Real Wedding – Lauren & Rich, Sutherlands Creek VIC
Inspired by the timeless beauty of the 1950’s Kennedy wedding, Lauren and Rich channelled true New York-chic as they wed on a treasured family property.
In a polished, yet naturally beautiful country setting, the bride made her way down the lush green lawns of the private estate, wowing her groom and her guests in a custom-made Steven Khalil gown – she was the epitome of beauty and grace.
The atmosphere was electric as the pair vowed to love one another forever and as the sun set on their stunning celebration, Amy Oliver was there to lovingly capture it all.
IN LAUREN’S WORDS…
We first met at school where Rich was two years above me. We shared our first kiss not that long after in Mooloolaba. I had a major crush!
Thanks to our siblings and our friends, we had many, many run ins throughout the following years and I was always a little nervous around him – I still thought he was pretty intriguing. I was so happy when we finally decided to be serious and I could call him my boyfriend.
Rich was my first really serious crush in high school, so if you read my diary from back then I probably could’ve told you he was ‘the one’ when I was 15! Haha! Unfortunately, 5 pages later there would’ve been a new ‘one’ and so on!
Since that time we had many occasions of ‘almost’ but never properly getting our acts together – I think our paths continually meeting was a bit of a sign it was meant to be.
After a few years together and at this age, anytime you go on holiday, friends and family give subtle and some very not-so-subtle hints that they think you are going to become engaged. When we left for Hawaii, this was no exception! On the first day away I was still getting texts and snap chats about this, and I had a bit of a freak out. Rich reassured me everything was ok, no need to feel pressured and just forget about it. Phew! I was being silly – a proposal was probably the furthest thing from Rich’s mind!
So I was actually surprised when 5 days later he proposed during an early morning walk to a beautiful banyan tree close to where we were staying. We made it to the amazing tree and Rich suggested we go out onto the beach to see how far we’d come – our resort was on the point. After taking in the beautiful and private view, I suggested we head back for breakfast (I was getting hungry!) Rich asked me to ‘come here first’ and sat me on his knee in a very nervous manner. OH MY GOD screamed my brain. He then asked me to marry him in a few short and sweet words. As soon as I said yes he was fine – totally relieved. But I was a mess! It took me the whole walk back to feel normal again!
I definitely didn’t think I would cry (and I didn’t!) but I didn’t anticipate feeling totally different! It’s a nice but crazy idea that someone who knows you so well (even all the bad parts!) still wants to spend their life with you. It freaked me out a bit – I kept asking if he was sure he wanted to marry me, and he kept saying yes (thank goodness!) We walked back and I wasn’t hungry anymore at all. We relaxed for the entire day, then rang our family and friends over champagne while the sun set. It was nice to have our little secret for the day together. Then we went out for an awesome dinner and got smashed!
As a midday wedding, we liked the idea of a garden party vibe. After trawling Pinterest and not finding a lot I loved, I settled on one inspo photo – it was a picture of JFK and Jackie’s wedding, 1953 by Time photographer Lisa Larsen. I loved the crisp white linen, really long tables and clean version of old-world glam.
Also, we wanted to keep the focus on the beautiful property, so clean and white features felt natural – it let the beautiful surroundings speak for itself. We added a touch of gold and berries in our florals as a nod to autumn (we were married in March) and stationed small circular tables with bentwood chairs and florals around the garden for people to relax and socialize around, pre and post lunch. Our outdoor New York style bar overflowing with flowers was one of my favourite things – it really made the garden a feature and let people relax into the outdoor setting, before lunch in the marquee.
For later, we also had an indoor lounge area with chesterfield couches to add to that NY-throw back, while still feeling natural in warm tan leather, next to a long bar that people (mainly the boys!) could stand around, and feel like they were in their local pub. Our bartenders and wait-staff were great!
All of my extended family live in Sydney, so I always thought I’d go there to look for my dress to have extra excuses for visiting them! I did look in Melbourne, but didn’t find anything I got ‘emotional’ over – my Mum and sister who both came with me, decided we just weren’t the kind of people to have a moment or cry over a dress! But when we walked into Steven Khalil in Paddington I knew I would find success there. My mum pointed out an incredible dress, and it turned out they’d never made it before. When I tried it on, we all had ‘the moment’ and got teary eyed after all! Being in Sydney also meant my Grandma, who wasn’t able to fly down for the wedding, could come to my final fitting and be the first to see me in the dress, which was very, very special.
Walking down the aisle (which really was the whole lawn – from the bluestone house to the river. About 300 meters!) with my dad towards Rich was the best feeling ever. I was so excited! Seeing our families happy faces during our ceremony, and having everyone special to us be in the one place all to celebrate with us. It’s an overwhelming and amazing feeling.
My mum and my Grandma (her mum) both wrote me a letter to read the night before the wedding. My mum’s included a gift of the hand embroidered handkerchief my grandma gave to her when she moved away from home.
Also, Rich’s sister Bec is an incredibly talented designer. She not only coordinated all of our stationary/invitations, she also hand drew a flat lay image of special pieces/accessories from the wedding including Rich’s grandpa’s vintage watch which Rich wore on the day. She had this illustration printed onto white tea towels to serve as the napkins for all of our guests at lunch, and the bonbonniere for them to take home as a keepsake. Ours is now framed – it’s such a special work of custom art.
Meaning of marriage.
Supporting each other, and being there for one another through thick and thin – when you are super loved-up, and even when you are super frustrated with the other person! Appreciating and showing that you love them everyday, and promising to never take them for granted.
Aisle – XO, John Mayer acoustic version
Signing – Rose Of My Heart, Johnny Cash
Reception entry – Let’s Get Married – Jagged Edge and Drunk in Love, Beyonce (people are still so shocked Rich agreed to let me have two Beyonce songs!)
First Dance – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Frankie Valli
Funny stories or near disasters?
We had to get a plumbing team in to rework all the piping to fit out temporary toilets the day before the wedding. It could’ve been a huge disaster, but all worked out in the end, thanks to some very hard working friends. Also, our neighbors had a HUGE party the night before the wedding, so I got next to no sleep – not ideal! I’d recommend having ear-plugs on hand to any bride-to-be for the night before! You just never know!
We were engaged and married in just under six months, so I knew we would have to move pretty quickly to get everything done! But I was surprised by the amount of time everything took, right up until the day. Organising a wedding can become like a full time job! Lucky it’s so fun and 100% worth it when you see your friends and family enjoy celebrating with you on the day.
Words of wisdom.
Everything really does work out in the end – try not to get too stressed out about it all. And do try to take 10 minutes out on the big day to yourselves. Rich and I took a small walk away from the party later in the night and looked back on the set up and everyone having fun. It was a special moment to share together.
LAUREN AND RICH’S TRIBE…
Ceremony and reception: Rich’s Grandmother’s property 25 minutes outside of Geelong
Celebrant: Jo Betz
Photography: Amy Oliver
Videography: My uncle! He is in the television advertising industry and captioned everything for us out of the goodness of his heart. He and my aunty also organized a special viewing party in Sydney with my grandparents, as they weren’t able to attend. It was a truly special gift.
Florist: Tori Allen Events
The Dress: Steven Khalil
Veil/head wear: A Steven Khalil veil and later a gold crown found on Etsy
Jewellery: I kept it very simple. Just my engagement ring and a pair of small diamond studs Rich gifted to me before the day.
Rings: Duffs, Geelong
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Stone Cold Fox
Grooms suit and shoes: Eddie Elias
Groomsmen suits: Eddie Elias
Bow ties / ties: Eddie Elias – they really helped the boys out!
Catering: THE RK GROUP
Marquee set up and hire of cutlery, crockery and kitchen equipment: Occasions Event Hire
Favours: screen printed tea towels, which doubled as napkins at our lunch, featuring a hand drawn flat lay of different elements from our wedding (champagne bottle, tie, shoes, lipstick, vintage watch) by my sister-in-law Bec Connell of Peace Love Letterpress
Cake: Alice Broadway of ‘Miss Messy Baker’ made our cake and Tori Allen topped with flowers
Stationery / Signage: Bec Connell of Peace Love Letterpress
Entertainment: The Baker Boys band and DJ
Honeymoon: Bora Bora, Tahiti and Lake Rotomahana, New Zealand