Real Wedding; Paris and Nathan @Seacliff House
About You Two;
Now, How did you two meet?
We both met at a music festival called ‘Sound Relief’ back in 2009. We met through both of our best friends (who are now also married and were the Best Man and Maid of Honour at our wedding!). Nathan had just turned 18 and graduated from high school and myself a mere age of 16.. he swooned me by filling up my Calypso iceblock with vodka… we danced to a magical set from ‘The Presets’ in the rain and it was the might amazing first time experience together.
Who popped the Question and how did it happen?
Nathan popped the question. We had been together for 10 years and knew we wanted to get married. I had a very specific idea in mind for my ring so we started the process of getting that made. I knew it was coming although he still managed to surprise me! He asked the jeweller to text me to say that the ring wouldn’t be ready for another few weeks and sneakily in that time had picked it up and proposed that weekend. I should have known as he asked if I wanted to go for a walk (he hates to walk) and also it was a boiling hot day. He popped the question at one of our local lookouts and I was so surprised. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, we were like…. “what do we do now”. So we visited all of our family to tell them in person and went out for cocktails and a seafood dinner to celebrate.
Why did you choose your venue and how was the venue choosing process?
We only visited one venue and that was Seacliff House in Gerringong. My mum actually sent me the wedding website and it instantly seemed perfect. We regularly travel to Gerringong for weekends away and it is really our home away from home. We both love the beach and the rolling hills and loved the idea of a getaway wedding without it being too far for our guests to travel.
Quick Fire Questions;
How many wedding guests did you have?
Sit down of Cocktail Style?
End May 2021
Planning The Wedding;
Was planning the wedding stressful or did you enjoy the journey?
It was overall fun…. although it was a long journey. We, like many other couples, had to post pone our wedding due to COVID. We already had a pretty long engagement being engaged in December 2018 and wedding date set for May 2020. We had to post pone our wedding just shy of a month from our wedding date in April 2020 so we had already been waiting 18 months.. We decided to post pone the wedding by a year as we hoped at least by then the COVID situation would have eased. That was probably the hardest part of the process. I remember spending a whole weekend contacting suppliers, locking in new dates, contacting guests, transferring money although after all of this was done there was definitely a sense of relief. All of our suppliers were available for our new set date and it remained set for May which was the month we initially wanted. After this, I put the wedding out of my mind as I found it was just consuming all of my thoughts and I wanted to ‘get on with life’ so to speak. The benefits of waiting? more time to save for the wedding of our dreams, time to change anything I wasn’t 100% happy about and most importantly, a second hens!
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?
I definitely took the lead with planning… Nathan isn’t really much of a planner haha. I did mostly everything although I left it with Nathan to make the final decision about what to wear (with my input of course around what colour schemes would work best), he attended the fitting with his groomsmen and made a day out of it. Nathan also helped to make the final decisions about the food when we went to our menu tasting. If there was a decision that needed to be made that I was stuck with I would ask although he didn’t usually have much of a preference so in the end I stopped asking and knew he would trust my judgement anyway.
What was the top couple of non-negotiables or important must-have’s at the wedding for you both?
Our non-negotiables: dancing, all of our friends being there, yummy food.
My non-negotiables: Amazing florals and styling, cocktails!
Nathans non-negotiables: Peacock chairs (yes, he’s that extra!) and arancini balls
Tell us about your dress and that dress-finding process?
I always knew that I wanted a two-piece gown. I started looking for these a few months after my engagement and absolutely hated the process! There was nothing I could find that I liked or fitted well and I even had a dress maker come back to me to say I would never suit the style I dreamt of! It was so deflating. I then went to a local dress maker who I knew had created a beautiful custom made two-piece bridal gown (Anna Maurer Couture). I had an idea of what I wanted with numerous photos off Pinterest of details and fabrics although I didn’t have an exact photo of “this is what I want can you recreate this please” haha. She started by drawing out the idea of the gown in a rough sketch and showed/taught me about all the different types of fabrics (tulle, lace, organza, beaded lace…..) it was a whole new language for me. The gown transformed over time and once our wedding was postponed I even changed the whole idea of my bodice from puffed sleeves to flowy sleeves which I am so happy I changed now looking back. I was completely involved in the whole process, from the design, fabric choice and even the positioning of the beading on the bodice. I am so happy with the outcome of the dress and I definitely think it reflected me so well on the day.
What sort of theme, vibe or style did you go for?
My style was ‘glam-whimsical’. I don’t even think that is a style although I think that was the point as I wasn’t looking for a cookie cutter type theme. Think lots of candles, hints of gold and silver, neutral tones with pops of violet, purples and blues. It definitely suited the setting with it being a cooler time of the year with the overcast day… it was a real mood.
On the Day;
How did you both feel wedding morning?
Paris: I felt super ready! I had over 24 months to prepare for this day so I am sure that definitely helped. I was trying to be calm to really make sure I was taking it all in although it was also really exciting at the same time being there with my bridesmaids and getting hyped about the day. Myself and the bridesmaids went to get coffee and we did a workout on the property to get the heart pumping and some of the nerves out. My dad cooked us all breakfast we ate and watched each other get ready.. it was really nice!
Nathan: Extremely excited, but also really calm. It had been a long time coming so I felt ready to finally get married. The lads were great, we went to check the surf at the point, but it was really stormy and messy, so we went up to the hill and grabbed some breaky and a coffee instead. It was quite a surreal feeling that morning and it was great to have my best mates there to share it with and keep the nerves in check.
What was the best part or moment of your day?
The best part was when we had time for just two of us to head off for photos together. We had been planning this photo location for soooo long and each time we visited Gerringong in the planning process we always visited this spot and imagined us being there on the day. It was a great spot with a huge fig tree (Nathan’s favourite tree) and beautiful vine yards behind it. We were both having the best time and you could definitely tell it from the photos. It was a nice time together to have a break from the craziness of the day and after this we got back into the limo to head back for the reception, enjoyed a margarita (which we requested they bring) and it was so good to know we still had the whole night ahead of us!
Anything you would change about your wedding or anything that didn’t go to plan?
I think the obvious thing was COVID, that definitely wasn’t planned! And I can imagine that would be the reality now for every couple planning a wedding. My advice would be that if you are someone who has always dreamed of a big and beautiful wedding to just wait and postpone for a decent period of time. We post poned for a year and it allowed enough time for things to blow over (and also allowed more time to save for things we really wanted!). The main other thing was the weather.. we were looking at the forecast everyday in the 2 weeks leading up.. initially it was forecast for rain so we were umming and ahhhing about getting a marquee. We held off for a bit to see what the weather would do although we needed to lock this in at latest a week before the wedding. Lucky we did! because the weather was an icy 13-14 degrees with strong winds! This definitely helped to ease the stress knowing we could have had the ceremony under this if needed although we managed to continue to have an outdoor ceremony as we always wanted and kept this for our guests to mingle in post ceremony and made it nice and toasty with heaters.
Are there any rituals, sentiments or traditions you incorporated into the day?
I think Nathan and I as a couple are quite ‘non traditional’ so we both weren’t too fussed on ticking off all the wedding traditions. For example, there was no garter toss, no guest book and we also didn’t have anything ‘old, new, borrowed and blue’. I think it’s important to make sure the day reflects your values as a couple and we didn’t feel the need to do these things just to ‘please’ our family or guests.
After the Wedding;
Describe newlywed life in a couple of words?
Relief, bliss and being able to say ‘husband’ is fun too.
Best investment or money well spent on the wedding that you made?
Having an on-the-day coordinator is a MUST and also a setup and packup package will save you a world of stress (and energy) which you really don’t have much of when it gets to your day and the day after. This was especially important with a wedding venue such as Seacliff which is all DIY and it is a massive job trying to do it all on your own. It will also save your relatives the stress trying to help to do it all.. they can all just sit back and relax and enjoy the day.
We also absolutely love our photos and wedding video so even though this can seem like a huge cost at the time, it is literally the only memories you will have left of your special day. Find the one you love and book them straight away!
It may seem small although especially on a cold and windy day like ours our marquee and heating was an absolute saviour. Even though they are super expensive make sure you budget a marquee into your wedding cots (even though you think you may not need one). We were expecting a clear, crisp Autumn day in Gerringong although the weather had other plans for us haha.
Budget-over, under or what you estimated?
You will never go over budget if you don’t make one. Hahah no but honestly likely over budget probably due to the amount of time we had in the lead up to the wedding. I changed the bridesmaid dresses (a few times!) and also saved for additional things i.e. more florals that I knew I really wanted. We did try to save in the areas we could by doing our own wedding menus from an Etsy stencil + getting them printed off, Nathan made the wooden holders for our menus, we used an old Moroccan lamp he found on a job site for our wishing well and our friend who is a plumber also helped us to make our copper frames for our wedding signs. I think it’s important to weigh up not just the costs of things but also time involved if you decide to do things yourself to make things cheaper.. if you have the time and enjoy doing those things – go for it. If you would rather just hire something or pay someone to do it for you – do that instead.
Set up/Styling/Hire; The Wedding and Event Creators
Celebrant; Married by Tess
Venue; Seacliff House
Florist; Gypsy Carmen
Photographer and Videographer; With Love Weddings
Catering and Bar Staff; Garnish
DJ; Bryan Browne
Makeup; Monique Lawler Makeup
Hair; Kayla Goss Bridal
Cake; Chaos and Couture Cakes by Nadia