If the conversation’s flowing around surfing between the groom and photographer, you know he’s going to get the gig! Josie and Matt, who married at Tinklers Winery in the Hunter Valley instantly knew Blaise Bell would be their wedding photographer.

The bride, a doctor originally from the UK explains, “Blaise was the first and only photographer we met and I could tell he was a good egg from the get-go. He spent no time trying to sell us his work but instead spent the time getting to know us, and discussing the best local surf breaks with Matt – they connected immediately!”

The roaring ocean waves also played a central role in Matt’s proposal to Josie. Visiting Josie’s parents in Laguna Beach in California, the couple went on a dreamy promenade to view the sea at dusk. In her usual jokeful way, Josie said to Matt, ‘this is very romantic, is there something you want to ask me?’.

While normally Matt would respond swiftly with a comment about the current surf conditions and when the optimum time for a surf might be, this time he turned to Josie and said ‘yes, actually there is’. “Then he dropped to his knee as the sun was setting and said ‘will ya?!’. Best day ever! Until the wedding that is!” enthuses Josie.

Thanks to a winning crew from Newcastle-based The Wedding Designer, planning, styling, flowers, furniture hire, and sound and lighting was all organised with just two points of contact. But the couple’s main styling-come-party feature, which also had sentimental value, came in the form of a handmade boat oar, which drew on a tradition carried through Josie’s friendship group in England as each one got married.

“Matt purchased, restored, and modified an old second-hand boat oar to create what is known as ’the oar of doom’…. It’s essentially an old rowing oar with several shot glasses secured to it, where willing participants line up and perform a ‘very classy’ synchronised lift of the oar to consume the shot of liquor!”

With the bride dressed in the beautifully detailed ‘Peyton’ Rue De Seine gown purchased from The Bridal Atelier, and the groom and his groomsmen suited up in MJ Bale, the dance floor was “the place to be” from early in the evening until late where the couple were thrust onto shoulders with prosecco flowing all night long.

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Blaise Bell Event Planner, Stylist & Flowers The Wedding Designer Invitations Katie Shriner Printer Snap Ceremony & Reception Tinklers Winery Catering, Cake & Desserts Sprout Catering Confetti Cannons Pop Confetti Wedding Favours Coolaz Stubby Holder Entertainment Michael Harvey Celebrant Mark Philpott (childhood friend of Groom) & Rachel Michael (formal paperwork) Engagement Ring Heidi Gibson Bride & Groom’s Wedding Band Sarah Garland Transport Hunter Valley Classic Carriages THE BRIDE Bridal Gown Rue De Seine Bridal Boutique The Bridal Atelier Hair Piece Untamed Petals Shoes Carvela by Kurt Geiger Hair and Makeup Chloe Hayes Bridesmaid Dresses Zimmerman Bridesmaid Shoes Nine West THE GROOM Suit MJ Bale Shirt Thomas Pink via David Jones Bow Tie Vineyard Vines Shoes Bared Barber Judena Hair Groomsmen Suits MJ Bale Groomsmaid Dress Pilgrim Groomsmaid Shoes Gorman.