Real Wedding – Jac & Bill, Wye River VIC

Real Wedding – Jac & Bill, Wye River VIC


Under a stunning Sperry Tent by the sea, Jac and Bill pulled off a party to remember.

Hitting the coast along the beautiful Great Ocean Road, they planned for a relaxed celebration with a rustic theme that would have their guest feeling comfortable.

Singing the praises of their planning gurus, Will&Jac, their relaxed and super-fun celebration even ended with a cheeky group skinny dip – this day had it all!

Check out the gorgeous captures by Valley and Peak Photography below.

In their words..


The meeting. 

Bill is a medical research scientist, Jac is a nurse and together we have been together for four years. We were engaged for 12 months.


The proposal.

Bill went on the television show ‘ The Chase Australia’ and told all of Australia that if he won he would buy his girlfriend Jacqui an engagement ring. He won and then denied that he had enough left for an engagement ring, so he could make it a new surprise.

He organised for a group of their friends to arrange a walk by the beach so that Jac would not be suspicious. When alone on the beach near Anglesea he took the ring out, and got down on one knee. Jac said “no, you’re not are you? No!” after calming her down he asked Jac to marry him. She said YES!


The process.

We have always loved the Great Ocean Road coastline as both our families would holiday down there when we were young. We wanted our wedding to be a weekend away from Melbourne in a small town by the beach with enough accommodation for our guests. Wye River fitted those criteria. When we met Shaun who runs the general store we instantly connected and knew Wye River and its stunning scenery was the place for us.


Style inspiration. 

We wanted a casual, relaxed wedding with a touch of elegance, so we chose cocktail dress with a rustic theme for the decorations.


The dress.

Jac – I had no idea what kind of wedding dress I wanted before I started looking, so that I had no expectations and was open to try anything. I went looking with mum and a few bridesmaids on High St, Armadale. The first day of trying dresses on was a whirlwind. It was the first time I felt like I was going to be a bride. It was very special to try on dresses with mum. After two full days of trying on dresses I had narrowed down what suited me. We went into Raffaele Ciuca and tried on many, not very satisfied with anything until Ellen, my shop assistant, recommended her favourite. I tried it on and instantly fell in love with it. I couldn’t stop smiling and didn’t want to take it off. It was a very special and emotional experience.


Favourite moments.

The ceremony was the favourite part of the day for us. Walking down the aisle with my Dad and seeing Bill at the end with tears in his eyes. Once I reached Bill all my nerves for the ceremony disappeared. Sharing our vows, which we had worked on together and made an effort to make very personal, in front of all our loved ones was also a special memory.


Meaning of marriage.

Marriage to us is a confirmation and a celebration of the love we already had for each other in front of our family and friends. It is a lifelong commitment to each other to uphold the vows and promises made in your wedding ceremony.


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: Fire and the Flood by Vance Joy.

Recessional: Slice of Heaven by Dave Dobbin

First dance: There will be time by Mumford and Sons.


Funny stories (or near disasters).

The weather had been unpredictable all week in the lead up to the day. It was a beautiful sunny day except for 20 mins of downpour from the moment I met Bill at the altar to when we were pronounced Mr and Mrs Darby by Damon our celebrant.

Our MC had set the tone perfectly all evening for a cheeky skinny dip after the reception. After a bit of dutch courage thanks to the Meet Gertrude cocktails, on conclusion of the reception, the majority of the wedding guests headed for the water to continue the celebrations.


Planning surprises.

Not by surprise but there were things that we were glad we ‘did’ and ‘didn’t’ do … The best thing we did was choose our vendors not only on the quality of their work, but also how well we connected with them. It ensured we had a relaxing fun day surrounded by great people.

To keep the dance floor going, we had roaming desserts rather than sit down plates, so that people stayed up and dancing.

We supplied thongs for our guests at the reception as Wye River has some very steep hills to walk up to get home.

We are really glad we added some Limoncello shots with dessert. It was nice to add a little something extra at the end of the party.

As the reception finished at 11pm, we planned an after party on the beach with the excess alcohol in buckets of ice from the cocktail van/reception. This was a good way to continue the celebrations as there was nowhere else to go in Wye River.


Words of wisdom.

Our advice would be to set a realistic budget and work within those boundaries. Plan for the cost to blow out a bit as there are a lot of small sundry items that you don’t account for initially.

Use a wedding planner if you are not using a venue that has an events coordinator.

When trying on wedding dress for size, account for the season you are in. I tried mine on before winter and found it didn’t quite fit after winter when I picked it up and required more alterations.

We found supplying our own alcohol much cheaper than what a venue could offer.

In the morning of the wedding, we recommend having plenty of food and snacks when you are getting ready. I found that there was a lot of downtime waiting for hair and make-up for all the bridesmaids, so I should have planned an activity or a movie to take my mind off being nervous.




Keen to celebrate under the stars? Marnie and Antony did just that. Check out their day here.



Reception catering: The Wye River General Store  – a fantastic venue. Shaun, the manager helped us along the way making sure the weekend ran smoothly. He went over and beyond what we expected, e.g. finding bins for our rubbish, provided back-up power if we needed it, he even found a local guy to be our security for the tent overnight. The food was delicious and there was plenty of it. Several guests had second servings. Many of our guests commented on how friendly and energetic the staff were.

Celebrant/Officiant: Married by Damon –  funny, captivating and heart-felt. Meeting him a few times before the wedding we felt so at ease with his fun, but professional manner. On the day, he did a great job adapting the ceremony to the weather conditions.

Photography: Valley and Peak (formerly Allsorts Pictures) – We connected really well with our photographers, Kyle and Steve. When we first met them, we knew straight away that they were perfect for us. We were on the same wave-length and they set a relaxed and fun vibe and made the photos effortless. We didn’t feel like we had to pose for photos, we could just enjoy the day. We may have convinced them to purchase a drone for aerial footage of Wye River after we met with them!

Videography: As above

Planners/Project Managers: will&jac – will&jac were outstanding. We absolutely could not have pulled this off without them. They supported us the whole way through. They were fantastic at communicating with us from the beginning. It was very difficult in the beginning, obtaining permits and approval from the local council. Will and Jac stepped in and handled it all for us. They thought of and planned everything down to a tee so that we didn’t have to stress in the lead up or on the day. They were also such lovely and enthusiastic people to have closely involved in our wedding day.

Florist: Earth Flower Apollo Bay

Hair and makeup: Friends of bride

The Dress: ‘Pronovias Barcelona’ from Raffaele Ciuca 

Hairpiece: All About Romance 

Shoes: Nine West

Rings: John Stanley Diamond

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Various

Groomsmen’s suits: Lidis Tailors 

Bow ties / ties: OTAA

Caravan Bar: Meet Gertrude 

Stationery / Signage: Lauren Dillon Designs 

DJ: Jon Bling

Structure: Sperry Tent from Under Sky 

Napkins: Linen Hire from Di Simmons 

Furniture: Pepper Sprout Hire  and Weddings of Distinction

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