Real Wedding – Jo & Andy, Koornalla VIC
Ringing in a new year, with a new husband or wife by your side – that was the blissful reality for Jo and Andy.
This stunning private property celebration was set on a farm, but in no way was it ‘rustic’. Rather, this darling duo used their gorgeous surrounds to create a day that was filled with excellent food, drinks, service and ultimately, became one big party!
With a six-month turn around, they used the services of a wedding planner to help pull their dream day together and embraced a classic soft colour palette with pops of blue hydrangea to give their styling some contrast. It was important to Jo and Andy that they use their Italian, Greek and Australian heritages in tribute to their families, which only made their styling even more special.
A modern yet classic wedding unfolded and there to capture it all was the fabulous Katie Harmsworth.
In Jo’s words…
We met each other at Queens College (one of The Melbourne University on-campus residents) in 2009. I was his O-Week leader (Cougar alert!) and one night at the end of O-Week after the pub his smile won me over.
After being together for a few years, we spent a few months apart while we did separate travels through Europe. When we finally did meet up, Andrew had unfortunately contracted a case of bed bugs yet he still courageously took me to all his favourite sites through Paris without one word of complaint. I knew on that trip he was a keeper and the one for me!
We had been renovating a house in Geelong and Andy convinced me he needed me to pick him up after he had gone to meet the builder as his car had “run out of battery”. After the initial annoyance (I was getting ready to go out for dinner), I arrived at the house and noticed a glow inside which was strange as I knew we didn’t have the power turned on. When I opened the front door I found the entire house filled with tea light candles and fairy lights! I walked down the corridor to find Andy in the middle of the demolished living room surrounded by candles on his knee. After nearly 10 years together he couldn’t have surprised me with a more romantic proposal!
We had always dreamed of a New Year’s Eve wedding, so after Andy proposed in April we couldn’t think of a more perfect day and locked it in for the end of that year. From the get go we always knew we wanted to get married on my family farm as I had a lot of fond childhood memories there, and over the 10 years we had been together it had become pretty special to Andy too.
We had a pretty good idea of how much work was involved (especially for a private property in under six months) with a wedding and so we knew we wanted to get a wedding planner involved from the very beginning. Our friends had used Laura Harvey from Weddings of Desire and had loved the whole process, so we met up with Laura one night for a drink and from there we hit the ground running. After being guests at a fair few weddings we were able to pick out the things that were the most important to us- excellent food, excellent drinks, excellent service and one big party!
When we met with Laura the brief was simple – it’s on a farm but in no way does it mean ‘rustic’! I showed her a picture of this magnificent hydrangea bush on the property and also a blue velvet couch I had seen online and the inspiration just flowed from there. We didn’t want our day to be particularly different for the sake of being “different”, but instead to incorporate all the aspects we loved about weddings and make sure we could look back in 30 years’ time and still love it all. So we went with a classic soft pallet with some pops of blue hydrangea to still give it some contrast.
We also really wanted to blend all aspects of our family, me being Italian and Greek, Andy being Australian and the fact the wedding was on a dairy farm. So we worked at incorporating all those elements such as a group ouzo shot when everyone sat down for dinner, using Dad’s beloved tractor as an esky and getting an amazing neon sign made from Sketch and Etch with the word for cheers in our three languages “ Yamas, Salute, Cheers”. It made for a modern but classic wedding with some quirky touches and of course no rustic aspects in sight!
I had seen Paolo Sebastian dresses on Instagram, had fallen in love with his Disney collection and the level of detail in his dresses. I felt that it is not very often you get to wear such a detailed gown in your life so I knew I wanted him to make it for me(it also helped Paul is one of the loveliest people going around). It was important for me to feel like I was wearing a wedding dress but still be able to dance, so Paul suggested a detachable skirt that still meant you could see my shape underneath – it worked perfectly. Six trips to Adelaide with my Mum, sister and bridesmaids and I had the dress of my dreams! I also really wanted to involve all the special women in my life so I wore one of my great grandmother’s rings, my grandmother’s engagement ring and diamond earrings from my Mum.
Reading our vows to each other which we had written separately but when we started reading them aloud we realised they said nearly the exact same things!
Meaning of marriage.
Being co-captain with your best friend and always having each other’s back.
Aisle: Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk
Reception entry: Rock Me by ABBA
Father-daughter dance: Small Town by John Mellencamp
First dance : I’m Gonna be (500 miles) Acoustic version by Sleeping at Last for two minutes, which ended up as the normal fast version where everyone joined in – one of the best moments!
Funny stories (or near disasters).
We had rolled the dice and decided on an outdoor dancefloor as it was one of the few things in the process that Andy had said he really wanted. After days of 40 + degrees in the lead up, the day before the wedding it absolutely POURED with rain. I was frantically calling Laura (Weddings of Desire) asking if we could try and get the marquee people to make the 3 hour drive and put another marquee over the top. She was fantastic in waylaying my fears and telling me we would just mop down the dance floor if need be. In the end the the day ended up being perfect (almost too hot!) and the outdoor dancefloor was one of the highlights of the wedding.
Even with the amazing help of Laura, the level of work that goes into a private property wedding took me completely by surprise. Besides the months of cultivating a cow paddock into lush green lawn worthy of Flemington (thanks to Dad), the few days leading into the wedding were hectic and hot! It was all completely worth it in the end!
Words of wisdom.
Stick true to what you want from the day whilst still involving your loved ones in the process. It is so important to choose vendors you trust and often this might mean investing a little more but ultimately it means your day goes off without a hitch. And as everyone says, make sure you take a moment to stand back and have a look at the day you have created with all your favorite people together in the one place- it’s pretty special and you will never get that again!
A massive thankyou to each and every vendor, friend and family member who made our dreams reality.
Unsure of how to nail your wedding speech? Here’s our top tips just for you!
JO & ANDY’S TRIBE
Ceremony and reception location: Private property, Koornalla VIC
Celebrant/Officiant: Father Peter Bickley
Photography: Katie “The Incredible” Harmsworth
Videography: One Heart
Styling: Weddings of Desire – We could NOT have done this without this amazing women, I will miss the daily chats and gym dates!
Florist: The beautiful soul – Georgia Ko Floral Design
Hair: Julia Cocchrane
Make Up: Bri at Hilary Holmes
The Dress: Paolo Sebastian
Veil / headwear: Paolo Sebastian
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Cappellazzo Couture
Menswear: Oscar Hunt
Catering: Blakes Feast – They provided the most AMAZING food to 300 people in a hot marquee and went above and beyond from a service perspective.
Cake / Cake topper: Boutique Cake Art
Stationery: Samone Shepardson
Signage/Neon: Sketch and Etch
Entertainment: Like This Band
Décor: Place Settings
Other: ShowFx for the NYE Fireworks