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While Australians everywhere were celebrating our national day with barbecues and beer, SA couple Rebecca Engledow, 25, and Ashley Altus, 24, were getting hitched in a romantically styled – and classically Aussie – country wedding. A date they won’t forget in a hurry.
They first met at a mutual friend’s nuptials in the very church where they would later exchange vows in front of 80-odd guests.
Ashley, a farmhand, proposed under the guise of chopping wood in the pair’s favourite paddock on his family’s farm. While taking a break, they sat in Ashley’s car – student Rebecca on his lap – and through the speakers Train’s “Marry Me” played, prompting Ashley to get down on one knee.
Rebecca says, “When it got to the chorus, he gave me this little look I will never forget, sat me down, went on one knee and – asked me to do just that!
“We celebrated with happy tears, then by building a fire and watching the sun go down whilst drinking champagne and eating a beautiful meal he had prepared.
“Not bad for an afternoon chopping wood!”
When it was time to start planning, sticking to their budget was a necessity. The pair used local suppliers, friends and family, and did lots of shopping around and DIY projects to achieve a dream wedding which, incredibly, totalled just $8,500.
|With the chance of scorching Australia Day temperatures, the boys opted to go jacketless with shirts, vests and trousers from menswear store, Ed Harry.|
|Henry Roth helped Rebecca choose her embroidered organza gown at a designer day at Adelaide Brides and Bloom. “There was champagne and nibbles and it was a really fun atmosphere,” she recalls. “All the staff were so patient.”|
|Sticking to a budget was a top priority however the couple’s one splurge was flowers, using Gawler Flower Gallery to provide fresh bouquets of lisianthus and antique roses, and buttonholes for the boys.|
|Ashley and Rebecca purchased all the outfits for their bridal party themselves, including the pretty lilac bridesmaids frocks from Tea Rose.|
|Up-and-coming photographer Kelsey Marshall of Elevation Photography shot the pair’s wedding, locations including local parks, and oddly, a beautiful nursing home. “She has a gift!” praises the bride.|
|Photos courtesy of Elevation Photography.|
Sydney bride, Carly Brown, knows a thing or two about getting married. As a young wedding celebrant she has officiated numerous unions (including this one with Stacy & Michael) and so it was no surprise that she had some very grounded advice for other brides-to-be planning what can become an all-consuming event.
“Don’t worry about the details!” she says. “The focus should be the fact that you are getting married, not the wedding itself. There will be other days in your life where you wear a pretty dress; you will get other nice photos of yourselves at other events; you will eat great food again and; you will – believe it or not – have nice wine and cake again. But you will never say I do with your true love again (hopefully!) so that’s all that really matters.”
With this mindset, Carly and hubby, John Van Rooyen, took quite a pragmatic approach to planning their Pymble Golf Club wedding. To save money – and the environment – they sent out e-invitations instead of paper ones (despite objections from some of the traditionalists in the family).
To ensure they could be worn again, Carly asked each of her bridesmaids to choose their own dress – so long as it was dusty pink. It was the perfect surprise on the day to see that they were all in harmony.
Carly’s mum took care of the lolly buffet which was hugely popular – and bottomless – all night long and, the lovely two-tier wedding cake was a joint effort between the mother of the groom and bridesmaid, Lauren.
This practical bride even did her own hair on the day! But despite having a more relaxed attitude about the styling of her wedding, Carly’s photos did turn out amazingly – perhaps because what shines through the most are two very happy and in love people.
|The funky retro VW Kombi was borrowed – from Carly’s brother. “It was in amazing condition,” she says. “A real collectors item. And it was hit amongst the guests and more meaningful for us than a hired car.”|
|The ceremony was held at John’s old high school – Barker College – where he was school captain and in the same year a young Craig Tubman was prefect. Craig went on to become Reverend Tubman and did the honours of marrying the pair on the day.|
|Carly’s gorgeous gown was by Rhonda Hemmingway Couture, whom Carly describes as “an absolute perfectionist.”|
|The romantic and feminine bouquets were arranged by a friend of the family and each bridesmaid sourced her gown and shoes from a different retail store. John’s suit was by Oxford and the groomsmen were dressed by Gentleman’s Club.|
|Pymble Golf Club offered “excellent service and fantastic food,” says the bride. “Also, a lovely outlook over the golf course.”|
|Carly and John have since given birth to a baby girl, whose arrival was “a fantastic amount of excitement, anticipation and pure joy for both of us,” beams Carly.|
|Photos courtesy of RT Photos.|
From what I thought I knew of Contiki Tours, whatever romances happen on tour, stay on tour, right?
Loved-up 28-year-olds, Stacy Jacobsen and Michael Giancristofaro, happily tell a different story.
They met on a tour of the Greek Islands in 2009 and it was virtually love at first sight. Within two days they were inseparable and when the holiday ended after just eight days, the romance was only just getting started.
Stacy says, “Although we didn’t say it on the holiday, we fell in love in those eight days. Spending all that time together, we joked it was like going on 50 dates in eight days.”
Upon their return to Australia – Stacy to Sydney and Michael to Perth – they did the long distance thing for a year before Stacy packed her bags to be with her man in WA.
Three blissful years later, they headed to the US and Mexico for another overseas adventure. On the last leg of their five-week holiday – at the magical Royal Hideaway resort in Mexico – Michael popped the question during a dinner they’ll never forget.
Stacy tells, “He’d bought a proposal ring. I was so proud of him – he had kept it hidden for almost five weeks and it was beautiful.”
She adds, “I would have thought I’d cry in this situation but we both just kept smiling! It was such a lovely moment and place to get engaged.”
Their contemporary Sydney wedding was held at the Australian Maritime Museum with fabulous iconic views of the Harbour and Opera house for their guests – particularly the WA ones – to enjoy.
|Accompanied by her dad, Stacy walked down the aisle to the traditional Pachelbel’s Canon in D, played by Lushous Strings. “They really set the mood for the ceremony,” she says.|
|The bride’s wedding colour palette comprised a lovely mix of coral and peach against creams and whites, which also contrasted Michael’s French blue suit by Brittons Formal Wear perfectly.|
|Stacy’s gorgeous structured lace gown was by Kel-Leigh Couture. She praises the attention and service received by the staff, particularly their patience after she “tried on half the dresses in the shop!” she jokes.|
|106 guests from both sides of the country joined Stacy and Michael for the nuptials and reception at the Australian Maritime Museum. Stacy beams, “The food was excellent, staff were very quick to serve and drinks were continually topped up. They were just brilliant!”|
|The unusual three-tier pearl cake was by Think Cakes, decorated by Stacy with monogram cake toppers which she enameled and blinged herself.|
|“Michael’s dad suggested we personalise our gift to guests by giving the WA visitors wine from NSW and vice versa,” says Stacy. “It was such a great idea and a little symbolic on the night.”|
One final tip from Stacy: don’t underestimate the role of the DJ. She says, “A DJ is pivotal to your wedding reception. They set the mood, keep your night running smoothly and on time, and entertain your guests.” EnvyUs Events had the dance floor packed for the whole night.
|Photos courtesy of RT Photos.|
Another inventive groom we have today. 28-year-old Chris White proposed to his girlfriend of two years, Tamara (Tam) Diamond, on a picnic at Perth’s Kings Park – where it all began.
Tam, 24, tells, “After eating a nice lunch, Chris pulled out a packet of Tim Tams (my fave!). He had done something to the packaging so that when he slid the tray of biscuits out of the wrapper, the ‘Tim’ part folded under leaving the ‘Tam’ still visible. Then in the biscuit tray was a note that read, “Will you marry me?” and the ring was next to it. It was so cute!”
The answer was of course, yes, and the pair went about organising a classic and elegant wedding styled with graceful simplicity and a hint of rustic charm. They said ‘I do’ in front of 130 family and friends at St Mary’s church in Leederville, WA and a sit-down dinner was held at the colonial-style Bridgeleigh reception centre, set on 10 acres of natural bushland.
Tam took on her husband’s name but at one point she toyed with the idea of a White-Diamond hyphenation. A pretty cool married name, but she concedes, “I’m kind of traditional in that sense, plus I didn’t want to have a different surname to Chris and he wasn’t too keen on changing his.”
Never mind! Mrs White, you look amazing in your vintage-inspired couture gown by Baccini & Hill. Congratulations to you both.
|Harmonising with the bride’s tulle gown were these heavenly Evelyn Miles designer peep-toe pumps. The Serenity style is a classic satin bridal shoe with a dainty tulle wrap and 12cm stiletto heels.|
|Chris was dressed smartly in a charcoal peak lapel three-piece suit by Kenneth Blake, worn with a white shirt and black tie. The look was completed elegantly with a simple white rose buttonhole.|
On a trip to Melbourne for a family birthday, Tam visited Melbourne designer, Baccini & Hill and fell in love with the first dress she tried on. It was the Azzure gown with a delicate Chantilly lace bodice and full tulle skirt to which she said ‘I do’.
Her gorgeous earrings and hair comb were from the same boutique.
|Of the songs chosen for the ceremony, Tam tells, “The bridesmaids entered with an acoustic guitar version of The Wedding March. I walked down the aisle to Here Comes the Bride played on acoustic guitar and we all exited the church to the instrumental version of Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles.”|
|“We had a Rolls Royce 11-seater stretch limousine and a Rolls Royce sedan,” says the bride of their classic wedding cars, by Richmond Palace Limousines.|
|Tam explains how she came to have a ‘bridesman’ in her wedding party. “With our bridal party, Chris and I had five attendants on either side. Chris had five groomsmen and I had four bridesmaids and – a bridesman! One of my best friends who I’ve known forever (since we were born) is Jake and I wanted him by my side when I got married. It was also Jake’s son, Hunter, who was our pageboy.”|
Tam sourced her bridesmaid dresses online and chose full length strapless chiffon gowns in a lovely muted tone for their elegant wedding.
The floral arrangements were silk roses, chosen “because I wanted to be able to keep the bouquet forever and being silk flowers they will look exactly the same over time,” explains Tam. “It was also a nice memento for the bridesmaids.”
The reception began with canapes and pre-dinner cocktails while photos were being taken, followed by a formal sit-down dinner and a dessert buffet afterwards.
The couple’s beautiful three-tier wedding cake was a layered chocolate and white chocolate creation by Glory Box Cakes.
|Tam and Chris ended their celebrations with a glorious honeymoon to Thailand and Malaysia. “We stayed in a villa that sits on stilts above the ocean – truly paradise. Then Kuala Lumpur on the way home for some shopping.”|
|Photos courtesy of Memories of Tomorrow Photography.|
I guess only a seven-time world BMX champion could pull off a wedding day stunt like this one!
Legendary Canberra BMX racer, Leigh Darrell, wed girlfriend, Sarah Maiuto, in March this year. It was a classic affair – an elegant wedding styled in pretty pastel tones (just how Sarah wanted it) – but Leigh (and photographer, Steven Murray) got to have some boy fun of their own, taking Sarah and the bridal party out to Leigh’s local BMX track on the day.
27-year-old Sarah says, “I wasn’t too sure about tramping around a BMX track in my wedding dress. But BMX is such a massive part of Leigh’s life and I’m so glad we did it. It’s great to have these photos to look back on.”
Leigh, 25, started riding as a young child, winning his first Australian title when he was just five years old and the world title not long after that. Seven world titles and 12 national championships later, in a sport that took him and his family around the world competing, Leigh retired from full-time racing to pursue a (more practical) building career. He has recently started his own building company, Leedar Constructions. Sarah praises, “I am so proud of what he has achieved. He is and always will be successful in whatever he pursues. He is such a hard worker and always puts his family and friends before himself.”
The pair got together at a 21st and four years later, Leigh would surprise Sarah with a belated Valentine’s Day getaway to Melbourne – and Phillip Island – to see the Penguin Parade. “I LOVE penguins!,” says Sarah. “We watched as they came up onto the beach at sunset. Afterward we walked along the boardwalk and the next thing I knew, a ring was in front of me and Leigh was asking me to marry him!”
|It was this Brides of Manuka mermaid ruffle gown that Sarah fell in love with, causing her to purchase it on the spot and cancel all her gown appointments in Sydney the following week. Upon the store’s suggestion, she styled the gown with an oyster coloured satin sash with crystal beaded detailing.|
|The bridesmaids’ soft pink short chiffon dresses were from fashion boutique, Seduce, which also offered a long version for Sarah’s maid of honour who was eight months pregnant. Sarah’s 14-year-old sister, who didn’t feel comfortable wearing a full strapless gown, adapted her dress into a more modest one-shoulder style.|
|The adorable flower girl wore a white tutu dress and ballet jiffies from Tutu Du Monde whilst the pageboy wore a vest and trouser combination from Blue Sky Kids’ Wear.|
|The Catholic ceremony was held at St Joseph’s parish in O’Connor, ACT with a sit-down reception for 177 guests at Hotel Realm in Canberra.|
|This is what I call trust! “I’ve hardly ever seen Leigh crash,” says Sarah, “so it didn’t even cross my mind that this was dangerous.” Leigh was only three feet from the bridal party as he soared over their heads on his beloved BMX.|
|The four-tier wedding mud cake of different flavours – chocolate, white chocolate, caramel and white chocolate/raspberry – was created by Leigh’s cousin, Justine, of Word of Mouth Cakes. It featured a gorgeous silver motif to mimic the bride’s gown.|
|Sarah finishes with, “The best advice I got when I was planning my wedding was, the only person who can ruin your day is you.”|
|Photos courtesy of Creative Image Photography.|