With an eclectic mish-mash of handmade, rustic details bright and colourful florals, and plenty of whimsy, Kat and Ben’s eclectic garden party wedding invited their guests to enjoy the sunshine, a glass of bubbles, and a very romantic love story.  Captured beautifully by Dani Bartlett Photography in stunning South Australia, the wedding of Kat and Ben is food for the soul, and just about the most perfect day these two could have dreamed of.  “It felt intimate and small,” remembers Kat, “it felt unique and truly our style and the time we got to spend with family and friends.”

The pair met on Tinder and hit it off straight away, Kat telling “Ben had just moved to Adelaide for work from interstate and within a day we were talking. We knew pretty much straight away this was something different. We spent a lot of time in each other’s pockets and within seven months Ben got down on one knee.”

And that bended knee story? It couldn’t have waited a moment longer. “Ben said holding onto the engagement ring that was burning a hole in his pocket. On the day he picked up the ring, he planned to hold onto it until the right time. A few hours later, he couldn’t wait. He suggested a walk on the beach with Dash our greyhound. As it was starting to get closer to sunset, I suggested a closer beach and Ben was adamant he wanted to go to my favourite beach in Adelaide – Brighton Beach.

We got there and walked for a little bit and decided to sit on some rocks to watch the sunset. As we sat down, Ben got on one knee. I asked him what he was doing and he said…tying my shoes. He didn’t have any shoes on! That’s when he pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. Ben chose a ring that had so much meaning – a blue sapphire in a vintage setting. My nanna always wore sapphire jewellery and I always remember saying as a kid that I wanted one just like hers when I got married.”

The beautiful garden property of  Aldinga Secret Garden turned out to be a dream come true for what Kat and Ben wanted. “When we visited the Aldinga Secret Garden we knew immediately that this was our venue. Janet the owner of the garden was amazing! Her garden is breathtaking. On our initial visit, it was over 40 degrees, but we both remember sitting on a lovely vintage sofa and eating an apple straight from one of her many fruit trees. She showed us a work in progress, the chapel that they were building. As she pulled across the shed door and we saw the stained glass window we knew then and there that was our ceremony backdrop. The eclectic style of the venue and the option to have both ceremony and reception at the one place was exactly what we wanted.”

This was a wedding packed to the brim with handmade touches, that brought together the wedding’s eclectic flair, tells Kat “I would say a lot of our wedding if not most were DIY. All our signage we made ourselves, table decor we made, we upcycled a lot of vases and jars, collected old photo frames that we scattered throughout the venue with photos of us and our family throughout the years, and upcycled old ladders to have as decor which held candles, flowers and frames on the day. We also recycled an IKEA greenhouse into a wishing well. Most things we didn’t buy brand new. We focused on things that we could reuse, and recycle and shopped a lot at op shops for our wedding decor. It fit the garden perfectly.”

With so many special handmade touches, Kat & Ben made sure to honour their loved ones on the day. “We had an area set up with a remembrance lantern and photos of our loved ones that couldn’t be there. I had a charm made for my bouquet with all my grandparents on there. Unfortunately, they had all passed but it meant the world to me that they could be there by my side on the day. I wore my nanna’s good luck charm that was hooked on her arm from her wedding on my wedding day. Attached to this was a small flower that was from her wedding cake. Nanna and Poppa got married in the early 1940s. I also had her wedding hanky tucked into my dress. I was glad she was there with me.”

Ben wore green! His jacket custom made by InStitchu. Says Kat  “Ben wanted something comfy and what felt like him. We ended up getting a custom-made jacket and shirt from InStitchu in Adelaide. The experience was fantastic we designed the jacket down to the lining and bottoms and even custom monogramming. Ben also wore chinos and felt a million bucks.”

The garden was set with rustic details and flowers arranged by Kat herself . “For the decorations I had for over a year collected jars, and vintage vases and made my table centrepieces. I purchased flowers from a local flower farm and the night before, my bridesmaids and I put our bud vases together. It was such a fun activity to do together.

I love being crafty and having the opportunity to make so much of the decor around our wedding was my favourite part. Friends and family helped with this process during the planning stages and it felt like everyone had contributed a small part to the day. It was the best feeling seeing it all come together.”

Kat walked down the aisle with her mum to “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. “I wore ruby slippers just like Dorothy under my wedding dress. My mum walked me down the aisle. We were both very nervous!”

“We wanted didn’t want a long ceremony, both of us hate being the centre of attention” explains the couple, who chose Clare Mannion to officiate the ceremony. “Our celebrant Claire wrote a fun, light-hearted ceremony for us and made us feel comfortable. Kat was shaking with nerves but Ben was such a calming force, all we can remember is looking at each other and feeling like no one else was there. We wrote our values but didn’t have any readings. We just wanted the whole day to be relaxed and to be one big celebration.”

Kat’s wedding day advice? “Do you, you don’t have to follow trends or spend a tonne of money to make your wedding day look amazing. The fun part of DIY is doing things yourself and that sense of achievement in seeing it all come together. Remember to find time to spend with each other on the day to just soak it all in. And I recommend sneakers for all brides for the reception!”

“It was so magical but we both just loved the atmosphere. Everyone was so relaxed, laughing, and we just felt there was so much love there.”

Smitten with the flowers like us? They’re the work of  Bonnie Blooms. Says Kat “I love flowers and this was one of the first things I booked in. I followed a local florist on Instagram called Bonnie Blooms and her whimsical, colourful and eclectic bouquets were exactly what I knew I wanted. She made my flower dreams come true. I wanted bright, colourful, something that had character. The only things I requested were colour, something blue to represent my nanna who had passed and daisies as they are my and my mum’s favourite flowers. Boy did she deliver!”

“I was anxious about dress shopping, being plus size. I only ended up going to three stores” explains Kat. “When I visited Bev and Whiterose Bridal in Mawson Lakes she knew exactly what I should try on. I wanted a simple dress, that still made me feel special. I wanted something with sleeves. Originally I had in mind a coloured dress but fell in love with my simple but elegant dress in ivory. I knew I would be able to find other ways to incorporate colour into my wedding.”

“Dani was the best! every step of the way she was responsive, helpful and did make the whole process so easy” raves Kat the couple’s wedding photographer. “We had an engagement shoot with her and this allowed us to feel what it would be like in front of the camera. Both Ben and I are camera-shy, but Dani helped us enjoy the process. Her photo portfolio is bright and colourful and that’s what drew us to her. We wanted the colour to be a big presence at our wedding and she delivered! She captured our day in a way that is truly special to us.”

Ben’s favourite vendors? The food trucks! Laughs Kat “Ben absolutely would say our food vendors – Woody the Wood Oven Wagon. We choose wood oven pizzas and street food for our cocktail wedding. They were amazing, they did a grazing table for our cocktail hour, and they had food galore for all our guests. No one went home hungry and the team were amazing.
I would say I couldn’t choose a favourite vendor, we honestly had an amazing group of vendors behind us; enjoyed working alongside all of them, they did make the planning process and the day a breeze.”

Guests were spoilt with personalised portraits by Paul Duff. “We wanted to include a fun activity for our guests to due during the cocktail hour and the first few hours of the reception. We had a caricature artist who did portraits of our guests if they wanted something special to remember the day by.”

“We loved that both our families got to come together. A lot of them met for the first time as covid prevented anyone from meeting prior as both our families live in different states.”

“We loved our time off-site with Dani the photographer. It was just time for Ben and me to really soak in the day and prepare for the reception ahead.”

The newlyweds danced under the stars to “First Date” by Taylor Acorn. “We chose this song as it’s an acoustic cover of a punk rock band Blink 182 that we both loved growing up. We wanted something a little more unique and that was just us. We started the first dance but quickly invited everyone up with us as we felt that it would be a moment we would remember forever.”

The biggest congratulations to you both Kat and Ben! What a joyful & colour-filled magic celebration you were lucky enough to have. Thank you for your stories and Dani Bartlett Photography for sharing today’s beautiful wedding with us!