With a backdrop of soaring mountains, there was no way that Jessica & Ben’s elegant & rustic high country wedding was not going to be epic. Their day, captured by Duuet Photography, was all about creating the perfect celebratory atmosphere for their guests. Having worn a stunning d’Italia gown on her day, Jessica says, “When planning our wedding, it was important for the day to reflect us and our personalities. We created a relaxed yet beautiful atmosphere where our guests felt comfortable laughing, crying, dancing and drinking. The stunning location and attention to detail throughout the wedding ensured a laid-back vibe with a touch of elegance and sophistication.” 

Jessica tells us about how she and Ben met, and their glorious wedding day…

Ben and I met at a party he was hosting in May 2016. I was brought along to the party with a mutual friend of ours, and Ben instantly caught my attention upon entering the house. I instantly asked my friend to introduce us – and the rest is history!

It was the first weekend out of the COVID lockdown, and Ben had informed me he had organised dinner at the local Greek Restaurant we went to on our first date. After finishing our dinner, Ben pulled the ring box from his pocket and popped the question. Due to the restrictions at the time, the restaurant was fairly quiet, so we soaked in that moment together – just the two of us. It was relaxed and organic, with no fuss. We celebrated afterwards with our parents and a few bottles of champagne. It was a perfect night!

Ben and his groomsmen were dressed by Peter Jackson. They wore beige linen jackets, white shirts, black ties and black pants. It was important for Ben and the boys to feel comfortable whilst complementing the environment. We were also wary of the weather being potentially warm (given it was a late November wedding) so we also factored this into the decision-making when selecting the suit jackets.

My mum surprised me with a lovely gift on the morning of the wedding. It was a small token that had my grandmothers’ photographs, and Ben’s grandmother’s photograph – all now deceased. We wrapped this around my bouquet and it was a special reminder that they were all there with us sharing the day.

I chose to get my dress designed and created by Vicki at d’Italia, Melbourne. I had tried on several wedding gowns in store however I could not find ‘the one’. I loved different elements of several dresses, and Vicki worked closely with me to add all my favourite parts to create my perfect dream gown. Her attention to detail was second to none, and every component of my dress was thoroughly planned and executed to perfection. My experience with Vicki and d’Italia was a highlight of my wedding planning journey.

I engaged Ali from Earlston Blooms in Violet Town to work her magic and boy did she deliver. Ali went above and beyond to create a magnificent display full of hanging native greenery with complimenting table runners and arrangements filled with white roses and other florals which dressed the reception venue perfectly. Us girls carried bouquets of white roses, babies’ breath, and greenery and we said our vows under large arrangements of the same.

The Victorian High Country is a special place for Ben and me, both holidaying around the area since young kids. We visited Howqua Valley Views the week after getting engaged and booked the venue immediately. The beautiful, rustic reception barn and the manicured ceremony lawn look over the rolling green hills of Howqua. The venue is a DIY venue, which gave us the freedom to make our wedding whatever we wanted it to be – the sky was the limit. The onsite accommodation for our wedding party was a bonus and the venue was a short bus ride for the rest of our guests. We couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else.

I walked down the aisle with my dad to an acoustic version of ‘Feels Like Home’ by Edwina Hayes – sung live by the talented Luke Dewing. I have always loved this song, and Luke so graciously offered to learn it for this special moment.

Our ceremony was led by our celebrant Greg Evans. Greg was professional, fun, interactive and captivating throughout the entire ceremony. We laughed, cried and enjoyed every moment together with our loved ones. Our mutual friend Billy (who introduced Ben and me) wrote and delivered a special reading during our ceremony, titled ‘Destiny’. It was the perfect personal touch to the day. To honour my maiden surname (Scottish descent) we incorporated a traditional Quaich ceremony into our wedding ceremony. This represented the two families joining as one, and all our guests got involved and loved it.

My bridesmaids included my cousin Jade as maid of honour, and my two best friends Raffi and Melissa. Bensgroomsmen consisted of his best man Tim and good mates Paul and Andrew. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to stand by our side.

Ben being a country music fan at heart, we chose the classic song ‘Amazed’ by Lonestar as our first dance. We were gifted dance lessons as an engagement gift, so were lucky enough to have our first dance professionally choreographed by Hooman at HD Entertainment in Prahran. Not only did we have so much fun with our dance on the day, but it was also a great bonding experience to do together in the lead to the wedding.

Enjoy the day! Everyone will tell you how much it will fly by and they are not wrong. Make sure you take time to stop, breathe and soak it all in. And my maid of honour and I ensured we did this throughout the day & night and I am so grateful we did.

Thanks to Jessica & Ben for sharing their fabulous wedding day with us! And to Duuet Photography for their incredible images!