ISSUE 9 | SUMMER 2013
It was a couple of years ago that Stuart came into Lauren’s work to fix a plumbing issue. Lauren really thought no more of it but found herself face to face with the cute plumber the very next morning when she was leaving her parents’ house for work. “I still had no idea who he was and there he was walking up my parents’ driveway,” Lauren said. Once again it was all coincidence – he was there to complete some plumbing work at the family home. “He told me later he came up with some excuse that he had to get something out of the work car so he could talk to me,” Lauren said. But if this was opportunity knocking it was about to get a whole lot louder. Still not knowing who the mystery plumber was, Lauren headed to a friend’s house for a barbeque the next day and there he was again. “Obviously I had to find out who he was and we hung out for a bit and it really went from there,” Lauren said. “It really started out as a strong friendship, and then it grew from there.” And grow it did, with Stuart ticking all the boxes. “He was just a really nice, honest guy,” Lauren said. “It was just so easy, it felt so comfortable, it felt so right.” Her parents and sister quickly warmed to the new man in Lauren’s life and the romance blossomed. “He was the first person I actually felt I could be 100 percent myself with,” Lauren said. “He’s so genuine and tells me how he feels about me every day – I feel so lucky to have found him.” Continued on page 4
The couple quickly realised they shared a lot in common, preferring the casual to the formal, enjoying the outdoors more than indoors and loving getting out and being active but still enjoying cosying up on the couch. And the proposal reflects that laid back, no fuss kind of lifestyle. “We were out walking around the Valley Lake and he stopped to look at something and just kept walking,” Lauren said. “I turned and came back and he was so nervous and then he pulled out a ring.” Stuart had already asked her parents’ permission and so the first order of business was letting everyone know she had happily said “yes”. “It was simple, perfect,” Lauren said. “He knew I wouldn’t have wanted the big gesture or anything that wasn’t us, I probably would have laughed at him if he’d done that.” The proposal came less than 12 months after they started seeing each other and they had been living together for a while. “Stu was so down to earth and genuine and that was exactly how he was when we started living together as well.” There was one thing the couple has disagreed on and that was the wedding. “I would have eloped,” Lauren said. “But Stu’s got a really big family and he really wanted to share the day with everyone.” That saw the couple, who exchanged vows at Sheriffmuir Gardens, plan a wedding for 160 guests and in the end, Lauren survived. “I think I was just worried because I feel uncomfortable being in front of that many people but it was a great day,” she said. After the ceremony, the couple and their bridal party had three or four hours of photos with Queensland based photographer Dave Wilcock. “We wanted to get shots at Stu’s family farm at Strathdownie,” Lauren said. “So we did a fair bit of driving to get the photos at the locations we wanted and that were special to us.” And it was quite a convoy, given there were 10 in the bridal party. Toby Burner was Stu’s best man with the groomsmen roles going to his brother Andrew Harvey and mates Steven Scheidl, Brad Creek and Reagan Clarke. Lauren’s sister Hayley was matron of honour with friends Prue Herde, Jess Duke,
Jess Little and Victoria Mueller fulfilling bridesmaids’ duties. The reception was at the Commodore on the Park with the couple leaving a couple of days later for a honeymoon in the Maldives. “Travel is something we both really want to do more of,” Lauren said.”But we do want to finish renovating the house and things like that before we head off again.” The couple’s first dance was Turning Page, by Sleeping at Last but arguably the highlight of the reception was the stunning floral displays. Lauren’s sister Hayley, who runs The Flower Shop, in Mount Gambier, had only one instruction from Lauren- she wanted the flowers to be white. “There were flowers everywhere – it was stunning – she honestly spent hours and hours putting it all together, it was amazing.”Lauren had carnations as her bouquet – the spherical arrangement making for a dramatic effect. Continued on page 6
“I couldn’t have planned any of it without the help of my sister Hayley, she was wonderful” Lauren said. Lauren was also able to source the bridesmaid dresses locally, at Mangos. “I didn’t want the typical bridesmaid looking dress and I saw the ones we chose in Mangos and Kelly ordered what we needed,” Lauren said. “I absolutely loved them.” Lauren never wanted to have the huge production wedding and in the end that made things easier to plan, with the couple bringing the day together with about five months of planning. “We didn’t care about matching cars or anything like that and it did make it easier,” she said. “Everything came together and we were really able to just enjoy the day.” Lauren is the daughter of Martin and Pam Verdins, while Stuart is the son of Kevin and the late Shirley Harvey. Stuart’s mother was mentioned in the ceremony and a photo in a setting of candles and flowers was part of the couple’s reception to ensure she was very much a part of the day, despite passing away three years ago.
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There is a vast array of stationery on offer for your wedding day with obviously the invitation not only the most important but also arguably the only essential piece of correspondence – the rest is more negotiable depending on your wedding style, ceremony requirements and personal taste. The invitation is another facet of your wedding that can be as formal or innovative as you like with most couples opting to use the invitation as a sneak peak of what is to come on the big day – it usually sticks closely to the theme of the wedding – modern, classical, traditional, country style etc. There are many ways to create gorgeous signature stationery that says it all and these are the trends taking weddings by storm at the moment..
Colour It’s all about bold colours with weddings at the moment with a tendency to style up the stationery with metallics and sparkles to add a touch of glamour. Tone your colours to complement your overall wedding themes, but don’t worry about exact matches. Orange is an on trend wedding colour right now. It’s vibrant, fun, fresh, warm and beautiful and perfect for all seasons. Pair orange with purple, spring green, lime green, burgundy, aqua, turquoise, white, sky blue, chocolate brown, gold, silver, pewter, lilac, watermelon or fuchsia/hot pink. Brown (also known as chocolate, mocha, latte, cocoa and coffee bean) is the new black. Hot combos are brown and pink, brown and blue, brown and green (chartreuse being a wildly popular shade of green
at the moment) and brown and champagne wedding invitations. Classic black and white invitations, of course, never go out of style and if it’s simple and elegant you’re after, it’s still the safest, most stylish option.. Motifs and Graphic Themes Who says your invitation has to be just a bunch of words? Many couples incorporate a graphic motif to match the season, such as a flower for a spring wedding, a shell for a summer wedding or a skeleton leaf for an autumn wedding. Graphics can lend sentiment and character that your invitation would otherwise be missing. For example, if your fiancé proposed on holidays in Bali – use a tropical motif. Crystals & Embellishments An increasing number of brides
are adding glamour and pizzazz to their invitations by incorporating embellishments such as Swarovski crystals or rhinestone buckles, jewelled braids, silk tassles and sashes. Be aware that when you add three dimensional embellishments, you will need gift boxes to house your invitations. Some crystals, depending on size and quantity, can still be sent by snail mail, but you do risk breakage unless the invite is carefully wrapped. Monograms & Logos A cute trend is for couples to create their own wedding logo. Why not create a stylized version of your initials or wedding date, to be used throughout your wedding stationery? You could also use it on your aisle runner, cake, bar, and even projected onto your dance floor! Wedding Seals Wedding seals will not only save you licking all those envelopes they will add elegance and personality to your invitations. Originally, envelope seals were created using wax. You can still find all the materials for creating wax seals, but getting beautiful results usually requires a lot of practice. Peel and stick seals are generally a better option. They are sold in sheets of very cute designs to match your stationery. You can find seals in different shapes and colours – perfect for any invitation. No more licking, only sticking! The Digital Wedding Invitation Savvy brides and grooms across the world are opting for the online invitation. This is a great option for inviting overseas guests, or to invite interstate guests to a casual wedding with not much planning time. For family and close-by guests, an online invite should only serve as a save the date, a reminder or a means to deliver more complex info such as location details and maps, or destination guides for location weddings. For the sake of etiquette, an actual invite should be posted as well – even if it has been downsized.
It is hard to believe that photographer Jess Pettingill and fashion designer Megan Caldersmith have never met when you see the results of their recent bridal shoot. The former Port MacDonnell happy snapper and the Penola based fashionista were brought together by Mount Gambier graphic designer Bianca Richardson and the artistic process began. “Bianca (Richardson) was one of my clients and she also knew Jess, who was talking to her about wanting to do a South East based high fashion bridal shoot and who would be good to get in contact with and so she gave Jess my details,” Megan said. “From the first time we talked on the phone we just clicked – we are both organised, both had a similar vision and are both very passionate about what we do.” Jess has been working overtime looking to establish her photographic business and in a bid to get her name and, perhaps more importantly, her work, out there, she has spent a lot of time creating her own fashion shoots, particularly bridal, and then pitching her work to bridal blogs and magazines with some success. “You have to get out there and shoot your ideas and concepts and then hopefully get someone to want to buy it,” Jess said. “You just can’t sit around hoping someone will see your work without making any effort yourself to get it out there.” And that’s where Jess’ local shoot was born – she still does a lot of work here in the region and she wanted to showcase local talent and suppliers in a similar way to how she had been working in Melbourne. She secured Megan, as her designer and then locked in local property icon Struan House and a Nangwarry homestead, where she teamed with all local suppliers to create bridal shoots to showcase the local landmarks and local talent. Jess and Megan were the main collaborators on the exciting project with help from Millicent florist Margie White (Budz) and Jess Brill (Giannis Hair & Beauty). The models were all South East born girls as well.”Basically I was doing the same thing I’ve been doing in Melbourne with all local suppliers and I really want to keep doing that kind of thing here in the region,” Jess said. “I come back here quite often to do family shoots and weddings and there are some great people here and it was great to work with them.” The process took about eight months from the initial phone call as Megan forwarded sketches and fabric samples and Jess created mood boards. “We were in contact almost every day, swapping ideas and making suggestions,” Megan said. “Once it was done, it was actually weird to go a week without talking.” It was this side of collaborative projects that attracted Megan to the idea in the first place. “It can be isolating working alone all the time,” she said. “It is great to bounce ideas off people and that’s what I love about collaboration.” The two days of the shoot saw the models working from 8.30-5pm both days. “They worked so hard,” Megan said. “And they were great and the photos are beautiful.” Megan had met with the models to modify her designs to suit their body shape and in corporation with the flowers, the locations and the hair and make-up, the images that have resulted are exactly what Megan and Jess hoped for.
Jon Peters has crammed a lot into his 43 years but no matter what he turns his hand to, it eventually comes back to music and working with people. As a Dutch born Irish lad of eight years old, he started singing in primary school and in reality, has never looked back. His eclectic cultural background and early life in two countries, has set Jon up for what has been a life of diversity, where music has always been his touchstone. “A soon as I started singing I knew I wanted to save up and buy a guitar,” Jon said. You feel the time in Ireland was fate – a country synonymous with music. He moved back to the Netherlands, from Ireland, when he was 15 and immediately started playing in bands, starting a professional career that has now spanned almost 30 years. He also turned his hand to studying youth work, and also turned his hand to gaining bicycle mechanic qualification. “At the time it felt like I was cramming about four lives into one,” he said. But whether in the background or foreground, it was always music, and that became the cornerstone of his youth work as well, setting up workshops and programs in varying education and government institutions. “I was basically winning government grants and then would set up my music programs,” Jon said. “Music does seem to touch everyone and watching young
was happy about my music but was very firm about wanting me to learn another job and having to use my hands. She is happy with how things have turned out though and that I have been able to do what I love and make a living.” Ireland then beckoned again and as a 23 year old Jon returned, performing along the South West coast and then doing what
people learn to play and sing and the joy they get out of it was really rewarding.” He spent a lot of time working with at risk boys, setting up group and individual programs. His parents always encouraged his music, though to differing degrees. “My father always wanted me to play music professionally, he was a photographer and did a lot of weddings,” Jon said. “My mother
every self respecting 20-plus does – started travelling around Europe. “That’s how I ended up in Australia,” Jon said. “You had to play where the tourists were.” It was a great life, playing coastal areas in summer and ski resorts in winter. He was seeing the world and getting to do it all while doing the one thing he loved more than anything – playing guitar and singing. In the whirlwind of performing, Jon did manage to get married and have two beautiful children, and so eventually all roads led to Mount Gambier where his ex-wife and two kids were living and it quickly became home. “I couldn’t bear to be away from my kids,” Jon said. “And I really loved it here.” He started out playing his acoustic sets at Jonty’s, spent a lot of time in Robe ad Port Fairy and basically started building a reputation as a performer of note throughout the Limestone Coast and South West Victoria. His children – Annabelle, 11, and
people either, there are plenty of adults looking to music as an outlet as well. Robe has become central to the Jon Peters story and can probably take credit for sparking his move into teaching. “I was playing at the Caledonian and just started to discover that there wasn’t really any music in the local schools purely because there was no one to take it,” he said. “So it started as a way to fill my days before I played a gig at night but it was so popular and I loved it so much that it has really grown and from there the need for adult classes has also arisen.” There is also another fairly critical reason for spending more time teaching and less time gigging. Jon married local girl Nikki Driscoll and the two have added to Jon’s family with their first son, Casey, now four months old. “Gigging at night is not the most family friendly thing to do,” Jon said. “The teaching allows me to spend more time with my kids and that’s so important.” Jon spends two days a week in Robe teaching and can already sense that the 15 students he has there is going to only grow. And he is set to take on out of hours students as well in the seaside town so he can touch base with as many music lovers as he can during his two days. “I am also looking at expanding into other rural areas as well,” he said. “I have a totally different approach to a lot of teachers, I find it works well if I teach them songs, basically they tell me their favourite song and I
Flynn, 8, - were the reason he settled in Mount Gambier but this region has also been a receptive audience for the born performer. He has played in football clubs, for private functions, countless functions and special events, including the Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Port MacDonnell Bayside Festival. “It’s all about word of mouth and building a reputation,” Jon said. “Basically I’ve played everywhere at every type of function imaginable.” And in a way things have gone a full circle, with Jon now once again incorporating his youth work qualifications with his love of music – just as he did when he was a young man in The Netherlands. “Music is a language that is understood everywhere in the world,” Jon said. “I love giving young people a chance to experience music and to express themselves.” Teaching guitar and vocals is now a huge part of Jon’s professional life and he is not just nurturing young
teach them how to play it.” Jon is also looking to add bass lessons and drums to his repertoire, giving students plenty of choices about getting in touch with their artistic side. There is no doubt the gigging has slowed down – a conscious decision by Jon. “It was time for family and I love my kids and want to be there as much as I can,” he said. But he is a man who loves performing and this region loves him performing for them and he does have a project on the go including fellow local talent Mick Keane, a bass player from Hamilton and a guitarist from Warrnambool. “I was looking to get back into a band after spending so long solo,” Jon said. “It’s great to work with other musicians – I love having that full sound.” So with family as the number one priority, Jon is currently juggling teaching, solo work and T.A.Z.E, the new band, and just as he grew up listening to an eclectic collection of music, that is what he offers as a performer as well. “Growing up I listened to Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin,” Jon said. “I do keep going back to the 70s and 80s a lot but I also still do traditional Irish pub songs and plenty of contemporary Australian artists as well.” He would also love to get back in the recording studio – but one thing at a time. Son Flynn has already taken up the piano and loves it, while Annabelle is learning guitar.
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months and only really had spent time together for about six weeks,” Michaela said. “Maybe that was the secret to our success – not spending too much time together.” And they must have thought distance was the secret to their success because they spent the next three years commuting between Port Augusta and Adelaide after Troy won a teaching role in the Iron Triangle. “I was still studying and working so it made sense not to move,” Michaela said. But as happens in all relationships, it gets to that point where you do need to decide where exactly it’s heading and Michaela decided to move to Port Augusta where the couple bought their first house. Michaela won a position with the Mid North Regional Development Board, and while local government wasn’t specifically the area of
Understandably the two had never met – Troy was from Mount Gambier, now studying in Adelaide and Michaela was an Adelaide girl. But when Troy’s good mate from university met and fell in love with a close friend of Michaela’s the stars started to align and at Glenelg’s Grand Hotel for the combined buck’s and hen’s night, the Mount Gambier teacher in training and the Adelaide based business and management student met. The wedding was a couple of days later and basically from then on, Troy and Michaela, were a couple – a couple that was about to be tested by the tyranny of distance. Six weeks after meeting, Troy headed off on a planned New Zealand vacation and on his return Michaela then jetted off to the United States for four months. “Basically we had been going out for almost six
business she had necessarily intended to work in, it has become her niche over the years, and she currently holds a similar role with Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast. “It focussed on tourism and event management in my studies,” Michaela said. “But I needed a job in Port Augusta and this was the best fit and to be honest, it’s been an amazing ride, meeting so many amazing people in the development board roles I have had.” And when the duo wasn’t working, they were still very busy, given their first home was a renovator’s delight. Michaela admits to being apprehensive about the move to Port Augusta but with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, it was a great time in the couple’s life.
cont. page 40
photo courtesy of Ralph Meznar
“We made so many good friends during our time there,” she said. “The people you meet through sport, other professionals – a lot of people are in the same boat, having moved from their childhood home to further their career.” It also gave Troy and Michaela a chance to explore a part of Australia they had not really experienced before. “We spent a lot of time in the Flinders Ranges,” she said. “We went fishing a lot and we really saw all the Eyre Peninsula had to offer, it was a really great time.” And it was great for their relationship. “We were away from all our closest friends and family and it basically
made us work on the friendship side of our relationship,” Michaela said. “And we are best friends, as corny as that sounds, and we talk about everything.” Perhaps it’s because the two were such good mates that Troy didn’t feel the need for an elaborate or romantic proposal and in fairness, Michaela isn’t the rose petals or ring in the champagne glass kind of girl anyway. The couple was standing outside a jewellers store in Adelaide and Troy basically said do you want to go and pick out a ring. “We did go to Windy Point restaurant for dinner and I did get him to ask again out overlooking the city,”
Michaela said. “We’re really not a romantic couple like that at all.” That being said, to this day, ever since they got married, the couple still try and have date night about once a month and also try and get away for a weekend here and there without the kids. But before the kids came the wedding, Troy and Michaela opting to get married in Adelaide so it was central to Troy’s Mount Gambier family and friends and their new friends from Port Augusta, where they would live for a further 18 months after tying the knot. Given how laid back the proposal was, it will come as no surprise that Michaela and Troy had a casual approach to the wedding day celebrations as well. And it is just as well neither of them are high strung personalities because the day was not as picture perfect as most couples would have dreamed of. “It was a perfect day of sunshine the day before, the day after was gorgeous and the morning of the wedding it was sunny and perfect,” Michaela said. “But it didn’t just rain for the ceremony, it was torrential, it was pouring.” Given the exchanging of vows, in front of a celebrant, was a garden ceremony at Michaela’s former school, Scotch College, plans had to be quickly changed. “They found a side room for us all to go into,” Michaela said.
The inclement weather also affecting the photo options for the duo, which had chosen the Scotch College grounds because of their picturesque gardens. The reception was also on the school site in an old, historically significant theatre. “We just wanted to have a really good party and that’s what we did,” Michaela said. “We had caterers and a DJ and everyone just had a really good time.”
close family and it was so important that she be a part of the day.” Michaela said. “In the end it was good to be so close to home and to have all our family and friends share the day.” They had about 120 guests and nothing epitomised the “fun” theme of the wedding more than basically everyone at the reception helping recreate the popular Fatboy Slim video sensation Praise You. “It
Michaela was attended by long time school friends Jane Barnes and Kirsty Turner, while Troy had two university mates as his groomsmen, Kim Kalms and Brian Humphries. Troy and Michaela would have been happy to just head to an island somewhere with close friends and family but Michaela’s grandmother’s health was failing and it was important to Michaela that she be a part of this special day. “I have a
really was just having fun,” Michaela said. “We only had a few speeches and then partied until three in the morning.” It was back to Port Augusta for the newlyweds, opting to spend their time off after the wedding working overtime on the house renovations rather than a honeymoon. cont. page 42
That came down the track in the form of a three month European holiday after which they put the finishing touches on the Port Augusta house before deciding they wanted to start a family. That set in motion the chain of events that saw them move to Mount Gambier. “We decided it would be a really great place to bring up a family and it certainly has been,” Michaela said. “The kids are really part of the community now and it is definitely home for us.” Troy has continued his career in education, while Michaela is working alongside small business owners and prospective owners in her role with Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast. They have also developed significant business interest in the region, having a solid real estate portfolio, running accommodation facilities and having also run a restaurant and an online wine company , during their time. Then there’s the opportunities the kids are enjoying in Mount Gambier, with sport, school and dancing keeping their trio busy – Joirdan (10); Jackson (7) and Bridie (4). A new challenge now potentially looms for the young family that have called Mount Gambier home now for 12 years – Troy is the local Liberal candidate for the State seat of Mount Gambier. “We had a lot of chats about the decision to run,” Michaela said. “Troy is so passionate about this region and he wants to make sure there is a bright future here for our kids and their kids too if they decide to stay.”
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Issue 9 of Bridal Life magazine