I was lucky enough to be able to marry Clare and Matt in a beautiful heartfelt ceremony at the gorgeous Stillwater at Crittenden (now one of my new favourite Mornington Peninsula wedding venues!) earlier this year. Today I talk to bride Clare about what planning her wedding was like…

How did you meet? Matt and I grew up in the same town which means that, at most, we started two degrees of separation from each other! I went to school with quite a few of his cousins, and he was also friends with my sister’s boyfriend (now husband). But we officially met at the local watering hole – Doms nightclub when I was 18 and he was 21.

Tell me about the proposal…I’d been managing his expectations (of an engagement) for the previous 3 weeks as we holidayed in Italy. He left it to the final hours of our final night in Italy, proposing in front of Trevi Fountain. But somehow, he still managed to take me by surprise because my first response was ‘Are you serious?’, followed by ‘Can I think about it?’ The latter response just to stir the pot!

What was the first thing you decided on when you were arranging your day? Initially it was the venue for the wedding ceremony, beautiful lush gardens in our hometown. However, when we struggled to find a caterer, we reconsidered our whole wedding, and shifted it from our hometown to the Mornington Peninsula. Once we decided on Mornington Peninsula I emailed every winery/restaurant in the area with the dates that worked for us. Only when we had that locked in did we start to organise anything else.

How did you choose your dress? Because we only had about 4 months to organise the wedding, it was a bit too late to go into the bridal houses and find one. So I scoured pinterest for inspiration, and then my poor dress maker had to turn it into reality – and she did an amazing job!

What was the reason that you chose the venue that you did? We chose to get married in the Mornington Peninsula because it’s close to our home in Melbourne, but feels like such an escape when we’re down there.

We specifically chose Stillwater at Crittenden because it’s an incredibly beautiful spot, it was reasonably priced, and it had great reviews. When we met Allison, the events coordinator, I could tell she knew what she was doing, and a weight lifted from my shoulders!

Did you have a cake? We had a three-tier cake, and like the greedy kids we are, we’ve eaten all but a few slices in our freezer! We had four flavours: jaffa, choc mint, lemon and white raspberry. I’m shattered I didn’t get any of the jaffa…

How did you both plan the wedding? Were there any major compromises made? I organised the majority of the wedding. I did all the research, and on the big decisions, would discuss with him before making a call. But when it came to all the small ones, I made them because I had a much clearer vision of what I wanted, Matt isn’t the best at making quick decisions, and we were short on time.

The only thing we disagreed on was the size of the wedding. I wanted something really small and intimate (say, 30), and my husband wanted all of his extended family (around 150). I compromised, and we invited all our family. And he compromised by spending more than he wanted!

By getting married in the Mornington Peninsula rather than our home town it made it difficult for some of those we’d invited to attend, so made our wedding ended up a bit smaller than his vision – so I suppose it really balanced out in the end and wasn’t too large a wedding.

What type of vibe were you after? I just wanted something really elegant and simple, that was something of a garden party, with beautiful white contrasting against greenery. But all in all, we just wanted to create an environment that enabled everyone to catch up, dance and have fun. Having a ‘feast on feet’ style wedding, I think, really helped with that, as everyone could mingle and weren’t allocated to a specific table. (Not having table settings also cut down on the stress of having to make a seating plan!)

How was the lead up to the wedding? Were you nervous? If so, how did you manage this? The lead was really good – up until the point my brother arrived from England with his family and the gastro virus. He was staying at our home, but because we were scared about getting sick, my husband and I moved out to his Nanny’s house for the days before the wedding. It was tough not being able to spend that precious time with my brother and his family, and a bit more stressful being away from our home at a time when there were still last-minute things to organise.

What was the best piece of advice you were given in the lead up? Do your own thing! Our family were great and encouraged us to do what we wanted.

Has life changed since you got married? Ummm… nope! I probably felt more of a shift in the lead up to the wedding. Before we got engaged things were still his and mine. But as we organised the wedding, and spoke more about our future together, I could feel that shift, towards becoming more of a unit.

Is there anything you would change about your wedding day? I’d consider getting married earlier in the day. It felt like there was a large part of the day that wasn’t spent at the wedding. That said, it was nice to have such a chilled day – I even had time to go and make the coffee run for my sisters who were getting their hair and make-up done!

What’s your best piece of advice for couples that are arranging their wedding? Don’t waste 12-months of your life organising a wedding! It can be done much faster than that, and I think the more time you have, the more time (and energy) it will suck!

Who was your favourite, stand out vendor? The venue - Stillwater at Crittenden. The wedding coordinator, Allison, is just amazing. She took so much stress out of the planning and the day. It felt so good to know that she had everything covered – I could really trust her. And not to mention the venue itself – it was an absolutely stunning location, with our wedding out by their lake, and then the service for the reception was fantastic.

Anything funny and unexpected happen on the day? Matt’s uncle nearly dropped his 90 year-old mother when twirling her on the DF – I can still see her starting to topple in slow mow – fortunately he caught her in time!

Oh, and Matthew tapping his watch when I reached the top of the aisle because I was 10 minutes late! I guess he took my schedule a little more literally than I!

Precious recently officiated our wedding, and we couldn’t have asked for more. She guided us through the process, got to know us so well, and made our ceremony so special.
In the lead up to the wedding I was more excited for the party at the reception, but on the day, the ceremony was the most precious (no pun intended!) part of the day, in no short part to her.
And we’ve just got our wedding photos back - she was so conscious to make sure that she wasn’t standing in the middle for each photo, and it meant that we have some beautiful photos of just my husband and I standing at the top of the aisle together. It’s that kind of thoughtfulness and attention to detail that makes Precious a great celebrant. Plus, she’s got amazing hair!!


Photographer - Kara Lee. Venue/Catering - Stillwater at Crittenden. Cake - Peninsula Cake Art. Invites - Alexa Nelson Prints. Dress/veil - Sassi by Adronis. Engagement Ring: Diamond is from Blue Nile, setting was made by GN design. Suit - Ted Baker from Lidis Tailors. Her shoes: FSJ shoes. Music - Baker Boys Band. Florist - Flowers by Ren. Makeup - HC Makeup & hair. Hair - GLS makeup. String quartet - Briar String Quartet.

Precious Fawcett