Real Wedding – Katrina & Hugh, Red Hill VIC
Romantic Red Hill was the perfect location for Katrina and Hugh to declare their commitment for each other in front of their much loved guests.
This perfect pair was able to mix black-tie with a relaxed vibe seamlessly, seeing them celebrate one big party with their family and friends, inclusive of children and their beloved dog Leo.
There’s no doubt that Katrina dazzled her groom and guests in a custom Georgia Young Couture gown, it’s darling details – delicate folds through the shoulder a beautiful statement bow at the back – were breathtaking, and her experience creating her dream gown was unforgettable.
It was important that Katrina and Hugh expressed to their guests how much they mean to them, so the handwritten personal notes they prepared, whilst time consuming, were completely worth it for the reactions they received.
This day is one full of love, laughter and a little bit of luxe, shot beautifully by Daniel Milligan.
In Katrina’s words…
Hugh and I met at university in 2009. We loosely ran around the same friendship circles but it took a couple years before we really took notice of each other. At some point, we started sharing lectures together and swapping notes after class (or really, he stole mine) and we’ve never been apart since!
I don’t think there was an exact moment in time but I think we knew pretty early on in our relationship that we had something special. From the onset, we spoke quite freely about our plans for the future and Hugh always joked about knowing the names of our future kids (in his mind, all boys!). I loved how Hugh had such big dreams for us and he made me feel very excited about building and sharing a life together.
In Daylesford in November 2018. Hugh had planned for us to have lunch at Sault – one of our all-time favourite restaurants. On the morning of, Hugh went out to clean his car and insisted we make our way to Daylesford well ahead of our lunch booking. I remember at the time thinking it was all a little odd, especially when he picked me up for the day wearing his best jacket. On the way, we stopped at a park and Hugh pulled out a picnic rug and basket. By this point I was very suspicious, but nothing could have prepared me for the beautiful ring that Hugh proposed with (I was so impressed that he had picked it out without any hints from me!). By coincidence and unbeknownst to him at the time, I had also made a booking at Sault for a few weeks later as a little surprise. I guess it was good that he got in first!
We started the search for potential venues quite quickly as we were keen to get married within a year or so of being engaged. With Hugh’s family recently acquiring a family home in Flinders, we knew that we wanted to have our wedding in the Mornington Peninsula region. We loved the idea of having an outdoor ceremony against a picturesque setting on a warm summer’s afternoon (Melbourne weather permitting). So when we set our eyes on the lush green grounds and romantic vineyard at Lindenderry at Red Hill, we knew that we had found the place for us. In fact, it ended up being the only venue we inspected together.
With the date we had in mind available (the Australia Day long weekend, which coincided with the start of the Chinese New Year), we were quick to lock in Lindenderry as our venue of choice within just a few weeks of our search. We knocked off all the big ticket items early on – photographer, videographer and florist, and importantly for us, engaged a stylist to help us bring our stylistic vision to life. We were so lucky to have worked with Julia from Rough + Rose who was fabulous and took so much stress out of the planning process for us!
It is probably fair to say that overall, I was much more involved in the planning side of things than Hugh. However, Hugh did execute incredibly well on the things that he had allocated himself responsibility for – compiling the wedding soundtrack, engaging an amazing six-piece band (the inclusion of a sax player a non-negotiable he had said), and organising the Australia Day recovery BBQ (although I’m pretty sure he delegated a lot of that work to his younger siblings).
One of the things we really enjoyed (unexpectedly) in the lead up to the big day was learning our first dance. It was nice having some time set aside each week to spend just with each other amongst the pre-wedding mayhem and it was so much fun – we couldn’t stop laughing the whole time.
The vision for our wedding day was to have one big party with our closest family and friends. We wanted a stylish, elegant and formal black tie affair, but with a fun, romantic and relaxed feel. Having kids attend the event and our dog Leo running around our feet throughout the day really added to the enjoyment of the celebrations.
We stuck with classic colours to bring out the lush vineyard surroundings at Lindenderry – black, white, blush pink and green with pops of gold everywhere. The bridal party outfits really added to the luxe look we were going for, with the bridesmaids wearing stunning pearl earrings and beautiful black crepe dresses featuring a big bow on the shoulder. My little brother (my bridesman!) and Hugh’s groomsmen scrubbed up nicely in their classic black and white tuxes (Hugh stood out a little, opting for midnight blue).
I absolutely loved the creative side of the process and working with Rough + Rose to add some extra magic to the day was definitely a highlight. Some of my favourite styling touches included the champagne tower on top of a gold bar table, a hanging 3.6 metre floral installation filled with fairylights, and a custom decal on the back mirror wall. I also loved the floral table centerpieces from Little Stag Floral Couture which included black roses that looked gorgeous next to the gold brushed cutlery, black linen napkins and hand scripted acrylic table numbers and menus. However, what brought the room together was an amazing neon light feature which formed part of the backdrop for the dancefloor. In hindsight, it was quite nice keeping Hugh a little in the dark on the styling process as he was really blown away with how the venue looked on the day.
For the both of us, it was most important that our friends and family felt special and knew how much they meant to us. And so for favors/bonbonnieres, we wrote individual handwritten notes that were placed into “lucky” gold envelopes (symbolic of the Chinese New Year) that we hid in personalised chocolate blocks (which doubled as name place cards) as a little surprise! Writing the personalised notes was one of the bigger, time-consuming projects in the lead up to the big day. However, the reactions from people made it completely worth it!
I had heard from so many people that “you’ll just know” when you’ve find the right dress. I was skeptical at first, but that’s exactly how I felt when I tried on my Georgia Young gown. I had initially visited a couple of boutiques in Armadale to get a sense of styles that might suit me but nothing quite grabbed my attention. I wanted something modern and unique with strong, clean lines which also gave that wow factor. The third place I visited was Georgia Young. When I saw the little pink door of Georgia’s studio in Carlton, I had a feeling that this was the place where I’d find the one for me.
My dress was based on one of Georgia’s gowns from her Marmalade RTW collection, which Georgia had especially recreated in a scuba fabric for me. I tried a number of dresses on that day at her studio, all absolutely stunning. I honestly could have been happy in any one of her gowns, but when I came out wearing the dress that I ultimately chose as my wedding gown, the reaction from Georgia and my bridesmaid Emma mirrored exactly how I felt at the time – I felt like a bride and knew I had found the perfect dress. Working one-on-one with Georgia to customise the gown was a truly special and unforgettable experience. I especially loved the delicate folds in the one shoulder strap, and the beautiful bow at the back of the dress.
I paired my gown with a simple veil (also made by Georgia), statement white and gold earrings from Christie Nicolaides, a Hermès bracelet Hugh had gifted me for my birthday a few years ago, and ivory shoes from Gucci. An addition of a pearl hair clip was the final piece of the puzzle.
It’s hard to pick just one. But holdings hands and looking at each other for the first time on our wedding day in front of all our loved ones at the ceremony was very special. Exchanging our vows was also a memorable moment, particularly because my vows were on the funnier side, while Hugh’s were more serious and sentimental – quite the opposite of what everyone was expecting from us! We also loved doing our first dance (although we were a little out of time!) and partying the night away with our nearest and dearest.
Meaning of marriage.
Being part of a partnership, making a commitment to spending our lives together and sharing in all the adventure and excitement that comes our way!
Aisle – Georgia by Vance Joy
Registry signing – Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
Ceremony exit – You’re My Best Friend by Queen
Reception entry – Shut Up and Dance With Me by Walk The Moon
Father/daughter and mother/son dance – Days Like This by Van Morrison
First dance – This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole
Funny stories (or near disasters).
We were lucky that there were no disasters on our wedding day. However, Hugh and I were intensely monitoring the weather in the lead up to the wedding given that our ceremony was outdoors. There was one day about two weeks out from the wedding when the forecast turned suddenly from sunshine to 90% chance of heavy rains with thunderstorms. We were pretty devastated at the time as we really hadn’t thought about a backup plan given our wedding was smack bang in the middle of summer (if anything, we thought we might be hit with a 40 degree day). Luckily, the forecast reverted back to warm and sunny the next day and fortunately stayed that way as we were blessed with a perfect summer’s afternoon for our big day.
Apart from that, the only other real challenge was organising the bridesmaids dresses across Melbourne, Sydney and London. I’d hate to think how many messages I sent the girls about their dresses. It probably didn’t help much that I decided to change the bridesmaids dresses a couple months out from the wedding!
How much there was to think about and how long things took to do. Our to-do list only seemed to grow as time went on.
Words of wisdom.
On a practical level, if you are getting married in late December or January (as we did), be sure to take into account how busy the festive season is and be mindful that some suppliers may take some time off during this period. The final weeks leading up to the wedding were super busy for us, especially between finalising our runsheet, confirming logistics/details with suppliers, ticking off our multiple checklists and trying to spend any spare moment we had in between with our families.
And if you can, don’t obsess over the weather forecast like we did – it will drive you mad, especially in Melbourne where anything is possible!
No matter how much you prepare, the day will never go 100% according to plan – but it’ll still feel like the perfect day! Enjoy every moment because once it comes to an end, you’ll want to do it all over again.
Need a Tribe of trusted suppliers to bring your dream day to life? Search our Ivory Tribe endorsed wedding day vendors in our directory.
KATRINA & HUGH’S TRIBE
Ceremony and reception venue: Lindenderry at Red Hill – Nothing was too much trouble for the wedding coordinators at Lindenderry and the staff at the reception provided top notch service on the night!
Celebrant/Officiant: A friend of ours, Father Tom, who knew Hugh throughout his high school years. Tom added a real personal touch to the ceremony and provided our guests with lots of laughs!
Photography: Daniel Milligan – Such a talent. Dan and his wife, Sara, were incredibly easy to work with and completely put us at ease throughout the day. The photos truly told the story of our day and captured the mood of the event, from the touching moments of the ceremony through to the epic partying on the dancefloor. We could not have been happier with our pics!
Videography: One Heart Studios – Jack and Jackson came along to document our day and worked so well with Dan. We loved their laid-back vibe and it was great to see their big friendly faces throughout the day. They had such great knowledge of the venue as well.
Styling: Julia from Rough + Rose – Working with Julia was an absolute joy and one of my favourite parts of the wedding planning process. Julia provided such a personalised experience and really understood our vision for the day. When I saw the styling brief she put together for us I knew that her work would be absolute magic. She worked tirelessly to ensure that all the stylistic details were executed to perfection and suggested so many wonderful styling elements. Her hubby even made the custom gold champagne bar for us!
Florist: Little Stag Floral Couture – Juliet and the team at Little Stag did an incredible job ensuring that the venue looked absolutely spectacular. The hanging floral installation was just gorgeous!
Hair and make-up: Sophie Knox – The girls and I had an absolute ball spending the morning getting ready with Sophie. Sophie really nailed the brief and we all loved our hair and make up for the day.
Bridesmaid’s accessories: Earrings from Amelie George Bridal – I loved these so much I bought a pair for myself too!
Groom and Groomsmen’s suits: P. Johnson Tailors – The boys absolutely raved about their experience here. Their suit fitting sessions would suspiciously take up hours and hours of the afternoon!
Bow ties: P. Johnson Tailors.
Cake: Miss Ladybird Cakes.
Stationery / Signage: All hand scripted acrylic signage by Rough + Rose.
Entertainment: The White Tree – A huge shout out to Mark for all his help in the lead up to the day, and Garth on keys! The White Tree provided all the entertainment throughout the ceremony, pre-dinner drinks and reception. The band really had the dancefloor going all night long and engaged amazingly with the guests, giving us the party we had dreamed of!
Transport: Mornington Chauffeured Limousines.
Ice Cream: From our favourite local ice cream store in Flinders, Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. This was a real hit with the guests!
Honeymoon: Two and a half weeks across Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. We left a couples days right after the wedding (highly recommended if you can do it).