Anna & Murray
When Murray and I started to plan our wedding, we knew we wanted to marry at a venue without limitations – so we could eat and drink what we wanted on the night, plus it needed to be somewhere that would allow a DIY approach! So finding a space we could bring everything into was the first challenge.
I grew up just down the road from Anderson’s Mill, plus my older sister had been married there two years before, and it was truly the most beautiful wedding I had ever seen. So not only was the venue beautiful, it was special to us, and provided the most rustic, incredible blank canvas for us to bring in everything and design the wedding we wanted!
How did I decide upon my dress?! As a gown designer, from the beginning I knew that I needed more than one dress, mainly because I love so many different looks and finishes, and I knew I would never be able to choose! Additional to that, I knew that the dress I wanted to create for the ceremony was going to be so heavily embellished, that I would need to change into something lighter for the reception!
However, we had been designing new patterns at work, and I really wanted to use them, however they took much longer than expected to perfect. So six weeks out from the wedding, I didn’t even have one dress let alone four!
In the end, I designed and created four dresses. While they were all different, they each incorporated luxury silk and lace fabrics, as well as an element of hand-beaded embellishment.
My first dress was worn to our first look at Lavendula, a beautiful lavender farm with open grasslands and sprawling lavender fields. I wanted a free-moving dress that flowed beautifully over the lavender fields, but that was still sparkly and special enough to be the first dress Murray saw me in.
I walked down the aisle to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’; it was the moment I had always dreamed of, and I wanted to be wearing something truly incredible and sparkly, so I created my ceremony dress with thousands of shimmering beads. Knowing how the dress would sparkle under the vintage lights of the barn, I couldn’t resist being embellished head to toe!
My third dress, worn upon arrival at the reception and for our sunset photos, was very fitted and intricately beaded, with gorgeous off the shoulder tulle sleeves. Although I was nervous to wear the fitted, mermaid shape, it created the most incredible silhouette, and it ended up being my and Murray’s favourite!
The final dress was always designed to be my party dress! It was very simple, made of a soft Japanese lace, with an embellished belt detail. It was so much lighter than all of the other dresses, and so fun to dance in!
Murray only had two outfits! Kate and Laura at Briggins were absolutely incredible, and they helped Murray and his five groomsmen to select the perfect suits and shirts. I think they looked pretty fabulous – Murray particularly! They even made a suit for my Dad at the very last minute!
The ceremony, and walking down the aisle, is the moment that plays over and over in your head from when you get engaged to when it happens, and it was more special and overwhelming than I could have ever imagined.
Even though we had a first look, having all of my girls and Mum around me while I put on my incredible beaded dress was amazing! Having Dad by my side was so special too – the whole thing was an absolute whirlwind! I was so excited, I remember it just being a little fuzzy for a few moments, before I could even focus on Murray at the end of the aisle!
We had so many DIY details! From the start, not only did I want to have our wedding in an impossible space, I also wanted to do all of the flowers and cakes myself. My very wise sister Jane, who is also a wedding planner (Oh Perfect Day) suggested I was being slightly over ambitious! I guess Jane actually was the most important ‘supplier’ – she did all of the logistical planning months out and didn’t rest, even on the night, and kept me focused and sane!
In the end, this was the best decision because I got to work with incredible local suppliers like Catherine from Sweet Empire for the cakes and Arnie from Flowers in a Vase, who are amazing in that they are keen to work with you – and share in the creative process. I felt completely part of both the flowers and the cake creatively.
Of course, each of my four gowns and the bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories were DIY!
In addition, we created all of the hanging floral arbours, which was used as our ceremony arbour, above our bar, and entrance. I used the flowers from our boutiques, wrapping them around old white gum branches that I found in the corner of my horse’s paddock.
Mum is an amazing cook, and made all of the quince jams for the favours, from her quince tree which was really lovely. Mum, my little sister and I also made the lace tambourines that our guests shook wildly as we walked down the aisle which was so much fun!
We had an antipasto table full of all of our favourite cheeses and cured meats. Our best friends helped us put this together the day before. I was so jealous that on the day we were getting our photos taken while everyone was eating it!
Aside from that, because our venue was just a beautiful empty building, there was a huge amount of DIY involved in styling. I purposefully planned our wedding to be in the Christmas break when our stores close, so that I could borrow all of the stunning lounges and armchairs that I have had upholstered over the last five years!
We wanted to really wow our guests with a space that was incredibly rustic, but stunning. We wanted our guests to have a huge amount of fun, on the dance floor, with the photo booth, and also to be creative with our DIY bar.
Instead of having beer, wine and a cocktail or two, we had dispensers full of ‘base’ drinks like ginger and lime, grapefruit, and pineapple juice with bowls of cherries, mint, basil, lemongrass and passion fruit syrup on the side. Then we had the bottles of spirits, so guests could get creative and experiment and invent their own cocktails.
We also wanted to share the kind of food that we cook and eat as a couple – fun food, full of flavour (and chilli!)
Our incredible cake was one of my favourite details from the day! Catherine from Sweet Empire and I were plotting and planning for months on what would be the perfect cake, and it was so amazing working with her and seeing it all come together!
In the end, we had a dark chocolate triple stack naked cake, oozing with blackberry butter cream, covered with flowers and berries, and finished with lashings of salted caramel which dripped from the top. Catherine was also a guest at my wedding, so she slipped away after the ceremony to finish the cake exactly as she had planned it, which was so special.
We had a rather unfortunate series of events in the lead up to our wedding though, including the son of my incredible bridesmaid and makeup artist, Melonie Santos, becoming ill; she had to come to the wedding without having slept! Melonie and I have been working together for almost a decade, and it was amazing to have her with me on the day.
I was so anxious before the wedding that my skin flared up, and she somehow managed to keep me looking flawless for twelve hours! Mel teamed with Alana from Momu Hair who is the best little pocket rocket, and achieved my hair goals with so much ease and fun!
Then on the day, there were big bush fires in between where we were getting reading and the reception! At the end of the day, none of that really mattered. At some point you have to take a deep breath and just laugh it off!
We also had a funny story, in that Anderson’s Mill was so genuinely rustic that when I got to the end of the aisle, Murray flicked a spider off my veil that must have sailed down onto me from the rafters on my walk down! Luckily, he only told me later!
After years of being in the industry, I had our suppliers picked well before being engaged, so I am very lucky in that sense!
Brown Paper Parcel Photography took our photographs and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Not only were they fabulous to work with on the day, but I am just in love with the images they have created. Jess was also gorgeous to work with, and I adore our photos!
Marcus from C2 Films went above and beyond. I have known him and have been a huge fan of his work for years, so there was no doubt he was always going to be a part of our day. You spend more time with your photographers and videographers on the day than you do anyone, so you MUST love them. Marcus is one of the kindest, most talented people I know, and you instantly relax around him.
I am so lucky that Murray was really keen to be involved in planning the wedding, as this definitely took some of the pressure off me! We are always on the same page, and he is such a calming influence. Ultimately, the day was all about celebrating our love and relationship, and walking down the aisle towards him will be a moment I treasure forever.
Being surrounded by my beautiful friends and family, who are always such a source of support and inspiration for me, is a special memory. I will always remember how wonderful it was to be able to create such an intimate, personalised wedding that truly reflected Murray’s and my style – from food, drinks, styling, and of course, the dresses! If any day is going to be all about you, this is it! I think remembering this makes it easier to make decisions along the way.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Anna and Murray; your exquisite attention to detail created a stunning wedding celebrated with family and friends.