Real Wedding – Kirsty & Michael, Dorroughby NSW
A rainforest oasis of calm, an epic community of family and friends, and an exquisite sense of style make Kirsty and Michael’s wedstival one for the books.
From their elaborately planned proposal to the series of memory-making moments leading into the wedding, these two are all about dialling up the love and fun with their nearest and dearest. So when it came time to saying their I do’s, there was no doubt their people would rally.
Kirsty is a vision of natural beauty, giving super glam vibes as she makes her way through the lush landscape to Michael, who cuts a sharp contemporary silhouette in shades of soft oatmeal and burnished latte. The smile on his face as he sees his bride is once in a lifetime. Kirsty’s fabulous ceremony fit is by the talented Marianna Hardwick, a dream of modern draping with a super chic split.
We love the switch to a stunning sheath by Kyha, complete with super cool flats and sleek undo, ready to absolutely rock the dance floor. And rock it they did – read on for the details on this truly incredible dance medley, captured to perfection by photographer superstar Love and Other.
It was my 25th birthday, and I (Kirsty) invited all my favourite people to Fargo in Richmond.
I had no idea Michael was coming until a few hours before when a friend texted me saying, ‘I’m bringing a mate with me tonight because you two are going to hit it off as he is a huge dork just like you.’ Obviously, I was taken aback as I genuinely thought I was cool, so I was pretty confused.
The night proceeded, and we moved on to the ever-so-classy Swan Hotel. Here we shared our first kiss whilst our feet were stuck to the floor from the spillage of vodka cruisers – and the rest was history.
We knew very quickly as we both felt so calm and loved in each other’s presence. We always say that true love feels peaceful, calming and safe; that’s when you know you’ve found the one.
Michael’s family had planned a trip to Darwin to celebrate Michael’s brother Luke’s 30th birthday. However, Michael had decided this would also be a great opportunity to propose with his family surrounding him, and all that was left to do was convince my family to also come up to Darwin.
On the night of my birthday, we were having dinner when Michael casually asked my parents and brother if they would also like to come up to Darwin, to which they quickly responded, ‘Nah.’ So, later in the evening, I went to take a phone call outside, and Michael took the opportunity to get my family alone to explain that, in fact, the reason he had asked was because he was going to propose in Darwin. Before he could even finish the sentence, they all immediately said, ‘we will be there!’
The next six months were all about the planning and me (Kirsty) being completely oblivious as to what was going on. For example, everyone had an itinerary for the upcoming trip. Michael had created a fake custom one for me, different from everyone else’s, so I had no idea that my family was going to be there. Another favourite secret of mine was when Michael’s mum saved my mum’s number in her phone under a fake name, in case I asked who was calling (she had even made a whole elaborate story that it was a girl from her high school).
On this trip, we were going camping in Kakadu (can I say I am not the usual camper type); however, because this was what Michael’s brother wanted for his birthday, I committed and promised myself that I would say yes to everything. So, before the trip even started, I had told everyone, ‘This is my YES trip, so I will say yes to everything’. Everyone would always laugh every time I said it, and now it makes complete sense why.
Michael had organised a picnic at sunset at Ubbir rock in Kakadu, so we commenced walking up the rock to find the perfect spot to watch the sunset from. Moments later, on top of Ubbir, Michael went down on one knee and asked the very special question with my dream seafoam sapphire ring in hand. I said yes with utter joy. Then, out of nowhere, my dad, mum, brother and his girlfriend Hayley are running towards me, having watched the whole proposal. At this moment, tears were running down my face, and it was honestly the greatest joy I have ever experienced in my entire life.
It was honestly the most perfect proposal, and I remember just standing in that moment knowing that I was the luckiest woman in the world, being surrounded by our families, the sunset and the man of my dreams. We then spent a week with our families, creating more memories.
The wedding process was so much fun; I loved the incredible time spent with Michael, our families and best friends in the lead-up.
We made sure to create fun events and moments along the way to make the process super fun and create memories along the way – including a wine/cocktail tasting night with close friends, trips to Byron with each other and our family and dance classes with our families in the lead-up.
Planning an interstate wedding definitely came with its logistical challenges, but I truly loved every moment of planning it.
Being in the rainforest is where we both feel most calm in this world and how we feel when with each other, and we really wanted a place that reflected this. As soon as we discovered Nightcap Ridge, we instantly knew this was the place we were going to get married as it was just us.
We always wanted our wedding to be festival-like and go over a few days, as we love to party. One of the best parts about our wedding venue was that we were able to book the venue for four days! So we had the wedding party stay four nights with us, and 40 guests in total stayed on-site in cottages and glamping tents for two nights (wedding and recovery night).
I drew a lot of inspiration from The You and Me Podcast; it was actually through one of the episodes on the podcast that I discovered my wedding venue. Our photography and videography team (Love & Other) were also an incredible source of help and inspiration through their amazing socials.
Our ceremony was our FAVOURITE part of the day. One of our best mates was our celebrant, which was so special, and he was absolutely incredible (shout out to Will Ponsford)!
Fergus James, who I work closely with (also a close friend), sung me down the aisle, which we loved so much as he is a very special person in our life and an incredible singer.
Two of our best mates also made a personal poem for us, which they recited during the ceremony, which brought us to tears of laughter and happiness.
A funnier moment of the ceremony was when Michael accidentally called me his ‘weathered wife’ instead of ‘wedded wife’, which made everyone laugh.
My first wedding dress was from Marianna Hardwick. I fell in love with this particular design and knew it was the dress for me. I felt it was the perfect mix of classic elegance with a twist with the leg split.
My second dress was from Kyha Studios, and I cut off the train of the dress to be able to dance the night away with ease.
My favourite purchase, however, was my Jimmy Choo’s, which I bought in Las Vegas months before.
We loved the ceremony; it was just the perfect mix of love and laughter.
The father/daughter dance was, however, my favourite memory of the day, as the amount of planning and practice that went into it was insane, but it all worked out perfectly in the end! Everyone was always expecting something epic from Michael and me, so we knew we had to deliver and then some. First, we created a ten-minute track compiled of a mix of songs produced by the amazing Marc D’Angelo. I then took the track to the insanely talented Mike Snell, who came up with the whole choreography, which consisted of the iconic dances of Beat It, Gangham Style and Soulja Boy. Halfway through the dance Michael, his mum, and his grandma came out with a smoke gun and smoked dad and I off the stage and did their own dance routine together to Dancing Queen and Shake a Tail Feather. The ending was then Michael and I finishing with a salsa routine to Let’s Get Loud and a confetti cannon. It was truly EPIC!
Meaning of marriage.
Getting married to us is a lifetime commitment to your person and putting their feelings alongside your own. It is a promise to laugh, cry and hold each other through life’s ups and downs and everything in between.
Aisle: Old Stars by Fergus James and I Like Me Better by Lauv
Recessional: Love You For a Long Time by Maggie Roger
Reception entry: From this Moment by Shania Twain
First dance: Love by Chvrches (Triple J Like a Version)
Father / daughter dance: Simply The Best by Billianne, then into a 10-minute mash-up of songs.
Last song: Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap
Funny stories or near disasters.
SO MANY; I’ll mention a couple of noteworthy ones below:
Our wedding coordinator cancelled on us three days out, so we had to organise another one.
Two weeks before our wedding, I checked the weather forecast, and it was predicting 70-80 mls of rain; however, it did not even end up raining a drop!
There were also small leeches in the grass area during the ceremony, so a few of our guests also got bitten by leeches (but it was a funny story).
Just how kind, generous and giving our close friends and family were. We felt so loved and supported by our loved ones through the whole process beyond expectations.
Words of wisdom.
Do not check the weather; it will constantly change, so just ensure you have a wet weather plan!
Enjoy the process and create some fun moments in the lead-up, as the lead-up is all part of the experience.
Trust your gut when it comes to suppliers; even if they are recommendations, you will know if they are the right fit for you.
I had my brother as my Bridesman, and it was honestly the best decision I made, as we’re super close. Choose whoever you want to stand beside you.
One of our favourite things we did in the lead-up was to write handwritten letters to all our guests about how much they meant to us and why they were here on our special day. It was truly beautiful, and lots of people said how much they loved receiving the letter.
Love Kirsty’s gorgeous gown? We’re so into the stunning split trend we’ve collated some of our favourite real wedding fits – so on point, so super flattering. Check out the round-up, here.
KIRSTY & MICHAEL’S VENDORS
Ceremony & reception venue: Nightcap Ridge, Byron Bay Hinterland
Celebrant: Will Ponsford
Photography & videography: Love & Other
Florist: Pomp & Splendour
Hair & make-up: Isabella Jane Hair and Make-up
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Rings: Cushla Whiting
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec + Bridge
Suits: MJ Bale
Catering, bar & champagne tower: Secret Chef Catering
Hire: The One Day House