Jess Taylor and Brad Benton invited their friends to celebrate their engagement. When the guests arrived, they learnt that they were going to celebrate a wedding as well.
From joking to serious
After organising their engagement party, Jess was getting stressed trying to find a suitable wedding venue and joked with her maid of honour, Sheridan, about getting a celebrant to come to the engagement party.
Sheridan thought it was a great idea, so Jess discussed it with Brad.
After thinking it over for a while he agreed that it would be a good way to do it.
“The surprise wedding made the planning really cruisy,” Jess said, though keeping it a secret from everyone but their immediate families and the bridal party was difficult.
All in the family
Brad proposed to Jess by sending the couple’s two children into the lounge where Jess was sitting, each carrying a sign saying Will you marry our Daddy?
Brad knelt between them and asked Jess to marry him.
The children’s involvement continued into the wedding ceremony.
Two-year-old Jordyn was the flower girl, walking into the venue before her mum and five-year-old Oscar was the ring-bearer.
Relaxed and rustic
Jess and Brad wanted a rustic and relaxed feel to their wedding.
As they both love Australian native plants, they agreed that natives would create the look they wanted.
They chose white and pink flowers to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Rhys Hearn, of Hearn’s Florist and Gifts in Bendigo has been a close friend of Jess’s since childhood so they engaged him to create their bouquets and the decoration for the arbour, which Brad made specially for the night.
Jess walked into the ceremony to You’re Still the One by Shania Twain because it was a song that she loved that seemed just right for the occasion.
For their first dance as Mr and Mrs Benton chose All of Me by John Legend, which had been ‘their song’ since the early days of their relationship.
Jacinta Cari provided the music on the night and for the father and daughter dance she sang the Carpenters’ song Rainbow Connection.
Jess chose that song because her dad used to sing it to her in a ‘Kermit’ voice when she was little.
See more photos from Jess and Brad's wedding day over on our Instagram.
Wedding date: Saturday, May 26 2018
Bride's parents: Alison and Jack Taylor
Groom's parents: Diana and Doug Austin
Ceremony and reception: Bill and Beats, Mooroopna
Photographer: Stay Focused Photography, Shepparton
Bride's dress: Brides & Maids, Shepparton
Bridesmaids' dresses: Asos
Flower girl dress: Stylish Children’s Clothing & Formal Wear, Shepparton
Suits: Talisman Menswear, Mooroopna
Flowers: Hearn’s Florist and Gifts, Bendigo.
Hair: Hair Central, Shepparton
Make-up: Makeup Design by Dee, Shepparton