If you’re in need of some inspo for a dreamy Sydney wedding, take a squiz at Tara and Ben’s big day. This pair picked one of our all-time favourite spots for their nups – Audley Dance Hall in the Royal National Park– and, heck, they were gorgeous!

As well as calling in a crack team of vendors (we’ll get into those in a second), the groom’s mum took care of a whole lot of DIY for the day. “She made all the table settings including the table numbers, flower arrangement and holders; she also made macrame placemats and coasters and incorporated family heirloom doilies, which were used for Ben’s parents’ own wedding in the ’70s!” The bride’s mum put in #werk, too, potting up jade plants in miniature terracotta pots as favours for all the guests.

So about those experts… good friend of Hello May and all-round photographic superstar Kristie Carrick snapped the big event, while another fave of ours, Jacqua Celebrant, officiated. And the pair looked like a dream, too, with Tara in Lilia Cass Ceremonial, and Ben and his groomsmen super suave in M.J. Bale. But the best part of the whole day was getting to see fam and friends again after a long lockdown had kept them apart. “The rekindling with our nearest and dearest was really the most cherished part of our day,” they tell us. Let’s dive deeper into the deets!

THE VIBE We bought our first Hello May mag on a romantic trip to Orange, NSW, and while surrounded by the serene views of nature, we decided we wanted to be married in a National Park. We didn’t have a theme per se, but the overall vibe was to just enjoy the weekend, relax and have a magical time celebrating love in a National Park!”

THE VENUEWe made weekend dates out of the few venues we looked at. When we found Audley Dance Hall in December 2020, we instantly fell in love with the venue and the people. We love that Audley is surrounded by nature, the atmosphere is peaceful, serene and away from the city. Audley’s events manager, Georgina, was also so lovely and accommodating. I think she really sealed the deal for us. We didn’t have a huge budget and she showed us what an amazing day we could still have with our budget. We really had the best day of our lives.”

FAVE DETAILSAside from the best vegan cake (by Ruby Lonesome), the flowers and the table arrangements by Emily of Blossom Magic were stunning. Ben’s mum, Sandra, Emily the florist and the Audley Dance Hall staff did such an amazing job at arranging the hall. However, it all came down to having the most amazing time with our closest family and friends. Squeezing the wedding day in between the Delta and Omicron waves of COVID meant we hadn’t seen a lot of our friends in person for many months.”

THE DRESS I bought my dress and blouse from Lilia Cass Ceremonial. Lilia immediately eased my shyness when trying on dresses. She was very accommodating of my values, was within my budget, and the dress and blouse were my dream look! The dress was practical without a train and super elegant. She also gave my parents and best friend an insightful education session about silk! It was a wonderful experience.”

THE SUIT “I was working at M.J. Bale in Queen St, Woollahra at the time and dressed a lot of other wedding parties. It was always giving me plenty of ideas as to how I wanted everyone to look on the big day. It was really fun getting to do all my groomsmen’s suits,  too, personally fitting each of them. They would come up to the wedding fitting area at the store after hours and have a beer with me and try a bunch of different suits on. It added to the anticipation leading up to the big day.”

REFERENCESWe found photographer Kristie Carrick and our venue, Audley Dance Hall, through Hello May; hair and makeup artists Haylee Davies of Nourish Me Beautiful and Jizelle Angelique on Instagra; and our celebrant, Jacqua Celebrant, and dress designer, Lilia Cass, through searching online.”

LITTLE LOLIt took three people to steam my wedding dress, which happened as I was already meant to be walking down the aisle, and no one really knew how to use the steamer. Many thanks to Ben’s mum for suggesting we put water in it!”

WORD OF ADVICE “Learn how to use a steamer before the day of the wedding!”

STANDOUT VENDORSJacqua Celebrant went above and beyond. She met with us six months prior to our wedding and had a fantastic breakdown of what we needed to achieve leading up to the wedding. We felt comfortable with her from the moment we met her, it was like we’d known her for years. Jacqua’s warmth was felt by every guest at the wedding as she led us through the big day with grace and compassion. Our photographer, Kristie Carrick, was exceptional too, and not just with the amazing photo memories we get to keep for the rest of our lives. Kristie made us feel at ease in front of the camera throughout a very monumental and intimate day. She was also great at helping us stay on track throughout the day!”

This is a truly kickass team of vendors – like, some of the best in Sydney – and you’ll find many of them over on our directory. From photographer Kristie Carrick and Audley Dance Hall to M.J. Bale and Jacqua Celebrant, you could not ask for a better crew.

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Kristie Carrick Event Planner Georgina Pearce via Audley Dance Hall Stylist & Stationery Groom’s mum Florist Blossom Magic Ceremony, Reception & Catering Audley Dance Hall Cake Ruby Lonesome Cake Topper A La Roch Lighting Hire Audley Dance Hall Sound Hire DJ Warehouse Signage Cosima Lara Entertainment Freya Schack-Arnott (ceremony), Setwun (reception) Celebrant Jacqua Celebrant Rings Moi Moi (engagement ring), Cartier (wedding bands) THE BRIDE Gown Lilia Cass Ceremonial Getting ready shirt M.J. Bale Shoes Teva with Lilia Cass off-cuts Earrings Released From Love Hair Nourish Me Beautiful Makeup Jizelle Angelique Fragrance Cartier Bridesmaid dresses Milk and Honey via Myer, Bec & Bridge, David Jones, Shona Joy, Forever New Bridesmaid shoes Bared Footwear, Nina Shoes via Myer, David Jones, Nine West, Novo Shoes Bridesmaid gifts Maison Balzac, Dan Murphy’s, Vegan Chocolate Co THE GROOM Suit, Shirt & Cufflinks M.J. Bale Shoes R.M. Williams Watch Vintage Watch Co Barber Mr. Burrows Hair Groomsmen suits M.J. Bale