How did you meet your (now) husband? We first met working at our local Coles way back when we were 16 and 17 years old – Dan recalls that I was the only checkout chick that wore a skirt (!) and anytime they would make a call over the PA for assistance, he would rush to get to my checkout first! He has been cheeky since day one.
While there was a flirty spark between us from the get-go, I had a boyfriend at the time we met, and it didn’t take long before Dan also had a girlfriend. Dan became my ‘best guy friend’.
Fast forward about five years from the Coles checkout days. I was living in America working as an au pair, Dan was in Melbourne and for the first time in our friendship, we were both single. We’d kept in touch while I’d been away, but all of a sudden, the Facebook messages became more frequent, and when I would see his name pop up online, it was more exciting than it had ever been before. From across the Pacific, something between us had shifted.
I arrived home the day before my 23rd birthday and he was knocking at my parents’ door that same night. The next day, he took me out for breakfast in South Melbourne – he now says that’s the moment he knew he loved me. Birthday drinks followed, the bubbles flowed and it wasn’t long before my best friend became something more. The rest is history, as they say.
How long have you been together? Five years.
Do you have a proposal story? We had planned a quick trip to Tasmania in July of 2012. We arrived to typically chilly weather and took the scenic route to our first stop, a little town just outside of Launceston. Little did I know, the ring was in Dan’s pocket this whole time, and he was searching for an appropriately romantic spot to pop the question!
The scenic route didn’t bring many scenes at all – instead, it brought fog, wind and rain! We arrived in Westbury, where we were staying that night, and stopped at a café to refuel – I was ready to check in to our accommodation, Dan was on a mission to find ‘the spot’!
A brochure at the café mentioned a hedge maze nearby – I’ve never seen a man so excited at the prospect of a hedge maze, and off we went.
“We have to split up, it’s no fun if we stay together.” These were my orders from Dan as we entered the maze. Romantic, I know.
I did as I was told (against the wishes of my inner control freak), and before long, I turned around a prickly corner to find a big Dan hug waiting for me. Much to my surprise, Dan dropped a knee to the muddy ground and asked a very unexpected question. Lots of squeals and kisses followed and of course, a resounding, and much repeated answer to his question - yes, yes, yes.
What was your wedding date? July 5, 2014
Location (Ceremony and Reception)
Where? The Boulevard, Kew Victoria
What made you choose there? It was a clean, simple and modern indoor space that we felt we could make ‘our own’. It also had an open fire, which was perfect for our July wedding date. There was a lot of natural light and beautiful views, as well as a lot of options as to how we laid out the room.
We liked that there was a full bar available for guests to purchase any drinks that weren’t included in the beverage package.
The grounds were stunning, and we saw lots of potential for beautiful photos.
We loved that we felt like we’d escaped to the country when in fact, we were right on the edge of the city. Being close to town also made it easy for our guests in terms of transport and accommodation.
How did you find it? My mum found it! She had been to a function there.
How was the weather on the day? We got married in winter in Melbourne – we expected the worst! I didn’t even mind if it rained, I just wanted a chance to have some photos taken outside.
As it turned out, it was chilly, overcast and with the tiniest bit of drizzle. Great weather for photos apparently!
What made you decide to get married on this particular date? I am a school teacher, and it was the middle weekend of the July school holidays so the date decision was easy.
The Wedding Details
Theme (if any – colours, features, etc.)? I would describe the theme as feminine, cosy and pretty. I wanted it to be simple, minimal and unfussy, with the decorative focus on the flowers.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? Pinterest, bridal magazines (Cosmo Bride in particular), bridal blogs such as Polka Dot Bride.
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? Just one, and it was thanks to my very clever Mum.
She is a talented patchworker and she saw a ‘wedding quilt’ on Pinterest.
Guests were asked to write us a message on a patch of plain fabric, and this was then made into a stunning quilt, the most amazing keepsake for us to have forever.
Bridesmaids – who/relationship?
MOH: Jess Christie, Sister
Bec Nobes, friend
Hannah Barber, friend
Lucianne Tonti, friend
Groomsmen – who/relationship?
BM: Finn Macrae, friend
Ben Schmidt-Pereira, friend
Rich Wills, friend
Hamish Christie, Brother in law
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes?
I loved what I had seen online. I came in with my heart set on one dress I’d seen on the website, but ended up with something quite different.
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? Just on the website and in some magazines.
How many gowns did you try? Around 5 or 6 initially, then came back for round two and tried on 2 or 3, then decided on the one.
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? Armadale.
What did you especially like about your gown? It made me feel like a princess. How clichéd is that?! But there’s no other way to describe it. I felt utterly beautiful and knew I’d knock Dan’s socks off when he saw me.
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? J Crew. We ordered the dresses online, and they were totally perfect.
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? Dan’s suit was from Calibre, the boys’ suits were from Peter Jackson.
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I wore my mother’s pearl earrings, a bracelet that belonged to my great, great grandmother that my sister also wore on her wedding day. I wore two rings on my right hand, one was my Nan’s eternity ring, the other was my Grandma’s eternity ring. Lots of history in my accessories, which made it incredibly special.
Where did you get your shoes from? Shoes of Prey. I designed every aspect of them and they were great, albeit a little uncomfortable. I ended up swapping shoes with my sister halfway through the reception, and her feet are one size bigger than mine! Could you ask for a more devoted Maid of Honour?! The ultimate sacrifice.
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? I wore the most stunning veil from KAREN WILLIS HOLMES which lace/scalloped edging. I just adore it, it is so classic and elegant.
What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? Don’t get too caught up in the little details – remember the things about the day that really matter. For me, that was Dan, friends, family, food and music. If all those things worked out, it’d all be ok.
Once the day arrives, just try to be in each moment – really speak to your guests, don’t look over their shoulder wondering who else you should be talking to. And try to chat to your husband at least once.
Finally, don’t get married in your first year working as a teacher!
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown?
Take a few trusted friends, and that may not necessarily be your whole bridal party. You want honest opinions, and if there are too many opinions on hand, it can become impossible to work out what you think yourself.
Know your body and what shapes / styles will work for you.
Be open to suggestions from the assistants – they know their stuff! Especially at KWH. Just try things on, and you might be surprised at what works and what doesn’t.
I was certain I didn’t want strapless, as I’d seen strapless go wrong and also it felt overly common. But, as it turns out, it’s popular for a reason and after ordering straps to go with my gown, I ended up going strapless at the final fitting and loved it immediately.
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day.
The best bit of advice I was given was to take a moment during the reception to grab your new husband and go and have a bit of time out, just the two of you, to let it all sink it. I did this, and it is one of my clearest and most special memories from the night. We grabbed some cake, headed out to the deck and sat just the two of us for a few minutes. It was quite surreal.
Something Old? Bracelet that belonged to my great, great grandmother and was given to my sister when my Nan passed away (so it was also borrowed). My sister also wore it at her wedding.
Something New? Stunning hair clip from Stephanie Browne (along with dress/shoes/underwear…the list goes on)
Something Borrowed? My Mum’s elegant drop pearl earrings, that my sister also wore on her wedding day.
Something Blue? A little blue ribbon sewn into the lining of the bodice of my dress.
Dan’s Nanny wore it in the lining of her wedding dress and his mum wore it in the lining of her dress and then passed it on to me. It felt really special to be included in this tradition.
Florist – North St Botanical, Thornbury.
We were keen to support a local business, and from the moment we walked in, we knew North St would be perfect. Emily, the business owner, is an amazingly talented flower artist and so incredibly fun and easy to work with. She knew exactly how to create what I wanted, before I even knew what I wanted! I still buy flowers from North St regularly.
Photographer – The White Tree
I can’t put into words how thrilled we were with these guys from start to finish.
On the day, they blended in perfectly but managed to capture every moment of the day. I barely noticed them. The final images exceeded our wildest expectations, and we are constantly receiving compliments on how beautiful they are. We can’t recommend them highly enough.
Music – The White Tree
These guys were AMAZING. We received so much great feedback from our guests, they were just fantastic and created the best atmosphere the whole night.
First Dance – We took dance lessons from the very talented Julian who we found through Y Dance School in Thornbury. It was great fun, and a lovely thing to do just with Dan in the lead up to the big day.
MC – A childhood friend of Dan’s, Courtney, did a fantastic job as MC.
Celebrant – Shannon McGregor from Cloud 9 Celebrations. We LOVE Shan! We knew she was perfect from the moment we met her and she created the most beautiful, personal and unique ceremony for us. Our guests had so many kind things to say about our ceremony, that it was unlike any other ceremony they had seen before and just seemed so ‘us’.
Shannon guided us towards some beautiful readings and answered our many questions with patience and kindness. For something I’d never given much thought to (i.e. who our celebrant would be), I was amazed by how much it meant to us that she was just so great. Shan was a joy to work with.
Stationery – Chapel Press We went with the ‘Maryland’ design from Chapel Press. It took me a very long time to find an invitation I really loved but when I found this one, I felt it matched our ‘pretty and simple,’ vibe perfectly.
We also ordered place cards and a beautiful seating chart with the same theme.
Menu – In house catering at The Boulevard.
We opted for a banquet style feast, instead of an ‘alternate drop’, and this worked out incredibly well.
We had substantial ‘roaming’ finger food as an entrée, enabling us to mingle with our guests before everyone sat down.
For the main meal, we chose three dishes - a lamb, a fish and a chicken. These were presented as beautiful big platters that were delivered to the long tables, so that guests could serve themselves whatever they wanted, in the quantity they desired. Everyone got to try a little of everything, and there was no disappointment or plate swapping as there often can be with an alternate drop system. It also catered for vegetarians. It worked so well, and the food was absolutely delicious.
The service at The Boulevard was also fantastic.
Cake – Miss Ladybird Cakes
Gina is an absolute cake master! Again, we loved supporting a growing small business. We had a ‘naked cake’ which I’d spotted online. It was a three tiered sponge cake with different fillings for each tier, and there was no icing on the cake, hence the nakedness. Unlike a lot of wedding cake I’ve consumed, the cake not only looked beautiful it tasted amazing – there wasn’t one slice left over.
We ordered a gorgeous cake topper from a store on Etsy called ‘atCompanyB’. It was miniature bunting flags that said ‘happily ever after’ – adorable.
Bombonieres – None! My mum told me early on, ‘you don’t need to give people presents for coming to your wedding! They give you the presents!’ It was one of those things that magazines and blogs make you feel like you have to have, but when I thought about it, I realised we didn’t. It also freed up some budget to use elsewhere.
Hair – Paige at So Haircutters in Clifton Hill.
My hair was exactly what I wanted, first time around and stayed put all night long. She is amazing, and that’s all that needs to be said!
Make up – a close friend did my makeup, however she doesn’t provide this service commercially.
Wedding Bands – Michael Hill
Extra features – Personalised ink stamp for invitations and thank you cards – Etsy, ‘lovetocreatestamps’
Gold bangles with imprinted initials for bridesmaids – Etsy, ‘woobiebeans’
Wedding shawl – Etsy, ‘KnitwearFactory’
Personalised wooden hangers for bridesmaids – Etsy, ‘DelovelyDetails’
Bridesmaid dressing gowns – Etsy (these were a gift from a bridesmaid so unsure what store is called)
Silver cuff links embossed with ‘Father of the Bride’ – Etsy, ‘TheSilverDiva’
Thank you Cards – Wedding Paper Divas, Designer: Bird and Banner
I was able to customize our thank you cards with our favourite photos through this website. The process was stress free and affordable.
Wedding Album – Milk Photo Books
I spent many hours creating our perfect wedding album through Milk Photo Books. We took advantage of a special on the website and ordered three – one for us, one for my parents and one for Dan’s parents. The album is stunning and I’m so glad I put in the hours to create it. I was determined not to let our beautiful photos become trapped on a computer or a memory stick.