Considering all the things people wish for on their wedding day, Nick’s was pretty simple: to wear shorts instead of a suit. After helping his bride Shelley (who also happens to be the leading lady behind hire and styling business Borrow) transform his parent’s 70 acre tobacco farm into a bohemian oasis, his wish was her command. Luckily too, considering it turned out to be a 39 degree day!
We chatted to Shelley to hear more about the day and what it took to bring it together.
What DIY projects did you do take on for the wedding?
Being a graphic designer and running an events, hire and styling business, I couldn’t help but take the reins on this one. I designed and created everything from the wedding stationary, stubby holders, the native Australian foliage wreaths to the plywood signage. We collected all the foliage used on the hanging wreaths from around the property and constructed them in the car port the day before the wedding.
I also personally stamped every single muslin draw string favour bag and heat set the ink on each of them with a hair dryer. Nick is also quite the craftsman; Nick designed and created our amazing rustic bar for our reception from old recycled timber and iron panels, along with complimentary drink coolers made from genuine wooden apple crates from the orchard down the road. These were filled with ice and beverages.
He was also responsible for the design and creation of our ski lift chair for our photo booth which was an absolute hit. Although we couldn’t take credit for the animal magnet place card holders, my dad Greg tediously hand-sawed every one of the 135 plastic animal toys in half and perfectly applied rose gold paint to each piece as per my request. Looking back, we were so very lucky with all the help we received from our families to help bring our perfect day together.
My mum Noelene scoured through local and interstate sales to find the perfect bohemian accents and tea cups to use on the day, whilst Nick’s parents Sharon and Peter put in months of labor to get the farm in pristine condition for the big event.
Tell us about how you met and the proposal.
Our engagement was only 10 months, however we have been together nearly 10 years prior to our engagement. You see, this is no ordinary love story as I was living in Diamond Creek with my family and Nick in Buffalo River just out of Myrtleford, Victoria, a good 300kms apart.
I was completing my third and final year of fashion design at RMIT and Nick was finishing his apprenticeship as a plumber. We were very busy and had little time to catch up. Somehow, though, we managed to keep in contact. Visits became more regular and each would take fortnightly turns to drive the three hours up and down the Hume highway.
This continued for the next six years as Nick established himself as a professional plumber and myself as a graphic and textile designer in Melbourne. The trip was exhausting and eventually caused a strain on our relationship until one day I decided that being a short drive from the ski fields wasn’t such a bad idea. Within a week, I had managed to gain employment as a graphic designer at a screen printing company in Albury, which prompted a move to live with Nick in Wodonga.
This was a risky play, leaving all that I knew and loved in Melbourne, knowing that there was a slim chance living together may not work out. But in all fairy tales, there is always a happy ending – and that is what we have achieved.
In April 2015, on a special weekend away at The Westin in Melbourne, Nick “thought it was about time” (after 10 years together!) and asked me to marry him, cheekily surprising me with a beautiful diamond ring that was presented upside down in a ring box – to which I delightfully responded “Are you sure?!”.
What sort of vibe were you aiming to create for the day?
We identified our theme as “Woodland Bohemian”. This theme felt appropriate to this area of the world, with the farm tucked away and surrounded by pine forests. Not so much an overall theme but touches of both woodland animals and whimsical bohemian throughout – with wreaths of native Australian foliage adorning the rustic shed trusses, cheeky animal place card holders and vintage velvet lounges casually strewn throughout.
We didn’t want to overpower the already striking rustic appearance of the venue and surroundings. Nick created an amazing bar from recycled timber for the event, and to play on the venue undertones a little for our visiting Melbourne guests we had hay bale rides down to the ceremony driven by family friends on tractors.
What traditions did you involve during your big day?
Nick has always been known to wear shorts, all year round – whatever the weather. Actually when we first met up at Mt Hotham in the ski fields he was wearing shorts, and I remember thinking “Who is this guy? Who wears shorts in the snow?” I couldn’t imagine him in anything else nowadays. So to serve “tradition”, Nick wore shorts to our wedding – and so did the groomsmen, and they looked very dapper. I’m convinced the wedding would still be on hiatus if Nick had to wear pants.
Any funny stories that surrounded your wedding?
Our photobooth: As our relationship began with our passion for skiing and snowboarding and meeting at Mt Hotham at a family lodge, we wanted to incorporate something into our wedding that represented this so we decided to use an old decommissioned ski lift chair as our photo booth.
The idea sounded fabulous and original to start with however the search for the chair became quite complex. After contacting many alpine resorts and local national parks over many months to no avail, a week prior to the wedding Nick and his dad Peter stayed up all night to create the most amazing ski lift chair complete with a hydraulic hoist to lift it up and down (a piece of farm equipment used to weigh tobacco).
The funniest part was a day before the wedding, we discovered a local scrap metal yard that had dozens of decommissioned ski lift chairs! In the end the chair that Nick and Peter made was absolutely perfect, and with some retro ski clothing, accessories and ski poles for props, it was a hit with all our guests at the wedding.
The weather: leading into the wedding I was keeping a close eye on the weather situation, I’m not really sure what I expected – having a wedding in February in North Eastern Victoria. I assumed it may be warm, possibly the chance of a shower which I was hoping to avoid. At seven days to go, the weather outlook looked positive – it was forecast a perfect 26 degrees.
As wedding week proceeded, I kept an eye on the weather, although at this stage it seemed to be increasing in temperature every day – 29, 32, 34, 36… the day arrived and it was a stinking hot 39 degrees! We were smart enough to have two industrial size air conditioners on hand to keep the sheds cool for the reception.
I clearly remember standing in the middle of the paddock next to one of my girlfriends Claire, a bridesmaid, having our photos taken – and we were like “It’s just a bit hot” and laughing as sweat trickled down the sides of our faces. It was difficult to look ethereal when you were sweating like a pig. I felt especially sorry for our male guests who were looking very dapper all suited up!
What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?
A clever bride told me something in the lead up to our wedding: if you run out of time and you can’t complete something or if you have forgotten to do something, let it go – your guests will never know. The day will be so incredible they won’t even notice the native Australian foliage table garlands are missing because you were physically exhausted and flat out of time from creating the millions of other things to make the wedding perfect. Don’t let something insignificant spoil the day.
What does marriage mean to you?
I once had a discussion with a dear friend of mine about the validity of marriage in this day and age. Through all the many reasons why people believe you should or shouldn’t be married, I believe it’s not so much about the legal, religious or social expectations for me, I just wanted to show the world how much I love Nick.
Florence & The Machine – ‘Between Two Lungs’.
First dance song?
The Foundations – ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’.
CREDITS : Photos Katie Hillary Photography // Flowers DIY // Ceremony and reception private property // Catering Coast to Coast The Golden Roast // Styling Borrow Hire, Events & Styling, 24 Seven Events, Partyhire and Gather Vintage Hire // Bridal gown Grace Loves Lace // Hair piece Ebay // Bridesmaid dresses H&M // Groom and groomsmen shirts Blaq via Myer and pants Timmy G’s // Rings Windfall Jewellery and Michael Hill // Grooms shoes Target // Bow ties Etsy // Brides shoes Nine West // Jewellery Samantha Wills Samantha Wills // Cake DIY // Cake topper Communicake It // Stationery Madge & Co. // Hair Boudoir // Makeup Michael Finch // Music Mcrobin // Celebrant Jayne Dunell // Accommodation Merrawarra Minor.