Real Wedding – Shannon & Patrick, Cape Bridgewater VIC
Married at the same decommissioned church as bride Shannon’s parents, followed by an epic private property party on family land that celebrated their gorgeous country surrounds – Shannon and Patrick’s Cape Bridgewater wedding was filled with heart and meaning.
Classic and elegant was the order of the day, with some other very strict guidelines – a relaxed vibe and bucketloads of fun for their guests, and boy did they achieve just that.
If the sentimental stuff isn’t enough to grab your attention – the flash dance by an army of guests should do just that!
Describing their day as flashes of beautiful memories, Shannon and Patrick beam with pride as they recall the happy beginning of their ever after, with talented Tribe member Ali of Smith + Archer there to document it all to perfection.
In Alice’s words…
We actually have no idea when we first met! We grew up in a small town and lived close by to each other, we were in classes together and had many mutual friends. However, after high school we both left town to go to university, travel etc. and didn’t keep in contact. It wasn’t until we were 21 and had returned to town for a friend’s birthday that we reconnected!
There was no specific moment, but from the start our shared history and values meant we slotted into each other’s lives easily. Finding someone with an equal love for good food, travel and books was all I wanted in a partnership and Patrick was all of that and more!
The proposal was a huge surprise to me! We were in Japan relaxing at a spa house in Hakone when Patrick surprised me with a ring that I had my eye on, explaining as he handed it to me that he wanted to give it to me now as we were going to be apart on my actual birthday. He then said “… and I also wanted to know if you will marry me.” I’m sure my first response was “oh really?!”, not because I had any hesitation, I was truly not expecting it. We had been together seven years and bought a house together at that point, so no one else was surprised!
The first step was choosing an engagement ring – which I still think was one of the hardest decisions! I had a week off after our Japan trip during which I went down to Portland with my sister who was also on holidays. We spent that week scouting out locations as I knew if I did get married it would be out on family property at Cape Bridgewater. From the venue, the rest followed!
My sister and friends helped a lot with suggestions for suppliers, Patrick and I are very decisive people so selecting suppliers and the booking process was pretty easy! I loved that we were able to use family property, we were married in a decommissioned church that my parents were married in and many of my other relatives. The property that the marquee was set up on (next door to the church) also holds a lot of meaning to me, it’s an old school house where my Nan went. In the planning process I used Pinterest a lot to set up style ideas, then shared this with friends and family who wanted to help out.
We also had a running word document and Patrick had an impressive excel spreadsheet set up to keep track of tasks that need to be done. While there was lots to do, particularly as we had a short engagement, we had a lot of fun and just enjoyed the process.
Patrick and I are country kids at heart and we really wanted to showcase the beautiful land. We also wanted it to be it be classic and elegant, but for the overall vibe to be relaxed and fun. We chose a March wedding with the hope of good weather – which was spectacularly delivered! We kept decorations simple and focused more on the guest experience and flow of the evening. We wanted guests up and moving and mingling amongst each other! It was this thinking that lead to a clear marquee, a share menu and no bridal table.
I knew from the start that I wanted something simple and classic. I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by talented seamstresses so didn’t hesitate to ask my mum to make me a dress! Mum and I had so much fun picking a design and choosing the fabric. I have very special memories of the dress making process, mum enlisted the help of my step grandmother Eunice who flew over from New Zealand to help bring my vision to life. I also had a reception dress from another local talent, Briony Marsh. This dress was picked for me by mum and Briony and was just perfect!
The whole day is flashes of beautiful memories, however walking down the aisle with my dad and step dad, seeing Patrick for the first time and having all our loved ones in the same room is absolutely a highlight. I also loved the time during our sunset photos, it was a moment to pause and connect and just have a lot of fun.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage is the coming together of two families and the creation of a new one. Marriage changed very little to our relationship but signifies our commitment to each other. Above all, marriage is a celebration of love!
Aisle: I’m Kissing You by Des’ree
Registry: Stand Inside Your Love by Vitamin String Quartet (Patrick wanted Smashing Pumpkins to feature in our wedding soundtrack and this was how we met in the middle!)
Recessional: You’ve Got The Love by Florence and Machine
First dance: Have I Told You Lately by Van Morrison (live cover by Baker Boys Band)
Funny stories (or near disasters).
There was an ice and beer situation on the day, perhaps in part due to the glorious weather! Despite being generous with our calculations, we ran out of beer in the first hour! We had also wildly miscalculated how much ice was needed, however with both situations our friends took charge and it was all sorted. Another huge surprise was a flash dance by our guests at the peak of the dance floor, I absolutely could not stop laughing.
So. Many. Details. We absolutely underestimated how much work a marquee wedding would be, and it was all the details that took most of the planning time. Patrick and I are also very independent people, but when it comes to wedding planning you have to ask for help and to be able to delegate tasks. It was a lovely surprise how much people wanted to help and how much support we received from friends and family.
Words of wisdom.
Your wedding is one day but your marriage is what is important. It can be hard to keep perspective in the lead up and planning process but remember why (and who!) you are marrying and try not to get too caught up in the details. I also think it’s a challenge to balance the tradition of marriage with progressive values, so design a wedding that is authentic and represents you as a couple (not what you think a wedding should be!). Have fun, relax and take it all in.
Stuck for a wedding venue? Here’s all our faves in the fabulous state of Victoria.
SHANNON & PATRICK’S TRIBE
Ceremony and Reception venue / location: Private Property – Cape Bridgewater
Celebrant/Officiant: Catherine Francis (bride’s mum!) – Portland
Photography: Smith + Archer
Florist: Where Love Blooms – Warrnambool
Hair: Andrew from Gazebo Hair – Portland
Make-up: Sarah Millard Beauty & Makeup Design – Portland
The Dress(es): Ceremony dress my own design made by mum and Eunice, Reception dress by Briony Marsh
Veil / headwear: Mariana Hardwick
Shoes: Jo Mercer
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Shona Joy
Groomsmen’s suits: Jeff Gibson – Torquay
Bow ties / ties: Peggy and Finn – Torquay
Catering: Daily Food Co – Geelong
Favors: Beat It Frost It – Geelong
Cake / Cake topper: Cake made by my talented friend Amy, cake topper from Etsy and flowers from Where Love Blooms
Entertainment: Baker Boys Band
Décor: Something Borrowed Wedding & Event Hire – Portland
Hire: SE Marquees, Weddings & Events – Mount Gambier
Honeymoon: Clifftop at Hepburn – Hepburn Springs. Europe to follow!