{Real Weddings} Julie & Sam's Australian Willow Tree Estate Wedding

Am I ever excited to share this beautiful wedding with you all today!  Why, you might ask?  Well, it is the first wedding to be submitted to us from a land far, far away from the United States, taking place in New South Wales, Australia.  There is so much beauty to be seen in this shoot, from the breathtaking views of the landscape to the beautiful color palette and styling of the details, even some bouncing kangaroos make it in this wedding submission!  

Julie & Sam's wedding was submitted to us via Two Bright Lights by Hilary Cam Photography, and we are so happy to welcome them to the blog!  The best part about connecting with talented photographers at Two Bright Lights is being exposed to different parts of the globe, where brides and grooms are exchanging their vows in the most unique ways.  Then to connect with those brides to share their story and planning ways & tips is the ultimate icing on the cake.

Julie is a bride I've made a connection with, and she was very happy to share with me her story and planning processes.  Enjoy her story and her gorgeous wedding photos, captured by Hilary Cam Photography:

Sam and I moved from Brisbane to Sydney two years ago for Sam's work. On Valentine's day 2011 whilst on holiday in Bora Bora, Sam asked me to marry him. I'm embarrassed to say I grabbed the gorgeous diamond ring and put it on my finger before I said yes, yes, yes. 

I was always interested in a destination wedding and with Sam's family based in Canberra and my family based in Brisbane it made perfect sense. We wanted a relaxed, fun day with good food, good wine and great scenery to celebrate with family and friends. The Hunter Valley ticked all the boxes. We spent a couple of Saturdays driving around looking at different venues and immediately liked Willow Tree Estate.

We chose to book the entire estate which sleeps up to twenty guests. We were able to have the bridal party and our brothers and sisters all stay at the venue for the two nights. The estate has seven large rooms and a Summerhouse suite for the bridal couple. The other wedding guests all stayed at surrounding hotels and bed and breakfasts. The night before we all enjoyed wine tasting at Keith Tulloch Estate and a really lovely dinner at The Muse Kitchen restaurant.  Before we knew it our wedding day had arrived and luckily the weather was perfect.

Our photographer Hilary Cam has an option to photograph the groomsmen getting ready as well as the bridesmaids so your album looks more balanced. We are so glad we took him up on this option because he got some great pictures of the guys getting ready, playing bocce and drinking local beer Blue Tongue.

The bridesmaids took over the Summerhouse suite and sipped champagne while curling hair, applying make up and enjoying lots of giggles. Raylee at Willow tree took care of everything including organising a lunch platter delivered to our room.

The outdoor ceremony was held in the gardens at Willow Tree Estate. My Dad walked me down the aisle towards a beaming Sam. The celebrant Robyn Baker was great and calmed our nerves almost immediately. The ceremony was really beautiful and we exchanged the vows we had written ourselves. When Robyn announced we were husband and wife the guests cheered and we shared a magical kiss.

After lots of photos we joined the wedding guests celebrating on the large deck to enjoy the great food and wine the Hunter Valley has to offer. The reception was catered by staff from The Verandah Restaurant. The food was amazing. Anyone who has eaten at their restaurant located at The Calais Estate knows what we are talking about. We had a great view across vineyards towards the mountains and the gardens were all in full bloom and beautiful. The speeches were witty and heartfelt before cake cutting and then we danced into the night.

The Planning Process
In the planning stages I was up in Brisbane one weekend and I went bridesmaid dress shopping with my two sisters. They convinced me to try on a wedding dress because I was just going to order one online. The first dress I tried on was beautiful and it brought tears to my sisters eyes. I bought it on the spot. We found dresses for Clare and Kara just as easily. I ordered the flowers and the cake online. A couple of emails with photos of colours, etc was all it took. I have other friends who were also planning weddings and couldn't believe I hadn't tried the cake or seen the flowers before the big day. Everything worked out perfectly and I couldn't have been happier. Sam and I prepared the Place card menus - featuring a photo of the island where we got engaged - and Mum made the wedding invites. My sister did my Hair and make up. Everything was really professional and guests were surprised when we said who had done what.

Special Moments
We had so many great moments on our wedding day it would be hard to choose one. Something that was recommended was to steal a moment together just to take it all in. After the speeches Sam and I went upstairs to a verandah that overlooked the reception for a few minutes. It was so nice to have a little cuddle and just watch everyone else.

The Honeymoon
A week in Las Vegas

Savvy Advice
I would definitely recommend a destination wedding as we were able to bring everyone together in a great setting where we could relax and celebrate together.

We have amazing photos which we will cherish forever. And it feels absolutely wonderful to introduce the love of my life as my husband.

Julie and Sam make such a gorgeous couple.  All the details here are truly gorgeous and stunning.  The timing of the day and the sunlight makes for extraordinary images.  

I love Julie's choice for the color palette, of soft pinks and creams, with the gorgeous aqua blue hues, as seen in the bridesmaid dresses and on the bouquets.  I LOVE the moment the two bouquets are caught suspended in the air, one revealing the underneath of the bouquet, the other bearing the front of the bouquet.  Those are "money shots", if you ask me, they are very hard to plan and come by!

So many thanks to Julie for opening up about her gorgeous wedding day with us!  I love it that the honeymoon took place in Las Vegas, just 5 hours from my home! 

And a special thanks to Hilary Cam Photography for submitting your beautiful photography with us!  

Photographer: Hilary Cam Photography, Chippendale, New South Wales, Australia
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Willow Tree Estate, Pokolbin, New South Wales, Australia
Caterer: The Verandah Restaurant, Pokolbin, New South Wales, Australia
Cake Designer: Marakye Cake Designs, Bolwarra, New South Wales, Australia
Floral Designer: Valley Fresh Flowers,  Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

1 comment:

  1. I've seen my share of outdoor weddings, but never anything like that. One thing's for sure, if we tied the knot with that kind of scenery, our devon wedding photographer would probably have some trouble picking what or who to shoot first.


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