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David and Tess' Romantic 'Surprise' Santorini Proposal

David and I met in 2013 on a dating app that no longer exists. David often jokes that we lasted longer than the app did! Still at university and one week into exclusively dating, we decided to plan a two-month winter Europe trip. Knowing full well it would be a make-or-break situation, we made it with flying colours, returning home to Sydney still very much a couple.

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Image via Tess

Fast forward almost three years, and three overseas holidays, we were on an aeroplane to a four-week Greek adventure! I am of Greek heritage and really wanted to show David where my family is from.

After travelling around mainland Greece, our first stop was the stunning island of Santorini. Known for amazing sunsets, caldera views and romance, we hired a car and drove to Akrotiri Lighthouse, one of the two best spots to see the sunset.

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It was here, up on the cliff, overlooking a lighthouse that David dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. Speechless, I nodded my answer.

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There was hardly anyone around – a couple of tourists hiking up a nearby mountain and a couple of friends taking photos of each other. Or so I thought. These “tourists” were secretly documenting the proposal! Our wonderful photographer, Vanja Melnik, was the ultimate paparazza.

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David proposed with a custom-made engagement ring. My beautiful ring is a diamond trilogy white gold and rose gold setting with surprise yellow diamonds.

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Following dinner, drinks, champagne on ice and rose petals on the bed, we called home (sorry Mum, that time difference is gnarly!). The next day David whisked me away for a manicure and make up, ready for our surprise engagement shoot! We shot in various locations around the island, which was a wonderful way to see a really magical place.

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Images, unless credited otherwise, by Vanja Melnik Photography

Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a wonderful romantic surprise in Santorini – with such beautiful images to treasure, I could think of no better place to announce your engagement!

Bride with ehr children

When making decisions about your wedding – whether they be about your dress, the location or the styling, Lisa looks back on her family filled Whale Beach wedding to James and remembers that her choices were indeed made very simple by following a few words of good advice – “always follow your heart.”

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Bride with her children and father

Bride with her daughter

Inspired Words - Lisa

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First kiss with flowergirl

Images by Infinity Photography

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Jessie & Luke

Jessie married her soul mate, Luke, early last year in a romantic ceremony where they were surrounded by their nearest and dearest. From a romantic proposal to a non-traditional wedding, the two say their day was perfect and they wouldn’t have changed a thing. Jessie shared some of her best memories of the big day with us, beginning with the proposal.

Luke knows how much I love my cat, Kostya, so he included him in the proposal. He got up early one morning and tied a card around Kostya’s neck. The card was too big and I could hear something dragging on the tiles. Kostya ran into the bedroom right up to me while I was in bed. The card read, ‘Jessie, will you marry Luke?'”

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“We had talked about getting engaged and he told me the night before to go out and buy a new dress so I wasn’t really surprised but I was definitely so excited! It was pretty early in the morning but Luke had champagne and glasses ready on the bench. That day he had organised to go to the races together. It was a beautiful day. We told our family and closest friends about our engagement in the morning then left our phones at home so we could enjoy our engagement, just the two of us.”

The morning of the wedding can be stressful between getting ready and dealing with any last minute dilemmas. Jessie was well equipped on the day to keep herself relaxed. It’s a strategy for all you future brides who are nervous for the special day.

“I wanted to go about my day as I usually would. So while the girls were getting their hair done early in the morning, I did my usual routine of watering the garden, playing with our cat, doing some cleaning, etc. I was so excited and wanted to stay busy because this was my way of staying relaxed. As I looked around at my friends and family it reminded me how very lucky I am to have such beautiful family and friends. I took a moment to appreciate the life Luke and I have together. I also couldn’t wait for Luke to come back home so we could see each other all dressed up.”

Keeping with the relaxed feel of the day, Jessie and Luke didn’t stick by all the wedding traditions.

“Our wedding day did not follow usual traditions. We stayed at our house the night before and spent time together during the morning of the wedding. We wanted our wedding day to be as relaxed and casual as possible. We also wanted to spend as much of the day together as we could. Just before we left the house to go and get photos, Luke saw me in my dress from Grace Loves Lace for the first time with our bridal party, which was a really special moment. We wanted to see each other for the first time in our own home where we are most comfortable, and get out all that emotion and suspense of seeing each other all dressed up for the first time.”

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“We planned to spend time together and have photos prior to the ceremony because we wanted to spend as much our wedding day together as we could. I was worried that if walking down the aisle was the first time I saw him, I would just spend the whole ceremony crying and I didn’t want to do that. Planning the day the way we did was perfect for setting the vibe how we wanted it. We had spent so much time together before the ceremony that most the nerves had disappeared but the excited butterflies were still there.”

“We had quite a big bridal party, 14 people including us. We just wanted it to be a fun day hanging out with our friends and family. I got ready at home with my bridesmaids and my brother who was my ‘Man of Honour’. We had champagne and music. It was like getting ready to go out. Luke got ready with the boys and his sister, who was part of the groom’s party, at his parents’ house. The groom’s side came back home about an hour before we left the house so we could all hang out and have a drink together. We wanted to get photos around the house all together. The boys even got some photos skating in our street. It was a strange feeling thinking that the day was so special because hanging out with our friends and mucking around during photos made it feel so normal.”

 

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“Following photos we got back on the bus and headed for the ceremony. Seeing my parents for the first time, standing at the entrance of the Mooloolaba Surf Club waiting for me was something I’ll always remember. I was so happy to see them. Everyone around us was so excited and emotional. Luke and I talked about the strange sense of calm we both felt. It’s hard to describe and we had never felt that before.” 

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“We asked our celebrant, Jo from Big Love Weddings, for a light-hearted ceremony. What she delivered was more than we could ever have imagined. I have never been to a ceremony like it and all of our guests made the same comment. She was absolutely amazing and so funny. Jo got the guests involved and made everyone laugh. Jo made the ceremony perfect!”

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Some say the most emotional and daunting part of the wedding is walking down the aisle. But for Jessie this moment was perfect. She laid eyes on Luke waiting for her at the end of the aisle and felt an indescribable feeling of calm.

“I felt very calm walking down the aisle. It’s hard to describe the feeling of calm I felt. It was strange and I hadn’t imagined feeling like that as I can be quite an emotional, over the top person. My Mum and Dad both walked me down. I was proud to have them both by my side. As I looked down the aisle, it felt like all I could see was Luke and we couldn’t stop smiling at each other. Standing there in his tux, he just looked perfect to me.”

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“After the ceremony, our guests went downstairs while the decorators changed the room for the reception. Luke and I stayed upstairs. We had a drink together and had a look around the reception. It was so nice to get a moment to ourselves and talk about our day so far. Then, we went to get some photos together. It was a lot of fun as we were still so excited from the ceremony. Our photographer, Emma Nyler, was so great to hang out with. Both Luke and I are not usually too keen on having photos taken but Emma was so cool. It was one of my favourite parts of the day.”

“The reception was decorated beautifully in black and white. We had three long tables with 25 people on each. TOME created our dessert table. It was stunning and delicious with Oreo brownies, lemon meringue pies, cheesecakes, sticky date and butterscotch cakes and a white chocolate and salted caramel cake for cutting.”

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“After our meal was out of the way, there was lots of dancing. It’s funny that one of my greatest fears of the day was that the dancefloor would be empty. Thankfully everyone was pretty quick to get into dancing. The photo booth was very popular and we got copies of all the photos taken in there which is a really nice thing to keep and laugh at the next day. The reception was the most fun. It just went way too quickly! I wish we could have a wedding every year! It was worth every cent.”

“I know people are usually waiting to see what the bride is wearing but I couldn’t stop looking at everyone else. The boys looked so handsome in their tuxs and the girls in black dresses looked stunning. My hair dresser, Niki from Sass & Niki Wedding Hair is outstanding at what she does. She is so talented to be able to make a ‘pony tail’ look the way it did. I had so many people commenting on how they loved the style she did.”

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Although the wedding was a day of perfection and beautiful memories a few moments stood out for Jessie as things she will never forget.

“Luke seeing me for the first time in my dress was one of my favourite memories of the day. We had talked about it the day before and he said he didn’t think he would get emotional. I was very happy to see him choke up and become teary. We stared at each other for a while, then hugged and cried. I couldn’t wait to call myself his wife.”

“Being with my parents and my brother when I arrived at the venue was special. I was so proud and appreciative that I have such a beautiful family. We reflected on our wedding by reading through cards the next day, both Luke and I talked about how lucky we are to have such special family and friends.”

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And in answering the age old dilemma, to write your own vows or not…

“We decided we wanted to write our own vows. Leading up to the wedding we were both feeling pretty nervous about reading them aloud. At one stage we even thought about not doing it but I’m glad we did as it ended up being one of the most special moments.”

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Jessie and Luke on your beautiful wedding; your choice to spend as much time together on the day was so special!

Bride's Ceremony Dress: / Bride's Reception Dress: Grace Loves Lace / Makeup Artist: Colorpop Cosmetics / Hairstylist: Sass & Niki Wedding Hair / Reception Venue: Mooloolaba Surf Club / Celebrant: Big Love Weddings / Photographer: Emma Nyler / Wedding Cake: TOME / Flowers: Eumundi Roses