The Yarra Valley is quickly working its way up my “places to see” list. I mean, look at these shots from Kytography (who also happened to be the bride’s sisters). The turning orchards and dramatic weather provide the perfect backdrop for this detail-rich wedding. And I could go on for days about the bride’s beaded Karen Willis Holmes dress. So head on to the gallery for more loveliness to bask in.
From the Bride… The question of who said, “I love you” first sometimes pops in conversations between girlfriends. In the case of Steve and I, that person was Steve’s mother on Steve’s behalf, almost nine years ago in what was my first meeting with Steve’s family. This really is symbolic of the love and support we have received from both our families since we started dating. Our wedding was the chance to celebrate — not only our love, but also the love of our families and friends and to express our gratitude for the people who had made our lives so special. The brief was simple: create the most beautiful wedding within our power for the most important people in our lives.
It was my baby sister, Karrie, who first suggested Stones of the Yarra Valley as a possible venue. A couple of other friends also suggested it as the perfect venue for us and when we went to have a look, we knew it would be the most beautiful, magical venue to share with our friends and family. Their warmth and professionalism made Stones of the Yarra Valley an easy choice.
Our wedding day was the warmest, most heartfelt day, filled with lots of tears and plenty of laughter. How could it not be when we had so many talented people around us, who made huge sacrifices to make our day so special? My beautiful sister, Kylee from Kytography, agreed to the insane proposition that she fly from London to Melbourne to not only be my Maid of Honour, but also my photographer. People might think I’m biased but just one look at her photos will confirm that she is supremely talented. To pull this off, we enlisted the help of Sam Dennaoui from Fox + Feather Photography to take some shots when my sister was part of the ceremony and in official photos. Sam is actually a primary school friend and she did a wonderful job supporting my sister.
My friend of 15 years, Rashmi, upon hearing of our engagement, expressed her wish to marry us. She went through the entire course and received her Certificate IV in Celebrancy just for our special day. A natural public speaker, Rashmi blew everyone away with her funny, intelligent, out of the box ceremony. Having someone who had been there since the very start of our relationship conduct our ceremony and speak about us as a couple was incredibly moving and something that we will always treasure. We had my brother Ken read a Buddhist blessing and Steve’s cousin read 1 Corinthian 13, representing the faiths of both our families.
My sister, Karrie, also a bridesmaid, spent much of her final year of school designing the stationary and monograms for our wedding. Our invitations set the tone for our wedding, with touches of burgundy, peach and gold in a vintage autumnal setting and sealed with a custom made wax seal with our S&P logo. She also designed the ceremony cards and the stickers for our “Kissing Corner” bonbonierres – ‘So Fresh Mints’ for the boys and ‘Pucker Up Lip Balm’ for the girls.
Our “Kissing Corner” was inspired by an article we had read in the lead up to the wedding about the benefits of kissing. We had a photo booth and props set up on a table. On the table were our homemade lip balms and tins of mints with labels designed by my sister. Above the table, Winnie Q of Vintage and Blooms set up some string and pegs so that guests could peg a copy of their photos in the“Kissing Corner” for us to keep, rather than having a traditional guest book. A lot of our guests were relatives who had flown in from overseas – Canada, New York, Malaysia and Singapore to name a few – and it was the first time many of them had used a photo booth. They had an absolute blast, which meant the world to us!
When thinking about our wedding Steve and I definitely had an idea of what our day should look like to represent us as a couple. My favourite season is Autumn. We spent many years in the beautiful Canberra autumns and to me nothing is more beautiful. There also had to be plenty of delicious food. This was paramount. So much so, that we wanted to incorporate this into our wedding. Our vision was a luscious, autumnal feast featuring fresh produce as part of the floral arrangements. Rita from Blooming Brides understood our brief and absolutely blew us away with the styling and decorations. Our bouquets featured hydrangeas, roses and crabapples. Each guest had an apple as their place card, cleverly pinned with leaves bearing their name. The centerpieces of birch candelabras were surrounded with beautiful flora, apples, pears and grapes. Over the bridal table, we had a sensational autumnal arrangement, which looked like we were sitting under the branches of a beautiful oak tree, complimented with hanging tea lights. It has to be seen to be believed.
It was everything I had hoped and dreamed for the day but didn’t think possible without a giant Hollywood budget. But it happened. Rita is magic. Having our guests indulge in the La Familia share platter dining experience completed our vision of a lush, delicious feast shared with loved ones. And so determined were we that our guests would go home with their tummies filled, we provided a candy buffet, provided by the very talented Winnie Q of Vintage and Blooms. If this wasn’t enough, we also decided to have a cheese wheel cake to represent our absolute love of cheese!
My dress took over a year of hunting to find. But when I put on the Caitlyn dress from Karen Willis Holmes, it just felt right. When it came to finding the right pieces for my outfit, it was impossible to go past the beautiful craftsmanship that Jannie Baltzer pieces deliver. I had come across her pictures early on in my planning process and they served as a huge source of inspiration for how I wanted to look on the day. The bridesmaids wore cream, pearl, lace and blush Zimmerman dresses, complimented with gold headbands and a burgundy lip. Steve wore a velvet burgundy blazer and there were touches of burgundy in our bouquets to tie it all in. The rich burgundy blazer looked amazing on Steve and ensured that he was just as much the center of attention as the bride.
Our guests were treated to a great five-piece band, Tone Tone Semitones, playing all the great dance tunes. Our ‘bridal waltz’ was to Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Slice of Heaven’ and after a few bars, guests were encouraged to join us on the dance floor and boogie before entrees were even served. Our fun loving guests loved this and ensured that this would not be a quiet affair with people sitting on their chairs for the evening. This was all captured on film by the very talented Simeon Bain.
Apart from our vows, the most important part of the day was making sure that the people in our lives felt special and understood how much we appreciated the impact they had on us. Rather than having a traditional bridal table, we had the bridal party sit with their partners and friends and had our parents and Steve’s grandmothers join us under the beautiful autumn wreath instead. The speeches were so heartfelt and warm that everyone said they had spent the whole evening between tears and laughter. The speeches were beautifully punctuated by our amazing MC, and bridesmaid, Cris Laria. A professional presenter, she was able to entertain and delight guests between speeches with warming and personal anecdotes. When I think of our wedding, I feel so proud of the people we have around us. Most of all, I’m proud of my husband and I. We pulled off the most spectacular day for our family and friends – and ultimately for ourselves.
Photography: Kylee Of Kytography | Videographer: Simeon Bain | Floral Design: Blooming Brides | Wedding Dress: Karen Willis Holmes | Cupcakes: Butter & Milk | Shoes: Wittner | Bridesmaids Dresses: Zimmermann | Band: Tone Tone Semitones | Accesories: Jannie Baltzer | Candy Buffet & Styling: Vintage & Blooms By Winnie Q | MC: Cris Laria | Photography - Assistance: Fox + Feather Photography | Wedding & Reception Venue: Stones Of The Yarra ValleyKaren Willis Holmes is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.