We both grew up on the Peninsula on the Central Coast just around the corner from each other – but we had never met. Plenty of our friends knew each other’s friends and we seemed to circle each other in our school, social and sporting activities. However our worlds didn’t collide until, during a particularly stressful shift of Beth’s at work in a retail store, Beth was approached by a woman who openly observed that additional help in the photographic minilab was required. Beth replied in somewhat enthusiastic and colourful terms that if she knew somebody who fit the bill, then drag the fella in to start immediately! Well, that person was Jason’s mother, and as it turns out Jason’s workplace was closing, so he needed the work – and was trained in the minilab! Not too long later Jason appeared on a shift at the minilab while Beth was resuming her regular duties. Seeing the back of his head, Beth’s first thought was ‘Sweet! Fresh meat!’ until he turned around and she recognised him as ‘the boy from the bus’ – a local kid she’d seen around the place all her life but never met! Jason’s first thought was ‘hey, she’s pretty cute, I could get used to working here!’. We quickly struck up a deep friendship that soon evolved into something really special.
Our official dating anniversary was New Year’s Eve 2007/08. So we had always endeavoured to make New Year’s Day a particular celebration – never hard to do! After being approached by some friends to housesit their beautiful Mildura property over 2011-2012, nestled amongst vineyards and overlooking the lake on the outskirts of town, we were enthusiastic to accept the opportunity. Jason’s grunting approval carefully belied the fact that he was jumping up and down in excitement inside as he had been searching in vain for the right idea for months as to how to pop the question!
On New Year’s Eve, while Beth was indulging in her afternoon nap, Jason battled armies of bullants to decorate a large garden tree with millions of battery-powered fairy lights. After sharing a gourmet meal and some fine champagne, Jason led Beth out to the space under the tree, all illuminated like a fairy glen – and in the red dirt (for which Mildura is famous), lowered himself to one knee and asked the most important question ever asked. While blubbering like a fool, Beth dropped to her knees to look Jason eye-to-eye, and accept (she’s always been a stickler for equality in the relationship). By the time the firecrackers exploded over the lake (Which Jason still insists he organised!), we entered the New Year as an engaged couple, feeling like the world was celebrating with us
mother’s, which Beth always had an affinity for. Beth’s mother had designed the dress herself from ankle-length ivory silk and a bolero of Brussels lace in champagne. Beth had the dress altered and redesigned to fit her own personal tastes and figure while still retaining the integrity of the original gown. It was a 50s inspired A-line, knee-length gown with a bodice of the original Brussels lace, capped sleeves and a satin bow above the waistline. Beth also wore ivory antique crocheted gloves, seamed stockings, vintage ivory T-bar kitten heels, and a small birdcage veil completed the look. On the day, she wore her mother’s sapphire earrings (something blue), a string of antique vintage pearls with a ruby clasp and estate pearl cluster earrings.
Jason wore a brown and sand-coloured tailored pant and waist-coat ensemble with an ivory long-sleeve shirt, complete with pin-up girl buttons and brown and cream custom wingtip shoes. The outfit was designed and tailored by Anton’s in Melbourne, and the boys wore the same style in brown. Each of the groomsmen wore a bow-tie which incorporate all the colours of our colour scheme, and each wore cufflinks that represented something special and poignant in the relationship journey of Beth and Jason.
Everything about the wedding was a DIY, uniquely flavoured, 50s style themed event. We searched long and hard to find a space that felt both enchanted and private, and allowed us creative license over decorating and organising the event. After much agonising searching and trips from Melbourne (where we live) to the Hunter Valley, we stumbled across Maddies of Bolwarra. Featuring an intricate garden on the grounds of a federation-era B&B, the ceremony took place in perfect weather at the base of the gardens, surrounded by flowers, cattle, a running stream and on a platform nestled under the canopy of an ancient Moreton Bay Fig.
Even the ceremony itself, we built from the ground up to our personal tastes and beliefs. After arriving in true ‘50s style in white and red Cadillacs (courtesy of Hunter Valley Cadillacs), Beth was walked down the aisle by both her Mother and Father to Jose Gonzales’ ‘Heartbeats’, before an intimate crowd of our closest family and friends. Paying homage to Jason’s Aboriginal heritage we acknowledged the traditional owners of the land, and Beth’s Celtic heritage was celebrated with the inclusion of a ribbon binding ceremony. We had written our own vows together to reflect both the journey we had taken to reach that day, and the journey we hoped to share as a married couple.
We were married by a female Pastor of a local church based in Tuggerah whom Beth had known for some years and who had also married some friends of ours a few years prior. The marriage certificate was signed on a turn-of-the-century velvet-seated mahogany telephone table to the sounds of Bjork’s ‘Oh So Quiet’. A champagne toast followed as we exited down the garden path to the Lumineers ‘Ho Hey’.
The reception was held at the same venue as the ceremony and while the bride and groom attended to the photos, guests were entertained by an open-air photobooth, garden games, and light refreshments were served in vintage china teacups and plates while a jazz duo played in the background. The gardens were decorated with intimate little touches designed to create the sense of a magical garden-party – millions of fairy lights and glass baubles hung from the trees, lace garlands and hand-made bunting decorated the pergola where the meals were taken, and a marquee where a 50s swing band played set the scene of a romantic affair from a bygone era.
Thierry – the creative genius that he is – never drew breath throughout the day and was constantly sourcing unique photo opportunities. Halfway through our dinner, we heard a voice whisper to us “I know you guys have just sat down to eat and I don’t want to disturb you, but I’ve got a great idea for a shot, but we have to leave now what would you like to do?”…the next thing we knew we were climbing over a post-and-rail fence at a property down the road where the sun was setting over the hills. The sun was going down, casting a glorious golden glow over the paddock and we were dancing around as a newly wedded couple. I remember thinking “this is amazing, I don’t know too many brides who would be scrambling through paddocks and climbing fences in their wedding frock during dinner” – and we wouldn’t have changed a thing!
While the bridal party attended the photos, guests were served canapés of stuffed mushroom caps with bacon, shallot and swiss cheese; potato fritters with semi-dried tomatoes and chive sour cream; Moroccan chicken, semi-dried tomato and camembert filo triangles; and chicken skewers with satay dipping sauce.
For mains, Beth and Jason selected a buffet-style menu that included an entrée of Thai beef salad, and bush tomato and hazelnut dukkah encrusted prawns with rockmelon and mango salsa and passionfruit and chilli mayonnaise. Mains were a coq Au Vin (chicken in red wine with button mushrooms, baby onion and bacon) with a potato mash; roast pork loin with roasted sweet potato and pear; and sides of Greek salad and herbed potato bake. Dessert was our wedding cake hand made by Jason’s mother. Guest were able to pick their names tags from a frame and sit where they chose, so as to allow people to mingle and feel completely comfortable.
We planned our wedding completely from top to bottom and everything – from the design and compilation of the invitations, the hand-made brooch bouquets and boutonnière, to the choreographed last dance – was self-planned and designed. Most of the decorations were hand-made and painstakingly sourced, and hours were poured into the DIY details of the day. Beth made flower garlands and lace curtains and the boys hung them from the trees and vine-covered arbour to add to the ambiance. Bird cages, lanterns, tealight candles and fairy lights covered every available space, the overall effect of which was a magical garden party that fostered romance and joy.
The colour scheme was Ruby, Gold and Turquoise – which was carried through from the invitations to the handmade brooch bouquets and garlands that draped the ceremonial and reception spaces.
We planned our wedding completely from top to bottom and everything – from the design and compilation of the invitations, the hand-made brooch bouquets and boutonnière, to the choreographed last dance – was self-planned and designed. Most of the decorations were hand-made and painstakingly sourced, and hours were poured into the DIY details of the day. Beth made flower garlands and lace curtains and the boys hung them from the trees and vine-covered arbour to add to the ambiance. Bird cages, lanterns, tealight candles and fairy lights covered every available space, the overall effect of which was a magical garden party that fostered romance and joy
At the start we did set out a rough budget but knew that sticking to this was always going to be tough. In order to be able to have the wedding that matched our vision and remain within budget we did a lot of DIY, from the invitations, to the decorations, even the brooch boquets designed and made by Beth.
At the beginning of the planning process we both worked out which parts of the event would be most important and which parts were worth stretching the budget for. Between this, our DIY efforts, and the support and assistance of family and friends we were able to hold the wedding that perfectly matched our vision.
We made the decision not to tally up the final cost of the wedding – we wouldn’t want to risk those concerns detracting from our memories of the day.
Like the wedding, the Buck’s party was a small and intimate affair. Jason decided it would be fitting to celebrate the occasion just with the groomsmen. We started off the night with a few laps of go-karting – and plenty of crashes to go with it! After that followed a few rounds of Lazer Tag, then headed back to one of Jason’s favourite local pubs for a couple of drinks. The night was finished with a game of poker that lasted well into the morning.
Beth’s sister arranged the bachelorette party as a surprise, whereby Beth knew nothing of what expect. She requested one rule only – that rather than just another gaggle of indiscriminate hens, she wanted flair, grace and beauty and thus was born her “Swan’s Soiree”. After an elegant afternoon high tea at the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney with family and the female bridal party, Beth transformed into a white-and-gold swan, and complete with top hat, corsette and tutu, Beth wore a white handmade swan around her body in an offbeat ode to Bjork. That evening her flock were treated to a personalised burlesque lesson and dinner at Blackbird Café in darling Harbour. The bridesmaids wore blue tutus and the guests wore something red in keeping with the colour scheme of the wedding itself
Where did/will you go on your Honeymoon & which travel agent did you book your honeymoon through:
Due to work commitments we didn’t have an extended period of time off after the wedding. We spent the week after the wedding on a mini-honeymoon in Tasmania, basing ourselves in Hobart, and this was booked through Escape Travel as a gift from Beth’s parents. We stayed at the Islington in Hobart, a boutique and stunning hotel at the base of Mount Wellington and spent our time cheese and wine tasting and exploring the natural wonders of the areas. Our real honeymoon is yet to come, and that will be a 2 month tour through South-east Asia on our first anniversary!
It was a long and difficult process to find a photographer that fit the style and quality we wanted, and when we saw Thierry Boud’an’s work we knew he would be worth breaking the budget for. What really caught our attention wasn’t just the natural style of his work but the fact that we could really feel the emotion captured on the days. Nobody else is able to capture the moments of the day quite like Thierry. After our first meeting we felt completely confident with Thierry – not only with his complete professionalism, but his easy going nature made him easy to connect with (the fact that he and his wife had a thing for 50’s swing certainly helped to seal the deal).
On the day, he was absolutely tireless! His second photographer Wayne worked seamlessly alongside Thierry and the end result left us speechless.
The moment we saw the first images, we knew that we could not have done better than Thierry. Seeing those shots brought all the memories of the day flooding back, and his creative eye made for some really exciting and dynamic images which complemented the unique style of the wedding. It was a pleasure working with someone so enthusiastic and passionate about what he does, and who allowed us to really milk every second out of the day.
We had an egalitarian approach to our wedding planning process. Beth took charge of much of the DIY and Jason did a lot of the research. As such it was Jason, and not Beth, who registered on several bridal forums and actively engaged in online research. Jason used the Hunter Valley Wedding Planner to locate Thierry Boud’an, Hunter Valley Cadillacs, and source ideas for themes and styles.
Beth used the Hunter Valley Wedding Planner magazines and websites as a key feature in researching weddings in general, themed weddings, Hunter Valley Weddings, and established the foundations from which the wedding day grew. The HV Wedding Planner played an integral role in educating Jason and Beth as to how to make a wedding happen, and how to budget and plan accordingly
While we both grew up on the Central Coast, we have lived in Melbourne for the past 6 years and have friends and family from all over the place. We had guests travel from all over NSW and Victoria as well. We booked group accommodation through Quest Maitland who were hugely accommodating, particularly from those who travelled up from Melbourne. We also had guests stay onsite at Maddies and at neighbouring B&Bs in the Bolwarra area. The day after the wedding allowed for many guests to explore the vast attractions that the Hunter Valley Region has to offer. The newly married couple took the time to explore cafes, boutique shops and peruse local art galleries to wind down after the big day.
Guests took advantage of the beautiful wineries in the area and the heritage buildings and sites throughout the Hunter. Some guests explored the Hunter Valley Gardens, while others perused local cafes and shops in Morpeth and surrounds. Of course, few left the area without sampling some of the local wines the region is famous for!
Maddies of Bolwarra
Maddies of Bolwarra
Christopher’s at Maddies
Thierry Boud’an Photography
Beavis Party Hire (Marquee only); Event was self-decorated
Hunter Valley Cadillacs
Handmade brooch bouquet by Beth Stewart
DIY Beth Stewart (for invitations), assisted by Zoe Ebert graphic designer); Jo’s Treats (handmade jams); Central Coast Confectionery (candy bar)
Cailin Alainn (handmade hair combs)
Chrissy Keepence of The Lindy Charm School for Girls
Baker Boys Band
The Old George & Dragon Guest House
1929 Dance Studios (Bride and Groom dance lessons)
Vintage China Hire
Quest Maitland (guest accommodation)
The Vintage Events company (lawn games and some decorations for reception)