With a backdrop of Australia’s Hunter Valley wine region, Nell and Nic exchanged vows surrounded by rolling hills, gumtrees and kangaroos. Set on the grounds of a boutique winery, the countryside ceremony unraveled under the shimmering heat of the summer sun. The bride’s cascading tulle Kyha Studios gown was a dramatic revelation against the sweeping green backdrop. Transitioning into a romantic reception look, the bride wore a billowing long-sleeved gown that exuded the lighthearted spirit.
The reception dinner was held within Calais Estate’s dark wine barrel room garnished with a canopy of celestial string lights glowing above. Long timber trestle tables were organically styled with candles and florals, and softened with a long draping of sheer white fabric.
The wedding was documented by Benedict Sutton.
Names / Nellwyn and Nicholas De With
Location / Hunter Valley, Australia
Wedding Date / February 11th, 2023
Guest Numbers / 85
Budget / $55,000
How We Met
We met at our local pub. He was a school friend of my housemate at the time and she introduced us.
Our Engagement Story
Nic works in hospitality and told me we were going to a “supplies showcasing dinner” where restaurant suppliers showcase their new ingredients. I’d asked a million questions (who’s going? are we sitting in a group? who are the supplier? who are the chefs?) and he had an answer for everything so I didn’t think much of it.
It was a Monday night, I’d had the day off work and Nic worked all day. He came home, we got an Uber and headed to Restaurant Mason. We walked up to the door and it was really quiet. I thought that was odd, but maybe there was a function room out the back. When I walked in, there was one table set up with flowers, candles and a bottle of Dom Pérignon and the head chef and owner, Chris Thornton, was standing there with a huge grin. I turned around and Nic was on one knee with a ring and he just said, “Will you marry me?” I said yes, and then Chris cooked us the most beautiful three course meal. We then went to Nic’s bar/restaurant to meet his parents and have celebratory champagne.
Calais Estate in the Hunter Valley in Australia is a boutique, family run winery. Our ceremony overlooked the paddocks and grapevines of the estate with kangaroos and gum trees in the distance. Above all, the reception was held inside the functioning wine barrel room of Calais Estate. Nic is a licensee and hotelier of a venue in Newcastle, he loves wine and when we visited Calais Estate, he said, “I’d love to spend my wedding reception surrounded by wine.” I loved the sandstone building and wrought iron wrap around the verandah of the estate, as well as the rolling hills.
Benedict Sutton was our photographer. I loved the moodiness and rawness of his photos. Most importantly there was no over the top cheesiness, oversaturated colour or editing. It’s just the subjects and the man behind the camera creating the most effortless sophistication to create the most beautiful images. He was different to a lot of other wedding photography we had come across and unquestionably, we were both drawn to it.
I really liked keeping everything simple and neutral. I think roses and baby’s breath are timeless, I will definitely never look back and regret my choices.
Fashion & Beauty Notes
Bride’s Dress & Shoes
Kyha Studios designed my ceremony dress. It is called the “Jagger” gown, it is three layers of pleated tulle, therefore, the ultimate princess dress. My shoes were Loeffler Randall, soft fabric with a bow on the toes. My reception dress was the “Willow” dress from For Love and Lemons, a California based brand. Similarly, it was silk, with billowy long sleeves that felt very ethereal.
Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories
We both picked signet rings from Kate and Kole. Mine was a ‘signette’ in 18k yellow gold and a diamond. Nic’s was brushed 18k yellow gold rectangle signet with a small diamond. We adore Kate and Kole. They are Newcastle based, female owned jewellers who create the most stunning pieces. We used Kate and Kole yellow gold hoops for the bridesmaids as well as for myself. I was gifted a Sarah and Sebastian yellow gold and diamond bracelet which I also wore.
Hair & Makeup
My hair was curled, parted in the middle and fell down around my shoulders and back. For my makeup, I wanted something which would accentuate and compliment my blue eyes and blonde hair. I wanted glowy skin and blushed cheeks, something that made me look soft and feminine.
My step dad picked us up in a mini van. Nobody was going to see the bridal party arrive so this is something we skipped to save on costs. We have some great photos from the back of the van on the way to the reception.
First, we traveled up the coast for a week straight after the wedding. We stayed in Crescent Head for a night, spent the afternoon at a pub drinking stone and wood and playing cards. We then traveled further north and spent some time in Nambucca Heads which we both adored. Then, we spent a few nights in Byron Bay. We have jobs which are very fast paced, so our favourite thing to do together is slow down, lay on the beach, walk to our morning coffee and read. We love enjoying oysters and dinner with a few drinks on our honeymoon nights. The weather was perfect which was a bonus. Summing up our wedding travels, our official honeymoon will be a European summer for 5 weeks. We fly out in July.
Firstly, our ceremony song was “Don’t Wait” by Mapei. It is one of Nic’s favourite songs that he heard on a TV series a few years ago. It was a surprise for him and our singer Jerome O’Connor sang it acoustically as I walked down the aisle. Secondly, our signing of the registry song was “Here Comes the Sun”, Spacey Jane’s version. Our ceremony exit song was “Feels So Close” by Calvin Harris.
We had a 3-piece band; a singer, drums and keyboard. They played some old school for example, “Teenage Dirtbag” and “American Boy”, some new stuff like Harry Styles, and all the in between. It made people dance all night.
We chose Jaya Bargwanna because she was a family friend of Nic’s and we would run into her often on our walks along the beach in Newcastle. She’s always smiling, she’s always just absolutely stoked about life and you can tell she just absolutely loves her gig. Our ceremony was perfect, not too short, not too long and just the right amount of romance/cheesiness and laughs.
A memorable moment…
The reception was so much fun. Being surrounded by all of our loved ones, grinning from ear to ear, especially at a boutique winery in Australia, was invaluable. We spent the night on the dance floor, singing along with the band. It truly was just one big party with all of our favourite people.
Wedding Venue / Calais Estate
Photography / Benedict Sutton
Bride’s Shoes / Loeffler Randall
Groom’s Formal Wear / Vince Varqa
Wedding Rings / Kate & Kole
Hair / The Neighbourhood Salon
Makeup / Amy Cunningham
Stationery / Rebecca Jane Creative
Florist / Newcastle Flower Markets
Catering / Kawul Hunter Valley
Celebrant / Jaya Bargwanna
Entertainment / Jerome O’Connor
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