Feeling the cooler weather blues? We have just the thing to snap you out of the gloom! Courtney & Chad’s Bright & Whimsical Wedding Day, captured so beautifully by Darren of Mr Wigley, was held at Squire’s Vineyard in the Hunter Valley, and it is everything we absolutely adore about fun and romantic weddings! Courtney tells the story of how she and Chad met & were married…
We met through friends of ours who were dating (they were our wedding party!). After of years being friends, love blossomed from our friendship.
Chad booked a weekend away for my 29th birthday. On the day before my birthday, Chad took me to several lookouts, at the last one it was the most beautiful and secluded spot with a view of the ocean, love locks on the fence and someone had written “Eternity” on the park bench. As we were looking out over the ocean Chad turned me to him and kissed me and as he went down on one knee he said: “I can’t believe im doing this!” I dont think he realised he said this out loud!! But it showed how nervous he was, he then mumbled some words, took a deep breath and repeated more clearly “Will you marry me?” to which I said yes! I gave him a big kiss and had happy tears as Chad asked, “What hand does it go on?!” I’m pretty sure we both had to have a think about that and eventually got there!
Chad wanted something very relaxed and not too fussy. He wore tan chinos, a navy jacket and white shirt from Connor and a floral tie from Peggy & Finn to add in the colour that we wanted to have throughout the wedding.
My gown was actually a top and skirt from Sweet Caroline Styles. I choose this as it was difficult to find a ball gown style in tulle with a blush skirt with a top that had long sleeves. This way I could have exactly what I wanted!
The Norma J Skirt was a blush colour (called Himalayan Salt) made from 5 layers of white and pink tulle. It is beautifully poufy and romantic with a slight train. The top was actually a bodysuit (Viviane) made of white lace with a deep V neck and long luxurious selves. I fell in love with this dress online but I couldn’t try it on anywhere as they only had boutiques in the USA. I ordered samples which was a smooth process and I loved them so I ended up biting the bullet and taking the risk! It was 100% worth it!
I also wore a family veil at the ceremony that my mother and her sister wore at their weddings. And I wore part of my grandmother’s wedding dress. I was entrusted the dress from my aunty and the veil was unfortunately very moth-eaten but I had it cut up and made an anklet from the lace details and wore it on the day.
I also loved Chad’s gift to me in the morning, which was the lyrics to our first dance printed on canvas.
I made all the confetti cones from the pages of a Harry Potter book for the ceremony! We also made all the wax seals for our invitations. My dad made the triangle arbour we stood under to get married which I want to keep so my children can use it one day.
I walked down the aisle to a beautiful slow rendition of “You’re The One That I Want” by an acoustic guitarist. Chad winked at me going down the aisle, it made me laugh and I think helped him keep it together!
We wanted the ceremony to be bright and colourful and a reflection of us. We didn’t want it to be too long, but not too short so we could savour it! We aimed for about 30mins. We wanted it to be a fun celebration that included the guests and made people laugh and be happy.
Our ceremony was led by the amazing Alice Harrington who was our celebrant. She told our love story perfectly. We both wrote personalised vows. Writing our personal vows and selecting readings that meant something to us, made the ceremony really personal to us, especially getting people important to us involved in the ceremony.
We had our mums as the witnesses so each of our family members was involved in the ceremony. We had a reading from Chad’s sister that was all about love in relation to pop culture references. We both loved it and knew we needed to include it when we first came across it. It had quotes like “Love is, do or do not there is no try”, “love is finding your lobster, knowing when to pivot! And getting off the plane” and “it’s a shield, a smash, a hammer and an iron suit.’
The second reading was read by Courtney’s friend Emma which was a poem written by my Grandma before she passed away called The Collector. It was a poem about the things her grandma collected in her life and about finding the best partner.
“I sorted through the clever ones, and I can only say. One stood the test I kept the best and threw the rest away…”
I love the photographs of us walking back down the aisle and being showered in the rose petal confetti after just getting married. We look so happy!
We just wanted really bright and colourful flowers. We let our florist, Couture Botanical, choose what they thought would suit. We wanted pinks, yellows and oranges and gum leaves as we were getting married under the gum tree.
Darren from Mr Wigley is a great photographer. His style is so bright and fun and he really does capture happiness. He surprised us with champagne and we got the best champagne showers pictures and he also surprised us with some colourful smoke bombs for our sunset pictures! His images are stunning and we are so happy he captured our day.
We really wanted a venue that was all in one place – accommodation for the wedding party, venue and ceremony. We wanted a secluded property with great photo opportunities.
Squire’s Vineyard was a great venue that was classic, had a romantic feel and had everything we wanted. We had wine, cheese board and breakfast provided from the vineyard themselves for the guest house. It was such a nice touch!
Natalie from Squire’s was so helpful and had a large range of furniture and styling items that we could also use and even lots of lawn games for the guests to entertain themselves as we got our photos. She also had heaps of suggestions on how to set up our post-ceremony drinks and hosted our recovery brunch the next day.
My favourite detail was probably our sign from Mai Creative Studio that was reversible for the ceremony and reception. The cluster of arches allowed us to have a few extra details. I loved Chad’s addition of the “After 1237 days we’re FINALLY getting married!”.
Charlotte & Louise from Hunter Valley Events were amazing! They kept us on track with the wedding planning, helping us postpone twice and keeping me calm with all the changes. They brought all the details together and made sure we didn’t forget anything. Charlotte’s schedule on the day was flawless and my dad raved about how good the on the day coordination was! Charlotte helped out with styling, holding my dress for photos and making sure we were fed! They became our friends and we love getting our birthday and Christmas cards from them!
I enjoyed picking things to create special moments that probably weren’t noticed but they meant something to us, like Chad’s batman cufflinks, and the Harry Potter confetti cones. I also loved the wedding expos and making a day of them with my mum and bridesmaids!
I love white chocolate hence we had one tier of our cake was white chocolate and the other tier was cherry ripe – made by Hello Naomi. Our speciality cocktail “The Lola” was a sweet cocktail named after our fur baby Lola who we couldn’t have there on that day. But we had a cut sign made up with her on it showcasing the cocktail.
Our food was amazing!! So glad we picked a grazing table and dessert table to bookend our alternate main and entree!
We danced to INXS “Never Tear Us Apart” for our first dance. Most of the music was picked by Chad as he loves music, especially pre 2000. He taught me a lot about music, especially about INXS which just seemed fitting for our first dance.
My advice for couples planning their wedding:
- Hire a coordinator as early as possible! It makes the process so much smoother. I wish I had done it earlier.
- Don’t worry about pleasing anyone else with the preparations. You can’t please everyone so might as well please yourselves.
- Stay calm if things don’t go to plan and remember why you’re getting married. (Also trust the team you have in place to make things happen!)
- Give your wedding party, partner and family jobs to do. Don’t take it all on yourself.
- Stay with your newly wedded partner as much as you can on the day, or at least be mindful of where they are so you can be together!
- ENJOY YOURSELVES!
The couple’s stunning wedding was filmed by Hunter Valley Video.
Thanks to Courtney & Chad for sharing their glorious wedding day with us! And to Darren from Mr Wigley for the beautiful images.