Emilee Yuen knows all too well that Cupid makes us do things we ordinarily wouldn’t, and weddings can work out exactly as we want them to.
It was over 10 years ago now that Emilee, a small animal veterinarian, was at a Brisbane pub playing pool with fellow university mates and first laid eyes on Tim Hill.
‘We played pool together all night and when it was time to go I just knew I had to see him again,’ Emilee recalls. ‘So I plucked up the courage to do something I’d never ever done before and asked him for his number.’
Tim’s phone number was forthcoming (phew), and the courtship began, progressing to their engagement on a holiday to the Philippines where Emilee met Tim’s extended family for the first time.
‘Tim got down on one knee and proposed on the beach in Boracay after a private dinner,’ says Emilee, who is of Australian/Chinese heritage.
Like hundreds of other couples each year, Emilee and Tim chose to marry at one of the Southern Highlands’ outstanding vineyards. And today Cupid’s spark still seems shining strongly, with their wedding day a lifetime highlight.
‘I never get bored of his dashing good looks,’ says Emilee. ‘I love that he has a big heart and is a very supportive partner. He understands me through all my moods even when I don’t say anything, and doesn’t let that get in the way of showing me how much he loves me.’
Laughter is key.
‘I love that Emilee and I share the same sense of humour and not a day goes by where we don’t find something to laugh at,’ says Tim.
Today in Sydney, where Emilee works as a vet and Tim is the CEO of his own start-up company, they recall their unique Southern Highlands wedding with delight.
‘We wanted to get married out of the city and had looked at many places in the area when we were location scouting,’ says Emilee. ‘The vineyard was just the right size, not too ostentatious, offered on site accommodation and, to be honest, fit the budget. It also had a range of good spots for photography and the onsite working winery gave our guests something to do in the down time between ceremony and reception.’
The outdoor location was also crucial as it allowed Tanis, Emilee’s border collie, to attend.
‘After years of begging my parents for a dog when I was growing up, they finally let me get one and Tanis became my constant companion. I had always dreamed that he would play an important role at my wedding, so his inclusion was never negotiable. We initially wanted to hold the marriage ceremony in a little chapel, but ditched that idea without a second thought when we were told no dogs were allowed. A friend walked with Tanis down the aisle, so he wouldn’t get too distracted by our 60 other guests.
‘He passed away recently at age 14, so having him as part of the day was very special to me.’
The couple chose the cooler months to marry and the weather gods smiled on their day with blue skies, and warm sunshine.
‘We did have a wet weather option but the weather was perfect,’ says Emilee. ‘A few of our guests actually got a bit red.’
Dogs and weather aside, cultural heritage and having something for the guests to do while they were photographed for the first time as Mr and Mrs played a large part in Tim and Emilee’s decision to marry amongst the vines.
‘I liked hearing how everyone enjoyed themselves, and how they got a bit sloshed on the winery tour we organised while we were getting photographed. Also, seeing my cousin bawling tears of joy as I presented tea to her during the tea ceremony. And staying up late eating chips and drinking Champagne in bed because we were so buzzed.’
The couple honeymooned in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Morocco, but more than anything, says Emilee, the best part was getting to marry her best friend and soul mate.
Aspen by Jenny Packham preloved from Still White
Annabelle by Jenny Yoo
Bespoke piece by Viktoria Novak
She Designs Events (supplied mismatched vintage chairs)
Affair with George
For weddings with wine and woof…
There are several award winning vineyards in the Highlands that ‘do’ weddings and also accept four (or two) footed furry guests (dogs or rabbits) like Emilee’s dog Tanis:
Bendooley Estate @bendooleyestate
Centennial Restaurant & Vineyards @centennialvineyards
Mount Ashby Estate @mount_ashby_estate
Southern Highlands Winery @southern_highlands_winery