Real Wedding; Emma and Oliver @ Merribee House
About You Two;
Now, How did you two meet?
We were setup by my older sister who, as fate would have it, happened to be in the same class as Ollie when they went to Naval College together in Jervis Bay and knew we’d be perfect together.
Who popped the Question and how did it happen?
Ollie popped the question on Werri Beach in Gerringong. Our first place together was in Gerringong so Werri holds a special place in our hearts. It was actually quite funny as the whole week leading up to the proposal Ollie was fretting over the weather forecast and that it was looking like it would be windy. Come the Saturday morning, he suggested we get dressed up, to which I questioned, “For the beach?” He backtracked by saying “It’s Gerringong, everyone’s fancy in Gerringong!” So, he really wasn’t subtle at all!
We went down to the beach (fancy clothes and all) with our dog, Hudson. After a walk along the beach, Ollie asked me to turn around as he wanted to put something on Hudson. When I turned back around, Huds was dressed in a bowtie with a sign attached to it saying, “Dad has something to ask?” with Ollie beside him on one knee.
Why did you choose your venue and how was the venue choosing process?
I had spent a few weeks looking into venues on the South Coast and reaching out to find out if they were within our budget and if so, what their inclusions were. Merribee House actually wasn’t originally in that spreadsheet, but one of my colleagues suggested we check it out as it’s only 20 minutes away from where we live (and also, super beautiful).
It ended up being the very first venue we visited, and we absolutely fell in love with it. Without wanting to risk ‘settling’ for our first choice, I ended up visiting two other venues with my Mum & Dad but quickly realised I was comparing all of them to Merribee – when you know, you know!
Ultimately, we loved the vibe of Merribee – there was just something special about it. We loved the gardens, and it suited our theme of an outdoor wedding to a tee, but also had really lovely wet weather options if we needed them.
Quick Fire Questions;
How many wedding guests did you have?
Sit down of Cocktail Style?
Planning The Wedding;
Was planning the wedding stressful or did you enjoy the journey?
While there was probably times Ollie swore he’d never look at another spreadsheet again, overall we both loved the wedding planning process and created some really special memories.
I in particular loved planning the day and enjoyed thinking about every single detail – I wish I could do it all over again!
The only thing that was stressful was planning a wedding during COVID, which I’m sure a lot of 2020/2021 couples will relate to. Ollie’s family are all based in Perth, WA, which created a level of uncertainty around whether we’d be able to go ahead as planned. Luckily, everything worked out perfectly for us in the end!
How involved were you both in the wedding planning, did one of you take more of the lead on certain aspects than others or were you both equally involved?
We both had final say on most decisions, but I definitely took more of a lead on the wedding planning and was fortunate to have a fiancé who said, “If it makes you happy, do it.” Ollie was in charge of things like alcohol and organising the groomsmen – but he was also particularly helpful in making final decisions when I struggled with indecisiveness.
What was the top couple of non-negotiables or important must-have’s at the wedding for you both?
Good food, good alcohol, good music, good vibes.
Tell us about your dress and that dress-finding process?
The dress-finding process was honestly one of my favourite parts of wedding planning! My sister, Mum and I hit the road for a girl’s trip one weekend and visited boutiques in Sydney and Camden. I ended up choosing the third dress I tried on in the very first boutique we visited, Karen Willis Holmes in Alexandria.
The dress fit like a glove and it was the only one I didn’t see any of my flaws in. Much like the venue, I found myself comparing every other dress to this one and it was always the one I looked back at pictures of.
What sort of theme, vibe or style did you go for?
We tried to keep everything very classic and timeless where possible in terms of colour schemes, outfits, florals and traditions. Everything was mostly black and white, with pops of green from foliage in the gorgeous florals.
On the Day;
How did you both feel wedding morning?
Naturally, we both felt very nervous! Either of us love having attention all on us, so that was a bit daunting for us both, but we were ultimately so excited to finally be married (after 10 years together, it was well-overdue!).
What was the best part or moment of your day?
Surprisingly, the ceremony was the highlight of the day for both of us. Leading up to the day, we both thought that would be more of a formality that we would kind of get out of the way and then be able to party, but the ceremony was so special and intimate and felt like a real celebration of our relationship to date. We’ll both never forget the moment I walked down the aisle or the happiness we felt walking back down it.
Special shout-out to Cath from Coastal Ceremonies who created the most relaxed, funny, and sentimental ceremony. She instantly made everyone (including the guests) feel at ease.
Anything you would change about your wedding or anything that didn’t go to plan?
Not really! Everything went pretty perfectly. One small thing would be that either of us gave much thought into the morning of the wedding in terms of how we wanted it to play out timings wise, what we’d eat/drink, etc.
Are there any rituals, sentiments or traditions you incorporated into the day?
We stuck to a lot of the ‘normal’ traditions – stayed apart the night before, dad walked me down the aisle, cut the cake together and had a first dance. We didn’t do things like a bouquet throw or removal of the garter.
In terms of sentiments, we had our mum’s sign our marriage certificate as witnesses on the day which was actually Cath’s idea – and I’m so glad we did! We’re both very close with our mum’s (and close with each other’s mum’s) so it was a really lovely way to include them.
After the Wedding;
Describe newlywed life in a couple of words?
I once heard someone describe marriage as the feeling of coming home after a long day and unbuttoning your jeans – which I totally relate to! Marriage for us is that feeling of comfort knowing we’ve committed to each other for the rest of our lives.
But apart from that, not a lot has changed at all in our relationship!
Best investment or money well spent on the wedding that you made?
Without word of a lie – Wedding & Event Creators! I tell all of my South Coast based newly engaged friends to get in touch with you guys because it was one of the best investments we made for the day. Not only was the coordination on the day fabulous, the support and advice offered in the lead up was worth every penny.
Budget-over, under or what you estimated?
It was over what we estimated, but not by a huge amount.
I remember asking our friends who got married the year before us about their budget, to which they responded “Well, we’re not broke” and I totally understand now what they meant!
Set up/Styling/Hire; The Wedding and Event Creators
Venue; Merribee House
Florist; Flowers on the Mill
Photographer; Hannah Blackmore Weddings
Videographer; Timeless Wedding Films
Catering and Bar staff; Duck Duck Goose
Entertainment; Aidan O’Brien (Acoustic Performer) and XYDJ (DJ)
Makeup and Hair; Sydney Makeup Artist
Celebrant; Coastal Ceremonies
Cake; Applemire Cakery
Dress; Karen Willis Holmes