Underatreehouse Photography » Wedding and Event Photography. Central Coast, Sydney and Australia

An English Garden Party Wedding on the Central Coast


The first time I actually met with Marcella and James before their Central Coast Garden Wedding was a week prior to their big day. Marcella’s parents own a property near Ourimbah. They showed me the work that was going on in preparation to the wedding and what they had already done. Marcella’s parents had spent the last year turning a field into a beautiful English Garden. They were all in work clothes, planting, moving and tidying, with so much still to get done. A week later, when I returned for their wedding, with everything finished the Garden looked incredible.




A special Cinderella photography moment


After meeting with the girls I asked, as I normally do, where I could find the dress. Cue one of the best moments I have had as a wedding photographer…

I was led up a narrow staircase to the loft. As I reached the top and turned I found myself in a sewing room, full of nick nacks and with a stunning Cinderella style dress hanging from the rafters, right in the middle. Everything about this moment felt like I was in a movie. It’s that idea that every little girl dreams of and I found it coming to life in front of my eyes!!

From this point on the day was perfect. Mimosa Floral designed al the floral elements, which were stunning and complimented the garden theme perfectly. Marcella’s bouquet was particularly impressive. Later in the day, we were treated to a Brazilian BBQ at the reception, which was held in a marquee on the property.


I can’t close without mentioning Marcella’s shoes. She chose to wear a pair of stilettos, which were decorated with flowers, fitting in perfectly with the whole style of the day…and at the end of the day, the two departed in their old 1970s Volvo, filled with balloons and with the classic tin cans rattling behind them. I loved everything about this fabulous day!



Some of the fantastic vendors that helped make the day


Photography: Underatreehouse

Flowers: Mimosa Floral Design

Hair & Make-Up: Divine

Here’s a selection of my favourite pictures from the Wedding day…


A relaxed garden wedding in Yarramalong


To say I was excited to photograph Laura and Andy’s Yarramalong Hillview wedding would be a bit of an understatement. You know when you meet people and you just get that feeling that they’re cool, they know what they want, they’re chilled about it and it’ll just happen… Well, that’s what I felt with these guys.

I met Laura and Andy at a bar in Ettalong. They were on a trip up from Melbourne to check out the new wedding venue they had set their hearts on, The Hillview in the Central Coast countryside of Yarramalong. They said the wedding would be very relaxed and intimate, no bridal party and they would get ready together. Any time I hear people say that they are breaking with traditions and doing something a little different I automatically get excited. The traditions are great but I loved the idea of them getting ready together.

At the time Laura and Andy mentioned that they were musicians, though they didn’t give much more away than that. It was only later on that I was able to do a little research and find out that they are actually really bloody good! They are an electronic duo, called Back Back Forward Punch, with Laura’s delicious vocals gliding over Andy’s rich, velvety beats. In a show of their unique creativity, their Wedding Cake was adorned with the lyrics from one of their songs, called ‘Big Time’! Please check them out at www.backbackforwardpunch.com.au


The below video features the Bride and Groom’s own song ‘Solid Gold’



It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day when the wedding came around. When I arrived the guests were all busy pitching their tents in the garden of The Hillview. As promised, Laura and Andy were hanging out with their family in the house, getting last minute things organised and then getting dressed together. Laura wore a gorgeous lace dress, with a low neckline and carried a stunning colourful bouquet of native flowers, made by The Wildflower Place. Andy looked very dapper in a tweed jacket.

The grounds were home to their closest friends and family. The wedding was a lovely, relaxed, intimate affair just as they had hoped for, and I was absolutely honoured to be a part of it. As the sun dropped, the guests were led on a procession by candlelight around the small pond and through the trees to the adjacent marquee for the reception. The delicious food was provided by Lemongrass Catering.


The Hillview Homestead, Yarramalong


The old homestead property is owned by Jill Murphy, a successful food stylist and cookbook writer, and her vision and style are evident throughout the beautiful house and gardens. As a heritage listed property, coming up to its 112th year, it still retains its original weatherboards, high ceilings and sash windows, which provide heaps of character. Add to this Jill’s very tasteful styling, with some intriguing little quirky touches and you have a stunning country backdrop for a wedding. I would highly recommend checking it out for your Central Coast country wedding.


Back Back Forward Punch: www.backbackforwardpunch.com.au

The Hillview, Yarramalong: www.thehillview.com.au

Avant-Garde Camping Co: www.avantgardecamping.com.au

Lemongrass Catering: www.lemongrasscatering.com.au

The Party Hire Co: http://www.thepartyhireco.com.au/

Luxury Portable Toilets: http://luxuryportabletoilets.com.au/


…and now for the big day…



Lara and Kevin held one heck of a weekend away for their Wedding in Kangaroo Valley in the NSW Southern Highlands. They stayed with their closest friends and family at the Kangaroo Valley Bush Retreat. Miles from the closest town, they had the entire rural retreat to themselves. It really was idyllic.

I was asked to photograph Lara and Kevin’s Kangaroo Valley Wedding after having photographed Lara’s sister, Katya’s wedding. This was in another idyllic bush location, the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens. It seems these girls clearly have an affinity with nature!

The night before the wedding in Kangaroo Valley, we were treated to a coming-together celebration with a spit-roast buffet dinner and a chance for all the guests to meet or catch up. It’s not often I get the chance to be a part of these things, as usually, I would arrive on the Wedding day. It was lovely to be involved in the evening though because people were already getting to know me as the Photographer before the big day, and thus I too became one of the guests.

On the day of the wedding, the weather was not looking like being on our side. It started off very misty with rain looking imminent, so the bridal party was on ‘radar watch’ for the hours leading up to the ceremony. Rain was inevitable it seemed, but would we get away with it? As the ceremony neared, the rain finally arrived. The call was made to delay, but there is only so long these things can be delayed.

Most thought that the ceremony would have to be moved, since the Wedding was to be held in the ‘Rock Cathedral’, a natural rock valley, down a slippery natural staircase. The bride and groom were determined though and decided to head for the Cathedral nevertheless.

This is where the magic of this day began. We walked down in the drizzle, but the very moment the ceremony started, the rain stopped. And it never returned all day! It was honestly like somebody was watching over us.

This feeling continued later in the day when we headed to ‘Sunset Lookout’. The clouds were thick and our hopes for a sunset were not high, but I got the couple in position anyway, hoping I would be able to pull something out of the images in the editing process. Then, in that moment, the clouds parted just enough to reveal the most incredible sunset I have ever seen. My jaw dropped. I told the couple to ignore the photos, just take in that moment, for somebody was certainly sending them a sign. It was honestly a moment I will never forget.


Here is the Video Slideshow we put together for the couple. Well worth a watch!



And now the weekend from the start…


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A Photographer’s Top 10 Tips for Great Wedding Photos…

How to help your photographer give you the best images possible!


I put together this ‘Top 10’ list at the request of Modern Wedding Magazine, who wanted to give their readers an insight into a Photographer’s perspective.

It occurred to me that there are things that we, as Photographers, see time and again, which really help us make great images. There are also things which make it more difficult, yet could have been easily rectified with a little thought.


Tip #1:

Relax/Laugh/Don’t be scared

First and foremost, if there is one piece of advice I could give it is this. You may never have been photographed professionally before and you may think you don’t like being in front of a camera, but if you want real, natural and happy pictures on your wedding day, put those fears aside. Relax, enjoy your day with your loved ones, laugh and don’t take things too seriously.

Wedding Photography Central Coast and Sydney


Tip #2:

Trust your Photographer and be open to ideas

The person you choose to document your day has more than likely been doing this for a long time, developed their approach and figured out what works. Trust and listen to them. Remember you have no control over the weather and conditions on the day, so be flexible to their suggestions, as they will constantly be looking for the best angles and light to put you in. If your photographer feels like you are open and willing, then there is no telling what you might be able to create together!

stars milky way wedding photo


Tip #3:

Natural light is good in the morning

A lot of thought and planning tends to go into the look of the ceremony and reception, but all too often we turn up to the morning preparations and find the bride is getting ready in a tiny room with nowhere to move and artificial light. These two things do not make for pretty natural images. When deciding where to get ready think about what is going on behind you, like a messy room or kitchenette and try to find an uncluttered area preferably with space to move. The main thing though is to look for plenty of natural light coming in, as this is very flattering for skin and beauty shots and avoid harsh directional artificial light, which will look yellow or greens in photographs.

Natural Light Bride Portrait Sydney


Tip #4:

Look at other pictures you like…learn…and mimic

This could be a controversial one amongst photographers. I am not telling you to give them a Pinterest board or list of shots they have to get (you should chose them in the first place because you like what they do). What I mean is this: I recently photographed a wedding where the groom had clearly paid attention to his fiancé’s favourite images. I would move the couple into a general position and then he would touch his head to hers or gaze on lovingly without needing any direction. It was a complete shock to us both but it made the images so much better because he understood what we were trying to achieve at that moment and it wasn’t forced.

Beautiful natural Wedding Couple Love


Tip #5:

Feel the love

Why try to create images that show you are in love, when you can do it naturally with real emotions? Be in the moment, forget your surroundings and the camera hovering around and take a moment for yourselves. Be selfish. Wrap yourself in the love you have for the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with and the images will look natural, honest and sincere.

Natural Emotion Wedding Photo


Tip #6:

Be an actor in a romantic movie

As easy as it is for me to say forget everyone else, I realise that not everyone can easily do that. If this is something you struggle with then try taking on a role. We can all imitate scenes from a romantic movie. Just pretend to be an actor if you are uncomfortable and do what they would do. Go all out and do that lift or drop from the movie, they are still images and (as long as you don’t drop her) you’ll look amazing!

Dramatic Wedding Dance Move


Tip #7

Allow enough time for the ‘Pictorial’ session

Unless you have chosen a photographer who shoots purely reportage, it is likely that there will be a section of the day dedicated to photographing the two of you alone or with your bridal party (usually after the ceremony and family group photos). This is the only time when your photographer has the chance to choose where they are going to place you and work with you without the distraction of other formalities or guests. It is also the time when you will more than likely create the lasting image that will hang on your wall for years to come. With this in mind, please allow us time to create this and try a couple of options. If you want to go further afield with locations allow plenty of time for the travel. If it is all going to happen close by and you don’t want to be away from your guests for too long then at least an hour for the session is good. Put on some canapés and drinks and they’ll be more than happy chatting amongst themselves.

Dramatic Sunset Wedding Photo Terrigal Central Coast


Tip #8

Ask for recommendations

It doesn’t hurt to get some advice, particularly when it comes to timings and locations. Generally, the best light for photo’s is at sunrise and sunset, but depending on the location this may change for some reason. Ask your photographer for their recommendation on timings and locations. Perhaps also ask your planner or reception coordinator if there are particularly good spots nearby that couples often use as they may be hidden away.

Abandoned Plane Wedding Photo Iceland


Tip #9

Think about styling and lighting

Magazines, blogs and Pinterest are full of ideas for styling your big day. You can go big or not, but these elements will create the overall look and vibe of your day and potentially give the photographs a continuity and provide your photographer with things to frame you with. Furthermore, once the lights go down a lot of daytime styling can disappear, so lanterns, lightbulbs and even light letters can add something to these photos and look elegant in the dark.

Fairy Lights First Dance Pretty Wedding Photo


Tip #10

Choose a Photographer who makes you comfortable

My final tip is this. Believe it or not, you will probably spend more time with your Photographer on your wedding day than any other person, even your partner. Choose a photographer whose work you love because you will trust them, but also choose a photographer whom you feel comfortable around and will enjoy spending a lot of time with because (as I said in tip #1) being relaxed is how you will be sure to look great in your Wedding Photographs.

Happy Bride with Confetti


I hope you enjoyed my list of the 10 best things you can do to get great wedding photos, and can take something from it to make your pictures extra special!


Written by: Chris Perkins

Underatreehouse Photography

Central Coast NSW, Australia

Natalie and Sandy’s Hunter Valley Wedding is currently ranking as my all time favourite! Big call I know, but it seems like everything just came together perfectly on the day. Tie this in with the bride and groom’s excellent taste and styling choices, along with a stunning venue and what more could I wish for? Absolutely nothing!


Some of our Hunter Valley Highlights



A week prior, I had photographed Natalie and Sandy’s first wedding in Sydney. A traditional Indian Hindu Wedding, full of colour and opulence. This was all reigned in as we moved to the relaxed rolling vineyards of the Hunter Valley. With the incorporation of incredible flowers in elegant pastel shades and a classical white dress and navy suits, it looked classy and sophisticated.

I met the bridal party at the Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza in Pokolbin. This is a large hotel complex, made up of many blocks of apartments, each backing onto large lawn and lake areas. There is plenty of room to move and relax. The boys were recovering from a night of whisky and cigars, and the girls were busy with getting their hair and makeup perfected by Chic Artistry.

Our bridal party was transported the short distance to the beautiful Circa 1876 by a Classic Stretch Chevrolet. Circa 1876 is a hatted restaurant that grows its own produce on the grounds. The venue is part of The Convent estate and Pepper Tree Winery. They have a deep-rooted history, which is clear from the moment you arrive. As I walked through the front door and entrance rooms my mind was blown with the opportunities for photos. Timber walls, antique furniture, candlelight lamps and old books abound.


Here is the Video Slideshow we put together for the couple. Well worth a watch!



The ceremony took place in the tree lined back garden of the restaurant. We then were able to use the gardens and the vines for photos afterwards in the gorgeous sunset light.

My favourite part of the building for photos followed as I took them to the library for something a little more unique! Then, as the evening progressed I took advantage of our location and the clear sky with a very special photo of the couple under the milky way stars to finish off the perfect day.


And now the day from the start…