Real Wedding – Katie & Mat, Ballarat VIC
Katie and Mat chose beautiful Ballarat as the perfect place to seal the deal, after happening across their gorgeous venue on a walk prior to even becoming engaged.
As Katie made her way down the aisle in a Georgia Young Couture gown there were plenty of smiles and tears from all in attendance, followed by the moving moment of surprising one another with their personalised wedding vows.
They kept their styling classic, modern and reflective of them both, keeping their colour scheme simple and statement pieces to a minimum, instead allowing their venue to create the ambiance they were after – and truly, all the heart and soul they needed could be found between them and those they love most.
After sneaking away for some breathtakingly beautiful portraits with Katie Harmsworth, this day looks to have been perfect – from start to finish.
Mat and I met in early 2009, not long after I had graduated High School, he had previously taken a gap year and we both enrolled to the same course at Uni here in Ballarat. On the first day of class we were introduced through one of the ‘get to know your peers’ modules and instantly clicked. I had however noticed him prior to class and do remember making a comment to my friend about the good-looking guy I had just passed. However, our relationship, just needed the right timing to take off. Over the years our paths kept crossing. It was 2013 when the timing really fell into place, and as they say, the rest is history.
I would say that I always knew Mat was the one. The way our relationship developed over the years I knew he was something special. However, it became more certain to us both after meeting each other’s parents, it really just seemed right.
We were building our first home, and that’s where Mat proposed – it was a Friday night at sunset in July 2018. He was on school holidays at the time and had spent the day preparing to make sure that everything would go to plan (he even messaged our builder and spoke to a few other tradesmen to make sure that there would be no one on site after 5pm).
As we had pulled up to the house there were all of these colourful balloons on the building fence. At the same time, my phone had fallen down the side of the seat (talk about timing hey) and Mat quickly got out of the car (I was completely unaware he was so panicked as he thought that the balloons had given away the surprise). As I made my way into the house, he yelled out to me saying “they’ve left something here, come look”. As I walked into the room, he began to play Hayley Reinhearts cover of “Can’t help falling in love” – I instantly went to tears, completely shocked. After telling me I needed to hold it together, he took my hand, said some really lovely things, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
The night didn’t end there, little did I know that he had another surprise (and more tears) to add to the evening. He had organised for our immediate family (including my younger sister who he flew down from Queensland) to be there waiting at the restaurant cheering us on as we arrived. It couldn’t have been any better.
Oh! And the colourful balloons were not arranged by Mat, we found out a few weeks later that the two tradesmen who had been working on the house next door to ours put them there.
Planning became a huge part of my nights and weekends and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Initially we took a few months to embrace in the engagement bubble before we slowly started the planning process. Selecting our venue was our first part of wedding planning. Prior to becoming engaged we came across Willow + Stone Estate during a walk. With this venue being high on our radar for a while, it was the first place we contacted. After our tour and meeting with the venue owner Leisha we knew it was the perfect fit and quickly penciled in our wedding date. We had visited one other venue in that time, and there was honestly no comparison
After officially having our venue and date set, we began locking in our other suppliers such as our photographer, videographer, florist, caterer etc as knowing their talent I wanted to ensure we didn’t miss out on booking them. Other elements that made up our day really fell into place along the way.
Classic, modern and simply ‘us’.
Mat and I wanted our wedding to feel soft and inviting. Having the beautiful green surrounds of Willow + Stone Estate as our backdrop, I kept our colour palette selection small and our statement pieces to a minimum, knowing that would be all that we needed to create the wedding ambiance we wanted, and that it would complement both our attire, as well as our bridal parties.
I wore the beautiful Waldorf gown by Georgia Young Couture. I had pre-booked appointments at only three designers in Melbourne, and took along my step-mum, nanna and best friend (and bridesmaid) Jess. I had seen some beautiful styles but went into the day with an open mind, Georgia’s showroom was our first stop. The Waldorf gown was the first dress I tried on, and as soon as I saw myself in it, I knew that this was my dress – and so did everyone else with me. I still continued on with the day trying on other dresses, and I even ended up cancelling my last appointment to whisk right back to Georgia’s to re try on the Waldorf gown which really cemented my decision. Georgia was so incredible to deal with, she always made me laugh and feel so comfortable. Having the designer work with you at every stage makes it so lovely and personable.
Katie: Can I say all of it? There are so many special moments that made our day what it was, it is hard to pinpoint one. But if I had to choose, it would have been the moment I shared with my dad before he walked me down the aisle, and without a doubt seeing Mat for the first time – I don’t think my smile has ever been so big.
Mat: Standouts from the day would have been hearing Katie’s vows for the first time, as we wrote our own. And officially being introduced as Mr & Mrs – with all the epic celebrations that followed with my new wife and our guests.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage is knowing that you will always have that someone – your person, who you will share the most special and tender moments of life with, and who you will love and will love you in return.
Aisle: Fallen so Young by Declan J Donovan
Signing: Girls like you – Acoustic cover by Matt Johnson
Exit: The Whole of the Moon by The Waterboys
Reception Entry: Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Segar
Father Daughter dance: Simply the best (James Bay cover) – sung by Rhys from Baker Boys Band
First Dance: Resolution by Matt Corby
Funny stories (or near disasters).
My bridesmaid Jess and I were giving my dress a final steam to take away any small creases when it started to spit out brown water. Nervous and panicked, we both assessed the dress a million times and I don’t know how but thankfully nothing ended up on it.
Spreadsheets, spreadsheets and more spreadsheets. I am a very thorough person, so I am glad that I took the advice of our close friends when they suggested we use one.
Words of wisdom.
Try to not stress over the small things, enjoy it all – the planning and moments in between do become some of your fondest memories. So, remember that it does all come together, and the day is even more magical than you can imagine, as you get to marry your person.
It is true what they say – the day really does go by so fast, but its honestly the best day of your life – having all of your family and friends there celebrating you both is so special. I also highly suggest sneaking off for a moment, just the two of you to take it all in.
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MATT AND KATIE’S VENDORS
Ceremony and Reception venue / location: Willow and Stone Estate in Ballarat.
Leisha and Carlos own Willow and Stone, and we can safely say that if the venue doesn’t blow you away their above and beyond natures definitely will. Leisha quickly became more than just the owner to us, she became a friend and someone we highly trusted to give advice and recommendations for suppliers – whom of which we ended up booking and are so glad were a part of our day.
Celebrant/Officiant: Jilly Martino Celebrancy
Jilly was recommended by my Dad who he had known for years, it was so lovely to have someone who had a connection to our family officiate our day.
Photography: Katie Harmsworth
Not only is she super incredibly talented, but she instantly makes you feel comfortable. I knew we had made the right choice in booking Katie when she made not only myself, but Mat feel so comfortable and laugh a-lot during our very first meeting (which was over skype). Katie has a way of effortlessly capturing every detail and moment from your day resulting in the most beautiful images for you to cherish forever.
Videography: Annette and Dani Films
These two ladies create magic and are honestly true professionals! We feel so lucky to have been able to have them capture our day and are still so lost for words with our wedding video.
Styling: All styling done by Bride
Florist: Sarah Penhall – Love Lies Bleeding Flowers
When you only ask for a palette of white and green florals, she delivers. Never have I ever seen such white roses before – they were incredible. Both Sarah and her husband’s extra efforts and attention to detail really enhanced our overall look for the day.
Hair: Boutique Hair Parlour
Make Up: B&Co beauty
The Dress and veil: Georgia Young Couture
Attending a consultation with Georgia at the Georgia Young Couture showroom should be high on any brides list. All of her gowns are modern yet timeless with their own unique detail.
Shoes: Atmos and Here
Rings: Gems and Jewels Ballarat
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Fame and Partners
Groomsmen’s suits: Peter Jackson
Bow ties / ties: Peter Jackson
Catering: Charlton Catering – AMAZING food and Tracet is even more wonderful to deal with.
Bar: ‘The Bar’ at Willow and Stone Estate.
There was no hesitation when deciding whether to book ‘The Bar’ or not, with different packages available and working closely with the owners who know you and your wedding, it was the easy choice. Leisha also spent hours helping us create our delicious signature cocktail ‘The Sir Henri’ – which we named after our little Cavoodle dog, Henri.
Favors: We treated our guests to alcoholic desserts (Charlton Catering) and beverages on arrival.
Cake / Cake topper: Taylah.Cake by Taylah Blake
Hire: Memphis Hire & Bride (my Father in-law built our signage frames – so lucky)
Other: Neon Sign and Wishing well were purchased through E and I Custom Designs
Honeymoon: America – LA, New York & San Francisco