When we saw this wedding, we instantly fell in love with the charming wooden cafe that Katie and Martin chose to celebrate their wedding in.
Upon further investigation, we found out that the cafe is set within Secret Creek Sanctuary – a 200 acre wildlife refuge set up as an eastern quoll breeding facility. Turns out there are also lots of other friendly natives in the sanctuary that aren’t too shy to come check out what cafe guests are up to – especially when there’s a wedding.
Katie shared some of her big day story with us.
Tell us about how you met and the proposal?
Martin and I have known each other since our first year of high school 14 years ago. We dated on and off throughout high school, and have “officially” been together since the beginning of year twelve (2006).
Martin proposed unexpectedly in September 2012 at the first home we shared together. He had picked me up from a long day at work and then made me stay in the car for about 10 minutes while he “set up”. I just thought he was drawing me a bath! Martin had tea light candles all over the house and my favourite love songs (the cheesier the better) playing on the speakers. There were a series of hand written clues with love notes to boot for me to follow around the house (guided by little Mars Bar arrows on the floor). The final note said “I have always loved you and I always will. Open the door”. And there he was, suited up and on one knee. It was such a special moment to have between the two of us with such thoughtful and personal touches. He’s amazing.
What DIY projects did you take on for the wedding?
We made our own centrepieces – really low key because the venue itself was so beautiful. I attempted my own seating chart, but I am not as crafty as I thought!
Did you have a theme or an inspiration for the wedding?
We really just wanted it to be low key, vintage-esque, Australiana and “us”. We found our venue and shaped everything around that. Secret Creek is amazing and has a vibe all of it’s own. We wanted to personalise as much of the ceremony and day as we could. Our celebrant was amazing at assisting in this.
What traditions did you involve during your big day?
As there are several important family members that have passed away, we wanted to make sure that we acknowledged them and paid our respect. My bouquet had a picture of my father in a key ring on the handle, we lit a candle at the beginning of the ceremony and we made sure we played a song during the reception that was dedicated to each family member. We wrote our own vows and had a close friend give a speech during the ceremony to give his perspective on our high school days.
What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?
Do what YOU want – not what others want. It’s so important that the day represents what you and your partner want it to represent, not what you THINK it’s supposed to be about or what others feel it should embody. It’s a celebration of your relationship and you should let that really shine through!
What does marriage mean to you?
It’s an extension on an incredible friendship and relationship that you share with another person. It’s a commitment to love and support that person through all the ups and downs that life brings with it. Like any other successful relationship, it’s bloody hard work, but it’s so unbelievably worth it!
What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?
Our vows. Martin and I wanted to write something to each other that was 100% personal and would mean a lot to the other person. We made each other laugh and cry and it was amazing to share that with our friends and family. Martin even had a prop of an ‘IOU’ that I had written him when we were 18. It said “IOU One lifetime of happiness” and he wanted to “cash it in in front of everyone”. He had me officially locked in!
Any funny moments before or during the day?
There were just lots of great moments spread out
through the day. There was lots of laughter, particularly during speeches and with the addition of more wine, even louder laughter! An emu trying to steal my brother’s glass of wine was a highlight!
How did you find your venue and was the process difficult for you?
Finding the type of venue we wanted within Sydney was incredibly difficult. We constantly felt like we were going through “the wedding process” and being told what a spectacular “wedding venue” it was. The whole thing just felt like we were being put into a standard wedding mould.
When we stumbled across Secret Creek, we were amazed. Tenille and the team constantly looked at how they could work to have an event that suited us. They were interested in what they could do to personalise the day for us and never once used the phrase “weddings usually…” which was a breath of fresh air!
The Drifters and Ben E King – Stand By Me
First dance song?
The Platters – Only You
CREDITS WedShed venue Secret Creek Cafe // Photos Jack Chauvel // Bridal gown Tadashi Shoji // Bride’s shoes Betts //Flowers Blue Mountains Floral Design // Rings Gregory Jewellers // Bridesmaid’s dress Review // Groom’s and groomsmen’s suits Spurling // Cake – Katie’s friend Hilary Smith // Hire // Celebrant Glen Stewart // Hair -L’amour Hair Penrith // Stationary Zazzle // Music – iPod playlist
Want to check out more real weddings at our partner venues?
You don’t want to miss Fiona + Peter’s gorgeous Perth City Farm party. It’s also a good idea to check out Chris + Rachel’s incredible set-up at Perricoota Station. Enjoy.