Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm

Last weekend, the boy and I took off to Daylesford for a little getaway. We haven’t had a proper holiday in over two years and were both in need of some quiet time with no phones, computers or any other mod cons to distract us. It worked.

Daylesford is in the heart of Victorian Spa Country and, as you might imagine, a place of immense natural beauty. The area has the largest concentration of mineral springs in Australia and over the years has developed a strong reputation for incredible food and accommodation offerings. Not surprisingly, it’s also become a popular wedding destination.

Put your feet up at Lavandula

Although I was keen for long periods of laziness – which we duly achieved – I also wanted to check out some of the amazing ceremony venues on offer. Lucky for me I have a patient boyfriend, as he gladly jumped in the car with me and set out to explore. We visited three different venues, each simply stunning. As I’ve got lots to say about each, the venues will get reviewed in three separate posts.

Our first stop was Lavandula Swiss-Italian Farm in Shepherds Flat. It was somewhat of an impulse stop, and boy, am I glad we made it. A meandering driveway hides most of Lavandula’s beauty from public view and it’s only when you enter through the big farm gate that you can truly appreciate what’s on offer.

A touch of whimsy

Poor Dave. I imagine the experience for him was akin to being a parent at a Christmas tree farm. Every few seconds I would yell ‘Look! Over here!’ as I discovered another avenue or romantic setting and dashed off without a backwards glance.

The first to catch my eye was this glorious arbour. It is covered in what must be thousands of pink roses and is divinely fragrant. The photos don’t even begin to do it justice. Imagine stealing a quiet moment here with your new husband/wife after your wedding ceremony!

Hello, gorgeous

Another spot that I was instantly enamoured with was this lush avenue of green. Verdant trees frame it on three sides, making it the perfect spot for an outdoor ceremony. It’s beautiful in its simplicity – imagine it set up with rows of white chairs, separated by a central aisle marked in white rose petals.

Imagine saying ‘I do’ here
One of the things that really appeals about Lavandula is the ability to have everything in one place. The on-site trattoria can cater for your reception and I have to confess, wandering past the wood-fired ovens I imagined a big, Italian, family-style feast under the stars. Checked tablecloths, candles in chianti bottles, fairy lights strung between the trees. Can’t you just see it?

Al fresco

Then I got thinking about other wedding-related uses for Lavandula. A hen’s day picnic on the lawns, or perhaps you fancy a pre/post-wedding gathering with the in-laws playing petanque? I could go on and on about Lavandula but my words really won’t do it justice. It’s a place you simply have to see for yourself.

If you’d like to see more of Lavandula, I’ve posted more pictures here.

Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm
350 Hepburn-Newstead Rd, Shepherds Flat (via Daylesford)
Next post – Daylesford Convent Gallery.

Amelia and Glen

I get to meet the best people in this job! People like Amelia and Glen, for example. As soon as they stepped through my door I wanted to marry them.

Robb Duncan Photographer

They’re a thoroughly cosmopolitan couple who appreciate all the good things in life – good coffee, good wine, good food – and love nothing more than exploring new countries, cultures and cuisines together. Both of them have a great fondness for St Kilda, so it was no surprise when they told me they planned to marry by St Kilda beach.

It was a balmy evening with only a hint of wind when friends and family gathered for the ceremony in the green surrounds of Catani Gardens.

In an innovative twist, Amelia chose not to walk into any particular song, but rather have a playlist of their favourite tunes on. She decided to take her chances with whatever was playing as she arrived and as luck would have it, Amelia entered to Jeff Buckley’s rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic, Hallelujah.

Robb Duncan Photographer

It was a beautiful moment, made all the more special by the obvious emotion Glen felt. As Amelia walked towards us, looking for all the world like a modern Grace Kelly, he was so overcome by his feelings that he couldn’t look at her until she was next to him. Awww.

Amelia and Glen wanted their wedding to be intimate and personal, so we worked in a lot of details about their life together and the things that are important to them. They each added a secret line to the end of their vows that the other heard for the first time on their wedding day.

Robb Duncan Photographer

Whilst these secret lines were lighthearted in nature and cracked us all up (they involved trekking the world in search of the perfect coffee and not falling asleep in front of the tv), they were also a reflection of the people Amelia and Glen are and the approach they took to their wedding ceremony. They wanted it to be fun, but above all else, they wanted it to be an accurate representation of their commitment to one another and the values and interests they share.

After their ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests sipped champagne as they watched the sun go down over Port Phillip Bay before retiring to a Fitzroy St venue to celebrate into the evening.

Robb Duncan Photographer

Congratulations, Amelia and Glen! Thank you for inviting me to be part of your marriage – it was my absolute privilege. xx Koren

Amelia and Glen, 8 April 2011
Venue: Catani Gardens, St Kilda
Photos: Robb Duncan Photographer
Celebrant: Koren Harvey