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Wedspiration > Real Weddings > REAL WEDDING: Claire + Nick – Pilu at Freshwater
Real Weddings
REAL WEDDING: Claire + Nick – Pilu at Freshwater
A last minute decision to cut their guest list to 17 people was something this couple will never regret, as it meant having an intimate celebration at a stunning, waterfront Sydney wedding venue with live music, elegant styling and plenty of cocktails.
Words by Karina Lowndes
9 March 2021

A pandemic was no match for these two, who despite all the curveballs thrown their way (including their honeymoon accommodation burning down… yep), pulled off a very special and intimate day at Sydney beachfront wedding venue Pilu at Freshwater.

True to their own personal style, they kept things simple and elegant with their main focus being on good food (something Pilu is famous for) and Italian cocktails as a nod to their engagement in Positano.

They also relied on their close friends, photographer Jason Corroto and celebrant Tamara Louis, to put them in touch with some of Sydney’s best wedding vendors including Tillee Music who went above and beyond to create a day that Claire describes as “the most enjoyable experience”.

Scroll down to check out this Sydney wedding, including a beautiful film from The Story of Us.


Claire, how long have you and Nick been together and how did you meet?

We have been friends for 15 years, we met the night of my 18th birthday when Nick was serving drinks at a bar in Manly. We remained friends for over a decade before flirting with the idea that there could be more to our friendship. We’d been in a relationship for just under three years when we got married.

Can you tell us a bit about your proposal?

Nick proposed while we were overseas on a holiday in Italy. It happened at the end of a perfect day in the sun following a long lunch at our favourite restaurant in Positano. My sister and her partner were there to help celebrate and we hired a boat the next day to take us exploring up and down the Amalfi coast. So memorable!

Was your wedding in your home town or was it a destination wedding?

We chose to keep it local. We got married at Pilu in Freshwater, the suburb we live in.

How did you decide on the location of your wedding and the venue itself?

We initially had a larger venue locked in but with COVID restrictions, decided to reduce numbers drastically and have immediate family and our closest friends only on the day. We shifted to a smaller more intimate venue [Pilu] and then had a day of celebrating with friends the following day at the bigger venue (Pasadena).

How many guests did you have?


Tell us about your outfits – what did you love about them?

My dress was a custom Helen English Bridal gown. I went to three other bridal boutiques before falling in love with Helen’s incredible designs and trusted her with making my dream dress.

Nick’s suit was a P. Johnson Tailors custom creation. Nick knew exactly what he wanted and the team there executed the brief perfectly. The visits to the store with his groomsmen were a highlight in the planning process.

In a few sentences, how would you describe your wedding?

Our wedding was intimate and elegant. We had a nod to our Italian engagement with flowing Aperol spritz and Limoncello shots, not to mention the indulgent Sardinian menu at Pilu. The energy on the day was so high and love-filled, our guests really made it the most enjoyable experience!

Did you write your own vows? How did you find that experience?

Yes we did. We both loved the process of speaking out loud the promises and dreams we have in mind for our future in front of our intimate audience. It was a real highlight of the day for each of us.

Were there any traditions you ditched or adapted?

Traditions we included: staying apart the night prior, father walking down the aisle, speeches.

Traditions we chose not to include: first dance – although we did end up having an impromptu first dance to ABBA of all things.

Were you inspired by a particular wedding style or vibe when bringing your day to life?

We have a very simple, classic style and think that shone through on the day. The venue focuses on high quality food and drinks, the aesthetic of the day matched what we had always had in mind perfectly!

Where did you gather your inspiration?

We stayed well clear of Pinterest! We were wary of becoming overwhelmed with options so really tried to stick with what we know and love. A few bridal magazines and wedding blogs but mainly just trusting our instincts with what we both know and love so as to create a day that felt unique and truly our own.

Did you partake in any DIY elements to your day?

Haha funnily enough Nick built a custom entry ramp for me, my father and the bridesmaids to enter the venue to walk down the aisle. It was the first time a bridal party had entered from the particular entrance we chose. A few waivers were signed to allow access to be granted! If you know Nick, you know he goes out of his way to make things happen and he definitely succeeded with that one!

How did you find your dream team?

Recommendations and referrals. I am lucky enough to call our beautiful celebrant Tamara Louis a close friend and she was a Godsend with helping to put me in touch with the best in the business. Our photographer Jason Corroto is also a really close friend so it was really special to have these two heavily involved in our special day!

Do you have any standout suppliers that you would recommend in a heartbeat? 

Beyond those that I’ve already mentioned (Tamara Louis and Jason Corroto), Kirra from Little Lane Events was our wedding planner and really took the reins and lead the way. When we made the decision to reduce guests and essentially organise a whole new wedding two months out she contacted all the suppliers to change venue, run sheet and made the process much less stressful!

Finish this sentence. The best (or most unique) thing we did at our wedding was…

The best thing we did was take a moment, just the two of us after the ceremony to take it all in and share a toast to our future. We both look back on that moment as really special and grounding on a day which can be so go, go, go!

What are some of the most memorable and special moments of your wedding?

Beyond the vows at the ceremony, hearing our friends and family members beautiful speeches at the reception was so special. The amazing Scotty Sax also put on a very memorable performance on the saxophone through lunch and beyond which was amazing. He managed to get the dancefloor going with such a small crowd it was brilliant!

Any funny elements that just made the day or lead up even more amazing?

We had so many things go wrong in the lead up, from border closures to our honeymoon accommodation burning down… we really learnt to go with the flow as a Covid bride and groom! By the time we were saying our I do’s we knew we wanted nothing more than to be married, regardless of changes to the initial wedding we had planned.

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? 

We would advise couples to focus on the elements of the day that truly matter to them. For us high quality food and booze was a must – including our signature cocktails (Aperol Spritz and Espresso Martinis), whereas deliberating over specific florals was not something we were worried about and were happy to leave up to our florist.

Also, trust in the professionals you’ve hired, they’ve done it a million times before and know what they are doing!

What are you most looking forward to now that you’re married?

Growing together and supporting each others dreams while remaining best friends.

CREDITS: Photos Jason Corroto Photo // Video The Story of Us // Venue Pilu at Freshwater // Celebrant Tamara Celebrant // Flowers Wild Lotus Floral Design // Planning and styling Little Lane Events // Cake A Dash of Wyn // Stationery My Creative Space // Bridal gown and veil Helen English // Brides shoes Dior // Accessories Celine and Amber Sceats // Bridesmaid dresses Winona Australia // Bridesmaid gifts Reliquia Collective // Groom and groomsmen suits and ties P. Johnson // Groomsmen gifts MVMT // Rings Natalie Marie Jewellery // Hair Airlie & Co // Makeup Suzi White // Music Tillee Music and Scotty Sax // Champagne tower Champagne Tower Sydney.


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