Kate + Hugh by Rachael Emmily

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship:

We live in beautiful Yackandandah, north east Victoria. Hugh works as a construction project manager and I work in agribusiness finance. I am currently building my small business as a micro flower-grower – Twist Creek Flora. I studied natural resource management at university and just love growing plants. I am focusing on growing chemical-free, seasonal flowers for local supply. 

We love where we live, the natural surrounds and the fact that we can walk, cycle in the bush and swim in the creek just minutes from our doorstep but also have a strong, progressive community and arts and food culture immediately around us as well. 

We met in high school and have renovated/built/bought and sold multiple properties throughout our time together – this has been challenging but has brought us even closer together and I love the creativity and sense of accomplishment that is borne from this teamwork, even though some days we just wish we had our weekends back! Currently we are renovating an old weatherboard with a wraparound verandah surrounded by established trees in Yackandandah. I think this will be our house for a long time – I am already very attached to the garden. 

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details:

In summer 2019-20 we had decided to either elope at nearby Mt Pilot that autumn or at Freycinet National Park in Tasmania in September 2020, which would mark 12 years together. We preferred our anniversary date for the wedding so decided on Freycinet in September – but then COVID happened. We pushed the elopement out to December but even that looked uncertain, so about 6 weeks prior to our revised wedding date in December we decided to make the call to have it locally at Mt Pilot, and to tell our families we were getting married and to invite them! We had 12 guests after COVID allowed a shift from 10 to 15 guests just days before hand, which enabled us to invite our parents, siblings, their partners and Kate’s 2 nephews.  It was so special having our families there and I’m so glad we decided to include them – I’m sure our mums were equally glad!

We both have an affinity for natural surrounds, particularly the landscape of Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park. We just wanted a relaxed, easy ceremony with the bush as our cathedral. Ultimately it felt very fitting to be able to say ‘I do’ over the valleys that we have called home growing up and still call home today. The weather for the ceremony was perfect – in the mid-20s and a little overcast, with rain expected that afternoon. The breeze was picking up as the ceremony progressed. After the ceremony we drove in a convoy through the midsummer bush which was full of yellow everlasting daisies in full flower to the reception at Hugh’s parents’ home, a beautiful cottage built out of local stone in a clearing bordering the National Park. Here we had cocktails, mocktails, smoked trout platters and pizzas made by Hugh and curries made by his mum Cathy. We also had a vanilla wedding cake made by Kate’s mum Carol, decorated in roses and gardenias from Carol’s garden by Kate’s sister Anna. The rain came in at about 4pm that afternoon and it bucketed down, with a very cool change sweeping through with the rain. Both sides of the family have keen gardeners so we didn’t mind too much.

We ended up having our honeymoon at Freycinet Lodge at Freycinet National Park in a Bay View Coastal Pavilion the place we initially intended to elope to. It was beautiful and very relaxing. The service there is incredible and the honeymoon dinner was very special. 

Tell us about your main outfits:

Kate – I wore Made with Love’s Riley Luxe dress in Pebble. I bought it during COVID, unsure when we would actually be getting married. In the meantime I ended up falling pregnant and was 12 weeks on our wedding day (we told our families at 8 weeks, as I was so sick and knew that and the lack of drinking would give it away!). I had to get my dress taken out – I got it altered by Alison’s Couture Alterations in Killara, VIC – and fortunately there was only a little bump so it just fit! It was also just the right length without heels, and this meant it was a good excuse to wear flats!

Hugh – Hugh wore a plain white linen shirt by and sage green pants by Rodd and Gunn with brown RM Williams boots. The simple colouring worked well in the bush surrounds and I think showed up nicely in the photos. 

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day:

It was very special to see the effort our families went to for our wedding day, and I love the role that flowers and the natural environment played. Kate, her mum and sister all collected flowers from their gardens and Kate and her mum, with help from Hugh’s sister Judy, spent the day before creating table arrangements, Hugh’s buttonhole and of course Kate’s bouquet while the rest of our families set up for the reception. Kate’s sister-in-law made place name cards using her paper-making skills. It was so lovely to have everyone contribute something handmade and with heart.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together:

We deliberated over marriage for a long time as we had already spent over a decade together and had several mortgages, dogs etc. so did question what it would add to our relationship. But the ritual of wedding and of families coming together was very special and has marked a new chapter in our life together. Our advice to those committing to ‘forever’, whether you decide to marry or not, is to accept that no relationship is perfect, that it takes work every day and ‘the one’ is not necessarily someone who is just like you or who is perfectly compatible with you but is someone who has the same fundamental values, for whom you are willing to strive to be better each day, and who is willing to do the same for you. 

Photography: @rachaelemmily | Ceremony and Reception location: @seehighcountry | Celebrant: @weddingsbysusan | Bride’s gown: @madewithlovebridal | Dress alterations: Alison’s Couture Alterations  | Groom’s attire: @roddandgunn | Engagement Ring: @helenbadgejewellery | Wedding Ring: @jedwardsjewellerytyabb | Groom’s wedding ring: @thegentlemanssmith | Groom’s shoes: @r.m.williams_official | Jewellery: @silvercinnamonjewellery | Makeup: @atelier_beauty_tania | Hair: @hairbyjessweir_atelier | Flora: @twistcreekflora and @wrenhaven_wooragee | Catering and Beverages: Bonetti’s Pizzeria and Murray River Smokehouse