Real Wedding – Bonnie & Harry, Bridgewater VIC
Real Wedding – Bonnie & Harry, Bridgewater VIC
Real Wedding – Bonnie & Harry, Bridgewater VIC
Real Wedding – Bonnie & Harry, Bridgewater VIC

Real Wedding – Bonnie & Harry, Bridgewater VIC

For high school sweethearts Bonnie and Harry, their wedding day was long in the making and always bound to be one filled with excitement and blissed-up emotion. Leaning into their backdrop, Harry’s parents picturesque farm, this gorgeous duo decided to go all out and create a weekend-long wedstival experience for their guests.

With ice-cold bubbles on arrival at their glamping tents, guests were set for a weekend of festive fun. Reflecting the bold vibrancy in their styling choices, Georgey of Hosted realised a theme based around vibrant scarlets and soft baby pinks, with all-white decor and simple pastel candles to soften the evening effect.

Bridesmaids in mismatched pinks are perfectly on-point, while Bonnie’s off-shoulder A-line mikado silk gown from Fifi & Edga is simply stunning. And punctuating every frame? An overarching sense of revelry and romance.

Captured with artistry by Whites and Woods and filmed by In The Vines, enjoy every moment of this epic soiree.

 

The meeting.

We met at a mutual friend’s gathering when we were both 16. Harry had just moved to Bendigo and was starting year 11 at my high school. We shared a few classes that year and became close friends, and even did our deb ball together. I moved overseas during my gap but kept in contact with Harry quite often. When I returned at the start of 2016, we both went to another friend’s house party and ended up having a little kiss, and the rest as they say is history! We’ve been together ever since.

 

The ‘one’.

One moment I can think of is when we were both driving to introduce Harry to my three older sisters for the first time. The song Hold by Vera Blue came on the radio and the lyrics really resonated, and I had a feeling in that moment that I was going to marry this boy. That ended up being our first dance song on our wedding day, as we’ve always considered it “our song”.

 

The proposal.

It was a lovely, intimate moment just between us two at Harry’s family property in Bridgewater, the same venue as where the wedding would later be held! It was two days before Christmas 2022, and Harry’s parents were preparing to host both his and my family for a joint Christmas at the farm that year. We went over to help them get set up and have a few drinks.

I knew something was up when Harry asked me if I wanted to go for a walk along the river and watch the sunset – he has never paid much attention to sunsets before! He got down on one knee and popped the question, and I was so grateful he did it in a private moment before the chaos of Christmas day with all our family members there! Just his immediate family were waiting for us when we came back inside, with champagne and flowers and balloons. But it was nice to be able to celebrate with our extended family a couple of days later at Christmas. The spot where he proposed on the property was the same location that we ended up doing our ‘first look’ for our wedding, which was a really nice touch on the day.

 

Planning process.

After our celebrations had died down, we decided to have a short-ish engagement and planned our wedding for October 2023, which only gave us around nine-ish months to pull it all together! We had spoken about having our wedding at Harry’s parents’ property for years and knew it would be the perfect spot for our big day, so we didn’t have to stress about locking in a venue.

I’m a little embarrassed to say I was one of those brides who had imagined what her wedding would look like for years – I’m talking long before we even got engaged! I already had an idea about the local vendors I wanted to secure, but we decided we needed to call in a professional to help us wrangle them together in such a short time frame, especially given it was going to be a private property wedding. That’s where our planner and stylist Georgey from Hosted came in, and I can honestly say our wedding was even better than the dream day I had in my head, all thanks to her! From the very first time I reached out to her, she was already contacting vendors and sourcing quotes – her industry connections and relationships were invaluable to bringing our day to life. She thought of everything (that we probably wouldn’t have!) to ensure the day ran smoothly; lighting, toilets, glassware, parking etc. She helped us refine our vision and worked so hard for us throughout the whole process, and I can’t speak highly enough about her professionalism and work ethic. We will be forever grateful for what she did!

 

Style inspiration.

We wanted our wedding celebrations to be a reflection of us and loved the idea of a fun, bright, and bold ‘Wedfest’ extending for a whole weekend, almost like a private festival. I looove flowers and am also fond of bright colours, especially pinks, so I knew our florals would be the focal point of our styling. Georgey’s stylish eye and industry knowledge helped us bring our red and pink theme together in a cohesive way; the napkins she sourced matched our signage and stationery perfectly! And I think the red and pink really popped among the green grass and gumtrees at the property.

Harry and I always had it in our head that we would hire glamping tents for some of our guests when our wedding rolled around, so when we put the call out to see who would be interested in staying a night or two, we were blown away by the response. We thought maybe 20 or 30 would like to do so but about 90 people said they were interested! That made it really fun for our recovery day, which was Yellowstone themed, and we had people dress-up as cowboys or their favourite characters from the TV show at our very own ‘ranch’.

Ivory Tribe was definitely an inspiration of mine! I’ve been following the blog and Instagram page for years and saving “Real Wedding” posts in a little collection – especially the private property ones as we knew that’s what we were going to do too. There’s also a local wedding directory called Culture Hitch, which highlights Central Victorian wedding vendors on their blog, on Instagram and in a magazine. They also host styled shoots throughout the year and showcase the vendors on their platform. That was really useful in those early planning stages when we were trying to discover caterers, music entertainment, portable bar caravans etc.

 

The ceremony.

Our ceremony was the perfect blend of relaxed and heartfelt, and a true reflection of us. We surprised our guests with bottles of sparkling wine that we left in ice buckets in their glamping tents, for when they dropped their bags off just before the ceremony, so we had people celebrating and getting the party started early by sipping on bubbly as the official parts of the day unfolded.

Our ceremony was held against the backdrop of the Loddon River, just to the side of our reception area. It was a little overcast before the ceremony, but the blue skies and sun came out just before me and my bridesmaids were about to walk down the aisle. We had the very talented Evie from Evangeline Victoria Music serenading our guests on her violin pre-ceremony and as we were signing the certificate, and she also played our chosen processional/recessional songs. We had people comment that this brought the garden party Bridgerton vibes to Bridgewater!

When I was walking down the aisle with my Dad I found it funny that everyone was just staring at us. I wanted to make it less awkward, so I let out a little cheer and raised my bouquet, which made everyone laugh and clap and cheer too. We also surprised both of our mums by getting our celebrant to ask them to be our witnesses for the marriage certificate. But the most special part was hearing Harry’s vows for the first time! They were so beautiful and genuine and had lots of people tearing up, including me.

 

The outfits.

I had an idea in my head about the type of dress I liked, but of course as soon as I started trying them on at bridal appointments, that all went out the window! I thought I liked dresses with embellishments, or 3D flowers or beading, but it turns out the gowns that suited me most were the beautiful, classic, Mikado silk A-line gowns. I had booked a couple of appointments at local bridal shops based where I live in Bendigo. I was going to use this as a day to narrow down the style/fit of the dress I wanted and then find the real deal at a place in Melbourne. I ended up finding a dress I really loved at the boutique Fifi & Edga, and it was the last dress I tried on for the day. The shop owner told me she had just gotten that dress in the day before and no one had tried it on yet, which I took as a sign that it was the one!

I’m so glad I ended up picking that dress as the shop owner was so amazing to work with – I wanted to add a couple of alterations and nothing I asked for was too hard. Handy that she was local too, so I didn’t have to travel to Melbourne for fittings. I wore the dress for the whole night but was able to have two separate looks with it by removing the little side straps and bustling the train up with a matching silk bow attached at the back. I did this after our wedding party entry so I could raise my arms up to dance!

 

Favourite moments.

There were so many spontaneous and unplanned moments that ended up being the favourite parts of our day! After our wedding party entry, we wanted all our guests up for a quick one song dance before we went into the marquee for a sit-down dinner. I told our DJ/saxophonist he could choose the song based on the vibe of the moment. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or if someone told him, but he ended up playing my favourite song of all time, Crazy in Love by Beyonce, which had everyone up and about! I don’t think I have ever been so happy as I was in that moment; surrounded by my favourite people dancing to my favourite song after just marrying my favourite person!

Another moment was when our violinist was playing her final set during our cocktail hour and our DJ/saxophonist was getting set up. He decided to do a soundcheck by playing along with her. It was so cool to see and hear them both jamming out together despite never meeting before! They got the dancefloor vibes started early which was incredible and everything I wanted.

Also after our first look, Harry and I, along with our wedding party and our dog, hung out and had a drink together inside the house as guests arrived. This was a lovely moment to have with our best friends and helped calm any pre-ceremony nerves we had. And finally, another really special moment was during mine and Harry’s first dance, when the full moon decided to peek out behind the clouds as we swayed. There are some really cool photos of us on the dancefloor in the glow of the full moon. People thought we had planned our wedding around the full moon but it was purely a coincidence. So cool, like magic!

 

Meaning of marriage.

Marriage to us means having someone to share everything with. Every success is doubled, every problem is halved, every experience is shared, and there are more opportunities to grow and learn, together. It was special for us to declare our love and commitment to one another in front of the most important people in our lives.

 

Wedding soundtrack:

Aisle: Halo by Beyonce (played acoustically on violin by Evangeline Victoria Music)

Signing songs: Lady May by Tyler Childers and Golden Hour by JVKE (played acoustically on violin by Evangeline Victoria Music)

Recessional: Crazy in Love by Beyonce (played acoustically on violin by Evangeline Victoria Music)

Reception entry: World of Our Love by Client Liaison (fun fact: our welcome sign had the lyrics to this song printed on it, which was a nice tie in!)

Champagne tower: We Found Love by Rihanna

Father/daughter dance: Father and Daughter by Paul Simon

Cake cutting: Love on Top by Beyonce (can you tell I love Beyonce and Harry let me have free rein with the songs!)

First dance: Hold by Vera Blue

 

Funny stories (or near disasters).

Everything ran really smoothly, and again that’s thanks to our planner Georgey from Hosted! We were having so much fun and were so present throughout the whole day that we didn’t notice things that went “wrong”.

It was a bit gusty during our ceremony, and our celebrant told us our marriage certificate had blown off the table at one point and was heading for the river, but she saved it! The wind also helped keep the flies away and made my veil flow nicely for pictures. Our planner said the wind knocked our champagne tower over at one point and smashed a couple of glasses, but she was able to rearrange it before anyone noticed!

We also ran out of wine and beer at about 11:00pm, just before the caravan bar company were due to leave at midnight. Our planner, being the best person in the WORLD, drove a couple of Harry’s groomsmen to the local pub and bought more slabs of beer and cases of wine, because we could tell our guests were not done partying yet. That was a welcome move for some party animals, as one group of people didn’t end up going to bed until about four in the morning!

 

Planning surprises.

How far in advance vendors book up! We were lucky and ended up securing most of our dream vendors that I had been following on Instagram for years, but it’s crazy to me to think some take bookings up to two years in advance! Also the cost of things and how easy it is to blow out, especially for a private property wedding – what’s a budget?

 

Words of wisdom.

I would say sit down and work out how you want your wedding to feel, for you and your guests. We had an emphasis on a relaxed yet fun day, and our wedding was everything we could have hoped for and more. The vibe you set as the bride and groom is the heartbeat of the day – so be relaxed, enjoy every moment and let the love flow.

I would also encourage couples to consider doing a first look and get wedding party portraits out of the way early, so you can enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. I’m so glad we didn’t have to miss out on the party, I would have got major FOMO!

The money side of things can get stressful, but as long as you are united as a couple on the things that are most important to you then everything will work out perfectly! Also, enjoy the build up to the day, especially during wedding week, as it is just the best and most exciting time ever. It really is true what they say, the day flies by, but if you take a few moments throughout the day to be present as a couple it’ll help time to slow down.

 

 

For more country style weddings with all the class and modern sensibility, check out some of our favourite Real Weddings in stunning out-of-town settings.

 

 

BONNIE & HARRY’S VENDORS

Ceremony & reception venue: Private property.

Celebrant/Officiant: Georgia Anderson – Married by Georgia. The most relaxed yet organised person I’ve come across. She helped make our ceremony magical.

Photography: Whites & Woods. I have followed Christian Barkla and his wife Hayley on Instagram for years and knew we had to have them capture our special day. He is very talented at capturing those candid, unposed and in-between moments.

Videography: In The Vines – Lincoln Rogers. Videography was a late addition for us as we didn’t think it would fit our budget, but I’m sooooo glad we got Linc to help capture the memories of our day! I’ve watched our wedding video about 270 times.

Styling: Georgey from Hosted was our planner and stylist. The coolest and most stylish person I know, so I knew she would make absolute magic on our day. She worked so hard to style our tables/tents perfectly!

Florist: Judah Rose. Absolute wizards of the floralling world and the loveliest girls. Their brand ethos also really resonated with us; they donate a portion of their earnings to charities in Bendigo and India to help alleviate poverty and they also practice sustainable floristry (foam free, locally sourced flowers, natural hand-died ribbons).

Hair: Was lucky enough to have my talented friend Stevi-Dee Alexander do mine and my bridesmaids’ hair. She hung around and then became a guest!

Make-up: Ashley Morales. Ash NAILED the natural glam look I was after, plus was an excellent hype girl to have around in the morning while we were getting ready.

The dress: Fifi & Edga bridal boutique, Bendigo. Catherine is a dress magician and so talented!

Veil: Anna Campbell Bridal. My “runner up” wedding dress had the same lace pattern as my veil, so it was nice to have part of that dress on the day even though I didn’t choose it.

Shoes: Loeffler Randall Dahlia in Gold. My dream wedding shoes I‘ve had on my Pinterest board for years.

Rings: Engagement ring is from Australian Diamond Company in Melbourne and both our wedding rings are from local Bendigo jeweller, Stearns.

Bridesmaid’s dresses: I let my bridesmaids choose their own styles because I wanted them all to feel comfortable and I also loved the mismatched look. The only guideline was the dress had to be a shade of soft pink, longer in length and silk. I think we nailed the mismatched look!

Suits & bow ties / ties: Grant Rule Men’s & Ladies Fashion

Catering: Going Gourmet. Delicious food for both canapes and mains, and we opted for a share platter type set up with meats and sides for our guests to serve themselves for mains. The team used my in-laws’ kitchen to prepare the food and were no trouble at all!

Bar: Boss Bar Hire. I was so happy to have my favourite cocktail (margaritas) being served at our wedding! Our guests enjoyed the caravan bar set up so much they drank them dry an hour early!

Favours: One of my sisters made candles with personalised stickers for our guests to take home as favours.

Cake / Cake topper: Sweet Peach. The vintage cake was so cool and absolutely delicious! We got some really cool pictures with it.

Stationery / Signage: Atelier Creative. Was so good working with Lauren – she is very talented and amazing at what she does!

Entertainment: Evangeline Victoria Music (violin) and Robbie Polack (DJ/saxophonist). I could go on and on about these two because they were INCREDIBLE and brought the best vibes throughout the whole day.

Décor: Table Art linen hire and Candle Co candles.

Hire: Elderberry Event Hire for outdoor furniture, festoon lights and dancefloor. 99 Luft for chairs. Twilight Glamping for tents

Audio guest book: Hear Me Out.

Other: Ice Cream Social – ice cream van came at about 9pm for our guests to enjoy.




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