Genevieve and Trystan’s Southern Highlands wedding at Bendooley Estate felt appropriately triumphant. Amidst the COVID-chaos, they managed to plan and execute a weekend long celebration that was unapologetically ‘them’ – even if that required them to rethink a number of wedding traditions.
“We always wanted a relaxed, loved-filled weekend away with all of our family and friends”, says Genevieve who credits their team of A-list vendors for making their day so exceptional. “I would recommend every one of our vendors! It was amazing how well they worked together and how much work they all put in to create the day just for us!”
How did you and Trystan meet? We met at The Greengate Hotel in 2010 at their good old Christmas Eve party. We actually went to the same high school but being four grades apart we never knew each other before this day, we just had a huge number of mutual friends.
We met in the afternoon and didn’t leave each other’s side the whole time. We were found kissing at the end of the night (my older sisters were friends with him at the time and were mortified, which is hilarious to look back on). We were inseparable from that point.
The proposal: Trys always had a good way of convincing me it wasn’t going to happen any time soon so I wasn’t expecting it. We went for a weekend away to my family holiday house, our favourite place. And on our usual morning walk along the water he suggested we sit on the sand and watch the sunrise. That’s when he got down on one knee. I was in shock from his words and the amazing ring!
It was the perfect place to get engaged. Now we walk past that spot every time we’re up there and it brings back the best memories!
Wedding venue: We chose Bendooley Estate, Berrima. Trys knew he wanted an outdoor ceremony and I knew I wanted somewhere with amazing food! We both wanted just one location for the whole wedding. So the beautiful gardens and the delicious / abundant banquet menu at Bendooley sold us instantly. We were also sold when meeting the team, they take care of everything and that was a relief.
We chose the Book Barn because that gave us access to the lake, gardens, and the beautiful homestead. We also liked the distance from Sydney, not too far but enough to feel like a getaway for our guests. We all stayed in Bowral and surrounds, with a lot of accommodation to choose from. It was perfect.
Wedding vibe: We always wanted a relaxed, loved-filled weekend away with all of our family and friends. The day before and after were just as important to us, these were the days we knew we’d get the most quality time with everyone.
The wedding itself we wanted modern, elegant and romantic which our vendors definitely achieved. The vibe was all pending COVID restrictions. We stopped caring about the minor details we once thought were important, all we wanted in the end was to be able to have our wedding and to hug our guests! About a week before the day, almost all the restrictions were lifted and we went back to having the wedding we always wanted! Very lucky!
Traditions: adopted, adapted or ditched? We had a civil ceremony which isn’t typical for my family. We loved that it was tailored to our story and we wrote our own vows.
We had uneven number in the bridal party – three groomsmen to five bridesmaids. We just wanted our absolute closest people and it didn’t matter how many. We introduced the bridal party individually at the start of the ceremony with a sentence on who they are to us and how much we appreciate each of them. This was our celebrant’s suggestion and we loved it!
Both my parents walked me down the aisle which was so special.
At the reception we all sat in the middle of the room amongst family and friends – bridal party with their real life partners so they were all included too. We didn’t do the garter or the throw the bouquet, we didn’t do an exit. We just danced til the lights came on and jumped on the bus with everyone else!
The outfit/s: I tried so many gowns on but no matter how beautiful the dresses were, I didn’t feel myself in any of them. I collated ideas from a few dresses that I liked, picked a beaded fabric and went to an amazing dressmaker, Yulia Mcauly who I know well. She created the elegant and comfortable dress I loved (and within budget).
Trystan has been a groomsman a number of times so he owns a fair few black suits. He only wears black to events and for that reason he refused to wear black to his own wedding. We both decided on the sand / navy combo from M.J. Bale.
Standout vendors: I would recommend every one of our vendors! It was amazing how well they worked together and how much work they all put in to create the day just for us!
Special mention to our celebrant who told our story so well and created the perfect vibe for our ceremony (Marry Me Nicky). The most relaxed and talented photographer to work with (Jimmy Raper). Our videographers who brought it all back to life for us (Morelife Films). Our makeup artist who always makes us feel amazing (Tannia). Dress (Yulia Mcauly). Hair (Whyld Hair). Floristry (Gypsy Carmen). Music (Oberon Lane).
Soundtrack: Aisle: “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele. Signing registry: “God Only Knows” by Kina Grannis. Recessional: “Forever Love” by Aaradhna. Entrance: “Give Me Everything” by Pitbull (number one hit the month we started dating lol). First dance: “Stay With You” by John Legend.
Words of wedding wisdom: Trust in your vendors and don’t over commit yourself to too much work on the day and days prior. You might love event planning and decorating (I do) but your own day goes very quickly so the less you have on your plate the more time you can enjoy everyone’s company. It’s well worth the added cost of vendors in order to have that quality down time.
Also don’t dwell on the finer details, just give your vendors your vibe and let them be creative. They know what they’re doing and it’ll be a beautiful surprise on the day!
I’ll always remember… I’ll always remember having both my parents walk me down the aisle. Mum really appreciated being asked, it’s not something she’s done before and I’m the last daughter in the family to get married. Such a special moment for the three of us.
Hit or (near) miss: One thing we can only laugh about now is that I split my dress at the back just before the wedding started! Unfortunately being out of Sydney I didn’t have my trusty dressmaker close by to fix it, but luckily my maid of honour was able to pop a stitch in, and slightly change the design at the back so no one would notice! We laugh now watching the raw footage of the exact moment it happened, then me sculling a Prosecco to cope with it!
A hit was the weather. We had given up worrying about the weather it’s too unpredictable in the highlands but it was the most perfect crisp day which meant we could have the day exactly how we’d hoped!
Budget: Being the 4th in my family to get married I had a realistic idea of how much weddings cost so with that in mind we did manage to stick to our budget. It also helped to pay close attention to our wedding budget spreadsheet. I think I was on there every day for 2 years!
We were very fortunate to have help from both families plus a 12-month postponement which meant double the savings time!
The future: We were mostly looking forward to no longer stressing about a COVID wedding with all the back-and-forth restrictions (despite it being well worth the trouble in the end). Now we’re just enjoying our next chapter of family life!
CREDITS: Photos Jimmy Raper // Video Morelife Films // Venue Bendooley Estate // Celebrant Marry Me Nicky // Flowers Gypsy Carmen // Signage Willow and Ink // Stationery Minted and Left and Willow // Music Oberon Lane // Bridal robes/PJs Homebodii // Bridal gown Yulia McAuly // Brides shoes Tony Bianco // Bridesmaid dresses Shona Joy // Groom and groomsmen suits M.J. Bale // Rings Mendel & Rose Fine Jewellery // Hair Whyld Hair // Makeup Tannia // Lighting Events Pro Shop.