Real Wedding – Brianna & Lee, Wollobi NSW
Brianna and Lee’s wedding is a day of whimsical wonder, soft elegance and light-hearted romance. Anchoring the theme for their styling in the timeless beauty of their venue, Redleaf, made for an aesthetic impact as subtle as it was stunning.
For us, the combination of Brianna’s uniquely exquisite, dream-like gown next to Lee’s sharp black suit and gorgeously floral embellished shoes truly brings the wow factor. Adding bow detailing to the straps of her gown in place of a veil is an inspired touch by Brianna, with bridesmaids in a palette of Valentino pink, muted lavender and cream sequins. Set against vast cascading florals in wildflower arrangements of creamy ivory and soft pink, the overall effect is a fanciful fairytale with a contemporary edge.
Finishing off the night with movie-star perfection, our newlyweds came together for a sweet solo dance under the stars, cocktails in hand. Superstar photographer Tess Follett was there to capture every moonlit moment to absolute perfection. Scroll on to see the beauty unfold.
We met at university in 2011. We were in the same classes for the first semester. It took a short while, but we actually became really great friends and even housemates before lovers.
There was no specific moment. It was a slow and gradual progression from friendship to love thanks to our mutual love for travel, food, costume parties, dogs, hoppy ales, British satire, and dirty stand-up comedy. Through many shared life values, and our similar sense of humour we gradually fell for each other and there became no question in both our minds.
We were in Japan, January 2020. It was winter in a pre-covid era. Holiday bliss.
The previous year had been stressful for us both, so to celebrate Bri thought she would surprise Lee with a ‘best-girlfriend-ever’ gift: Tickets to see Babymetal! In Tokyo!
So here she was basking in her own glory with orchestrating the best surprise ever (it was quite the saga). Then, was totally outplayed by a surprise proposal in Ginzan Onsen, the most picturesque wintry wonderland town.
We planned a long (two-and-a-half-year) engagement to account for work and exam commitments that we wanted to have behind us before the wedding. In hindsight, this worked in our favour as we luckily avoided the turmoil of cancellations and reschedules due to Covid-19. The long engagement made it much easier to plan and save for the things we wanted. We booked and secured all of our main vendors within the first six-twelve months which meant we didn’t have to compromise much because everyone we wanted was available.
While it was sometimes difficult waiting so long for our wedding day, I think the long engagement made the planning process much less stressful than it can be. It also helped having a super-star wedding planner, Christie from Haus of Hera!
We wanted to keep it light and fun and whimsical and effortless. Our venue was the source of most of the styling inspiration, and because it was so delightful in itself, it meant we didn’t have to go overboard with styling. The gardens and villa were already so stunningly picture-perfect. Our stylist and florist worked perfectly to simply highlight the natural beauty of Redleaf.
I found following our wedding venue, and individual stylists and florists on Instagram to be the most useful when it came to inspiration. This really gave us a sense of what could be achieved. The difficult thing was to scale it all back within a budget!
We wanted our ceremony to be fun and lighthearted and to set the tone for the rest of the evening. We’re not soppy romantics; we love a joke and a bit of self-depreciation. We wanted our ceremony to include stories and humour and reflect our personalities, and it certainly did that, thanks to our legendary celebrant Monty! Special mention to our little dog, who did an amazing job as the ring bear(er)! It was definitely the best ceremony we’ve ever been to (yes, bias)!
I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about what I wanted in a dress other than I wanted something comfortable – nothing too heavy or scratchy. I tried on bucket loads to get an idea about what suited me. I came across my dress at a trunk show for the Sydney designer J. Andreatta put on by Sphere Bridal in Brisbane. I actually went with another dress in mind, but when I tried on the Paradiso gown it was definitely everything I wanted! I just had them add some bows to the gown which I wore instead of a veil.
Lee doesn’t have a build for suits bought off-the-shelf, so he knew he would likely have to get one made. After reading a few reviews about tailors in Brisbane, he decided to go with The Cloakroom for a classic tux.
So many! It was the best day of our lives for so many reasons! From waking up next to each other and saying, ‘hey do you want to get married today?’, to getting ready with my favourite people drinking mimosas and grooving to 80s pop music, to our intimate first look (there were tears), to our ceremony which was such fun (more tears), to the speeches and dancing the night away with grandma and all our loved ones! So many precious moments!
Meaning of marriage.
To be honest, life won’t change for us at all just because we have the piece of paper. We really just wanted to invite our loved ones to a big party in a beautiful place with great food and wine and live music… and what better reason than a wedding!
We put way too much thought into our music, but it meant that every song had a special meaning to us.
Aisle (bridal party): At Last by Etta James.
Aisle (bride): Seaside by The Kooks.
Signing: Your Mess is Mine by Vance Joy.
Recessional: Teenage Dream by Katy Perry (acoustic).
Reception entry: Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen.
Cake cutting: Hey Baby! by Bruce Channel.
First dance: Turn by The Wombats (acoustic-ish).
Last song: Like a Prayer by Madonna.
Funny stories (or near disasters).
The cake almost didn’t make it! It had been given to a different couple by accident. I found out that morning from my dad who had driven an hour to pick it up (after having to change a flat battery in the rental car). Honestly at that point, I actually wouldn’t have even cared if it didn’t make it!
Only that I really enjoyed it! And that I actually really enjoyed doing the website design and stationery design myself. I was also surprised and thrilled that everything came together so perfectly on the day. We had more than 20 different vendors involved in the day, from tents to flooring to catering and styling etc. There were lots of moving parts and room for error. But thanks to our superstar vendors, especially our wedding planner, Christie, it all went so smoothly!
Words of wisdom.
Get a wedding planner at least for on-the-day coordination.
Schedule time for an intimate moment together.
Choose to concentrate on a couple of things that are meaningful to you as a couple. Is it live music? Is it a particular location? Is it being able to include your kids or dog? Is it great food? Don’t try to do it all.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Real talk time – we absolutely understand the desire to create a sun-drenched day, with epic dining under tree-lined tables and dancing under the stars. But the one factor we can’t control? The weather. Read on for our tips on how to manage the one unmanagable element to your dream day, here on the blog.
BRIANNA AND LEE’S SUPPLIERS
Ceremony and reception venue: Redleaf, Wollombi
Photography: Tess Follet
Videography: Hunter Valley Video
Styling: Haus of Hera
Florist: Film and Foliage
Hair: Alex Penton Artistry
Make-up: Alex Penton Artistry
The dress: J. Andreatta
Rings: By Baby (Bride), Finelines Jewellers (Groom)
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Own dresses
Suits: The Cloakroom
Catering: Bistro Molines
Bar: The Hunter Bartender
Cake / Cake topper: Hello Naomi
Gelato: Mr Goaty Gelato
Stationery / Signage: Self designed by bride
Transport: Grape Experience