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Claire & Sara – A Relaxed Personal Wedding in the Yarra Valley

Claire & Sara – A Relaxed Personal Wedding in the Yarra Valley

Smith + Archer Photography lesbian gay same-sex wedding Healsville Yarra Valley Victoria country marriage Dancing With Her magazine

They both fell in love with embroidered dresses online, and walked in them down the aisle in a personal relaxed wedding in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do for work and fun?

C: I am 31 and originally from Lakes Entrance, in country Victoria. I work as a Clinical Coder for a Melbourne hospital. Sara is 34 from Melbourne and works as a preparator and taxidermist for Melbourne Museum. 

We are both career-driven women and get a lot of enjoyment out of our jobs. For fun, we love going for long walks with our Golden Retriever Queenie, renovating our house, and working in the garden of the house we purchased last year. In addition, we both love watching movies, visiting vintage/antique stores, and cooking/baking for our family and friends. 

We have been together for 4.5 years and have known each other for 5.5 years. We met through mutual friends at a baby shower. Of course, our friends knew we would get along and nervously waited for our introductions to each other. Still, they certainly didn’t expect a romantic relationship (let alone marriage) to come out of it!

Tell us about the proposal.

I proposed to Sara first. I didn’t intend to propose but found the perfect ring and just had to buy it. It was a salt and pepper diamond that looked like a tiny universe. It gave me the same sense of awe Sara gives me every day. So, naturally, once the ring was ready, I just had to propose. I booked a weekend away at Cape Schanck RACV resort. We ordered room service in our robes and watched Jurassic Park (Sara’s favorite movie) when I popped the question. It was perfectly intimate, relaxed, and just the two of us. 

Sara proposed a couple of months later with a beautiful Sapphire ring in our living room. She sent me off to have a shower, and while I was gone, Sara built a fort in our lounge room filled with bunting, fairy lights, and quilts. She picked out some of our favorite movies, including some films we had watched when we first started dating and all our favorite movie snacks. When I came out and saw everything, I got really excited but still didn’t realize Sara was going to propose until she got down on one knee!

Any stories from the lead-up to the wedding, stressful or funny?

We were meant to be married in March 2020. However, we had to cancel everything just ten days out after the restrictions were put into place to manage coronavirus. We tried to organize a smaller wedding just so we could be married, however further restrictions were put in place a few days before, and we decided to postpone everything for one year. Sara’s family lives in Queensland, so we were fortunate to be able to get married in 2021 with them all there.

It took a few months to convince my Mum to alter my dress. She has told me for years she would never touch a wedding dress. So I had her shorten the dress by hand, and despite the stress, she did a fabulous job!

What lead you to the venue? Had you been there before?

We were gifted a voucher for Boat O’ Craigo from family when we first moved to Healesville. We thought we were going for a short lunch and drove there. It turns out we spent five hours there, and after many wines, we had to walk ourselves home. We loved the venue so much we asked them about weddings right there on the spot, and the rest is history! 

Tell us about the style you were trying to achieve in your wedding planning.

We wanted a relaxed vibe and for everyone to have a fun night out. So we didn’t really have a theme. We just wanted the day to represent us and our relationship- the small personal touches. We used lots of green colors as this is our favorite color and gum leaves to represent our house which is surrounded by gum trees. It was important for us to include as many of our friends and family as possible in our day, so our flowers were from our friend’s farm, the wedding favors (honey jars) were from Claire’s aunty Margi who is a beekeeper, etc.

Did you undertake any DIY projects for the big day?

C: So many! 

Sara and her Mum made the cookies for wedding favors.

Sara made the signage for the present table and the favors and made the wishing well. I made the wedding cake and cake topper and we made the bouquets and table arrangements ourselves (with the help of our sisters) using flowers from the frog pond farm. 

My Mum made quilts to use as picnic blankets on the lawn and the boy’s bow ties. Helen and Amy (my sister and her wife) made the floral arrangement for the arbor. We also made paper cones for the confetti out of Harry Potter book pages.

Talk to us about your experience finding the perfect outfits.

We both have always loved the embroidered detail in Needle and Thread dresses and independently found a dress each that we loved. We took a big risk by buying them online, but luckily they were perfect!

Talk to us about your wedding day. 

After putting it off for a year, finally, be getting married was very surreal. As excited as we were to be getting married finally, we felt a massive sense of relief that it was going ahead as planned and that all our friends and family could be there to celebrate. The wedding was everything we wanted it to be, it was relaxed, intimate, funny, romantic and had great food!

Our nieces and nephews walked down first, followed by Claire. Claire walked down the aisle with her parents, as did Sara by first walking with her Dad (Jeff), followed by her Mum and Step-Dad (Geoff). We had readings from two of our good friends and Sara’s sister Natasha which were brilliant. As we didn’t have a bridal party, it was vital for us to include as many people as possible in other roles on the day. So after the ceremony, we spent the rest of the night outside under the fairy lights laughing, talking, and dancing with all our friends and family. The perfect night!  

What are your favorite moments?

We wrote our own vows for each other, which were a mixture of both honest and funny promises for our future together.

Walking back down the aisle as wives, people throwing confetti at us, and seeing everyone’s genuine happiness for us was just amazing.   

Another highlight was the speeches. We got totally roasted by our families! These were the funniest and sweetest speeches and were an absolute highlight of the whole night. 

What does marriage mean to you? 

Marriage is about documenting within history that this is the person we love the most in the world and the person I chose to be with for the rest of my life. It’s also about trust, communication, and selflessness. It’s about mutually caring more about someone else’s happiness and safety than your own and having a partner in crime to share all of life’s moments with. 

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Go simple, don’t get caught up in what you think you have to do/have at a wedding. At the end of the day, the wedding day goes so quickly that the little things like colour schemes or seating arrangements don’t really matter. What matters is sharing your love with the people closest to you. 

At your reception, stick together! Someone gave us this advice, and we listened. We could then spend the whole day together and share the memories of the day, as it should be. It was a special moment to step back and look around at all your people enjoying your day. 

Choose songs that you want to listen to for the dance floor. 


Photography by Smith & Archer


Celebrant Two Sisters Celebrants
Dress Boutique
Needle and Thread
Engagement Rings
Suzi Zutic from e.g.etal, Alexis Russell
Florist
Frog Pond Farm
Flower Girl Outfits
Country Road
Food Trucks
Street Feast
Hair & Makeup
Embellish Makeovers
Page Boy Outfits
Country Road, Target
Robes
Sheridan
Stationery
Zazzle
Venue Boat O’ Craigo Winery
Wedding Rings
Temelli Jewelers
Wedding Favours
Yarra Valley Honey Company

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