Both having been raised in the country, and living in the city, meant Nicola and David had one thing in mind for their wedding, “we knew that we wanted a country wedding” explained Nicola.”We loved the idea of a wedding where people could go away for the weekend to celebrate as we’ve always found we are most relaxed when we are at destination weddings.”
With beautiful Bathurst as their backdrop and the talent of Kirsten Cunningham behind the camera, the couple chose a classic elegance vibe for their day; black tie for formality, a rural setting full of white flowers with plenty of greenery, and plenty of champagne, but of course! “Our atmosphere of fun but balanced with a sense of occasion” explained Nicola, “We loved having all our family and friends in the one place and after years of covid, a cancelled wedding and family being apart, everyone had their party shoes on and was ready to celebrate!”
After meeting while playing hockey for their university hockey club, David’s hockey skills caught Nicola’s eye, “but his personality kept me in!” she laughs. “David and I both grew up in the country and once we got to know each other, realised how much we had in common.”
And in true COVID style, David asked Nicola to marry him at home during lockdown! “He had designed my ring and it was waiting to get picked up at the jeweller but once he saw we were going into lockdown in early 2021, he quickly went to collect it so he didn’t miss his chance. Once home, he thought that the only place I wouldn’t find the ring was right under my nose…or my feet, as the story would have it. David stored the ring in a Country Road bag that would sit at the feet of my working-from-home desk for 3 months! He was right – I never looked there!
A proposal at home, when you’re both in lockdown and working/living together 24×7 is quite the task! David had organised a beautiful set-up at home but the only thing missing was the ring… sitting at my feet. At the end of my work day, he heard me leave my office and this was his moment. He dashed into the room, grabbed the ring and headed to the proposal set up; all before I was out of the bathroom! I came downstairs to see everything set up and that’s where he proposed!”
The day began in black tie style, David donning a classic tuxedo from MJ Bale. Shares Nicola ” We wanted our wedding theme to match the sense of occasion of a wedding, so a tux was the way to go! He wore his RM Williams boots – a reflection of the country roots.”
Nicola found her classically elegant Hera Couture gown at Marry Me Bridal. “I knew I wanted a dress with a long train and I knew I wanted to wear a veil but had no other visions for my dress. I tried on many styles but once I tried on this one, I knew it was to be!
Fun fact – the first time I’d ever tried on my dress without a mask was on my wedding day! I bought my dress after NSW Lockdown 1 and then all my fittings were after NSW Lockdown 2, so for every dress shopping and fitting I was in a mask. My mum handmade the most beautiful lace white mask that I wore during all my fittings which felt as bridal as possible and made the experience as best as possible. It was a lovely surprise being able to see my facial reactions when I tried my dress on, on my wedding day as I hadn’t seen my reactions in the mirror before!” Nicola finished her look with a traditional silver sixpence in her shoe, a gift from her mother-in-law.
The beautiful country venue of Boxgrove Bathurst turned on all of its country charm for Nicola and David. “It’s the most gorgeous venue outside of Bathurst (which is where I grew up)” remarks Nicola. “We had our wedding outside under a big gum tree, cocktail hour on the lawns and then our reception inside the beautiful barn.
I honestly cannot pick a single vendor. If I had to pick one, it would have to be BoxGrove – Kayla and the team are such a dream to work with. They are so accommodating, really open to new ideas, very reliable and I just love their attention to detail.”
Nicola and David placed huge importance on their floral details, choosing Blooms By Kayla to bring their vision to life, Nicola noted “I loved my flowers so much! It was one of the things that were really important to me. Kayla (from BoxGrove) nailed the brief which was white, with greenery, a bit of texture and a touch of blush. I didn’t know what flowers she was using or what they would look like until the day.
My favourite was the huge floral arrangement that sat behind our wedding head table, it was captivating but perfect. We also chose bright-coloured rose petals to be thrown as we walked down the aisle. The colours were picked up perfectly in photos and were a perfect contrast to our otherwise white/black/gold colours.”
David’s clearest memory? “I remember how nervous I was but then how the nerves turned to such happiness when I saw Nicola walk down the aisle. But then being able to enjoy the day with all our friends and family after the few preceding years of covid lockdowns and having been apart from each other was special.”
“We also had a little flower girl and page boy – our beautiful niece Matilda (5) and nephew Jack (6)! There was nothing sweeter than seeing them dressed up and looking so proud to be part of such a special day. We included a few sentimental touches into our day – our niece/flower girl wore a headpiece that her grandmother wore at her wedding and our nephew/page boy wore a lapel pin that belonged to his great grandfather.”
Nicola chose ‘This is It’ by Scott McCreery to play as she walked down the aisle arm in arm with her father.
Nicola and David were lucky enough to have a dear friend, Sealed by Shavonne officiate their ceremony. “We wanted our ceremony to be full of love but also to reflect the lifelong commitment we were making, so we didn’t want to rush through it. The best part of our ceremony was that one of Nicola’s friends was the celebrant. Nicola and Shavonne (celebrant) have been friends for 10 years and Shavonne has seen our relationship grow from day one, so it was very special to have her officiate it.
Another wonderful memory of the ceremony was seeing our little niece and nephew walk down the aisle. They looked so proud and we were so happy to have them part of it and it will always be a fond memory.”
“We had two readings – David’s sister read an excerpt from ‘The Art of Marriage’ as we felt those words rang very true for us. My mum then read a bible reading on behalf of her sister (my aunty/godmother) who couldn’t make the wedding due to covid border closures.
We had some of our good friends as our witnesses, which was another special inclusion. We were looking for ways to include other special people into our day so instead of getting our wedding party to be our witness, we asked our good friends whose marriage we also admire.”
What was Nicola’s favourite part of wedding planning? “Is it weird to say this… but Excel and keeping track of everything was so satisfying! I love planning so this was the ultimate opportunity!
I also loved finding out more about my fiancé as we went. I continued to get pleasantly surprised about things that meant something to him, particularly as we talked about vows, ceremony scripts and speeches.”
Looking for a photographer with rave reviews? Take Nicola and David’s words onboard, of their photographer! “Kirsten Cunningham was our photographer and boy oh boy was she amazing! She captured all the moments we’d hoped, plus all the candid ones that we didn’t expect. She was everywhere but also so inconspicuous at the same time and our guests loved how comfortable she made them feel.
We had a second photographer too and that was one of our best decisions. It was so good to get different perspectives of the same moment and when we were getting our bridal party photos, the second photographer was able to capture guest shots during cocktail hour.”
“Our amazing wedding party that was so supportive in the lead-up and on the day” says Nicola. “A special shout out to Rosie my bridesmaid who travelled from London to be there, including two weeks of hotel quarantine.”
The beautiful wedding cake is the creation of Nicola’s mum. “It was so special, as I knew how much time and effort went into it. She had made her wedding cake so to have her make ours was also special.
I grew up cooking, my mum is a great cook and all my friends know me as a good baker so it was only fitting that we made the dessert bar. I had this idea to make all our favourite family recipes and included little tags with the details of the dessert and whose “famous recipe” it was. My Oma made her famous ANZAC biscuits, my mum made her fruit cake and rum balls, I made my famous lime and raspberry friands, we had David’s favourite biscuits and his grandma’s lemon tarts.”
Nicola’s favourite moment of the day? “Walking into the reception for the first time (without all the guests) gave me this overwhelming sense of happiness! The detail in the table settings, the placement of the glasses, the napkin colours, the flowers, the amazing signage… it just all came together! You can’t see it all together until the day so seeing all those details come to life together was so special.”
“We had five speeches and all of them were incredible. They were so entertaining and people were crying with emotion and crying with laughter in the same speech! Just what we’d dreamt about.”
If there is one thing you take from Nicola and David’s wedding, let it be the amazing advice Nicola shared.
“1. The best thing we did was to sit down at the start of wedding planning and list out the three things that were important to us. This helped us tailor our conversations and budget to those things, but also meant I wasn’t asking David for input into all the things that he didn’t really care about (like napkin colours!).
2. Ask your vendor for their contingency plan in case they can’t make it. Our hairdresser wasn’t able to make it as she was a close contact the day before but thankfully we had another great option. Covid aside, I wouldn’t have thought to ask my vendors what their contingency plan was if they got sick but would recommend it.
3. Make life as easy as possible for your guests. This means they will have the best time and removes any decision-making so they can just kick their heels up! For us, this was organising a bus to/from the wedding and having a wedding website that listed all of the details upfront so people could plan accordingly.
4. Be super picky with your vendors to make sure that you are selecting the right one for you! Your vendors have the potential to make or break your wedding… so make sure that you pick vendors that will make your day easier. Ours were such a dream and it made the whole process more enjoyable, it was like wedding planning with a friend.
5. Espresso Martini are always a good idea!
6. Remember the reason you are getting married. When things get crazy, when a guest can’t make it, when the budget gets tested… just remember why you are doing this.
7. Take photos with your friends! We have lots of photos of our friends and then lots of photos of us, but not many of us with various groups of friends. Have a designated friend who lines up all your groups of friends and then drops you in the middle – you’ll thank them later!
8. A second photographer is so worth it!”
Although their first dance (to ‘Cover me up’ by Morgan Wallen) was a memorable moment, the real fun began when the couple kicked off the dance floor with Shania Twain’s “Man I Feel Like A Woman” and espresso martinis. “It’s a crowd pleaser, it got everyone up off their seats and the dance floor was full. Everyone got so excited but martinis also kicked up the energy and gave everyone a second wind for dancing”.
The evening ended with a classic Aussie tradition. “We hadn’t planned a formal departure and had just planned to see how the night went” explained Nicola. “The (almost final) song of the night was The Voice by John Farnham and everyone was on the dance floor, arms around each other in a circle and we were in the middle. Everyone was belting out the words and it just felt like the perfect time to leave – we did a big wave and left, as all our family and friends were arm in arm singing and cheering us off. It was perfectly unplanned!”
The biggest congratulations to you both Nicola and David! Thank you to sharing your story with us. Thank you also go to Kirsten Cunningham for sharing today’s beautiful imagery with us.