The birth of three children may have delayed the Daylesford wedding of Elise McDonald and Liam Howley, but it made the day all the more special.
Social worker Elise and assistant horse trainer Liam, both aged 35, met as sweet 16-year-olds in Shepparton, Victoria. They overcame almost 10 years of long distance, but wasted no time when they were finally reunited. “Liam returned from overseas in late 2010 and we set about making up for lost time, quickly choosing to move in together, and then we began searching for the perfect engagement ring,” explains Elise.
But not long after, Elise fell pregnant with their first child Isabella, followed by Jameson and then Finnan, each time putting their marriage plans on hold before Liam could finally propose on their ‘babymoon’.
“We enjoyed a 19-month engagement before getting married which was deliberate as we wanted to ensure that our youngest child was walking and fully able to participate in our wedding day,” says Elise. ”Our greatest delight was being able to celebrate the day with our children and have them play a part.”
Elise and Liam wed in front of 110 guests on November 25, 2016 at The Convent in Daylesford, Victoria. The elegant soiree topped off the month which saw the pair celebrate a Melbourne Cup victory for the racehorse Liam had helped to train – Almandin.
“For us, spending time together can be a challenge, we have three children aged four years and younger and Liam leaves for work at 4am and returns at 5pm,” reflects Elise. “Nevertheless, we are best friends and despite our 18-year relationship, we still adore spending what time we do have, together.”
Photos courtesy of Mel Panteli Photography.
Including their three children was a major bonus for this couple. “Our daughter was our flower girl and our two boys were our page boys, running down the aisle and stealing the show,” smiles the bride.
Paper Hearts provided music for the couple’s ceremony — they boast both duo and band options.
“Of significance to us is a phrase that we had custom-printed on our aisle runner and stationery: It was always you,” smiles Elise.
“Our wedding was the most incredible celebration of our family, and our enduring and unconditional commitment to each other,” says Elise.
Elise surprised Liam with a guitar and vocal performance, one of the many special moments of the day.
The couple’s stunning cake boasting baby’s-breath for eye-catching effect was created by Treats for Evie.
Bomboniere: Treats For Evie, Rebecca's Homemade Goods / Brides Accessories: Anna Campbell Boutique, Blizzards Jewellers, Tiffany & Co. / Brides Gown: Anna Campbell Boutique / Brides Shoes: Myer / Bridesmaid Shoes: Novo Shoes / Bridesmaids Accessories: Tiffany & Co., Blizzards Jewellers / Bridesmaids Dresses: Duchess Boutique / Cake: Treats For Evie / Celebrant: Fr. Brian Carey / Ceremony Music: Paper Hearts / Entertainment: Paper Hearts / Flowergirl Dress: Etsy - Little Dreamers Inc / Flowers: Gisborne Flower Shoppe / Gift Registry: Flight Centre / Grooms Attire: BRIGGINS / Grooms Shoes: Aquila / Groomsmen Attire: BRIGGINS / Groomsmen Shoes: Windsor Smith / Hair: Blondie - Hair and Cosmetica / Invitations: Etsy - Fabled Papery / Makeup: Blondie - Hair and Cosmetica / Pageboy Attire: Bardot Junior / Photographer: Mel Panteli Photography / Rings: Blizzards Jewellers / Transport: DIstinguished Drive / Venue: The Convent / Venue Decor: Gisborne Flower Shoppe, Fabled Papery, Etsy - Archer Custom Designs / Videographer: ajr films / Wedding Night Accommodation: Wombat Barn Guest House