Committed to honouring tradition and ensuring their beloved dog was a feature of their wedding day, James and Michael celebrated their love in inimitable style at Chapel Hill Retreat.

PHOTOS | Chris Gray Photomedia

“To celebrate Michael’s Scottish heritage, we organised a bagpiper from Pipers of Distinction to lead the wedding party down to the ceremony.”

Michael Creed and James Whelan have been together since meeting through a mutual friend at a 21st birthday party in Sydney. When it was time for the couple to formally celebrate their union, they chose 6 July 2019 as the date.

Having both grown up in the Blue Mountains – Michael in Blaxland East and Mount Riverview, and James in the Hawkesbury township of Kurrajong – they knew exactly where they wanted to be married.

“We love the Blue Mountains and it was the perfect place for our big day,” says Michael, who was happy to take on the role of wedding planner. “We decided to hold the ceremony and reception at Chapel Hill Retreat, which was the perfect size for our family and friends to come together.”

On their wedding day, Michael and James said their vows in front of the 154 guests who had gathered outdoors at Chapel Hill Retreat. James and Michael both had five of their dearest friends at their side. Standing with James were Best Woman Lisa Williams, Groomsmen Paul Robertson and Matthew Endycott, and Groomsmaids Meaghan Marshall-Creed and Marita Leveritt. Michael’s team included Best Man Troy Marshall, Groomsmaids Kerrie Davies, Marise Payne and Kelly Wallington, and Groomsman Matthew Young.

“Celebrant Natalie Stuart made it such a beautiful and easy ceremony,” says James. “To celebrate Michael’s Scottish heritage, we organised a bagpiper from Pipers of Distinction to lead the wedding party down to the ceremony.”

James wore a suit and, to honour his Mum, had one of her necklaces melted down and made into his wedding ring. “It’s a way of always having Mum with me,” he says.

Michael wore a traditional ‘Prince Charlie’ kilt, made to measure by Houston Kiltmakers in Scotland. “My clan is ‘Bain’ but as the Bain tartan isn’t commercially available, my family wear the Mackay tartan,” says Michael. “The tartan became the theme of the wedding – it was used in our buttonholes, throughout the floral sprays, on the archways and on the covers of our honeypot wedding favours.”

When it came to the flowers, Michael says Kingswood Florist went above and beyond: “Our florist was the absolute best. I had asked for flowers that were completely out of season and they did everything requested, including using scotch thistle in the flower sprays and in my buttonhole, and adding the tartan throughout.”

Tartan was also used for the couple’s hand-fasting ceremony – another Scottish tradition. “And in true Scottish style, we also shared a glass of red wine,” James adds.

The couple’s beloved border collie, Thor, was also in attendance. “We are big animal lovers and we even opened the first pet-friendly café in Penrith, named Thor’s,” says Michael. “We had to have Thor with us, and he was chaperoned on the day by Shelley of Pets as Guests.”

Keen to see their guests relaxing and partying into the night, Mr and Mr Creed ensured the majority of the evening’s formalities were completed early on.

“The reception was pretty special because everyone just enjoyed themselves and partied the night away,” says James. “Our aim was for our wedding to be just like any other and many of our guests said ours was one of the best weddings they have been to, which is exactly what we wanted.”

This real wedding was featured in Blue Mountains Love magazine Issue #6.

VENUE | Chapel Hill Retreat, Berambing
WEDDING PLANNER | Michael organised and styled the wedding
CELEBRANT | Natalie Stuart
MASTER OF CEREMONIES | Stuart Ayres and Greg Davies
GROOMS | Michael’s kilt made by Houston Kiltmakers, Scotland. James’ suit from Vision in White Bridal, Parramatta
WEDDING PARTY | Outfits from Vision in White Bridal, Parramatta
WEDDING RINGS | Robert Cliff Master Jewellers, Castle Hill
HAIR | Leanne Thomas of Blitz Hairdressing, Parramatta
MAKEUP | Kurrajong Beauty, Kurrajong
FLOWERS | Kingswood Florist, Kingswood
BALLOONS | Creative Balloons, Kingswood
CAKE | One Stop Cake Decorations, Penrith
CATERING | Chapel Hill Retreat
CEREMONY MUSIC | Bagpipes, played by Pipers of Distinction
RECEPTION MUSIC | Timeless Wedding Entertainment
DOG CHAPERONE | Thor was chaperoned by Shelley of Pets as Guests
PHOTOS | Chris Gray Photomedia