Chapel Hill

Wedding Ceremony & Reception | 24 November 2018 | Shana & Erick Stafanik | Chapel Hill Retreat, Berambing, Blue Mountains

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What an awesome day! Perfect weather, gorgeous couple, great venue and amazing details! I had sore cheeks from smiling all day and had to choke back tears several times too. I was so honoured that Shana and Erick invited me to play a part in their wedding celebration at Chapel Hill Retreat in the Blue Mountains. They are a genuinely lovely and thoughtful people and it was so wonderful to witness them celebrating their marriage surrounded by their close family and friends. So much attention to detail and love had gone into making it the amazing day it was.

Shana and Erick’s journey leading up to their wedding day has spanned just over two decades. Some of that time has for reasons outside their control, has been challenging, but together they have made it through and their love is stronger than ever. They first met during High School in 1997 and not long after meeting, realised they were in love. Circumstances caused them to be separated and whilst their lives took on very different paths, their love for each other never diminished.

It was not until 2010 that they reconnected through the marvel of social media and before long, they were building a life together. Whilst they are very different as individuals, with Erick being hot headed & impulsive and Shana passive, calm & organised, they complement each other perfectly. As life progressed, they worked through the complexities of the past, settled and added to their beautiful family. In late 2017 Erick was ready to make Shana’s dream from when she was fifteen come true. In early 2018, he secretly organised an engagement ring, booked a trip to Uluru for his birthday. On the second day at sunset on 26 February 2018, Erick proposed to Shana. Shana doesn’t remember saying yes (she did!) as it is all a bit of a blur to her now, a result of being caught up in the emotion and the surprise element of the moment.

Fast forward to 24 November 2018 and here we were in the small Chapel at Chapel Hill Retreat. Erick along with Best Man, Csaba and Groomsman, Nicolas and gathered guests were waiting with Celebrant, Philip Timbrell for Shana to arrive. As the first notes of Luke Bryant’s “To The Moon & Back” commenced and filled the air, flower girls, Taliyah and Zara, followed by bridesmaid, Hannah and Maid of Honour, Jenni made their way to the front of the Chapel. A short pause for a very special emotional tribute to honour the memory of Shana’s Dad before Shana, who was about to marry the love of her life, took those final few steps down the aisle. It was a beautiful ceremony with lots of love, emotion and that represented them. Shana’s vows included the following words;

“I’m so happy this moment that I have always dreamt of has finally arrived. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you as my husband.”

and Erick’s vows commenced with;

“Shana, ever since we first met at high school, you have always been the one that I have wanted to share my life with. I cannot explain why – as you have said, we are as different as the sun and the moon, yet like two pieces of a jigsaw, we were made for each other.”

Both vowed that “From this day forward, let us along with our children, build our family together – a family filled with love and laughter.”

Finally after 21 years their dream had become a reality! They were now husband and wife!!!

After the ceremony, Shana, Erick and their guests had a group photograph taken and then headed off with their wedding party around the Chapel Hill grounds with photographer Ben of Ben Newnam Photography and videographer, Tony of Blaycam Video Production to capture some amazing wedding feels.

Shana and Erick’s celebration was full of LOVE. It was everywhere!! – You could feel it, it was in the air, it was in everybody’s hearts, and in the very unlikely event that you needed to be reminded in any way, the word was featured in subtle ways throughout the entire reception room. We greeted the newlyweds and their wedding party with great applause, followed by the cutting of the wedding cake and then a very special first dance filled with more love. Guests were then invited to join Shana and Erick on the dance floor for a short dance set.

Following the Entree, there were beautiful heartfelt speeches from Maid of Honour, Jenni and Groomsman, Nicolas, some fun, the Main Meal, more fun, Dessert and then our second set of lovely speeches from Best Man, Csaba and our groom, Erick. Erick concluded his speech by requesting a Daddy Daughter dance with his three beautiful girls, Hannah, Taliyah and Zara.

At this point unbeknownst to Shana, who’s birthday fell during the past week, Erick had organised a birthday cake for her and then asked her to join him for a birthday dance – another beautiful moment. They were soon joined by the wedding party and guests and it was then party time! With a mix of current, classic and traditional music, guests enjoyed dancing the night away.

All too soon it was time for the bouquet and garter toss, farewell circle/circle of love, a farewell dance and Shana and Erick departed to honour their lifelong vow to continue building a family filled with love and laughter.

Knowing their story, and to see Shana and Erick’s childhood dream become a reality made my heart was so very happy. For me, weddings are just so beautiful, amazing and dynamic. Personally, I just relish in seeing how much love and joy can flow between two people, then watching how much emotion this love generates amongst the people around them. It is incredible to witness and such a privilege to be a part of. Shana and Erick I cannot thank you enough. It was a total pleasure and I hope that I was able to add some special touches to the memories that you will always treasure. I know your love will continue to grow, it has withstood so much and has never faltered. May love, laughter and music continue to fill your lives forever!!!

Photography by DJ:Plus! Entertainment


Songs selected by Bride & Groom;

Bridesmaids Processional: “To The Moon and Back” by Luke Bryan

Bride Processional: “To The Moon and Back” by Luke Bryan (DJ:Plus! Custom Edit)

Register Signing: “At The Beginning” by Richard Marx & Donna Lewis, “Endless Love” by Luther Vandross & Mariah Carey

Recessional: “The Deeper The Love” by Whitesnake

Wedding Party Entry: “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas

Bride & Groom Entry: “Highway To Hell / I’m All Yours” by AC/DC / Jay Sean Feat. Pitbull

Cake Cutting: “I’m All Yours” by Jay Sean Feat. Pitbull

First Dance: “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran (DJ:Plus! Custom Edit)

Father Daughter Dance: “Disney Medley” by Ashley Hess

Bouquet Toss: “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Beyonce

Garter Toss: “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen

Farewell Circle/Circle Of Love: “Forever Country” by Artists of Then, Now & Forever, “Making Memories Of Us” by Keith Urban

Farewell Dance: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Housten

Final Farewell Song: “Ever, Ever After” by Carrie Underwood


Other Wedding Professionals

Celebrant: Phillip Timbrell

Photographer: Ben Newnam Photography

Videographer: Blaycam Video Productions


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Wedding Reception | 18 April 2015 | Jessica & Gabriel De Oliveira | Chapel Hill Retreat, Berambing, Blue Mountains

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Who would have guessed that a throw-away remark made at a night club six years ago, would lead to a wedding. Jessica was checking her phone when Gabriel walked by and made a joke along the lines of, “You can ask me for my number if you want”. Whilst Jessica’s first impression was that Gabriel was not really her type, as it happenned, by the end of the evening they ended up chatting for a little while in the car park and an exchange of telephone numbers took place. Over the next two months they chatted on the phone and via Messenger before Gabriel invited Jessica to meet for lunch, by the end of that first date they had kissed and the start of a beautiful love story had begun.

As time progressed they fell deeper and deeper in love, but it was not until they organised a last minute getaway to the Hunter Valley in June 2014 that Gabriel dropped to one knee and asked Jessica to spend the rest of her life with him as his wife. They were staying in a lovely B&B, had lunch at a up market Italian Restaurant and then decided to go for a drive – what Jessica did not know, even though they had talked about marriage, was that Gabriel was looking for a lookout so that he could propose as the sun was setting. The perfect location found, as the sun was starting to set, Gabriel popped the question to a unsuspecting Jessica. The answer? A resounding YES!

Jessica and Gabriel selected Chapel Hill Retreat, which is located at the foot of Mt Tomah and at the entrance to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, to celebrate their marriage. With beautiful gardens and a serene mountain atmosphere, it was the perfect venue for this nature loving couple. Guests arrived whilst Jessica, Gabriel and their wedding party were having photographs taken around the grounds. They were welcomed with canapes and refreshments on the large verandah overlooking the beautiful vista.

Before long it was time to commence the festivities and celebrate. It certainly was a beautiful evening filled with lovely speeches, much fun, laughter, surprises, heartfelt moments and dancing, culminating in a totally joyous celebration. The highlight for me was Jessica & Gabriel’s first dance which had so many guests unable to control their feelings and welling up with tears of happiness for them – I even overheard comments that it was the most beautiful first dance some had ever witnessed. Then there was also the fun skit that Gabriel, ably assisted by his grooms men, did for the Garter toss. To the Mission Impossible Theme, Gabriel and the groomsmen donned dark glasses and proceeded to commence their mission of finding the lost garter! Gabriel crawling along the ground, “Tom Cruise” style and saved by his grooms men when it appeared that he was in danger as he ventured under Jessica’s dress. But of course our hero overcame many obstacles before completing the mission successfully! It was such a lot of fun!!

Jessica and Gabriel are an awesome couple and we spent a lot of time planning their day, both over the phone and face to face and it we had fun doing so. During that time, I got to know them and found them to be both humble, generous and kind souls that have a love of family and are looking forward to starting their own in the future. It was an absolute pleasure playing a part in their wedding day as their Blue Mountains Wedding MC & DJ and celebrating with them and their beautiful family and friends – thank you for allowing me the privilege; it truly was a sensational day!! Judging by the comments I received during and at the end of the evening I think we achieved in making it the fun, special celebration that was full of happiness and love you both wanted. Have a fabulous time on your honeymoon in Bali and may love, laughter and music fill your lives forever!!!


Photography and Video by DJ:Plus! Entertainment


Songs selected by Bride and Groom;

Wedding Party Entry: “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins, “Real In Rio” by The Rio Singers, “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas

Bride & Groom Entry: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Jimmy Barnes

Cake Cutting: “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion

First Dance: “Better Today” by Coffey Anderson

Father Daughter / Parent Dance: “I Loved Her First” by Heartland

Bouquet Toss: “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor

Garter Toss: “Mission Impossible Theme”

Farewell Circle / Circle Of Love: “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones, “You’ve Got The Love” by Florence & The Machine, “I’m On My Way” by The Proclaimers

Final Farewell Song: “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warne


Other Wedding Professionals

Photographer: Two Birds Photography

Videographer: Blaycam Video Productions

Floral Designer: Your Floral Indugence


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Wedding Ceremony & Reception | 21 November 2009 | Lauren & Michael Notley | Chapel Hill, Berambing, Blue Mountains

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In what was forecast to be another extremely hot day, Lauren and Michael were fortunate enough to have selected to have their wedding at Chapel Hill Retreat, on the foot hills of Mt Tomah in the Blue Mountains. It was a beautiful day and the location took a few degrees off the temperature, affording some relief for the 90 guests gathered to share their special day.

 

As the sound of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” filled the air the bridesmaids made their way through the picturesque grounds and to the ceremony area. Escorted by her dad Glenn, Lauren followed. When they reached the ceremony area, Glenn passed Lauren’s hand to Michael and the ceremony began. It was a very personalised and beautiful ceremony officiated by Mark Chapple followed with lovely readings from Alissa, Chris, Kingsley & Kim plus a commitment from both sets of parents to be a shining example of love and devotion and to encourage them to help build a strong and loving marriage.

 

 

“Today I take you to be my partner in life and my one true love
Together we will create a home, becoming a part of one another
I will trust you and respect you,
laugh with you and cry with you,
loving you faithfully through good times and bad
I vow to be honest, caring and truthful,
to love you as you are,
and to grow old by your side,
as your love and best friend.”

Following the ceremony, guests were treated to drinks and canapes in the gazebo where a gentle breeze made sure everybody stayed cool whilst Lauren, Michael and the wedding party had photographs taken throughout the Chapel Hill grounds.


 


 

 

When it was time, the wedding party entered the reception clapping and dancing encouraging the guests to stand and join in prior to Lauren and Michael entering to fantastic applause. Michael quickly welcomed everyone and thanked them for being a part of their day before guests were treated to something a little different from the norm at weddings these days and that was a table buffet. This is where a selection of dishes for each course of the meal are bought to each table and then guests help themselves.

This lovely meal was followed by great speeches from Lauren’s dad Glenn, Bridesmaids Alissa and Jessica, best man Tim and last but not least, Michael who spoke of his love for Lauren and thanking the parents and those who had traveled great distances to witness and celebrate the beginning of his and Lauren’s life together.

 

Following the cutting of the wedding cake and dessert it was time for Lauren and Michael’s first dance. They had a little bit of a surprise for everyone as they had a choreographed routine which also involved the wedding party. I have a portion below for your enjoyment. The guests all joined in towards the end of the song and from that point on it really was party time!! All too quickly however it was time for this lovely couple to say farewell and the reception was over.

Whenever you looked at either Lauren or Michael throughout the day there was either a big smile on their faces or the look of love glistening in their eyes (you need only look at the random photos posted here to confirm this) it was obvious that this is a union based on deep love, honesty, respect, tenderness and faith. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know them, I know that this love will only continue to grow and blossom. They are a beautiful couple and it was nothing but a joy and a pleasure to have been a part of their wedding day.


Songs selected by Bride and Groom;

Bridesmaids Processional: “Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’le

Bride Processional: “Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’le

Register Signing: “Rorate” by Chris Duncan & Catherine Strutt

Recessional: “I’m A Believer” by Smash Mouth, “Beautiful Day” by U2

Wedding Party Entry: “Shout” by Johnny O’Keefe

Bride & Groom Entry: “My Girl” by The Temptations

Cake Cutting Song: “I Wanna Grow Old With You” by Adam Sandler

Bridal Waltz/First Dance: “Lucky” by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat / “The Boy Does Nothing” by Alesha Dixon

Farewell Circle/Circle Of Love: “All I Want Is You” by Barry Louis Polisar, “LA” by Old Man River

Final Farewell Song: “Wish You Well” by Bernard Fanning


Other Wedding Professionals

Celebrant: Mark Chapple from Hawkesbury Valley Baptist Church

Photographer: Tim Munro Photography


Fun On The Dancefloor

 


 


Photography and Video by DJ:Plus! Entertainment

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Wedding Ceremony & Reception | 23 August 2008 | Chantelle & Anthony Jans | Chapel Hill, Berambing, Blue Mountains

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Chantelle and Anthony held their Ceremony and Reception at Chapel Hill Retreat which is located on 80 rural acres in the foot hills of Mt Tomah, at the entrance to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area about 90 minutes drive from Sydney. Chapel Hill is unique in that it offers a non-denominational chapel modeled on an early Australian country church which features a floor-to-ceiling stained-glass window, a reception facility with magnificent panoramic views across the Blue Mountains and luxury self-contained cottage accommodation.


 


 

 

 

Whilst it had been raining overnight, the skies cleared blessing Chantelle and Anthony with a fantastic, but crisp, autumn day. The 75 invited family and friends all crammed into the chapel to witness what was a very beautiful ceremony. Following the ceremony guests were served canapes and refreshments whilst Chantelle, Anthony and their bridal party roamed the property for various photographs. I was lucky to be able to quickly duck out and snapped the following shots;

 

It was a lovely fun and lively reception filled with some emotional moments. Following the entree, Chantelle and Anthony had the first of a lifetime of dances together. As the photos below show – they are very much in love with each other.

 

After the first dance Chantelle and Anthony had an opportunity to visit with guests and have photographs taken with each of them. The speeches by Chantelle’s father, Joe, the best man, Jason, Anthony and finally by Chantelle followed the main course. During the speeches there were lots of lovely sentiments expressed by all the speakers, what was very clear was the deep respect and love that everybody has for Chantelle and Anthony, the reciprocal respect and love that they have for everybody that was invited and most importantly….for each other. Speeches were followed by the cake cutting and then another opportunity was taken by our lovely couple to mingle with the guests.

It was soon time to open up the dance floor and wow what can I say, everybody was ready to help make the evening one which Chantelle and Anthony will never forget. The dance floor was full from the moment the dancing started and did not let up until the end. During the dancing we took two very short breaks – the first was so that Chantelle could perform a special presentation of her bridal bouquet to her mum Anna and toss the “throwaway” bouquet to all the single ladies. Anthony then removed the garter and all the single gentlemen eagerly gathered to catch it. The second pause in dancing was so that Chantelle could have a very special dance with her father. Part way through Anthony was invited to escort Chantelle’s mother onto the dance floor and join in to share in this special moment. This was a highly emotional and extremely special time.

Dancing resumed with the crowd going strong right to the very last song. After bidding farewell to the guests, this very lovely couple left to begin their new life together – one which I am extremely certain will bring life long happiness to both of them.

I also had the opportunity to work with photographer Daniel Hatfield again at this wedding. I met Daniel last year at another wedding at Chapel Hill. It was nice to catch up with him again. He is a pleasure to work with, takes a great deal of pride and is very professional in his work.


Songs selected by Bride and Groom;

Bridal Party Entry Song: “Sunchyme” by Dario G

Bride & Groom Entry Song: “In Love Again” by Rogue Traders (Custom Edit)

Bridal Waltz/First Dance: “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel

Cake Cutting Song: “The Look Of Love” by Tina Arena

Father /Daughter Dance: “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle

Bouquet Toss: “Upside Down” by Diana Ross

Garter Toss: “Need You Tonight” by INXS

Farewell Circle: “This Old Love” by Lior, “We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters, “I’ve Finally Found Someone” by Bryan Adams & Barbra Streisand, “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones

Final Farewell Song: “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warne


Other Wedding Professionals

Photographer: Daniel Hatfield Photography


Fun On The Dancefloor

 

 

Photography and Video by DJ:Plus! Entertainment

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