Ali and Tim’s Meaningful and Intentional Wedding in McLaren Vale

Ali and Tim’s Meaningful and Intentional Wedding in McLaren Vale
March 14, 2023 Kat Wray
A bride and groom kiss while their wedding party cheers

Ali and Tim were married in May 2021 at the While Hill Estate in McLaren Vale in South Australia, photographed by our amazing Less Stuff More Meaning vendor and ambassador Elise Mezner (based in Melbourne).

We were pretty excited to hear that Ali & Tim read the Mindfully Wed e-guide early in the planning process, and that it was a huge part of their initial conversations about how they wanted to approach their wedding. They told us the most significant influence it had was in guiding them through questions they wouldn’t have thought about otherwise, and providing avenues for considering sustainable wedding options that they had never considered before.  

A meaningful wedding ceremony at White Hill Estate

Whilst Ali and Tim didn’t use the Wedding Footprint Calculator, they were conscious of their wedding footprint. As they were married in May 2021, the pandemic helped in that regard; because so much travel was restricted and trading affected, it was a natural decision to source as much as they could locally.

Every decision they made about their wedding was influenced by one question: “How can we involve someone we love in this part of the day, and does this feel like us?”. Setting boundaries and parameters made decision making easier. 

We asked Ali & Tim about how they planned their meaningful and intentional wedding.

A groom is pretending to be pampered by his wedding crew as he gets ready for his wedding day

A bride and her friends all hug before getting ready for the wedding

Tell us about your wedding day!

We got married at the beautiful White Hill Estate in McLaren Vale. Ali and her bridesmaids spent the night before at the old homestead onsite, and Tim and his groomsparty got ready at his dad’s place before the ceremony. We were married down by the lake, and our guests enjoyed drinks and cocktail food by the old Chaff Shed while Elise took our portraits in the fields and gardens surrounding the Estate. We had planned for a cold Autumn evening – the gas heaters were ready and my Nana even provided dozens of hand-knitted rugs – but we were blessed with a perfect day and a warm evening! We barely used the Chaff Shed for the reception as we had planned, but instead partied in the Estate grounds, surrounded by gumtrees and fairy lights, and finished our perfect day with truly epic dance party under the stars. 

What was important to you on your wedding day?

We’re not extravagant people, and neither of us enjoying being the centre of attention, so it was important to us to be intentional with wedding plans – we wanted the day to look and feel like “us”, and we wanted to involve and honour the people who matter most to us. It was also vital to us that our guests enjoyed the day as much as we did, which influenced our priorities too. 

By using the question “How can we involve someone we love in this part of the day, and does this feel like us?” meant that a lot of ‘vendor’ positions were filled by someone we knew: Ali’s brother officiated the ceremony, the catering was done by a student’s family business, our photographer is an old friend of Ali’s, the florist was an old family friend, and the aisle music/invitations/signage/aisle rugs/wedding cars were all provided by friends and family. Our wedding party sourced their own outfits, to ensure that they’d be worn again, as well as ensuring that our closest friends felt amazing! 

One very meaningful choice we made was Ali’s wedding dress; we enlisted a local dressmaker to take her mum’s wedding dress from 1985 and transform it into Ali’s dream dress. The process of designing it was so special and it was a wonderful way to create something special without using new materials. 

The bride's dress was originally her mum’s wedding dress from 1985 but was transformed by a dressmaker into Ali’s dream dress

Was there something you initially wanted at your wedding, but decided against when it wasn’t sustainable enough?

Soon after reading the Mindfully Wed e-guide, we decided against physical wedding invitations and chose to create digital invitations and use a website to organise RSVPs, dietary requirements etc. It was an easy decision to make, once we knew that there were alternatives to paper invitations, and the invitations simply weren’t worth the added cost and paper, plus the added carbon footprint required to mail them out. 

A bride and groom share a comforting embrace during a wedding portrait session

What was your favourite part of the day?

ALI: So many to choose from – the day went so quickly, just like everyone says! I honestly loved our photo shoot with Elise, it gave us some precious time together to enjoy the magic of the day, which can be all too rare on your wedding day!

TIM: Our first dance, and I’m not a dancer at all, but being able to hold each other after such a huge 24 hours (even in front of 120 people!) was just perfect. Louis Armstrong’s La Vie En Rose was our song and my sister captured a beautiful candid shot of us under the fairy lights that has been our lock screens for nearly 2 years; it always makes me feel warm and safe to think of.

The bride and groom dance under the fairy lights and stars to their first dance as their family join them on the dance floor

What advice would you give couples planning their wedding?

Two big things. First, don’t lose sight of the big picture while planning; it can be so easy to lose yourselves in the details and forget the things that will make it your day. Prioritise those things that you’ll care about in the years to come, and don’t let those elements become overwhelmed by everyone else’s opinion. Secondly, try and factor in a few moments alone throughout the day itself, otherwise the day can go by without getting the chance to enjoy it together! 

A group of wedding guests all laugh and cheer and dance


Location – White Hill Estate

Celebrant: Pastor Sam Dunbar

Photographer: Elise Mezner Photography

Outfits: Nichole Parnell Studio Creations (wedding dress), Peggy & Finn (ties)

Jewellery: Helen Badge Jewellery (engagement ring), Michael Hill (wedding bands)

Florals: Clover & Cranberries 

Styling & Hire: Mase Events (arbor) 

Catering: The Meal Hub

Wine: Wirra Wirra Vineyards

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