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Jessica and Craig’s Intimate Melbourne Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Weddings


Jessica Alexander

imageJessica and Craig

Craig and I met at work in 2007, we were introduced by our mutual friends and have been inseparable ever since. I like that we are two very independent people in a loving and wickedly fun relationship. We enjoy nothing more than a good laugh together and spending time with our beloved dog Matilda. After six and a half years together, Craig and I were having a picnic at Elwood Beach when he asked me to marry him, underneath a beautiful tree looking out to the Bay. It was nothing over the top or dramatic, it was just us and perfect. I knew it had been coming as I found the ring in the cupboard four months earlier!


I chose an Anna Campbell dress, as I wanted something a bit sparkly and the shape of something just falling to the ground. I knew I didn’t want anything that made me look like a marshmallow and nothing too tight that left nothing to the imagination! The beautiful silk on my dress was perfect and the bow on the back was exactly me!


I didn’t look in any other store as I had found what I loved the first day. I took my Mum and my middle sister with me and the three of us all agreed on the one that was perfect. I made a few changes with the lovely Olivia at the Brunswick store to make it completely unique. It wasn’t until the third and final fitting, that it all started to feel real. The first two fittings, I was nervous and anxious about it all coming together, but it turned out to be as beautiful as I had imagined!


I had an idea of the ring I liked, I wanted it to be simple but beautiful. Being a modern couple, I gave Craig a picture of the ring I liked and he kept it in his wallet for four years! And what do you know, he got it exactly right! We had just bought our new house, when I was putting something into the cupboard and found the ring hiding in one of Craig’s shoes! It nearly killed me to wait another four months before he finally gave it me.


The flowers were arranged by Lilypad Flowers and were absolutely beautiful! I wanted my bouquet to look like a bunch of roses as if they were just picked from the garden. I chose a vintage style posy with a greenery base featuring honeymoon roses and a mix of lace roses in very pale pink/latte colours, soft lisianthus, freesia, berry details and silver suede.


I had both of my sisters as my bridesmaids – they are my best friends and it was perfect just the three of us – as it has always been. Craig had his two best mates from high school. Picking bridesmaids’ dresses for the girls was the hardest part of the whole event! Nothing suited and we didn’t want anything traditional ‘bridesmaid-y’.


It was lucky that early on last year, Anna Campbell held a fabric sale and it was here I picked the colour for the bridesmaids’ dresses and then had them made by a private dressmaker, Clasch Design in Ballarat. I let my sisters pick the design they wanted as they had to wear the dress and I wanted them to be comfortable. Originally, I wanted them to have mismatched dresses, but they wanted to wear the same thing and that was fine too. They suited both of them perfectly! I am so glad we went with something unique. We added some extra embellishment onto the front to jazz them up.



I chose to wear my Nana’s pearl earrings, I had my Mum’s veil to wear, however the colour did not match my dress and so rather than not have it at all, I placed the veil into the bottom of our wishing well for decoration.


Our stationery was completed by Peppermint Press. We wanted something simple, elegant and modern – I worked with Carla from Peppermint Press to create an invitation set perfect for our day.


We had a guest list of only 75 (inclusive of the bridal party). It was the hardest part of the entire wedding planning process to work out who to invite, but we wanted an intimate feel to the day and therefore we only had people who had played a significant part in both of our lives.

We met prior to the ceremony to have our photos taken; we both agree this was the best thing we did for us as it was the most calming feeling to spend some time together before the craziness started. It helped to reduce the nerves and it was nice to see each other and have that ‘first peek’ before anyone else had seen us. It’s not for everybody, but it meant we could spend the time between the ceremony and reception mingling with our loved ones and not be pushed for time.



We chose Leonda by the Yarra as we wanted our ceremony to be in the same location as the reception and didn’t want the added stress of trying to organize everything separately. It was modern, elegant and intimate. We loved the courtyard and the presentation of the staff at our first meeting sold us straight away!

Our ceremony was emotional, funny and exactly what we wanted. I had both my Mum and Dad walk me down the aisle to Coldplay’s ‘Gravity’. Given both of our Mums had only recently both lost their Mums unexpectedly, we chose to have them sign as our witnesses.




We wrote our own vows and chose not to share them with each other until the day. This was really hard, as the person you want to discuss it with the most, is the one who you are keeping it for.


Our rings were tied to a stunning ring cushion that my mum made. She is so crafty! The courtyard was perfect for our ceremony and Leonda were fabulous with the set up.




Our photographer was Shannon from Sorrento Weddings. He was fantastic! Very laid back and not intrusive to our day. He made us both feel relaxed and calm despite the enormity of the day. We wanted photos that were natural and crisp. We had a lot of fun with him and nothing was too much to ask.





The reception was just simply the best fun. A massive party with all of our favourite people in one place – what more could you want?! The staff at Leonda were amazing and we could fault nothing. We set up big L.O.V.E letters to add a bit of style. The live music also helped to get everybody out of their seats.


We had been having some basic dance lessons, which we both really enjoyed and it was nice to have that moment in the lead up to the wedding to dance at home just the two of us. We chose Coldplay’s ‘Always In My Head’. (They are my most favourite band and I always said they would play a large part in our wedding. Craig always joked he would get them to perform at the wedding – but they were busy that weekend!)


The wedding favors were tricky, we wanted something unique but not overly expensive. My sister came up with the idea of shortbread, so the weekend before the wedding we had a working bee – Craig included! He baked the shortbread into love heart shapes and my sisters and Mum helped us to ice the biscuits with our initials and wedding date on them. We made calico bags and stamped our initials onto them too. It was quite the production line! They tasted delicious and were unique and personal.


Lilypad Flowers also arranged our wonderful cake – a delicious three tier Jaffa and white chocolate mud cake. The flowers on the top of the cake matched my bouquet and the rustic ribbon look was exactly what we visioned! It was perfect!



We also decided to create our own photo booth. My sister set up her camera on a tripod with a box of crazy hats and props beside it; instantly people were drawn to the camera. As part of our thank you cards, we then sent a copy of the pictures to our guests. It was a really nice way for people to have a moment and receive it as part of their thank-you. It also saved us quite a bit of money and the shopping for the props was a lot of fun!



In the final months in the lead up to our wedding day, within a 12 week period we lost my Nana, Craig’s Nana and my Aunty, all unexpectedly and it made the last months difficult. It meant we had no grandparents between us to be there on our special day. We wanted a way to remember them on the day but without making it sad and so we set up a beautiful reflection table. We also added photos of ourselves, our parents and grandparents on their wedding days. We finished it off with a beautiful lyric from Ed Sheeran’s ‘Photograph’. “We keep this love in a photograph, we made these memories for ourselves, where our eyes are never closing, hearts are never broken, and time is forever frozen still.”


I dried out my bouquet for a few weeks after the wedding, (simply hung it upside down in a dark room) so that I could keep it and it is now displayed at home. I took the flowers from the ceremony to the cemetery to put on my Nanas’ and Aunty’s graves as a way of including them as part our of the day. Craig’s Mum kept the flowers given for his Grandmother.


Overall, it was one of the best days and the start of a new, exciting chapter in our relationship and when people ask me how married life is , I simply reply with “it’s wonderful and nothing has really changed, except I love him more than I thought I possibly could.”



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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Jessica and Craig; a fun and beautiful wedding day with some very heartfelt details.

About Jessica: My name is Jessica. I am a 27  year old Occupational Therapist from Melbourne. My husband and I got married in January after seven and a half years together. We live in a beautiful little home with our beloved puppy Matilda.

Bride’s Dress: Anna Campbell / Photographer: Sorrento Weddings / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Leonda by the Yarra / Bridesmaid Dresses: Clasch Design / Flowers & Decor: Lilypad Flowers / Invitations & Stationery: Peppermint Press

Carly and Mark’s Spring Winery Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Weddings


Carly Pollard

Carly and Mark

Mark and I first met through a good friend of mine at a local bar. I think I was attracted to his blue eyes the most!

Mark proposed to me  a week before Christmas, on a Wednesday night. He was acting quite unusual from memory. He insisted on cooking me dinner, and pouring me a glass of wine. He cooked chicken mignon and asparagus spears on the BBQ, and served this with mashed potato. We sat down and listened to music, and once we’d finished dinner he got down on one knee and asked “Will You Marry Me?”

We had the most perfect spring day for our wedding. We shared our day with 120 guests. My two sisters, and two best friends were bridesmaids, and Mark’s two brothers, and two closest mates were his groomsmen.


Getting Ready NEW

My Bridesmaids NEW

WOW look at that dress NEW

Laura Gilham did our make-up and hair; she travelled all the way from Melbourne, and I think she did a fantastic job!

My dress was from Luci Di Bella in Melbourne. I chose an embellished ivory sweetheart strapless gown. The gown was made to measure, and fitted perfectly. Clara and Luci from Luci Di Bella provided a great service.

Dress on NEW

oooo Waaa NEW

Hair NEW

The Girls NEW

long dress

My bridal bouquet was a loosely structured organic style bouquet of miniature heirloom roses in cream tones. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were round clusters of mixed blooms in pastel shades of champagne, peach, ivory, mid pink, and blush.

 love this pic


We were married in the beautiful gardens of Brown Brothers Winery in Milawa Victoria, underneath the old oak trees. Milawa is a special place to me – this is where my mum grew up with her four siblings on a small farm, and my Mum and Dad got married in Milawa 25 years ago in the little red brick church. The view was amazing, with the vineyards and distant hills in the background. The trees were decorated with hanging rustic barbed wire hearts. This set the scene as Dad and I walked down the aisle to ‘Over the Rainbow’ by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Signs NEW




walking down




all in a row

the best kiss


Our photographers Bec and Kenny from Fork and Spoon PD were absolutely brilliant. Not only did they capture the entire day – but they also created a mini film too! Bec took some lovely photos of us on my Uncle’s farm – I particularly like the one she took of me on the back verandah against the old screen door. The old flour mill was also used in our wedding photos.


all together now

favourite pic

the mill

close up

back door


Our reception was also held at Brown Brothers winery, at the lovely Patricia’s Table Restaurant. The reception tables were decorated with clusters of pink snapdragons, and tea light candles. Brooke Whelan, from Flourish Beechworth designed my flowers arrangements. She also decorated our timber arbor and wine barrel with clusters of gypsophila.

brown brothers

Our Wedding


We sat down to a beautiful two course meal, including fried pork belly with Asian slaw, chilli caramel and crispy shallots, followed by breast of Milawa chicken, pumpkin and shiitake mushroom risotto. Our selection of wines included Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mark’s mum made a beautiful chocolate mud cake for dessert.


Ms Chinoserie Says: I love the beautiful, oversized clusters of gypsophila. So romantic and soft!

About Carly: My name is Carly, I live in Wagga Wagga NSW. I am 29 years old, and I work at the base hospital as a clinical dietitian.

Photographer: Fork and Spoon PD / Bride’s Dress: Luci Di Bella / Ceremony Venue: Brown Brothers Winery / Reception Venue: Patricia's Table Restaurant / Flowers: Flourish Beechworth / Hair and Makeup: Laura Gilham

Justina and Wesley’s ‘New York Chic’ Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Weddings


Justina Ding

J&W_LOWRES_COLOUR_0606Justina and Wes

Wes and I got engaged after six years of meeting each other through mutual friends. We both share a passion and enthusiasm for travel and have been lucky enough to visit many beautiful places around the world together during our relationship, with NYC being our favourite city in the world. However, we had never been there together until January 2014 which is when Wes proposed to me in Central Park.

He got down on one knee at a special place in Central Park called ‘Cherry Hill’. It was the perfect spot, with the beautiful frozen lake and Manhattan sky line in the background. There was no one else around at the time. He gave me a beautiful Harry Winston ‘Belle’ engagement ring that I had eyed off many years ago and couldn’t believe he remembered the exact one and bought it for me! It has a stunning geometric bezel that is hand-set with diamond micropavé, which frames a round brilliant cut centre stone.


I always knew who I would have as my bridesmaids long before I got engaged. I was always going to have my bestie who I met at Uni, my two dearest friends from school who I had known forever; and my cousin who is the closest person to a sister I have. I wanted to ask them all straight away as soon as Wes proposed, but he made me wait a couple of months which was so hard for me to contain. They were the best bridesmaids I could ever ask for. They are all gorgeous girls inside and out and I loved having them beside me every step of the way.


They were always there for me when I needed them, and there for me even when I didn’t – their love, support and kindness are things I will always remember about my wedding. The all wore my favourite colour on my wedding day; purple. And because we were having a black tie wedding, my only other request was that they wear something long but other than that I was happy for them to choose what they wanted to wear. We came across a New York based evening wear designer called Amsale and we loved her elegant tulle and chiffon gowns. It was perfect for our wedding and all four girls looked so perfectly gorgeous in their bridesmaid dresses.



Wes’ four groomsmen were his two brothers, my brother and my second cousin who is also Wes’ best friend from school. They wore a dark navy suit and white shirts from Oscar Hunt. Their accessories included black button studs and black braces and a black bow tie. We also had two adorable Flower Girls who wore white satin dresses and soft gold ballet flats, and their brother was our Page Boy who wore a matching mini suit to Wes and the cutest Julius Marlow dress shoes.



The girls and I got ready at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne in Collins Street. On the morning of the wedding, we all had breakfast together in the suite before the hair and make up artists arrived. It was a nice time for all of us to be together and get excited for the big day ahead. Our hair was done by Lauren MacKellar who I had met on a couple of occasions before. Lauren has the most beautiful way of colouring and creating hair styles that look effortless and relaxed but still elegant, which is exactly what I was looking for.



Our make up was done by Merton Muaremi who specialises in high-end make up in the fashion industry. I don’t wear make up at all so I didn’t want to look overdone and different to what people usually see me as. Merton understood my concerns and used a very natural palette that made me look fresh, camera and wedding ready, but still very natural at the same time.



My dress was created by the super talented Jacob Luppino and Anthony Pittorino from J’Aton Couture. I have always loved their work and am always in awe of everything they create. Before I met with them, I went to a few different bridal designers around Melbourne to get an idea of what styles I liked and what suited me, and what didn’t. When I had my initial consultation at J’Aton, I still didn’t really know what I wanted but after a brief discussion, Jacob sketched me up a design in front of my eyes and I was so impressed and happy to run with it.


From then on, I basically just left it all up to ‘The Boys’ to design my gown. I loved how it was always a work in progress so it was always a surprise, even to me, and it was so beautiful and special watching my gown evolve during each fitting. My gown was made out of organza and mesh with Valentino lace embroidery cut out and strategically applied all around the bodice and neckline, with cameo appearances on the skirt. I had a long train with ‘WJ’ embroidered at the end of it which could be seen when the dress was both down and bustled up. J’Aton Couture truly are the masters of their craft!




I was also given extra lace and organza that was used in my dress so my Grandma could make four pocket squares for the four most important men in my life, to wear on our wedding day. Wes, my father, my grandfather and my father-in-law all wore a small piece of my dress in their pockets and have a sentimental gift to keep.

Since our engagement began in NYC, we decided to run with this as a theme for our engagement party and our wedding. We wanted the venue for both the ceremony and reception to remind us and our guests of this spectacular city. Our ceremony was held at The Dome at 333 Collins Street, Melbourne. Not only is this the building that Wes works in, but the architecture and ambiance also reminded me of the New York Public Library. Ever since watching the ‘Sex And The City’ movie I have always said to Wes that my dream would be to get married in the NYPL like Carrie! It also has the beautiful detailed and ornate architecture of a church without it being a church, and the ceiling is one of the most beautiful and impressive sights I’ve ever seen.











Our reception was held at Luminare in South Melbourne. Wes and I had both been to a couple of weddings there before and fell in love with the venue, service, food, location, view and feel of it straight away. It also felt very New York with the huge balcony overlooking the city lights and the full height glass windows that floods the room with beautiful natural light.



Also because our wedding was on Easter Sunday, we wanted to acknowledge the day so we asked the staff to wear bunny ears and greet our guests with a basket of chocolate Easter eggs when they arrived. We thought it was a fun detail to include for the kids, and adults too!



The amazing Kate Hill from Kate Hill Flowers did our flowers. Wes and I loved her from the very first moment we stepped into her beautiful shop in High Street, Prahran. Kate is so creative and passionate about flowers that we basically just gave her a very short brief and she did the rest. We told her we wanted a mainly all white colour scheme and to draw inspiration from Jeff Leatham. I have always loved Jeff Leatham’s floral work – his placement of flowers always looks so effortless but also impressive and I love how he makes an asymmetrical installment look symmetrical and so interesting. The truckloads of floral that she provided for our special day was incredible!!!




The bridal bouquets and corsages were perfect. Kate placed giant vases of varying heights at the front of our ceremony filled with all white Hydrangeas, David Austin Roses, Mokara Orchids, Phalaenopsis Orchids and Tulips and used those flowers also for the reception where she filled 12 metres of acrylic boxes with whole bunches of those flowers – this was one of my favourite details of the reception.




Kate made us a custom-made vertical hanging installation that hung over the dance floor at Luminare full of floral, foliage and LED tealights and decorated our giant W &J wire letters, which we hired from Place Settings, with beautiful florals. For all our guests’ tables, Kate designed the most magnificent bunches of flowers as the table centerpieces with vases of varying heights similar to the ceremony. Rose petals and candles were scattered around the vases. One of the other things we loved about Kate was she made sure there was more than enough flowers to go around so at the end of the night each guest could take home a couple of bunches of flowers each. This was a huge hit with our guests and we received messages for weeks saying how nice it was to take home a reminder of the wedding and how long the flowers lasted  – some up to six weeks after our wedding!



One of our favourite parts of the wedding process was choosing our cake! This meant lots of time spent cake tasting which was so fun and delicious. We asked Helen Chapman from Kiss My Cakes to create our wedding cake. We loved how she is a scratch baker and not only cares about what the cake looks like from the outside, but also how it tastes on the inside and this was so evident when we sampled her cakes. We spent quite a bit of time designing the cake as we wanted it to be not only look nice but to tie in beautifully with the other elements of our wedding.


The end design was a four-tiered cake with each tier in a different flavour; salted caramel, coconut, raspberry and hazelnut chocolate mud. The outside was painted in a subtle white pearly luster and adorned with handmade sugar David Austin roses to match my bouquet. Helen also used icing to replicate the embroidered lace and mesh pattern from my dress that featured on different tiers of the cake. Another sentimental touch was the inclusion of Wes’ grandma’s fruit cake – which we both love!  Wes’ grandma kindly made us one of her famous fruitcakes and Helen decorated it respectfully and beautifully so both cakes matched.  Wes and I displayed them both on the cake table at our reception. Helen’s cake was served to the guests, whilst we have kept Wes’ grandma’s cake for the special milestones in our married life.


I adore scented candles as much as I adore flowers and we wanted to have something handmade to give to our guests. So we decided the perfect favour which was both meaningful and appropriate for our wedding were scented candles. Making them was also an activity I could do with my bridesmaids which was so much fun! We all got together one Saturday morning at my house and we had a candle making session over a champagne breakfast. I bought all the supplies from Natural Candle Supply and we chose ‘Coconut Lime’ as the scent for all the candles. We tied swing tags on top of all the lids of the candles which also acted as name tags for our guests. We thought this was a nice and unique alternative to name cards.


Our wedding invitations were also very reflective of NYC and our engagement story. We asked The Hungry Workshop to design our wedding invitations.  We had a good idea of the type of design we wanted – a pop up invitation that featured hand drawn illustrations to tell the story. We left it up to the creative geniuses at The Hungry Workshop to do the rest – and we loved what they came up with! They worked together with the very talented fashion illustrator, Mekel who drew all the artwork for the invitations.


The end result was a pop up invitation with four different layers, with each layer featuring illustrations on one side and information regarding the wedding on the other side. The first layer in the foreground was an illustration of Wes and I in Central Park just after Wes proposed, with the lake in the background. The second layer is a row of shops on Fifth Avenue including Chanel, Hermes, Bergdorf Goodman and Harry Winston which all have significant meaning to us. And the third layer is of the Manhattan skyline including the Metropolitan Life North building where the Eleven Madison Park restaurant is; this was where Wes took me for dinner the night of our engagement.



We loved the designed for the invitation so much that we asked The Hungry Workshop to design the rest of our stationery for us, which consisted of the ceremony booklet, swing tags with guests names for the candle favours, a seating chart and menus for the reception.


Our photographer was Ben Swinnerton. We had seen a lot of his wedding photos before we were even considering a wedding photographer as he had photographed some of our friends weddings that we had attended. We loved how discreet he is! As guests at previous weddings, we never noticed him at all yet he captured such amazing moments throughout the day and night. We also love Ben’s documentary style shooting and his use of landscapes and scenery. His editing style is also beautiful – Ben retouches photos but does not take away the emotion or reality of the picture. He is able to capture the most incredible emotions and facial expressions which is so special to look back on long after the day is over.





I came across our videographer, C2 Video, from a friend. She had been to a wedding which they captured and she showed me the video that they produced. I watched it over and over again and was so emotional from watching it even though I didn’t even know the couple. From there, Wes and I spent hours on the C2 website watching wedding videos they had created and loved them all so we knew we wanted them to capture our special day. Marcus Theodore did an amazing job filming our day, and like Ben, he too was so discreet yet was able to capture the most beautiful moments. Marcus is also very hands on and is always willing to help out whenever he can; he even helped the bridesmaids with my dress when they were having trouble putting it on me! It was also great that Ben and Marcus had worked with each other many times before so they knew each other and complimented each others style. They are the perfect duo for photography and videography.

We also had a Smile-O-Matic photo booth at our reception which we mainly at first got as entertainment for the few kids that were at our wedding, but we later found out it was also a huge hit with the older guests too. Almost everyone at our wedding had a turn in it and the photos are hilarious! It is so funny to have those informal photos of our guests having fun with the props. The photo booth was placed near our guest book so we had people sticking the photos into the book and writing messages to us which was both really nice and entertaining to read back on. We were also able to get all the photos compiled into a photo book which makes for a fantastic book for the coffee table! Such wonderful memories of a perfect day!


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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Justina and Wes; such a beautiful wedding; very chic and very ‘New York’! The flowers are just amazing!!!

About Justina: Hi, I’m Justina and I’m happily married to my beautiful husband!  I love traveling, trying new things, flowers, fashion and champagne! French wine, friends and family are at the top of the list too!

Photographer: Ben Swinnerton / Bride’s Dress: J'Aton / Engagement Ring: Harry Winston / Bride’s Shoes: Valentino / Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale / Ceremony Venue: The Dome / Reception Venue: Luminare / Cake Baker: Kiss My Cakes / Flowers & Decor: Kate Hill Flowers / Groom’s Attire: Oscar Hunt / Hairstylist: Lauren MacKellar / Makeup Artist: Merton Muaremi / Invitations & Stationery: The Hungry Workshop / Videography: C2 Video / Wire Letters: Place Settings / Candle Wax for Favours: Natural Candle Supply / Wedding Preparation: Grand Hyatt Melbourne / Photo Booth: Smile-O-Matic
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