Answer this: what does marriage mean to you?
It’s a question we ask all the couples we feature, but it’s also one we’ve asked ourselves. Surprisingly, we found it one that was hard to answer. And turns out, we’re not the only ones. So did Nikki and Jake.
“We really struggled with this question, because we don’t want a lot to change. And apart from the extra bling and different last name, nothing has. We are a couple that compliment each other and genuinely enjoy spending time together. We don’t think that a piece of paper is going to change that. We were just in it for the party.”
Touché, guys. Love this.
These two got hitched at Mindaribba House – a Hunter Valley wedding venue set on 100 acres. It’s the kind of place that’s made for unique weddings: there’s a white-walled barn, a river on the boundary line and more rolling paddocks and gum trees that you can shake a stick at. The awesome Ben Howland was there to capture it all on camera too (keep on scrolling – you won’t be disappointed).
Nikki told us about the big day.
How did you guys meet and how did Jake propose?
Jake and I met about eight years ago at a pub in Newcastle. I was working behind the bar and Jake was a pretty regular customer. Basically got chatting from there and it didn’t take long for it to develop into a relationship.
Jake proposed on his birthday when we were in Indonesia. We had walked across the island we were staying on to watch the sun set. He caught me completely by surprise, and I swore a few times before I managed to get a yes out.
Did you guys get stuck into some DIY?
We really wanted to do as much as possible ourselves to put our own individual mark on the wedding. We made dreamcatchers, signs, the seating plan display, table runners, pallet furniture and arranged the table flowers.
What traditions did you involve (or not involve) for your wedding?
Our families played a big role in our day. We wanted all of our family involved in some way. It was really important to me that Dad walked me down the aisle. Apart from that we skipped a lot of other things, no cutting of the cake, no bouquet toss, no announcement as a couple, we didn’t even announce our first dance, just got out there and started dancing and waited for people to notice.
What advice would you give to other couples in the lead up to the big day?
Be organised. The more organised you are leading up to the day, the more you can relax on the actual day. I had lists, and lists of my lists! On the day there will possibly be things that go wrong, but not a lot you can do about them, so just roll with it.
Any funny moments you can share from the day?
During the Best Man’s speech the microphone died, so he used his beer for the rest of the speech. Halfway through the bridal party walking down the aisle, the resident cat plonked itself in the middle of the aisle and had to be dodged by one bridesmaid before a guest moved it on. And a sneaky bridal party hook up…
What was your fave moment on the day?
The start of the ceremony was our favourite moment. I was so excited to see Jake for the first time that day and he loved seeing me walk down the aisle. We had to actually stop ourselves from chatting and pay attention to what was being said by Marg (the celebrant).
How did you find your venue, and was the process difficult?
We had looked at a couple of other venues before Mindaribba. And were willing to make them work, but once we set eyes on Mindaribba there was no more looking, it was PERFECT! It was recommended to me by a work friend who had been to a wedding there.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps (acoustic)
First dance song?
Kings of Leon – Use Somebody
CREDITS Venue Mindaribba House // Photos Ben Howland // Bridal gown Grace Loves Lace // Bride’s shoes Windsor Smith // Bride’s headpiece Shut The Front Door // Flowers – John Lynch // Bridesmaid’s skirts Trudi Kidd // Rings Whitakers Jewellers // Jewellery + accessories Shut The Front Door + Forever Soles // Groom’s and groomsmen’s suits Sportscraft + Industrie // Groom’s shoes Windsor Smith // Ties Calvin Klein // Cake – Brook Dermody // Catering Bevs Catering // Hire Beavis Party & Event Hire // Celebrant Marg Kish // Hair Merewether Hair Studio // Makeup Dunn & Dusted // Stationary Singleton Ink Spot
Find more unique Hunter Valley wedding venues right here.