Luke and Marina
Luke and I actually met on the internet! RSVP to be exact! There was definitely something there the very first time we met at The Big Mouth in St Kilda. He looked like a bit of a bad boy, very deep spoken and nonchalant, but then took a call from his mum while on our date! I could tell just by the way he spoke to his mum that he was a man that respected and loved women. He had a real soft side. I completely grew to love this warm hearted, quiet, beautiful man – (with a taste for punk music, Japan and motorcycles!) and we moved in together a year later. He really is an amazing man and I’m an incredibly lucky woman!
Luke proposed exactly like I knew he would. He is a laid back and no-fuss kind of man (very much like myself), and he knew I probably would have freaked out if the proposal was over the top! It was a Friday night, and I called him to say I was running late from work, and would see him at home. I walked in, and Luke pushed a bunch of roses at me – I was immediately suspicious!! Then he led me to the lounge room, and he had set up candles, a bottle of champagne and music in the background and a little stool in the middle on the room for me to sit on!! And then I saw the little black box on the table. That’s when I started hyperventilating and saying ‘Oh my God, now honey now? This is happening now? But I’m not even dressed properly and my hair is all wet from the rain.’ Needless to say I was also already crying. By this stage Luke was holding out the ring saying ‘Is that a yes honey?’ to which I replied, ‘But you haven’t asked me yet!!’ So he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and I replied yes! Then there were a lot of happy tears and hugs and we managed to keep it to ourselves for about 10 minutes – before I got on the phone for the next 2 hours to tell everyone!! We had the most amazing dinner that night, at our favourite restaurant the Carlisle Wine Bar and celebrated with oysters, prawns and red wine!
I saw my wedding dress before we’d even got engaged. It was a Nicola Finetti dress in the Myer Autumn catalogue, and Jennifer Hawkins was wearing it. I knew straight away that it was what I wanted and tore out the page and secretly stored it away … just in case! Only a month later we were engaged! (we had talked about it for some time, so I knew it was coming soon!). I hadn’t seen anything like the dress before, the simplicity and uniqueness of the dress and the beautiful sleeves sold me! I went straight to the store a few days later, and they didn’t have my size!! But there was one left in Sydney, so I paid for it and had it sent to me, luckily it mostly fit! Enter the best alterations women on the planet, Maria and Chris from Snippity Snip in Hawthorn, and over a period of 3 months they nipped, tucked and stitched the dress to be completely mine. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect dress, it really was a dream to wear, and it meant that I never even stepped into a bridal shop! I always knew I wanted a vintage themed wedding, and the dress was so easy to match the vintage pearls, crystals and veil to. In the end it couldn’t have been anything else and made me feel like an old screen movie star the whole day!
My necklace was from Mimco. Other jewellery from Diva.
The bridesmaid’s dresses were bought from a little chain store called Vivid Wear, on Bridge Rd, on our very first shopping expedition! It was the last store we looked in and the colour was perfect. The last three dresses left were exactly the sizes we needed. It was meant to be! The actual dresses were just strapless and knee length. The idea for the shawls came when I spoke to my girlfriend Amey (who also made my veil), as we were flicking through some bridal magazines. We saw a similar shawl over the top of a wedding dress and I told her I loved it, to which she enthusiastically replied “I can make that!”. So we bought some beautiful matching lace, and more of the same dress material (for a collar) and she made 3 stunning shawls for the girls! We all loved them! We finished the outfit off with shoes from Novo.
I designed our wedding invites, menus, order of service, favour bags and name tags myself.
The flowers were by Linda at Flowers on Board in St Kilda East. I was wearing a little piece of every grandmother with me. My hair clip was Luke’s maternal grandmother’s, and I tied a garter from Luke’s other grandmother around my bouquet. Two brooches belonging to my grandmothers were pinned to it.
There were lots of special moments through the day, like eating traditional Sri Lankan treats while me and the girls had our hair and makeup done and having a traditional ‘toasting of the bride’ at my parents’ house with close family, before leaving for the ceremony.
I always wanted to have the ceremony in a garden, and we loved the intimacy and beauty of the Temple of the Winds Rotunda at the Fitzroy Gardens. The ceremony itself was intimate and very personal, and Catherine who is my friend Liz’s Mum and also our celebrant, did a great job getting parts of the family involved and also made special mention of Luke’s grandmother, Mattie, who was the only grandparent able to be at the wedding. She was thrilled!
The day was very emotional for both our families – there were a lot of happy tears! I walked down the aisle to Louis Armstrong’s ‘La Vie En Rose’ and cried for most of the way down! Music has always been a big part of our relationship, and at the wedding we wanted people to feel emotionally involved through the music too. We had the Dirty Three’s ‘Obvious is Obvious’ and Akron Family’s ‘Love is Simple’ play while we signed the registry, and Nina Simone’s ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ to walk to down the aisle after we were married. The most important song for us was the one we did our first dance to – Nick Cave’s ‘Into My Arms’. His music has always been a part of our relationship and the song said everything we wanted. You could here a pin drop, and it felt absolutely amazing.
We wanted to have a wedding that was very genuine and real and unique to us. Once we heard that the Mountain Goat Brewery was available, we knew we were on the way! We have both enjoyed a few nights there with friends, and really loved the feeling of the venue, not to mention the amazing beer! We envisioned the reception as looking like a garden party, only inside a brewery, and that’s exactly what it looked like!
With the help of Luke’s family, the entire brewery was decked out in flowers and foliage – which our amazing florist Linda from Flowers on Board had supplied. There were bunches of King Proteas, Seedpods, off white Roses, orange Orchids, English Box Hedge and a bevy of other foliage. I had collected vintage silverware, mismatched plates, glass bottles and candles over the months leading up to the wedding, and they were all set up down the centre of the long tables, along with pharmaceutical style brown bottles, filled with flowers and foliage.
We also used the lace from my mum’s own wedding dress as a tablecloth on the guest table (seen here beneath the vintage plates).
We enjoyed delicious cupcakes from Little Cupcakes instead of wedding cake, and served them alongside our dessert petit fours. The favors were wedding cake in little bags which doubled as name tags. The entire family cut, mixed and packed the cake!
Photography by Natalie Davies additional editing by Marina Vanstan
Ms Gingham says: “Thank you to Marina and Luke for sharing their beautiful and unique wedding with us on Polka Dot Bride. It’s such a great idea to look outside of the traditional bridal boutiques for your dress. Marina’s dress is stunning!”
Marina says: “It was the absolute best day of our lives, and we felt incredibly blessed to be surrounded by so many great family and friends. Most of all, we felt lucky enough to have found each other!”