For couples in the midst of making some big wedding day decisions, Bek and Blair have some very good advice following their own incredible VIC wedding experience at Willow & Stone Estate.
Firstly, they recommend having a team of wedding vendors you trust. “One thing we have both said was how every person involved in making our wedding happen was absolutely incredible”, says Bek who also suggests having fun with the wedding planning process.
“We would go out for a drink when we would make decisions together, or do some research over a nice dinner. Every part you do in the planning process you only do once, so make it fun!”
For more wonderful insights and ideas, scroll down and check out their entire day captured by Ali Bailey below.
How long have you been together and how did you meet?
Ten years! We met at high school and were great friends.
Can you tell us a bit about your proposal?
One of my best friends and her partner were living in New Zealand, so we went over to visit and have a holiday. We all went to beautiful Bob’s Cove (just outside of Queenstown) and Blair proposed in front of the lake. The ring is his grandmother’s previous engagement ring which is truly special. Our friends were in on the secret so had their cameras ready! Blair organised for us to celebrate with our friends at a gorgeous lunch afterwards which was very memorable.
In a few sentences, how would you describe your wedding?
The best day of our lives! Being surrounded by all of your family and friends is truly unexplainable. Especially considering how 2020 has turned out, we are eternally grateful to have celebrated our day surrounded by the people we love.
Did you write your own vows? How did you find that experience?
We wrote our own vows, however, weren’t sure where to begin. We wanted them to sound somewhat similar so decided on the format we would use and went from there. We are glad we did write them as it is such an intimate and special moment to share. Definitely keep your vows afterwards so you can read them in the future!
Now that you’re married, what’s the best piece of advice you can give other couples in the middle of planning their own weddings?
You only get to experience the whole thing once, so make it enjoyable! We would go out for a drink when we would make decisions together, or do some research over a nice dinner. Every part you do in the planning process you only do once, so make it fun! We put a lot of trust into our suppliers as they are great at what they do, which really helps with the stress. Let them make some decisions and give you advice as they know what they’re talking about.
Finish this sentence. The best (or most unique) thing we did at our wedding was…
Sitting at a central table during the reception! We and our bridal party sat on the middle table of three along with partners and some family members. We loved this as it made the atmosphere more relaxed and casual and the photos look great as family and friends are in the background. It also gives you a chance to turn around and chat to guests you may not have seen properly yet.
What was your wedding budget? Did you stick to it? If not, how much extra did you spend?
Our budget was around $50k and we did pretty well at sticking close to that! In order to do so, we had to make some decisions as to what was important to us. A big focus for us was food and drink, such as having a cocktail hour, so spent more money there. We chose to save money on our table decor as our shared food plates would take up a lot of space when being served. Small decisions like that helped!
Was your wedding in your home town or was it a destination wedding?
Ballarat – not our home town but not too far away.
How did you decide on the location of your wedding and the venue itself?
I knew I wanted the wedding to be outdoors, relaxed and full of greenery, however, didn’t have an actual place in mind. We had looked at a few venues however none were what we were thinking. I found Willow & Stone Estate when I was looking through Instagram. Blair and I both knew the moment we walked into the venue that is was it. I could not recommend Willow & Stone enough, it truly is a hidden gem! Each couple gets the venue for the whole weekend, so you aren’t rushed to set up or leave the following day.
How many guests did you have?
Were you inspired by a particular wedding style or vibe when bringing your day to life?
We both wanted a relaxed and casual day, which is why we opted for an outdoor/garden venue. We chose not to add too much decor as Willow & Stone is beautiful as-is and we didn’t want to take away from that.
Where did you gather your inspiration?
I had been looking at wedding inspiration for years before I ever got engaged! I looked at WedShed, Hello May Magazine, Pinterest and Instagram.
How did you find your dream team?
One thing we have both said was how every person involved in making our wedding happen was absolutely incredible. Our caterer was extremely relaxed and personable and ensured that we didn’t go over our budget but that every person left feeling full! We had many positive comments about the delicious food from our guests.
Leisha and Carlos who run Willow & Stone make you feel like family and that nothing is too much trouble. Sarah works as the event coordinator on the day and was doing little things which I would never have thought of needing to be done! The day ran perfectly because of them.
Our photographer Ali Bailey is incredible, we asked for candid shots which she absolutely nailed. Your photographer is there during the most intimate moments, and Ali shows such warmth that you instantly feel comfortable.
Our florist Annie is a local business in Ballarat. I sent her photos of my dress and the bridesmaid dresses and said she can choose what she thinks would work best! I couldn’t recommend her enough, she did an amazing job and is incredibly kind.
I was in love with both mine and my bridesmaid’s hair and make-up. Jack Cail was the make-up artist and I let him choose what he thought suited us best, and he was great! He made us laugh all morning while we were getting ready too. Sarah from Harlen Hair is gorgeous and nailed all of our hair perfectly! I recommend both of them for future brides.
Our friend Tim Brown filmed the wedding for us as our gift and he did a stellar job, he is a fantastic photographer based in Melbourne.
One of my best friends and bridesmaids Lauren Taylor is a graphic designer. She designed the beautiful signage we had at the wedding, our website and invitations.
DJ Eddy was awesome, he brings his own twist to the dance floor and kept everyone dancing!
What are some of the most memorable and special moments of your wedding?
A friend of ours, Jack Blomeley was our celebrant which made it personable and memorable for both of us. Someone told me to take a moment with Blair to step away and take it all in. We did that while everyone was dancing later in the night and it was so special. We will never forget that moment!
Any funny elements that just made the day or lead up even more amazing?
Blair’s favourite food is donuts, so I surprised him with a donut truck showing up after dinner! It was a fun surprise and the guests seemed to enjoy the delicious late-night snack.
Do you have any standout suppliers that you would recommend in a heartbeat? Who are they and why?
Honestly, every single one of them I would recommend in a heartbeat. Each and every one of them was amazing, which made us feel relaxed during the planning and on the day.
Tell us about your outfits, how did you find them? What did you love about them?
Blair and the groomsmen hired their suits from Formal Red in Melbourne and their linen bow ties were made by our friend Alice Bailey. The forrest green matched the beautiful bridesmaid dresses which were from Bec and Bridge, and the colour suited Willow & Stone’s greenery.
My dress and skirt were from One Day Bridal. I had loved the dress before my fitting and as soon as I had it on I knew it was it. They are a lovely team and I had a wonderful experience. I wanted something a little different so decided to wear the skirt during the reception when the dress train gets hitched up. The team at One Day Bridal cut the skirt to be the right length so I could boogie in it!
What are you most looking forward to now that you’re married?
We recently bought our first house and are enjoying making it a home. Our honeymoon got delayed due to COVID, however, we are looking forward to travelling in Europe together whenever the time allows us!
CREDITS: Photos Ali Bailey // Video Timothy Brown // Flowers The Refined Bloom Co. // Ceremony and reception Willow & Stone Estate // Catering Charlton Catering // Cake DIY // Stationery Lauren Taylor // Bridal gown and veil One Day Bridal // Brides shoes Senso //Accessories Sarah and Sebastian // Bridesmaid dresses Bec and Bridge // Bridesmaid gifts Le Rose // Groom and groomsmen suits Formal Red // Cufflinks Myer // Bow ties Thistle Ties // Rings Cushla Whiting // Hair Harlen Hair // Makeup Jack Cail // Music DJ Eddy // Celebrant Jack Blomeley // Donut truck Donut Panic // Furniture hire Bang Event Co // Wedding favours Etsy.