A chance encounter at a popular Sydney nightclub was the beginning of a lifelong romance for Maddy and James, who tied the knot at one of our favourite NSW country wedding venues, Waldara (which you might remember from this styled shoot).
Here, they created a relaxed all-Australian weekend away with plenty of personal touches and enough red wine and entertainment to keep the dance floor going well into the night.
Tell us about how you met and the proposal?
We met when we were 20 at a nightclub called Kit and Kaboodle in Kings Cross, Sydney (ha ha, of all romantic venues to meet…!) We met through friends of friends that night and started chatting and laughing. I remember a conversation about how it was possible we had never met given – we had so many friends in common, grew up only a suburb away, my brother went to his school, we went to the same university, we even had the same L Plate car instructor – Colin, but we never crossed paths before that moment when we were both single and it was meant to be.
This is now nine years ago! Nowadays, James and I actually work together. James is co-founder of Australian start-up InStitchu, specialising in custom, tailored suits and shirts, and I work in marketing at InStitchu.
With the proposal, I had absolutely no idea. We were on a holiday in Europe for James’ dad’s 60th and stayed in Capri together for a few nights before heading to Sorrento where we parted ways. James booked us into a five star hotel and didn’t tell me anything about it – just that it was a treat ‘for surviving his family’. We had a sea view room overlooking Mt Vesuvius and the Mediterranean, it was so romantic!
We went down to their private beach one morning after breakfast and while sunbathing on the end of their pontoon with nobody else around, James got down on one knee, said some very beautiful words and asked me to marry him with the most sparkling, out of this world, ring I had ever seen.
What DIY projects did you do accomplish for the wedding?
I had a lot of fun getting crafty. I drew our wedding invitations with an M&J crest of flowers and a map of Waldara and hand water-coloured guests names on their envelopes. I also had wax seals made with our MJ crest.
The crest formed a theme throughout the wedding, as we also had it screen printed onto material that we hung with fresh flowers behind where we sat at the reception. I also had the crest printed onto white coasters for canapés! I also hand painted ceramic tiles as escort cards/place settings/keepsakes for guests and more…
What was your theme/inspiration/vibe for your wedding?
We are both ninth generation Australian, with sides of both families coming out to Australia as free settlers to country farms all those years ago. So the Australian bush is very much a part of our blood. We wanted a fun, Australian bush wedding where we could relax and where our guests could feel relaxed too. We also wanted to bring Italy into the theme too, where we were engaged, and our love of Italian food.
What traditions did you involve during your big day?
Maybe not a tradition but some family history… James’ wedding ring was made from a gold nugget that was panned decades ago by his great uncle on their family sheep farm in Wellington, NSW. His ring is now so sentimental for more than one reason.
What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?
Don’t be precious with your plans! Focus on the reason you’re getting married and how lucky you are that you’re marrying the love of your life and how great that is going to be, no matter what happens. Have fun and treat yourself a bit – you will only do this once, get the dress you love and don’t just go and rent a suit!
We are also really glad we had the ceremony, canapés and reception at the same venue. It meant guests could relax and we didn’t waste any of the day in transit.
I’m also so glad we hired a videographer, I know some people question the expense but it was so worth it! We’re so happy too that our photographer stayed past the first dance – some of the best photos were from the dance floor! I would really encourage people to book their photographer or videographer for the whole night – great memories.
What does marriage mean to you?
We were given some advice from someone who said they didn’t like the idea of marriage as “when two become one” – they said that’s where people get it so wrong, that marriage should be about two people coming together to go through life together – to love each, to be there for one another, to support one another, to be everything to one another, but to somehow balance and maintain being two individuals too – so that you can give back to one another. That advice stuck with us.
What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?
Our favourite moment of the day was the ceremony, walking down the aisle I was so happy to see James and to be marrying him. Also, when James and I and the bridal party were getting photos taken before the reception, two of Waldara’s horses kept walking up to us, they were so cute and made us all laugh.
Another favourite moment was first walking into our reception to Sing Hallelujah! And the dance floor, everyone went wild, the band was amazing and kept everyone up and dancing until the end.
Tell us any funny stories that surrounded your wedding?
We hired Waldara for three nights including the wedding night and had immediate family and the bridal party stay. It was so much fun and meant we had some time to chill, enjoy the property, slowly get ready for the big day and relax.
On the first night, we all got stuck into the mountains of wine we bought for the wedding by the outdoor fireplace and after a few wines, dad fell off his chair mid-sentence and we all collectively broke into hysterics.
When we all woke up the next day, dad waltzes in with this giant graze on his head. Mum was freaking out about him walking down the aisle and the photos with this graze on his head, but we ended just up asking the makeup artist to pop a bit of powder on his head… it did the trick, nobody noticed a thing until James kindly referenced it in his speech.
‘Fire and the Flood’, Vance Joy.
First dance song?
‘Ho, Hey’, The Lumineers.
CREDITS: Photos Elin Bandmann Photography // Videography The White Tree // Flowers Boutierre Girls // Ceremony and reception Waldara // Catering Redpepper Catering // Cake La Banette // Candles Love and Protect // Guest book Kate Spade // Calligraphy SydneyBethDesigns // Bridal gown Mariana Hardwick and veil via Hope X Page // Brides shoes Mimco // Accessories Kristen Ash and Mirai Jewellery // Bridesmaid dresses Camilla and Marc // Bridesmaid gifts The Daily Edited, The Iconic, Zjoosh and KikkiK // Groom and groomsmen suits InStitchu // Groomsmen gifts InStitchu and Rahul and Anthony // Ties InStitchu // Rings Grew & Co // Hair Lisa Minnett // Makeup Jaimee Leigh Curtis // Music Black Diamond Hearts // Celebrant Claire Belford // Transport Oberon Hire Car Company // Flower girl outfit Kid’s Dream Dress Shop.
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