WEDDING OF THE WEEK: The sentimental story behind Kate's hand-me-down wedding dress.

In honour of Mamamia’s wedding planning podcast Hitched, we wanted to celebrate (and perve on) YOUR weddings.

Each week, we’ll deep dive into one Aussie couple’s wedding day to bring you all the details about the important stuff. From the practical things like the dress and vendors to the words of wisdom they wish they’d heard before their big day, below you’ll find everything you want to know. 

Oh, there are lots of beautiful photos too.

This week’s Wedding of the Week is Kate and Phil’s charming country wedding full of sentimental touches. Enjoy! Don’t forget to Subscribe to Hitched here.

The basics.

Who: Kate, 32, and Phil, 32, from NSW

Wedding date: October 17, 2015

Number of guests: 95

Total cost: $18,000

Wedding photographer: Jennifer Leahy, Silversalt Wedding Photography

“One of my biggest concerns on the day was being in front of the camera, but Jen made me feel so comfortable and relaxed. It was such a pleasure to spend the day with Jen, we loved her fun and creative photos which captured all our special moments of the day.”

Kate and Phil's love story.

"Phil and I went to nearby high schools in Sydney’s Inner West. We knew of each other and had common friends throughout our high school years, but it wasn’t until our final year in 2004 that we properly met at a mutual friend’s backyard 18th birthday party. Phil impressed me with his knowledge of the constellations and planetary systems, and we had our first kiss under the stars."


"After attending my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary in Italy 10 years later, we spent four weeks travelling throughout Europe. One night while in Salzburg, Austria, as we were walking back to our hotel through the empty cobble-stoned streets, Phil proposed at the foot of the Residenzplatz Fountain (famous from The Sound of Music). It was close to midnight and we were the only two people in Salzburg’s famous piazza, sharing this moment.

"It was 11-and-a-half years between our first date as teenagers and our first kiss as husband and wife, and I wouldn't have it any other way! For us, getting married was not about making it 'official'.

"We had already set up a life together and had plans for our future, but the wedding was more a celebration of our love and our commitment to each other, as well as throwing a big party to say thank you to our biggest supporters along the way."

The wedding dress.

wedding of the week

Wedding dress: Kate's mum's wedding dress.

"I wore my mother's wedding dress. For me, there was no other choice - I always wanted to wear Mum’s dress and I never even considered the possibility of any other option."

"Mum bought her dress second hand, off the rack in 1983. It is such a beautiful classic style, with lace bodice and full lace skirt, and long sleeves. I wore the dress exactly as my mum had 32 years before me, without any changes to the design.

"Unfortunately, the dress no longer has its tag or a label, and the shop it was purchased from no longer exists. We have no way of tracking its origin, but in a way, not knowing where the dress is from makes it even more special.

"Wearing that dress was a special experience for Mum and I to share, and I knew as soon as I tried on the dress and saw Mum's reaction, that it was just perfect."

Kate's bridal hair, makeup and final touches.

wedding of the week

Wedding hair and makeup: Tania Bower, Weddings by Tania

Wedding shoes: DIY

Jewellery: Kate's own

"I'm not much of a hair and make up person, so it was important that on the day I still looked like me. Tania is so talented, she knew exactly what I was after - simple and natural makeup with a classic up do."


"Unlike my mum, I decided against wearing a veil to really showcase the dress. Instead, I wore flowers and a decorative diamante hair clip. I wore all my own jewellery: diamond studs earrings Phil gave me for my birthday, a ring from my parents for my 21st birthday, and a white pearl bracelet from my older brother and sister-in-law.

"My wedding shoes were a surprise to everyone, I purchased plain brown ankle boots and covered them in gold glitter. They were perfect for our outdoor country wedding.

"My bouquet was decorated with family heirlooms passed down from both sides of our family. I had the original wax beads that adorned my great grandmother’s wedding head piece in 1920, and a gold and diamond necklace that belonged to Phil’s great grandmother, who married married in 1915."

The bridal party.

wedding of the week

Bridesmaids' outfit details: Shein dresses, own shoes, custom-made stoles

Groom's outfit details: Ferrari Formalwear

Groomsmen outfit details: Ferrari Formalwear

"As one of five boys, Phil had his four brothers standing by his side as his groomsmen on the day. My sister, sister-in-law and two of my longest school friends stood by mine."

"I choose the subtle, neutral grey bridesmaid dresses to compliment my wedding dress, and pop next to the boys' blue suits and the white of the baby's breath flowers. My grandmother also designed and handmade our stoles, they were perfect for the vintage wedding theme and cool mountain evening.

"Purchasing the bridesmaid dresses online was always a risk and I was unsure how the colour would turn out, but once they arrived I was so happy with the results. The bridesmaids chose their own shoes to wear on the day. As the ceremony was outdoors - the property had pavers and gravel walkways throughout - the girls opted for wedges or flat shoes. My little sister even wore her favourite Dr. Martens boots."

The ceremony and reception.

wedding of the week
wedding of the week

Wedding ceremony venue: Collits' Inn in Hartley Vale, Blue Mountains

Reception venue: Collits' Inn in Hartley Vale, Blue Mountains

Celebrant: Tina-Marie Shiel, Love in the Mountains

Flowers: Sydney Flower Market

Decor: Handmade, op shop finds and venue props

Stationery: DIY

Wedding cake: Pasticcria Via Reggio, Blacktown

Catering: Collits' Inn

"We always knew we wanted to get married somewhere other than Sydney, but didn’t want our guests to have to travel excessively to attend. The Blue Mountains was the perfect fit – ideal for the weekend away or a day trip from Sydney. I pictured an outdoor garden ceremony complete with a rustic barnyard reception, while Phil was after a welcoming atmosphere where our family and friends could relax and enjoy themselves in a natural environment."

"Collits' Inn was the first and only venue we visited and we knew straight away it was exactly what we were looking for, ticking all of our boxes. We were blown away by its stunning location, completely surrounded by the picturesque Blue Mountains and covered native Australian flora. We locked in the date the very same day as our first visit. Cheryl, Chris, Caitlin and Stephen of Collits' Inn were wonderful during the planning process, always available and answering all of our questions all the way through. They were so accommodating and let us have a free reign of the property the day before the wedding, where both Phil and my families were there to decorate the barn, and set up the ceremony space.


"We could choose any location on the beautiful grounds for the ceremony space and and we were point of choice! In the end, we choose a shady spot under a pair of eucalyptus with the beautiful mountains backdrop. It was important to Phil and I had the ceremony be personal and unique to us and to write our own vows, and our celebrant Tina Marie was so patient while we made up our minds and was flexible when we changed them.

"Collit's Inn provided all catering on the night. Owner and Chef Chris Warren cooked all canapés, dinner and dessert on site at Collit’s Inn. It was a hearty, home cooked country meal from locally sourced and seasonal produce. Each course was presented on self serve platters per table creating a homely atmosphere. Our wedding cake was a giant cannoli cake, a nod to my family's Italian heritage.

"We only used baby's breath throughout the whole wedding and made all the flower arrangements ourselves. We visited the Sydney Flower Markets three days prior to the wedding and purchased $120 worth of baby’s breath. Not only are they inexpensive, but they last for days which meant we could do a lot of the flower preparation beforehand. As simple as these flowers are, they are my absolute favourite, so dainty and pretty. My mum and grandmother made the bridal bouquets and button holes in the days leading up to the wedding and the day before the wedding, we decorated the barn and the ceremony space using mix-matched vases and jars.

"The theme for the day was rustic and vintage, and I took inspiration from the beautiful barn that was the centrepiece of the property. We kept styling quite simple to let the venue and the beautiful surroundings shine for themselves. For the barn decorations, my mum crocheted 150 white lace hearts that we strung from the high beams in the barn, creating a magical ceiling for our guests to dine under. We also used the hearts as the backdrop to our vows and had them hanging from the arbour during the ceremony under the gum tree. I sourced vintage lace doilies from op shops that I made into bunting that hung between the pillars in the barn. Collits' Inn also had their own props within the barn ranging from old suitcases, bundles of books, candle holders, vintage tea cups, wooden tree stumps, old farm machinery and utensils that adorned the shelves around the barn.

"Breaking from tradition, Phil made the grand entrance on the day in my grandfather's restored 1959 Mk II Zephyr. The vintage Zephyr was used to transport Phil and his best man from Mt Victoria into Hartley Vale and was parked right in front of the barn the whole night, making a great addition to our photos."


The moments that made Kate and Phil's wedding day special.

wedding of the week

"I was a mix of emotions on the day, it was a surreal feeling waking up knowing I was finally going to marry my best friend. I was so excited during the bridal prep, but as the ceremony time got closer and closer, my nerves increased. As the girls and I got ready at the venue, we could see all the guests arriving and that put my nerves in over drive. I couldn't wait to meet Phil at the alter, so much that I almost sprinted down the aisle. As soon as I was standing next to Phil in front of our family and friends, I instantly felt relaxed and all my nerves disappear."


"Wearing Mum's dress and having Dad walk me down the aisle were both such special moments, I'll never forget the proud look on his face, and walking arm and arm down the aisle. Hearing Phil's vows that he'd written for me and being presented as husband and wife to our cheering family and friends, it was incredible. We entered our reception to Darude’s 'Sandstorm'. Fleetwood Mac's 'Everywhere' was our first dance song, Phil and I have done road trips over the years and Fleetwood has always been a staple in our playlists.

"Towards the end of the night, Phil and I took our moment to ourselves where we stood back and watched our family and friends celebrating in the barn. We felt like we were miles from anywhere else, it was just us and our loved ones in our own little world in Hartley Vale. We felt so lucky to be surrounded by supportive people who had all travelled to this beautiful location just for us."

Would Kate and Phil change anything about their wedding?

"The only thing I'd change is the timing of my bridal prep on the day. I didn't quite get it right, we were still getting dressed and having photos as guests were arriving to the property. As the lead up to the wedding was relative short, the planning process was quite compact. While this was stressful at times, I think it worked in our favour as we had to know exactly what we wanted and made quick decisions along the way. By the time the day rolled around, I was over planning and couldn't wait to being the day."

"Phil and I didn't want to spend a big amount of money on the day. We kept the cost down to around $18,000 by doing a lot of DIY and sourcing a lot of elements from family and friends. It was a beautiful day, and I wouldn't change a thing.

My biggest advice for brides in particular is, take your time walking down the aisle. Soak it all in and don't be in a rush to get to your groom. You have your whole life to stand next to your husband, he can wait while you enjoy your big entrance."

All images were supplied by the couple and Silversalt Wedding Photography.

For the best advice on nailing your wedding ceremony, get the latest episode of Hitched in your ears below.

Love weddings or getting married and need to ask all the questions about venues, flowers, photographers, wedding dresses, EVERYTHING? Come join Mamamia's wedding planning podcast Facebook group Hitched