The newlyweds: Michelle, 31, lifestyle producer and Piero, 34, advertising copywriter.
Big day: April 14, 2012.
Ceremony and reception: Poachers Pantry, Hall, NSW.
Style: Vintage Country
Guest list: 80
Photography: by Amanda Thorson
Dress: “I wore an ivory lace dress made by Sue from Anaessia. All of her dresses are one of a kind. She hand-beaded blue beads to give the ‘blue’ element of something old, new, borrowed and blue.
Dress cost: $2500.
Shoes: “I had them custom made because I have size 11 feet! They were made by Sole Searching Footwear in blue suede, with ‘I’ and ‘Do’ stickers on the bottom of each shoe.”
Hair: “I had a side ‘do and wore a beautiful head piece made from the same lace as my dress, created by Sue from Anaessia.”
Make-up: “I wore Mac and Illamasqua.”
Perfume: “Tom Ford Black Orchid.”
Rings: “My engagement ring is a platinum tapered seven stone diamond ring featuring emerald and brilliant cut diamonds. My wedding band is platinum with five baguette cut diamonds. Piero’s wedding ring is a platinum band.”
The ‘Maid’s dress: “My sister chose her own dress – my only requirement was that it had colour. She chose a vibrant orange dress from Lisa Ho.”
Bridal party: “I had one bridesmaid – my sister, with two of my three nieces as flower girls. My third niece was only five-months-old so she couldn’t walk! Piero had his best friend as best man.”
Stationery: “Our invitations are from Etsy. We had a retro typewriter invitation set – they were printed on brown cardboard for a vintage look and featured a typewriter on the front. We had a writing theme as I am a former journalist and Piero a copywriter. We also included maps of the region given to me by the Canberra District Wine Industry Association, which highlighted local vineyards so people could make a weekend out of the celebration.
Our ‘save the date’ cards were quite funny (see image below). A friend of ours who is a retoucher aged photos of us – on the back we wrote, ‘We have decided to grow old together’. Lots of people thought they were pics of our parents, not realising it was us Photoshopped.”
The magic of Photoshop… Michelle and Piero grow old together with a little wand and ‘control, alt, shifting…’
Men’s buttonholes: “Sea holly and white roses with tetra gum leaves.”
Bridesmaid’s bouquet: “Juliet field roses with small magnolia leaves.”
Bride’s bouquet: “Magnolia flowers, white roses and magnolia leaves.”
Flower girls: “Wristlet and headband with ivory spray roses and jonquils.”
Tables centres: “Dahlias, zinnias and field roses.”
Favours: “This was one of the most special parts of the day – Piero’s father, who was an avid reader, passed away in 2004. He left Piero his hardback collection of books, which featured all the classics. We inscribed each one of them with a personal message for each guest and stacked them on the middle of each table. During his speech, Piero mentioned his father and how a piece of him was here today and invited each guest to find their personalised book. We tried to match the books as best we could to each guest.”
Wedding eve: “We invited everyone down to the local pub (Murrumbateman Country Inn) for dinner before the big day, which was great. My family and close friends all stayed at one venue, Redbrow Garden, while Piero’s family stayed at Schonegg.
Pre-wedding photos: “Before the ceremony, Piero and the best man came to where we were staying and took lots of photos before the ceremony in the beautiful grounds where we stayed – this took the pressure off us getting photos in good light after the ceremony before the reception and also allowed us to mingle more with guests after the ceremony.
Ceremony: “We wrote our own vows for our ceremony. We had a ring warming ceremony at the beginning. Everyone was asked to hold the ring, say a silent blessing for our marriage, and then pass it to the next guest, before we presented the rings to each other.”
Reception: Poachers Pantry, Hall. “The reason we loved Poachers was because guests could choose their entrée and mains – there were no alternate meal drops!”
Decorations: “We made all our own decorations with the help of family. We nailed some wood together and painted it to make wedding and reception signs, hung paper lanterns from the tree which we married under, put hay bales out for our guests to sit on along with the white chairs and made cones out of brown paper then stapled labels on them with our names and the date.
“We filled old jars, hat boxes and watering cans with flowers.”
“We put games out on the lawn including quoits and petanque for people to play, decorated tables with hessian runners and brown bottles filled with flowers and classic hardback books.
“We set up a vintage typewriter for people to write notes on.”
“We had a frame with photos of marriages from other family members including sister, parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles.”
“For the table seating we stamped everyone’s names onto brown vintage labels and hung them from an old frame with wooden pegs (hilarious because one person thought they were name tags and pegged it on themselves – the other guests soon followed).
“Table names were written on heart shaped chalk boards and named after classic authors we loved.”
“Paper lanterns lined the path to and from the car park. Old troughs where filled with water and we popped some tea lights and petals in them for effect.”
“We had fancy dress props in an old suitcase for everyone to put on and take pics with and disposable cameras laying around the place.”
“A friend set up a lolly buffet for us as a present.”
Entertainment: “We had a live band play during the outdoor ceremony and also at reception. They were almost $5000 but totally worth it!”
Reception music: Songs played….
Jackson 5 – I’ll be there (Processional/Walking down the aisle)
The Beatles – Here comes the sun (Signing of the registry)
Queen – You’re my best friend (Recessional/Walking back up the aisle at the end)
Bridal waltz: Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. “It’s a beautiful, gorgeous song!”
Wedding cake: “A caramel mud cake with a typewriter, and a cheese cake with wheels of brie, blue and a hard cheese.”
Transport: “We provided a bus to transport everyone home from their hotel so they could drink. We had two drop off times so the elderly could go home early. Our Bridal car was a vintage Cadillac.”
Kangaroo prosciutto roseti with beetroot relish (df)
Smoked duck, pine nut crepes with sweet soy and coriander
Smoked chicken and water chestnut san choi bow (df/gf)
Guests could choose either;
Pork belly (it was delicious!)
Grilled calamari and chorizo salad with smoked tomato remoulade, lemon and parsley (gf/df )
Lamb prosciutto wrapped South Coast haloumi with roquette and lemon
Smoked lamb rack on a sweet potato gratin with slow roast garlic and onion jam (gf)
Smoked chicken on a classic prosciutto and butter bean salad with a Jerez vinaigrette (gf/df )
Pecorino fresco and leek cannelloni with wilted spinach and a roast capsicum sauce (v)
Dessert: “We had wedding cake – caramel mudcake with a typewriter on the icing. We also offered a ‘cheesecake’ made of cheese wheels.
Wedding night: “Piero and I stayed on a working alpaca farm – it was amazing sitting in outdoor spa after the night was over drinking champagne and listening to the alpacas! The following morning, we returned to Redbrow and hosted a breakfast barbecue for all the guests.”
Honeymoon: Tokyo, then Madrid, San Sebastian, Barcelona, Sardinia, Florence, New York.
Total cost of wedding: “$30,000.”
Top 5 Tips
- “Do what you want and what reflects you. Lots of people tried to talk us into not having a destination wedding because of the hassle and cost. When they discovered our wedding was near Canberra, they were very puzzled – not an obvious wedding destination! But we both love food and wine – when we discovered Poachers, which is a smokehouse, plus a vineyard that produces its own amazing Wily Trout wines, we were sold! It suited us perfectly. Katie from Poachers was also fantastic – it’s important you have a good rapport with the person handling your big day. We got a bad vibe from many venues but they felt like ‘cookie-cutter’ weddings. Initially we looked in Sydney and then the Hunter Valley before deciding on our venue – so take your time to find the place you love as it will really pay off.
- Do fun things together with your partner for the big day – we made signs together in the backyard and had a few dance lessons before the wedding so we could do at least a few basic steps for our bridal waltz. We also snuck in a few romantic weekends for ‘wedding venue research’ and ate lots of food, cake and wine tasting – it was so much fun.
- Get everyone involved. Family and friends want to help out so let them. It makes your day so much more special – the generosity of people around our special day never ceased to amaze me.”
- I hate to sound cliché, but remember it’s about the journey not the destination – the whole wedding lead-up only helped enhance the big day.”
- “Talk to other brides- they are full of great advice and helpful hints!
The W-day Suppliers
Photographer: Amanda Thorson 0401 399 163 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dress & veil: Anaessia (02) 8065 0958
Shoes: Sole Searching 1300 55 66 03
Groom’s outfit: Patrick Johnson (02) 9966 7548
Rings: Engagement ring by Martin & Stein (02) 9267 6628, Wedding rings St Germain Jewellers 9659 6600
Engagement invitations: Toby and Pike 0421 655 058
Wedding invitations: Papier lapin on Etsy hello@PapierLapin.com
Florist: Black Orchid 0416 514 645 or (02) 9559 7731
Reception: Poachers Pantry, Hall (02) 6230 2487.
Celebrant: Sumant Badami (Monty) 0405 271 757
Cake: Emma at Sugar and Slice Cakes 0402 590 836
Dance Lessons: Step Up Dance Studio 02 9283 8994