Real Wedding: Claire & Ash

This relaxed couple knew they wanted their day to be an informal party for their guests to enjoy. Surrounded by 10 acres of romantic landscaped gardens and seven hundred aromatic rose bushes this couple effortlessly created an enchanting, rustic wedding complete with family, friends and two beautiful furry special guests!


The Engagement 

We have been together for 6 years in December. I had always said that I never was the marrying type of girl and had never dreamed or thought I would get married. In October our best friends Amie and Chays were heading overseas travelling. Ash had planned a hike in Wentworth falls for us all before they left. As always, I tend to not want to do things when it gets closer ha-ha! Ash was saying we had to because it had already been organised etc. What I didn’t know at that this stage was that this has been planned since the start of that year when he began designing my ring.

We got started on our hike down to a few spots that Chays wanted to take some pictures of (very good photographer). We got to a certain spot and Chays said for me and Amie to get a few pictures facing the waterfall, while we were doing this Ash was getting ready. It was then Ash’s turn to come and take photos with me. I had just said to Chays “Are we done yet” (little did I know he was videoing) and then I turned back around to Ash on one knee under the waterfall asking me to marry him.

Unfortunately, my first reaction was “Get f******” which yes is on video, followed by a lot of tears and a big YES.  Chays and Amie pulled champagne out of their backpacks and we had a nice bite to eat and something to drink.  Let me say, hiking back up the mountain, with adrenaline and my legs shaking after a bottle of champagne wasn’t good ha-ha.


We got married in October at The Turpentine Tree in Kurrajong Heights, New South Wales. We had originally booked another venue earlier in the year, however after booking it and realising it was going to cost between $40K-$50K (which for us was ridiculous) we ended up cancelling everything and getting our deposits back. After many discussions between Ash and I, in September we decided we needed to do something, so I spoke to my sister (ex-wedding planner) who told me about The Turpentine Tree. They had one date left being the 29.10.2016. I knew it was soon but I didn’t care. We had only ever really wanted a very relaxed, smaller wedding with about 70 people and this worked out perfect.

We did the ‘wedding day’ more for our families than anything else, however, we wanted the day to represent our relaxed personalities, but be more of a party than a traditional wedding. As it was set in a garden we didn’t have a theme as such but wanted our day to have a rustic feel with rose gold touches. It was like a fairy garden, very whimsical.


We wanted a place that was relaxed and had good food, we aren’t ones for a small piece of steak the size of your palm and one tiny bit of asparagus! We wanted to be fed as I love food! When we saw the menu for The Turpentine Tree featured wood-fired pizza for dinner and was very cost-effective we were sold.

Our venue also had the perfect ceremony place, a beautiful spot for the social hour and the most AMAZING reception area all in the one spot. It made for a very easy day and the venue made everything that much easier with the help we had off the owner Jo Chandler.

Our venue had a lot already there in terms of decoration and we didn’t have to do much to make it look great because of the amazing surroundings and gardens.


Before we had even booked the wedding in late September, I had found a dress online. I had looked but there was no way I was spending thousands of dollars for an uncomfortable dress to wear for one day.  The company are called Spell Designs – Byron Bay, and they had a bridal section featuring handmade dresses. I found one that was only $990 and looked amazing. It was just what I wanted style wise as well. I went home, had Ash take my measurements to make sure it fit. I ordered on Thursday when I got to work and it arrived on my desk on the Monday fitting perfectly.


Ash got everything from Roger David. I let him completely organise and order whatever he wanted. Only instruction was not too formal! He did a great job and they turned out perfect.


My bridesmaids and I got their dresses from Asos at $100 each! They were beautifully flowy and the blush colour was perfect for the venue and the garden.


I had some friends do this for me and pretty much decided on the day what I wanted and what I wanted the girls to have. Again everything was very relaxed and I had so much faith in their abilities I just told them roughly what I was thinking and they made it look better than I could have imagined.


Not being a very big girly girl, I didn’t really know what I wanted and where to start. I just knew that being in a garden I wanted flowers to be a big part of the reception and decorations and that I wanted succulents as the main feature. I meet a woman by the name of Sarah Faraday from Flower Stories at the bridal expo. The moment I looked at her stall I knew she was the one. Everything that she had set up was perfect and exactly what I was thinking. I gave her my budget, and what I was thinking and she did everything from there. Literally, I did hardly anything and I was brought to tears at how amazing the bouquets were on the day. What she did with the reception just made it look like a beautiful fairy tale.


Social Hour – Grazing Station consisting of cheeses, dips etc and some canapes

Entrée – Antipasto platter, Garlic Pizza and Bruschetta Pizza

Main – 5 different flavours of wood-fired pizza (served on tables as share pizzas)

Dessert – Alternate drop – Lemon Meringue tart and Panacotta

We also had a Cookies and Crème and Milo fudge that was served on plates to each table to nibble on during the night (I have a big sweet tooth).

Our wedding favours were also fairy floss in small containers with personalised stickers!!


To save money we bought a template of Etsy and transferred into Vistaprint and printed our invitations that way. We bought magnets to stick to the back and bought some brown/ rustic style envelopes that were actually sold as “lolly Bags” at the local $2 shop. We finished them with rose gold glitter envelope seals to match. All in all for about 80 invites it only cost us $230. 


We just kept it simple with a DJ at the reception. There was some light music played at the ceremony with songs we picked and our celebrant played.


Being that we decided to do it on very short notice, the photographer I chose (Grey Willow Photography) was very quick to call me about my queries and had lovely photos in her portfolio.

She had a good rate on her 8-hour package including a USB and album. The main reason we picked this woman was because she understood what we wanted and that we didn’t want very formal pictures. Also as I don’t like having my photo taken anyway, I knew she would put me in line and make sure we got the right shots! Keep in mind, I also never met her before the wedding day, that is how much trust I had in her.


Walking down the aisle and seeing the smile on his face, to holding his hands and feeling him shaking like a leaf is a feeling that is unexplainable. The amount of love that rushes through your body and pure happiness is something that I will never forget.

But I cannot also go without saying it was my guests and my dogs as well! Having my closest family and friends there to celebrate in a relaxed atmosphere made it memorable. With the help of a company called Wedding Paws, I was able to have my 2 dogs there with me for the ceremony and photos. Having my babies there along with only my closest family and friends made it the best day of my life.

From the funny speeches to my cousin as MC who every guest said was the highlight of the night, to being able to speak to every person at the wedding and enjoy my night without it being a rush was beyond perfect.


Have your bridesmaids make you an emergency kit. My sister did one for me and it saved my life a few times. I forgot nail polish remover and the kit had it. It had everything from heel grips, mints, plasters, toothbrush, undies and many more essentials that you wouldn’t believe you could forget. It really did help me out on many occasions. I actually forgot undies ha-ha so I am glad I was covered for that!



Venue & Ceremony: The Turpentine Tree  Celebrant: Married by Jillian Alice
Wedding Dress: Spell Bride  Bridesmaid Dresses: ASOS Groom & Groomsmen: Roger David  Accessories: Swarovski & Lovisa  Flowers: Flower Stories Stationary: Etsy & Vistaprint
Hair: Hair on Point  Make-Up: Harmony Beauty Boutique  Entertainment: First Choice DJ’s
 Cake: Pasticceria Papa Haberfield  Favours: Under the Cotton Tree  Decor: Ikea
Doggie Daycare: Wedding Paws

Photography: Grey Willow Photography




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