Wedding date: 2 January 2014
Photographer: KS Photography
New South Wales couple, Jessica and Ben, met as the pair were working in the Blue Mountains. While it was not so much of an instant attraction, they both enjoyed regularly ‘bumping into’ each other.
At the time, Jessica’s sister was dating one of Ben’s good friends ,Tom. They both thought Jessica and Ben would be a perfect match and managed to ‘set them up’ at Tom’s 21st birthday party. Jessica didn’t arrive at the party until around midnight due to her work commitments, and by the time she got there everyone was in fine form. Not surprisingly Jessica ended up as the designated driver for Ben and a few of his friends.
The pair swapped phone numbers that night, and after Ben asked Jessica the very special words he has become infamously known for – “wanna hook up?” Jessica concurred, and the rest has become history! Jessica and Ben spent a few weeks together before Ben flew to Hamilton Island for a job he had accepted.
While Jessica was quite devastated, Ben only lasted six weeks before coming home… much to Jessica’s delight!
Jessica awoke ridiculously early on Christmas morning 2012 to the sounds of Ben stirring his coffee. As she lay there thinking how strange it was that Ben was up so early, he burst through the door looking very nervous, and asked whether Jessica would like her Christmas present right then and there.
Jessica had wanted to give her gift to Ben first, although she didn’t think that he was very impressed with the new alarm clock he received! Ben then handed Jessica a book titled ‘Jess and Ben’ that he had made. The book was filled with images of the couple’s past seven years.
As Jessica got to the very last page, one of the pages contained the message, “Will you marry me?” Ben then pulled out the most beautiful vintage engagement ring from under the bed. “It was all so romantic,” Jessica says. “Me in my PJs, and Ben in his undies!”
Jessica and Ben describe their wedding as the best day of their lives: fun and lively, with plenty of food and wine, and with the people they most love by their sides.
Despite coming from New South Wales, the pair chose Highfield House at Stanley for their wedding celebration.
“Stanley itself is one of the most beautiful, quaint towns we have ever visited,” Jessica says. “And having Highfield there, what a bonus! So old, and all the buildings have so much character – being mostly stone and timber. We instantly felt comfortable.”
“The chapel at Highfield was just big enough for us all to squeeze into, while the old threshing shed where the reception was held was the perfect size for the amount of guests we had,” says Jessica.
“It even had an extra room for the bar to be set up in, which was nice.”
The pair lined the walls with straw bales so there no shortage of seating, and they organised all of the floral decorations themselves – with added help from the bridesmaids and Jessica’s Mum.
There were quite a few DIY decorating touches to add a personal flavour to the day, including Jessica’s brother cutting timber boards to be used as cheesecake boards, while Ben later lovingly sanded and oiled each one.
The pair also made their own wedding signs, name tags for the tables, guest book, and a “time capsule” that was made to contain letters from family and friends that they plan to pull out and read in 10 years’ time. The time capsule has been stored away in an old drawer along with a favourite bottle of red wine.
There were several standouts for Jessica. “My wedding ring was my great grandmother’s eternity ring, and I felt so special and blessed to have had it passed down to me.”
Both Jessica and Ben also loved having all their family and friends travel from interstate and overseas to be there with them.
Jessica spent the night before the wedding in a beautiful old house with the bridesmaids. After quickly convincing themselves that the house was haunted, they ended up dragging all the beds into one room and only getting a few hours sleep!
When Jessica’s sister saw them the next morning the first thing that came out of her mouth was “what happened to you girls last night?” “Our hair was everywhere, and our eyes were bloodshot and puffy… thank god for make up artists and hairdressers! They had their work cut out for them that day,” Jessica says.
The pair also turned the tables on their guests. Immediately following the ceremony the bridal party went over to where the canapés and cocktails were being served, and they proceeded to clap their guests in.
“We wanted to show how much we appreciated our guests being there with us and we wanted to include everyone,” explains Jessica.
Fortunately for Jessica and Ben there were no hitches on their wedding day. The day ran smoothly.
Their biggest hitch was Ben wondering how he could remove Jessica’s lipstick from his lips after their first kiss.
JESSICA & BEN’S MENU
Floating menu of antipasto platters, smoked salmon and oysters.
Banquet of gourmet pork sausages, lamb cutlets, and snapper
Salad and vegetable side dishes
Wedding cake – made of layers of Ashgrove cheese
As they live in New South Wales, Jessica and Ben spent a week after their wedding in Tasmania. Although they were totally unprepared for the freezing, wet weather, they explored Cradle Mountain, and described it as “very much a highlight!”
They spent a further two nights on the beautiful Freycinet Peninsula, then another two nights in Melbourne on their way home to New South Wales.
TIPS FOR OTHER COUPLES
- It’s your day, so do what you feel is right. Be prepared to break with tradition, and have people question it, but stick to your guns!
- Always have a backup plan for the weather. It’s unpredictable, but don’t let it stress you out! If you have a plan B ready there should be no stress.
- Try and spend as much time as possible with your guests and include them in photographs. They have made the effort to be there, after all. It’s not just about your bridal party.
- Most of all, enjoy your day. Don’t let little things get to you. Just relax, let people look after you for the day, and just have fun! ❤