This Western Australian wedding stole our hearts the moment we saw it. From the thoughtfully homespun details to the flawless photographs shot by the brilliant and incomparable Samm Blake, every aspect of this countryside affair is pure perfection.
Crystal and Aaron, the bride and groom, were high school sweethearts, and they chose a venue not far from their coastal hometown of Perth. Nestled in a scenic little valley overlooking the Indian Ocean, Wyadup House boasts a freshwater brook, natural bushland, and terraced lawns surrounded by marri and peppermint trees. It needs little in the way of adornments, and the couple let the venue’s natural beauty speak for itself. Crystal wanted to impart a “homey” feel to the wedding, which she accomplished by incorporating lots of “natural elements and textures.” Almost everything was handmade by the couple or the couple’s family and friends, from the sweet and simple floral arrangements, which were set in glass bottles wrapped with frayed, hand-stamped muslin ribbons, to the three-tiered, cream cheese–frosted wedding cake, which was made by the bride and groom themselves.
Q + A with Crystal
What’s your love story? How did you meet, fall in love, and get engaged?
We met at the movies in 2001. Our siblings knew each other, and my sister had told me before of this handsome, dark-haired, green-eyed cheeky fella she thought I would like. Unbeknownst to me, my sister was arranging a date for me during the movie, and we ended up on our first date a week later. I was 16 and in my last year of school. Aaron was 19 with a swagger and a rebellious smile. Of course, I fell for him, and we’ve been together ever since.
We have a special affinity for Singapore, as we lived there for a year and both have family living there. So during one trip there in August 2010, Aaron surprised me by waking me up in our hotel room with breakfast laid out. After he asked me to sit down and eat, I removed the dinner plate cloche, and there sat a single velvet box. Aaron had gotten down on one knee! His speechlessness at the time was incredibly sweet, as he always has something to say.
Can you tell us a little bit about the details of your wedding and your sources of inspiration?
The inspiration: I really drew inspiration from our venue. Our wedding was held in Yallingup, which is two hours south of Perth, our hometown. Our venue, Wyadup House, is a working olive farm set in a valley next to the Indian Ocean. It has a flowing creek that runs throughout the property and a beautifully restored homestead. I always knew I wanted our wedding to be outdoors, under the stars, and full of natural elements and textures. I loved that this venue was a completely blank canvas where we could create something unique. It was a lot of work but well worth it, I think.
The flowers: We bought the flowers from a florist, but my family, friends, and I arranged them ourselves in jars and vases that I had collected over a one-year period by raiding family pantries and discount stores.
The décor: I sourced the majority of our décor from Etsy, as well as the flower girl dress, bridesmaid accessories, custom guestbook, custom cufflinks, and fleur poms. It’s amazing what you can find online! An engaged friend and I also sourced customized silver lanterns of all sizes from overseas. We have kept them for our own homes as a reminder of our weddings.
I made the table runners the day before; a crafty friend made customized bunting and cushions for us; and my brother-in-law and sister made our photo booth props and venue signs. Our friends were simply amazing on the day itself, setting out the tables, flowers, chairs, everything. We were incredibly lucky to have friends who were so on board with our vision for the day.
Other details: I wanted the wedding to feel relaxed and as homey as possible at a venue where we needed to bring in everything, from the toilets to the marquee, chairs, and cutlery. So for dinner we opted for a family banquet–style feast in which platters of food were shared between the guests. Since the venue was fairly remote, we also organized croquet, bocce, and quoits for guests in between the ceremony and reception. The kids loved the games.
Homemade desserts: We had a dessert buffet supplied by some of our family members. We also made our own three-tiered wedding cake with three different layers of cake—carrot cake; dark chocolate cake with red wine, cherries, and white chocolate; and Grand Marnier and raspberry cake. The cake was covered with cream cheese icing. We actually had a chef, Helen Pratt from Cook Learn Love, supervise us, and we did three lessons with her before the wedding to make sure we got it right. It was actually a lovely thing to do together in the lead up to the wedding, especially since we didn’t get much time together in the chaos.
What were your favorite moments of the day?
We rented the homestead for the week, and most of our bridal party stayed with us, so it felt like a week-long celebration! We really enjoyed the quality time with our friends and family, and prepping the venue with their help made us feel so lucky to have them in our lives.
Another one of my fave moments was an impromptu gathering of my closest friends when I was getting ready with my bridesmaids. We sipped champagne and relaxed before the wedding.
Of course, I can’t leave out the reading of our personal vows during the ceremony and dancing for hours under the stars. The next day we had another spur-of-the-moment party at the same venue and gorged on cake leftovers; it was wonderful!
Our celebrant was Aaron’s aunt, so our ceremony felt very intimate and personal. I asked my oldest friend to do a reading without telling us what it was. I trusted her humor and good taste, and we loved the spontaneity and appropriateness of the reading she chose. It was something nicely unplanned in a day that had been coordinated down to a tee.
Do you have any advice to offer other brides?
Make sure you enjoy yourself no matter what! And don’t be afraid to do what you want; everyone has their own opinions and tastes, but trust your instincts, and focus on the things that are important to you. If you don’t use a wedding planner, make sure that whoever sets up your venue has a clear plan and idea of what you want for the day itself. Make yourself heard, especially regarding the elements of the day that you value! Another idea is to mock up your table settings and floral arrangements and provide photos of these mockups to whoever is handling those aspects of your wedding on the day itself. If you don’t have someone available for the setup (or someone you can trust to make your vision come true!), then definitely consider getting a wedding coordinator, even if it’s just for the day itself.
Photography: Samm Blake / Venue: Wyadup House / Caterer: Cowaramup Food / Cake: Bride and groom with lessons from Cook Learn Love / Cake topper: Ready Go / Hair: Lee Taylor-Rennie / Makeup: Yvette Gray / Invitation: Papermade Design / Calligraphy: Neither Snow / Music: Personal MacBook and iPhone / Photo Booth: Push the Button / Chair and game rental: Her Handpicked Harvest / Marquee, dance floor, and lighting: Cape Marquees / Bride’s dress and veil: Pallas Couture / Bridesmaid dresses: Custom made / Groom’s attire: Pierucci / Groomsmen’s attire: Brittons Formal Wear