In a relaxed wedding at Collits Inn, Beth and Em included family in so many aspects of their wedding day – from grandma’s ring sewn into a dress, to nieces handing over wedding rings.
We’ve been together for four years now. We met on a dating app called Her (very tech-savvy of us!). Em didn’t actually have any photos of herself in her profile, but she did have a picture of a cheese plate, and I thought, well, I like cheese, so I’ll say hi.
We went for a drink at Archie Rose in Sydney on our first date. I told her I had a dinner to go to after so that I had an exit strategy if it was terrible – this was my first dating app date and was meant to be so I could “rip the band-aid off” and get back into the swing of dating again.
Unfortunately, I got there too early, so I went and sat in the bathrooms so I could be fashionably late and then walked the venue’s perimeter before going in just to make sure she’d be there first.
We ended up being at Archie Rose for hours, and my dinner got miraculously cancelled. I couldn’t tell you exactly what we talked about, but I remember it feeling really easy.
She didn’t kiss me after our first date!
On our second date, we went for a hike in the Blue Mountains. It was a long hike (a few hours) with few people, and lots of gorgeous stops, i.e., opportunities for a romantic kiss!
But I was a bit too shy, and I think she was probably too respectful at that point (on the first few dates, I thought she was almost TOO nice! But that’s just Em).
I kept thinking, when is this going to happen?
We finished the hike without a kiss, so I suggested going for a short walk down to Jellybean Pool as the last attempt. We wandered down, and I was trying to be cute and stepped on a slippery rock or something and fell over. Em helped me up, and I was trying to send all the right signals with my eyes (clearly, I must not be very good at it), and nothing was happening, so I decided I would have to do it, and I did!
We followed a kiss with a pizza.
Talk to us about your wedding day
How many pages is too many? In the days leading up, we were a little bit stressed, not about any wedding preparations, but because we were scared someone might get Covid and wouldn’t be able to be with us. Or new restrictions would come out. And because Em’s sister was flying over from New Zealand, we desperately wanted her to make it. The day before the wedding, she flew in, and from that point, we both felt really relaxed. Collits Inn gives you access to the property from midday the day before the wedding, so we had plenty of time to set things up, and we had our family join us for dinner there. We ordered pizza, had some drinks, and soaked it all up. We hit the jackpot with the weather. It was gorgeous and sunny all week. It’s rained a lot across NSW since then!
We stayed together the night before the wedding, with Marley too, and I couldn’t sleep because I was too excited. We had breakfast together, and then when the hair and make-up started, we drifted into separate parts of the house so we wouldn’t see each other. The getting ready part of the day was really relaxed and easy. Nothing had to be done – Em even had time to watch a movie before the ceremony.
We strapped a Go-Pro to a tree so that the rest of Em’s family in New Zealand could see the ceremony and then, later on, the speeches. A good friend of ours also live-streamed it from her phone so that they could watch it in real-time. We wrote our own vows to each other and decided that our engagement rings would also be our wedding rings because neither felt like we needed two. After the ceremony, we had about an hour for the guests to enjoy canapes and for us to go and get photos with the bridal party. Beth’s brother-in-law was the MC for the reception and did a great job!
When we reminisce about the day, we always seem to remember how joyous the day was. The whole day felt so full of joy, love, and happiness. And we both felt really present with each other and with our loved ones. It sounds a bit corny but after two years of lockdowns and not seeing people you love, being able to celebrate in a room full of our favorite people felt extra special.
What are your favorite moments?
Our one-year-old niece gave us our rings, which was very special. We didn’t know what she would do, but when the time came, her dad gave her the ring box, and she came walking straight over (with a bit of encouragement from her mum and aunties!) and gave us the box. But then she looked down at her hand for a moment, realised she wanted the box again and put her hand out for it back! It was adorable. We took the rings out, gave her the box, and she strolled back to her dad.
After the ceremony and a few group photos, the guests headed over to have drinks and canapes while we stayed with the bridal party for photos (we had a combined bridal party – four sisters, a brother, and a dog in total!). Rather than jumping straight to photos, our photographer grabbed some sparkling wine and canapes for us and let us just sit down under the tree canopy with our bridal party for about 20 minutes. It gave us a chance to really soak up the moment and slowed us down.
We had two long tables that held 20 people each, including the bridal party and us, rather than having a separate bridal table for our reception set up. It was great because we got to be with everyone rather than feeling separated.
Em kept getting bugs and sticks caught in her dress! When the ceremony started, we had to pull a fly out because it got caught between the dress layers. And she somehow ended up with a huge stick stuck in there when we were getting photos.
Beth’s first dance with her dad was special. The story goes that Dad first heard the song “Beth” by KISS (yep, the Gene Simmons band) when he was a teenager and immediately decided his firstborn would be called Beth. So we danced to that song for our father-daughter dance.
Our first dance was to “Hold My Girl” by George Ezra. After that, we danced on the outdoor dance floor under the fairy lights, stars, and full moon. We didn’t get dance lessons, but it didn’t matter.
After all of the formalities, we spent the rest of the night dancing under the stars. The first people on the dancefloor were Beth’s 80+-year-old grandparents! They’ve been married for more than 60 years, led the charge, and practically had to be dragged off when it was time for them to leave. Nan even ended up with a dance circle around her and would point to each person for them to step into the middle with a dance move. At the end of the night, Cheryl from Collits had put out a cheese plate inside the house. So the two of us got to curl up with some cheese and wine at the end of it all.
Beth– Can I say the whole ceremony? My Mum and Dad walked me down the aisle. As soon as I came around the corner and saw Em, I was so happy. I’ve always wondered if I would be so nervous on my wedding day when the time came. But I have never been more confident or relaxed as I was on our wedding day. I just felt so much love and couldn’t stop smiling all day.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
When we started talking about our wedding, we decided which things were really important to the two of us, like photography, and which things we weren’t fussed about, like bridal showers and wedding favours. We left out anything we weren’t really worried about or only felt like we would do because of tradition. We also set a budget and stuck to it, which meant as the day got closer, we weren’t stressing out about money. Etsy was also excellent for all the things like invitations and our cake topper!
The most important thing to remember is that it is about the two of you. It could rain, a pandemic could postpone your day, or you might forget to organise something, but it doesn’t matter if you are both together.
Anything you are glad you did? Or wish you didn’t do?
We were glad that we kept our wedding small like we had wanted to. We spent so much time with all of our family and friends. We were also really happy that we chose a venue where everything could be done in one place! We were able to arrive at midday the day before and didn’t have to leave until 11 am the day after, which meant we got a lot of time together and with our loved ones. It didn’t feel rushed.
All of our vendors were local to the Blue Mountains or Central West NSW, except for our celebrant, who is based in Sydney but does weddings all over. We found that using local vendors worked well because they had all worked for weddings at the venue before or knew the venue, which made organising things seamless and what would work best.
Because our venue was about ten minutes from Lithgow, where most guests stayed, we organised a shuttle bus at the end of the wedding. It meant at the end of the night, everyone wasn’t trying to organise taxis and Ubers, and we hear it was a fun trip back!
Photography by Kirsten Cunningham Photography
Accessories Peggy & Twig, The Horse
Cake Hunter Belle Cheese
Cake Topper DecorateV
Catering & Venue Collits Inn
Celebrant You May Kiss
Dog’s Collar & Lead The Horse
Dress Boutiques The Barefaced Bride, Penrith Bridal Centre
Dress Designers Karen Willis Holmes, Watters
Engagement Rings Holly Michele Jewellery
Entertainment First Choice DJs
Florist Wilde Ivy
Hair HWA Studio
Lighting Blue Mountains Special Event Hire
Makeup Melissa Peters Beauty
Shoes Bared, Converse
Transport Blue Mountains Maxi Taxi
Wedding Party Gifts Archie Rose Distilling Co.