It’s no secret that Bells at Killcare is one of my favourite wedding venues on the Central Coast. I get excited at the thought of a wedding here because it usually says something special about the couple getting married. A couple that chooses Bells has super high values on how they want their wedding to be… elegant, classy, sophisticated and fun. Michelle and Liam and the day they were planning fit that ‘mould’ perfectly. Read, in Michelle’s words below, a little more about her incredible day and the lead up to what can only be described as the perfect wedding.
What’s the story behind the two of you, how/where did you meet?
Liam and I met on the dance floor of the Florida Beach Bar that night and immediately hit it off and we have barely spent a day without each other since. It was always meant to be.
Can you tell me about the proposal?
It was Valentine’s Day 2013 and we went out for Valentine’s Day. After dinner we came home and Liam had laid rose petals from the front door leading to the living room where he then played a video he made of my two little nieces (our flower girls) saying “Michelle, will… you… marry… Liam?”
He then got down on one knee.
Where was your wedding ceremony and why there?
We knew straight away we wanted it at Bells at Killcare.
We chose Bells because it suited the style of wedding we were after with picturesque gardens and lovely reception facilities which meant we could have the ceremony and reception at the same venue.
Bells also has a great reputation on the Central Coast.
Where was your wedding reception and why there?
The reception was also held at Bells at Killcare because the venue offered great ceremony, reception and accommodation options that meant we could stay at the same location for the entire day and night.
Were you going for a certain theme or style with your wedding?
We had a cocktail wedding because we wanted everyone to be able to relax and mingle.
I wouldn’t say I had a certain theme or style to the wedding. I had an image of how I wanted it to look but could never find it on Pinterest or in magazines to name it.
I love flowers, everything pretty and while my decorations stayed simple it was exactly how I imagined, so perfect.
Can you tell me about your wedding dress and any advice you have for other brides looking for their perfect gown?
You said mention the good and the bad… this is where it comes into play. (short version)
The bad: unfortunately I had found out through Facebook that the store I bought my dress through went into liquidation. This was two months after the estimated time of arrival and six weeks until our wedding.
Fortunately, I had made contact with the supplier who let me repurchase my dress at wholesale price and they posted it to me.
I finally had my dress two weeks before my wedding but with not enough time to have my alterations done.
If you thought this would be crazy enough. I thought I better check on the bridesmaids’ dresses. I was then told they will be another four weeks away.
Having my three bridesmaids living in all different states meant they needed to have the dresses sent to them once they had arrived to me with time for alterations. The timing wasn’t going to work.
A firm but fair email later, the dresses magically arrived seven days later BUT one being the wrong size and too small rather than too big. You can always make something big fit but not really the opposite and I wasn’t going tell my bridesmaid to starve herself for a month.
I was asked to post them back and they will remake them but these will be 4 weeks. I thankfully didn’t post them back but requested the new dresses.
The week before my wedding I had a phone call from DHL saying my dresses went to Austria not Australia and immediately I sent the old dresses to the girls and crossed my fingers hoping one of the smaller sizes would fit. She managed to squeeze herself into the dress and kept smiling the whole time.
My criteria for finding my perfect dress were lace with a nice back.
My dress was ‘Leigh’ by Sophia Tolli, I fell in love with it the minute I saw it on her website. It ticked both my boxes. It had not been released in Australia yet so I had to source it and buy it from the US without even trying it on.
In saying this I did spend a day trying other dresses on, I did tend to try on ones with similar features of the dress I had fallen in love with.
Once I still wanted to go ahead with the dress from the website, the bridal store owner said “I want to have fun with you…” I had to close my eyes and she put me in 2 completely different styled dresses. The last one was this big beautiful princess dress that sparkled up so much up the top, they both looked amazing but I stuck with ‘Leigh’.
Advice… Even though I went with the first one I saw and loved, the ladies of the bridal stores know what suits us and our bodies. Hear them out and I’m sure you will be surprised.
Where did you find your wedding shoes and do you have any advice for brides looking for their bridal shoes?
My shoes were Monsoon Vivien Vintage lace heels bought from the UK. There is a common theme here of buying before trying…
Advice… For me my shoes had to have a heel but not a huge one, be stylish, yet comfortable, don’t forget the heel protectors if you know you will be walking on grass (I found my clear ones from Forever New) and wear them in around the house months before the wedding.
Where did you find your jewellery and accessories?
My bracelet and earrings were birthday presents from my mum and Liam bought at Swarovski.
My hair Comb was by Anna Campbell.
Who did your hair and what led you to the style you chose?
Audrey from ‘The Bridal Hair Co’ did my hair.
Before finding my dress I had always imagined my hair would be out on my wedding day but with my style of dress it needed to be up to show off my featured back. I had just asked for it to be back and loose and let Audrey work her magic.
Who was your makeup artist and what were your instructions when booking – what were you after?
Shelley from ‘The Bridal Makeup Co’ did my makeup. I was after a very natural look and my only instruction was no eye liner. I just can’t pull it off like others.
Where did you find the guys suits? Were they purchased or hired and why?
Liam’s suit was West End by Simon Carter purchased at David Jones.
The boys’ pants and shirts were also purchased from David Jones. I had bought the suspenders and bow ties on Etsy and they came from the US.
Can you tell me about your flowers?
I love flowers… probably like most girls. I have had friends tell me I wear too much floral, I always eye them off walking past the florists in the shops, I entered rose decorating competitions when I was a teenager and I definitely married the right man who knows that flowers make me happy.
My bouquets were all peony roses (my favourite) and they were beautiful. This flower was the reason we had our wedding when we did. I had a mix of white and soft pinks and my girls had all pink.
Our florist was Helen from A Floral Indulgence and she was amazing to work with.
Helen also did the boys button holes, the flower girls crowns, my cake (I had fresh flowers on my cake), and all the floral decorations at the reception.
What led you to choose the wedding cake you had?
Amy from The Sweetest Things made my cake, another thing I am passionate about.
We had a 4 tiered cake with spackled icing. This is just where it has a rough look. Then Helen decorated it with Peony Roses.
We had 4 different flavours caramel marble mud, raspberry chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate mud. We have left the top tier to eat on Valentine’s Day so I am counting down the days.
What did you have for your Bonbonniere?
Everyone who knows me knows I love all things sweet. So we had a candy/dessert bar put together by Suzanne from Sweetopia Events. It must have been amazing because all the cupcakes, cake pops, macrons had been eaten before we made our big entrance. Everyone could fill up their own white bags with baked treats and sweets to take home if they could resist the temptation.
Can you describe the photography part of the day?
Andrew from Impact Images arrived a few hours before the ceremony and took photos of both the grooms party and bridal party while they were getting ready in their room.
Andrew captured a number of shots during the ceremony as well as a number of family photos after the conclusion of the ceremony.
We had photos around Bells and then went to a nearby jetty overlooking the water for more bridal party photos. The photography concluded with the capturing of key moments during the reception.
The photography was something I was nervous about because I am awkward. Most of the time if I wasn’t posing we couldn’t even tell Andrew was around capturing moments. We have had our photos back for nearly 2 months now and I think I still look at them every day. So we can definitely say we love them and the job Andrew did.
What led you to choose Impact Images for your photography?
Liam and his family had used Impact Images a number of years ago for family photos and Andrew did a great job on these.
When we met Andrew to talk all this wedding and photography, he was easy going and his work matched what we wanted. Impact also has a fantastic reputation on the Central Coast so in the end it was an easy decision to choose Impact Images.
Can you tell me about your most memorable moment from the day?
This is a tough one. Can I say the whole day having all our family and friends together.
Can you tell me a little about your honeymoon?
We spent 1 week on the island of Moorea in Tahiti in our picturesque overwater bungalow and then had 4 weeks in the United States where we picked up a car and travelled from the East coast to the West coast.
What is the most important piece of advice you could share with brides to be?
I don’t know if this is the most important but some advice I wish someone had told me. As sneaky as this may sound… tell the stores or suppliers you buy your dresses etc. from a date earlier than your actual wedding to ensure your items arrive with plenty of time to spare.
If you had the chance to redo the whole thing again, what changes would you make?
It was beyond my control but I wish I had the time to get my dress altered to create that perfect fit. It was a little big up top. Apart from this I wouldn’t change a thing. I married my soul mate and I guess this is what it is all about.
If you like the idea of a Bells wedding for your big day, you’ll find more real wedding photos and information here: Bells at Killcare Wedding.