Real Wedding – Kaitlyn & Luke, Ballarat VIC
Real Wedding – Kaitlyn & Luke, Ballarat VIC
Real Wedding – Kaitlyn & Luke, Ballarat VIC
Real Wedding – Kaitlyn & Luke, Ballarat VIC

Real Wedding – Kaitlyn & Luke, Ballarat VIC


Beautiful Ballarat was the backdrop for Kaitlyn and Luke, teenage sweethearts who used local talent to bring their dream day to life.

Deciding on a marquee wedding, they created some magic on a palatial property and fabulous florals were the star of the show – including a ten-metre long hanging installation. Hollywood glam with a hint of modern elegance was the order when it came to styling elements and they absolutely nailed the brief.

Kaitlyn was a vision in her Suzanne Harward gown and following their ceremony, they kicked off reception with an epic champagne tower that really got the party started.

Free The Bird Photography captured all the fun and frivolity and it’s evident by the smiles on their faces that this was a celebration to remember.


In Kaitlyn’s words…


The meeting.

Luke and I met over 13 years ago when we were in year 10 on the country school bus that went from Ballarat via Bungaree to Gordon, even though we didn’t go to school together we are still consider ourselves high school sweethearts


The ‘one’.

I think you realise you’ve found the one when 13 years goes by and it feels like three…. time flies when you are having fun.


The proposal.

After returning home from a trip to Sri Lanka (and stupidly I’d put a time lapse up on Instagram of us sitting in the sunset and everyone thought Luke was going to get down on one knee and propose…But much to everyone’s disappointment we arrived home with no ring), we both had the Monday off work, so we went to our favourite camping spot, Cumberland River near Lorne. Luke popped the question around the campfire, with our favourite Frank Ocean song playing in the background without a soul around us, AND NO PHONE RECEPTION to call anyone to tell them the news!

It was so perfect and very ‘us’, sitting around in our trackies and Kathmandu jackets. It was the longest day the next day waiting to get home and waiting for everyone to finish work so we could go around to our parents and tell them all in person! It was so much fun.


The process.

After visiting a few different wedding venues around Daylesford/Trentham, and nowhere really ticking those boxes for us, we knew we wanted to have a marquee wedding. Somewhere that was a blank canvas for us to do anything we wanted. We were lucky enough to know the owners of the Bishops Palace, and when Craig showed us through his property which is such a hidden wonderful gem in Ballarat (and so close to our ceremony location at Loreto College), we knew this was the venue for us. Meeting with Tracey and Roger from Charlton Catering, who are also lovely family friends was so nice to sit down with some wine and pick menu options, they made the food choices so easy for us when everything they offered was so delicious. Sue from Ballarat Party Hire was the absolute bees knees when it come down to everything involved with the marquee, kitchen, furniture everything down to the littlest things, without her we should have been fish out of water! We stayed pretty calm while planning our wedding, Luke, being the handyman that he is had a few DIY projects set out for him, including our mesh backdrop wall, all our mirrored luggage name tags for guests, menus, signage and wishing well! After 11 months of planning, the day came together so perfectly, we still cant believe our wedding was OUR WEDDING. It was insane.


Style inspiration.

Being a florist, I always knew we wanted to have plenty of flowers at our reception and they were always going to be the star of the show. The girls at work (Jenny Burke Florist) absolutely nailed the brief. Everywhere you looked there were flowers, but our 10-metre-long hanging installation was the real MVP. I’d describe our styling as traditional with a hint of modern elegance and Hollywood glam.


The dress.

I’d had a crush on the Galaxy gown by Suzanne Harward for maybe two years before we even got engaged. The day I took my mum shopping with me to find my dress, we went to four different designers/bridal houses, with Suzanne Harward being the last stop. Saving the best ’til last.

The orginal Galaxy gown has a high Audrey Hepburn-style neckline, but throughout the day I’d discovered that I loved the deep-v neckline. When we got to Suzanne Harward, Carly asked to see photos of the gowns that I’d tried on that day. Knowing that I loved the Galaxy gown the most, she worked her magic and had me in two gowns at once… one with the v-neckline, and the Galaxy gown with the skirt I loved…in that moment I knew that the mix of these two dresses together was the one! And that was that! Finished with a tiered veil over my face, it was the perfect mix of simple elegance that I was looking for, and the micro mesh material giving it that modern edge.


Favourite moments.

Its honestly so hard to pick one, so I’m going to pick two stand outs, the first being our speeches, they were so emotional and so personal and beautiful. Our dads, best man and maid of honour all spoke and listening back to them from our day brings back all the feels. Second favourite moment is by far our epic dancefloor… literally the funnest wedding I’ve ever been too. Maybe I’m biased, but everyone, even our grandparents were up on the dance floor, Pa was even up on someone’s shoulders through the night, as were we – it was wild!


Meaning of marriage.

Marriage is a promise that you’ll have your best friend forever, it should be an effortless journey of supporting each other through all of life’s ups and downs.


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: Latch (acoustic version) by Sam Smith

Reception entry: Finally by CeCe Peniston

First dance: Moondance by Van Morrison


Funny stories (or near disasters).

During our Best Man’s speech (Luke’s identical twin, Mark) I laughed and inhaled champagne at the same time and choked and literally couldn’t breath! But after a minute I was ok… thankfully.


Planning surprises.

The fact that it actually does all come together in the end even when you think its just never going to!!! I was also surprised with how calm I stayed during the process with little stress!


Words of wisdom.

HAVE FUN AND RELAX, it is the most fun and best day of your life… also don’t get too caught up in trying to talk to all your guests. As long as you two are having fun so will everyone else


Last words.

A mention of our champagne tower!!!! It was the most epic start to our reception and really set the scene for good vibes only!



Need to get planning and don’t know where to start? Pick up a copy of our wedding planning book Bride Business, who will get you on your way and keep you on track from start to finish!



Ceremony: Loreto College, Ballarat – the most beautiful chapel EVER.

Reception: Bishops Palace Ballarat

Celebrant/Officiant: Father Brian Glasheen

Photography: Free the Bird Weddings – JUST WOW. NO WORDS.

Videography:  Steph Clifford Films

Styling: All styling done by bride, set up thanks to Sarah Mckenzie Co.

Florist: Jenny Burke Florist – the most amazing team to work for.

Hair: Fringe by Paris 

Make-up: Emily Mcgrath Makeup Artist 

The dress and veil: Suzanne Harward

Shoes: Senso

Rings: Parade Jewellers and Alan Bros Ballarat

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Manning Cartell

Groomsmen’s suits: New England from Messer and Opie

Catering: Charlton Catering – Holy moly, if you get married in Ballarat, use Tracey and Roger.

Bar: Sarah Mckenzie

Favours: DIY acrylic luggage tags, made by groom.

Champagne tower:  Trove Hire  

Stationery / Signage: Lucy Gilbert from Roar Publishing 

Entertainment: One More Song Entertainment – DJ and sax.

Transport: Lost in the Fifties Classic Car Hire, Daylesford

Marquee and contents: Ballarat Party Hire

Disco ball hire: Ooh La lemonade 

Honeymoon: Mini moon- Byron Bay. Big honeymoon- America and Europe

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