SUMMER 23/24

NICOLE AND PETE BENTLEY, the Ridge Estate, Peats Ridge


Nicole and Pete were 18 and 19 when they met, and long-term relationships were not really on their radar.

‘We met on the dance floor of the local pub,’ says Nicole. ‘It was through mutual friends, and what attracted me to Pete was that he is very outgoing, is always up for fun and has a huge circle of friends. I have never met anyone who is as good at making and keeping friends as he is. I’m the opposite. I have a fairly small circle of close friends, and I’m hopeless at returning messages.’

Pete remembers it slightly differently. ‘Nicole is very outgoing and we bonded over our shared love of hanging out with friends. I have a passion for dirt bikes so it was also a big tick that she could ride a dirt bike!’

Having met at a young age, the couple recognise they aren’t the same people they were a few years ago.

‘To make our relationship work, we agreed to never hold the other back from their dreams,’ says Nicole. ‘We take the time to care for one another and respect that we are growing as individuals.’

After Pete proposed, creating ‘just’ a wedding was not enough. So Pete and Nicole used the dreams for their own upcoming nuptials to embark on creating a wedding venue and a new business.

Their wedding became the genesis for the creation of The Ridge Estate with a two-hectare section carved out from the farm where generations of Nicole’s family had run a commercial flower farm in the Central Coast hinterland. They lovingly converted the space into a boutique venue with pavilion, gardens, party barn, paddocks and guesthouse.

‘We love to party and celebrate and we completely oriented every decision and design of the Estate based on asking ourselves, ‘What would we love to have on our wedding day?’. We wanted a space where couples could gather up all their people and bring in their own bespoke aesthetic, caterers, bands, caravans, even a horse and cart.

‘For us it also meant a huge dancefloor, garden spaces as well as open fields, a luxe yet rustic barn reception room and flowers, flowers, and more flowers. Well, it is a flower farm after all,’ says Nicole.

‘Building the venue was probably the toughest project in our relationship – money was tight and we were working 70 to 80-hour weeks. But postponing the wedding for seven months because of Covid was probably even tougher!

‘And how many couples can say they built their entire wedding venue?’ Nicole asks. ‘We have created our life and a business together based on what makes us happy and I couldn’t ask for more!’

Ceremony and reception location: The Ridge Estate, Peats Ridge Photographer: Susannah Johnson Photography Videographer: JXSN Weddings Celebrant: Peter Bray Ceremony Musician: Bryce Sainty Reception Band: JC Entertainment Catering: Paddock to Plate Catering Co Bar: The Wandering Waterhole Florist: The Botanical Workshop Signage: BB Collective Jewellery: Meg Maskell Fine Jewellery Wedding dress: Luv Bridal Suits: Peter Jackson


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