A dreamy, vintage inspired wedding in Australia
This month our That Bride is the beautiful Emma Lauren. We’ve been slightly obsessed with Emma’s gorgeous Instagram feed for a while now – think fabulous florals, mouthwatering desserts, whimsical fashion and beauty spreads, and shots of her adorable Italian greyhounds. So when heard that she was engaged, we knew that the wedding would be stunning.
Emma’s always had a distinct style with a vintage twist, and this is reflected in all the little details at her wedding in Adelaide, Australia. Read more about how she put together all the lovely DIY details that made her wedding so unique below…
All love stories begin somewhere. How did you two meet?
We met in Adelaide through a friend, he was in Australia doing his flight training and I was finishing my degree in visual arts.
Every bride has a proposal story. What’s yours?
It was a complete surprise. He had booked a spa day at the Mandarin Oriental as a belated birthday gift. At the end of the treatment, the concierge approached me to pass on the message that he was running late and handed me a key card, telling me to go straight up to the room. Confused as we weren’t staying in the hotel, I opened the room door to find a suite filled with roses, with a note saying he would meet me for dinner. On the bed was a box with a new dress, shoes and jewellery. He had even brought all my makeup and ghds and put them in the bathroom! It really was like a scene from an old movie.
Tell us about the ring.
He designed the engagement ring himself with HK jeweller Lane Joaillier. The wedding ring was a rose gold, diamond and sapphire ring custom designed by American Jeweller Heidi Gibson.
What did you do for your hen party?
My bridesmaids knew I didn’t really want a hen party, so instead they planned a trip to Iceland. We spent two amazing weeks exploring the country and taking photos. They finished the trip off by surprising me with high tea and a pampering day at the blue lagoon… it was a really magical experience.
How did you go about planning your wedding?
The wedding would not have been possible without help from my parents and bridesmaids! They really went above and beyond and helped make the day not only perfect but so memorable. From sourcing items and helping me set up everything on the day, to organising a surprise picnic the day before the wedding, they really made me feel so grateful to have them in my life.
I went the DIY route, which was kind of crazy as the wedding was in Australia and I planned it all while in Hong Kong. I made the bouquets and table arrangements with the help of my sister who was my maid of honour. All of the wedding decorations and vintage props were sourced by the bridal party and myself from across the world, from antique stores in America and flea markets in Europe, to hidden gems around Adelaide, it was like a giant treasure hunt! Some of my favourite styling pieces included: an antique pink type writer for guests to write messages to the bride and groom, a gleaming 1950s mint convertible stacked high with pastel vintage suitcases, old clothbound books containing the seating plan, and a floral arbour built by my poppa from a design I sent him, which I decorated.
Living in Hong Kong, I was lucky enough to be able to hunt down some great bargains – the invitations were designed by me and letter pressed with rose gold leaf in a local print shop at a fraction of the cost it would have been in Australia. For the wedding favours, we bottled and packaged organic honey from my parent’s home. The labels I designed myself and got all the packaging made locally in HK.
Who helped you create your perfect day?
Apart from the bridal party and family, I was also lucky enough to have some amazing vendors whose finishing touches helped make the day absolutely perfect. Hong Kong artist Heidi Thompson created the most gorgeous menus and hand lettered the name cards.
Tell us about the dress.
The dress was a couture gown made by Hong Kong designer Noel Chu, she made the whole experience so stress free and enjoyable. The dress fit so perfectly – I didn’t want to have to take it off! My shoes were by Valentino and my bridesmaids all wore matching rose gold ones.
Read more about wedding dress boutiques in Hong Kong here.
Who helped you look and feel your best on your big day?
My wedding checklist advised me to start a gym regime twelve months before the big day, and somehow I didn’t get around to it (if it had advised cake tasting 12 months before, that would have been a totally different story!). Most importantly I think it’s the details of the day of that make you feel the best! Being surprised early in the morning with breakfast and macaroons from the groom. My lace robe from Singapore label Bells and Birds made me feel so beautiful and romantic while getting ready (I almost didn’t want to get changed into my dress!) and I found some gorgeous handmade silk robes for my bridesmaids to get ready in with Australian label Ivy and Matilda.
What was the wedding like?
It was a small wedding with just over 60 close friends and family from around the world including Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, America and Europe. It felt so special to have so many of our closest friends travel so far to spend the day with us. We got married in Australia in the Adelaide hills, which is my hometown.
The ceremony was held in a private garden at Al-Ru farm and the reception was in a barn also on the estate, which was filled with antique French mirrors. We wanted our wedding to be an opportunity for our overseas and interstate guests to experience all the things we love about Adelaide. As we particularly wanted to showcase all the amazing foods and wine that are so abundant in South Australia, the reception menu was designed to feature produce unique to the area – freshly caught barramundi, racks of lamb and organic produce sourced from the Barossa region. We continued this local theme to the wine list and endeavoured to choose beautiful, exclusively South Australian wines (not a difficult task!).
For the wedding styling, I was inspired by the venue; the gorgeous antique French mirrors and rustic country garden with lush clover-studded lawns and sprawling beds of wildflowers evoke a vividly romantic and European feeling.
The song for your first dance?
Our first dance was to Etta James At last. Our friend who is a professional dancer helped us learn a dance routine for the day.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned while wedding planning?
I think for a lot of people, getting married is one of the biggest milestones in life. If you have found the person you want to be with forever, you’ve already achieved the biggest milestone and succeeded in the hardest part! The wedding is a bonus celebration of your love with the people who love you the most – don’t stress too much about everything being perfect and just enjoy the it.
And don’t be afraid to follow your heart even if it means being unconventional – don’t want a big wedding? Have a small one! Prefer to elope? Go for it! Want to wear a pink dress? You will look fabulous! Do the thing that makes you and your partner happy rather, than what you think is tradition. Your loved ones will always support you.
Have any tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
– Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and families for help!
– For DIY Hong Kong brides, you can find so many great things for your wedding here. Check out Sham Shui Po for essential wedding haberdashery and Wan Chai for paper printing.
See our Sassy Guide to Sham Shui Po here!
– Beat the stress of battling through Central on the weekend and shop online for those essential luxuries. I found some gorgeous handmade silk robes for my bridesmaids with Australian label Ivy and Matilda, as well as everything for under the dress. I bought my size 41 shoes from the comfort of my living room (and 30% cheaper than the prices I saw in HK department stores!).
– Have fun!
What do you remember most about the entire experience?
So many things! It was such an emotional day. One of my favourite memories was waking up the next day, drinking tea, eating wedding cake in bed and reliving the whole day and our favourite moments together.
Is there anything you would have liked to do differently?
Nothing at all! I just wish there had been more hours in the day to spend with all our friends and family.
And that brings us naturally to your honeymoon. Where did you end up going?
We started the honeymoon in Paris and stayed in an amazing 180-year-old house boat right next to the Eiffel Tower, then we explored Central Europe, visiting Budapest, Prague and Vienna. It was Autumn in Europe and it was so lovely exploring all of the cities during the changing the seasons.