There is something inherently exciting about romances that begin in secret. We love stories of stolen moments and whispered conversations, of fortuitous meetings and undeniable connections.
Claire and Ben’s story was one such tale. A working relationship that developed into something more, a romance that unfolded beneath the oblivious eyes of their friends and colleagues.
Eventually outed by suspiciously coincidental lunch breaks, the pair took their romance public and, eight years on, were married amongst the olive groves of Western Australia’s Margaret River region.
This was a wedding that settled into its surrounds. Styling was kept to a clean palette of whites and greens, Perspex finishes and luscious florals helping the setting melt into its landscape. Elegantly refined and beautifully minimalist, the space was brought to life by hints of opulence; think a statement arrival in a private helicopter, and a custom Pallas Couture gown complete with French lace and hand beading…
Photography by Katie Grant.
Names / Claire and Ben
Wedding Date / March 4, 2017
Guests / 114
How we met…
Ben and I met at work around eight years ago. We first hit it off after work drinks one night but kept it a secret around the office until our colleagues cottoned on to our matching lunches – the rest is history!
Our Engagement story…
Ben proposed over an early morning picnic at the beach. He packed all of our favourite goodies to enjoy before popping the question – simple and perfect.
Marriage to us means…
Marriage is the next chapter of our life adventure together, and the wedding was a beautiful opportunity for our friends and family to formally celebrate this love with us.
The ceremony and reception were both at Meneghello Estate, a stunning private property set amongst olive groves in the south west of Western Australia. Growing up, Ben and I both spent a lot of time down south so felt fitting that we had our wedding there. We always loved the idea of a wedding away from home, as it meant a whole weekend celebrating rather than just the one wedding day. We wanted to feel like we were away from home without our guests having to travel too far. Having the ceremony and the reception at the same venue was something that was very important to us, being a destination wedding we didn’t want people to have to worry about changing venues.
Theme & Style
We wanted to create a paradise in the bush. I had my heart set on a clear roof marquee with lots of greenery and white florals. I wanted a fresh and modern but still soft and romantic.
Katie Grant – She creates the most beautiful pictures – I absolutely love the finish of photos that are shot on film, the lighting is something else. We loved how she photographed the story of our day and captured such beautiful intimate moments. I was so happy when I saw the photos as she captured so many moments that I didn’t remember on the night.
My dress was made by Pallas Couture. I was torn between two styles so decided to do a mix of them both. The dress featured a blush tulle underlay with two layers of natural tulle over the top with French lace embellishment and beading. It had a plunging neckline and a low back with buttons. I worked closely with the Pallas girls through the entire design process and it was so exciting to watch it transform at each appointment. I absolutely loved my dress and got so many compliments on the night.
Steve Madden Rose gold strappy heel to tie in with the rose gold accents throughout our Wedding.
I purchased the girls’ dresses online from Reformation. I wanted something neutral in colour that was flowy and elegant and suited the venue while also tying in with my dress. I loved the idea of a floor length dress that still showed some leg. They fitted in with the scenery perfectly and the girls looked stunning.
We went with a simple Tony Bianco nude strappy heel. I opted for a chunky heel as the wedding was on grass and I wanted the girls to be comfortable.
My amazing mum handmade all of the gorgeous flower girls dresses. They were an off-white knee-length tulle dress with a beautiful bow at the back paired with Gold ballet flats by Walnut. These were matched with baby’s breath crowns handmade by our florist.
My engagement ring is a platinum plain band with an oval diamond and a halo surrounding. For my wedding band, I opted for a full circle of diamonds. Ben went for a classic wedding band.
Jewelry & Accessories
I don’t wear much jewellery so kept it quite simple with some diamond studs that Ben had bought for me a couple of years back. My bridesmaids wore beautiful gold chunky earrings by Clover Accessories.
Ben and his groomsmen were dressed in tailored suits, shirts and accessories by Studio Italia and supplied from Platinum Menswear. We chose a deep navy colour for all the boys with a matching bowtie that complimented the girls’ dresses perfectly. A buttonhole flower piece completed the look nicely.
Hair & Makeup
I kept my hair simple with some loose curls. I didn’t want to do anything too different to how I would usually do my hair. I let the girls wear their hair how they felt most comfortable. I wanted to keep my makeup natural so I went for natural tones of browns for the eyes, bronzed sun-kissed coloured skin and a nude lip.
Find our handpicked edit of Bridal brands from around the world on the Directory.
Stationery & Invitations
We wanted to have a classic, minimalist style that would tie back with the wedding theme. Paper Fusion created the most beautiful stationery set, using a rose gold font on a thick white stock. We had Nestle & Porter for our wedding day stationery, and kept it simple with grey font on white backing. We had rose gold cutlery to tie them all together. Once again, mum was fantastic and did all the save the dates 14 months prior to the wedding.
Flowers & Bouquets
In keeping with the white wedding theme, all of our florals were white with lush greenery. We had suspended greenery throughout the marquee with a beautiful floral hanging installation over the dance floor. Our florist used these gorgeous mini apples throughout the arrangements which we loved! We kept the bouquets simple and compact.
I gifted the girls and my mum with robes from Plum Pretty Sugar to get ready in, earrings from Clover Accessories and an Hourglass lipstick to touch up with during the day. Our flower girls arrived later in the day to get ready with us, I also gifted them with a robe to get ready in which they loved.
We travelled down south to Yallingup with our bridal party on the Thursday so that we could settle in and enjoy our time together in the lead up to Saturday. I got ready at a house in Yallingup where all the bridesmaids were staying for the weekend. The morning of, my beautiful bridesmaids surprised me with four gift-boxes with the classic something old, something borrowed, something new and something blue, which was so thoughtful. The hair and makeup artists stayed the night at the house so the preparation started early and we enjoyed champagne and breakfast whilst getting ready.
Wedding Planner & Stylist
We had Jess from Butcher Baker Stylist cover all things styling/planning for our big day. We were very lucky in the fact that Jess and her team knew the venue inside out from previous weddings there. Her relationship with local suppliers ensured we could pull off the wedding we desired. When it came to understanding what our desired final product was, Jess really got it from the beginning.
One of Ben’s groomsmen really put on a show and flew the groomsmen in on a helicopter with his Tourism/Aviation company Corsaire Aviation. The girls and I arrived in a white stretch limousine.
Ceremony & Reception Décor
Our clear marquee had suspended floral installations of whites and greens on the roof and six long tables with the dance floor in the middle. I was quite fussy with my styling as I knew exactly what look I wanted and Butcher Baker Stylist mastered it perfectly, blowing all of my expectations out of the water. Our marquee was by South West Event Hire and all our furniture was provided by Hire Society.
We opted for a one tier hazelnut torte covered in textured buttercream and fresh florals, simple yet elegant.
I walked down the aisle to ‘Tenerife Sea’ by Ed Sheeran, a beautiful song that fitted the scenery. We entered the reception to the upbeat ‘24K Magic’ by Bruno Mars and had our first dance to ‘Higher Love’ by James Vincent McMorrow (sang live).
Ben recruited a busker from the shopping centre in Margaret River to play acoustic guitar throughout the guest arrival and post ceremony canapes. We had DJ Harro who is a friend of ours run all the audio on the night; he did an exceptional job of juggling the responsibilities of being a guest at our wedding and getting everyone on the dancefloor.
After the speeches we had another solo guitarist/vocalist called Josh Fergus play some of our favourite songs, it was beautiful. I must say the music was a massive priority for us and I feel it went really well covering all bases.
Food & Beverages
We had Supper Roads cater our wedding, they were absolutely fantastic and the staff were incredibly attentive. Everyone was raving about how good the food was which was a massive tick from us. After the ceremony finished we had roaming pink champagne to celebrate. Once Ben and I and the bridal party took off for photos, all our guests moved to the pre-reception area where they enjoyed cocktails, freshly shucked oysters and delicious canapes.
Our formal sit down dinner went for approximately 90 minutes so we could capitalise on maximum dance floor time after. Dessert was served roaming after the speeches and cake cutting. We had an assortment of petit fours made by Bake the Cake along with some salted caramel macaroons made by my mum!
We stayed down south for a couple of days after the wedding to unwind and plan to travel to Italy and New York in September for our honeymoon.
We had a gift registry with David Jones, there was also a wishing well set up at the reception.
Donna McClellend from Confetti Days. Donna was so personable and has a relaxed style that was perfect for us.
Other special details
We stayed down south for the rest of the weekend with our bridal party. It was so lovely to be able to share the weekend with them and a great chance to debrief. We also enjoyed a recovery afternoon at the Black Brewing Co the next day where all our friends and family came down for drinks and nibbles, which was a great way to unwind after such a big lead up.
Sources of Inspiration
The LANE and styling companies were my main inspiration. Pinterest is also a very good resource.
A memorable moment…
The speeches!! Every single speech was amazing and had us all in fits of laughter. I had sore cheeks by the end of the night from laughing so much. I also loved seeing Ben’s smiling face when I was walking down the aisle.
One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…
That people may let you down, but you will also find others go the extra mile.
A private destination wedding is wonderful but requires a huge amount of planning and detail down to cutlery and serviette selections! Luckily, we had the help of our wedding planner.
If I could give other Brides to be one piece of advice…
Everyone tells you that the day goes by incredibly fast and it honestly does. Be sure to take some time to sit back and spend five minutes together to take it all in! If you don’t plan on having a videographer, get one of your friends to video the speeches as that is something we wish we had of done! The whole day is a such blur so would love to be able to watch it over again.
Photography / Katie Grant
Bride’s Dress / Pallas Couture
Bride’s Shoes / Steve Madden
Bridesmaid’s Dresses / Reformation
Bridesmaid’s Shoes / Tony Bianco
Groom / Platinum Menswear
Wedding Rings / Charles Campbell
Hair & Makeup / Tazmin Mulder
Stationery / Nestle & Porter
Invitations / Paper Fusion
Florist / Fox & Rabbit
Cake / Bake the Cake
Catering / Supper Roads
Wedding Stylist / Butcher Baker Stylist
Celebrant / Confetti Days
Venue / Meneghello Estate
Transport /Corsaire Aviation