How did you meet your (now) husband? We met at a bar (I’m too embarrassed to say which one now )
How long have you been together? It will be 11 years this year
Do you have a proposal story? Andrew took me to Melbourne to celebrate my admission as a solicitor. A chauffeur picked us up from the Airport and dropped us off at the beautiful Langham Hotel. We had a gorgeous dinner at Jacques Reymond that night. Back at the hotel he got down on bended knee and proposed with diamond earrings. I’m a fusspot and he knows me well enough to leave the decision on the ring to me. I got to choose the diamonds for my engagement ring and also designed the ring. “Diamond earrings and a diamond engagement ring?!” you say? Yes, I’m a very lucky girl.
I found out from Andrew later on that he had actually called my mother a week before the proposal to ask for her permission. My mother’s English isn’t very good so it can be difficult conversing with her if you don’t understand “Bich speak” (her name is Bich). They had a lovely conversation that went for at least 10 minutes in which she said, “as long as Lillian’s happy then I’m happy,” and then she asked, “who’s this?” I cannot believe that my mother was going to marry me out to just anybody! This story still gives us and our friends stitches.
What was your wedding date? We got married at the registry in Sydney to make it legal but I consider my wedding day to be our elopement day in Versailles. This is the where we exchanged vows and rings. Our elopement day was held on our 10 year anniversary, 17 July 2014.
Location (Ceremony and Reception)
Where? Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France
What made you choose there? We both adore Paris and the idea of a ceremony in the vast greens of the gardens of Versailles was perfection. Plus, we had travelled to Versailles previously and the memory is so strong for us
How did you find it? We did a lot of research of gardens in and around Paris for elopement ceremonies. In the end we both decided that the gardens of Chateau de Versailles were the ultimate.
How was the weather on the day? We were so lucky with the weather. When we arrived in Paris the week before the ceremony it was Sydney-winter cold and raining. The day of our Paris “engagement shoot” and the elopement ceremony day was clear, warm and stunning. The day after we left Paris the storm clouds rolled in. Good thing too, because we did not have a Plan B!
What made you decide to get married on this particular date? It was a really significant day for us, being out 10 year anniversary
The Wedding Details
Theme? We had been to quite a few weddings during our engagement which, although lovely, followed a set formula. We wanted something that was absolutely not cookie-cutter. We wanted our wedding to be intimate, spectacular yet casual and to feel like a festival. With 3 events over 3 months it certainly did feel like a wedding festival!
In terms of colours, I love pink and pastels so pink and pastel-pretty colours featured in our wedding stationary (which was wonderful and created by the oh-so-talented folk at The Story of Us), our Paris adventure and our elopement party styling.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? I was on Pinterest A LOT and magazines like Hello May give you a lot of inspiration and permission to do things differently.
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? I love DIY, so much so that I started a DIY styling blog. For our elopement party I spent a year sourcing vintage-inspired fabrics and lovingly sewing all of our picnic blankets and bunting. Andrew made the chalk board photo backdrop, and my best friend drew the floral design for the chalk board. My best friend also made the 3 wedding cakes and Eiffel Tower cookies for the elopement party.
Bridal Party We didn’t have a bridal posse. The idea of organising a large wedding and coordinating a bridal party gave me hives.
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? My wedding dress was the second gown I had tried on. We went to New York shortly after becoming engaged and I was lucky enough to try on some spectacular gowns from Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue including gowns from Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier and Oscar de la Renta. I also tried on some slightly hiddy dresses from Kleinfeld Bridal just for laughs (every bride should have a Sex and the City moment). I kept comparing every dress to the Karen Willis Holmes dress and in the end that’s what I went with.
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? KAREN WILLIS HOLMES is on every bride’s list. A KAREN WILLIS HOLMES gown is like Tiffany’s – timeless, feminine and just lovely.
How many gowns did you try? So many! I tried on spectacular couture gowns which cost more than a deposit on a house, I tried on short 50s style wedding dresses, I tried on dresses with a train, dresses with capped sleeves, dresses with lace, dresses with sheer overlays and so on and so on. It’s all part of the fun of being a bride and you just don’t know what will work for your body until you step into it.
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? KAREN WILLIS HOLMES Paddington store
What did you especially like about your gown? It’s hard to tell from the pictures but the fabric is so luxe and had a really lovely texture so wearing the gown was magic. I also loved the understated simplicity of the cut and the fact that it was modern with a nod to vintage, which sums up my personal style perfectly.
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? For the elopement ceremony, Andrew wore Harrolds label tuxedo and bow tie, a custom Zegna shirt and YSL patent leather shoes.
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I wore crystal earrings from Glamadonna. Simple.
Where did you get your shoes from? Peep Toe Shoes
What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? There are absolutely no rules in planning a wedding. Plan the wedding that you and your groom want, not the one that everyone else tells you to have. If you prefer doughnuts to wedding cake, that’s totally fine. If you don’t much care for bonbonnieres, spend the money on a piñata! If you’ve ever thought about eloping, just do it! There will be tears and you will get a lot of questioning looks (some folks even directly said to us “I don’t get what you’re planning” and “why??”). At the end of the day, the people who really matter will embrace it.
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? You can’t go wrong with an elopement – we got married at the registry, at Versailles and had a party afterwards so I got to pick 3 wedding outfits. For the registry I wore a winter white cardigan and white knee length tutu with an Audrey-inspired bun. For Versailles I got to live out my princess-bride dream in the Jacqueline gown and for the elopement party I got to wear a white lace jumpsuit. I truly got to satisfy all of my wedding dress dreams!
We engaged The Story of Us very early on for our photography and videography. We’re so thankful that we did because they ended up becoming our wedding-everything. They designed our wedding stationary, took beautiful shots of our Parisian adventure and captured every sweet moment of our day in our memory film, and they styled our elopement party and supplied the beautiful blooms.
My best friend, Danielle or Sweet Agenda Cakes made our 3 wedding cakes. The cakes looked and tasted divine. We don’t even have any cake left over to eat on our anniversary!
I should also mention Restaurant Associates, the exclusive caterers for The Mint which is the venue of our elopement party. From the very beginning, they embraced what we were trying to achieve and created a custom gourmet picnic menu for our party. Also, they’re service on the night was impeccable and we had several guests remark how friendly the catering staff were.