Real Wedding – Emma & Richard, Pennyroyal VIC
Em and Rich fell in love with the natural beauty of the bush and decided to marry in the beautiful region of Pennyroyal.
As they planned their day, Em and Rich kept their focus on creating a day that was about family, friends, good food and wine and loads of belly laughs. They delivered this and so much more, not letting a myriad of funny disasters get in their way in the lead up to the day.
Em wowed in a breathtaking gown, designed by her own brother, such a special and stunning touch and there to capture every moment was Jerome Cole.
In Em’s words…
We met at a University College orientation week party with some absurd theme and unattractive costumes. My friend from school Nick (and our subsequent best man) was there and properly introduced us on the tennis court one afternoon. A few months later we went on our first date- watching some rubbish movie on his tiny computer screen in a college dorm room and eating Indian food… not exactly romantic but it worked.
I don’t know that I ever really worked it out until the day he proposed. In hindsight, I should have known on countless occasions.
We were visiting my mum in Tasmania and Rich arranged a winter getaway to Pumphouse Point – an old water pumphouse converted into a hotel on Lake St Clair.
We managed to pick the coldest weekend with more snow than I have ever seen in the Tasmanian highlands. We set off on a Sunday morning on what should have been a two-hour drive, and turned into a highly stressful ten-hour journey, with our car slipping off the road, getting bogged in the snow and having to go the long way around, to arrive in the dark during a snow storm. When we arrived, I remember saying “if we can get through that drive we can get through anything!”
The staff bundled us up and put us in front of the fire for a delicious dinner. The next morning, we woke up to a winter wonderland outside. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for.
We went for a morning stroll and a few kilometers later, we were standing on a snow-covered lakeside beach. He pointed out a dripping wet canvas bag hanging from a tree and told me to check it out. I refused. He exasperatedly asked again. With trepidation, I looked inside and found a leather notebook. I thought it was empty, was confused and said “thanks”. With some encouragement and closer inspection, I found a hand-written poem. It ended with the word wife and finally I realised what was happening. He got down on one knee, there was laughter, tears, a perfect ring, and a bottle of bubbles hiding in the snow.
I was never the kind of little girl that dreamed about being a bride or planning my wedding day. To be honest, I had never really thought about it and it turned out neither had Rich. We have only been to a couple of family weddings and are the first of our group of friends to get married so we had no ground rules or expectations.
I started googling on a quiet week of night shifts. By the end of the week I was like a zombie and all I had achieved was hours of fumbling around and an album filled with random screen shots.
It was a little overwhelming at first, but we started with location and immediately fell in love with the luscious green and rolling hills of the Otways, Forrest and Pennyroyal area. The King Parrot property has its own tiny waterfall!
We immediately knew which photographer we wanted- Jerome’s work speaks for itself, and I had seen photos of the food from Pot and Pan on Instagram and couldn’t wait to eat one of their mini wagyu burgers or duck fat potatoes.
From there we met Laura from Wanderlust Creative, fell in love and left all the hard work to her. She narrowed down vendors and put our ideas into action to create the most amazing day.
The bush- the blues, greys, greens and silvers of the gum trees. We tried to keep it natural with lots of wood and all of the greenery was foraged from around the property and off the side of the road.
My dress was beautiful. My brother, Jason Hewitt, is a very talented fashion designer and has made five wedding dresses now, all of them spectacular. He knows what suits me and is the first to tell me what doesn’t.
He offered to design and make my dress as a wedding gift. I loved having fittings with him in his Melbourne studio and his design was simple and elegant. He lovingly hand-stitched fifteen metres of silk for the skirt and whipped up a French tulle veil.
Our ceremony was filled with so much laughter, a few tears, and was a moment I will always treasure. Before the day, it was the thing that I was most terrified of, I’ve never been one for public displays of affection. We wrote our own vows which I would absolutely recommend, and remember feeling such happiness hearing what Rich came up with (he wrote a brilliant, very funny poem, a tough act to follow!). One of the funniest moments was when you could hear the donkey’s “hee-hawing” just after the vows at what was a ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ kind of moment.
I walked down the aisle- something I wasn’t keen on initially and we were going to do a “first look” but a married male friend of mine told me to get over my nerves, said Rich only has one chance to watch his wife walk down the aisle and to get over it. So, I did and I’m really glad, it was a pretty special moment. My mum walked with me and was as nervous as I was about all the attention but we both made it without tripping over.
The other traditions we decided to follow was a (brief) first dance, and not seeing each other from the night before the wedding until the ceremony.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage is what my parents and parents-in-law have. It’s a lifelong partnership where you get to pick your partner. It’s laughing, fighting, eating, making a family, sharing triumphs and losses and supporting each other.
All our music was played live by The Club band.
Aisle: Within by Daft Punk
Ceremony Confetti Shower: I know there’s gonna be good times by Jamie XX
First dance: Dancing in the moonlight by King and Harvest
Funny stories (or near disasters).
The lead up to our wedding was filled with drama of the “you’ll be sharing this story with your grand-daughter one day” variety. From the make-up artist getting bogged and having to cart her gear two kilometres while we had people driving around looking for her, to cancelled visas and flights, a car-crash the day before, a quick trip to the emergency vet and some last-minute dress alterations, it was the best day of our life, and was imperfectly perfect! Every element of the day emanated us and the things that we believe in- family, friends, good food and wine, and endless laughter.
If you want live music in the middle of the bush remember you need a little thing called electricity.
Words of wisdom.
When people tell you that your wedding day will be one of the best days of your life it’s initially hard to believe them. But when you think about it, you’re throwing a massive party at a beautiful venue with your own perfect guest list. Do what you want (within your budget) and don’t worry about everyone else.
And have comfy shoes to change into…
There is one thing that weddings have in common- the bride and groom look deliriously happy. So, find what makes you happy and make it happen.
The Otways always provides a beautiful backdrop, be sure to take a peek at Marli & Reece’s sensational day.
EM AND RICH’S TRIBE
Ceremony and Reception venue: King Parrot Cottages, Pennyroyal – in the Otways, this property was ideal in so many ways. We had the freedom to do what we wanted, we stayed on site along with all of our family and bridal party and we hosted a lunch the next day.
The owners, Robyn and Tony, went out of their way to make everything seamless.
Celebrant: Ned Hoskin of ‘Wed by Ned’- what a man, funny and charismatic while at the same time being professional and insightful.
Photography: Jerome Cole – we went with our gut on this one, as soon as we saw his work we loved it and meeting him we knew he would be wonderful. He somehow managed to make us feel comfortable and at ease while documenting some of the most personal moments of my life.
Styling: Wanderlust Creative – Rich and I studied for 12 months in the lead up to our wedding for the hardest exams of our careers this far. It will likely be one of the most challenging years of our lives, juggling our commitments and finding time to see each other was hard. Laura helped us pass the exams, organize our wedding and did more in the lead up to and on the day than I could imagine. She is talented, creative and dedicated and after all that, a friend.
Florist: Wanderlust Creative florist Alisha was happy to forage through the bush on the property to make the ceremony and marquee look and smell delicious.
Make Up: Bri from Hilary Holmes Makeup. After getting bogged on the road this little pocket rocket grabbed her gear and trudged through the bush to reach us- a tad late but she knuckled down and got the job down and did a beautiful job. We all felt natural but special.
Hair: Jessica from @hairbyjessicajade did a great job on not only me and my four bridesmaids but also my mother and sisters -in-law.
The Dress: My brother, Jason Hewitt is a fashion designer and had free rein on my dress.
Veil: Jason Hewitt
Jewellery/Accessories: I had planned on wearing my pearl earrings but on the morning of the wedding my Bridesmaids gave me the most stunning drop pearl earrings by Lucy Folk. I also wore my grandmothers opal ring as my something old and blue(ish).
Shoes: Clarkes (Whaaaat? I thought they only made school shoes!)
Bridesmaids dresses: Fame and Partners.
Bridesmaids PJs: linen two piece pyjamas by Piyama
Bride’s ring: McAllister Jewellers in Melbourne. From his little studio Shaun helped design a wedding ring for me that complements my engagement ring, also made by him.
Groom’s ring: Amber, also known as Arizono Jewellery Design went to RMIT with my brother and today they share a studio together in Melbourne CBD. She made Rich a unique gold wedding band that suits him perfectly.
Grooms suit: P. Johnson – Rich was dressed by the hard-working gents at P.Johnson who spared no effort in putting together a classic dark navy design.
Bow ties / ties: P. Johnson
Grooms Shoes: R.M. Williams
Groomsmen suits: ASOS
Catering: Pot and Pan– I’ve had so many people comment on the delicious food. We opted for a banquet style along long tables. Lots of big plates of food, beautifully presented with spoons, forks and hands flying around while people serve themselves. We have always found shared food a great way to get people talking and its how our families have always entertained.
The next day we hosted a lunch catered by Toasta– because who could refuse an iced latte and a Mac and Cheese toastie.
Favors: My grandma (who is 80) travelled from South Africa for our wedding and brought with her 130 handmade beaded key rings which she purchased from locals who sell their wares on the side of the highway near her home. She made them so happy the day she drove up and brought so many!
Cake / Cake topper: I have so much to say about the cake I’m not sure there is room here. Jawbreaker the Baker, my brothers partner Nick, is a ridiculously talented baker and made our cake. It was a massive multilayer masterpiece with flavours including chocolate with coffee and passionfruit, white chocolate and carrot. I was very disappointed to discover that our guests demolished it and there was almost none left the next day.
Stationery / Signage: All the signage on the day was done by myself, my sister and Laura from Wanderlust creative. We ordered Perspex from Resi-plex Geelong, bought appropriate pens from Officeworks and set about doing DIY menus, welcome signs, and seating plans.
Our invitations were done by Fabled Papery on Etsy.
Entertainment: The Club Band – we had a two piece play our ceremony music and later a five piece for the D-floor. They had everyone up dancing and were fantastic.
Marquee and other hire: Occasions Event Hire – Bill is your man for anything Marquee related, he was so helpful and much more cost effective than getting it from Melbourne.
Tables and chair Hire: Pepper Sprout Hire
Transport: Roy, a local from Wye River owns a couple of 20 seater buses and ferried our guests around the countryside.
Honeymoon: We had a “familymoon” to my family home in Tasmania for Christmas and New Year so we could spend time with the South Africans who travelled so far for us. The great thing about that is in September we are off on our actual honeymoon to safari in the Kruger National Park.