At a mutual friend’s 21st birthday party in February 2005. Matt arrived just before the speeches and stood right by me, I was so taken with how tall and handsome he was! A friend introduced us, we sat down after the speeches and just talked and laughed for hours. The party buzzed on around us but we were in our own little world. Before we knew it the party was winding down. We exchanged numbers and two days later we were on our first date!
It was very small and intimate and sweet. We were at home and had just finished dinner. Matt went upstairs with a strange look on his face, I thought that maybe he was feeling unwell. He returned to the kitchen, and out of no where went down on one knee. I said “what are you doing!?” then he produced the ring and asked me to marry him! I was honestly so surprised that my reply was “Is this real!? …Yes!!” Those few seconds of suspense before I happily accepted were the longest of his life I think!
The dress was a floor length lace gown with a sweeping train, made by Melanie Ford. There is quite a story to the lace on this dress! The lace on the neckline and shoulders is very special to my family – it is the traditional lace of Malta (where my mother’s family is from) and was specially made for me there. It was quite a coordinated effort between myself, Mel Ford and the lace designer in Malta to make it happen! Once Mel had the silk satin lining done, she made a tracing of the neckline, which was then posted to Malta. The lace designer made a template and the lace worker then created the lace to that pattern and mailed it back to Australia. Luckily (and with Mel’s amazing skills!) it fit to the dress perfectly! My Maltese Grandmother was just so touched about having that special lace on my dress; and my Mum and aunties were pretty emotional about it too!
Twenty minute ceremony at Shepherd’s Hill Courtyard. We wrote our own vows together the week before, but Matt forgot to bring the vow cards (!) so in the minutes before I arrived he was frantically recalling them for the celebrant who jotted them down in his notebook! Looked less elegant than the cards I had made, but at least we still had vows written somewhere!
We had a beautiful sunny day for our ceremony, although Newcastle had experienced extremely heavy rains for days leading up to our big day, which left the grass at Shepherd’s Hill a little soft in patches. Unfortunately during the bridal procession my Maid of Honour had a stumble on a soft patch on ground at the beginning of the aisle, and (very elegantly) went to ground. She got right on up though and we had a laugh about it and kept on with the procession! She somehow managed to keep her cream-coloured dress spotless!
Matt’s sister read an excerpt from a favourite book of ours, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.
Matt initially tried to put the wedding band on my right hand until I quickly corrected him (I think nerves were getting the better of him!)
We decorated the reception with loads of white and cream paper lanterns, and about 60 or so vintage glass vases arranged in threes with hydrangeas, roses and dusty miller. Candles everywhere. We also strung up a row of warm white ‘icicle’ trailing fairy lights, which added to the warmth and character of the space. We were in the downstairs function room so that we also had ready access to the lawn, which was awesome as Newcastle delivered one of its brilliant colourful sunsets.
Matt’s brother MC’d the night, and he was brilliant. He has done stand-up comedy before so was an excellent choice!
It was a real celebratory atmosphere, everyone was mingling and laughing and dancing whenever the urge took them.. We had a Lolly Buffet set up by Sweet Solutions (from Terrigal Beach) which was a massive hit – maybe everyone was on a sugar high all night!?
We kept the formalities to the early part of the evening, so there was plenty of time for dancing and partying as the night went on!
Getting to the top of the aisle and seeing Matt’s beaming smile and just knowing that, Yes, this is the most perfect day.
We had a cocktail style reception, rather than a formal sit-down dinner affair. We really wanted to keep things relaxed and fun; and I hated the idea of the night withering away with everyone planted in their chairs waiting for the next course instead of chatting, mingling and dancing.
Our canapés were
* Assorted sushi rolls (including some vegetarian-friendly)
* Persian fetta tart with red onion marmalade
* Chinese roast duck pancake, cucumber, spring onion hoi son plum sauce
* Roast vegetable terrine
* Sugar cane chicken skewers with satay sauce
* Wild mushroom and gruyere arancini balls
* Crumbed salmon fish cakes with hollandaise and salmon roe
* Soy Pork, prawn and ginger balls
* Spinach and fetta triangles
* Warm cous cous and lamb salad, mint yoghurt
* Thai rice noodle and vegetable salad, sweet chilli and lime dressing
* Chocolate dipped strawberries
Processional: “Dearest” by Buddy Holly
Recessional: Vitamin String Quartet covering Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”
We didn’t have an official first dance – too nerve-racking!
Muted blues, greens and pinks.. Old-world romance
Didn’t have a definite budget plan in place, although we didn’t want to breach $25,000 all told
Hens – 50s Housewife- themed high tea, followed by lots of games and eating & drinking
Bucks – Paintball, with Matt wearing a bright pink tutu and fairy wings; Pub
We went to an eco resort private Island in Fiji – Nukubati. We booked the island ourselves online, and flights through Flight Centre.
Thierry and Wayne were both so relaxed and approachable and happy to go along with whatever we wanted to do! We only had 90 minutes between the end of the ceremony and beginning of reception, and they managed to get so many brilliant shots in that time. We had pictures in King Edward Park, Newcastle Baths and at The Newcastle Club. We’re glad we decided on having Wayne ( second photographer ), as it meant that we could have ‘getting ready’ photos of both Matt and myself; and also provided a few different angles of the same moment throughout the whole wedding day. There were some epic storm clouds rolling in which both Thierry and Wayne were very excited about – and indeed they did produce truly incredible pictures.
I used the Your Hunter Valley Wedding Planner magazine, and found the real wedding section helpful as it meant i could actually see what/how certain suppliers delivered on the day; as opposed to just their advertising.
Also, I’m quite sure we learnt about the Newcastle Club through YHVWP
We are from Newcastle.
Many of our guests had to travel from Sydney (families there), and also from Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth
We stayed in the Crowne Plaza Honeysuckle (had to stay somewhere special on our wedding night, rather than our just-moved-into home with boxes everywhere!)
Most of the family stayed at Crowne Plaza also, some at The Newcastle Club.
A lot of friends stayed at The Sebel Newcastle Beach
Many guests had not been to Newcastle before, and were so impressed with how beautiful the beaches and harbour were. The day after our wedding guests went exploring around Nobby’s, Fort Scratchley, and kayaking in the harbour
Shepherd’s Hill Courtyard, Newcastle
The Newcastle Club
The Newcastle Club
Emily Gardner – Screaming Banshee Productions
Brother’s Audi A4 hire and my VW Golf
Sugar Rush – three-tier cake with sugar roses and hydrangeas
Stationary – made myself with materials from Alice in Paperland. Bonbonniere was a Lolly Buffet by Sweet Solutions
Designs by Melanie Ford; with custom made Maltese Lace by Consiglia Azzopardi and Theresa Pace
Nicola Finetti – ivory lace dress with sunray pleat feature panel
Gentleman’s Outfitters, Kotara
Engagement Ring – Tiffany & Co “Embrace” ring. Wedding Bands custom made by Christopher & Co.
Filigree necklace by Vassallo Jewellers. Earrings my “something borrowed” from my Maid of Honour
Hair by Kate Blackford. Make up by Simone Lee Make-up
Music played though our iPod – Vitamin String Quartet, Buddy Holly and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Entertainment and Music Reception
Music on request through a jukebox program set up by my brother – it was a hit!
Wedding Night Accommodation
Crowne Plaza Honeysuckle
We had a small gift registry online
The bouquet for the bouquet toss was handmade by Jess Vellaheino from JessInStitches – from buttons and felt and ribbons, to look like a bouquet of blue hydrangeas. It was sooo beautiful and something that could be kept forever by the lucky lady who caught it!