Duke Music recently collaborated with Dark Horse Vineyard, in the beautiful NSW wine region of the Hunter Valley. This stunning wedding venue held a competition to win two nights luxury stay and a long lunch for five people. The lucky winner, Gaelle brought along her nearest and dearest people, for an unforgettable getaway and dining experience.
Duke Music Gives Life to the 'Dark Horse'
An immersive Hunter Valley winery experience, full of good food and wine deserves a soundscape to match. When Duke Music was asked to come onboard to be part of the experience, we of course did not hesitate to jump in to lend a helping hand. After all, how rare is it that you can help to put a smile on people’s faces, just because? Josie and Tim were absolutely honoured to play a big part in enhancing Gaelle’s experience with her guests, by providing the perfect soundtrack to accompany this unique experience.
'Dark Horse of the Hunter Valley'
Dark Horse Vineyard is an exclusive weddings and events venue located in gorgeous Lovedale, right in the heart of the Hunter Valley. It is easy to see why this property is known as ‘Dark Horse of the Hunter Valley’, with the two black caviar barns set amongst 25 acres of vines, paddocks and manicured lawns.
The Stables is where the all the action happens, suitable for wedding and events. This beautiful ceremony and reception venue seats up to 170 guests and it is tastefully decorated and styled with gorgeous inclusions.
From the Stables, we follow the crushed granite paths where The Barn House, a luxurious retreat awaits. This homestead consists of three bedrooms and can accomodate up to 6 people.
The entire property also gives you exclusive access to multiple on-sight ceremony and photograph locations.
For the perfect location for your wedding or event, with a beautiful ambience and an equestrian charm, you can’t go past The Dark Horse Vineyard.
We were privileged to be able to collaborate with with these amazing humans, to help make this day a special one for Gaelle and her guests
A stunning 100-acre property, tucked away in lush wine country and immersed amongst expansive park-like grounds. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke – an escape from reality – your own little piece of nature. We call it a picture-perfect secluded paradise that invokes feelings of home and comfort. But whatever image and feelings you want to project onto it, it is exactly how it will be. Because The Woodhouse Wollombi is a magical blank canvas, a place where you can paint your own masterpiece – your own dream wedding, your way. As the owners like to put it – “Your Day Your Way – Let Your Imagination Run Wild”.
Here’s your invitation to the “gallery viewing” of Natalie and Sam’s masterpiece wedding.
Sitting in the middle of Red Wood Park Wollombi, is “The Woodhouse”: A rustic but refined timber building with high ceilings and large light filled windows. With this European-like aesthetics and barn-like architecture – nothing more needs to be done against this blank canvas, except to add a bride and groom!
The Finer Details
A masterpiece isn’t complete without an element of still life. Natalie and Sam took inspiration from the native Australian landscape and enlisted the help of Print 35 for their invitations, floral designs by Little Wrens (just look at that bouquet and boutonnieres!), a subtle addition of Australian flora on the wedding cake by Messina and a splash of greenery on the dining tables also by Little Wrens.
Special Captured Moments
There is nothing quite like the the sights and sounds of people bringing a blank canvas to life. The gathering and celebration of love, life and culture of the special bond between Natalie and Sam were beautifully captured by Studio Something. Here are some highlights!
The Accompanying Soundtrack
Duke helped to curate an experience with Natalie and Sam, so they, along with their guests could immerse themselves in a celebration for their love. Our Duke Duo provided a pre-Ceremony music soundtrack for Natalie and Sam to set the tone for a beautiful Ceremony. Tim (from Duke) was also honoured to accompany traditional Vocalist, Isser, on Guitar, whilst he provided his talent as their traditional Jewish singer throughout the Ceremony. Working alongside Isser, we were able to provide a perfectly balanced music experience that incorporated Natalie and Sam’s traditional choices with the romantic atmosphere they wanted to achieve.
One of our favourite aspects of performing at The Woodhouse Wollombi is the stunning location they offer for Wedding Ceremonies and Canapes hour. It’s a short stroll down the hill from the Reception location to a serene and elegant spot. Chris Gable from our Duke team performed as a soloist during Canapes hour, providing a Sax and Vocal performance to accompanying backing tracks. It was the perfect afternoon to enjoy a beverage or two to the delightful tunes and sociable atmosphere provided by Chris Gable.
As sunset hit, out came the dancing shoes with the Duke Band kicking off the festivities with the Hora. It was thrilling and exciting to say the least, we’re in awe of how Brides and Grooms survive such an epic experience!
Guests moved inside to enjoy Dinner service, during which our Duke Band provided some light and delicious dinner music for everyone’s tastes. Once dinner and the formalities concluded, Natalie and Sam shared their first dance to Lover of the Light by Mumford & Sons. Our Duke Quintet continued the evening with a full dance floor featuring bangers by The Chilli Peppers, Kings Of Leon, Stevie Wonder, and Queen. Check out for yourself just how much fun we had in these fabulous pics by Studio Something.
Thank you Natalie and Sam for having us be a part of your wonderful wedding day at The Woodhouse.
Natalie and Sam's Wedding used the following suppliers to create their masterpiece!
We were so lucky to perform for Alastair and Nicole at this stunning wedding venue in the Hunter Valley.
Peppers Creeks boasts one of the best wedding venues in the Hunter Valley, perfect for your Ceremony, Reception & Wedding Accommodation. After a year of waiting, Alastair and Nicole’s wedding day finally arrived! It came as no surprise to us Dukies that after the long and patient year of waiting for their postponed wedding date, Covid wasn’t going to stand in the way of these two having the wedding day dreams are made of at Peppers Creek. We were lucky enough to perform for Alastair and Nicole at this stunning wedding venue in the Hunter Valley. Here’s some info about their wedding venue and how their wedding day went down. Thank you to wedding photographer Red Moose Photography for these images.
About their venue: The Peppers Creek Barrel Room
Celebrating amidst the Autumnal vines of Peppers Creek Barrel Room in the Hunter Valley, our couple had the luxury of all their wedding plans happening in the same location. Hunter Valley Wedding Venue Peppers Creek Barrel Room is a beautiful country property nestled on the banks of the mighty Hunter River and surrounded by lush green countryside with views over the river valley to Mount Rochford. Peppers Creek is centrally located on Broke Road in Pokolbin, the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country.
The venue has been designed with rustic opulence in mind as an intimate space that can accommodate up to 200 guests seated or standing at tables set around the lawns and gardens. Alastair and Nicole celebrated their Ceremony in the on-site Chapel, and their Reception in the majestic Barrel room (complete with roaring fireplace).
Onsite accommodation is also available through www.pepperscreek.com.au which is the perfect place to stay with you and your wedding party prior to the wedding day. Peppers Creek offers three unique stone cottages, ideal for friend or family group getaways to the Hunter Valley. The onsite accommodation can be offered individually or as a group booking, a total of 26 guests can be accommodated in the cottages. Each cottage is fully equipped with all linen and towels provided for your stay.
For Alastair and Nicole it all started with their Best Man, Damien. Attending as a guest at another Duke wedding, Damien carved up the dance floor with us! After that night he didn’t hesitate to let his besties know about the rocking band he saw and it was his personal recommendation which lead Alastair and Nicole to book with us. (Personal recommendations are the most common way our couples find us!). Being a creative couple with strong musical influences, it was important to them they find a discerning band who could perform a variety of tunes from Ceremony to Dance-Floor, and ensure guests would be partying well into the night. The perfect musical recipe for Alastair and Nicole’s entire wedding day was absolutely our Duke Duo for their Ceremony and Canapés, partnered with our Duke Quintet for Dinner music and Dancing.
Their Wedding Ceremony in Peppers Creek Chapel
Their Wedding Ceremony was set in the Peppers Creek Chapel, an idyllic sandstone building, with traditional, antique timber church pews, lectern, signing table and chairs. The sandstone Chapel offers the perfect country vineyard setting, overlooking the Merlot vines. We commenced their Ceremony with a song meant for a true One Direction fan (Nicole) called ‘Little Things’ as our Bride made her way down the aisle.
Certainly one of the highlights of performing for their Ceremony was to have Alastair come up to us soon afterwards to let us know how well he thought we’d played that song 🙂 Job done! The tone was perfectly set for the rest of the celebrations ahead!
Some Canapes to see in the sunset
As Canapés continued after the Ceremony beside the Chapel, we played on as an Acoustic Duo in the Chapel courtyard whilst guests mingled and supped champers. Whilst we were providing some beautiful ambient music for guests to socialize, I had the pleasure of briefly getting a happy-snap with some long time friends (between songs) – what a joy to unexpectedly see them! This is a photo of me with Mark and his wife Denise (Damien’s Mum and Dad!). Mark was the Musical Director of a show I performed back in 2008 .. just a little Disney production called ‘Beauty And The Beast’ where I had the honor of performing the lead role of ‘Belle’. You can watch a little of it here!
Off to enjoy some photos with their
‘I Do Crew’
The stunning grounds of Peppers Creek Barrel Room include; vineyards, creek, chapel and of course the barrel room itself. There are many nearby locations which are perfect for capturing your couple photos, including long grassy spaces which are illuminated by the golden sunset. The country bush surroundings are just across the road with the hills behind them creating the perfect picturesque backdrop.
And the party begins!
Alastair and Nicole’s Wedding Reception kicked off shortly afterwards, welcoming guests into the large Barrel Room (and cosy fireplace). Within short walking distance to the Chapel, the entrance to the building is framed by three meter high Indian elephant doors. The entertainment area is centred around a five-metre wide stone fireplace and the building is made from century old stone blocks.
Duke had the honor of playing their Reception entrance song ‘Let’s Get It Started’ by the Black Eyed Peas (classic!) as each couple was formally introduced to the wedding guests. Then we swung straight into what our band loves, playing excellent dinner music. With our 5-piece band we performed throughout entrees and dinner service, warming up the guests for the blazing Dance-Floor to follow.
Let’s the Dance-Floor commence!
Alastair and Nicole official opened the Dance-Floor with their First Dance, our duke-inspired live rendition of Tamia’s ‘So Into You’.. one of our favorite tunes right now. Then, it was all guns blazing as Duke lit-up that dance floor and we partied hard into the night. We performed an array of classic bangers, retro sing-alongs, and blazing rock tunes. You have to see it to believe it.
After a HUGE night of dancing (goodbye, Covid restrictions!) it was only fitting we say goodbye with another One Direction classic for Alastair and Nicole, waving goodbye to them with ‘Kiss You’ as their Farewell song.
Alastair and Nicole’s Review
If you’ve read this far into this blog post, lucky you! You’ll be graced with some very kind words from our Groom, who summed up his experience with Duke kindly. What an amazing wedding day. We’re stoked to share his words with you and hope that you’ll be thinking of us for your wedding day, too!