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A wedding where food truly brings people together

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My dress

Photo: Kari Teagan Photography

Most brides are obsessed with dresses, flowers and invitations – and don’t get my wrong – I spent hours making my own invites, bouquets made not from petals, but of crystals – and finding “THE” dress was very important – especially with my “fuller” figure.

Picture: Kari Teagan Photogrpahy

Picture: Kari Teagan Photogrpahy

I didn’t want the food to be silly and pretentious either. I wanted people to read the menu and think “yum, I cannot wait to put that in my mouth!”.

We had a small wedding, filled only with the people that we love – and we wanted all 62 of them to feel how important they are in our lives. We wanted them to feel looked after and that they could enjoy every morsel and have a memorable and fun time on our special day.

I was just going to write about our wedding day and tell you how amazing it was – because it really was a day filled with happiness and emotion, fun and complete and utter yumminess! But, the journey to getting to that one day (and while it has become a cliché,  flies by so quickly) – should not be discounted.

We looked at more than 10 venues … and more than half were quickly removed from the list by both Matt and I on the menu alone. I did not want to eat “fried chicken bites” (aka chicken nuggets) at my wedding. Call me a food snob if you like, but that was just never going to cut it.

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Matt getting ready with his groomsmen – doing what boys do! Photo: Kari Teagan Photography

For both of us, it came down to a toss up between two venues. One was a small winery near the Great Ocean Road. The chef was clearly a descendent of Heston Blumenthal. He was into “avocado foam” and “delicate ribbons of  hydro-vacted truffle”. Ok, I made the last bit up – but you know what I mean. This guy, despite the scientific-sounding menu, was full of passion for food and I just loved that. I also liked the rustic charm and relaxing surrounds of the winery where it would be an outdoor affair and we could get married in the same spot. Despite the fancy food, it was a place I could have decorated with fairly lights and lanterns and really made it an expression of who we are.

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Then, we stopped in at the Vue Grand Hotel in Queenscliff. Truthfully, we were filling in time between appointments. Don’t get me wrong – people had told us amazing things about the Vue Grand. But, I thought it was probably a bit posh – a bit too “grand” (for want of a better word) – and that it wouldn’t really be my future husband’s cup of tea (he is a psy-trance loving computer nerd who loves Star Wars and must have pizza for dinner once a week – no matter what!)

Feeling slightly overwhelmed – and to try and at least give Matt the opportunity to have real involvement in the decision making (knowing full well I’d take over once in the full swing of wedding craziness!) – I told Matt I wanted him to make the decision on the venue. A big decision, I know, but I thought I knew which way he would go … and I was ok with that. So – what did he choose?

Vue Grand

Well, boy was I wrong about Matt! He told me you only get married once – and so he wanted it to be “a little bit fancy”. So, the Vue Grand it was!

Picture: Kari Teagan Photography - hair and make-up - Salon XVI

Picture: Kari Teagan Photography – hair and make-up – Salon XVI Hair and Beauty

And, I was so friggin’ happy! I had told everyone I wanted a low-key, casual affair – but who was I kidding! I was no different to most brides really … I wanted a special day, a beautiful day … with some flair! But, I didn’t want it to be like every other wedding. I wanted it to be unique and different too – you know, a little off-beat!

We met with the Vue Grand’s events co-ordinator Connie and let’s just say – she is awesome! Warm, friendly, professional – full of excellent advice.  While the Vue Grand is clearly a grand place – it’s not stuffy or posh or pretentious. Connie is instrumental in helping to set the tone for the event and their willingness and open-mindedness is pivotal.  She made us think of things we hadn’t considered, especially around the timing of things – and really just calmed my nerves when things got crazy. It was awesome!

My dad seeing me for the first time! Picture: Kari Teagan Photography

My dad seeing me for the first time! Picture: Kari Teagan Photography

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I really did enjoy every moment of preparing for the wedding … from spending hours upon hours making the invites (including sticking hundreds and hundreds of crystals into love heart shapes on to each and every one), to coming up with a unique take on the guest book. It was a wishing tree where I hand made every card for our guests to write on and hang on the sparkly tree.

With everything from the food I ate to the exercise I did to running sheets and lists – I was organised, structured and prepared.

Mum putting my grandmother's engagement ring on my finger as my "something old" and "something borrowed". A very special moment. Picture: Kari Teagan Photohraphy.

Mum putting my grandmother’s engagement ring on my finger as my “something old” and “something borrowed”. A very special moment. Picture: Kari Teagan Photohraphy.

I’m sure our families and friends thought I was an insane control freak. But, while I did get a bit stressed from time to time, I was determined not to become a “bridezilla”.

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Matt really really wanted a Hummer – so he had one 🙂 Photo: Kari Teagan Photography

The beauty of being so organised was when I woke up at 6am on the morning of our wedding – I was ready. Everyone knew where they had to be and when – and that knowledge meant everyone could be calm, collected and relaxed … and just enjoy the whole process. I mean seriously, are these not THE most beautiful bridesmaids you have ever seen?

Picture: Kari Teagan Photography
Picture: Kari Teagan Photography
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Picture: Kari Teagan Photography

Like the food, we wanted the ceremony to reflect us as well, and Donna Noakes, our celebrant – was just amazing. I wrote almost the whole ceremony, but Donna helped inspire the structure and tradition of it. She made us think about things logically and in ways we wouldn’t have thought of. She suggested a candlelighting ceremony  – and that was just perfect as it involved our family and really highlight the romantic theme we wanted.

On reflection, neither Matt or I truly started to feel nervous until he was waiting for me at the end of the aisle – and I was watching the flower girls, page boys and bridesmaids begin their walk. When dad and I were left alone – it really hit me. As my music started – which was the the instrumental of Kissing You from the Romeo and Juliet movie – I felt so ready. I remember telling myself over and over just to take everything in and as I turned the corner to face Matt – it really was an incredible moment and me being me, I started to cry.


The ceremony was emotional, beautiful, and everything we wanted it to be – but best of all – at the end of it – we were husband and wife!

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Photo: Kari Teagan Photography

While our guests enjoyed beautiful canapes, the bridal party popped down to the amazing Queenscliff Pier for a few photos! Our photographer was Kari from Kari Teagan Photography. She was AMAZING … as you can see.

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Photo: Kari Teagan Photography

Photo: Kari Teagan Photography

Walking into the Grand Dining Room for our reception – well it was just a sight to behold. Where I’d had my heart set on fairy lights, the beautiful old building just wouldn’t have suited that sort of decoration. So, we decided on candles. There were more than 20 pillar candle centrepieces and more than 150 tea lights all around the room. In typical Vue Grand style – nothing was too much trouble. They set up everything perfectly, diligently lighting every single candle – and the room looked even better than I could have ever dreamed of.

And finally – to the amazing food! One of the other things that set the Vue Grand apart from the crowd was the tasting we got to have before the wedding so that we could select our menu from an informed perspective.  We made a night of it a few months before the wedding and it was one of the best dinners we have ever had! I could not have imagined being unhappy with anything on the menu and the staff were attentive, informative about everything from the food to the wine – but never pretentious. The tasting left us so assured that our wedding day would go off without a hitch … and we weren’t wrong at all!

Photo: Kari Teagan Photography

Photo: Kari Teagan Photography

The highlight for us both was sitting down at the bridal table, and being able to look across two long tables of our friends and family, and see their smiling, happy faces. And, this is what we had …

All photos: Kari Teagan Photography


Pictures: Kari Teagan Photography


Pork Belly with Green Mango Salad                                    Chicken and Drysdale Goat Cheese Ravioli


main The Vue GrandLamb Shoulder with Ratatouille                Ballotine of Chicken with Tomato, Olive and Bread Salad



 Chocolate Ripple Wedding Cake—inspired by Matt—created by Regnier Cakes

The speeches were so moving and wonderful and we danced the night away to the wonderful sounds of After Five.  They were absolutely amazing and everyone was up and dancing and having a wonderful time. Alistair Vick – the lead singer, was also our MC. He was awesome! No bad jokes, he really just provided great structure for the whole evening, which was just what we wanted.

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Throughout the planning process, many people thought I was striving for some sort of perfection. Perfection to me was, in all honesty, Matt showing up on the day, saying I do – and becoming husband and wife. Everything else was just a bonus really.

We were just so lucky to have our friends and family there to share it all with us, many of whom travelled long distances to be there including Darwin, Adelaide and Perth. Our bridal party was incredible – from the bucks and the hens to helping out with stuff during the week leading up – they were all incredible. As for our parents – all we can say is … thank you for EVERYTHING!

In a way, I felt like the wedding was the end of a 18-month journey of planning and waiting – but I think sometimes we forget that a wedding is only the beginning of something beautiful!

What are your most treasured memories of your wedding? Or, if you aren’t married yet … what are the things you are most looking forward to?

Here’s a short slideshow if you’d like to see some more amazing photos by our photographer. And, to prove that the wedding is just the beginning – I’ll be posting some delicious photos on Thursday from the honeymoon! See you then!

P.S I really want to give a plug to all our amazing vendors. I don’t have a bad word to say about any of them – so if you’re looking for any of these services, we highly recommend them all (click to go to their webpages)



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