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KaraJustin ThumbnailKara & Justin's Gnarabup Beach Wedding

Date: 31st Januray 2015
Wedding Photographer: Blakeney Photography
Wedding Ceremony: Gnarabup Point, Gnarabup
Wedding Reception: Gnarabup, Gnarabup

Interview with the Bride

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Our wedding took a year and a half to plan. We knew it was going to be a DIY wedding, so wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to plan and organise everything without stress. Our budget was around About 20K, I think we stuck to it pretty well considering we had 70 guests.

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I wanted simple, rustic flowers. I knew they had to be fairly hardy as we were doing them all ourselves. We went with: baby's breath, yellow chrysanthemums, white chrysanthemums, yellow solid aster and craspedias (Billy Buttons).

When it came to my wedding dress I started looking 6 months before the wedding. I thought I was leaving myself plenty of time, however according to all the dress shop ladies, I was "cutting it fine!" I found the entire dress shopping process my least favourite part of planning the wedding! The fact I found one! Ha ha. I liked that it was comfortable and simple yet I felt elegant in it.
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The day is a big one for sure. From 8am is hair and makeup, I had 5 bridesmaids so this was pretty much our morning/arvo. The ceremony started at 3:30pm, once we had our makeup done it was photo time, then off to the ceremony. We decided to keep our ceremony short and sweet (middle of Margaret River summer) roughly half an hour. We opted for group, family and bridal party photos at the ceremony site, which was beautiful and worked well in our favour as we then got to travel to different destinations for our 'couples' photos and have time to ourselves.

We wrote our own vows, we had Justin's niece do a reading, Justin's nephew was the ring bearer, Flake was a groom dog, we had someone skyping the ceremony to Papa Ron, who couldn't make it, our Mums' signing..... The whole thing was really special. Pretty special to have all our families together in the one place!

We made all our ceremony bench seating/arch/signing table form logs we found on the property. The signs were all made from old pallets. Favour boxes were old picking boxes from Dad's vineyard. All decorated with glass jars, flowers, doilies and burlap.
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There is no way we could have pulled this off without the help of family and friends - they did way too much to mention. It was a very hands on wedding. After the ceremony I remember looking down the path and seeing four of the boys on each end of the arch carrying it up the cliff... I just thought, wow, we are so lucky that all are guests are really willing and happy to be involved in the day!

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We got our wedding party photos at the ceremony site and it was only Justin and I that went for photos, everyone else helped pack down the ceremony site, Lisa took Flakey for a swim at the beach, everyone was staying out there so they just went back to their accommodation and had a break before the reception. The bar was open so some of the bridal party headed there.
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Reception started at 6:00pm. We had Jamie playing acoustics and food started coming out for guests. We arrived around 6:45pm. We still did the bridal party and bride and groom entrance and introduction even though the bridal party was there already, and this still worked well. Food continued to roll out on platters. Speeches were 7:30pm to 8:00pm, once again short and sweet. Then cake and dancing!! We wrapped things up by 10pm which suited us well. We left via an arch made by guests, which was awesome because it felt like we got to say goodbye to each of them. It is such a massive day! Guests that wanted to continue on just headed into the bar.

Reception; the lounge area was made from pallets, pallet couch and coffee table. My brother made these. We decorated with scatter cushions in the colour scheme and the rustic trio; wood slice, doily and jar with candle or bottle with flowers. We used this trio on all the wine barrels that were scattered around and on the bar tables. We had a heap of glass jars with candles hanging from the roof, and bottles with flowers in them hanging from the walls. We also had decorative logs scattered around. We moved the arch from the ceremony up to the reception and this is where the bridal party entered. The outside wall was decorated with a heap of love heart wreaths we had made from grape vines with candles hanging in the middle. The guestbook table was just a door on two barrels, decorated with burlap and doilies. We had an old suitcase which was my Nan's as our wishing well, picking boxes with our lemon butter favours and our guest book and Polaroid cameras for people to take a snap and write in our book. The cake table was just a wine barrel.

We decided on a cocktail style reception as we felt it would be easier to mingle with our guests, as the majority of them had traveled from over East. It made it super easy to get around and have a quick chat to each guest. The food was perfectly portioned and easy to eat standing up and there was plenty of it. I also think the formalities of a sit down dinner take up a big portion of your night. We wanted people enjoying the atmosphere and the entertainment in a casual setting.
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The reception was fun! We had uncle Phil as our MC and it was the best choice, he was entertaining and had the night run smoothly without it feeling structured and too formal. We had short and sweet speeches and a toast. We did have dancing lessons to do our bridal waltz. The lessons did not pay off as we messed it up. In the end we just got the crowd up dancing to cover up. Everyone danced the night away. The music was awesome!! So many of our guests commented on how good it was. Once everyone was up dancing, nobody could leave the dance floor. Good entertainment was one of our priorities when we started planning and it paid off.

Children were invited. The ceremony was short and sweet so they didn't really need entertaining. At the reception they played with Flake (our dog), had fun snapping Polaroid pictures of guests, and had fun dancing on the dance floor.

Advice for other brides planning their wedding:
Make a short list of what is important to you both before you even start planning. For us our top priorities were Music and Photos. This is where you do your research, you find the best in the area and you spend the extra money. Don't skimp on your priorities, you don't want any regrets. If you are planning the wedding yourself organisation is a key factor. Leave yourself plenty of time, more time equals less stress! Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Do what is right for you both, some ideas may seem crazy, but that can be what makes them fun!!

CTCW Wedding Suppliers:

Ceremony Location: Gnarabup Point, Gnarabup
Reception Venue: Gnarabar, Gnarabup
Photographer: Stephen & Ros Blakeney Photography
Accommodation: Bride & Groom; Margaret's Beach Resort
Brides dress & Accessories: Dress; Pearls Bridal, Guildford, Jewellery; my own, Clutch bag; made from great grandmothers lace by my mum. Something old and something blue, Shoes; Havaianas
Bridesmaid's Dresses & Accessories dresses: My bridesmaids were living all over the country and one was living overseas. I thought the best way for the girls to get dresses they loved, was for them to pick them out themselves. I went to the local hardware and I sent them each a sample paint colour card with three different colours in the same colour scheme. The girls all choose dress styles that suited them, and the colours all complimented each other! Some bought theirs, some made theirs and others borrowed theirs. The girls all looked beautiful and were comfortable and confident in their dresses.
Accessories: Shoes; Havaianas and barefoot sandals made by me, Clutches; made by mum, Jewellery; the girls own, Earrings; a friend of mine makes shell earrings for the markets, Shellings
Groom & Groomsman Attire: Suits; hired from Tuxedo Formal Hire, Accessories; bought online, Flakes Bow tie; made by mum
Florist: Flowers bought wholesale from Everbloom. All bouquets and flower decorations assembled by friends and family. The boys even got involved, got creative and loved it!
Cake: A three tier cake. Flavours: Gluten free coconut almond, white chocolate mud cake and lemon cream sponge cake. Made and decorated by mum.
Transport: Kuste Kombi by Dunsborough Wedding Co
Favors: Homemade lemon butter, made by mum. Sunnies and thongs (bought online)
Stylist: Stylist Kara with the help of Pinterest and many family and friends
Unique Services: Hens Party on the Thursday 29th girls did a raw food workshop with the Guilt Free Foodie, whilst the Bucks party on Thursday all went skeet shooting with Augusta Rifle Club. All met up for a BBQ at Riflebutts afterwards.

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