THE day when you finally say, "I do" has arrived. You look radiant, your partner is jubilant and your family and friends are witnessing this special day. This guide helps you in the lead-up to your wedding, steering you through venues, costs, planning and the months of preparation leading to a memorable day.
We also include guidance surrounding social distancing and COVID restrictions, where needed, and just in case.
So flick through these pages for advice and ideas and dream about finally celebrating your wedding - also check out our beautiful Wimmera & Grampians brides by clicking on the link to our 2021 Wedding Planner magazine here.
BRIDE & GROOM Alana & Nicholas
The happy couple, together for the previous four years or so, were married on Saturday, February 29, 2020.
THE PROPOSAL ~ "We attended a P!nk concert that evening and on the way back to the hotel Nick tried to coax me into a dimly lit park in the middle of the night. I was not having a bar of it so he just popped the question as we made our way down the street."
THE ENGAGEMENT ~ Almost 18 months
THE WEDDING THEME ~ "We both had similar ideas. We wanted a laid back atmosphere and nothing too over the top. We really wanted to capture some of the great views in our region and ended up with the perfect venue."
THE BRIDAL PARTY ~ "We had three bridesmaids and groomsmen as well as a flower girl and page boy. About 70 people were in attendance."
THE DRESS ~ "I had a rough idea for the dress but once I began trying them on I fell in love with something totally unexpected. As part of the laid back vibe and knowing it was summer and could be a really hot day we wanted a more casual look for the guys so opted to lose the suit jacket for a nice vest.
THE CEREMONY ~ The day was perfect. The weather was just incredible, the atmosphere was exactly what we hoped for and the ceremony was light hearted with plenty of laughter.
Looking back we were so lucky to be able to have all of our friends and family in one place as only a few weeks later Covid struck and we were apart for so long after that.
THE RECEPTION ~ Pomonal Estate
THE HONEYMOON ~ Port Douglas (in May 2021)
ADVICE FOR FUTURE BRIDES ~ "Plan for what you want and don't try and please other people.
Enjoy the day, it goes so quick so make the most of it."
THE PHOTOGRAPHER ~ Peter Pickering
BRIDE & GROOM ~ Ellysha and Billy
The couple enjoyed their autumn wedding with friends, family all in a beautifully relaxed vibe.
THE PROPOSAL ~ Billy took Ellysha to the Tooleybuc in NSW along the Murray on a weekend fishing trip.
On the first outing in the boat fishing, Billy pulled up and tied the boat up to start 'flicking some lures'.
After Ellysha asked a million and one questions about what rod and lure she should use with not much response back from keen fisherman Billy, she thought something was up.
Billy pulled out a beautiful wooden box. Ellysha's response was, 'Go on, show me the special lure you've had made for this trip.'
Little did she realise. Billy was getting down on one knee in the boat in the middle of the river. Ellysha finally realised Billy was actually proposing and not showing her his new shiny lure and said 'Yes!'.
They spent a few nights in Tooleybuc in a private cottage after the proposal.
THE ENGAGEMENT ~ Nine months
THE WEDDING THEME ~ Both Ellysha and Billy wanted a large country wedding with all their loved ones eating and drinking a lot.
THE BRIDAL PARTY ~ There were four bridesmaids and four groomsmen, a perfect number and they were all absolutely amazing.
THE DRESS ~ Ellysha had no idea what sort of dress would suit her. Therefore, she had her mum, sister and mother-in-law come with her to help find the perfect dress of her dreams.
THE CEREMONY ~ "Our big day was nothing short of perfect. It was full of love, happiness and laughter surrounded by our nearest and dearest.
We did not stop smiling and taking in all the love from one another and all our family and friends. We ate, we drank and we had a lot of fun.
Our favourite part of the day was becoming husband and wife. We will never forget the first kiss and being announced as Mr and Mrs Shields, there is no feeling like it in the world."
THE RECEPTION ~ Northern Grampians Road in Laharum (Family farm)
THE HONEYMOON ~ "We went as far as we possibly could overseas, we went to Tasmania for eight days. It was absolutely beautiful. It rained most of the time we were there and we hardly noticed, we were in our newlywed bubble of love."
ADVICE FOR FUTURE BRIDES ~ Your day will feel like it has come and gone in 5 minutes. Take time to sit back and appreciate your magical day and enjoy it with all your loved ones. This is the best day of your life, soak it up and get involved in the atmosphere. Dance and sing your heart out, cuddle all your loved ones and just have fun.
On your big day, if something does not go to plan or you're missing something, just remember you're the only ones who will know. You're guests will have no idea what you had planned and what didn't go to plan.
The morning of your wedding is huge and can be tiring. Drinks lots of water and spend time with your bridal party and loved ones.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER ~ Emma Cross
BRIDE & GROOM ~ Katherine and Simon
THE PROPOSAL ~ Unknowingly to Kat, Simon originally planned to propose on a trip they had booked during his long service leave. Enter a pandemic and lockdown! So for the next few months, Simon had to come up with a new plan.
"Luckily we had decided to have a 'date night' each month. Previous date nights included dressing up, music and candles. So on this particular date night Simon asked if he should change his clothes to something nice, to which she responded she was quite comfy and maybe not this time.
"Not wanting to appear suss, Simon said ok, trackies it is! We ate dinner, chatted about life and our future when Simon produced a ring and asked her if she'd marry him."
Kat said of course, then right on cue, their eight-month-old son began to cry! Kat ran off to comfort him, Simon sat there on his own with the ring still in the box. Kat soon returned to accept and try on the ring!
THE ENGAGEMENT ~ Eight months
THE WEDDING THEME ~ "We both had similar ideas for our wedding - something fairly small and simple, with delicious food and a relaxed vibe.
THE DRESS ~ "I wanted to buy second hand for both cost and sustainability reasons, so I used the website stillwhite.com.au. I had saved a few dresses on the website when Simon first proposed, but because of Covid I didn't really know our timeline and stopped looking for a while. After the second lockdown, I browsed the site again and kept coming back to the same dress. Without seeing the dress in person or trying it on, I took the risk and bought it. And was so thrilled when it actually fit (with some adjustments of course) and it was just perfect.
THE CEREMONY ~ "It was an awesome day! It was intimate and relaxed. The weather was perfect. We couldn't really pick a favourite part, just all of it!"
Kat was relieved that she was feeling pretty well as she was 12 weeks pregnant and had not been well leading up to the day.
THE RECEPTION ~ "We chose to hold the wedding and reception at Simon's mum's house, so were limited on our numbers, with no more than 30 guests allowed. So one of our biggest decisions was just inviting immediate family to the wedding and holding a bigger party the next day at a community hall to celebrate with all of our friends and family."
ADVICE FOR FUTURE BRIDES
1. Keep it simple and be reasonable about how much money you spend on the day. Having a small, intimate wedding can be a more affordable and enjoyable option so you don't have to start married life in debt.
2. Lists! Importantly, make a list of non-negotiables that you couldn't live without and then go from there. You'll find you don't need as much as you think to make it a really special day.
3. Don't worry about what anyone else wants. It is your wedding day, you get to decide what you want.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER ~ Paige Gotts
BRIDE & GROOM ~ Renee and Ashley
THE PROPOSAL ~ "My future husband got down on one knee in the Botanical Gardens in St Arnaud, Victoria, and gave me a ring that I already owned, as this is all we could afford at the time. He then asked would I marry him. I was later gifted an engagement ring that was custom made and designed by my now husband.
THE ENGAGEMENT ~ "We had a long 11.5 years engagement. We had started planning the wedding around six months after our engagement. However, we had many hurdles to cross and postponed the planning, not recommencing plans until in February 2020.
THE WEDDING THEME ~ The wedding theme was a black and white colour scheme with rustic decor, while other big decisions involved what decor to use, which ended up being all DIY and everything was handmade.
THE BRIDAL PARTY ~ Both bride and groom have large families, so there were two bridesmaids, two maids of honour, three groomsmen, four flower girls and three page boys in the bridal party.
THE DRESS ~ "We decided shortly after becoming engaged to have a black and white colour scheme in honour of my Pop George Glidden as he was a Collingwood supporter and passed shortly after we became engaged. Both outfits were black and white and we both knew the style we liked before looking at dresses and suits.
THE CEREMONY ~ "Our day was perfect for us, with black and white outfits, rustic decor, a beautiful ceremony with the mountains in the back ground at the Happy Wanderer Holiday Resort, followed by a reception at the beautiful Wander Inn. It was important for us to include our deceased loved ones where we could, as we had both lost our mothers.
THE RECEPTION ~ The Wander Inn Wartook
THE HONEYMOON ~ "We did a road trip and camped in a number of places, including Colac, Apollo Bay, Balnarring, Drouin, Kyabram and Echuca.
ADVICE FOR FUTURE BRIDES ~ Go with your heart and don't let other people's thoughts or opinions influence your decisions.
Support each other during the planning process, this is very important as wedding planning can be very stressful.
Allocate some time after the ceremony to spend a few minutes together and take everything in, it is a very long day and goes very quickly.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER ~ The talented Carol Shearman