Real Wedding – Courtney & Brent, Bellarine VIC
After their second date, Courtney told two of her friends that she had found the one. However crazy they thought her at the time, when they stood beside her and Brent on their wonder-filled wedding day, there was only a hint of I told you so alongside the gorgeously good vibes!
Kicking off the celebrations with a day that genuinely echoed who they are was essential to these two stunning souls. Cue Teagan Dole, the perfect celebrant for the job! Teagan created a start to the party that was as meaningfully memorable as it was fun-filled.
The aesthetic for the day reflects the sweeping vista surrounding the celebrations; dreamy, elegant romance with just a touch of boho-inspired beauty. Clouds of ivory, cream and soft blush florals accented with wisps of grasses and simple pillar candles created a captivating contrast against the modern interior of Jack Rabbit Vineyard.
And of course, the centrepiece to this sunlit infused vision was Courtney in her gown of contemporary romance by Khya. As she and Brent enjoyed a moment together against the ocean backdrop, the electric energy between them was palpable – all captured by photography legend Fern & Stone.
We met online like all modern-day couples, and with a classic swipe right, the conversations started.
Courtney felt the need to set herself apart, and so she opened with, “if you could have anyone play you in a movie, who would it be and why?”
Brent replied, “I’m good, thanks. How are you?”
Brent was stumped and almost put Courtney in the too hard basket, but thankfully he couldn’t resist her cheek. The banter has never stopped since then.
One our second date. They say that when you know, you know, and that was certainly true for us. It was on our second date that we lost ourselves in deep conversation where our core values of honesty and loyalty were really highlighted. It was clear we both had an immense love for our family and friends, which we both wanted in a life partner. Courtney went home and told her two bridesmaids and her mum that she had found the one. They thought she was completely crazy, but Courtney now takes great pride in telling them I told you so!
We were travelling through Canada before the world shut down in 2020. And whilst there are plenty of picturesque locations in those rocky mountains and snowy peaks, Brent’s toughest challenge was getting Courtney to co-operate with his plans. Courtney was set on doing the laundry and having a quiet night. Brent was struggling to spin that into a romantic setting. After much persistence, Brent convinced Courtney to take a walk through Whistler, where he found a quiet area to drop to one knee. We had an amazing three weeks in Canada before rushing home to beat border closures and went straight into 14 days of isolation. We knew after those challenges we were ready to tackle marriage.
We locked in the big vendors within the first few months of engagement. COVID was already impacting the wedding season, and we knew we would start to struggle with available dates if we didn’t secure a venue, photographer, videographer and celebrant quickly. From there, we ticked off the smaller items: florist, music, cake, stationary etc.
Courtney had been following multiple designers on Instagram for inspiration for her dress. This helped narrow down where to begin looking. A lot of our decisions had to be quick as COVID lockdowns and restrictions meant we didn’t have the luxury of going into many suit/dress stores over multiple weeks. Brent picked out his suit in a day, and Courtney picked the bridesmaid dresses the night before lockdown four. It was one store and one dress.
Courtney also chatted to previous brides, read wedding blogs and shared inspiration with other friends planning their big day.
Courtney had a run sheet for the day, which contained all vendor’s contact details, timings, roles and responsibilities, and other important contacts. This was shared with all vendors and the wedding coordinator at Jack Rabbit, which meant on the day, Courtney just had to worry about not tripping down the aisle and nothing else!
Honestly, the fact we were even able to have a wedding felt so special. Unfortunately, we lost a few guests due to COVID or border closures but were so grateful to the ones who did make it. It was also one of the first weddings back after a two-year hiatus, so every guest was buzzing about the prospect of celebrating milestones again.
The incredible voices of Tanya George and Lewis Pidutti entertained the guests throughout the evening as nothing creates romance more than live music. Our styling was simple and timeless.
At the ripe old age of 95, Brent’s nan was too old to travel to the wedding. So in honour of her, we had her photo on the mantle of the fireplace. This was alongside images of our other grandparents who had passed away, and they were absolutely there in spirit.
We sought inspiration via real weddings because, unfortunately, not all of us have an unlimited budget to plan a wedding. Seeing people DIY flowers, table settings, favours etc, inspires you to create some of these yourself in order to maximise your budget. They also provide hints and tips on items that are a must-have or ideas on how to make the day run smoothly.
We wanted a ceremony that reflected our personalities; this was created by the amazing Teagan Dole. Brent and Courtney ad-libbed sections of their vows, and both raised laughs from the guests with the words they spoke.
We were prepared to get married in rain, hail, shine, COVID in front of two people or 50 people. To us, what was important was making the commitment to one another. It is not lost on us how fortunate we were to have so many of our loved ones there to witness it.
Courtney had her eye on the Hazel gown by KYHA for a number of months. And when she finally tried it on, she was convinced she’d found her dress. Luckily for her, she had chosen so quickly as another very long COVID lockdown meant getting anything else in time would have been near impossible. She purchased her shoes online without ever trying them on and her earrings online because retail was still closed in Melbourne in the lead up to her big day.
The bridesmaids were in black because black is classic and timeless, and they will definitely get more wear from an LBD.
Brent and the groomsmen’s suits were from Calibre. Brent had a point of difference in his shirt, which had black buttons, and he had patent leather shoes.
All of it. Courtney loved having her dad walk her down the aisle. He lives in WA and, even with closed borders, left his home to be by his daughter’s side. He still does not know when he will be able to return home, and she is forever grateful that he didn’t miss the day.
Brent’s groomsmen also flew down from Queensland, knowing that when he returned home, he would have to quarantine for a week.
Sacrifices such as these meant so much.
Just having all the important people in their lives in the same place at the same time meant so much. We both have friends and family all over the country, so it was nice to spend a few days introducing everyone and celebrating together.
Courtney and Brent loved heading out for sunset photos. It was a moment in the evening to enjoy alone as husband and wife. And heading home at the end of the evening as husband and wife felt so surreal. It honestly felt like a new relationship again, and the chemistry was palpable.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage is the commitment to one another, the promise to communicate and compromise. The promise to love unconditionally and to grow with one another in the relationship.
Processional: Fallin by Dylan Brady
Signing: Saturday Sun by Vance Joy
Recessional: Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves.
Reception entry: You make my dreams (come true) by Daryl Hall and John Oates.
First dance: Everything by Michael Buble.
Funny stories or near disasters.
The maid of honour was notified four days out from the wedding that she had been to a COVID exposure site and was required to test. Thankfully she was negative and made the big day. I’m sure plenty of brides have faced the same anxious moments.
That Courtney actually enjoyed it and didn’t get stressed out. The planning process should be fun. Set a budget and hunt around but also be flexible and never forget what is really important at the end of the day. COVID gave Courtney perspective, so in the end, she never really got caught up in the little things.
Words of wisdom.
Try and enjoy the lead up to the big day because once the day arrives, it is all over very quickly. Set a budget and chat with your partner about the things that are non-negotiable and other things that you are happy to compromise on. Research and reach out to the vendors you are interested in having as part of your day. Lock in all the big ones first and work out the finer details as you go.
Factor in a rehearsal dinner or a recovery (for the guests who have travelled or want to extend the celebrations) so you get to maximise the time with your guests and also your new husband/wife.
Take time during the night to be with just your partner. Remember this is your special day, forget traditions, forget what other brides have done and just plan your day in a way that reflects what is important to you and your partner. It will be the best day of your life.
Are you looking for the perfect setting for a romantic reception soiree? We’ve collated some of our favourite venues that are all about the sweet, loved up vibes, here.
COURTNEY & BRENT’S VENDORS
Ceremony & reception venue: Jack Rabbit Vineyard
Celebrant: Teagan Dole of Panache & Co
Photography: Fern & Stone Photography
Videography: Moon and Back
Florist: The Petal Project
Hair & Make-up: Blondie Salon
The dress & veil: Kyha
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Sheike
Suits & bow ties / ties: Calibre
Cake: Jenelles Custom Cakes
Stationery / Signage: Danger and Moon
Entertainment: Tanya George Music
Décor: Self Purchased from Etsy/Ikea and Kmart
Honeymoon: South Australia. Road trip to the Barossa Valley, Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island