Stefania and Nile fell in love- but this love story took a while. Nile knew he had found something special the moment he laid eyes on Stefania. For Stefania, it took a little longer to be convinced to go on a date with Nile. Once she finally accepted his invitation, it became one of the most pivotal decisions of her life. She fell for Nile & 2 years later they tied the knot, in their beloved city of Melbourne. They exchanged vows in Xavier Chapel, where Nile went to school, had in-between cocktails for the bridal party at The Everleigh followed by an extraordinary black-tie party for their friends and family at Movida Aqui. Every detail of this wedding was carefully thought through and delivered with perfection- oozing an abundance of style and vintage glamour- perfectly reflecting the couples colourful personalities.
How did you meet your (now) husband?
Nile and I technically worked together – but we did different types of law and sat on different floors so we actually had very little to do with each other – that said, I really enjoyed his performance of Gangnam style (complete with enthusiastic dance moves) at the firm karaoke competition.
One day, he asked me out for coffee. He was more junior than me at work and (shock!) younger so I presumed he just wanted to be friends. We had some mutual friends so we started spending some time together – mainly going out on a Friday night and always ending up at FAD Gallery having way too many gin and tonics.
Then he actually asked me out properly – and I said no. I was convinced it wouldn’t work out. Nile was convinced it would work out – so he continued to ask. I was impressed by his persistence and confidence – but I continued to say no.
A few months later, I somehow came to my senses (probably helped by all our mutual friends encouraging the union) and gave him a chance. I am so incredibly happy that I did.
How long have you been together?It was 3 days short of 2 years when we were married. When you know, you know.
Do you have a proposal story?
All Nile wanted was for the proposal to be a surprise. I am a ‘planner’ so this was an especially hard ask. To his credit – he really had me believing we wouldn’t get engaged for at least another year.
One ordinary Friday night, we had a delightful dinner with friends and Nile suggested we go to our favourite haunt – The Everleigh – for a couple of dry martinis. The martinis hit the table and I had just finished saying ‘This place is my idea of heaven’ when Nile put a little black box on the table. I was in complete shock – I thought it was maybe a present for something else. But Nile looked so incredibly excited I realized what was happening – and didn’t know whether I was crying or laughing with excitement. It was simply perfect.
What made you choose there?
I always wanted to get married in a church and knew it would mean so much to my Dad. Nile knew it meant so much to me and agreed – but asked that we get married at Xavier where he went to school. I was very happy to get married at Xavier as a number of my cousins have been married there so it was special to me too.
We only had six months to plan our wedding and so we knew a lot of venues would have already been booked. We had decided that the thing we wanted most out of our wedding was to throw one epic party for our favourite people – so we decided to have a cocktail reception – which also gave us some greater choice with venues.
I had organised a few work Christmas functions for around 130 people at Movida Aqui and they couldn’t have gone better. Nile had never been so I took him there for dinner and introduced him to the food and the people – and Nile was immediately convinced. Andy and the team are simply the best. The food and drinks were spectacular and everyone said they had never received better service at a wedding – the waiters even joined us all on the dancefloor!
How was the weather on the day? Not too hot and not too cold – just right
What made you decide to get married on this particular date?
We actually only had one day we could get married. When we became engaged, my father was unfortunately battling terminal cancer. We decided we wanted to get married in six months as then he could hopefully be at the wedding. To add extra complication, in about six months I was about to start a long-running trial. I asked my boss if I could take a week off to get married – and luckily the one day that suited us was the one day in March that Xavier chapel wasn’t already booked out!
The Wedding Details
Theme (if any – colours, features, etc.)?
We both love art deco – so that sort of style definitely inspired us in a number of our choices – from our outfits, to the invitations and the rings. That said, more importantly, we just wanted all of our loved ones to look their most fantastic and then show them an amazing time. So we decided to make the flowers and the venue look elegant but bright and make the event ‘Black Tie Invited’ – which was our polite way of saying ‘Wear a tux – but if you don’t have a tux, just wear something fantastic!’
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? I think Nile poured his heart and soul into our wedding playlist by hand-picking every song (and song order) for the whole night, if that counts?
Bridesmaids – who/relationship?
Pia & Kate – two of my oldest and dearest friends from Perth. Sarah – my lovely Cousin & Paul (my bridesman) – one of my favourite men, I was his best lady when he was married
Groomsmen – who/relationship? Matt H – one of Nile’s oldest family friends. Gerard, Matt and Harry – Nile’s best pals from Xavier
Flower girls/Page boys – who/relationship? Emily & Evie – Pia’s 2 yr old twin girls & Olivia – Sarah’s little girl
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I wanted a classically elegant gown that didn’t cost the earth. Nile wanted me to look like Michelle Pfieffer from Scarface – but potentially slightly more church appropriate. I spoke to a couple of girls from work and they suggested Karen Willis Holmes would be perfect!
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? One of my friends from Sydney – who has also recently been featured on your website – bought her dress from KWH and it was simply stunning.
How many gowns did you try? About 4 – but I think I knew the 'Aster' was the one from the start.
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? High Street – Armadale
What did you especially like about your gown? The 'Aster' just sits so beautifully – it is perfectly made to drape over curves. It also met the most important criteria – I knew I could dance up a storm wearing it!
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier?
I was at a wedding a while ago and one of the bridesmaids was wearing a gorgeous navy blue full length dress. When it came to choose the bridesmaids dresses, I asked where it came from, and found out it was from Zimmermann.
The girls and I went shopping one day and went to Zimmermann first off. Completely unexpectedly the girls all loved the dress I had first seen and asked if they could all wear the same one. The whole experience took half an hour, everyone was happy and we had plenty of time for coffee and cake afterward.
I also had a bridesman so he hired a tuxedo from Prinzi in a slightly different style to the groomsmen. He only came into Melbourne from Perth the night before the wedding and the team at Prinzi were able to have him suited even with no time to spare.
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits?
Nile’s favourite place in Melbourne is P Johnson Tailors. He has had clothes made by P Johnson before and they always turned out perfectly – so there was no doubt he would go there to get his tuxedo made. His tux ended up being so perfect he basically hasn’t taken it off since the wedding! Nile’s main accessory was an elegant “Mr Lincoln” red rose from Vasette. He loved it so much he has been ordering them for every black tie occasion since.
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party?
I already had this lovely pair of vintage earrings I found on Johnston Street in Fitzroy – and they worked perfectly with the dress. A little bit of sparkle but not too much. I have to confess that I told my bridemaids to wear whatever they felt like – they all have fantastic taste, so I didn’t really need to worry about it.
Where did you get your shoes from?
Georgie’s Bridal Shoes in Perth. This is an amazing little store in Perth that has shoes and bags for weddings in every colour imaginable. The owner knows everything about colour – I suggested my dress was white and the owner looked at the photo and was able to tell it was ivory straight away. Even without seeing the dress in person, the shoes were a perfect match.
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? I actually bought a headpiece from a lovely store in Perth but in the end decided not to wear it – the Aster gown was already so decadent I don’t think it needed much else!
What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? Your wedding day is the best – but there is a lot to do – much more than you will ever realise. Set up a task list and try to do a few things each month and all will be well.
On a more fun note, we took our bridal party to The Everleigh for some cocktails and snacks between the ceremony and reception. It was a really lovely part of the day and I would recommend a cocktail break to everyone!
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Decide how much you want to spend first – and then only go look at dresses that are within your price range. There is no point falling in love with a million dollar dress!
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day.
My dad being able to be at the wedding was the most special part of our day.
He passed away only 5 months after the wedding and it is so special to remember how happy he was that day. My favourite photo of him is the one of him sitting with his brother and laughing his raucous laugh during the speeches.
On a lighter note – the funniest would be the flower girls. Pia had warned us that having 2 year olds as flower girls could have its complications. Nile told Pia that if the twins behaved he would be disappointed. The twins didn’t disappoint. Evie planted like a Labrador and refused to walk down the aisle despite the coaching of her father. Emily took a more direct approach and sprinted down the aisle screaming and crying. Olivia then took the stage and walked down the aisle like a perfect angel. All I could hear from outside the church was everyone erupting into fits of laughter – it was the perfect start to the ceremony.
Something Old? Vintage earrings.
Something New? The dress!
Something Borrowed? Do the hair pins from the hairdresser count?
Something Blue? Thank the Lord for that little blue ribbon sewn into the back of every Karen Willis Holmes gown.
Florist – Vasette
Vasette is our local florist and we buy flowers for the house there every weekend. It is such a wonderful happy group of people who are so unbelievably talented at their jobs. Nicholas (Head of Weddings) knows how to turn a vision into a beautiful reality. He did the flowers for our engagement party as well – and everything Nicholas has done for us ends up being just perfect.
Photographer –It's Beautiful Here
Kat and Scout were perfect. They are the sort of people you just want to spend time with – and made us feel so relaxed. We are so grateful for the beautiful photos they took – the shots of all the fun on the dancefloor are phenomenal. We loved them so much that one of Nile’s groomsmen just used Kat and Scout for his wedding!
Music - DJ Josh – Rutherford Entertainment
DJ Josh was great on the night. We both love dancing and so spent hours coming up with our perfect playlist. DJ Josh was more than happy to put our wish for a fantastic dancefloor into action.
First Dance – A fantastic medley created by Nile – Let’s Stay Together / Let’s Get Married Remix / Happy ;)
MC – Our friends Matt and Lucy J
Celebrant – Father Chris Gleeson
He went to school with my uncle so it was lovely to have a family connection. Father Chris was just great and totally relaxed – he was really happy for us to choose readings and music that meant something to us and did a wonderful homily where he spoke about the importance of gratitude in our lives.
Stationery – Paperless Post
We wanted a clean and simple design for our invitations and we found just the thing from Paperless Post. We sent electronic Save the Dates but when it was time for the paper invitations, Paperless Post wasn’t yet delivering in Australia. Luckily we were able to ship the invitations to Nile’s Dad in L.A. and then to Australia – but we believe they are delivering to Australia now!
Menu – Movida Aqui
Andy and his team created an amazing selection of food and drinks within our budget. Everything at Movida Aqui is delicious so we didn’t have a worry in the world when it came to the food. In addition, given that we love cocktails – we also had Sangria and Spanish Iced Tea cocktails on arrival, gin and tonics –and then later, bottles of Scotch and rounds of Pedro’s Negronis (a negroni with a coffee and sherry twist - a massive crowd pleaser!) with dessert.
Cake – Fig & Salt
Cassandra made us the most gorgeous cake. It was three layers and three different flavours – so even our gluten free friends could enjoy the deliciousness.
Hair – Gypsy and the Wolf
Kate is my usual hairdresser and knows exactly how to create a gorgeous vintage look. She is also one of the most relaxed people alive which makes her a wonderful addition to a wedding morning.
Make up - Livia Milazzo
I met Livia through Kate and she was amazing. Livia is such a talent and completely understands what look you want to go for.
Wedding Bands – Rutherford
The team at Rutherford Antiques were wonderful to deal with. They helped Nile with the proposal ring and then we went back and found my antique art deco engagement ring there. They also made Nile’s gorgeous rose gold wedding band – and then managed to track us down an antique art deco wedding band that goes so perfectly with the engagement ring it looks like they were made for each other.
Transport – Classic and Prestige Car Hire
We hired some 1960s white Rolls Royce Silver Clouds from Classic and Prestige Car Hire. The cars were immaculate and, perhaps even more importantly, the service from the drivers on the day was excellent.