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Real Wedding | Miranda + Harrison

Tell us a little about yourselves!

Harrison and I met in Sydney ten years ago. We both grew up on the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, but our paths didn’t fully cross until we both lived in the hustle and bustle of Sydney. I was studying and university and he was working in television and film. We both have a passion for interior design and beautiful things – we love collecting unique pieces to fill in our homes and make unique experiences. We have two properties which we holiday let on the Sapphire Coast – building these businesses was a way for us to have an outlet for our creative passion.

Recently we have relocated back to the Sapphire Coast after ten years in Sydney. We purchased my family farm from my parents and are in the process of restoring the farm and incorporating our love for unique design and experiences into the fold. Harrison’s true passion is regenerative agriculture and garden design, so he is taking a step back from TV and film to execute his dreams on the farm. I work in energy and climate policy for the Australian Government, so I am excited to bring my passion for passive design and sustainability into the mix.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

When we first started talking about our wedding we were unsure of the location. We had thought it would be special to get married back on the Sapphire Coast, but logistically, with it being so far away from major cities, we weren’t sure if we could pull off the wedding we had dreamed of. We wanted it to be unique and have meaning.

Our family friends own a property that overlooks Jingera Rock – when the sunshine hits the rock face it is just spectacular – and we thought having a wedding there would be magic. Lucky for us, despite our wedding falling on a grey and grim day, the sun came out just as our ceremony started and the sun reflected on the rock face – and it was like it just all came together. It was a bit spooky really, someone was looking over us. The property was only a few minutes away from Harrison’s family home and ten minutes away from the farm I grew up at (and where we now own and live), so it just felt right to get married close to home.

Our reception was held in a mudbrick town hall in Towamba – a tiny town where I started school and spent a lot of my childhood memories. Many people who attended our wedding helped build the hall, making mud bricks with their hands. It was surreal being back in the hall for such a critical and memorable event. I had flashbacks of being dressed as a banana at a school play when I was in kindergarten when I looked onto the stage to watch the band play – it was very humbling. Having it where we had it made it so special as there was so many memories for everyone, and although most of us had grown up and moved away, the town and hall still held a special place in our heart.

The community really rallied together to make sure the hall looked beautiful – we had people drop off bunches of excess foliage from their garden (mainly fruiting cumquats) that helped decorate the hall. Looking back I think this is what made the wedding so great – the community all working together to help two people get married and put on a celebration to remember!

How many guests did you have?

We had 110 guests. We had a few drop off due to the pandemic at the time, sadly. Being a small town though, we were able to invite other people from the community to make sure none of the food went to waste!

What was your budget?

We embarked on our wedding with no set budget – we wanted to put on a memorable celebration and didn’t over think it. We saved in some areas and then splurged in others. We wanted to make sure the food and drinks were generous and the styling and flowers were impressive – people really remember this!

One thing I didn’t compromise on was our photographer. We really wanted to make sure we had high quality photos that captured our day (I swear I look at photos from our wedding every day!) – so that was a major priority for us. We also made sure to have a live band – everyone got up to dance and people still comment on how fun it was!

All up we spent about $50k on the wedding – I joke and say I don’t know how it cost that much since we got married in a paddock – but it costs that much because we invested in people and businesses that really made our day memorable, and I am so glad we did! I think being selective with what you spend extra money on and looking for ways to save in other areas is critical. For example, we spent a lot of money on good food, but then wore shoes from the op shop! 

Tell us about your outfits.

My mum handmade my dress. It was so special. She made her own wedding dress, so it felt natural to have her make mine. My dress was inspired by designer Cecile Bahnsen, who I absolutely adore. We collected pieces of white silk with different textures and Mum made a patch work skirt for me with the different fabrics. She then made a separate top out of white silk, with puffy balloon sleeves. It was tied all together with a white leotard, which was a play on her wedding, as she also wore a leotard. Having my mum make my dress made the process of being a bride easy.

I don’t naturally like attention, so being a bride and the expectation that came with that was overwhelming. Being able to design the dress made me feel comfortable. I didn’t want to feel like a bride, if that makes sense. I wanted to wear something unique and that was a play on traditional dresses – a way to bring out my creative side.

It took my mum nearly two years to make my dress, along with my bridesmaids. I had my sister and Harrison’s sister as my bridesmaids, and they are both completely different in every way! I wanted them to be able to design what they wore, so they could feel comfortable and have fun. My sister in law was also pregnant at the time, so finding a dress that worked for her was a factor in the design. We all chose the fabrics together and made sure that they tied in together, whilst making sure each dress was unique and bold. My sister wore a skirt and a top, similar to me, where my sister in law wore a dress that held her bump. My mum was with us when we got ready and it was such a proud moment seeing it all come together. She went above and beyond for us, and it was felt. 

Harrison’s suit was custom made by P Johnson Tailors. Growing up he always wore velvet jackets (something my brother commented on in his Groomsmen speech!) so he weaved a velvet jacket into his design, as well as a waistcoat. It was a perfect blend of a traditional suit with a nod to his character. And it worked so well with what I wore. We wanted the wedding to have traditional nods, whilst being uniquely bold. This was reflected in our outfits. 

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

I think creating something that was ‘us’. I think it is easy to get caught up in what other people did or do for their weekends, but it was really important for us to create a celebration that encompassed who we were and what we did. I think collecting the tableware from op shops was special, because I am an avid op shopper and have always incorporated found pieces into my styling. And naturally designing my wedding dress with my mum and having her create that was such an important aspect for me. I also think having our family and friends help us set up with wedding and do tasks really made it feel humble and meaningful.

In the lead up to the wedding Harrison was working away in Queensland. I would travel to the coast every weekend and stay with Harrison’s mum, who would help me polish the cutlery and iron the napkins. On the day of the wedding, close family friends helped set up the tables with Stella and Harrison, and bought ute-loads of cumquat that was fruiting to decorate the tables and hall with! It really was all hands-on deck and so symbolic of our life, family and community. We both come from very close families where everyone pitches in to help – and this is exactly what happened with our wedding. 

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

We really wanted to incorporate our creative side and passion for styling into the wedding. We had a vision for how we wanted the tables and wedding to look, and really pushed for this. My brief to the florist was ‘kind of like a Roman feast’ – we had piles of grapes, figs and fruit on the table – which really complimented the cumquats that we used throughout (that came from a tree I apparently used to spend a lot of time under as a child!). Stella, our florist from Fritillerie, went above and beyond to execute the brief. 

I also really wanted to get ready out our Airbnb, Lotte’s Hjem. Over the years we have had so many brides get married in the old cottage, so it was really special to finally be one of them. Harrison’s aunty Anthea picked us up from Lotte’s and drove us out to the ceremony and reception in her yellow kombi van – it was a lot of fun to finally be that bride I had always looked at in wonder as to what that must feel like. 

Any tips for couples getting married?

Don’t over think it and go with your gut! Be true to your style and self. Also, get a live band – so much fun! It makes everyone get up and dance. 

And invest in a good photographer. You will want to remember this day for the rest of your life and having good photos will help you. 

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

Zoë Morley – our photographer. I first (e)-met Zoë when she photographed our Airbnb a few years before our wedding. We knew as soon as we saw her photos we wanted her to photograph our wedding. Zoë travelled remotely for our wedding and captured the day perfectly. Everything felt easy and not staged, which was exactly how we liked it. It can be difficult to find a photographer that really captures the feel of a wedding, and Zoë really did this. 

Fritillerie – our florist. I first connected with Stella on Instagram and loved her approach to floristry – Stella really brings out the natural beauty of flowers and doesn’t over arrange, which I love. We were one of the first weddings she took on after embarking on her own business, and she really welcomed our views and ideas. 

Photographer: Zoë Morley @zoemorleyphotography | Getting Ready Location: Lotte's Hjem @lotteshjem | Ceremony Location: At a family friend’s farm in Burragate, New South Wales | Reception Location: Towamba Hall, New South Wales | Celebrant: Nell Reeves | Entertainment: The Figmentz @thefigmentz | Styling: by the couple and and Florist Fritillerie @fritillerie | Planning: by the couple | Hire: Coast Hire Events @coast_hire_events | Flora: Fritillerie @fritillerie | Makeup: Tranquil Beauty (Chloe Pennefather) @tranquilbeautymerimbula | Hair: by the Bride | Catering + Beverages: Toast Café in Pambula @toastcafepambula | Cake: Julian Nikiel | Tableware: Op Shops and Antiques | Wedding and Wedding Party Dresses: Handmade by Miranda's Mother | Harrison’s Suit: P Johnson Tailors @pjohnsontailors | Engagement + Wedding Rings: Artefact @artefact_artefact | Shoes: Op shop for Harrison, COS @cos for Miranda | Opal Ring: Miranda's Grandmothers


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