Real Wedding ~ Amelia & Dan

Amelia and Dan’s Adelaide Hills wedding embraces everything we love about soulful weddings full of love and originality. With DIY touches, a vintage dress with family connections and an aisle entrance with a difference, love is all around this wedding shot by Willow and French Photography.

The Engagement

Dan is a Kiwi, I am an Aussie, we met in London, so it was only fitting that the proposal happened in another country. We were on holiday in China, traipsing the Great Wall, when he got down on bended knee and proposed to me with a vintage ring. I blubbered out a yes!

2 ½ years. In between getting engaged and getting married we bought and partially renovated a house, and had our daughter Harriet, who was 21 months old at the time of the wedding.


We loved the location, the food, and also the driving range! Dan does love his golf, and it proved very popular on the night. One of our friends even chose the shirt he wore to the wedding based on whether it would give him enough movement in his arms to swig the club!  We saw about 4 venues before settling on Maximillians.

I wanted a whimsical, subtle Titania-queen-of-the-fairies sort of theme for me and my bridesmaids- flowers and more flowers.

As the wedding was being held in Australia, we also wanted to incorporate Kiwi elements. For e.g we had a sign at the ceremony that said “Haere Mai whanau and friends”, which is Maori for “Welcome family and friends”. Our 2 most important songs (walk down the aisle, and first dance) were by Kiwi legend Dave Dobbyn, whose concert we went to in Christchurch soon after the devastating earthquakes (we were living there at the time), so it was a very emotional experience.

We also had a bit of a laugh at the expense of our countries- our tables names were all points of contention between Australia and New Zealand: “Pavlova”, “Crowded House” (because both countries claim them) and “Under Arm Bowl” (a sore point in cricketing history). And the heading for our seating plan was “Grab a sheep, I mean, SEAT”, because what’s a Kiwi wedding without a sheep joke?

The mini envelope place cards doubled as receptacles for our favours which were temporary tattoos of our faces! People loved them- they were putting them on their faces, necks, boobs, bums… Even my 100 year old Nana wore it, but only on her hand.

I made the place cards, and together Dan and I made the signage and the willow love heart. Dan made the place card holders. I designed the invitations (it’s a photo I took in N.Z), and other stationary, and our friend Pasang made it possible with her mad computer skills.

My dress was the dress Dan’s Grandmother, Florence Tombleson, wore at her wedding to Dan’s grandfather in 1953. It was handmade for her by a friend. It was still in amazing condition, considering it is 62 years old and they lived on a farm!

I also had a second dress which I got changed into after the dancing started. I found my ‘red dress’ in an op shop and it cost me $20!

Favourite Moment

Walk down the aisle- my little surprise for Dan! I was hidden from view with my bridesmaids, and the aisle music started. It was Bridal Chorus by Wagner, which is what Dan thought I was walking down too. About 10 seconds in there was a record scratch noise, and the music stopped. There was a moment’s silence, then Dave Dobbyn’s Slice of Heaven started. From our hiding place we could hear the guests roar with laughter. My bridesmaids, mum, and flowers girls danced down the aisle, and I walked down with my dad. I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. Afterwards I ask Dan what he thought about it. He said that his first reaction was “Was I meant to know that was going to happen? Had we talked about that?!” but then he realised that it wasn’t something we’d discussed, and he loved it.

Also, our first dance. Dan and I aren’t keen on the spotlight, especially when it’s highlighting our gawky dancing, so before our first dance we put a shout-out over the microphone asking everyone to grab a partner and join us on the dancefloor to share the moment with us. Ash Gale sang Dave Dobbyn’s Welcome Home and we dance, surrounded by friends and family- it was a massive love in!

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Photography: Willow and French

Ceremony Venue: Stangate House

Reception Venue: Maximillions

Entertainment:  Ash Gale

Flowers: Twig Studio


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