Real Wedding – Leshea & Craig, Taradale VIC
When Leshea and Craig decided to plan a wedding simultaneously as an overseas move, they knew they would need a team of industry superstars to help realise their vision. Leaning into their talent and knowledge to help realise their dream of a relaxed, intimate celebration filled with divine details meant that these super stunners were free to enjoy the incredible event. What resulted was an epic weekend of emotion-filled moments, happy tears and styling to delight the senses.
Their friends and family’s experience over the weekend was top of Craig and Leshea’s priority list. Every detail of the day was carefully crafted to reflect the community and connections that made up their lives, down to the super personalised, super sweet party favours (our absolute faves!). Soft blush, warm peach and vanilla hues, and a classically captivating bouquet of white roses set the tone for theming the complemented the chapel setting.
For Craig, cracking entertainment would ultimately lead to a killer party, so selecting top-shelf entertainers like tribe faves Paper Hearts and Rutherford Entertainment was a no brainer. Leshea’s outfit change to a vivaciously vibrant Temperly London party gown set the tone for a brilliant dance floor as the night rolled on, every moment captured by photography legends I Got You, Babe.
We met way back in January 2008 when we both did our scuba diving licence in Airlie Beach. After a whirlwind six-day meeting, we both continued on our travels but kept in touch from the moment we left each other. Craig had returned to England, and soon after returning, he was already making plans to return to Australia to give this little romance ’a proper shot’. Four months later, he was on a flight back to Australia… and the rest is history. He says it’s the best bet he ever made.
There was no particular time, but we both knew pretty early on.
During a brief trip back to Europe to visit family and friends in 2012, we visited Paris. Craig had planned to take me to a romantic hot spot and get down on one knee. As we kept arriving at these beautiful places, he kept struggling to find a good moment, amidst the tourists (and nerves I’m sure). I’m pleased to say, he popped the question in the privacy of our hotel room, and it was both completely unexpected and very romantic. It was a moment we won’t ever forget – I’m sure for Craig mostly, because he was probably wondering what he was getting himself in for as I ‘ugly cried’ with happiness on his shoulder.
We both knew that we needed strong and reliable partners to help us with our wedding because we would be planning every detail from London. In the lead up to the wedding, we would; quit our jobs; say goodbye to friends and family; pack up our house and ship our things; and wave goodbye to the last six years in the UK to relocate back to Australia, one week before our wedding (not recommended!).
However, Australia is lucky. Its wedding industry is bursting at the seams with creative and talented suppliers across all services. We found that most businesses did well to represent themselves online, so it was a matter of trawling through their previous work and recommendations. Our venue was a useful resource for the wedding day itself. All other suppliers were found online from various online blogs/magazines (such as Ivory Tribe, The Lane, The Anti-Bride, Hello May), Google and Instagram. Heading down the rabbit warren of Instagram was particularly useful for finding suppliers with the type of aesthetic we were after.
Personalities and vibe of the people behind the business also played a massive role when we made selections. Your suppliers are your lifeline and make everything about your wedding possible, so getting along with these people is important.
The style was influenced by the vibe we wanted to create; intimate, personal and relaxed. We focused on little special details and weaved these into an overall experience. One element that guests raved about was the personalised table settings (which also became a keepsake) – our place cards had the guests name and an individualised message for them printed on a beautiful paper. On the back, we included the most amazing black and white photos of us with that guest during a significant time in our lives. This seems simple enough, but the work behind the scenes to make that happen was enormous. Huge props to our on-the-day stationery designer, Richard from Inhaus, for making this detail possible!
Craig requested I wear white for the ceremony, so I ended up with two dresses. The first dress I bought was my reception outfit from Temperley London, an incredible garment to wear and an easy decision to make. Bright, colourful and full of personality; right down my street.
The white dress was harder to find. I must have visited over 30 stores in both London and San Francisco, trying on 5-12 dresses at a time. Instagram had led me to Luna Bea’s heavenly ‘La Lune’ gown, and so I reached out to see if she’d be able to design something for my petit frame. She gracefully accepted, and from there, things became easy. I sent her photos of me and, without an initial face-to-face meeting, she drew up seven beautiful options. Several meetings and fittings later, the designer, Lou, had created the most incredible gown and also made the whole process a really special one.
Impossible to choose, but the ceremony is definitely up there. It had been 12 years in the making, so the whole ceremony was wild and incredibly emotional; even our rehearsals had so many tears.
Our family friend wrote and conducted the most loving, moving and funniest of ceremonies we could possibly ask for. However, she herself couldn’t keep it together, which made it all the more hilarious. She had even been bawling her eyes out when announcing the housekeeping notes! We were officially married by our wonderful celebrant, Cara Monteith, who kept us all in check.
Our MC and the speeches were unforgettable. All the speeches had everyone laughing, then crying, then laughing again. Everyone completely smashed it, and we realised how damn charismatic our friends and family are!
Meaning of marriage.
Friendship. Commitment. Love. Care. Compromise. Giving. Kindred. Adventure. Compassion. Partnership. Fearlessness. Symbolic.
Craig took great pride in choosing all the music for the weekend.
Aisle: Can’t Help Falling In Love by Hayley Reinhart
Signing: You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates (sung by Jack & Jordan, Rutherford)
Recessional: Hey Ho by The Lumineers (sung by Jack & Jordan, Rutherford)
Bridesmaids – Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf, Horses by Daryl Braithwaite
Groomsmen – Land Down Under by Men At Work, Back In Black by ACDC
Couple – Levels by Avicii
First dance: Stand by Me by Ben E. King
Funny stories or near disasters.
Less a funny story and more a nice surprise…
When we were selecting our evening/party entertainment for the wedding day, Craig had his heart set on having particular entertainment that Bree from Rutherford presented to us – MC Matty Charles and vocal powerhouse, Hayley Teal. Unfortunately, due to cost, we decided to stick with our epic DJ/percussionist (James Mack) and saxophonist (Nathan Crosse).
In hearing Craig say how much he would have loved to book them after the fact, I went ahead and confirmed them as a surprise. After our first dance, they came out and sang the first dance floor tune, ‘Higher Love’. It took Craig a moment to register, but when he did, he was completely elated and grateful (when I momentarily thought he might kill me for spending the extra money). It was the best, no regrets!
We found it harder to lock down guest numbers in advance than initially thought. Life is unpredictable, so we really didn’t have a clear idea of who was attending until the last minute. There were also some challenges for the 35 international guests travelling at that time with flights being cancelled via certain parts of the world.
Words of wisdom.
- Prioritise $$$ based on what is important to you. For us, Craig wanted great entertainment the entire weekend, and I wanted personal touches and considered details. We splashed the cash accordingly.
- Get a wedding planner. Because I work in events, I thought I could handle all the big life changes, moving countries and planning a wedding at the same time. While the Prunella ladies took great care of us on the wedding day, every other event (pre-wedding drinks, after party, post-wedding soiree) we managed ourselves. We had a terrific time but having someone to at least oversee the set-up/pack down would have removed some pressures before and after the wedding. It’s our only regret as it took time away with family and friends.
- Plan for all eventualities when it comes to weather. We got mostly lucky, but on the last day, it was extremely windy and dropped very cold at night. We were lucky to have had a tipi structure, but a fully enclosed marquee would have been more practical given the weather we ended up with.
- I heard people say a lot, “this day is about you, so it doesn’t matter what your guests think.” Our piece of advice is opposite to this… to a point. Yes, the day is about you as a couple, and you cannot please everyone, but it’s important to remember that your guests are giving their time to celebrate this moment with you. That shouldn’t be taken for granted. If your guests are happy, then you’ll enjoy the day more as well.
Everyone has advice for you. Define what you want from the whole experience as a couple, set your north star and make every decision based on this. Thus, if anything we’ve shared above doesn’t connect with you guys, ignore it!
Love the idea of prioritising the party vibes, and choosing some incredible live entertainment to take your wedding to the next level? Crank up the speakers and check out some of the best musos in the biz, in our directory.
LESHEA & CRAIG’S VENDORS
Oh, man! We had the cream of the crop when it came to suppliers. Listen in here if you want to surround yourself with good people for your day!
Pre-wedding drinks: Kyneton Bowls Club, Kyneton – we held Australia VS England bowls event to intro guests (both the oldies and youngins loved this).
Wedding day, Ceremony + Reception: Churchill, Taradale (a Prunella venue) – a beautiful venue if you want to create an intimate affair.
Wedding After Party: Animus Gin Distillery, Kyneton – amazing gins and good cocktails.
Post-Wedding Soiree: Leshea’s parent’s farm, Kyneton – we held in a paddock overlooking their view and hired a tipi (see ‘hire’).
Celebrant/Officiant: A friend wrote and performed the ceremony. We had Cara Monteith from Let’s Get Married By Cara officiate, but also be our constant support, keeping us from falling apart.
Photography: Lilli Waters + co from I Got You Babe – she’s a true artist and the first supplier I locked in once the venue/date was confirmed! My mum still shows our wedding photos to anyone who visits her house.
Videography: Little Cine Films – we received the wonderful support from this creative husband and wife team as a wedding gift from our dear friends after we’d cut videography from our budget. Thankfully!
Post-Wedding Soiree: The Small Things Co
Florist: Prunella – the best in the industry!
Hair: Suzi Di Maggio was responsible for our effortless dos. She frequents Cirkas Hair in Kyneton.
Make up: Melanie Santos made us all feel (and look) like a million dollars.
Ceremony – My white number was a custom Luna Bea
Reception – The party dress was by Temperley London
Ceremony – Alexandre Birman
Reception – Aquazzura
Both via Matches Fashion
Bride’s accessories: Earrings by Enesea.
Veil from Morgan Davies London
Bridesmaid’s dresses: I requested ladies wear what they want – it just so happened that they both blended together beautifully re style and colour. I believe my sassy and gorgeous MOH had something to do with this!
Groom’s shoes: Russell Bromley
Groomsmen’s suits/shoes/accessories: Groomsmen wore their own blue suits, grey waistcoats and shoes. Ties and pocket squares from Favourbrook.
Pre-wedding: Kyneton Bowls Club
Wedding day: Spoonful – ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!
Post-wedding Soiree: Family member, an ex-caterer, created the most gourmet feast
Bar: My aunty is a wine expert, so helped us curate an amazing drinks menu. Then Craig and I had our fav cocktails. Most bar items were sourced from Dan Murphy’s, except some wines which we had to purchase direct from the vineyards.
Cake: Blackbird Cakes
Stationery (Invitations/Thank You Cards): Erin at Paper Paper Co
On the day Stationery/Signage: Richard at Inhaus Creative
Wedding website: Riley & Grey – this is the best site for providing your guests with comprehensive information in an organised way, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming (useful if you have lots of interstate/international guests). I invested weeks of time building our wedding website, but it was invaluable for guests and saved us time later by fielding a lot of questions.
Pre-wedding drinks: Paper Hearts (Troy, singer/guitarist). We booked live entertainment the day before the wedding, for welcome drinks, via Paper Hearts. Troy was great – he really lifted the energy and kick-started the weekend nicely!
Wedding day: Bree Rutherford – Bree and I became real kindred spirits, and she made sure we had the most unbelievable talent for our day
Post-wedding soiree: Unplugged (Angus & Taylor) / DJ (friends) to take us to 5am
Transport: For guests, Organ’s Coaches. For the bridal party, family member’s car
Honeymoon: We hope to make it over to New Zealand for a friend’s wedding next year. If we can fly, we will make this our honeymoon as well.
Other: Bridal accommodation – Ellis House, Kyneton