Real Wedding – Courtney & Chris, Main Ridge VIC
For Courtney and Chris, as soon as they became engaged, it was a no brainer that they would seal the deal at Chris’ much loved family property in Main Ridge.
Inspired by the paddocks and farming land they set about creating a magical marquee affair that would have their guests feeling relaxed as they partied the night away.
Blown away by the outpouring of love and joy from their family and friends, Chris and Courtney’s smiles say it all and Dan Brannan was there to capture it all.
In their words…
We originally met over 10 years ago on the Gold Coast at Schoolies. We saw each other a couple of times over the years at pubs but didn’t really stay in touch. We were reintroduced five years ago by Chris’ good friend and housemate at the time, Tim. Tim and Courtney attended Uni together and caught up when Courtney started working in the city. Chris got in touch with Courtney after Tim told him that she had started a new job in recruitment. He pretended he was interested in a new job so he could talk to her. Once giving Chris the details of a colleague at her work, Courtney suggested that they should get dinner one time. We met for dinner at the Royal Saxon and the rest is history!
We quickly realised that we shared common goals, values and were just a good ‘match’. Being together was easy and fun and as time went on we both just knew we were right for each other.
We went out for dinner and drinks – a long awaited ‘date night’ disguised as a birthday dinner for Courtney. We met after work at the Arbory Bar on the Yarra River. We wanted to go to Chin Chin – where we went on one of our first dates but it was too busy! So we decided to go to another one of our favorite restaurants – Gazi. All night Chris was checking his phone but was also updating Courtney with footy scores at the same time so nothing seemed out of place. We got a taxi home and when we got there, Chris said he didn’t have his house keys, very unlike Chris as he always locks the house even if we go up the street for a coffee. I rummaged around my handbag for my keys (I never have them – opposite to Chris!), and eventually passed them to Chris to open the door. When he did there were candles and rose petals lining the hallway. Courtney started crying straight away and Chris had to push her down the hallway into the lounge room. There were over 200 candles and our tiny house that was usually very cold was like a sauna! Chris’ brother Travis and his wife, Fiona, had not long left the house and were hiding up the street after lighting all the candles and they came back in and we celebrated with champagne.
The best part was calling all our family to tell them and hearing their reaction. Everyone was so excited!
We always knew we wanted to have our wedding at Chris’ family property in Main Ridge on the Mornington Peninsula. He grew up at the property, two of his siblings had their wedding there and we spend a lot of time down there relaxing.
As we were having a ‘home’ wedding, we did all the planning and styling ourselves. It was a lot of work but it gave us control over the day and we were able to have things just the way we wanted.
We wanted to do something a bit different to Chris’ siblings who also had their weddings at the family home and were drawn to the paddock and the long grass. We loved the idea of having a marquee down in the paddock and a path winding through the long grass leading to the marquee. The inspiration came from the paddock, the farm and property in general, we wanted a relaxed, yet elegant style that encouraged guests to mingle and have a great time.
I went shopping with my mum and maid of honour, Hannah on two occasions. I liked a few dresses in the first few shops but they weren’t quite right. We went to Mariana Hardwick and picked out some options to try. It was the first one I put on that day and was the first one that I really felt like a ‘bride’ in. I loved that it was simple and fitted but classic. The lace was so beautifully detailed and I loved that the fabric underneath was a different colour, to highlight the lace.
Seeing each other for the first time on the day was amazing. I remember walking up the aisle and seeing so much colour – all our guests looked so lovely and the trees that we were married under were so bright in the sunshine. While our guests were eating dinner, Chris and I went outside into the paddock – right before sunset and had a couple of minutes just to ourselves. We looked back at the marquee with all our family and friends inside and took in the day and how happy we were. It was perfect.
Being married at Chris’ family property was really special to us and has become a family tradition. 10 years ago his brother had their reception at the property and a couple of years later, his sister had her ceremony there. We decided to do it all at the one place and have both our ceremony, sunset drinks and reception at the property.
I had a father-daughter dance with my dad and that was great. We danced to ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations. Half way through Chris danced with his mum and then everyone joined us on the dance-floor to start off the night!
Aisle: Lovely Day – Elizabeth Mitchell. This was for the flowergirls and boys (we had 7!) The bridal party and bride walked down to Bloom – The Paper Kites.
Reception Entry: Happy – Pharrell Williams
First Dance: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Sleeping at Last
We had 9 weddings throughout the year before ours so we took a lot of advice from our friends who were married before us. It also gave us the chance to work out what we liked at weddings. Nothing really took us by surprise – we were very organised!
Words of wisdom.
Take advice and help when offered by friends and family but don’t let it overwhelm you or steer you away from what you really want for your day. We had a vision for our day in mind from the start and really tried to stay true to what we hoped for, while incorporating ideas that we felt worked for us.
When we decided to have the wedding in the paddock, we had our work cut out for us. We had the land flattened and were left with a big dirt patch! We planted grass seed, watered, weeded, mowed and watched it grow over nine months in the lead up to our wedding in the hope of having no flooring in the marquee, just grass to help fit in with the relaxed country surrounds. It worked out perfectly!
If the Mornington Peninsula leaves you feeling inspired, then Laura and Pierre’s celebration is a must see.
COURTNEY & CHRIS’ TRIBE
Location: Chris’ family property in Main Ridge on the Mornington Peninsula
Celebrant/Officiant: Koren Harvey – Koren was incredible. She was celebrant at one of the weddings that we had been to earlier in the year and we instantly fell in love with her calm, friendly manner and the beautiful way she told the story of the couple. We felt at ease with her in the lead up to and on the day and she facilitated a personal and unique ceremony for us. People made comment that it was as if she’d known us for years.
Photography: Dan Brannan – Having Dan as our photographer was the first thing that we locked in for our wedding – even before we’d 100% confirmed the date! We fell in love with his work through his Instagram and website and loved that he was from the Peninsula too. We loved the natural tones and colours in all his photos and that he focus more on documenting the day rather than posed photos. He was so easy to deal with in the lead up to and on the day.
Videography: Zoe Coldham – We found Zoe online and quickly fell in love with her videos. We’re so happy with our wedding video and watch it all the time!
Styling: We did all the styling ourselves. In the days leading up to the wedding, we had family who came to the house to help us set everything up. The day before the wedding we had aunties, cousins, parents and siblings ironing table cloths, setting out glassware, cutlery and place cards, folding napkins and setting up everything. We’re so lucky to have had so much support in the lead up to and on the day!
Marquee: The Marquee People – Hamish and Mary were so incredibly helpful in helping us create our dream day. The clear top Marquee and festoon lighting helped set the relaxed country feel for the day
Furniture Hire: Over the Top Events – Kristie was amazing to deal with.
Florist: Chris’ aunty did the flowers for the arbour and the larger arrangements for the marquee. A friend’s friend did all the bouquets, buttonholes and the amazing hanging floral centre-piece over the bridal table. She’d never done one before and it was absolutely stunning!
Hair: Claire from Rhodes & Hart Hair – Claire is passionate about what she does and is meticulous in her work. I was so happy with my hair for the day, she did it so perfectly!
Makeup: Phoebe Makeup Artist – Phoebe did an amazing job for me, my bridesmaids and my mum. The makeup was flawless and lasted all day and night…even through my tears!
The Dress: Mariana Hardwick – I loved the detailed lace and fitted silhouette of the dress. It was elegant, classic but modern with the low back and split detail up the front
Veil: I borrowed my veil from two of my girlfriends who were married earlier in the year.
Rings: Jasmine Fraser
Bridesmaids dresses: Shona Joy
Men suits: Politix
Bow ties / ties: OTAA
Favors: We sourced local olive oil and hand poured into individual bottles for each guest. Hand tying 140 little labels and putting stickers on each bottle.
Cake: A family friend made our cake – it had 2 tiers; white chocolate mud and mandarin and olive oil. We borrowed the cake topper from one of our friends who was married earlier in the year.
Stationery: We ordered our invitations on Etsy and used the template to make place cards, menus, seating chart, bomboniere labels and everything else for the day. We made all the signs for the wedding too with plywood and hand cut stencils.
Entertainment: The White Tree
Other: All the flowergirls dresses were from Etsy and the boys wore chino’s with white linen shirts, Zara bow-ties and Converse chuck taylors
Honeymoon: We left for our honeymoon just a few days after the wedding and spend 6 weeks in the USA and Canada. We went to LA, Disneyland, San Francisco, Las Vegas and then New York for Christmas and New Year’s’ Eve before heading to Whistler to spend some time skiing.