Marijana and Andrew
Andrew and I first met when I was quite young. I was only 18, celebrating my Year 12 Valedictory Dinner. Most of our year level and some of my close friends decided to continue the celebrations afterwards. We headed to Crown where I met Andrew at a bar called “Fusion”. It was definitely an interesting night as I knew one of his close friends. I was talking to his friend when Andrew came along to join in the conversation. I won’t lie, I did take some notice throughout the night and we both saw that we were looking at one another, but in all honesty, I wasn’t so interested at that time. He approached me and asked me if I had a boyfriend and I responded “yes”. His response was “That’s disgusting” and walked away. I was quite surprised and had a little giggle. We didn’t really speak after this for a while!
We have almost been together for six years now, and over the years marriage was something we discussed openly with each other. We enjoy spending time with friends and family. We both come from large families, Andrew is of an Italian background and I am Macedonian. As you can imagine, both families love a party and definitely know how to have a great time. We also appreciate going for walks and enjoy having a nice brunch together at a vintage style cafes. We took into consideration our different cultures and traditions which we both appreciate when planning our wedding. Andrew loves our traditional Macedonian Music, he has always enjoyed dancing and gets involved. You wouldn’t even know he is Italian, he dances like a professional.
Finding the perfect ring wasn’t so difficult. I had only tried three different style of rings, princess cut, solitaire and pear shape. I had a feeling it was possibly time to start looking when Andrew and I had fish and chips at Port Melbourne beach one evening and we were discussing the topic of engagements and engagement rings. He asked me to take my best friend with me and try some rings on to have an idea of the style and shape I was interested in. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to tell my best friend. We went to a popular jeweller and I decided on the pear shape style. I told Andrew and I didn’t hear all that much after this point. Andrew’s Aunt is a jeweller, so I wasn’t sure whether she would be designing my ring or whether he would be going back to the jeweller where I first tried the ring on.
Then there was the proposal. Andrew and had organised a trip to Thailand with a group of close friends in May of 2014. I wasn’t really looking forward to this at first, but who would have known that the start of the happiest moment of my life would begin here. We arrived at Melbourne Airport and Andrew decided to have our suitcases sealed. I found this quite strange as we had travelled to Bali and several other countries together before and he never wanted to have them sealed. When we arrived, Andrew organised a beautiful dinner up the hill at a restaurant overlooking the city. What an incredible view it was. He didn’t seem very nervous but I did notice small gestures throughout the night where he was quite awkward. I didn’t think anything of this.
Once we had finished dinner, we walked down Patong Beach and bought a white lantern. I was excited because I wanted to do this at some point during our holiday. I kept asking Andrew when we could light the lantern (little did I know this was part of his proposal.) It started to warm up slowly and I said to Andrew, “We have to let go now”, but he was still holding on. By this point it was burning and we had to let go. As I was watching the lantern disappear into the sky and I thought of my wish I turned around to Andrew. I noticed he was very nervous. At this point I knew something was going on. Before I knew it, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I couldn’t believe it, I wasn’t expecting it, there were so many emotions running through me. Of course, I said “yes”. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
Even though I am Orthodox, we decided to get married in a Catholic church. Our church was St Ignatius in Richmond, which is so beautiful with its old bluestone. I always said to my mum “One day, I’m going to marry an Italian” and look what happened! I have always enjoyed listening to and attending Catholic ceremonies as I feet they were very intimate and meaningful. Our ceremony was traditional, although we did not have a full mass. We organised two singers, a male and female, and we also had a guitarist. They really did sound like angels and added a special touch to our ceremony.
My dress designer was Melbourne-based Jason Grech who exceeded all of my expectations. I found the process enjoyable, fun and exciting. The minute I walked into his boutique, I instantly knew this was where my dream dress was going to be. What I loved most was that his designs were so unique which is what caught my attention. From my first fitting to my last, I never felt uneasy or concerned; it just felt right.
I had a specific style in mind, which was a strapless fitted gown. This was the style of dress that suited me best. Jason had a beautiful gown in his showroom that before I even tried on, I loved. Once I tried it on I said to my mum ‘This is my dress”. But would you believe a couple of months into fittings, I woke up one morning and said to my mum “Mum, I think I want to change my dress”. She looked at me in disbelief and said “What do you mean? You can’t change your dress now, it’s two months until the wedding”.
Luckily for her, Jason had not started making my actual dress yet. I showed her a photo of a very similar style that I liked and decided it was time to change my dress. I told Jason and he agreed; it was the total opposite of what I loved initially. I decided to keep the style of the dress similar but the bodice of my dress was going to be completely different. I wanted something a little more modern yet with a unique twist. As the process went on we chose colours, fabrics, laces and detailing.
Jason also created a couture dress for my flowergirl Ava who had a dress which was a “mini me”. It looked stunning and the look on her face when she picked up her dress was priceless. She not only loved it but didn’t want to take it off. She said she felt like a princess.
The month of our October wedding arrived and every fitting I had leading up to the final week I was speechless and all I could say was “wow”. My dress was everything I envisioned it to be and more. I absolutely loved it and was grateful to have someone as talented as Jason Grech by my side.
Andrew wore a formal black tie suit from Zachary The Label; complete with Gucci shoes, belt and watch, he looked so handsome!
Deciding on who to ask to be in our bridal party was one of the hardest decisions Andrew and I had to make. We both have many close friends and family so choosing the bridal party took us time. In the end we chose three groomsmen, three bridesmaids and one pageboy and flowergirl. We explained to close family and friends who missed out that we didn’t want to intentionally upset anyone but we tried to do what we thought was best and we didn’t want to separate any cousins from one another. Everyone seemed to understand which made the process easier for us even though we were both stressed for a long time until it was finalised and we asked everyone.
Flowers were also a very important aspect of our wedding. I had already planned the type of flowers I wanted for my bouquet and our bridesmaids and flower girl. We married in Spring in October and I knew I wanted peonies. They are my favourite type of flower and I knew getting married during this month might be difficult as peonies usually start early November. We were lucky, we married on 31 October which was borderline. I was definitely not disappointed. I had beautiful fluffy and luscious peonies. Our bridesmaids and flowergirl also had peony bouquets. They complimented the dresses well and all of our bridal party loved them just as much as we did.
I also really wanted fresh flowers for our entire wedding. This included our centrepieces, church decorations, bridal party flowers for both men and ladies, our parents’ corsages and buttonholes, bridal table and of course, what I wanted the most – a beautiful hanging floral chandelier.
I could just envision in my mind of what our reception would look like. I went through a florist Jess at Sassafras Flower Design. I found her work on Instagram and was very impressed. She has worked and styled many weddings and most importantly I knew I wouldn’t have to worry. She was not only helpful but she helped us create our fairy-tale. We have continued to receive compliments from family, friends and co-workers commenting on how magical it was. It was more than I could have imagined and it was everything that I had discussed with Jess. It was perfect.
Throughout the wedding process Andrew and I really communicated well and didn’t experience difficulty on the decisions we made. We understood each other and worked out how we both wanted our special day to be. It was more than perfect. We decided to have our reception at Central Pier, Shed 14. Walking into the room for our initial meeting, we knew this was the one. We loved everything about the room, it was spacious, elegant and faultless. Andrew and I decided that day we would be having our celebrations here, and both our families agreed it was the perfect room for us. We can also say that the staff at the Atlantic Group were fantastic, approachable and attentive throughout the planning. We spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into decorating the space as we wanted it to be – not only elegant but glamorous. The final product was magical.
Andrew and I also knew we wanted to almost transform our reception into something stylish and glamorous. I believe we did exactly that and we were so thrilled to see everything come together. Our church was styled by having peonies tied to every second row of the aisle pews for the first six rows and adding ribbon to the remaining aisle pews. We also included flower arrangements on the church plinths which added an extra touch to the background of where our ceremony took place. We then had these flowers delivered to our reception and they were placed alongside our wishing well birdcage.
We designed our cake through Sweet by Nature Cakes. We wanted to have a simple but elegant cake. We had a four-tier high cake with we beautiful floral arrangements on top. It was exactly what we wanted and looked beautiful in our venue. We organised different flavours for each of the tiers. They were all a hit.
Mary at Inked Designs for Special Events designed our stationery – she is a perfectionist. We used her for our engagement invitations and we were not disappointed. She was assisting us from the beginning and so easy to work with. We began to also develop a friendship with her and continued to use her for all our wedding stationery, including invitations, table numbers, place cards, menu and drinks menus, seating chart and bonbonniere stickers. The stationery was based around our wedding invitations and it all tied together beautifully. Our colour theme was grey and white which matched back to our feature A&M. Andrew and I couldn’t have been happier with her work and were very appreciative of her time and effort.
Austage Events also helped us create our personalised A&M initial design. This was in cursive font – almost identical to our wedding invitations. It added a personal touch to the venue and looked wonderful in our space.
Andrew and I organised our bonbonniere through Nectar & Stone. We had individual pyramid chocolates of alternating colours including creamy white and blush pink with silver foiling on top. With our customised stickers “With Love A&M” and the date of our wedding around the bottom of the sticker, they looked fantastic!
Andrew and I were so lucky to have Desiren Photography & Video take the photographs for our special day; they are just beautiful; such happy memories of a magical day.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Marijana and Andrew; such a beautiful wedding with stunning flowers; how lucky you were to have your favourite peonies!