Katie & Chris, based near Melbourne, were very sneaky when it came to planning and hosting their “engagement party” earlier in February this year. They ordered our Chalkboard Engagement Invitations nice and early so that as many guests as possible could attend their celebration – unbeknown to all that the day would actually consist of a surprise wedding! Little did the cheeky couple suspect that they weren't the only ones with a surprise in store, as Mother Nature had bigger plans which would result in a complete turn of events by the time of their reception!
Read about their creative and unique wedding day in the words of Katie herself;
We were treated to a beautiful warm morning for our wedding day. The day turned out to be quite hot, mid 30s from memory which we were thrilled about – the weather seems like such a boring, insignificant way to begin our story however it will make more sense towards the end.
After breakfast at home Chris, my sister Jen (maid of honour) and I headed straight to the venue to begin decorating at around 9am. We spent a few hours setting up including delivering our backdrop – handmade by Chris of course, (he’s very proud) with the help of his brother Nich (best man). After we were all set up we realised we still hadn’t organised our foliage to drape over the backdrop! So Chris and I, secateurs in hand, raced off to a farm nearby to DIY our decorative foliage. Chris was literally climbing up trees cutting the branches down while I braced myself underneath, arms outstretched waiting to catch them falling. We loaded them in the back of the car and headed back to Settlers Run to attach to the backdrop. Once finished I headed back home as Chris went to find his groomsmen.
Waiting for me at home were my amazing hairstylist Lia Hanson and makeup artist Marie Mihail who had already started on my beautiful bridesmaids. Not long after, our insanely talented photographers Kristie and Brett of Byron Loves Fawn Photography arrived. We are eternally grateful for them making the trip down from Queensland for our special day.
As we were getting ready Chris appeared and surprised me with flowers and a balloon with “I love you” plastered across it, which started the tears welling.
An hour or so later the groomsmen arrived and we all headed out to a nearby farm for our photos. Time was ticking and we had to quickly head back home for our first costume change – into our “engagement party” outfits. Quickly we got changed then drove straight to the venue with our “wedding” outfits in tow. We needed to keep these extra outfits hidden of course and get them into the “secret room”. We arrived about quarter to 7 and the party started at 7pm! Our celebration was held at Settlers Run Country Club, in Botanic Ridge, located just under an hour from Melbourne city.
The engagement party had begun and the guests were arriving. At around 7.50pm myself and my bridesmaids snuck off separately into the secret room for our costume change. The boys then snuck off around ten minutes later. The guys got all set up standing next to the backdrop with Michelle Davis our incredible celebrant in the secret room. From what I hear (we couldn’t see what was happening because we were in another secret room for our costume change) the staff at Settlers Run all of a sudden pushed open the temporary wall which made the engagement party and ceremony area one big room!
The guests were surprised with the boys all standing up there proudly, our celebrant standing next to them, the chairs, aisle, candles etc. They were all totally shocked, there was tears, gasps and confusion. One of our guests heard someone say “what are the boys doing up there, are they performing a show for us?”. The guests all merged towards the ceremony area, I’m told with quite a bit of caution still unsure of exactly what was going on.
Meanwhile us girls were being ushered in golf carts around to the back of the building from where we would start to make our way down the aisle. Our good friend Jack Johnstone was performing Northern Wind by City and Colour as we walked down. My dad met me at the entrance to walk me down the aisle.
One of my most favourite moments was seeing one of my best friends, Elyse from London, 'sitting' in the front row via Skype! She woke up in the middle of the night, put on a beautiful frock, did her hair and makeup and got herself a glass of wine while she watched our ceremony.
Our ceremony was the perfect representation of who we are as a couple – relaxed, funny and full of love. There were equal parts laughter and romance. Chris added his trademark cheekiness too for example during his Dad’s speech after the ceremony he interrupted to say “Dad, have you met Katie?” which made everyone erupt into laughter.
Once the ceremony was over we were mingling with our guests when I suddenly thought “why is there no music?” I expected our DJ to have started by now. At that point a staff member of Settlers Run approached me to let me know there was a power outage in the area due to a huge storm that had rolled in just after our ceremony had begun! We were operating in emergency lighting and those lights would only last for about an hour! So we quickly rushed into our cake cutting, speeches and first dance (by acoustic – Making memories of us by Keith Urban). We’re so thankful to have Jack there otherwise our first dance may have been in silence without power.
We were then ushered out by the staff for safety reasons as our wedding was cut short. Although there is a happy ending… we ended up heading to a bar with about 40 of our guests and continued to celebrate – we wouldn’t change a single thing about our wedding day and night.
We got married at Settlers Run Country Club which is actually in the estate where we have just built our first home. We moved in at the end of January and a month later we were married there! We’ve had a very exciting start to the year!
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Photographer: Byron Loves Fawn Photography | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Settlers Run Country Club | Celebrant: Michelle Davis | Florist: Casey Allsep | Cake: Simply Cakes Melbourne | Engaement Dress: Maurie & Eve | Wedding Dress: Grace Loves Lace | Rings: Gray Reid Gallery | Hair Stylist: Lia Hanson | Make Up Artist: Marie Mihail | Entertainment: Jack Johnstone | Bridesmaid Dresses: Cooper St, Forever New and Bridesmaids own | Men's Suits: Groomsmens own