Emily & Villiame
I love when a couple decides vehemently on the feeling they want for the day and go forth and make it happen. Emily and Villiame decided a relaxed, bright winery wedding was just their style. They infused Villiame’s Fijian heritage, created a space where each guest felt involved and generally created a day that was truly reflective of them. Sarah Godenzi Photography was there to capture it all.
Of how they met, Emily tells, “We had known each other for about eight years through our work however had both been in relationships for most of that time. It was about three years ago when things changed for both of us and the timing was right. We had both always really admired and respected one another and never dreamt that we would end up marrying one another!”
The wedding was a weekend celebration, Emily explaining, “We hired two houses down on the Mornington Peninsula because we wanted our wedding to be about quality time with friends and family and not just a moment that comes and goes. The night before our wedding about 25 of our friends and family all came together for a BBQ which was so much fun; I fell asleep that night feeling relaxed and excited about the day ahead. I then spent the morning getting ready with a household of family and my dearest friends, there was so much laughter and everyone was so genuinely happy which set the scene for what was truly the happiest day of my life.”
Of the wedding style, Emily tells, “Our main aim was to create a day where people felt relaxed and included. We moved 12 hours away from our family and friends the year leading up to our wedding, so we wanted it to be a day of connecting with all the people we love. It was important to us that the wedding honoured Vil’s Fijian heritage so we made sure we included mats and tapa cloths, traditional dress for our speeches and fans, which came in handy given it was such a hot day! The style of the reception evolved from the venue we picked, it was beautifully simple, down to earth and open so we wanted the theming to be bright which is what inspired the choice of flowers.”
Emily found her wedding gown at Anna Campbell , she remarks, “Living where we do, meant that I had to do a lot of research online and I fell in love with Anna Campbell dresses and knew that her dresses were within in my budget. When we went back to Melbourne for the holidays Anna Campbell was the first and only shop I went to. I tried on three dresses and within 40 minutes had bought my dress. It was so incredibly stress free and the staff were fantastic.”
The couple chose The Pig and Whistle Main Ridge for their marriage ceremony, Emily noting, “After finding our reception venue, we went on the hunt for a venue for our ceremony, somewhere outdoors with the facilities for people to be able to stay and have a drink before the reception. We went with the Pig and Whistle in Main Ridge as there was a quiet garden area overlooking the vineyards.”
Before the bride arrived, the guests blessed the rings, and Villiame remembers, “In that moment they all gave a few silent thoughts of well wishes & blessings for us. I watched the wedding rings go around the family and friends & as it made its way around to my close mates a few of them looked at me and mouthed to me “ are you sure” I nodded and had a laugh. A few of the lads pretended to throw the rings as far as they could. In all of that before those cheeky blokes passed on those rings I saw them take about 0.2 seconds to reflect & send off some sort of positive energy for us. It was awesome.”
“Our flower girls were Em’s goddaughters Jahli and Taya, and they captured everyone’s hearts as they walked down the aisle. They loved their special role so much that they decided to sit at our feet throughout the ceremony! ”
The processional had an unexpected overwhelming effect on the bride. “We had trouble picking this song! We had a few shortlisted but we chose “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk as the lyrics really summed up what that moment was all about. As predicted Em got about three steps down the aisle and the water works began, doubled over in a combination of tears and laughter.”
Dain Fay, Aurora Ceremonies officiated the ceremony, Villiame telling, “Our close friend Dain Fay was our celebrant and because he had known both of us for 10 years was able to add such a personalized and intimate understanding throughout the formalities.
We wanted a spiritual feel to be present at our ceremony. We wanted it to be shared with our family & friends in a way that was open & created some though around the significance of marriage. It was made even more special because my second dad Alvin Knight shared a scripture reading and 10 points of how to best take on this adventure. Throughout the ceremony we had bright & colourful traditional Fijian mats and tapa clothes on the ground were we stood. Traditionally they are gifts from the family to the newlyweds.”
“We had a very special scripture reading from one of Vil’s family friends, which highlighted 10 intricate steps of a happy marriage.”
Villiame remembers, “Obviously when Em walked down the aisle I was speechless and it didn’t feel real. She is the best thing that has happened to me. But the cool moment was when a bunch of our Coonamble friends rocked up at the same time as Em. They were obviously late because they went to the Dandenong venue instead of the Dromana venue. They would’ve picked a few speeding fines on the way, to make the ceremony on time. But seeing them walk in after Em just symbolised the support & friends you make when you take a chance and go on an adventure. They are family now. It also just reminded me that Em & I are a great team.”
Of their photographer, Emily notes, “The photographer Sarah Godenzi was so professional, warm & made every process before and after the big day so easy and stress free. She has been a family friend of Vil from primary school through to high school. Vil always spoke of Sarah with great regard and knew that her personality would just mean that on our special day she would be able to capture every moment and make it seamless.
Most of the meetings that took place with Sarah prior to the wedding were filled with laughter and minimum time on the wedding planning. She was able to feel what we wanted and was confident that she would support us in creating that. Neither of us are big fans of having our photo taken but Sarah made us feel so comfortable however in looking back at the photos, she so perfectly captured the joy, laughter and love we experienced on the day.”
Courtney Barton Floral Design created bright floral arrangements for the day in tones of red, orange and vivid yellow.
The newlyweds chose Trofeo Estate for their reception celebrations, noting, “As soon as we walked into Trofeo Estate in Dromana, we knew that was the reception venue for us! The room had the exact feel we were looking for and then when we met with the manager Lori, she sealed the deal for us. She knew her stuff, was genuine and we could have a good laugh.”
Each guests received a a handmade wedding favors, Emily telling, “I handmade all the wedding favours for our guests which were little ceramic pots which we planted succulents in. I hadn’t done ceramics since high school so safe to say they were made with love but very little talent! ”
Emily and Villiame made the wedding cake together, telling, “The major project we tackled was that Vili and I (with the help of our gorgeous flower girls) made our own cake. A couple of packet mix mud cakes and some cream and berries and safe to say we were pretty proud of how it turned out.” A friend made a tower of cupcakes.
Villiame’s Fijian heritage was honoured again during the reception, the groom remembering “For a small part of the reception Em & I did get dressed in traditional Fijian clothes. In doing this it just meant that Em & her family are now part of the bigger extended Fijian family. All of my Fijian family are so proud to have Emily in the family. The traditional connection was so easy & awesome to bring into the wedding because it’s something I feel very proud of (my Fijian heritage) & Em has come to understand and love it.”
Of their first dance, Emily remembers, “Our first dance was pretty amusing. We picked Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and it all started out beautifully, looking into each other’s eyes, lost in the moment and then I’m not entirely sure what came over Vil. It was like he thought he was Usher and he started pumping and grinding anyone around him. This then inspired our two dad’s to start dancing together, my Dad grabbed Vil’s Dad on the bottom and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the evening.”
Bianco Latte surprised guests with a late night gelati treat, Em remarking, “It was tricky at times planning a wedding from interstate however the whole planning process overall was pretty straight forward for us. We know the feel we wanted to create but we didn’t have our hearts set on anything in particular in the lead up so enjoyed exploring different places, meeting great people and letting the plan evolve as we went. Everyone we worked with from the venues, photographer, band, florist and gelati cart (Bianco Latte) were accommodating, relaxed and so friendly to work with, our day wouldn’t have been so enjoyable without them!”
Congratulations on your marriage Emily and Villiame! Thank you for sharing your day with us. Thank you to Sarah Godenzi Photography for sharing today’s wedding!