STYLE AND GRACE

An elegant summertime Daylesford wedding was the perfect match for this Belmont couple, writes Miranda Luby

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Claire and Matt in the lavender fields outside Sault. Photography: Two Girls with a Camera.

In front of a sweeping field of purple lavender, wearing a blissful smile and a graceful low-back gown of white lace, Claire Whelan glances back over her slender shoulder while her husband, Matt, looks at his new wife adoringly.
It’s a candid moment captured at one of the couple’s stunning wedding photos that speaks volumes about the big day. Simple and elegant, it was all about the couple and their love for each other.
Claire, 29, and Matt, 30, were married in Daylesford in February this year in one their favourite restaurants, Sault. The Belmont couple’s prerequisites for their special day were simple: it had to be relaxed, fun and have good food.
“We wanted it to be like a party for our family,” Claire says.
Relaxed fun was something the couple bonded over when they met at a Geelong nightspot 10 years ago and bonded instantly.

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Photography: Two Girls with a Camera

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“I loved that he was really genuine and down to earth,” says Claire about her longtime partner.
“He is so caring and kind and easy to talk to. We just clicked.”
Adds Matt: “Claire is a beautiful person who is so caring, funny and intelligent.”
Matt, who works for a construction company, proposed to Claire, a lawyer, on a weekend away in Lorne in November 2013.
The pair was unsure what they wanted their wedding to be like but Claire soon fell gracefully into the planning role and picked Daylesford as the location.
“It’s such a relaxing and beautiful town and we loved the restaurant already and knew their food was excellent so it was an easy choice,” Claire says.
The wedding dress wasn’t so easy.
“I tried so many on that I started to get confused,” Claire explains.
“I picked one in Raffaele Ciuca in Armadale but after a couple of days I was wondering if
it was the right choice.
“So mum and I went back in and they were really lovely and let me try on a few more and as soon as I put mine on I knew. It made me feel so special.”

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Photography: Two Girls with a Camera

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The wedding day was all about family with Claire’s sister and brother and Matt’s three sisters all in the bridal party.
The bridesmaids held bouquets of pastel coloured David Austin and hothouse roses created by Georgie Stanton Flowers.
Claire enlisted other local talent to help with her big day, including Tracey from Tracey Clarke Hair and Makeup Concepts, and Hilary from Hilary Holmes Makeup, who put the finishing touches on the bride’s look.
The warm summer day called for an ice cream cart for the guests between the ceremony and reception.
The highlights of the day for the couple were their first dance, to Stand by Me by Ben E Kind, and the moment after saying “I do”.
“After the ceremony we stood back as some family members were signing the register to have a chat and see everyone sitting there and take it all in,” Claire says.
“It was perfect.”