When your wedding plan (almost) goes up in flames

Everyone knows the old adage about best-laid plans going astray, no one more than a Wedding Planner, but there’s going astray and then there’s completely going up in flames… almost literally.

I met our beautiful bride and her magnificent mother back in 2019 at the One Fine Day Wedding Fair in Sydney where they enchanted me with their vision of a marquee wedding at the family property in the Southern Highlands. It was only a matter of weeks before I was there, immersed in the magic of the place - it needed some work but the bones were perfect.

Our bride had her heart set on two things: styling & floristry by She Designs, and a Sperry Tent.

The first wish was graciously granted by Sheree from She Designs - she came out to the property and fell in love with it too. Sheree created the perfect vision for the day with the ceremony overlooking the pond, cocktail hour near the stable, and the Sperry Tent just outside the cottage with a dance floor under the stars.

The second wish was a little more complicated. Marquee weddings are never as simple as they seem and this was no exception. We were all devastated when the team at Your Event Solutions figured that there was no way to fit a Sperry Tent into the space. Instead we opted for a beautiful marquee.

The next major issue was the dance floor. The weight of it may have cracked the family's newly installed underground water tank if not for the ingenious solution proposed by the team from Luminous Entertainment . They were able to build a platform to go around the tank without exerting any pressure on the tank itself.

Challenges continued to present themselves and each time they did, the incredible team we’d assembled worked tirelessly to resolve them. Everyone was so determined to ensure that our couple had the wedding of their dreams that we actually started having fun solving the problems until we came up against one completely out of our control…

The bushfires.

Suddenly the wedding was secondary to saving the property as the fires beat their way ever closer to the door. Luckily the property was spared but it was clear that the wedding could not go ahead as planned. Even if the property was safe, we couldn’t guarantee the safety of the guests, to say nothing of the choking smoke.

On 19th December 2019, after almost a full year of planning, four weeks out from the wedding date, and one day before all the wedding vendors closed for Christmas, I received the call to say that the couple had made decision to move the entire wedding to Sydney.


After years of planning weddings, I’m well acquainted with Sydney’s many various wedding venues but finding a location for a 22m Sperry Tent (now that it was back on the table) is still a challenge. Few properties have the space needed for the tent, the ropes, and the depth of the pegs. Luckily my years in the industry have also gained me some wonderful connections including @traneventsandweddingspecialist who suggested St Paul's College.

As soon as I saw the grounds, I knew we had found the perfect reception location. The grounds mirrored the layout of the family property with the added bonus of being big enough to erect a Sperry Tent.

After I had cancelled all the vendors from the Southern Highlands that were no longer needed (including toilets, generators, the genius dance floor platform, buses, cars, etc.) our next challenge was to find an equally perfect location for the ceremony.

An apparent act of divine intervention led us to Sancta Sophia College. The bride’s father mentioned in passing that the mother-of- the- bride was visiting the college that day on some private business. This prompted me to go online where images of the beautiful quadrangle presented the perfect venue of the ceremony.

At any other time of year, we might have breathed a little easier but with everything shutting down for the holidays there was no time to rest. My newly consolidated team of vendors pushed through the festive season, working around the clock to make the magic happen for our couple. In all my years, I have never seen such commitment and dedication. It gave new meaning to the spirit of Christmas!

The team at St Paul’s were particularly gracious and obliging. They went above and beyond to help, not only with the reception but also the pre-wedding dinner and on-site guest accommodation. Nothing was too much to ask and they did it all with a smile.

Meanwhile, I was working hard on another Plan B for another bushfire-affected wedding for the following week. Between the two events, I was averaging four hours of sleep a night for the weeks it took to bring them both to fruition. Even then, my sleep was tormented by thoughts of us hitting the water pipes, telephone lines, and other services that lay under the Sperry Tent with the pegs needed to hold it up.

The big day came and the pegs went in perfectly. Only then did I allow myself that long anticipated sigh of relief. I was also able to take a step back and marvel at what we had achieved for this gorgeous couple who so endeared us all to make this magical wedding happen. Throughout the chaos and personal impact of the bushfires, our bride and groom (and their families) were patient, generous, and flexible. To see their smiles on the day was to have every effort rewarded.

As a Wedding Planner, it’s a genuine joy to see the photos from a wedding long after the hard work is over and only the beauty of the day remains. These images so exquisitely captured by the talented Lara Hotz express so eloquently the labour of love that led to this extraordinary day and far beyond into the happily ever after.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to the incredible team that worked so hard to overcome every challenge and create the perfect day for our beautiful couple:

Planner: @forthysweetlove⁠

Photographer: @larahotzphotography⁠

Ceremony Venue: @sanctasophiasyd⁠

Reception Venue: @stpaulseventsstays⁠

Bride's Gown: @velani⁠

Groom's Suit: @instutchu

Celebrant: @kathrynbreuschcelebrant⁠

Design, Floristry, and Styling: @she_design⁠

Styling Photography: @inlightenphotography⁠

Caterer: @artkitchen_food⁠

Video: @lovereel.com.au⁠

Sperry Tent and Dance Floor: @youreventsolution_yes⁠

AV and Electricals: @luminous_entertainment⁠

Cake: @cakesalon⁠

Stationery: @terracepress

Table Linen: @npm_events⁠

Reception Chairs: @simply.seated⁠

Bridal Party Transportation: @hfweddingcars⁠

Guest Transportation: @select.chauffeurs⁠

Hair and Make Up: @thefuture_mrs⁠

Bridal Party Nails: @purelypolishedau⁠

Bagpipes: @sydneybagpipers⁠

#weddingphotography #WeddingPlanning #Marqueewedding #WeddingStyling #WeddingInspo #SperryTentWedding #SydneyWedding

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