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A cosy Jewish wedding at Bendooley Estate Gardens

A cosy Jewish wedding at Bendooley Estate Gardens


Written by Katie Byrne


Stacey and Michael's winter-themed nuptials featured a flash mob, DIY details and stunning seasonal blooms

 

Photography: Milton Gan

We met at a wedding in Melbourne - an old school friend of mine was marrying Michael’s cousin. Michael’s sister had planned to set him up with another old school friend at the wedding but when she introduced them the match was not meant to be and Michael and I ended up chatting for the most of the night. At the very end of the wedding, I saw Michael striding over to me out of the corner of my eye and I was overcome with butterflies. He asked for my number and a date once we were both back in Sydney and the rest as they say is history!

Michael surprised me with a helicopter ride from Hamilton Island to Hayman Island where we spent the day relaxing by the pool at the One & Only resort. That night he organised a private dinner on the beach and he got down on one knee under a super moon with the waves lapping beside us and proposed. Funny side note: the super moon meant the tide came in a lot quicker than expected and by the end of dinner we were basically sitting in the ocean! We then spent the rest of the week sailing around the Whitsundays and basking in engaged bliss!

We decided on a 'winter elegance' theme for the wedding: think a roaring fire, a beautiful timber barn and lots of cosy details...

I (Stacey) am Jewish so it was very important to both myself and Michael to incorporate as many of the Jewish traditions into the ceremony as we could. We were married under a chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) borrowed from a friend who was also married under it and we were both walked down the aisle by both parents.

I circled Michael seven times as I entered the chuppah, family members said the seven Jewish wedding blessings, we drank wine from my grandparent’s kiddish wine cup (from my grandparent’s own wedding in 1948), Michael smashed the glass to conclude the ceremony, we signed a traditional Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract); and we danced the horas at the beginning of the wedding function (which were sung by a close friend of ours!).

I had been looking for my wedding dress for a while: I didn't think I'd ever find The One! However, then I happened to visit the Savvy Brides boutique in Sysdney, where designer Erin Clare was having a trunk sale. As well as getting to meet Erin, I also found my perfect gown! She made my wedding dress to fit my measurements perfectly. I ended up going up to her studio in Noosa for a dress fitting which was a surprise getaway with my mum that I organised for her birthday.

While I was having my dress fitting Erin showed me a veil that she had made to match my dress design and not already having found a veil, I knew I had to have it. It was a wonderful and very special experience to deal directly with my dress designer and really made the whole experience quite unique.

For a DIY detail, we used individual, personalised origami paper ‘fortune tellers’ - which were designed, printed and folded by Michael and I - as an all-in-one place setting, menu and message to guests.

We painstakingly printed, cut out and folded 150 individual origami pieces but it was worth it to see the curiosity and delight on our guest’s faces when they opened and read them and realised we had made them all especially for each one of them.

We sourced vases of various shapes, sizes and colours (blue, crystal and gold) from various variety stores and op shops for the table flowers and I made the table numbers from old classic looking children’s books tied together in a bundle to create a holder for the table number.

We also set up a photo booth table with Polaroid cameras, an album and pens for guests to take photos and leave a note as a memory of the night.

Michael and I bonded over our mutual love of footy and he is a bombers supporter while I am a swan’s supporter. We were both raised on football and I had always joked that I would run through an Australian Football League banner on my wedding day. One of my favourite moments of the day was running through our AFL banner (with the song Holy Grail by Hunters and Collectors playing) into the horas (Jewish dancing that the function begins with). The banner read "TWO TEAMS, ONE LOVE. STACE & HOBBSY".

Another favourite moment ? Michael secretly organised a flash mob for me with his groomsmen (to I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys). A few months before the wedding the best man was in a scooter accident and broke his ankle. He was adamant that he would still be able to perform the dance on the night…. And that he did – walking stick, limp and all like a total superstar! 

I had no idea what Michael had planned (and choreographed!) and was totally shocked and amazed and laughed hysterically with joy and surprise throughout the whole performance.

To top it off our close friend Leor became a celebrant especially so he would marry us. It was an incredibly generous and heartfelt gift that we will be forever humbled and grateful for. Having family and friends involved in the whole day was something that was very important to both of us.

The only request I had for my bridesmaids was to wear a blue dress (my favourite colour) in whichever shade they wanted. Three bought dresses from Alannah Hill and Review and the other two wore dresses they already had. I wanted them to wear something that they felt completely comfortable and beautiful in and that they would wear again.

I would change nothing about the day, except doing everything earlier so my grandmother could have been there. She was too unwell on the day to come to the wedding and passed away shortly afterwards and I will always think that I shouldn’t have waited a year. Time really is so very precious.

My grandmother’s engagement ring was pinned to my wedding bouquet as my something old; I wore pearl earrings - given to me by Michael as a first anniversary present gift - as my something new, as well as a pearl headpiece as my something borrowed from my sister-in-law. My ostrich feather bolero was my something blue!

When it comes to your wedding planning, be true to yourselves and chip away at it every week ahead of the wedding.

Do your research! There are plenty of DIY projects and fun things you can do together or with friends for the wedding that really give it a personal touch and will definitely save you a lot of money! If there is something you realllly want, be as inventive and creative as you can to achieve it.

As stressful as the wedding planning was sometimes, we were really happy in the end that we had planned the whole wedding ourselves. It meant that our wedding was a true representation of who we are as a couple. The whole day was everything we could have ever imagined and more!

Steal their style!

Dress: Erin Clare Groom's suit: Peter Jackson Menswear Wedding invitations: Adorn Invitations Flowers: Flowers by Emma Ceremony Venue: Bendooley Estate Gardens Reception Venue: Berkelouw Book Barn at Bendooley Estate AFL entry banner: Milestone Banners Personalised Jewish Wedding contract: Etsy


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Tissues at the ready, people...