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Drinks, dancing and a ‘D & M’ kindles classic vineyard wedding: Amy & Tim

It was no surprise that Amy Todd – a third-time bridesmaid – met the man of her dreams whilst on duty at her best friend’s wedding.

When you think about it, weddings are prime real estate for romance – and not just for the bride and groom. Everyone’s dressed up, loved up and in ultimate mingling mode, and the bridesmaids, well, there’s not a cliché about them for nothing.

For Tim Griffiths, 31, there was an instant attraction to fellow Virgo, Amy, 29, and on their first date following the wedding, which consisted of dinner, dancing and several ‘deep and meaningfuls’, he changed his holiday plans to be with her.

That one “romantic and unforgettable” week sparked a (rather) long distance relationship between Newcastle and Perth that eventually led to a gorgeous vineyard wedding on January 24, 2014.

The newlyweds who are still living apart (Tim is in the Air Force in Adelaide and Amy, a teacher, lives in Perth), were a team to be reckoned with when it came to organising the elegant Adelaide nuptials.

Despite their distance, they cohesively planned the casual winery setting, with a live acoustic performer to entertain their 73 guests and a touching rose ceremony in honour of their mothers.

“The planning process was very positive, agreeing on every decision and playing equal parts,” says Amy. “We were often told to expect some things not to go to plan on the day. I can’t think of one thing which didn’t go perfectly for us. We wouldn’t do it any differently.”

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The purchase of the groom’s Hugo Boss suit was a special moment. “I walked into the store just as he had suited up,” explains Amy. “I was so emotional and we knew it was ‘the suit.’ Just like my dress, it was the first suit Tim tried on.”

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Even though Amy chose not to have bridesmaids, her best friends joined her in this Kombis4u van. “The horn was ‘Here Comes the Bride’ which we played all the way up the Golding [Wines] driveway,” recalls Amy. “The guests knew we were coming!”

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The couple surprised their mums with a poignant reading about the importance of mothers before presenting them each with a single red rose. “This was a particularly emotional moment,” reflects Amy.

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Canapes by La Dolce Vita Catering followed immediately after the ceremony and included pork belly with cider slaw and wood fired pizzas.

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Amy and Tim created their own playlists for the reception including a relaxed dinner mix and party tracks. “We have kept the playlists which we listen to regularly, bringing back special memories from the night,” says the bride.

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Photos courtesy of Lisa Michele Burns Photography.

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Finding the one: Brooke & Adam marry at romantic wedding

They say when you know, you know, and that’s exactly why Brooke Showers and Adam Johns were engaged within their first year of dating.

“Adam and I met out in Perth… we instantly realised we had much in common and got along so well on many levels,” says Brooke. “Adam moved into my apartment within months and after we’d been dating for one year, he surprised me when he proposed over a picnic at sunset down the beach.”

Adam, 28, went to the trouble of sourcing a very special ring for Brooke. It was custom-designed with eight rare, pink Argyle diamonds. “My favourite colour,” smiles Brooke, 30. And keeping to tradition, Adam made sure to ask for Brooke’s parents’ permission the night before. They were married one year later on October 12, 2013 in Perth.

Pinks, silver and white created the romantic wedding theme. The pair went to great lengths to personalise their special day with DIY invitations and gifts for guests. “We gave our guests homemade fragrant sweet and spiced walnuts, freshly cracked from our family farm,” recalls Brooke. “Adam and I hand-cracked nearly 60kg of walnuts!”

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Brooke and Adam had their ceremony at St Andrews Church, Subiaco, Perth.

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Brooke’s Airs & Graces dress was strapless with a sweetheart neckline and beading detail on the bodice. “When I found out the design was called ‘Romance’ I knew this was the one,” she smiles.

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The bridesmaid dresses were purchased online from Dresslande. “Two of my bridesmaids were pregnant,” explains Brooke, “so the empire waist was ideal.”

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“The bridesmaids had posy bouquets [by Kiss Chasey Wedding Flowers] of white roses and white baby’s breath featuring a different accent flower coloured pink in each,” says Brooke.

Photos courtesy of DeRay and Simcoe Photography.

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Connie & Rafael celebrate their classic wedding with a bang

A near-explosion meant the bride was 30 minutes late for her own wedding, but Connie Kokiousis and Rafael Salinas were thankfully married without any further dramas.

Just as the Adelaide bride, 24, was about to leave for her ceremony on January 11, 2014, the wedding car back-fired and the bonnet burst into flames.

“I had to jump out of the back seat with my dad because we thought it was going to blow up!” recalls Connie, of the car borrowed from friends. “There was a line of cars stopped in the middle of the road rushing to try and help put the fire out while the fire brigade was on its way.”

Trying to stay calm, Connie and her bridesmaids got into her dad’s GT and made it to Al-Ru Farm at One Tree Hill – albeit fashionably late.

A year before the classic wedding with 170 guests came a humble proposal from Rafael. He and Connie had just bought their first apartment together. After picking up the keys, a trail of roses in their new home led Connie to the big question.

“The last note was in our bedroom closet; it said ‘I love you, please turn around’,” smiles Connie. “When I turned around Raf was on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was in complete shock and stood smiling, speechless!”

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“I knew what type of dress I wanted the girls to wear so I got their dresses made because I knew I wouldn’t be able to find exactly what I wanted at a store,” says Connie.

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Al-Ru Farm feels very peaceful,” Connie says of their ceremony venue.

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Connie chose her dress from a piece of French lace. “It was so elegant and sophisticated but at the same time full of so many beautiful Swarovski jewels and pearls in little intricate clusters.”

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“As the Crowne Plaza was a modern blank canvas, we really wanted to jazz it up a bit,” says Connie.

Photos courtesy of Black Duck Photography.

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Bride paralysed three weeks before beach wedding: Tahnee & Travis

When Tahnee Lieshout took a sip from her water bottle the day after her hen’s night – and it all dribbled out – she knew something was terribly wrong.

Three weeks before her beach wedding to 29-year-old Travis Starling, Tahnee, 28, was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy – a puzzling condition that causes facial paralysis leaving its victims unable to blink, smile or frown, usually down one side of the face. Worst of all, there’s no definitive cure – and it can take a whole year to heal.

Not content with the doctors’ prognosis – or the unthinkable – to cancel the wedding – Tahnee turned to natural therapies, undergoing painful acupuncture every day and virtually “taking everything anyone suggested” might be helpful to speed up her recovery.

It was a hectic, emotionally draining three weeks.

With one eye unable to blink, the days leading up to the wedding were not about last minute details and joyful anticipation but, agonisingly, constant rounds of eye drops. She even had to tape her eye shut each night in order to sleep.

It was not at all how Tahnee imagined that special time to be. But on the morning of Feburary 8, 2014, all the intense treatments had paid off – the paralysis had softened enough that she could indeed smile, clearly say ‘I do’ and spend a day, she says, “that was more perfect than we could have both ever imagined.”

The beautiful photos that show not a hint of this Adelaide bride’s ordeal are by Sven Studios.

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Most of the 80 guests at the wedding were none the wiser to Tahnee’s unfortunate condition. “In the end, I don’t think I thought about it once,” she smiles.

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The couple were wed by Mark Bassett on a sweltering 43 degree day at Southport Beach, Port Noarlunga South.

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Tahnee’s beautiful off the shoulder gown had a boho vibe and was from Etsy.

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The Coriole Winery reception was “one big party,” with a friend’s punk band that “played all sorts of tuned loud into the night,” says the bride.

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Despite her facial woes, Tahnee managed an impromptu speech thanking her husband, mum and six bridesmaids for getting her through the ordeal.

Photos courtesy of Sven Studios.

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Raining love: the golf club wedding of Cherelle & Frank

“Always have a plan B.”

This is the advice of bride Cherelle Sturgeon, 25, who was one of those unlucky few that are rained out on their big day. She married Frank Kennedy, 28, on February 15, 2014 at their golf club wedding.

“I’m sure we’re not the first bride and groom in history to be rained out on the most important day of their lives together, but we didn’t feel too lucky that it was happening to us,” says Cherelle who chose St Michael’s Golf Club in Little Bay, NSW, for their event. “It’s so important to always have a plan B and also know that it’s not the end of the world.”

Their planned ceremony on the green was taken inside to the dance floor of the reception. The pair’s simple styling with the help of Rose Baker Events created elegant atmosphere.

Unfortunately the bad weather didn’t even ease up for the Great Ocean Road honeymoon! “My vision of lazing by the beach enjoying newly married bliss was left for another holiday,” laughs Cherelle.

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Cherelle found “the one” on her first day of dress shopping at Lu Elle Bridal Designs.

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“With little hope for a miracle window of sunshine we moved our vows indoors onto the dance floor of our reception,” Cherelle says of the wet weather plans.

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“They say that wet weather is good luck on your wedding day and in some cultures rain signifies a long and happy marriage,” smiles Cherelle.

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Photos courtesy of Chris Giovanni’s Photography.

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