Real Wedding | Michelle + Richard | Private Property, Bellbowrie, Brisbane
When a couple describes their wedding celebrations as “a backyard wedding on steroids”, you know it’s going to be a pretty epic party! Michelle and Richard recently tied the knot at a family property in Bellbowrie, Brisbane, and their relaxed country-inspired wedding was filled with thoughtful styling details and personal touches that ensured their day felt completely authentic.
Both coming from design backgrounds themselves, Michelle and Richard built their dream day from the ground up, using their eye for detail and personalised DIY elements to create the most incredible outdoor celebration. From the lush natural surroundings at Richard’s family backyard in Brisbane, to the beautiful blend of eclectic bohemian styling, we absolutely loved helping these guys deck out their intimate celebration.
For this stunning alfresco reception, our earthy timber dining tables and rustic French bistro chairs were beautifully contrasted with luxe layered table settings, including our grey dinner plates, blue patterned flower plates and gold cutlery. Michelle and Richard also sourced decor from antique shopping trips, foraged materials from the land, and even included pieces from their very own living room to create a truly personal setting.
Planning a wedding DIY-style is no easy feat, so we asked Michelle and Richard to reflect on their wedding planning experience and share their words of advice for future couples. Keep reading for some valuable tips and insight from the bride and groom, along with some of their incredible photos captured by the talented Janneke Storm.
Describe your wedding day: Our wedding day was the best day of our lives. People say that a lot about their big day, but for us, we couldn't think of a better word. It was so perfect and it was a day that we had planned for around 2 years - so for us, it wasn't just about the day, it was the long journey we took together to grow as a couple and experience all the emotions and rollercoasters you take whilst planning one of the biggest days of your life.
What was the feel and style of your wedding: Our wedding had a relaxed country bohemian style feel. Think of a backyard wedding but on steroids. It suited us perfectly and every decision made was by both of us, so it really felt like it was a day that we could both feel proud of and sit back and enjoy what we created together.
Where did you find your inspiration for your wedding day: A lot of it was from Pinterest and through bridal magazines. With our design backgrounds, we meshed all of our favourite ideas together and made them come to life whilst putting our personal touch to every thought and decision.
Where was your wedding venue and why did you choose them: We started looking for venues about 18 months prior to the wedding. Venues that are popular get booked out quickly, so we were keen to get the venue sorted first. We love the Byron Bay and Bangalow area and loved the idea of getting married there as we used to do weekend trips there all the time. We spent a couple of weeks looking around, however, for some reason we couldn't make a decision.
It wasn't long after that we went to Richards parents place and realised it would be the best place to hold an incredible party. So there it was, a question over tea with his parents and they were thrilled. We were so glad we made that decision as it was more of a personal touch, we knew the property and what would work, we could visit as much as we wanted, it was easy for logistics, we could pick a date and not compete with any other couples, and most importantly, everytime we go out to the property now, we have the best memories and connection to the land.
What were the highlights on the day: EVERYTHING! Literally. I felt the whole day just went so smoothly and without any dramas. Everyone was really relaxed and enjoyed themselves. It was really special to have all of our family and friends there, whom a lot of travelled across the world to be there just for us. It really does make you feel special.
What was your experience like planning your wedding: Our experience of planning the wedding was a rollercoaster. Sometimes it was so great, other times we'd find ourselves arguing over how many heaters we should have. Luckily we saw eye to eye on a lot of matters, however it was an interesting experience having Richard so involved in the planning. A lot of husbands I guess tend to leave a lot of decisions to their partners with how the wedding looks and to what is involved, which to be honest was what I thought would happen. Richard was involved from the very start through to the very end. Looking back on this, I love that he felt so compelled to make it our day and not a one sided wedding. The only thing I kept secret from him was my dress!
How did you manage your budget: Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets. Richard was the excel master. He tracked all of our spending and savings to make sure we could pay for everything without being in debt, and whilst still saving in the background. We have a joint bank account which made it easier to forecast spending and track our budgets. Let's be honest, weddings are expensive and we did spend way more than what we originally talked about, however, we were realistic and knew that this would most likely happen and we planned that within our overall wedding budget. We don't regret spending what we did as it made our day incredible. We spent money where it counts. We were happy to pay for our photographer, videographer and main vendors even if they were more than what we planned - because at the end of the day, they are the ones that record and capture our big day, which in turn become our most vivid memories of our day. You really do get what you pay for, quality was high on our priority list. We also saved money in other places by doing the styling and making a lot of the decorations ourselves. Sourcing materials either from the land or from friends and family was also beneficial.
Who was your wedding planner/stylist: Being an Interior Designer and my husband a Landscape Architect, we are both very hands-on and have an eye for design. We both had a very strong vision of the style we wanted so it was good to be on the same page. We used Sketchup to model our wedding. It was great to use our professional skills to plan and style our day. The model was great as it helped us with the spatial planning and where best to place the dance floor, food, bar etc. It was also handy for scale and quantity of items we needed such as the ceremony hay bales and extra seating around the reception area.
We love antiques so a lot of our styling items were either our personal items or things we found on our antique shopping trips. The rug we got married on during our ceremony was our lounge room rug and still is! l loved styling our wedding, it was so good to see everything that you envision come together. My first reaction to when I saw everything set up including vendors when I arrived on the big day was 'wow', it was so overwhelming to see our vision and details come together so beautifully on the day. It was so rewarding to see the final result after months of planning and days and days of setting up.
To me, it was the little things that made it personal, such as engraved Mr and Mrs Smith dessert forks, velvet guest book with our embossed initials, a globe we had custom painted to say our favourite quote, and a log ring holder which we had our initials burned into. We also made so many of our own decorations and items for the wedding. We made and designed our own wedding invites, I wood-burned our guest's names onto log placeholders, we stamped ''thank you'' on our wedding favour boxes, painted our welcome sign and made our MC stand and palette tables. We literally thought about every detail and made sure we could make it happen in order to achieve our dream wedding.
Who was your photographer and why did you choose them: Janneke Storm! What can I say, she is incredible. She was the first vendor we booked, I had to secure her. We were looking for photographers for a good month, scrolling through Instagram, endless websites and Google searches. However, I found Janekke via Instagram as she was tagged in a friend's post as their wedding photographer. I emailed her instantly and luckily she was free on our wedding date. Turns out she spent her teenage years growing up in the same town as me, I played hockey with her brother! I never put two and two together though until our engagement shoot! It was so great to have similarities with her and have a few good laughs about back home. She's super talented and not to mention so lovely!
Who was your videographer and why did you choose them: We had booked a videographer booked about 18 months out from the wedding however they cancelled on us about 3 months prior. Janneke our photographer suggested a few videographers that matched her style and we found Jarod Lucas. He was so lovely and we hired a second shooter which happened to be his wife. They were so great on the day, nice and relaxed and went with the flow. Our wedding video was incredible! Jarod did an amazing job and we were so lucky to have found him in the short amount of time before the big day!
Where did you source your hire and decor items: We had a very specific look in mind and Hampton Event Hire had what we needed! We used Hampton for about 80% of the furniture and the remaining we either made ourselves, reused furniture from our family, or was from Berry Vintage Hire. Even though we had a few items from a number of different places, it created the eclectic bohemian country style we were after.
Who did you hire for entertainment and why: Josh Lovegrove. I was at a block party design event about a year before our wedding and Josh was playing at one of the showrooms. He was incredible! I asked if he did weddings and luckily he did! We booked him not long after and we are so glad we did. He played acoustic for the ceremony and while we were getting our bridal photos and DJ setup for the dancefloor. We put together a playlist on Spotify and he made the magic happen. He was fantastic and everyone said they loved the music and complimented on how great Josh was.
If you could do it all over again, is there anything you would change: I wish we had organised for someone at the last minute to just walk around and make sure everything was ok and setup. Richard was so amazing setting up but he only finished about an hour before the ceremony and had to quickly get ready so he was just go, go, go the whole time. So for him, I wish he could have relaxed a bit more and enjoyed the morning like I did.
Do you have any tips for other brides: Give yourself time. I'm a perfectionist and loved planning all of the details, so if you are the same, just beware all of that effort does take up a lot of your time. I work full time and didn't hire a stylist or planner, so everything had to be done on the weekends or after work.
Budget. Be realistic about how expensive weddings are and tailor your decisions around that. If you are on a tight budget, prioritise what you really want to spend money on.
Do what feels right. People will always have opinions on what you should do or how you should do it, but stick to your guns. At the end of the day, it is your wedding and you should look back on it as a day for you and your partner. People always love weddings that are a true reflection of the couple; it's more intimate and genuine.
Don't be too precious. Don't get me wrong, my wedding was absolutely amazing, however I am a little OCD when it comes to having everything perfect and in its place. There were a few items that I look back on and say, oh no that wasn't positioned right, or that came out later than I hoped, or that candle wasn't lit, or the picture frame fell over in the wind and no one fixed it, or the globe wasn't turned properly. But really, it's so small that it's not even worth worrying about, because when you talk to your guests after they have no clue that something wasn't in its place or that something didn't look right. They are there to enjoy your day and soak up the atmosphere, not look so closely as to what candle is next to what ornament.
Lastly, accept help. It's amazing how an army of people who are willing to help you can relieve a little bit of stress and make your wedding day that much smoother. Our family and friends helped us set up our wedding over two days, we couldn't have done it without them.
Wedding venue: Private Property, Bellbowrie, Brisbane
Photographer: Janneke Storm
Videographer: Jarod Lucas
Furniture + Decor hire: Hampton Event Hire, Berry Vintage Hire
Entertainment: Josh Lovegrove
Bar: Luxury of Vintage Enterprises
Celebrant: Erin Woodhall
Wedding dress: Made With Love Bridal
Groom suit: ASOS
Floral design: Conedefleur
Favours: Cindy (Sister-in-Law)
Cake design: Petite Crumb
Hair: Hair by Jools
GET THE LOOK!
Love Michelle + Richard’s eclectic bohemian wedding? Recreate this look with some of our furniture and tableware hire pieces below. Or, get in touch with our hire team for a copy of our latest catalogue - we’d love to help you get the ball rolling with your big day!