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Our Dec issue is a great holiday read! We feature 250 plus ideas to inspire you and look at every aspect of your big day! Jewellery, fashion, flowers, grooms and all the finishing touches can be found. We showcase the latest gowns plus gorgeous vintage styling ideas are included. For your reception, we find venue options that have incredible views. There's plenty of gorgeous real-life weddings to read for inspiration. A spot of celebrity style is the icing on the cake! Get your copy now!
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You can bank on fabulous food, enticing wine and wow-worthy views when you plan a Hunter Valley wedding. Fresh from a recent trip to this ravishing region, Bride editor Sarah Lewis reveals the best locations for a Hunter Valley ceremony and memorable reception.
Going to the chapel
It’s hard to imagine a more dreamy setting for your ceremony than a country chapel. Say ‘I do’ at St Patrick’s of Nulkaba (above), a petite, 1892-built sandstone church lined with stained-glass windows. Shaded by mature trees, the sculpture-dotted gardens provide plenty of opportunities for gorgeous wedding photography.
Hunter Valley Gardens offers a host of alfresco ceremony options. Choose from a graceful lakeside rotunda (above), wisteria-shrouded pavilion and the striking Chinese garden. For out-of-the-ordinary photos, pose in the Storybook Garden with your bridal party.
The Sebel Kirkton (above) is another top pick for elegant garden soirees. This heritage hotel is surrounded by rose gardens, fountains and lush lawns overlooking the valley. For a civil service, enlist Hunter Valley marriage celebrant Maree Callaghan hosts intimate ceremonies that go off without a hitch.
All in one
Teaming an on-site chapel with stylish dining room, IronBark Hill (above) is a one-stop wedding destination. Tailored menu options and estate-grown wines make for a relaxed yet refined occasion. Peppers Creek is home to a sweet sandstone chapel, located just steps from the popular reception hall. Calm any pre-ceremonies jitters at the neighbouring David Hook cellar door.
Nearby – but not related – Peppers Guesthouse presents a sublime setting for Hunter Valley weddings, with a tiny wooden chapel (above), manicured gardens and acclaimed Roberts Restaurant. With 17 rooms, the country-chic guesthouse is the perfect spot to unwind with friends and family in the days surrounding the wedding.
A guaranteed hit with grooms, Wandin Hunter Valley (above) is home to the Cricketers Pavilion, a replica of the classic white-walled outpost at Lourdes. Host your ceremony outside between two towering gum trees, or in the barrel-lined barn, then celebrate with a reception in the pavilion. Return the following day for a recovery lunch and a laid-back cricket match.
St Patrick’s of Nulkaba © Society Photography
Wandin Hunter Valley © Nicholas Pitt
Fast becoming the destination du jour for Sydney couples, the Hunter Valley offers a host of impressive event options. The Bride team recently toured this dreamy wine region, uncovering top Hunter Valley venues for hen’s celebrations and buck’s parties, plus the best wedding transport options.
Before your big day, why not gather your girlfriends together for a hen’s party in the Hunter Valley? Make a weekend of it with wine tasting tours and pampering sessions at local day spas.
At Chateau Elan, the soul-soothing, candlelit spa is home to 17 treatment rooms, with a dedicated suite that can host up to 12 people for champagne and snacks in between massages, manis and pedis. There’s also a hydrotherapy lounge with plunge pools and a salon for pre-wedding preening. Contemporary hotel rooms, an onsite chapel and choice of stylish reception venues make this a popular one-stop wedding destination.
Another box-ticking location is Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, which boasts a spa suite for indulgent hen’s events, complete with a Jacuzzi, sauna and bottles of bubbly. Dedicated wine tours can also be arranged, along with golf and beer days for the gents.
The lads will also love a beer-tasting session at Bluetongue Brewery, followed up with a barbecue in the grounds of the Hunter Resort. Horse riding, tennis courts and cooking classes are also up for grabs.
For a memorable entry to your wedding, make like a movei star with a helicopter arrival. Slattery Helicopter Charter can deliver you and your troupe to vineyards and restaurants across the valley. These sleek choppers are particularly popular with grooms and their entourage, or for bespoke wine-tasting tours with a difference.
For brides, it’s hard to go past the timeless elegance of a vintage car. Steve and the team at Silver Classic Limousines can collect you in a stately Rolls Royce or Bentley, offering champagne en route and a red carpet arrival at your ceremony and reception.
Is a traditional church wedding not for you? A beach wedding might be a great alternative.
In addition to providing a more relaxed location for your guests, a beach setting offers fantastic photo opportunities. Beach celebrations also allow for different wedding themes, vibrant ceremonies and simple attire. Imagine a bridal party in white Havaiana thongs or even bare feet. If you’re a low-maintenance sort of bride, a long sundress and natural bridal hairstyle could be as beautiful as a corseted wedding gown and an updo.
Australia has some of the best beaches in the world, so there is no shortage of beach wedding options close to home. If you don’t want to get married right on the beach, there are also many lovely waterside venues with stunning views to the sea.
Bear in mind that it may be necessary to apply to your local council for permission to use the beach you’d like. Most councils also charge a minimal fee for use of public spaces, which covers both the reservation and insurance costs.
If you’re planning on getting married in the winter months but still like the sound of a beach wedding, consider having a destination wedding overseas. From Fiji to Malaysia, the choice of exotic beach locations is endless. If you need inspiration, check out real-life wedding couple Piper and Jordan’s ceremony in Hawaii. In Piper’s words, “it felt like a dream” and judging by the photos we couldn’t agree more!
If you do choose to have a destination wedding, consider hiring a wedding planner to organise your suppliers, as doing this on your own may be difficult. It’s also a good idea to hire a wedding photographer that specialises in beach wedding snaps to get the most out of the setting.
For more inspiration take a look at our real-life beach weddings. Examples like these will make planning your own beach wedding a breeze!
Love, the Bride team xx
Having a great wedding day playlist that suits all of your guests and of course, you and your partner, can be difficult to organise and compile. To ensure everyone has a wedding reception to remember and has a turn on the dance floor we’ve picked some of the top songs that feature on wedding playlists the most and some of the most popular for 2012.
It’s always important to pick wedding day music that means something to you as a couple when thinking of your wedding playlist. Choose a few songs that remind you of special moments in your relationship, perhaps there’s a song that reminds you of when you first met or the day you got engaged.
Whether you have a DJ, a wedding band or an iPod, think about when certain songs should be played. You don’t want to get people going if their jam comes on in the middle of the main course! There will inevitably be some hard partygoers at every wedding who will rip up the dance floor towards the end of the night, so save some dance tracks and some golden oldies for later on.
Top Songs for 2012
- We Found Love – Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris
- Just the way you are – Bruno Mars
- Paradise – Coldplay
- Good Feeling – Flo Rida
- You’ve got the love – Florence and the Machine
Bridal Waltz Classics
- What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
- At Last – Etta James
- Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
- The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
- All My Life – K-Ci & JoJo
- My Girl – The Temptations
- Just One Look – Doris Troy
Wedding Reception Hits
- The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson
- Firework – Katy Perry
- Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
- Whoomp! (there it is) – Tag Team
- The Twist – Chubby Checker
- The Time (dirty bit) – The Black Eyed Peas
- Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams
- Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
- New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
- Part Rock Anthem – LMFAO
- Mr Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan
- One More Time – Daft Punk
- Starships – Nicki Minaj
- Marry You – Bruno Mars
- Give Me Everything – Pitbull ft. Neyo
- Low – T-Pain
- Jump Around – House of Pain
- U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
- Livin on a Prayer – Bon Jovi
- I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) – The Proclaimers
- Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
- Twist & Shout – The Beatles
- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
- I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
- It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
- Just Dance – Lady Gaga
- Mr Brightside – The Killers
- Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
There are a few songs out there that many of us would rather not hear again. Here is a list of songs that brides are requesting be left off their wedding day playlist. Of course, if it is one of your favourites by all means put it in your playlist! Your wedding day is, after all, all about you and your partner.
- Macarena – Los del Río
- YMCA – The Village People
- My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
- I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
- The Chicken Dance – Sorta Crackers Band
- Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex
Enjoy making your wedding playlist!
Love, the Bride team xx
With the beautiful blue skies and sprawling green lawns of summer becoming a more permanent fixture, outdoor weddings should be too. If you are a nature lover, enjoy a bit of fresh air and want to have a unique ceremony or reception, this is perfect for you.
There are some amazingly detailed and bohemian marquees for hire these days with flowing curtains and soft billowing roofs. You can create a feeling of being in multiple rooms in the middle of a garden with secret hideaways and relaxing spots to sit back and take in the day as it passes on by. A single giant marquee can create a magical escape, another whimsical world that is entirely your own.
You also have the ability to make the surrounding decor as simple or as formal as you would like. You can hire elaborate chandeliers to swing from the roof and have flooring laid down so all the ladies don’t wreck their gorgeous heels swanning through the grass.
Outdoor weddings surround you with wonderful colours, garden greenery and flower, flowers, flowers!! Lanterns and fairy lights, tea lights can all make your surroundings more intimate and emanate a soft relaxing glow.
When choosing an outdoor location, try and pick somewhere where you can seamlessly intertwine natural elements into your ceremony. Flowerbeds can define walkways, weeping willows can create natural screens and hideaways and branches can be hung with decorations and lighting.
Here are a few little tips to remember when planning your outdoor wedding.
- Go light on your decorations, let the natural world surrounding your event shine through and draw your inspiration from it.
- Always expected the unexpected. Mother nature can be very fickle so prepare for sweltering summer days with fans and ice buckets filled with bottled water and unexpectedly chilly breezes with comfy rugs and outdoor heaters.
- If you think there is a large chance that the weather will take a turn for the worse on your special make sure you have an indoor location nearby, for instance a house or an extremely sturdy marquee.
- Finally, when doing your hair and makeup keep the elements in mind and possibly some hairspray handy. You don’t want your hair flying around your face when you’re saying your vows!
- Australia is known for its mozzies, so citronella candles strategically placed around the event will help keep the nasties away and provide decoration at the same time.
Click here to see more of what Splendid Days can create.
Love, the Bride team X