When Hayley and Daniel planned their wedding on NSW’s beautiful South Coast, they knew they had to keep two things in mind. Make it as “them” as possible, and choose a dream team to make it happen! “I love the result we got by sticking to choices that reflected US, how small we kept it and the fact everyone has said how much FUN they had and how they really felt like it was US as a couple the whole way through. We got so lucky with our Dream Team, I can’t believe how well they all bounced off one another and each made the night feel seamless! ”
Captured by KLD Photography, with bright and beautiful tones of blue, pink and peach, and clear winter light, the couple invited their very favourite people along to celebrate “a big party with a side of ceremony”. This is a day that is full of fun, full of laidback style, and full of everything Hayley and Daniel adore.
The official story of how these two came to be? Instagram! Hayley tells their story “We met through Instagram officially – but in the days of random adds on Facebook, we had been friends for a few years before ever starting a conversation.
Dan sent the first hello & I left him on read in early 2016. He then attempted to ‘shoot his shot’ a few months later after I posted an image of a cricket match (his first love) to Instagram but he was shut down when I let him know I was there with my boyfriend at the time. Dan and I spoke randomly here and there through socials over the next few months, we had very similar thinking and goals. Once my relationship status changed on Facebook in Feb 2017, I was met with a ‘Hey you, just realized you’re single… I hope you’re doing okay always here if you want to have a chat xx.
We spoke consistently for another month before organizing to finally meet as ‘just friends’. 5 minutes before that first date, got a text asking how tall I was. It’s been a running joke that even made it into both of our vows! We both kept finding excuses for the date to continue. Our conversations showed us that it was one of those situations where our lives should have crossed over sooner – he knew my little sister and had mutual friends, he frequently visited my first workplace on his lunch breaks, and we even learnt a few years later that his Dad grew up next door to my Dad’s cousins and regularly played street cricket together. We were inseparable from that first ‘non-date.’
After always heading away on a long weekend for their anniversary, Daniel decided to hijack one such occasion to ask Hayley to marry him. “In 2017, Dan booked a hotel & we pub-crawled through Vivid before he asked me to officially be his girlfriend. We did another city stay the following year and got super lucky with a trip to Blackheath mid-Covid in 2020. We were going to skip our 21 instalment but Dan insisted I make it happen for us.
I’m the planner so at first I didn’t think much of it and found us an awesome deal for a few night’s stay in Canberra (too risky to cross borders or fly), then as I started to get Dan involved I started to get a feeling he was going to do it then, as he put in requests for places and exact times he normally wouldn’t fuss over. I had such a strong gut feeling so much to the point of telling my best friend (who swiftly informed Dan of course) and we promptly argued about our financial situation to throw me off the scent.
Fast forward to our first full day in Canberra – the morning of our 4-year anniversary – Dan insisted we went for a walk along Lake Burley Griffin BEFORE doing any exploring or getting food. He was so calm, I was just obliviously taking photos of the landscape and him on our trip and we sat on the park bench overlooking the lake. Five minutes later, he asked me to marry him and had the dream ring on my finger. On the drive to breakfast after calling the family and friends and let them know – he started telling me how accurate all of my theories were that I had told my best friends! I even guessed the exact day he visited my parents to let them know!”
Daniel’s wedding day look? Tarocash. “Dan was indecisive on it all until we were in Tarocash with his Best Man and it was ‘bang, bang bang’ – done in 15 minutes.
Black chinos, white dress shirt, light ‘ice’ grey blazer with black bow tie & pocket square. The boys chose to do the darker brown dress shoes and belt to help bring it into the daytime, casual garden wedding we were aiming for.
Dan also loves a good quirky sock on formal events and each groomsman got their pair of Marvel Superhero socks in their proposal box to wear on the day too!”
Hayley wore an off the shoulder gown by Australian designer Jean Fox. She remembers “I found Jean Fox Bridal through an expo and the assistants there were so so lovely and welcoming and I just knew they were going to be a dream to visit in-store. We came out of that last lockdown stint at the end of October/ early November 2021 and I promptly booked in to have a look in-store. They allowed an after hours appointment so I could have my Mum, Sister (MOH) and two bridesmaids attend. We walked in at 5.30 pm and found the dress by just after 6 pm. It was nothing like my inspiration dresses from my mood board and was still not sure exactly how it ended up in my try on pile but it was perfect – the photos the girls took of me in each dress, you can see it in my face that it was the one.
It was plain satin-like material in light ivory with faux pearl detail to the back, off shoulder cut with a sweetheart neck and ruched across the bodice. IT ALSO HAD SECRET POCKETS WHICH WAS THE HANDIEST THING ON THE DAY!!! It fit like a glove, only needing slight alterations because of my height! I also bought my fingertip veil the same night – not only was it both under my budget, but Jean Fox also has a ‘Love at First Sight’ discount if you purchase on your first visit – how could I say no?!”
Hayley walked down the aisle with her dad to “I Get To Love You” by Ruelle.
The couple chose Joined by Jeff for their ceremony, Hayley sharing “We wanted short and sweet. We only had 65 guests and they were made up of our closest family and friends. They knew us, they knew our in-depth story so we didn’t want to drag it out and eat into valuable dancefloor time. Jeff of Joined by Jeff was our chosen Celebrant (he also became our MC, and DJ and provided his photobooth services.
Jeff wrote us an amazing ceremony that captured our sense of humour and love for one another. Dan and I selected to write our vows using the WedShed guide and used the same 5 sentence starters to keep a similar length. It was perfect, full of laughs and smiles all around.
My Mum even had a cushion made of our Dog Lenny to sit next to Dan at the end of the aisle – Bowtie and all!”
Hayley and Dan were married at Figbird Cottage. “We could have both ceremony and reception in one location, she has awesome inclusions like the lawn games and Marquee and the flexibility of selecting our Bar, Food, MC etc as DIY. We got lucky after months of that horrible weather, to have blue skies on our day meaning we could have our dream Garden ceremony and then the marquee for our reception.
We hired Kennedy’s bus hire to collect Guests from the two local hotels and everyone arrived together and on time.”
The bright and beautiful blooms of the day were styled by Flowers & Events by Michelle. Says Hayley “I wanted bright but romantic colour tones for our day and bought in touches of blue in things like the ribbon on my bouquet, the girls’ dresses and tealights/table runners.
Our Celebrant & MC gave me the information for his wife’s floral business after our second chat. Michelle was amazing in communication and letting me know all my dream types of florals would be out of season in June!
I asked for her to quote my wedding up using artificial/silk florals so I could still have my dream bouquet and couldn’t believe the cost! It fit perfectly within our allocated budget and included loose florals for our doughnut tower/cake! (4 bouquets, 4 boutonnieres, 2 arbour arrangements and cake florals).
I asked for pinks, peach and white in a variety of Peonies, Poppies, Roses and Daisies in a wildflower style, and Michelle nailed it! I’m so so so glad I get to keep it forever now and the bright florals looked incredible against the girl’s blue dresses.
I even asked Michelle to help me pull off an inside joke by placing ‘Blue Flowers with Red Thorns’ (Shrek reference and one of Dan’s favourite quotes when trying to find anything) into his boutonniere and made the reference when I got to the end of the aisle!”
Hayley and Dan won their photography and adored every moment of it! “Kristie Lee. What. A. Vibe. We won our photography and videography via an Instagram competition in Nov 2021 and I can’t believe our lucky stars! Perfect communication in the lead-up goes with the flow of the day and vibe of the event so not as to interrupt our day but has seemed to capture every single important moment and pose! She boogied on the d-floor with our guests and got some amazing shots of the end of the night which really helps tell the full-day story!”
Hayley offers up three pieces of advice to you. “1. Keep it about you! If it doesn’t make both of you more excited for the day – don’t do it!
2. Something things are worth the extra $$$. If it saves you STRESS e.g. we spent wayyyy more than anticipated on our doughnut tower and cake but it included the company driving to set it up for us on the day instead of a guest trying to sort it out and missing out on being in the moment with US!
3. Aesthetic or Atmosphere – I saw this posted in a wedding chat and stuck by it, we wanted to create an atmosphere so if it didn’t add to that, then it wasn’t worth blowing the budget. Minimal Florals and Decor but more on food and booze and the vibes from the MC!”
Hayley had her bridesmaids wear pale blue Oleg Cassini Australia dresses. She tells “The girls wore Oleg Cassini ‘Fitzroy’ in “ice” Blue – the day we were booked to go into the store and try on, Bec & I tested positive to covid and I was worried we were leaving it too close to order as they are manufactured overseas. Katelyn and Beck still went and the assistant in store let us face time in on the fitting and guided Bec for her measurements once the girls found the dress! By chance, all three girls (who are different sizes) fell in love with the same style of dress!”
Food and drink? Also a big priority for this party! “Food and drink were the other two important factors for us on top of the venue so we had to get it right! Nothing beats Pizza and the team at Wandering Woodfire Oven were so so so accommodating to our guest’s dietary requirements! They even boxed up the leftovers for that hangover cure the next morning! It’s still something we’re getting compliments about!
We also chose to do a doughnut tower as we don’t LOVE cake and the team at Moist’n’Glazed was truly the best! There were fights over who got the leftover few the next day which made for the most unique ‘cake cutting’ photos!
We didn’t skimp on the bar service and the team at Henry Clive Caravan Bar bar was the bomb. Open and easy communication from start to end and everyone gave us a call during the wet weather issues in the lead-up to discuss alternatives. On the night, they added to the vibe and made best friends with our guests and even allowed one drunk bridesmaid up into the van to help ‘serve’!”
“Most of the wedding was DIY, but I also chose minimal decor to save money and stress!” says Hayley. “Our invites were made by myself on Canva and printed via Vistaprint, we were lucky enough to hand deliver every single one of the invites because of the way we chose our guest list.
Random selection of single-stem artificial flowers from Ikea and Ronnies in bud vases, blue tealight holders from Facebook Marketplace and blue cheesecloth-like table runners via Etsy, signage all made by my sister and her Cricut on frames from Ikea and Kmart and our custom handmade Neon ‘The Hardakers’ sign was an engagement gift from the Best Man and Bridesmaid! The venue had included all other bits and pieces!”
The first dance? An utterly romantic surprise. “Dan had asked at the very start of our wedding planning if he could pick our first dance song and keep it a surprise. I said yes and crossed all fingers and toes that it wouldn’t be “Cotton Eyed Joe” that he continued to joke about… When we made our way to the dancefloor and the string instruments of Etta James – “At Last” began, I had my little cry (the only cry of the entire day). The photos of that moment are incredible.
Dan and I love all kinds of music but a sweet spot for the ’40s, ’50s and 60 so it was fitting for him to select something from those eras for that moment.”
The couple had a special way of making sure every one of their guests made it to the dance floor. “We had a space for song requests on the RSVPs and ensured every guest’s song was played via a Spotify playlist given to the DJ. It meant every single guest was on the dancefloor for us by the end of the night!!”
Congratulations Hayley and Dan! What a beautiful fun-filled story to be able to share! Thank you also to KLD Photography for sharing today’s beautiful celebration.