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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.
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
Your reception should be a statement of your personalities and tastes, so that guests walk into the venue and know immediately that it’s your wedding. Whether you’re working with a stylist or doing it alone, putting together a formal versus casual reception isn’t as hard as it sounds.
If you’re dreaming of a wedding with tuxedos and ball gowns, then you need a regal reception to match. Bringing a luxurious touch to your venue can be as simple as having crystal champagne flutes and silver cutlery or as extravagant as renting a chandelier just for the occasion.
Director of Touch of Spice Weddings, Jacqui Spice, says when considering a formal reception, you should start by thinking about lighting. Don’t just rely on what your venue offers you, table lamps in muted tones can make glamorous centrepieces, so can ivory candlesticks in fluted vases. “As the night draws on, lighting becomes very key. You don’t want something stark, you want atmospheric lighting,” Jacqui says. “We’re loving chandeliers at the moment. Big or small, they look so elegant and are a definite talking point.”
Keeping it casual
More and more brides are ditching the conventional wedding reception in favour of a relaxed, but still stylish get-together, where friends and family are spoilt with extras.
“I can’t get enough of the candy bar/lolly station/dessert buffet!” says Sydney wedding stylist Nadia Postnikova from Events by Nadia. “Whatever you want to call it, it’s a fantastic idea and all of your guests, from the seven-year-old to the 70-year-old will love it. And remember, it doesn’t just have to be lollies, include fruits and cheese for a larger variety.”
Be sure to have a space where people can escape the noise and relax. Cushions, throws and even couches in different textures and colours can be a chic and easy way to create a comfortable lounge-like ambience. Add a table chandelier and some old family photographs for a memorable touch.
Love the Bride team X
Bride had tons of fun on the weekend doing a shoot down at Fenix Restaurant where renowned chef and Fenix owner, Gary Mehigan was hamming it up with a slab of wedding cake with our gorgeous model Grace! Note – her piece is just a slither but she was very happy to swap plates!! The shoot is for the Herald Sun to promote our fabulous event this weekend The Melbourne Bride Wedding Expo
Fenix is a gorgeous location – inner city of course as it’s Richmond – but with the venue perched on the river banks it has the feel of being in a rustic bush setting! Trees and view of the water look sensational from the balcony and of course the food has got to be exceptional with Gary in charge. Nothing rustic about the modern funky feel of the interior though and the delectable aromas were quite distracting as we tried to concentrate on the business of mucking around with the cake! Apparently all the brides that book at Fenix for their wedding get a free cake! Now that’s fine incentive as it looked incredibly delicious!
Fenix have a big stand at our expo on the weekend so come on down and chat with their team at stand number 85 and there will be loads of other inspiring people to talk to as well.
Our very gorgeous Bride looked amazing in a tight, sexy, fishtail number from Baccini & Hill and a pretty headpiece from Elysian Creations. Both of these designers are also going to be at the Expo and staring on our catwalk so don’t miss the chance to chat with the best in Melbourne. If you’re engaged and need ideas – it’s all happening this weekend 16 & 17 June at Melbourne Convention and exhibition centre in Southbank.
See you there…