How it all went down...including the house we loved to bits, the glowy-ness of autumn in Daylesford, the dresses, the dessert...so many moments I don't want to forget...
I arrived in Daylesford ahead of the others...the car laden with fairy lights and bridesmaid dresses that just refused to sit still for the drive. As much time as we spend in Daylesford, I still have a `catch-my-breath-how-gorgeous-is-this-place-in-autumn' moment every-time I get out of the car and sink into those carpets of leaves. I took about half an hour before my sister (aka the bride) arrived, wandering around with my camera before we got down to business setting up the reception venue....
The ceremony and reception was at the Convent Gallery...a giant sprawling place that is a cafe/art gallery along with being an amazing events venue. You can literally get lost wandering through the building, you never know what you will find around the next corner...a bar, a chapel, umpteen gallery spaces, a cushioned nook in the afternoon sun...and incredible views across the gardens and town of Daylesford. I can't help but wonder what stories of the past are floating around...not sure I'd want to be there alone after dark ;)
We stayed in Hepburn Springs...a hamlet of sorts a few minutes down the road from Daylesford. When Daylesford is buzzing with cars/tourists/music/shopping/events, Hepburn Springs feels deliciously relaxed in comparison. There's one main street, several cafes and restaurants...and plenty of opportunity for pampering at places like Peppers & The Bathhouse & Spa. You can pretty much cover everything on foot, or order in if you feel like sinking into the couch with your slippers and a movie.
The house we rented for the weekend (via Stayz.com.au) was Oak House...literally in the centre of everything. We found the location perfect for giving directions to the photographer, hair & makeup etc. If you wanted 100% seclusion you'd aim for the fringe of the town, but Hepburn Springs is fairly quiet so once the front door is closed, you wouldn't even notice you were on the main street. Added bonus, you get a $60 voucher for the cafe across the road...this made the essential coffee run on the morning of the wedding extra cruisy :) Plus, there's plenty of complimentary snacks to tide you over whilst you're waiting for the pizza pickup for Reuben's a few blocks away.
We could not have asked for a better place as Wedding HQ. Wrap-around porches, gorgeous light for `getting ready' photos, neutral colour palettes throughout...no detail forgotten...it felt modern luxury meets Country Living mag meets stay-in-your-pajamas-all-day-if-you-wish. The best part was three full sized bathrooms...you can imagine how handy this was in a house full of sisters and bridesmaids getting ready. In fact there was so much room, the bride had her own bathroom to maintain her zen :)
Separate to the three bedrooms, there are two living/dining/kitchen areas (yes, two kitchens)...one end of the house is basically a self contained retreat separate to the main living areas. This meant on the night before, the bridesmaids could watch chick flicks and do their nails in one zone, whilst the guys could chill with the footy in the other. The next morning, hair and makeup artists descended on the main living area (great light, plenty of space) and the guys still had their own space to read the paper and browse Twitter. At the height of getting ready, there were 10 people in the house including the photographer and it still didn't feel cramped. Crazy hey! It's worth mentioning that I never sleep well away from home, let alone on the eve of an event like this...but the beds were so comfy I slept amazingly.
It feels strange to have been part of a day that involved a huge amount of people, yet the only photos I can really share online don't capture any of that side...just a few selfies checking out hair/makeup...the dress waiting to be worn...and my much loved silver ballet flats. I basically channelled a combination of Pippa Middleton & Monica Geller for the day...making sure the bride barely noticed her train (and `foofing' it out for her during the photos) vs. trying to think one step ahead of where we were at in terms of organisation & which pieces of the wedding had to be shipped off with who at the end of the night :) A destination wedding followed by an interstate move add an extra layer to the planning but everything went exactly how we hoped it would.
Moments to remember:
- Watching the flower girl arrive & take in the `princess moment' that was the bride in her dress handing her a tiny bouquet of flowers. This all happened on the front porch backlit by some lovely glowy light...I can't wait to see the professional photos.
- The relief of making it to the top of the garden at the back of the Convent Gallery without tripping on my dress or sliding on the gravel...if anyone has been up there they will know the climb I'm talking about. The view at the top, past the spire of the convent to the town of Daylesford and the hills beyond is stunning for the backdrop of a wedding and totally worth the scary `can't-believe-we're-doing-this-in-heels' climb.
- The sick feeling of watching some freaky error (that not even Google could decipher) coming up on the screen of my SLR. Luckily, it came back to life 5 minutes later...and ironically I didn't get a chance to use it for the rest of the day after that!
- Sweet little things like the kids playing in the garden's of Wombat Hill who called out `congratulations, you look soooo pretty!' to my sister as we headed past for some more photos.
- The weather...if anyone knows Daylesford they will appreciate how lucky we were to basically have a 20 degree (C) day. No-one needed jackets or wraps...I was running around barefoot in the autumn leaves at one point (dress foofing!)...and it was gorgeously sunny the whole entire time. The temperatures basically dropped from the next morning onwards with rain and 9 degrees waiting in the wings.
- Watching my sister and her husband share so many forever moments. I don't cry at weddings but from where I was standing, all I could see was his face...and when he got choked up so did I. Appreciating the love that surrounded them all day...so many smiles & hugs...and taking a moment to remember the one person I wish could have been there the most.
- Browsing the wedding app we used to collect the photos during the day. Awesome idea. It basically creates a mini private `social media' environment for the wedding where you upload the photos you're taking as you go...the guests can like and comment on guest photos and interact with each other...contribute from their own smartphones...there's an online gallery/slideshow that shows the same photos to anyone you share the link with...and the bride and groom can download all the photos in one hit after the wedding...AND it's all free. It's called Wedding Party and everyone loved it. Makes collecting photos post event so simple.
- Dessert. Best lemon tart I've ever had.
- Loving Luke in his bow-tie...couldn't have achieved that day without him.
- Ditching my heels for those silver ballet flats. Ditching my dress for pajamas.
- Next day brunch at Wombat Hill House for Mother's Day.
- Leaving Daylesford for home, knowing everything was sorted...sharing a little bag of chocolates on the drive (you know the ones!)...headed home to Riley hugs & Thai takeout...after which I couldn't keep my eyes open for one second longer.