Real Wedding – Kate & Andrew, Porepunkah VIC
When Andrew first caught Kate’s eye due to a statement on his dating profile about owning taxidermy weasels, she knew he was one of a kind! Their wedding day followed suit, with each carefully considered detail reflecting beautifully what is essential to this gorgeous couple; a fun-filled, perfectly polished party (sans taxidermy)!
They were lucky enough to use one of our favourite venues, Feathertop Winery, as their backdrop. Choosing to lean into a Tuscan villa vision filled with crisp white elegance and simple styling made for a refined yet relaxed day, brought to vibrant life by DJ Eddy Mac of One More Song Entertainment.
While guests soaked up the sunset soiree vibes, Andrew and Kate stole away for some genuinely gorgeous portrait pics by Long Way Home.
We love that the effortless elegance was epitomised in Kate’s gown by one of our faves, Luci Di Bella. Simple, stunning and chic, Kate was every inch pure contemporary queen.
Read on for all the sun-dappled detail!
We met in March 2015. Our first in-person meeting was at the Richmond Club Hotel on a Sunday evening, but our first interaction happened when we both swiped right! Andrew says he took a liking to my face, telling his housemate at the time “this is my type”. I was initially drawn to Andrew’s kind eyes but was probably more intrigued by the declaration Andrew made on his profile about owning a couple of taxidermy weasels. This unusual statement caught my eye, and I couldn’t help but strike up a conversation, opening with “dare I ask about the weasels?” I never could have imagined these would be the first words exchanged with my now husband!
Neither of us feels there was a specific moment of realisation, but it was pretty early on in our relationship that our lives began to effortlessly merge into one. We found ourselves moving in together after just nine months, and have never looked back.
A strong connection to family and friends, loyalty, and kindness are values we both share. We feel we bring the best out of one another and are ultimately best friends.
We were spending the weekend at Andrew’s family caravan on the Dromana foreshore, they’ve been camping on the same site for 55+ years, so it’s a pretty special place.
It had been a super-hot February day, and we were sitting on the beach enjoying a sunset drink as the temperature became more bearable. Andrew had set up a time-lapse to capture the sunset with us in the foreground – something I didn’t really think twice about given how often he is taking pictures of the view when we are there. Andrew brought me a fresh glass of wine and as he passed it to me dropped down on one knee. I don’t remember a thing he said as I was completely taken by surprise and was a blubbering mess!
When we went to watch the time-lapse, we discovered the recording cut off just moments before Andrew asked the question, which we both found pretty funny! Time-lapse aside, we celebrated with friends and family over the weekend before spending the night, just the two of us, at Jackalope to soak it all in.
Once we locked in our venue, the planning process was pretty straightforward, although this could be due to Kate’s experience as a wedding coordinator from years ago! We looked into so many venues and wineries, and even considered a pop-up style at one stage, but found none of these were flexible enough to bring the wedding we had in our minds to life – until we investigated Feathertop! It was actually the first venue I suggested as we visit the winery often during our annual Easter trip to Bright, and it offered the outdoor feel we wanted, but Kate thought it was too far to ask our guests to travel. After running it past some friends – who were all for a weekend destination wedding – we booked!
We had a nine-month lead-time, which was more than enough! Once we had our date, we quickly booked the rest of our tribe who we had already thoroughly stalked on Instagram. Kate took the lead with most of the fine details, logistics and scheduling of meetings etc., getting most out of the way pre-Christmas to not add extra pressure over the silly season.
We kept our guests front-of-mind in all of our planning, as ensuring they had a great time was really important to us; as well as showcasing the spectacular venue. We wanted our guests to feel relaxed and to soak in the country atmosphere, but still create a day that was polished and considered.
We weren’t afraid to not follow tradition; we didn’t have a wedding cake, we didn’t do a bridal party entrance, we didn’t serve dessert (although we substituted with espresso martinis!! Yum!), we delayed our photos so we could stay with our guests immediately after the ceremony, we kept bridal party photos to a minimum and sent them back early to enjoy sunset drinks with their significant others, we didn’t “depart” ahead of our guests.
We made sure that everything we did reflected us as a couple and created the sort of wedding we would want to attend.
Our style was inspired by the sort of celebration you imagine takes place in a Tuscan villa at sunset. We wanted the venue to speak for itself, so we kept things simple with a white and green colour palette and tried not to over style.
The linen, stationery, signage and furniture were all white to not compete with the beautiful surrounds, especially the vine-covered terrace. Creating a relaxed atmosphere that still felt refined (it’s a wedding after all) was our number one focus.
We even extended this thinking to our dress code, which was: “we want you to be comfortable but ask that you dress for the occasion. Think Portsea Polo, relaxed but polished!”
Gosh! Finding my wedding dress definitely wasn’t like the scenes in the movies. I tried on lots of dresses but never had the “this is the one!” moment. I actually found the whole experience quite unenjoyable, until I met Luci and Caitlin from Luci di Bella. Prior to this consult, no one had taken the time to really talk to me about what would flatter my height and proportions. Luci was completely honest about what would and wouldn’t work for my height and shape and gave me endless options to ensure my dress reflected my personal style. I trusted Luci and Caitlin from day one, and even though I was a painful bride – changing my mind a couple of times (I’m typical indecisive Libran!) – they were forever patient, supportive and forgiving.
Neither of us can narrow it down to just one!
Some of the highlights would be the two of us spontaneously making the trip up to Bright a day early, spending the night before the wedding with our closest friends (my evening watching First Wives Club was admittedly a little tamer than Andrew’s!), the few minutes my dad and I shared just prior to walking down the aisle, our niece and nephew making surprise speeches during our ceremony, the dance floor antics (including the number of drinks spilled on jackets!), and the recovery day/night – which for Andrew and I was a bigger day than the wedding itself!
One very special and memorable moment we both agree on and recall vividly was actually a couple of days before the wedding. We had decided on a whim to drive up to Bright a day earlier than planned, and our timing meant we were travelling along the Great Alpine Road just as the sun was setting behind Mount Buffalo. The stillness and glow created a magic moment that blew us both away and set the scene for the rest of the weekend. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Meaning of marriage.
Creating a lifetime of memories and shared experiences with your best friend, taking turns to support one another through life’s ups and downs, and committing to be each other’s person, no matter what.
Aisle: Bloom by Paper Kites
Signing: So Into You (Triple J Like a Version) by Childish Gambino
Recessional: High & Low by Empire of the Sun
Reception entry: Solid Gold by Pnau
First dance: Forever You and Me by The Teskey Brothers
Last song: I Try by Macy Gray
Funny stories or near disasters.
None really, although the bushfires over summer that caused Bright and surrounds to be evacuated were somewhat unsettling, but also completely beyond our control. We spent weeks on fire watch with our fingers crossed, and tried to maintain an attitude of ‘what will be will be.’
Having been a wedding coordinator back in the day, I was very aware of the planning process and how much I was able just to trust our vendors and hand over control! I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I definitely surprised myself by how unphased I was in the lead up to and on the day with regards to checking every minor detail. I think this came down to knowing we had a great tribe around us who we trusted as experts to do their thing on the day!
Words of wisdom.
Be prepared for decision fatigue! We suggest delegating as many decisions as you can to your tribe; they are the experts after all. And remember, walking away as husband and wife at the end of the day is all that matters; the rest is the cherry on top!
Make a weekend of it! Having a destination wedding meant we got to maximise time with our guests. The wedding day itself goes by so fast, and even though you try, it can be hard to spend quality time with everyone. Knowing we had a recovery day planned for our guests took the pressure off slightly and meant we also had a day where we felt we could really let our hair down.
Love Kate’s bride style? We sat down with the creator of her gown, Luci Di Bella, for a little inside info on her aesthetic vision, process, and what the brand is all about. Be prepared to be wowed, here.
KATE & ANDREW’S VENDORS
Ceremony and reception venue: Feathertop Winery, Porepunkah. The team at Feathertop was outstanding! Nothing was ever too much trouble, and I don’t think they said no to any of our ideas; it almost got to the point we wish they did so we had one less decision to make! They were so flexible and went out of their way to help us create the wedding we had envisioned.
Celebrant/Officiant: My “uncle”, Frank Colcott. Whilst not a true blood relative, Frank met me (Kate) when I was just a few days old! He and his wife Lily, who was Frank’s right hand during the ceremony, are lifelong family friends, and we couldn’t imagine anyone else officiating our ceremony. It was very special!
Photography: Steph from Long Way Home. Finding a photographer that gelled with our relaxed style was really important, and we couldn’t be happier with the magic Steph created. We knew Steph was the photographer for us when she shared how familiar she was with Bright and the surrounding area through her own family connection. Knowing Steph knew the area gave us great confidence she would be able to capture the stunning landscape, which she did beautifully!
Styling: Just us! With lots of inspiration from Ivory Tribe and Instagram to bring it all together!
Florist: Bright Florist
Hair: Anita Hamilton, a rather secret local hairdresser that the lovely ladies at Glow Bright Spa & Beauty put me onto. I didn’t get a chance to do a hair trial before the wedding (between bushfire evacuations and our busy schedules it just wasn’t possible). Instead, Anita and I had connected many times via Instagram to exchanged ideas, and I felt very comfortable that I was in a safe pair of hands.
Make-up: Penny and Bonnie from Glow Bright Spa and Beauty. These two ladies were super patient with me as I changed my mind on my make-up about four times after having had my trial! Being Melbourne based meant there was no opportunity for a second trial, but I had complete trust and faith that regardless my make-up would be magic on the day, and it was!
The dress: Luci Di Bella. I cannot thank Luci and Caitlin enough for creating such a beautiful dress. They are the most wonderful duo and incredibly talented at what they do!
Veil: My veil was kindly gifted to me by Catilin and Luci. I originally didn’t see myself wearing a veil, but my bridesmaid Zoiee (who is very pro-veil!) told me to keep an open mind, and I’m so glad I did! Being such a simple dress, it really added some welcomed drama to our photos and made me feel like a real bride!
Shoes: Silver stiletto’s from Michael Kors.
Rings: Both my engagement and wedding ring are from Natalie Marie Jewellery. I’ve been obsessed with their delicate and feminine designs for many years, and Andrew completely surpassed all my expectations when he secretly worked with them to create my dream engagement ring. Andrew’s wedding band is from Uniform Black in Yarraville.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Shona Joy Bridesmaid Collection. It was important to me for my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and confident, so the Shona Joy range allowed them to choose their preferred style in the colour I had chosen, being “cloud”. In the end, they choose the same dress, but having Zoiee and Jess in matching dresses wasn’t a concern of mine.
Ties: Black knitted ties from TM Lewin.
Bar: We really wanted to create a visual focal point on the outside lawn where the majority of our celebration would take place, so we hired a 4m white bar from local supplier Olive & Gin and styled it up with florals.
Favours: Right up until the week before the wedding, we weren’t planning on doing favours, mainly because we couldn’t agree on something memorable that we hadn’t seen before. If we were going to do it, we wanted it to feel personal and have an impact.
Then, with a week to go, we finally decided to buy every guest a minibar-sized bottle of their favourite spirit, or a spirit which sparks a memory of them for us. We packaged each one individually in a little box with a personalised note. It was a great way to get the party started and set the tone for a big night!
Cake: We opted for espresso martinis in place of a wedding cake and served locally-sourced ice-cream dixie cups from Gundowring in place of dessert, which were great as a roaming option. It was also a nice way to support a local business following the devastating bushfires.
Stationery / Signage: We did all our own stationery and signage using Canva.
Entertainment: DJ Eddy Mac from One More Song Entertainment. We were pretty clear on the type of vibe we wanted to create throughout the wedding day – sunset drinks, dinner and dance floor all had a distinct feel, and Eddy did a great job of achieving this. He absolutely nailed the brief, and even managed to coincidentally colour coordinate his green velvet jacket to the venue styling!
Transport: I got ready at Feathertop Winery in the lovely apartments onsite, so a bridal car was unnecessary. Andrew caught the bus with all of our guests from the Alpine Hotel in Bright to the wedding. It was an unexpected surprise for them and may have helped distract Andrew from his nerves (and hangover!).
Décor: Décor was kept to a minimum to let the venue speak for itself. Other than flowers, there were no additional styling props used.
Honeymoon: A few days after the wedding, Andrew and I flew out to Bali with eight of our closest friends for a quick getaway we coined “matemoon”. We stayed at Villa Tanjung on Nusa Lembongan, which was spectacular – we woke up to dolphins off the point every morning. Our plans for our actual honeymoon to Canada, RV-ing from Vancouver to Calgary and then onto the States, have been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19.
Other: We’d also like to thank the Bright Brewery, the venue for our recovery day drinks, who were very accommodating and gave us prime position on the back deck where we all settled in for the day.
Jordon Boyes from Those Wood Guys also did an awesome job making our custom cornhole boards, which we used as lawn games during sunset drinks, and are now in our backyard.