How did you meet your partner? The story I like to tell? We met at the Polo in Brisbane. The truth: We met 6 months earlier at the races but I didn’t remember. Later, when I was introduced to a particularly handsome guy at the polo, I was particularly pleased with myself, only to have him say 'We’ve already met'. I was mortified, but equally happy he didn’t hold that faux pas against me!
How long have you been together? 5 years
Do you have a proposal story? I took Nick away to Tasmania for his birthday- he hijacked it with a proposal.
What was your wedding date? 21st April 2017
Ceremony Location? Originally Fitzroy Gardens, but Melbourne weather decided not to come to the party. Instead, we moved the ceremony to the theatre space at FortyFive Downstairs. It was equally beautiful (and dry!)
What made you choose there? Since we relocated to Melbourne four years ago Nick and I have always loved the beautiful parks around the city.
How did you find it? Wandering through the gardens on a wintery Sunday last year, we both just loved the spot.
Reception Location? FortyFive Downstairs, Flinders Lane
What made you choose there? I instantly fell in love with the space - not only how quintessentially Melbourne it is, but the variety it offers for an event- there is the incredible, art gallery upstairs with its classic timber floors, crisp white walls, and clean lines and then there is the downstairs theatre with those incredible high ceilings and pressed tin roof and the gorgeous arch brick windows. When I showed it to Nick he agreed- it just felt like the perfect canvas for us to create an event that was not only perfectly 'us' but also a great opportunity to show off Melbourne to our friends and family. Nick is originally from Sydney and I am from Brisbane so the majority of our guests flew in for the wedding. For this reason, we wanted to give them a flavor of our home in Melbourne!
How did you find it? I found it while getting my morning coffee one day.
How was the weather on the day? Terrible! The forecast changed every 12 hours for the 5 days leading up to the event. It was scheduled to be sunny and 24 until Thursday evening when it changed, and poured rain for 24 hours! We were initially disappointed but, in the end, hosting the ceremony inside in the theatre space was ideal. Our guests were able to drink their champagne far earlier than expected and all was well!
Was there a reason you decided to get married on this date? Given the lion’s share of our guests traveled from interstate or overseas to celebrate with us, we had always loved the idea of a Friday wedding to give our guests a long weekend away and the opportunity to enjoy Melbourne. We hosted a recovery on the Saturday (to keep the party going!).
Theme? Our colour palette was very moody and autumnal. For years I have loved the depth offered by marsala/ plum coloured florals and wanted to pair that back with a lot of local foliage, gold accents and a hint of hydrange a blue. The main aim for us stylistically, was to really juxtapose the stark white walls and industrial feel of the venue space with decadent florals, foliage alongside rich food and wine. We also used a lot of colour throughout our food- particularly the feasting table- it was dripping in grapes and figs. For us, when we thought about that colour scheme, it felt instantly cozy and warming ... like you just want to settle in with good food, wine and good company - that is the feeling we wanted our guests to share!
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? For us, the styling started from a discussion about the feelings and emotions we wanted the day to evoke- both for us, and for our guests. I drove a lot of the styling myself. It’s always been a passion of mine, so I really enjoyed the process (May have driven my husband nuts!). When we sat down together to discuss what we was important to us about the day, and both came back with similar answers, centred around the people we love, beautiful, quality local food and wine, warmth, dancing, laughter, and love, I took that and created a mood board (Pinterested up a storm!). When I brought that back to Nick, he loved it and said to run with it. Given the event was in Autumn, in Melbourne and Nick and I are both red wine lovers, the colour palette just fell into place from there.
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? My gorgeous mum made our wedding cake. In my family, the matriarchs have always been bakers. For years my grandmother would make each of her 5 kids a huge Christmas cake that the family would all share. My mum has recently taken over doing that and, when we shared Christmas with Nick and his mum Anne a few years ago, they both adored the cake too. So it just seemed like a lovely sentimental nod to our families and memories we have. Nick and my Dad constructed the arbour we were married under. I hand painted and then calligraphed our seating chart and also the combined menu and place cards.
Bridesmaids – who/relationship? Amy, Laura and Tanya. I have known Amy and Laura since we were 12. We went to high school together and are all a part of a larger group of 13 incredible women who are still incredibly close after 18 years. Tanya and I met at College of Law in Brisbane. We then went on to coincidentally work as graduate Lawyers together and become great friends. When she and her fiancé also moved to Melbourne around 2 years ago, we became even closer!
Groomsmen – who/relationship?
Best Man- Marcus. Nick’s brother
Groomsmen - Chris and Dan. Nick has gone through the same Primary School, High School and University with these boys. All three of them also worked as graduates at Macquarie Bank together in Sydney. Nick and Dan we Groomsmen for Chris years ago and they will all also be groomsmen Dan at his wedding in Spain in July 2017.
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
Pru looked stunning in her custom Aubrey gown from the BESPOKE collection.
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I was strolling down High St. and, although I had momentarily taken a break from wedding dress shopping, I saw a beautiful gown in the window and decided to pop in. From there I found the Aubrey and never looked back!
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? KWH gowns are stunning. I had been following the Instagram and loving everything but I hadn’t seen incredible Aubrey until I went in store and had a consultation.
How many gowns did you try? Too many! I found shopping for a gown quite an arduous process, if I’m honest. I live away from my family so I first went with one of my beautiful bridesmaids, Tanya. We spent the entire day trying on dresses and I was so incredibly underwhelmed! I think lace and detailed gowns are utter perfection, but I personally felt “wrong” in them. I was very keen to find something classic, that focused on clean lines and the female silhouette. That was surprisingly difficult to find! I also spent some time shopping in Sydney and Hong Kong while travelling for work- to no avail! Finally, I went looking on my own one day and I popped into KWH Armadale. I didn’t have an appointment but the lovely girls gave me a time to come back and Aubrey was the first dress I saw, tried in on and instantly felt my stomach flip. It was an incredible feeling to put on something and feel simultaneously so like myself, and yet an enhanced version of myself (let’s be honest, a sucked-in–in-the-right-place and pushed-up-in-the-right-place version!) The dress was originally A line with a more romantic sleeve, so I worked with Kim to pin it and customize the shoulder detail and the skirt of the dress and I was in love!
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? KWH Armadale
What did you especially like about your gown? Can I say everything? For me, the sweeping low back was what originally caught my eye. I find low back gowns so incredibly elegant yet sexy at the same time. I also loved the long sleeves- I had been searching high and low for a classic sleeved gown without lace- enter Aubrey! My key requests when customizing the gown were to have a structured peak shoulder (I have always adored this look...even when shoulderpads were most certainly NOT the done thing!) and a figure hugging skirt silhouette. The work Kim did on the bottom half of the dress was nothing short of artistic. Her work showcases how remarkable quality tailoring can be, particularly on female curves. I felt divine in it!
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Aurelio Costarella.
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? Nick- Givenchy. Groomsmen: Hired from Studio Red in Fitzroy. Our groomsmen all flew in from overseas (Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and London respectively) so purchasing suits and tailoring was out of the question in advance. Thus, we searched high and low in Melbourne for a hire company who provides beautiful quality 100% wool tuxuedos. Studio Red was superb to work with and made what could have been a last minute disaster, a seamless process for us!
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? My earrings were Tiffany pearls. They were the first gift Nick ever gave me and I wear them most days. My necklace was Mimco. I also sourced my bridesmaides’ earrings and shoes from Mimco.
Where did you get your shoes from? Alexander McQueen, from Miss Louise on Collins Street.
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? I chose to let the stunning back of the Aubrey gown speak for itself.
What advice would you give brides organising their wedding? Firstly, I would say to sit down with your partner at the very outset of the planning and list the 3-5 things that are most important to you both about the wedding. Whenever discussions get tense or you feel overwhelmed or lost, come back to those key things. In the end, the details of the day are beautiful but it’s how you feel, and how you make each other feel that matters- staying true to those key aims, will help make that a reality.
Secondly, surround yourself with people who know how to handle you on the morning of the wedding!!! People who calm you down and know how to make you laugh. My Dad gave me a beautiful letter from Nick right when a huge downpour of rain started and that really put theday into perspective for me!
Third- have a beautiful bottle of champagne to share with your bridesmaids and family while getting ready. My gorgeous sister in law gave me that advice (and a beautiful bottle!) and it takes the edge off!
Fourth- AIR KISS! I know it sounds absurd, but 100 x congratulatory kisses, beards, grandmothers wiping lipstick off your cheek- the two hours’ worth of contouring sorcery your makeup artist did is gone, gone gone! Finally, have a friend who carries your emergency pack- party feet, double sided tape, mints and concealer! You can thank me later!
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Be true to yourself and your style...and don’t be disheartened if it you can’t find it straight away! I hear so many women let mothers/ mothers-in-law convince them of what they should/ shouldn’t wear. In the end, it is about feeling beautiful in your own skin on the day. A dress that aids and enhances that feeling is what you need!
Secondly, if it doesn’t feel right trying it on, don’t think it will with the right hair/ makeup/suck in pants. You want to be comfortable enough to enjoy yourself, to have champagne, to dance and to eat the incredible food you spent hours deliberating over!
Photographer – John Warren – Warren Photography
Florist – Flawless Flowers, Prahran
Videographer – Marcus Theodore – C2 (Best in the business. Both the short film we received and the longer film C2 produced for us have taken our breath away. They were a pleasure to work with).
Music - Leah, Zweck, Solo Violinist (ceremony) The White Tree Band. If our dance floor was anything to go by, this band is incredible!
First Dance - Oasis, Wonderwall
MC - Oscar Oberg, Oscar is our close friend.
Celebrant - Janet Hussey
Stationery - Designed by Pru, printed by Paperlust
Menu - Ed Dixon Food Design. Throughout our planning process, I worked closely with Sarah Bolitho at Ed Dixon. I couldn’t have hoped for a more accommodating, understanding and efficient supplier to work with. She made every step of the process a pleasure- both in the planning and on the day. We wanted to create a luscious, warm table vibe that showcased the incredible food and wine Melbourne has to offer. We chose a customized version of EDFD’s Chef’s menu and the food was utterly superb. Sarah also worked with us to produce a wine list that ran rings around any we had seen elsewhere. I had a vision of a decadent, candle and flower filled feasting table for our canapés and the EDFD chefs worked tirelessly with me to make that a reality! It took my breath away when I first saw it. Do yourself a favour and try their truffle filled brie!
Cake - My Mum, Judy.
Bombonieres - NA
Hair + Make up - Love Co ( This incredible local beauty company are an absolute dream. I was lucky enough to have the two directors- Trish and Mehrium work on me and I couldn’t have been happier. The seriously work magic! It helps that they are both so lovely too!)
Wedding Bands - I wore Nick’s paternal grandmother’s wedding ring. She wore it through 54 years of happy marriage. Nick and I both adore it as it now has two dates engraved inside: 30th May 1947 and 21st April 2017 Nick wears a band by Trewarne Jewellers in Melbourne. They also designed my engagement ring.