Jess and Simon Shannon choose the Shannon family property 30kms from Orange to celebrate their wedding in Oct 18. They really wanted to highlight the raw and natural beautiful Davy's Plains garden to create a classic, elegant, fun and relaxed family wedding… we absolutely loved working and assisting them and we think they nailed it! Read Jess’s thoughts on how she planned and made it come together….
How long have you and Simon been together and when did you get engaged?
Around 5 years now and got engaged in Sept 2017 at Kilcare beach after a beautiful lunch at Bells
What advice would you give to future couples?
- So many lists and ticking the jobs off as you go
- Do the big ticket items first and get locked in as early as possible such as caterer, marquee, celebrant, music. Once you get those sorted it definitely takes some of the stress away.
- Also confirm, confirm confirm. Can’t stress this enough even when you think you have booked something you may not have, so pay a deposit to ensure you’ve locked in. We had a couple of instances where this happened and I suppose because vendors get so many enquiries and are super busy that a verbal contract means nothing in the wedding industry.. money talks so lock it in with a deposit!
- Most importantly do not get too caught up in the before prep, enjoy the process and the “Wedding Week”…. have your family and friends around you during the week prior to the wedding and setup together so that you have that time together beforehand. As everyone says the day and night goes so quickly that you won’t remember most of it and never again will you have all those special people in one spot again!!!! Can’t stress this enough.
Why did you choose your wedding venue?
It really was a no brainer for us... I’m from Walgett and it is too dry and no one had been married at Davy’s Plains for over 40 years. The property means so much to the Shannon family and Willy and Butch (Simon’s parents) garden made for the perfect family garden wedding setting.
Describe your wedding vibe/theme
We really just wanted the raw and natural beautiful Davy's Plains garden to come through in all of what we did. If it weren’t for Orange’s unpredictable weather we would have had long tables under lights in the garden instead of having a marquee but being October wedding and it still was cool of an evening it meant that everyone was warm inside once the sun went down.
I actually also drew inspiration from Alex & Johnny’s garden wedding so a lot of those styling ideas came through too - clean, classic and elegant.
Tell us about your: a) ceremony b) reception, example what you wanted to achieve, your favourite details and highlights from each
We wanted a short and succinct ceremony in the garden but still ticking the right boxes. We really tried to include as much family as possible throughout the day. We were lucky that both my sisters – in – law agreed (Chloe & Skye) to do a reading each in the ceremony and both our mums were our witnesses which is still very meaningful.
We had flower girls that were a mixture of nieces/nephews, cousins and goddaughters which was fun for them to be a part of the “big day” and hopefully something they might remember.
Along with our special international singing celebrity Curtis (more on that later) he was sneakily paired with one of our extremely talented girlfriends Em Thorburn on the violin for the garden ceremony. We are so fortunate to have so many talented friends that were able to contribute to our day.
Following the formalities we continued in the garden and had canapés with a relaxed champagne and beer garden feel. We really wanted this part to continue as long as possible so people could enjoy the setting right up until sunset before moving into the marquee. We were fortunate to have this time extended by the White Place garden seating and outdoor furniture options so people were able sit if required.
From the garden we moved into the marquee which looked absolutely stunning with the various feature pieces from the White Place which included; bamboo chairs, charcoal linen napkins, crystal champagne glasses and pendants above. The long tables worked perfectly in the JD Events marquee and were finished off with specially ordered crisp white hydrangeas from Sydney and assorted candles for lighting. The gold cutlery was probably my bit of glam highlight which just made it more special and a personal touch for me.
Another wedding highlight was the inclusion of Curtis. We met this gorgeous singer/ songwriter in Telluride, Colorado on a recent skiing trip with friends that we instantly fell in love with and kept in contact with. I loosely said to Simon do you think Curtiss (Cousin Curtiss musically known) would come over and play at our wedding and we both agreed was worth the question. And to our surprise he replied with a massive YES! We kept it a secret from the rest of the group who knew him and he came out and stayed with us the week leading into our wedding with the whole family. He was such an integral part in the whole wedding from mowing lawns, painting the ice beer bathtub, to photography lessons and night time singalongs. Everyone absolutely adored him and we owe him so much.
He also together with my bridesmaids re-created OUR version of the HORSES by Darryl Braithwaite. Simon and I had no clue and they sang it as a complete surprise to us on the night and had even printed the new words so everyone could join in.
The song, well that just stole the show really and the words couldn’t have been more true... “tale about a male who rarely wears his shoes. And he met a girl from Walgett.. Can’t you hear her, oh she speaks so loud... Troughs broken makes him cry, see him trying every way he knows how to stop a new buy, That’s the way it’s gonna be, little darling, She’ll go buying way more horses yeah yeah, Way up in Cudal little darling….
It was so incredibly special and will be forever cherished by Simon and I. (In way of background I am a horse lover and my family believe I have too many, so it was very fitting!)
Tell us what are the challenges of having a wedding out of town
Sadly that everyone had to leave us at the end of the night!!!! Buses were an obvious added expense and breaks the night up but they were a necessity. Cooks buses were incredible putting up with a rowdy crew back to town
Who were your favourite vendors to work work with and why
Our favourite people to work with during the whole process would have been Al & Johnny for sure!! Without being predictable, they really were. Alex’s personal style and knowledge are seriously unforgettable. When you work with them they are not just a hire company, you get the whole service which is so valuable. Rather than trying to juggle 5 different vendors at once Alex and the White Place team can now do it all for you. Better still Simon and I now have 2 more great friends out of this whole experience!!!
Josie from the Old Convent Orange is renowned for incredible, hearty and delicious food. Josie nailed it, the canapes and entrée dishes in the garden were amazing followed by the mains seated in the marquee were delicious. She then topped it off with selected deserts on the dessert table and she also set up our Trunkey Creek ham to go. Josie has been doing weddings for a very long time and she is a no fuss, get to work gal which suited me to the ground. She is also great to throw around a lot of other ideas off like; the marquee setup, garden plans, ordering crockery and furniture amounts, glasses and was a very, very valuable person to have included in our wedding.
Christie Millinery was incredible, not only did she help me with my unique headpiece rather than a veil she also assisted with earrings as well. I would highly recommend her millinery if you’re not really the veil kind of bride.
Is there anything you would change/regret about the day?
Videographer is a must or a designated person doing videos of key parts. I have spoken to so many people after their weddings and they agreed that they would love that footage to look back on and show their kids the special moments, speeches, dances, ceremony etc.
If we could have our time again we would have set up farm accommodation so everyone could stay and party the night away
- Dress: “Hamilton” Chosen By One Day Bridal through Love Marie Boutique
- Headpiece: Christie Millinery
- Hair: Sarah from Sierra Leone
- Makeup: Sarah from Forever Beautiful Souls
- Marquee and tables: JD Events
- Styled pieces, plants & outdoor furniture from The White Place.
- Celebrant: Philippa Mitchell
- Caterer: Josie from the Old Convent
- Lighting: Thompson’s Power
- Various flower arrangements: Willy Shannon & girlfriends.