It was a whirlwind love affair. Rachel and Bradley met and fell for each other at work, then married a year later at Briars Country Lodge & Historic Inn. On this happiest of days, Mr and Mrs Munro also announced two was soon to become three. Photographer Matt Robertson of Wolf + Thistle captured their double joy.
LIKE the poles of a magnet, opposites attract. This was certainly the case when government employees Rachel and Bradley Munro met.
‘My favourite thing about Brad is he doesn’t care about what other people say and think,’ says Rachel. ‘Being someone who cares a lot about what people say and think, I loved his don’t care attitude towards people, and he taught me how to not hold onto things. Having said that, we are also very similar in many ways and share many of the same interests.’
Brad concurs, and showing the wicked sense of humour that first drew Rachel to him, says it also helped that his now wife was a rugby league supporter.
‘Well, until I found out what team she supported,’ laughs Brad. ‘But, hey, healthy competition is good in a relationship.
‘Seriously, though, the first thing I noticed about Rachel was how gorgeous she was. And then when I actually met her, spoke to her and got to know her, well I realised how amazing she is.’
Brad and Rachel, who both grew up in Sydney, became engaged on a trip to Europe.
‘I finally convinced Brad to leave Australia for his first overseas trip,’ recalls Rachel. ‘I had been overseas a number of times and I wanted to show him the amazing sights of the world. We travelled through England, France, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Germany and Dubai, and then he proposed in Italy on my birthday, in September 2016, on the banks of the Grand Canal in Venice, which was very romantic.’
The couple, who call the northern village of Hill Top in the Southern Highlands home, decided to marry at Briars Country Lodge & Historic Inn on the outskirts of Moss Vale.
‘I hate the hustle and bustle of the city,’ explains Rachel, ‘and I wanted to get married somewhere amazing that wasn’t going to break the bank.
‘We wanted to get married somewhere that had the ceremony and reception in one place and accommodation close by. Also, we wanted great food and to marry in a garden that offered photo locations. Briars had it all. Amazing ceremony location, gorgeous reception room, on site accommodation, great space for the outside ceremony. The list continues.’
The wedding took place in October last year, with 75 friends and family present in the lovely Briars gardens. A string quartet played as Rachel was given away by her brother Mathew, their father having sadly lost his battle with cancer 11 years ago. Brad had his brother, brother in law and best friend as groomsman, and Rachel’s cousin, sister in law and best friend were here bridesmaids, and while her overseas family in England weren’t able to attend, one aunty lived streamed via Skype during the sit down reception. Now a happily married woman, Rachel says one of the things that stays in her mind is how carefree the organisation of their special day was thanks to Briars’ wedding coordinator Rhonda Matheson.
‘Rhonda and the team at Briars made it a stress-free wedding for me. Everything was set up at the venue, and although Rhonda said I didn’t need to check anything, I’m a control freak and wanted to ensure all was going to plan. Rhonda also made sure that everything I requested was there and alternatives were available. Everything a girl could want on her wedding day.’
Because she and Brad were on a budget and she also has a diploma in event management, Rachel took care of a lot of the pre wedding day arrangements herself, which meant she could personalise their special day with a lot of little DIY touches.
‘I made the seating chart, the bonbonnieres and the wedding invites. I also created the centerpieces in conjunction with the florist, and lots more. By doing this, Brad and I had control over the wedding and we could make sure everything was all about us.’
Wood was a theme, including the table centrepieces and a beautiful wooden ring box. Rachel also upcycled the enormous LOVE sign that she used as a centrepiece.
‘The LOVE sign was made by my maid of honour’s partner and had been used at another wedding,’ says Rachel. ‘I loved it and asked if I could use it at our wedding. I wanted something fun that guests could take photos of.’
And there was one element of the wedding Rachel and Bradley kept completely secret until the day.
‘We had a chalkboard that announced: ‘Our humans are getting us a human. Baby Munro due May 2018.’
‘This was very exciting for all our guests, as no one else knew I was pregnant until that moment.’
The Munros were also intent on using local businesses and vendors for their wedding.
‘I wanted to make sure that my money was going into supporting local small business. For us that made the whole day even more personal,’ says Rachel. ‘They weren’t big businesses, and they were always in contact with me to ensure everything was on track. They were always there if I wanted to ask a question. I can’t speak highly enough of them.’
The couple honeymooned in Thailand and Baby Munro was born in May on Mother’s Day. She is now keeping her parents busy and sleep deprived. But, says Rachel, who is still on maternity leave, she and Bradley could not have hoped for a better way to begin their lives together.
‘I think the most important thing for us was that our guests were happy. That they were fed and had enough to drink and enjoyed themselves. It was also important that all family members were included or felt included during the planning and the lead up to the day.’
All in all, Rachel and Bradley say it was a perfect day: ‘Everything pretty much went according to plan. Seeing people smiling and sharing little tears of happiness was a favourite. To share our love story with close family and friends was just a joy.’
Location, catering and wedding cake
Briars Country Lodge & Historic Inn, briars.com.au
Bride’s, bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ dresses
Luv Bridal, luvbridal.com.au
Roger David, rogerdavid.com.au
Kerry Gregory, kerrygregory.com
Matt Robertson of Wolf + Thistle, wolfandthistle.com.au
Libs Little Studio, @libslittlestudio
Hair and Makeup
Beautified by Hayley, @beautifiedbyhayley