There is nothing more important to Laurena and Josh than family, so when it came to planning their wedding, they wanted it to put family at the core. “The brief centred around three key elements: Timeless, family-oriented and an Italian summer” they tell. From the way they laid out the reception, to the way they involved family in each of the details – from the favours to the cake. This was a wedding, so beautifully captured by Heirlooms by Gulshah, where community and relationships shone and made it all the more perfect.
The paths of the pair first crossed when they were 17 at a mutual friend’s birthday party. “It was definitely not love at first sight” admits Laurena who shares that it wasn’t until the pair met again at age 21 at a friend’s wedding that “the second impression was better than the first”.
A year later, we coincidentally moved to the UK at around the same time. Knowing very few other people, we became fast friends. Fast forward three years later and we started dating, much to the delight of our families who were wondering if it would ever happen!”
Abiding by Laurena’s adoration of a good sunset, it was this Josh took to centre his proposal to her around. “Knowing Laurena for a while, it became apparent to Joshua that she LOVES a good sunset. Thus, a sunset proposal was a must. Joshua drove me down to the lake in his hometown (Rotorua, New Zealand, where we lived for 6 months after leaving the UK) and proposed whilst the sun set across the lake. Tears were aplenty.”
Josh wanted a classic look for his attire, finding a classic tuxedo and pairing it with loafers. He tells “I wore exactly what I always pictured myself in; a tailored tux with a bow-tie. Classic and clean-cut. I fell in love with a pair of patent tassel-loafers that tied in with our ‘European’ vibe and everything else was centred around them.”
Laurena donned a classic lace gown, finding her Pronovias at Eternal Weddings. She shares”My mum and I went shopping for dresses whenever we could between lockdowns. I was absolutely certain of the type of dress I wanted to wear and what I ended up getting was quite different! I hadn’t wanted lace; my dress has lace. I didn’t want a veil; I went with a veil. Once I tried on the dress and saw my mum’s face, I knew it was the one.”
The couple fell in love with the European vibe of winery venue Goona Warra Vineyard, opting to hold both their ceremony and reception at the venue. “We chose Goona Warra Vineyard for a number of reasons. Driving up the driveway, with the towering gumtree in front of the bluestone building and the vineyards sloping to the left reminded us of our times in Italy. We then saw the beautiful Italianate courtyard, as well as the grand hall upstairs and we were smitten.”
Both Laurena and Josh walked down the aisle, Josh with both of his parents to Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major and Laurena with her father to “Dawn” by Dario Marianelli and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
“Having to re-plan a few times definitely took some of the fun out of it; however, we loved working on the invites and designing our wedding rings. Our wedding rings are matching and were made by the same jeweller that made Laurena’s parent’s rings.”
The ceremony was conducted by celebrant Jane Austin. “We wanted our ceremony to be intimate and sincere” explains Laurena who along with Josh, wrote her own vows which the couple added to traditional vows. “My brothers were our witnesses and my cousin, who was the MC, handed us our wedding certificate.
We loved working with Jane Austin, our wedding celebrant. She was extremely organised and experience. She foresaw any problems before they existed and had a variety of inspirational material for writing vows, readings, etc.”
The couple adored their photographer, not least because of the flexibility around date changes. “Gulshah was lovely and very flexible to the changes we had to make due to covid and time restrictions. She understood our visions for the day and executed them perfectly. We have had so many compliments about her work!”
Laurena and Josh offer you up this advice, “Don’t get hung-up on the little details. On the day, everything flies by so quickly and all that really matters is who you’re surrounded by and remembering to live in the moment.”
Guests gathered inside for the reception, which the couple set to be like a grand family dinner. “We really wanted to set up our reception with long banquet tables, as though we were just having a really big family dinner, which Goona Warra could cater for, as well as our request for food to be spread out like a feast. Nothing was too much and their packages included everything we wanted; canapés, drinks and to top it all off, the greenery they included perfectly matched our brief.”
Each guest was gifted a handmade soap, made by family! “We wanted our wedding be a family affair, so much of the little details in our wedding were created by us and our families. We had hand-made soap (made by Laurena and her dad), and sugared almonds as bonbonniere (we included sugared almonds in our bonbonniere, like all good Italians). The placement cards and wedding envelopes were done by hand, and our wedding cake was made by Laurena’s Aunty.”
“It’s extremely special to us that we can say our day ran so smoothly, the food was excellent and most importantly, our family and friends made such an effort to come despite restrictions. We had some of Joshua’s family from New Zealand, some of Laurena’s family from Italy and friends from London. We felt extremely humbled.”
Josh’s favourite part of the day? “Seeing the effort our friends and family took to be there, and Laurena’s brothers’ reception speech. The speeches! Heartfelt and hilarious”.
The night ended with more magic. “We wanted to include some evening sparkler photos,” explains Josh, “so we supplied plenty of sparklers for everyone to cap off the evening.”
Congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day with us and thank you to Heirlooms by Gulshah for the beautiful images.