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High-school sweethearts Jackie Purves and Lachlan French became husband and wife at Sydney’s Centennial Park after eight years together.
Lachlan, 26, may not have given Jackie a surprise proposal, but it was a grand one – choosing an overseas trip to pop the question. “We had talked about getting married before, and on the plane trip over to London, I felt a ring box in his jacket,” recalls Jackie. “He waited until we had travelled through London, Paris and Lyon before asking me to marry him in Monaco. Every time we went somewhere nice I was wondering if this was going to be the moment!”
Their garden wedding on November 2, 2013 was the perfect choice for the pair who wanted to marry and celebrate in the one location. “We both always wanted to be married outside so we were looking for venues where we could do this and have the reception on the same site,” says Jackie, 25. “We had been to Centennial Park a handful of times to go on picnic dates so this became an obvious choice when looking for a place to get married.”
Their wedding included a late afternoon ceremony to accommodate guests. “They headed straight to the reception afterwards for canapés and drinks without any wait-time in between,” says Jackie.
|Jackie’s beaded corset bridal gown was purchased from Jean Fox in Parramatta.|
|“We wrote our own vows to say to each other,” says Jackie. “I became emotional as soon as it was my turn to speak and I started crying!”|
|Jackie’s bridesmaids were dressed by Hugs for Brides and Lachlan’s groomsmen by Spurling Formalwear.|
|After celebrating their special day at Centennial Parklands Dining, the couple spent their first night as husband at wife at Sheraton on the Park.|
|Photos courtesy of Vanity Image.|
When you find your soul mate, you find the one who often knows you better than you know yourself. Which was exactly the case for Adelaide girl Candice Hartman, 24 who met her perfect match in 25-year-old Owen Love.
Candice tells, “Owen proposed to me one night while we were lying in bed watching Star Wars. He randomly said, ‘Do you wanna go and buy and engagement ring tomorrow?’”
“The next day, we went in and I tried on my ‘dream’ engagement ring – and it looked horrible. After searching different stores, Owen ended up choosing a ring he liked that I fell in love with on the spot.”
Being an archaeologist, Candice’s vision for their cultural wedding on November 23, 2013, had to involve nature – “lots of plants and open spaces,” she explains, and as such the selection of both their venues – Rainforest Retreat Murray Bridge for the ceremony and Monarto Zoo for the reception were a perfect fit.
Seventy loved ones witnessed a “very short – probably 15-20 minute” ceremony, which included a Ngarrindjeri smoking ritual in honour of the pair’s Aboriginal heritage.
|Owen and the groomsmen chose their own suits – black and white ensembles with satin trim – from Adelaide outfitters, Peter Shearer Menswear.|
|“I only wear heels when I go out and Converse when I go to work,” says Candice. “Every other day of the year, whether it’s rain, hail or sun, I wear thongs – and my wedding day was going to be no different.”|
|“Owen and I decided the bridal party would wear black,” says Candice. “I don’t like how bridesmaids dresses can cost a fortune… and how bridesmaids all wear the same dress even if it doesn’t suit their body type.”|
|The Ngarrindjeri smoking ceremony is a cleansing ritual believed to keep bad spirits at bay.|
|“Rainforest Retreat was perfect because of the vast range of different trees and plants – which we thought would make beautiful photos,” says Candice.|
|“Our wedding had everything we believe a wedding should have,” says Candice. “A ceremony that’s straight to the point, our cultural aspect, plenty of photos, good food and wine… it was simple yet elegant and had plenty of laughter.”|
|Photos courtesy of Panache Photography.|
A simple but romantic proposal was reflective of the simply elegant garden wedding of Stephanie Schieb, 35, and Sean Hickey, 36.
Their baby daughter, Willow, was instrumental in popping the big question which took place at a lookout between Inverell and Sydney.
“Sean had left a note in Willow’s capsule on her lap written from her saying dad was wondering if a) I wanted the same last name as her and dad, b) what I was doing for the next 100 or so years and if I wanted to hang out with him, c) if I wanted to get married soon or d) all of the above,” smiles Stephanie.
The pair from Sydney chose to hold their special day in the garden of Sean’s parents home in Castle Hill. Preparations were a family affair. “Sean, myself and Sean’s family did absolutely everything for the wedding,” explains Stephanie. “We spent four or five months preparing the garden and growing white flowers for decorating.”
Sean’s sister, who was also a bridesmaid, created the bouquets, buttonholes, table and marquee decorations, cake flowers and ceremony arrangements. “I owe so much to Sean’s family for making my wedding day the most amazing fairytale wedding possible.”
|Stephanie said flowers were bought from the Sydney Flower Market two days before the wedding.|
|“I wanted a classic/rustic wedding which wasn’t too over the top,” says Stephanie. “I like things quite simple.”|
|Stephanie’s bridal gown was purchased from Halo Bridal in Crows Nest.|
|“This wedding would not have been possible without my mother-in-law and sister-in-law,” praises Stephanie.|
|Photos courtesy of T-One Image.|
It’s a tough one to pull off, but if successful, a surprise wedding can be a special treat for all involved.
Bonnie Taylor and Benjamin Cheverall, both 31, knew it was the perfect way to celebrate their love with their 50 closest family and friends on October 18, 2013.
“The thought of planning a wedding and walking down the aisle with everyone looking at me absolutely terrified me,” laughs bride Bonnie. “With this fear in the back of my mind but desperately wanting to marry my best friend, we decided on a surprise wedding.”
The pair chose a stunning rural property in New South Wales which was inspiration for their French Provincial-themed event – which guests thought was an engagement party. “The only people who knew were our parents and the bridal party. It was perfect, relaxed, intimate, fun but most of all it was ‘us’,” says Bonnie.
Despite her nerves, Bonnie says all her guests were surprised and she made it down the aisle. “As soon as I laid eyes on Ben my nerves settled – this may have something to do with the fact he was crying like a baby!” she smiles.
She said the highlight was her husband’s words the next morning. “He was laying flicking through photos of our big day and asking me if we can do it all again as it was the best day of his life.”
|Bonnie says the pair “got lucky”, finding all of Ben’s and the groomsmen’s attire in the one store – YD Menswear.|
|Bonnie wore an elegant Maggie Sottero layered lace gown which laced up at the back and finished with a simple bow.|
|Julie from De Lisser Photography highlighted aspects of the 25 acre property in Bonnie and Ben’s images.|
|Like many brides these days, Bonnie opted for a cupcake stack as their wedding cake. “They were delish!” she says.|
|Photos courtesy of De Lisser Photography.|
On their seventh anniversary as a couple, young lovers Vanessa Fodor and Eli Shem-Tov married under the peaceful greenery along Parramatta River.
Vanessa, 27, and Eli, 25, opted for a relaxed atmosphere at Sydney’s Parramatta Park, inviting only 58 guests to their intimate wedding on October 26, 2013. “We wanted to have a relaxed atmosphere, so we had the ceremony and reception at the same location,” explains Vanessa.
They exchanged vows in a rustic setting with the trees creating a natural aisle, and scattered chairs invoking a less structured feel. “The quiet location enabled the guests to relax and enjoy the scenery,” says Vanessa.
The bride spent countless hours using DIY techniques to build an event that truly reflected her and her groom. “We decorated the reception [held at Parramatta Park Café and Event Centre] ourselves the whole week beforehand, says Vanessa. “I felt the need to give a part of myself and make it really personal.”
An earthy feel dominated the decorating with nuts scattered on the reception tables along with cloves, purple glitter and lemon ribbon. Vanessa made everything from the ring pillow, thumbprint tree and ceremony programs to the bombonniere, table seating chart and menu.
“I originally wanted a vintage themed wedding,” she says, “but couldn’t get a grip on it entirely and didn’t feel it reflected us completely. So I started collecting jars, drying lavender and making paper doily cones to get a feel for it…I used a lot of hessian material and that tended to be part of our theme in the end!”
|Vanessa used online shopping as a tool to choose her Peter Trends wedding gown. “I didn’t want to trawl through dress shops and make appointments, so looking online made it a lot easier.” She found her dream dress at Sydney bridal boutique, A Bride’s Blessing.|
|Vanessa and Eli’s flower girls were given baskets of lavender and cream petals to spread down the aisle.|
|Vanessa’s mum surprised the pair with a photobooth. “She knew I wanted to have one but with our budget we couldn’t afford it. We were able to get pictures of all the guests having a fantastic time!” smiles Vanessa.|
|Photos courtesy of Dreamlife Photos & Video.|