While we’re still in the throes of winter, we thought we’d warm up your day with Alise & Billy’s pastel garden party homestead wedding, where florals and pastels intertwine in a relaxed celebration. Their wedding unfolded amidst a garden awash with colors, cocktails, and the joyous atmosphere of a carefree gathering. Captured by Weddings by Hayden, styled & planned to perfection by Coral & Co Events, let’s find out how this couple turned their wedding into a captivating garden party filled with whimsical elegance, and fun. Alise & Billy tell us how they met and about their day…
We met at Deakin University in Burwood in 2013. We both were studying Film & Television and had a couple of classes together. I noticed Billy from afar in one of our classes and thought he was gorgeous! My friend Roxanne and I saw Billy outside a classroom one day and Roxanne dragged me over to have a chat with him. Billy was the nicest most genuine person from the get-go and the friendship began from there!
Billy had organised a surprise getaway for Alise’s birthday. He drove them out to a town called Metcalfe, about an hour and a half out of town to a tiny home. There was a dog who lived on the property named Harry who would regularly come up to the tiny home and play with sticks etc. On the last full day, Billy had planned to ask the big question but didn’t have a plan as he didn’t want to overthink things.
Instead, he used Harry to help get Alise out of her chair so he could sneak up behind her and ask the question. He suggested that Harry wanted a stick thrown, so Alise got up to fetch a stick and Billy snuck up behind her. Once she’d thrown the stick, Billy stood there awkwardly, gave her a quick hug, said a few words, and got down on one knee.
Flustered in the process, he accidentally had the ring box around the wrong way and ended up proposing to himself! Alise still said yes!
Our wedding venue was St Agnes Homestead, an 1800s country residence owned and run by Billy’s great aunt and uncle (David & Traudi). Not only is there so much history in the venue itself, there are so many fond memories for the two of them. There are several separated spots for accommodation including a renovated stable, an apartment, and even a unit called The Groom’s Retreat. It also features a working vineyard where a local Merlot is produced. Billy has been visiting Saint Agnes most of his life and Alise has visited several times during their relationship. So it’s a very special venue in many respects.
Alise’s mum gifted her original engagement and wedding rings to Billy to melt down and use in his wedding band. It was so special because the golds used were different from one another, so they created a unique gold/copper colour. It’s also special for Billy to be connected to Alise’s family with something he wears every day. For Alise’s something old and borrowed, her grandmother (Trish) lent her a ring that she had recently had made with diamonds that were over 100 years old.
I got my dress from Kyha Studios in South Yarra. I knew I wanted a simple fit and flare skirt with something more interesting in the top half. I’d been to a fitting at another gown store with my wedding party and I thought I’d found the perfect dress. Then while on Pinterest, a picture of Khya’s Romy dress popped up on my feed and I thought it was stunning! I went to a fitting with my mum and sister and it was honestly such a fantastic experience. The shop was beautiful and the staff were extremely personal and helpful. They really made you feel special and a glass of bubbly never hurts! I knew as soon as I put the dress on that it was the one!
Billy’s mum cut a small piece of fabric from her wedding dress and a small piece of Billy’s grandmother’s veil for Alise to sew inside her wedding dress. It was such a special gesture and a tradition that Alise can pass on to her children and grandchildren one day. She also gifted us some ribbons that were used at her wedding with Billy’s dad.
Billy’s cufflinks created by Cuffed were a nod to his late grandmother and grandfather. He had a pencil cufflink on his right wrist in honour of his grandmother Mary who was an author and loved doing crosswords. It seemed she always had a 2B pencil in her hand. On his left wrist, he had a camera dial in honour of his grandfather John, an avid photographer, whose collection of cameras was extensive, consisting of hundreds of analog cameras.
I (Billy) chose to keep things quite traditional. I went with a classic black suit from InStitchu for the timelessness and honestly, the reusability. I think having a tailored black suit is really handy for other events, but for the special day, going classic black suit and bowtie felt most comfortable.
Since we were going for a garden party theme, the florals were really important. Anastasia from Urban Antidote really understood our vision and put together the most incredible array of flower arrangements! We asked for a big flower arch at the end of the aisle. We also had bud vases on all the tables and smaller arrangements at the bar, guest table, and welcome sign. The staff was able to move the flower arch from the lawn where we had our ceremony up to the reception area where we had speeches/cut the cake so it was used throughout the day! We originally wanted shades of pinks, yellows, oranges but we also incorporated some purples later on.
The following day, Traudi (Billy’s Great Aunt/Owner St Agnes) dropped off all the leftover flowers at an aged care facility in Kyneton for the residents to enjoy. This made us SO happy that they could be enjoyed by others.
Alise’s dad, David walked her down the aisle to “8 (circle)” by Bon Iver and Alise’s mum, Diane was our ringbearer.
We wanted our ceremony to be on the shorter side – no longer than 30-40 minutes. We wanted it to feel relaxed and lighthearted but also included plenty of sentimental words about each other and our families. We both wrote our own vows which was a big deal to us – neither of us loves public speaking but knew it would mean a lot to each other and our nearest & dearest to let them in on such a personal moment.
We didn’t have any reading but we did have Alise’s Mum as the ring bearer, Grandmother’s (Trish & Wendy) as our witnesses, and played a recording of Billy’s grandpa performing ‘The Wedding March’ on the organ (he’s a brilliant organist) as we walked back down the aisle!
We had the most delicious margaritas at cocktail hour – we LOVE margaritas and have shared many with our friends over the years. It’s definitely our drink of choice so we loved having them on the menu at the wedding. Hot tip, a bit of agave syrup takes the margs to another level!
Hayden O’Neil of Weddings by Hayden was our photographer. He came recommended by our planner Coral and from the first moment we spoke over Zoom, we loved his calm, friendly nature. We’d spoken to a few different photographers and while some of their work was amazing, we knew it and didn’t seem all that personable. Hayden’s work was not only really impressive, his flexibility and warmth really won us over. On the day he was documenting so much without being intrusive. He captured beautiful details and a range of candid and formal moments from the day.
It wasn’t filmed professionally but Alise’s dad did set up a few GoPros to capture the ceremony and time lapses from the setup to the end of the reception! We would highly recommend doing this – it was so much fun to watch this after the wedding and be a fly on the wall while everyone ran around drinking, dancing, and having a lovely time!
The picture of us walking back towards the guests, holding hands, and chatting about how crazy it is that we’re now married is one of our favourites! It also shows off the stables of Saint Agnes and the garden party setting!
We printed off Polaroid photos of ourselves and placed them in acrylic holders to have on the guest tables. We also had a bride & groom bobblehead figurine made of ourselves. Billy had bobbleheads made for all his side of the wedding party so we thought it might be fun to have one made for ourselves!
We chose to have a voicemail guest book from At The Beep rather than a handwritten one. It was such a great inclusion as we were able to listen back to all the messages a couple of weeks after the wedding. We have to admit that most of the messages were nonsensical gibberish from our friends but hilarious nonetheless!
The cake was such a special part of the day! We asked Billy’s mum to bake our wedding cake. With the help of her best friend – Billy’s godmother Asti – she created the cake of our dreams! It meant so much that it was made by people we love and it looked and tasted INCREDIBLE. The cake was tiered white chocolate & raspberry with blueberry & lemon layered with buttercream and decorated with the most beautiful flowers from Foraged Flavour. Susan also decorated the cake with some fondant flowers that belonged to her grandmother.
No first dance! It really wasn’t something that we were keen to do and it was good to remind ourselves that it’s our wedding and you don’t always need to stick to traditions!
Later on in the night, after all the formalities were over, I did change into a beautiful corset and long skirt from Eisha Collective that I also wore to my hens. This was mainly to make things easier on the dancefloor – my wedding dress had straps over the shoulders so it was a bit restrictive but beautiful nonetheless!
All of our vendors were terrific! We were very impressed across the board! Our advice is if you can – GET A WEDDING PLANNER! Better yet, get Coral from Coral & Co Events to be your wedding planner. She was absolutely incredible and made the entire wedding planning process so enjoyable. We honestly couldn’t imagine planning the wedding without her and she really took our vision and brought it to life!
Our favourite part of planning was of course working with Coral. She is incredible at her job and truly alleviated all the stress that comes with wedding planning, leaving us to completely enjoy the experience.
Surround yourself with people the night before and the morning of the wedding who will be a good balance of keeping you calm but pumping you up when the ceremony is nearing! Our friends and family who were with us made the morning so much fun but also were very calming.
The following morning, we invited some of our family (mainly immediate family, grandparents, and some extended family) back to St Agnes for breakfast to catch up and reminisce about the day before. It was so lovely to see our grandparents in particular sitting together and chatting – it was as if they’d known each other for years!