Mouna & Thomas's Amazing DIY, Private Property Margaret River Wedding
Interview with the Bride
A note before I begin…this wedding was organized utterly on our own.
We did this as we had a tight budget but I do not recommend anyone to do this unless really necessary. The only reason I knew I could execute it is because we both have over 15 years experience in hospitality and I currently work as function staff for weddings Aravina Estate - so I had knowledge of how wedding functions operate.
We were also lucky to have two restaurants backing us up which meant we had use of a lot of equipment. We are also lucky that we have many friends in the industry that really helped us out with bits and pieces which added up to huge savings on the day.
My advice - find a good wedding coordinator or call me (lol).
I got up at 7am on the day of the wedding and collected greenery from around the property (we rented out a private house for 3 days . . . it was the location of the ceremony and the reception all in one spot). Throughout the year, I had also collected and hand painted jars that were used as candle holders. I hung up tissue paper pom poms, that I got from a $2 shop, in the trees.
Tom had spent the year buying and testing out lighting concepts which he and our friends painstakingly put up the night before the wedding - none of us got to bed until 2am. Tom had also built a custom-made bar that he designed out of old used wooden pallets and corrugated iron sheets. He even hand-burnt the “Pirate Life” bar sign in himself which took hours.
Tom also made our Pirate’s Chest wishing well himself. The reason we had the “pirate” aspect of the wedding theme was to honor our friend Jared ‘Red’ Proudfoot, owner of Pirate Life Brewey in SA, who sponsored the beer for our wedding - an amazing and kind gesture. The whole wedding wasn’t that lavishly decorated but the outdoor setting was so beautiful, that we didn’t need to do much to make it special.
I gave myself a year to prepare, plan and budget.
Our initial budget was $15k but of course unforeseen expenses drove up the expenditure by a further $8k.
We had a total of 82 guests, 6 staff members and 13 children all together. We had set up a children’s play area at the back with toys, colouring books, activities and we also provided babysitters to watch over the kids for 3 hours whilst the parents ate their dinner etc.
We gifted each bridesmaid a framed picture of them together on the day.
Tom wore a custom made Ivory Four-piece suit. He wore a waistcoat, a tie and a suit jacket with a Nehru collar and no buttons – which I thought made it look elegant and unique.
What I loved the most about my amazing dress, was that I picked the design myself and had it made according to what I wanted it to look like on me – not what it looks like on a model in a picture. I also picked the lace which was perfectly matched to the bridesmaid’s gorgeous dresses.
I started looking 7 months before the day. I couldn’t find anything I liked in Perth that was similar to my vision and also within my budget. Instead, I found a company based in Vietnam to make it for me five months before my wedding day.
I chose proteas to be the highlight of my bouquets. The varieties were King, Red Repens and Wildfire…..I was really lucky to get the kings at all as they were out of season but due to some unusually cold days down here in Margaret River, they bloomed. I collected them from the Yelverton Protea Farm and passed them onto Elle to be made into bouquets. She included a lot of eucalyptus, Ranunculus’ and other natives – I really wanted to go with a Country Theme.
For the ceremony I cut giant palm leaves from my garden and secured them to the gazebo that guests stood underneath. For the reception my bridesmaids and I collected greens from the property – gum and other varieties and used them to decorate the tables and we also secured gum leaves to the chair sashes. I had been propagating succulents throughout the year to use as table decorations as well as adding “greenery” to the table.
We chose the entire location based on the views and sunset. Tom works for a restaurant in Margs, and one day he made a delivery to this location and was utterly spellbound with the scenery and sunset views from the house/property. From that moment on, we had our hearts set on this location.
Luckily we knew the owners and with some convincing we were given permission to have our wedding there. The rear of the property backed down to the Margaret River and it has views of the famous Rivermouth. The owners had built a Balinese-inspired gazebo and we knew that with the breathtaking views that we should have the ceremony there.
We were married facing the Gazebo (for guests) and all our guests so they in turned had the view of the rivermouth, ocean and us!
Tom and I have a love of things Norse as I mentioned earlier….so instead of your usual wedding ceremony we decided to be married in a Pagan ritual by Tom’s father Dr Lesley Prince who is a Druid priest (he had come all the way from England to marry us).
Les was decked out in his white robes and had his long hair in a braid and he even braided his beard! He wore one of the Hanway Viking swords and proceeded to marry us according to the old ways (yes there was calling of the corners hehehe) and we even had a hand-fasting component.
We did have a celebrant Anita Revel, that needed to be present on the day to make the wedding legal and to oversee the signing of the certificates as obligated by law etc. We made sure her involvement was at a minimum as our true celebrant was Tom’s Dad. It was amazing you really had to be there!
The most special part was when Les read out a quote by Khalil Gibran which speaks of how our relationship is and how we love each other ….
'Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart.
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.'
He also made a mention of the joining of two hemispheres - North and South . . . as Tom is from England and I am Australian. Those kind of sentiments are what makes a ceremony uniquely yours.
The theme that I was aiming for was “Rustic Royals”….I was marrying Tom Prince after all so I thought it was a clever play on words that I was becoming a “princess”.
I wanted bush-colours but with some modern twists….of course as I was buying bits and pieces throughout the year it wasn’t as coherent as I would’ve wanted but it all worked well in the end.
We are also Norse lovers and wanted to incorporate that into our wedding so we included two replica Hanway Viking swords to use as props during the ceremony– they were given to use by Tom’s father who is a druid.
I had organized canapés and music on the balcony for the guests. It was an open bar for the duration and we had some lovely wine from Aravina Estate (where I work). My dear friend Cassandra, sang some jazz and our friend Declan Bush strummed some tunes out on the guitar for us as well. We are so lucky to have good friends like this.
We decided to set up the reception outside at the front of the house as the sunset views were superb and it was cooler and closer to the front door and the kitchen. As the sun dipped into the horizon it set in between the two hills of the Rivermouth!!
The reception was lit by an amazing sunset and some awesome tunes by our dj. The bar was the highlight for everyone! I must say the reception was marred by the crazy off shore wind that picked up and the temp dropped considerably….a hazard for an outdoor wedding. So we had to move inside for the speeches. It was a wedding of improvs!!!
Inside entrance of the house had a two winged stair-case which the guests stood along and also on the landing to listen to the speeches and we stood at the base of staircases looking up at our guests….a pleasant and magical improv and the acoustic was great so we didn’t need microphones.
Later we moved onto the back verandah that was all lit up by the wonderful lights that Tom and his team of boys installed to cut the wedding cake……….we cut the cake using Tom’s Flemmish Rapier Sword! (looks like musketeer sword) one of the best parts of the wedding for me oh and also the dancing after!!!
We didn’t hire a wedding coordinator….that was my job so I had planned the entire timeline for the day (hard work!). I planned for a 3.00pm ceremony hoping that it wasn’t too hot by that time and also with the afternoon sea breeze it would be cool enough for our guests….alas it was still warm. You just cannot plan for nature.
We wanted 2hrs of Bridal Party photography during the late magical afternoon sun so I wanted to be on the road by 4pm. A few hiccups with the coordinating of guests and also music but we go there in the end…..oh yeah and we didn’t get any group shots because my father fainted just before the photo…we were very lucky we had a nurse friend!
The one piece of advice I would give is to be patient and realistic!!! Be utterly realistic with yourself!!!
Not all things go to plan and you have to be open and accepting of this. Also ask as many questions as you can prior and be active with price negotiating and be firm with what you want but at the same time able to make adjustments if you want to stick to your budget! Try and do as much as you can on your own if you are on a tight budget like I was……decorations bonbons etc.
Hey I even baked my own wedding cake and with the help of my best friend (she hand-made sugar peonies for me and flew them all the way from Melbourne) we miraculously put it together the night before…..it looked amazing! A three tiered Red Velvet cake with crumb coating.
Don’t forget the wedding is the party…your marriage is the prize so try and keep that in mind at all times…..you are marrying your loved one and they are the most important aspect of the day…everything else is second. If I had time to do it over I probably would’ve spent the extra money for a wedding coordinator as it was a struggle to coordinate the wedding myself whilst getting married on the day.
I did hire a work colleague to run the function for me which was a godsend but there was a lot more involved tham I had pre-planned. And thank god for my amazing bridesmaids – without them there would literally be NO wedding as they helped with everything. As I said….things don’t always go to plan but there’s no reason to not enjoy your day anyways.
TBA we both had to go back to work….but we plan to go to the Gold Coast in a few months.
Paul is utterly amazing and truly inventive and artistic!! From our initial meeting we knew that we had met our guy….we all had so many things in common and he was really open to our crazy ideas. We wanted a unique experience and he interpreted it just so and produced some of the most incredible snaps I have ever seen . . . and I couldn’t believe it was me in the photos as I looked so "Hollywood"!
Paul also helped us to keep track of the time, directed when we were lost and guided as to how the day would look. He was our papa-bear photographer – with him there, we felt secure and it allowed us to have fun. We consider him a friend and would only recommend him in the future.
CTCW Wedding Suppliers:
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Property, Margaret River
Photographer: In-Sight Photography
Brides Dress & Accessories: Custom made dress VN-Oz boutique, Grandmother’s wedding necklace and earrings circa 1956, friend’s wedding veil
Bridesmaid Dresses & Accessories: LuLus
Rings: Bride-Angus and Coote, Groom-Revolution Rings
Groom & Groomsman Attire: Custom made VN-Oz boutique + the groom wore a Flemmish Swept-Hilt Rapier sword
Entertainment: Friends and Family
Hair & Makeup: Take2 Margaret River
Flowers: Perth florist + Bride
Celebrant: Tom's Dad and Anita Revel
Catering: Bride + Family's local restaurant ***
Catering Equipment: Southwest Event Hire
Cake/Sweets: Bride + MOH
We designed the menu and purchased all the ingredients and we also cooked some of the food ourselves . . . Tom and his Mum made all the delicious arancini balls for the canapés and I cooked 20kg of Buffalo chicken wings.
My Mum and the staff at her restaurant in Margs helped out with some of the catering and cooked some Thai curries which was a huge hit! – we are lucky that we have a family restaurant!
Myself and my best friend Galiya (matron of honor) made the wedding cake and the chocolate mousse pots.
We hired a team of staff (our friends) which included a chef that made all the delicious food on the menu…..we were so lucky to have them.