Rachael and Simon wanted a wedding with European aesthetics without having to leave Australia. The couple found a Tuscan villa type venue with pale peach walls and climbing greenery. They settled on tasteful and discreet decor, and instead focussed on the experience of their guests. We spoke with Rachael and found out all the details of organizing this elegant and stylish wedding, as well as her love story with Simon.
Tell us a little about yourselves.
Simon and I met nearly seven years ago in the old-fashioned way – at a bar. I was with my roommate at the time, who would later go on to MC our wedding! He was quickly dismissed from wingman duties when I met Simon. I work as a freelance stylist and content creator, while Simon works in banking. While they say opposites attract, it certainly isn’t the case for us. We are similar in every way and both consider dining out our number one hobby, along with travel and being outside in the sunshine with our fur child.
What was the concept behind your wedding and how did you find your inspiration?
I would say the overall aesthetic was a refined European feel. We wanted the venue to be the hero and while we dabbled in a few styling trends, it was important for us that our wedding be timeless. We invested in the comfort of our guests first and foremost which made up a lot of the styling elements, including lush lounge chairs, hand held fans, a carefully considered floor plan and slippers so everyone could dance the night away!
Where was your wedding? Why did you choose this venue?
Redleaf was in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. It was our fourth attempt at getting married and the first two scheduled dates were supposed to be at a winery in New Zealand. I think we were drawn to Redleaf because it felt a world away even though we were still in Australia!
How many guests did you have?
In the end, we had 74 guests. The final list decreased by 30% in the fortnight prior as it was a particularly uncertain time for COVID in Australia. It was a challenge navigating this right up until the day, but it was the perfect number.
Tell us about your outfits.
My first dress by Pallas Couture required eight interstate trips to complete, and it was worth it! I saw it in a campaign shoot a few years prior and adored it, but never thought it would suit me. It was actually the only dress sample I was able to fit into, not being a size 8. Perhaps that’s why I fell in love with it! The beautiful team at Pallas customised the shape to make sure the cut was flattering for my figure.
My second dress was a custom mini design by Mariam Seddiq. I took a few inspiration images to start with and we worked through the design together at each fitting, but it was mum who insisted on the very short hem length! I styled it with blue feathered Bottega Veneta heels and they were so fun to dance the night away in.
What was your first dance song?
Having a formal first dance would imply we would have a second one! We skipped this tradition, it just wasn’t us.
What flowers did you choose for the bride’s bouquet and why?
The only flower I insisted on was orchids. I wanted something simple since my dress was such a statement. Our amazing florist added the draped Amaranthus, which complemented the fluffiness of my dress perfectly. I didn’t really give a brief for my bridesmaid’s bouquet and she created three totally different arrangements. I highly recommend giving your florist some creative license and just trusting them to create something amazing.
What was your wedding cake like? And where did you order it?
Another wedding tradition we skipped! We had a champagne tower, which was probably the equivalent of the classic 'wedding cake moment' for us. We had roving desserts instead, so people could graze on them in between the dance floor.
Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?
My favourite detail was our custom In The Round House plates featuring a line drawing by an artist, Samantha Lentini. These were our gifts to guests at the end of the night and we love getting sent photos every time someone uses them! With so many late cancellations, we also have about 50 spare plates… seems like the perfect excuse to have an anniversary lunch in years to come!