Real Wedding – Kate & Brad, Nagambie VIC
From their first moments of planning, Kate and Brad were united in their vision of their day, an incredible celebration involving all their family and friends, epic in scale and emotion.
Every element of the carefully considered event was chosen to reflect Kate and Brad. The result is a summer soiree crafted around incredible foods, endless atmosphere and lashings of light-hearted romance.
Choosing their theme to enhance the natural vista of Mitchelton Winery rather than overwhelm it lead to a style scape of natural textures and lush greenery with a twist of the tropics. A boldly blissful palette of warm taupe, sweet vanillas and accents of cerise sing alongside terracotta tones and bursts of amber.
Kate cuts a stunning silhouette in her sleek, classic-contemporary gown by one of our faves, Georgia Young Couture. Only upstaged by the electric energy of these two newlyweds, captured in smouldering style by photographer extraordinaire Eliza at Lou Lou Memphis.
Brad and I first laid eyes on each other at a bar about eight years ago and were introduced through a mutual friendship group. We continued to cross paths from time to time within this same friendship group, and a couple of years later, with a combination of right place, right time for the both of us, we went on our first date, which was closely followed by a second, third, fourth and so on!
As cliché as it sounds, I knew from the moment I met Brad that he would be a part of my life forever in one way or another. Our first date was when I knew he was ’the one’. Brad took me to dinner at a beautiful restaurant, and when we finally stopped talking after hours of conversation, we looked around the room, and we were the only ones left in the venue with all the chairs packed up on tables and staff waiting for us to leave so they could go home. We were so completely lost in conversation that we took no notice of anything other than each other, and I soon realized the sheer significance of that connection and what it meant.
We were about two weeks into our seven-week dream trip through Africa in December 2018. We had been planning this trip for about 12 months, and Brad was set on revisiting one of his favourite places, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (he had been there a few years earlier). Since he was familiar with Zimbabwe, he took the reins on planning the few days we had allocated there, and it happened to land on Christmas Day within our itinerary. In the weeks leading up to the trip, he told me he was having some challenges locking in accommodation due to it being Christmas, and there was only backpacker accommodation left. We arrived and little did I know he had actually booked a 5-Star Elephant Safari Lodge months earlier, which I had been begging him to book. He disguised this surprise as my Christmas present, so I had NO idea he was going to propose. That afternoon we visited the Falls and walked along the hiking trails, we stopped at one particular spot, and Brad set up the GoPro on the tripod to take a photo of us, but instead, he got down on one knee in front of me. We were drenched from the spray of the waterfalls and completely surrounded by rainbows; it was beyond perfect and beyond unexpected!
Along with many other engaged couples over the last 12 months, our planning process and lead-up were interrupted by COVID19 and all the uncertainty that came with it. We had postponed twice throughout 2020, and our February wedding almost didn’t happen as Melbourne went into a snap five-day lockdown the weekend prior. However, we always remained optimistic, took it in our stride and understood that it was completely out of our control and we would get there one day. The silver lining was that the buildup and anticipation made for one hell of a celebration once we got there!
When Brad and I started planning our wedding back in early 2019, we both wrote down what the number one most important part of our dream wedding day was. When we both revealed what that number one priority was, it was evident we were on the same page, and the rest of the planning was going to be seamless. Our family and friends were the number one ingredient to our celebration, so to have them all in the same room together, witnessing and celebrating our love for each other, was non-negotiable. A big wedding was never questioned by either of us, so throughout the many ups and downs of covid, our priority remained the same, and that was to be able to have all our guests there – we are just so thankful that we were able to do so in the end and show our loved ones how appreciative we are for their impact on our lives.
Brad and I absolutely loved working together to plan the biggest party of our lives, and fortunately, we both have a lot of experience in planning and coordinating events, so we were able to manage the whole process ourselves quite seamlessly. It was really nice for us to share the responsibility and discuss all the finer details together, which just made the lead-up so much more exciting as we both knew that the party we were planning for our guests was going to be a big one!
It was important to us that we chose a venue that reflected not only us as a couple but everything that we love about our life together. Brad and I both grew up in country Victoria, so we knew we wanted a regional wedding, surrounded by nature rather than an urban setting. We love experiences, travel, drinking fine wine, eating amazing food, impromptu weekends away and socializing with friends and family. Mitchelton completely reflected us as a couple, ticked all the boxes and aligned with our vision of what we wanted our guests to experience for our wedding weekend. We booked it the day we saw it without needing to look elsewhere! We always loved the idea of our celebration being a mini destination wedding given we had guests travelling from many different parts of Victoria (and Australia), so having an opportunity to spend more time with our guests, instead of just on the actual wedding day, was going to make it all that little bit more special. So we chose to do a hotel buy-out at Mitchelton, which allowed us to have full flexibility with utilizing the areas that we wanted to around the venue and have all our guests stay at the hotel for the weekend. We had arrival drinks by the hotel pool, the ceremony on the grass looking over the small river deck, canapes on the terrace, followed by the reception in the Montage Room. We were able to take our guests on a (walkable) journey at Mitchelton, so they got to share and experience the beauty of the whole venue, which we loved.
We reached out to our dream team vendors once the date and venue were locked in and thankfully were able to secure them. Being in the event and marketing industry for a fashion label, I had either worked with a lot of these vendors previously or had known someone who had and spoke very highly of them. So, when the time came to book them for my own event, I had the list ready and waiting! The support, flexibility and understanding we received from the team at Mitchelton and our incredible vendors during the planning process were truly amazing, and we are so grateful to each and every one of them. I honestly couldn’t have asked for better suppliers to share our special day with!
Mitchelton is surrounded by so much natural beauty that the venue itself was the centre point of our styling design. We wanted to ensure that all elements complemented everything that was a part of the venue, like the furniture, the colour palette and the overall ambience. We worked with Jessie from Ruby & James to bring our styling vision to life, and she completely exceeded our expectations with what she and our florist Bronte were able to create together.
Elegant with a fun modern twist is how we would describe our style for the day. We were inspired by elements of weddings we loved and combined all these touches to create our dream day that was perfectly us. Brad and I are big foodies, so excellent food and wine were important to us, and the way in which it was served was a big part of the styling brief. We incorporated mini grazing boards as part of the tablescape and had a shared style feasting menu which was reflective of us as a couple – we ALWAYS share our food when we dine out!
We wanted there to be a summery romantic feeling throughout the venue, so getting the lighting right in the reception space with an abundance of candles was important. Two end-to-end long tables created a statement reception room set up with us, and our bridal party sat amongst our guests.
Our florals were organic in shape yet polished and refined in style with a colour palette of white, blush, nude and pops of peach and terracotta and surrounded by lush green foliage. The same colour palette was reflected in our signage which was custom designed and built and made for a key styling element to the space.
Our vision was always a black-tie wedding with a big party vibe, and our incredible live entertainment was fundamental to seeing this vision come to life. We were lucky enough to have our dear friend Sean Marchetti pull together the most epic mix of talented musicians for our special day, as well as having him perform alongside them. The entertainment built throughout the day – starting with instrumental jazz performed by a stand-up bass and guitar duo by the pool for arrivals, live acoustic for the ceremony, five-piece band for canapes and lead vocalist Joys to kick start the dancefloor. Our entertainment was always considered as part of the overall style and was without a doubt an absolute highlight!
Our ceremony took place on the small river deck and grass in front of the Terrace, overlooking the river. Guests had been poolside for arrival drinks beforehand, so the ceremony had a relaxed and fun feel to it. We were blessed with a warm summer’s day, but there was cloud cover and a breeze which made the outdoor ceremony comfortable enough for everyone. Our seven-month-old nephew and six-week-old niece started the proceedings by bringing the rings to Brad and the groomsman (with the help of their parents), which was a special moment as they were both born during our postponement stage so to have them be a part of our wedding day meant the world to us. I followed my four bridesmaids with my Dad down the aisle whilst our dear friend Sean sang live.
Our ceremony was a celebration of love, family and friends and our celebrant Jess Hills could not have encapsulated our feelings towards each other (and marriage) more perfectly. After first meeting Jess four years ago at a good friend’s wedding, Brad and I knew that she would be the perfect fit for us, and we had complete trust in her to deliver such a meaningful ceremony. The ceremony that Jess created was unique, personable, relaxed yet meaningful and with a little humour and sweetness throughout. She balanced out the light-heartedness with the sense of what we are committing to through the act of marriage perfectly, which ensured it was heartful and genuine.
Brad and I wrote our own vows, which was something that we both felt strongly about doing from the beginning. Sharing our love and commitment to one another so honestly in front of our loved ones is a significant moment in life and one that we will fondly remember forever. We worked closely with Jess to gracefully acknowledge those special loved ones who were no longer with us in the ceremony, and this was a really heartfelt and important moment that was executed beautifully. We had two readings throughout the ceremony, one by Brad’s sister and the other by a very close friend of ours, which were both chosen by the girls themselves and heard by us for the first time on the day.
The most significant and special part about our ceremony was when we signed our wedding certificate and had my 89-year-old Pa and Brad’s 93-year-old Nana as our witnesses. They are both widowed but share a wonderful bond since meeting when Brad and I started dating many years ago. We are so close to both of them and admire everything they continue to achieve in life that it was incredibly special to be able to share such an integral life moment with them both. Our mothers also signed as secondary witnesses, and we all sobbed through the signing as it well and truly pulled the heartstrings!
My style, in general, is quite simple and classic, so I knew my wedding dress wasn’t going to differ from that when I started the process. From my many hours of scrolling Instagram, I think like most females, I had plenty of screenshots of wedding dress styles I loved, but they were soon quickly deleted once I actually started to try on dresses, and I realized those silhouettes, fabrics, and styles weren’t the look for me!
I had booked in four or five appointments over one weekend at different dress designers and liked a couple of styles but didn’t get that “feeling” that most brides speak of when they describe the moment that they found the one. I had an appointment booked a week later with Georgia Young, who I had been recommended by two of my friends who had her make their wedding dresses. My bridesmaid Bianca handed me one style that she saw on the rack that I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up. I tried it on, and the silhouette couldn’t have been more perfect for my body shape and my style. The look on my bridesmaid’s faces said it all, and I instantly felt that it was the one.
I had the dress custom made to fit perfectly to my body shape, and there were some minor changes we made in the final fitting. Georgia was so welcoming and is such a warm and talented designer; she made the whole experience so exciting and not one that was stressful at all. I had three fittings, and she also made my veil which completed the look. My earrings were from Amélie George Bridal, and I had some fun gold hexagon-shaped heels from Bianca Buccheri, which I absolutely adored.
It’s truly so hard to pick just one!! Every moment was the absolute best; I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face the entire day. But apart from the moment I was officially Brad’s wife, my favourite moment was when our reception commenced, and we entered the Montage Room to a sea of our loved ones with the biggest smile on their faces. We went straight into our first dance, and the moment our song finished, all our guests joined us on the dancefloor, and we all danced to Dancing in The Moonlight. Entrées hadn’t even been served, and the pure happiness and joy that we were surrounded with and felt in the room at that very moment is a feeling of magic that will stay with me forever.
Meaning of marriage.
To me, marriage is a lifelong commitment and a promise to your best friend that you will always be their number one teammate through the good and the bad. It’s about declaring your love and commitment in front of those whom you are closest and promising to love without reservation. It’s about a lifetime of encouraging, celebrating and supporting each other.
Our ceremony songs were performed live by Sean Marchetti & David Tweedie.
Aisle: A beautiful acoustic rendition by our dear friend (and wedding singer) Sean Marchetti of You’ve Got The Love by Florence and the Machine
Signing: XO by John Mayer
Recessional: My Girl by The Temptations
Reception entry: Lights & Music by Cut Copy
First dance: No One by Alicia Keys
Funny stories or near disasters.
With our wedding being a mini destination wedding, we ended up having the majority of our guests arrive at Mitchelton the day before the wedding, so we decided to plan a “Reverse Recovery” in the form of a pool party. Excitement levels were high, and quite a number of people had first night fever, which made for many sore heads on the wedding day!
No, I can’t say there was! I think our past experience with planning and managing events helped with knowing what to expect with planning; however, of course, a global pandemic took us by surprise!
Words of wisdom.
One planning recommendation we have for couples to consider is to not rush off to your photos following the ceremony and instead take 30 mins to have a drink with your guests, mingle and enjoy the buzz (if time permits, of course!). The moments following the ceremony are really special, and you are on such a high that you want to stay and experience that feeling amongst your guests and not immediately remove yourself from it. The genuine happiness your guests are feeling for you after witnessing your marriage is something that you want to be a part of and celebrate. It gave us and our bridal party a chance to relax, say hello to everyone and kick start the party with a champagne tower! Of course, getting your photos are important but to us, staying present during this time and being involved with that part of the day was our priority.
It’s also important to remember that the wedding isn’t a show. As long as you are both happy and you become husband and wife, then that’s all that matters. Remain present, take the moments together to reflect on the incredible feeling of the day and cherish every moment.
Love Kate’s stunningly chic gown? Georgia Young is sublimely talented and we simply can’t get enough of her creations. Check out her latest collection on our blog, here.
KATE & BRAD’S VENDORS:
Ceremony & reception venue: Mitchelton Wines, Nagambie VIC
Celebrant: Jess Hills
Photography: Eliza Harrison from Loulou Memphis
Videography: Moon & Back Co
Styling: Ruby & James
Florist: Blonde Florals
Hair: Tahlia Jayde
Make-up: Carla Dyson
Shoes: Bianca Buccheri
Rings: Blizzards Fine Jewellers
Groomsmen’s suits and bow ties: Peter Jackson Australia
Catering and bar: Mitchelton Wines,
Cake: One Sweet Baker by Jenaya
Stationery / Signage: Cudesign & Star Displays
Hire: Bentley & Bobbi Events
Honeymoon: Minimoon to Byron Bay (stayed at Byron at Byron) straight after the wedding and honeymoon booked for June in Queenstown, New Zealand!
Other: Champagne Tower by Cocktails 2 U