lauren and Jeremy on your beautiful wedding day. Thank you to both you and Hannah Kate Photography for sharing your stories and images today.