What a fabulous few fun filled weeks we’ve had! After all the visualising and planning of the last 12 months our Princess married her beau in a memorable and magical wedding in The Meadow. The excitement started a couple of days before the Big Day when the Marquee went up and the family and friends of the bridal couple arrived from the four corners of the globe to celebrate the Cameron-Cook union. We had a cohort of helpers, especially our friends Baz and Kathy who set up camp in their caravan for a week at The Showground in order to assist with all things Wedding! They had carefully harvested the ivy from their garden and transported it in eskies for us to use on the long tables in the marquee. We had tested all our local ivies and none of them had any lasting power but this one from sunny Forster somehow lives without water for weeks! It was perfect for winding down the length of the tables, it’s flexibility allowing for candles, flowers and platters of food.
The Groom, an early arriving groomsman and Number 2 son, who came down to help with the heavy lifting, transformed the garden into a bucolic reception venue by dotting garden furniture, hay bales and wine barrels into attractive groupings. Huge sandstone boulders became steps into the marquee and pavers were used to create paths to the bar and the bathrooms. The cool room was filled with champagne and wine and the homemade trestle tables were utilised for drinks stations and a grazing table.
The Groom took some time out to practise his speech, I watched him as he paced up and down by the gate, the cows his only audience, and I felt a teeny bit sorry for him. At least on the day I could just turn up and enjoy everything, a bit more pressure on him though….
D Day minus 1 and the Bridal Party arrived, bridesmaids to the charming Camellia Cottage opposite the church at the top of our lane and the groomsmen to a house in Berry and all of a sudden it all became real! In a blink of an eye the Maids had whipped out a bottle of champers and a cheese platter and were making the Bride feel a million dollars and from then on it was just FUN – all the hard work had been done and as I had been told by other MOBs that the day flies by in a blur, I was determined to immerse myself in every minute of it as much as possible. Kathy and I decorated the pews in the church with simple bunches of eucalypt and white ribbon giving this cute little church a simple woodland feel. After a rehearsal we all gathered in the local pub to meet the groom’s family and for the bridal party to get to know each other. Berry was buzzing with our family and friends and I was suddenly so happy that we were hosting this in our new hometown and over a few days rather than just an afternoon at a local wedding venue.
The Big Day dawned and with it the arrival of the hairdresser, makeup artist, wedding co-ordinator and all the other people that make up the workings of a modern wedding. My hairdresser, the lovely Jade (who I have known for 15 years) came down from Sydney and Thelma, the bride’s friend and makeup artist came from Tassie and they worked their collective magic on the girls whilst we sipped on champagne and the Maids made their own bouquets. I must admit I was worried about this idea before the day but the Maid of Honour had gone to the flower markets at dawn the previous day and bought the most amazing collection of flowers and greenery and they had the most wonderful time creating their bouquets as little Estella (9 month old daughter of one of the Maids) sat with them in the garden playing with the offcuts and squealing at the birds! It gave the day a lovely homemade feel which was perfect and the girls did an awesome job with their flowers.
Having my Mum there to share in this girliness was very special and we were having so much fun we left it to the last minute to race home and get changed, passing the baton to the Father of the Bride who was on his way up to see his daughter in her dress and give her away, a big moment in any Father’s life. By the time we got back she was in her dress, looking beautiful and happy and full of excitement for what was to come.
The little church was bursting at the seams and it wasn’t long before the wonderful Father Duane got things started. An unplugged ceremony was requested so that we could all just enjoy being in the moment so I don’t have any photos to share with you just yet but it was gorgeous to see my soon to be son-in-law’s little nephews and nieces toddle down the aisle and give Uncle Berry a big hug before the Maids entered the church ahead of Lozzy and her Dad who was beaming with pride and emotion as he handed her over to her hubby to be. The Groom was in tears as he saw his bride and this started most of us blubbing as well, luckily we had tucked a beautiful lace hanky belonging to a much loved and no longer with us Great Aunty into her hand and I just welled up with love as I saw this couple who had known each other for the best part of 10 years exchange such emotional and heart felt vows for each other. There was a party atmosphere as everyone cheered and clapped for the new Mr & Mrs Cook, causing the priest to say he had never heard had such a happy noisy crowd in the church before!
All the happiness overflowed to the outdoors and a quick couple of snaps with the flower girls and page boys before they were whisked off with their grandparents. A photo opportunity for the bride and her girlfriends from school and Uni and then we were off – a guard of honour for the newlyweds with throwing of petals and cheers all round before the BIG HURDLE – crossing the Princes Highway to walk together down our lane to the reception. This bit had us worried and we had even asked the police if they could arrange to stop the traffic for 5 minutes (apparently not) so in the end we just had to be sensible and choose our moment before hurriedly crossing the highway. I LOVED what followed….. as we waited to cross the road with traffic whizzing past at 100kms per hour cars spontaneously started tooting with passengers waving madly, truckies blowing kisses as they sounded their horns – a wonderful musical symphony for our newlyweds!!
Our lovely neighbours and local farmers Pat and Jeanette had offered to loan us their tractor and trailer, usually used to collect hay bales, to transport the bridal party to the neighbouring paddock for the photos and they all had great fun as they hopped up to enjoy some champagne, beer and a hay ride! A very country scene for sure and one that they absolutely LOVED. Our friend Noel took the afternoon off work to drive them and we followed on foot, stopping off at the beautiful Kathryn’s house where a couple of wheelbarrows had been set up with some cold drinks for the walkers! Thanks Kath for your friendly smiles and “bar” duties!! Love our neighbours in The Lane!
At this stage a certain chocolate dog joined the proceedings sporting her wedding collar and excitedly joining in with the celebrations. As I arrived at the reception this was the 1st thing I saw…..
It certainly didn’t take her long to work out where the food was! She stayed for an hour before our other neighbour Paul came and collected her to stay overnight at his kennels at the top of our lane. If anyone is ever looking for a good place to leave their dogs or cats whilst holidaying on the South Coast you will be super happy with “Meroo Kennels and Cattery” and the care and attention that Paul gives to the animals.
The party started with aperol spritz and champagne to accompany the mellow tunes from the wonderful Adam Rennie. He perfectly summed up the vibe of the wedding and The Meadow with his playlist of songs that we all know and love but done in his own special style. A lovely bloke and a talented one. You can check him out from this Sunday 7th May on “The Voice” (Australia) where he is pitching his talents to the judges. We already know how great he is and now it’s Australia’s turn to find out! Here is a snippet that our amazing wedding co-ordinator Kat popped on her instagram page. I love that we have this little memory!
In case any of you are planning a wedding (and I know at least 4 of you are) I can highly recommend the use of an on the day co-ordinator (especially if you are doing it from home). When the then Engaged One told me she had employed one I thought it sounded a bit Hollywood and unnecessary but boy oh boy was I wrong! It was the single best thing she did and it allowed me to enjoy the day. Despite the title they did a lot more than ‘on the day’ co-ordinating. Site visits, countless phone calls, run sheets, coordinating with all the suppliers, caterers, party hire etc etc and then on the day a complete internal setup of the marquee, tables, flowers and decor – all in accordance with our pictorial examples – AMAZING!! Later that night when I came outside to see all the lanterns on, candles lit and a magical glow all around I was delighted – she did everything I would have done and more. www.weddingandeventcreators.com.au
One of the big hits of the day was our huge LOVE sign. Kindly lent to us from our gorgeous friends at http://www.theoldchurchmilton.com.au (along with many other weddingy things from them and the wonderful Old Koonabulla Dairy in Kangaroo Valley) these letters were fantastic. They divided the lawn up for games such as boules and bocce and provided a great prop for photos. Wayne and Kathy spent hours attaching fairy lights to them so they lit up at night when we would otherwise be plunged into darkness and really set the tone for the day. Thanks Kaz and Phil and Leigh and John ♥
Our beautiful boys Sam and Tom embraced their MC duties with relish introducing the bridal party with funny anecdotes and introducing each stage of the evening as it unfolded. I LOVED that everything was such a family affair from both sides and as we tucked into some wonderful food by Simmone Logue and her team we were treated to some wonderful speeches, none better than the one given by my partner in crime and the Father of The Bride. Despite ‘winging it’ he gave a wonderful account of his little girl growing up and what a special place she held in his heart. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house! (He did also sneak a mention of his footy team in too somehow….!!!)
It is a very special thing to merge two families and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with the In Laws, John and Carolyn again and reconnecting after passing like ships in the night as our kids moved from South America to Tassie to Hong Kong. We were all finally in one place and for such a great reason. The Groom once again bowled me over, this time with his speech – a perfect example of a man happy and confident and thankful and funny and most importantly showing his love for my daughter. Welcome to the family Berry! The Best Man and Maid of Honour also had us laughing in our seats as they shared stories of growing up with the new Mr & Mrs Cook. The cake (a beautiful gift from the very talented Sally Cordukes) was duly cut and the dancing began accompanied by the DJ of the night and the fantastic playlist that got EVERYONE up on the dance floor, Mr Andy Benke thank you !
From then on the night just whizzed by in a blur and before I knew it the buses were here to take everyone home. It was all over and no one was sadder than me. As the last of the somewhat sloshed guests drove off down the lane in the last bus I turned off all the lanterns and Cam blew out all the candles in the marquee before sitting on the veranda together with a glass of wine to ponder the day that had been and to congratulate ourselves on pulling together a day that perfectly reflected Loz and Berry’s wishes and turned out better than we could ever have hoped for.
The nice thing about a country wedding is that it carries on! As everyone had rented cottages for the weekend and had travelled from far and wide to be there Day 2 was a recovery lunch at the Gerroa Fishermans Club overlooking beautiful 7 mile beach and a great little spot to catch up with everyone including the littlies who had been babysat the day before. Some immediate family and friends came back to The Meadow for a bonfire and more drinks, together with leftovers from the wedding and some bbq’d snags and onions in a roll – can’t get more Aussie than that! It was a lovely way to end the weekend and farewell those flying back overseas and as we sat out in the crisp Autumn air and reflected on the whole shebang we were contented little bunnies. The new Mr & Mrs Cook were chuffed to bits and I was quite sad to see them go back to Honkers and reality. They are now excitedly planning their honeymoon hiking through Canada and finishing off in the Big Apple before their next big adventure in Vietnam where they are moving in July. Never a dull moment in this family folks…..!!