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Couple invite guests to ‘secret garden’ for Byron Bay wedding

“There was nothing more beautiful than the bamboo cathedral reaching up into a dramatic canopy… creaking in the wind and allowing for just the slightest ray of sunlight to twinkle through the gaps.”

This quote sets the scene for the Byron Bay wedding Bronya and Lucas Metherall managed to plan in just six short weeks. And of course, finding a venue in this time would be the hardest part of all. But, thankfully, Lucas’ niece is an ideas girl.

“We were sitting having a casual lunch with family when Lucas’ little niece suggested off-the-cuff, ‘the bamboo grove’ on their property,” explains Bronya. “We hopped on the back of a quad-bike that afternoon and rode across the property to check it out. There we all were, clearing dead bamboo, operating a tractor, scooping cow manure and covered in tics, having discovered our magical ceremony venue.”

This “perfectly unplanned” ceremony surrounded by nature’s beauty was followed up by an intimate, rustic reception at Federal Hall. “Our friends and family all chipped in the day before and helped us create a beautiful, botanical explosion of native flora … a blanket of fairy lights and green ivy dripping from the ceiling and a backyard picnic-type atmosphere outside,” says Bronya.

But despite the breathtaking settings, what was more memorable of the wedding day “guests are still talking about,” was the love this couple share. “We consider ourselves a family unit now, of two people,” explains groom Lucas. “Our in-laws are now our family too; brothers, sisters, cousins. Two separate families have come together at this junction and have become, for us at least, one larger family.”

Photos courtesy of Rachel Kaye Creations.


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The couple had planned a move to New York so were pushed for time to create their magical wedding day.





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“The atmosphere, because of everybody in it being silent and reverential, was alive with anticipation,” says Lucas.






“Neither of us were fussed with all the ‘trimmings’ of an over-manufactured wedding day,” smiles Bronya.




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“Our wonderful friends were the masterminds and foragers behind the flowers and foliage that adorned Federal Hall for our reception,” describes Bronya.


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Elegance with a twist: Emily and James’ vintage wedding

Emily Bennett and James Birdsey met when they were just 16, but it wasn’t until years later that love really blossomed.

“After we left school we went our own ways and I moved to Sydney for college,” Emily, a make-up artist, explains. “After a few years away I decided to move back to the Hunter [Valley] and caught up with an old friend – James. We went out for a high-class dinner (aka McDonald’s) and from that point on we haven’t looked back. It was love.”

The unconventional Newcastle pair soon had a baby girl together and moved in, with James, also 23, later proposing under an archway he’d lit with fairy lights.

“We are both very non-traditional,” Emily, 23, says. “So we had a casual-vibe wedding.”

The couple spent a year planning their vintage wedding, which was held at gorgeous Mindaribba House after their original venue cancelled just months from the big day.

The bride says the historic Hunter homestead turned out to be the ideal choice for their ceremony and reception, which was held on September 27, 2015 celebrated with 80 guests.

“Our wedding was unique,” Emily says. “It wasn’t a sit-down but a classy cocktail [wedding.] Our guests surrounded the outdoor pool on boho day beds, danced to our live band, took photos in the photo booth [courtesy of OMG Photobooths] and relaxed on the vintage lounges inside.

“The styling and the vibe were beyond perfect.”

Photos courtesy of Bless Photography.

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Lava Stationary created gorgeous invitations with a touch of sparkle.




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The unique wedding bouquet was dominated by vibrant red poppies.




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Emily’s beautiful art deco-style gown was complemented by an almost gothic plum lip.





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Cateraid catered the couple’s special day.




Custom Favours provided personalised honey jars as gifts for the guests.


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Elegance in their own backyard at Deb and Brad’s surprise wedding

Low-key couple Deb Andreassen and Brad Gibb could think of no better place than their own backyard for a surprise rustic wedding.

Deb, 44, and Brad, 27, met on a “random night out” after Deb took on her own personal challenge to approach the “arrogant” guy for a chat. “He was nothing like I expected he would be.”

“I was surprised how easy being with him was,” she adds. “He embraced my kids and we settled into a comfortable relationship.”

But the Woodford, Queensland couple’s journey has not been without challenges.

Deb’s mum passed away in 2014, not long before the couple had their first baby together, who was born with congenital heart disease. It was at Christmas at the end of this difficult year that Brad popped the question. “We had decided we wouldn’t buy each other Christmas presents,” recalls Deb. “Unknown to me, Brad had bought an engagement ring, wrapped it and put it under the tree.”

The pair decided on a surprise wedding at home to keep things simple and stress-free. They wed on June 27, 2015 in an intimate ceremony in front of 40 friends and family.

“Our wedding day was so relaxed. We were surrounded by family, friends and people that we love,” Deb says.

“We managed to keep it a surprise for some people, it was beautiful seeing their reactions.”

Photos courtesy of Tania’s Photography.




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A homemade arch and vintage jars were among the big day’s rustic wedding decorating touches.



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The pair were keen to include their beloved horses in their wedding photos.



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A love like Disney: Canditta and John’s fairy tale wedding

In true fairy tale fashion, Canditta Gorry and John Wilson faced their fair share of hurdles on the road to ever after.

The Gold Coast pair, both 32, met in 2003 while working at neighbouring factories. There was wolf-whistling and laughing (all Canditta!) before they summoned the courage to talk. It was then that Canditta, a lover of Disney princesses, knew she had found her “rather unorthodox” Prince Charming.

After six months of dating, Canditta discovered she was expecting. “I was pregnant and hysterical,” she explains. “But John just smiled calmly and said, ‘We are going to have a baby and I am going to be there for you.'” Two more beautiful daughters followed before John finally dropped to one  knee and popped the question.

So princess-obsessed Canditta began “pulling the blueprints from the vault of my inner child” for her fairy tale wedding before a realisation hit. “To have  glass slippers, Cinderella’s pumpkin and Belle’s grand chandelier would take lots of money – money we didn’t have,” she says.

“So I completed a bachelor degree in social welfare and began working in a maximum-security prison. Every tattooed, scary encounter was followed by Tiana’s mantra from The Princess and The Frog – ‘Almost there.'”

But sadly, just a week before their big day, the pair faced a final tragic bump in the road.

“My father, who was going to walk me down the aisle and give me away, lost his battle with cancer,” tells Canditta. Family rallied around and the grieving couple did their best to continue planning their special day. “Unlike Cinderella, my two older sisters are not evil and travelled from far across the land to whip me back into bridal mode,” she says.

Their dream fairy tale wedding went ahead at Avalon Wedding Gardens on September 12, 2009 in front of 100 family and friends.

Canditta got her pumpkin carriage, Swarovski crystal shoes and even her giant chandelier, courtesy of the reception at Palazzo Versace’s La Medusa Ballroom.

“Sometimes life isn’t like the movies, but if you hold onto the magic you can still have your happily ever after.”

Photos courtesy of Van Middleton Photography.

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Canditta wore a Belle-inspired gown from Alfred Angelo’s Disney Fairy Tale Collection. “It was the closest to my wedding dress drawings as a child,” she says.

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Canditta found her horse-drawn carriage at Cinderella Carriages.

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“From a very young age I knew my wedding was going to be Disney-themed,” Canditta says. “The magic of Disney is something that still resonates with me today.”

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The couple’s intricate cake kept with the Disney theme. “Not even Snow White had that many birds,” Canditta says.

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Video by Box Media House.

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Smooth(ie) operator: Cafe proposal leads to vineyard wedding

“Over a kale smoothie at a café, Sam dropped to one knee.”

That’s right, ladies, you should always be prepared for a proposal, because it’s just as likely to happen at your local café as it is on some secluded island! Amelia Horsfall, 38, and Sam Eu, 45, met while attending a wedding on a 40-degree day. “Sam decided to take a dip in the creek and I almost fell off the rock I was sitting on as I watched him take off his polo shirt,” laughs Amelia.

The pair become romantic shortly after the wedding weekend and 12 months later Sam was proposing over a green smoothie. “All I kept saying was ‘thank you’ over and over which he assumed meant yes, which of course it did,” laughs Amelia.

Stillwater at Crittenden was chosen as the venue for vineyard wedding on July 18, 2015. “We decided on an intimate wedding, close to Melbourne to ensure our large families could all attend, in particular my 88-year-old grandma and our 14 nieces and nephews,” explains Amelia.

The bride’s four-year-old niece showed the couple it was important to be prepared for last-minute plan changes. “Five minutes before the ceremony, my four-year-old niece decided she wanted to walk me down the aisle,” smiles Amelia. “So we compromised with Mum and Dad meeting us halfway.”

Photos courtesy of Perla Photography.




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“Sam and I could not stop smiling and both cried as we read our wedding vows, hearing them for the first time,” recalls Amelia.








The couple were married by celebrant Lynette Olsen – the bride’s grade-one teacher.


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The delicate pastel tone of Amelia’s blush pink wedding gown was contrasted with bold blue suits.

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Flowers by REN created the orchid bouquets and, as a nod to Sam’s Malaysian heritage, the bamboo arrangements in dragon pots for the ceremony.

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