Brennan and Vanessa / Photo by Fifteen Photography
come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination…
Such was Brennan’s unique and very romantic proposal which spanned over three days in sunny Santorini (which you can read about here), I knew we were about to embark upon an amazing journey. As we touched back down to Melbourne Australia, and before the reality of ‘normal’ life set in, Brennan and I were determined to prolong our heightened state of euphoria… and what better way to do just that than immediately casting our minds and attention to planning our engagement party and our wedding!
Not only did we want to organise two very special events to celebrate our love and dedication for one another, but we also wanted to spoil our adored guests; and boy, oh boy, were our guests in for a special treat! Due to our combined love for the water and nature, and in keeping up with our oceanic sea theme, we immediately placed a deposit to hold our wedding in November 2015 at the One&Only Hayman Island, Australia’s most iconic private island resort on the Great Barrier Reef (more info to come later in this post). With the wedding location and date locked-in, our minds immediately shifted to the engagement party, and what better place to encapsulate our love for nature and the water than the iconic Melbourne Aquarium, inside the Fish Bowl; the world-famous function room enveloped 360 degrees by sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles.
Brennan and I both wanted to surprise our guests with a unique engagement party, and were determined to host a night that our guests would never forget. We partnered with some very special and talented suppliers to ensure our engagement was one that would forever stay in our memories.
The Night Begins
The evening started off at Crown Metropol, where I was ‘beautified’ and totally spoilt by the lovely and talented make up artist Patricia Mae Eleazar.
Photos by Omar Barcenas; Make-up by Patricia Mae Eleazar
Inside the Melbourne Aquarium
Having followed us around Santorini, candidly capturing our raw emotions as Brennan bent down on one-knee asking for my hand in marriage, we of course again hired Nick from Fifteen Photography to work his magic and capture this very special evening. As the photos below will testify, Nick once again pulled a rabbit out of his hat and made us and our guests (including the fish) all look utterly sublime. We absolutely LOVE your work Fifteen Photography!
Brennan’s Surprise Video
Draped in beautiful evening gowns and affixed with cute bow ties, we welcomed our very sartorial(istic) guests to our special night. After my welcome speech, Brennan again surprised us all (including me) with his very own special video. In his own words:
“While I was leading a blind-folded Vanessa up and down the steps of Santorini, I had the most romantic speech prepared that I kept practicing over and over in my head. But when I un-blindfolded her, and seeing tears roll down her beautiful face, I was gobsmacked and not a single word came out of my mouth. It is something I have regretted to this day. Now, every single night before we sleep, Vanessa always asks me, ‘why do you want to marry me’? So whether I am in the shower, cooking or cleaning, I am constantly haunted by this question! Tonight, I wanted to answer her question properly in front of all our family and friends…
Brennan then played his surprise video which reduced me to tears.
I’ve uploaded a copy of the video here for everyone to enjoy. I LOVE the fact that he involved my family and close friends in the video, not to mention our dog Mello. With full-time work, his PhD on the side, and multiple projects always on the go… how the hell did you find the time to work on this amazing production Brennan!? Watch Brennan’s surprise video below
Video by Aris Balabat & Wilfred Patriarca / Beor Ong
Photobooth Fun and Australia’s First Ever ‘Live’ Stop-Motion Video
While photobooths are all the rage nowadays, and understandably so as they provide your guests an opportunity to look all kinds of awesome while acting silly, Brennan and I went one step further and thought of an Australian event ‘first’ (maybe even a world-first?). Not only were our guests going to frock up and act a bit crazy in our photobooth, but their actions in the photobooth would be captured live on camera!
Our guests were able to go in and out of the photobooth, and not only collect high quality prints, but were able to go back to the Fish Bowl to re-live their experience and watch themselves (and other guests) on a large monitor acting goofy, in ‘stop-motion’ of course, which made everything look even better! Watch the video below for an example of the stop-motion feed that was played live at our engagement. Thanks Boothalicious for all your help!
Video by Boothalicious
Invitations to One&Only Hayman Island
One of our most anticipated moments of the evening was the handing out of our wedding invitations. We were lucky enough to have Teegan, a One&Only Hayman Island representative, fly down to Melbourne to join us on the night to provide our guests with information about One&Only Hayman Island: from resort activities, room rates, massages in the middle of the rainforest or on the beach, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and her announcement that our guests will each receive a personal butler during their stay. Teegan definitely knew how to whet the appetites of our guests!
Immediately following Teegan’s presentation, our bridal party personally handed to each guest our wedding invitation suite, consisting of a folder that included our wedding invitation, save the date magnets, One&Only Hayman Island accommodation booking forms and information about the room types and resort activities, as well as a personalised drink card that they can use during their stay. Enjoy a mojito or a sexy cosmopolitan on us!
Unveiling the LuxBite Dessert Table
Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal,
since it will be the last thing your guests remember
before they pass out all over the table!
Thanks to LuxBite – a South Yarra based patisserie renowned for their colourful macaroons, cakes, and the famous Lolly Bag cake which featured on the 2013 season of MasterChef Australia – our guests were definitely in for a sweet treat! As Brennan and I both love their desserts, we contacted LuxBite a few months before the engagement party to gauge their interest in partnering with us to produce a dessert table unlike no other. It was to be unveiled in the Ocean Theatre: an 8 metre floor to ceiling aquarium that is home to Australia’s deadliest marine creatures. A deadly delicious theme perhaps?
We approached LuxBite at the right time as they saw our event as the perfect opportunity to provide a sneak-peek into the desserts that will be featured in their newly devised concept store which is scheduled to open in the latter half of 2014. While guests were partying in the main room inside the Fish Bowl, LuxBite founders Bernard and Yen, assisted by talented stylist Tessa from Wedding Pixies, were crazy busy working behind closed curtains styling our dessert table (more like an entire room) to be ready in time for the official unveiling. At 9.45pm, guests were invited to the Ocean Theatre to submerge themselves into a room of pure imagination. The Ocean Theatre was filled with delectable desserts and foliage, surrounded by white fairy lights. As you can see from the photos, the dessert table was a HUGE hit; all 400 pieces were devoured within 20 minutes!
Some of the desserts featured above included:
- PETIT FOUR: Chocolate Delice, Raspberry & Pistachio Popping Candy
- PETIT FOUR: Rose, Lychee & Raspberry Tart
- ROUND TART: “Golden Delicious”: Apple Tart, Raisin, Lemongrass Jelly, Caramel Mousse, Golden Puff Pastry
- PETIT FOUR: Banana & Hazelnut Tart, Caramelised Almonds, Freeze Dried Banana
- RECTANGULAR TART: Passionfruit Curd Tart, Meringue, Kaffir Lime Sherbet
- DESSERT IN A TUBE: Matcha Panna Cotta, Pistachio, Whipped Sake Jelly, Cream Cheese Mousse, Green Tea Crumble, White Chocolate Heart
- TRIANGLE TART: Vanilla Rice Pudding Tart, Praline Cream, Fresh Blueberries, Piedmontese Hazelnut
Definitely not your everyday run-of-the-mill type of desserts! Make sure to visit LuxBite; you’re guaranteed to leave feeling all kinds of happy!
A party ain’t no party without some awesome music and dancing! We were privileged to be dancing to the beats of French producer Häzel, who has worked with numerous productions for artists such as Drake and Slakah the Beatchild. Häzel was assisted by Brennan’s musically talented sister, DJ Nica, who has hosted events for celebs of the likes of Rhianna just to name a few.
A Huge Thank You!
Finally, on behalf of Brennan and myself, I wanted to say a very warm thanks to everyone who made our special evening possible. Thanks to all of our vendors who shared in our vision to create a truly remarkable and memorable engagement party. And a big thank you to all our family and friends for making this night one to remember; we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all your friendship and support. See you all at One&Only Hayman Island in 2015!
…If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it, want to change the world, there’s nothing to it!
Photo Courtesy of One&Only Hayman Island
Ms Gingham says: Wow! Talk about spoiling your guests!
Vanessa says: “I’m a 28 year old Digital Marketer from Melbourne Australia who loves dogs, good food, and the beach!”