How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
This is our eighth year together. We met when we were 22 year olds. Nadine was the hot bar chick at the gay nightclub ‘cube’ and I was dancing up a storm. Nadine was always known as the club hottie and when she wrote her number down on a piece of paper I was stoked and ran it down to my friends on the dance floor before waiting a mere two seconds to text her the exact words ‘you are a babe’. It is no wonder we have gone the distance with a pick-up line like that.
Talk us through the proposal, we want the details!
C: I had realized when I first came out when I was 17 that perhaps I would never be able to legally get married and had tried to come to terms with it. I couldn’t fathom holding a ‘civil partnership’ because to me, it made me feel like our love together and who we are as individuals, we were second class citizens so it was never something I was interested in doing.
A close friend of mine went through a family tragedy and I got a big wake up call to the reality that life is never promised and you need to live every day and ensure that the people you love know how you feel.. so I decided a couple of days before Nadine and I were going on a spontaneous trip to KingsclIff that I would propose, regardless of the Law.
I took my two sisters to help me choose a ring and we knew straight away what she would love. Something big and blingy!
On our second day away together, I had an inclining this was the day I would propose as the day was so perfect. We went for a run, a bike ride and were drinking local boutique beers on our deck when we decided to head to the beach to catch the sunset with a bottle of wine. Nadine was trying to capture the perfect photo for Instagram and so when she turned around, I pulled the ring from my bra and she burst into tears.
It was magic!
To top it off we went out to a 6-course degustation with matching wine at the well renowned ‘Fins’. It was such a perfect day.
Did celebrations follow?
C: I really want to tell you about our combined launch/hens party shenanigans but Nadine is looking at me with disapproving eyes so I won’t [happy wife, happy life] but just know it was ‘lit’ and exceeded expectations! *winky face*
What was the theme [or vive] of your wedding day?
We are a pretty relaxed couple, so everything we incorporated we wanted it to be chill; from the moment the guests arrived and were handed Prosecco to our beautiful celebrant Jacinta from ‘Just Hitched’ introducing our bridesmaids and cracking jokes. It really created the perfect atmosphere for us and sparked the feel for the entire day.
The vibe was certainly a relaxed, boho feel. We had a cocktail reception which we were a little worried about at first, but it literally changed the vibe of our or whole celebration and everyone mingled and got to know each other.
By the end of the night, it felt like one big family and I would not have it any other way! It was perfect. It was so special to see bonds formed with our nearest and dearest who were strangers at the start of the day and then become best friends by the end of it.
Did you take on any DIY projects?
We bought the décor and the flowers ourselves. We aren’t really an extravagant couple so we knew if we were going to try to save a penny or two this is where we could. We realized soon after that perhaps you can not really DIY flowers unless you are creative, which neither of us are! Luckily enough we have a beautiful friend, Dani Lavender, who is a florist and was a guest and when she realized we had no one to help she spent hours the night before on the beautiful bouquets. Not only that but she then came to the venue early on the day with some other of our closest friends and with them and our bride tribe, the entire reception came together so beautifully!
Our crowd is something truly special. They looked after us all day and we both were just able to relax and enjoy it! We both feel incredibly blessed to have such caring, beautiful people around us.
We want details on the wedding day!
The day before our wedding it had rained nonstop and it was predicted to rain on the day, so we were really nervous!
We really wanted the lawn ceremony that had the hinterland and ocean views and we were also thinking about our hair and makeup! It held on though and it only sprinkled slightly during the reception which turned out to be worthwhile because we got the most beautiful rainbow.
The ceremony had such a surreal vibe. We just kind of took it all in and loved every moment. It helped to have our favorite people with us. The atmosphere and the vibe that our people were given us was next level. Everyone really embraced the ceremony, and each other and the reception was so much fun!
Everyone was dancing and having the best time.
The amount of love and energy that was in that barn is something we will never forget. We still haven’t caught our breath and it was a week ago. The guests and the vendors just made it next level amazing and I could not thank them enough for making it so special.
What traditions did you incorporate into your day?
One thing that was important to us was having one of our friends, who was originally from the area, to do a Welcome to Country. This meant a lot as it is not normally a wedding tradition.
We kind of wanted to take out as much of the heteronormative tradition as we could.
We managed, for the most part, to do so but kept a few of the classics such as first dance and throwing the bouquet. We walked to the top of the aisle with our parents and then we walked down the aisle together which we loved because we are best friends as well as partners and we just wanted to take in every moment together. We incorporated our two Grandmothers to be our witnesses – this was special because they both mean the world to us. Our niece was the ring bearer as well and she did such an amazing job! We also have combined our surnames officially from ‘Howard’ and ‘Burton’ to ‘Howton’ which we both love. It was either that or ‘Burtard’ so we think we made the better choice.
Looking back, is there anything you’re glad you did, or didn’t do?
N: I know this is a boring answer, but literally our vendors were more than I could ever ask for. They totally encapsulated what vibe we were going for and allowed everything to flow effortlessly.
We are truly stoked with the photographer Eliza. She went above and beyond for us and made Court, who is a little camera shy, feel right at home. Eliza gave Courtney the advice of when your feeling nervous just look at Nadine so all day Court was just staring at me. It was great advice though that really allowed Courtney to try and embrace it and the photos speak for themselves!
Jacinta from ‘Just Hitched’ was amazing as well! We knew she was the one when we met her at a gin bar to plan the ceremony. Jacinta got to know us both and presented the perfect ceremony which everyone is raving about!
I did a little (a lot) of Instagram stalking on local venues. I have a massive interest in hair, back when I was 19 I worked in a busy Canberra Salon as a receptionist so I somewhat had an idea of the person and look I was going for. I then found Melanie Jane on Instagram after she had done a shoot at Summergrove, she was amazing and also did airbrushing to make us look flawless! She then told me that she did a hair and makeup package with the amazing Aleesha Darke (who was on my faves list) so it was a no brainer who I chose. And honestly, if we had to do it all over again I would still pick them as my number one.
Cake Tracey Phillips Vanilla Rabbit Casuarina | Cake Topper Dani Lavender | Catering Summergrove Estate | Ceremony Venue Summergrove Estate | Celebrant Jacinta Slater – Just Hitched | Entertainment Grace and Beau | Engagement Rings Michael Hill Jewelers | Florist Dani Lavender | H&MU Hair by Aleesha Darke Hairstylist, Makeup by Melanie Jane Brides | Photographer Eliza Macdonald Pineapple Images | Reception Venue Summergrove Estate | Transport Northern Breeze Buses | Gown Designer Grace Loves Lace | Getting Ready Tees Shein | Shoes Tony Bianco | Bridespeople Outfits St Frock, Country Road, ASOS | Flower Girl Outfits Ollies Place | Page Boy Outfits Bonzabrats