James Thompson is a Photographer in the Food & Travel industry. And Natalie Thompson (formerly Taylor) works in Marketing for a FinTech company.
They met in 2016 through a dating app. Their first date was at one of their now favourite pubs in Angel, London. They soon realised that they grew up near each other in Sydney and that they had mutual friends, the connection was instant.
James proposed on Natalie’s 30th birthday, at St John’s Lodge in Regent’s Park. It’s a gated flower garden that felt extremely private and peaceful, it was the perfect setting.
Natalie hadn’t realised that James had organised a surprise birthday dinner for that evening with their closest friends and family. When Natalie walked through the door, they all stood up and cheered. It didn’t take long for them to notice the ring, and the surprise quickly turned on them. James watched his plan play out perfectly. The celebrations lived on until the late evening.
The best part of our day was….
There are too many to name! Starting with earlier in the day, a really happy memory was before the ceremony when James and I wandered around a nearby town called Fasano for photos. It was 3pm in the afternoon and during riposo, an Italian siesta. The streets were quiet and it felt as though we had the town to ourselves.
Another special memory was during cocktail hour, when we had the first chance to greet our guests. Seeing friends and family from all corners of the world and from many different life stages, come together in the same place, at the same time, was both nostalgic and surreal. I will never forget it.
We choose to get married at…
We have always loved Italy and its beauty, and Puglia felt more undiscovered and down-to-earth than the other well known parts.
When we first visited Masseria San Nicola, a 17th century private villa, we were totally inspired. It comprised of different spaces that we could move guests through as the day unfolded – a garden filled with citrus and bougainvillea trees, multiple courtyards for cocktail hour and the alfresco reception dinner, and the charming interiors of the masseria itself.
I knew I found ‘The One’ when…
My ceremony dress was from Darb Bridal Couture, an Australian designer who I had been following for quite some time. I was incredibly decisive and committed on the spot! I found the dress for my second look during a trip to New York in 2019 not long after our engagement. Elizabeth Fillmore held a showing at their studio, where I had the opportunity to meet the designer herself. The experience was really personal and memorable.
The most enjoyable moments of planning were…
Deciding how we were going to make the day memorable for our guests. We wanted there to be a summer garden feel when guests arrived and during the ceremony itself. We had a live singer and acoustic guitarist during cocktail hour. We revealed antipasti food corners in the main courtyard at sunset. Followed by a reception dinner with speeches from family and the bridal party. Guests then returned to the garden, for dancing until the early morning.
The hardest part of planning was…
The date of our wedding was postponed by two years due to covid, but the third time was lucky! We became easily swayed by what was easier and more convenient and we were tempted by a wedding closer to home. However deep down, we knew this wasn’t what we wanted, so we waited for a more ‘covid-free’ world. Our guests were incredibly understanding, as they just wanted what was best for us.
The best accounts to follow on Instagram for big-day inspo are…
Wedding menu highlights..
Guests enjoyed a variety of canapes, champagne and aperol spritz pre-ceremony and during cocktail hour. Antipasti was served buffet style, with local Puglian dishes, cheeses, cured meats and seafood. Dinner was a sit-down three-course meal, accompanied by local wines, and ending with limoncello and tiramisu. Cocktails and freshly made focaccia were served on the dancefloor.
Antipasti was the most enjoyed and unexpected part of the menu. I was personally overwhelmed with choice, found the presentation stunning and options delicious!
For our honeymoon we chose..
When the Japan borders opened at the end of 2022, we jumped at the opportunity to visit! We were fascinated by the culture, the people and the food scene. And Tokyo has now made it to the very top of our favourite cities to visit.
My top three tips for any couple would be…
We didn’t have a wedding planner however we were lucky enough to secure and work with our dream suppliers. Our venue was a wedding venue and nothing else. They were highly experienced, attentive and had no conflicting priorities. Our suppliers were such experts in their craft, allowing us to sit back and let them take the lead on the process. They all made planning and the day completely effortless for us.
Secondly, it was important for us to have as much time with our friends and family as possible so we decided to have our first look and photos before guests arrived. It bought back precious time and gave a really nice flow to the rest of the day.
Finally, be true to yourself and husband and try not to be influenced by the opinion of others. You will do this only once so make it perfect for you and your husband.
List of suppliers
Hair & Make-Up: @makeupartistyana