As a theatre producer, Bride Claire certainly had a wealth of experience to draw from when planning her gorgeous Vintage Inspired Wedding to Anthony. Here’s her top advice for others in the midst of planning their own!
“Lots of people will want to give you advice and will try to be the authority on your wedding. But it’s your day so do whatever you like to make it special for you and don’t worry about anyone else!”
Well, it has been just over five months now since the big day. I wish I could do it all over again!
In Melbourne, October is unpredictable. Thirty degrees and windy one day, fifteen and drizzle the next. However, we were lucky enough to land a perfect day for an outdoor spring wedding – slight breeze, 24 degrees, clear skies and gorgeous sunshine.
After an excited night with very little sleep, I got ready at my maid of honour’s house. This turned out well – I had forgotten to get the money ready for our awesome hair and make-up artists (The Make Up Maid) so MoH’s husband did some running around for us which kept the stress levels down. Mum had done some baking the day before so we munched on mini quiches and a fruit platter, along with a cheeky glass or two of moscato
The flowers (from A Bunch of Cakes) had been delivered earlier and my bouquet was a mix of white and green flowers (with the first peonies of the season!), while my MoH had splashes of yellow and blue. I wore a glittering, ethereal Anna Campbell gown and headpiece, while MoH wore a yellow Baccini and Hill bridesmaid dress. Both Jay and I gave each other gifts to open on the day and we had gifts for our loved ones who were with us. This was a lovely way of involving everyone and making the day extra special.
Our photographer arrived to shoot the end of us getting ready and dressed. There are no words to say how fantastic Tigs Macallan is. She and her assistant Karen made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and were so excited for us. She captured all the details that tell the story of the day, and before long, our car arrived and it was time to go and get married.
Our wedding took place completely at Emu Bottom Homestead in Sunbury. We married on a lush green lawn in front of a gum tree hung with a garland of paper hearts which took many hours of effort to make. Yellow and white rose petals were scattered down the aisle, and I walked to Kate Miller Heidke’s ‘Space they cannot touch’ (which I had picked out as my ‘walking down the aisle’ song since I was about 16). I distinctly remember turning the corner with my dad on my arm and seeing my vision come to life, and then everything else disappeared as I looked at my soon-to-be husband’s face. I was worried I would be crying uncontrollably (most of the speeches later that night were about my tendency to be somewhat embarrassingly overemotional) but I was ridiculously happy and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
We wrote our own vows as well as ‘five things’ we love about each other, which was suggested by our amazing celebrant Melissa Fahey. We had two friends do some readings, one of which was written by another one of my friends who is a talented writer. Our ceremony was short, sweet and simple. We were after a less formal and more comfortable feel to the day, so we opted against suit jackets for the boys.
After the ceremony, we moved into group photos and bridal party shots. We wanted to get these done with quickly so we could have fun with our guests. During this time, we had drinks and canapés for guests as well as lawn games like backyard cricket, croquet, ring toss and giant jenga (from Yard Party). Everyone mingled, played and no one was bored. Jay and I disappeared with Tigs to get some photos done – I even jumped a fence in my gown and heels to get to the best light. We couldn’t be happier with the photos.
We had a sit down reception with a slightly geeky chemistry theme to some of the decorations. We made a ‘Periodic Table of Wedding Guests’ as our seating chart, and had clusters of conical flasks, test tubes and beakers to hold assortments of flowers for the table centrepieces. Sounds odd, but it looked amazing. I also laminated some pages from an old copy of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to line some of the beakers to bring in a romantic touch.
Guests enjoyed the photobooth, which was a huge hit. The pics are hilarious! I found some paper photobooth props online, got them printed on cardboard and stuck them on skewers, which was a cheap and effective way of doing props. We also bought some mini whiteboards for people to write messages on, and the guest book that came with the photobooth is a lovely album filled with beautiful and funny messages and photos from our friends and family.
The food was amazing and everyone raved about the beetroot and goat’s cheese salad in particular. That and our cake. The bottom tier was chocolate mud with three layers of salted caramel, and the top tier was white chocolate with raspberry layered with buttercream. The whole cake was covered in Swiss meringue buttercream frosting with a rustic finish. A gorgeous peony was placed on the side, and I got some custom cake toppers made from Etsy.
We entered the reception to ‘Golddigger’ by Kanye West – not traditional but we both love the song and wanted to get the party started (it’s also a bit of an in-joke – Jay is a geologist so in our relationship, he is the gold digger!). Our first dance was ‘You and Me’ by Lifehouse and we managed to get a few of the spins in that we had practised, but mostly we just winged it. I also did a father-daughter dance to ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ by Guns ‘n’ Roses which was a really special moment. Our DJ Gemma (from DJ Masters) did an awesome job of playing music that we loved but also to get the crowd dancing. Speeches were heartfelt and funny, definitely a highlight. The best man’s speech especially was incredibly moving, and I feel very lucky to have him as my brother in law.
During the reception we managed to talk to everyone briefly but it is like everyone always says – time goes SO fast. We just didn’t have the time to get photos with everyone, dance with everyone, talk properly to everyone, so we made sure to remember special moments that capture the essence of the day. We ducked out at sunset for ten minutes to get a few more photos and it was perfect to take that time to just be together as husband and wife.
The night ended. Guests took their photos (with their bonbonniere which were small frames to keep them in – these doubled as place cards) and bundled up flowers from the tables to take with them. I wanted the flowers to be enjoyed and not thrown out after one night, so we set up some paper, scissors and twine for people to wrap them up at the end of the reception. Jay and I were whisked off to spend the night at Crown Towers (sooo fancy!) and our ‘minimoon’ to the picturesque Bruny Island near Hobart. Our honeymoon was to the USA in December so we were lucky to still have something big to look forward to! Our loved ones were generous with our honeymoon registry which made life easy for us in the lead up to the big getaway. After over a year of dreaming about and planning our wedding down to the tiniest detail, and to have it all over in a day, it helped to know there was still an epic holiday on the horizon.
Our wedding truly was the day of our dreams. I wouldn’t change a single thing, and now I am lucky enough to be wife to the one person in the whole world I choose to spend my life with, and I could not be happier.
Ms Gingham says: I love the science theme! Congratulations Teagan and Jay!
Teagan says: “I am 26 years old and teach English to high school students. I live in Melbourne and I divide my spare time between marking essays, planning classes, researching wedding ideas and gazing at my sparkly engagement ring, which I am still not used to seeing on my finger! Now that I am finally engaged I feel like a lot of things are falling into place in my life – it’s a very good place to be. “
We wanted our Dingo ‘Allira’ to also feature in our wedding, as she is the first family dog we have owned together. So with some trepidation we tied our rings to a handmade (by Brad) lace collar that she wore for the special day. She patiently sat in the bridal line up until her time came to deliver the rings!
We have so many beautiful shots, with stunning backdrops around this area. We had so much fun, Levi Gardner is a really informal and easy going photographer. He knew us both well, but remained professional. He just sat in the background and captured some great, natural and bright shots, and we barely knew he was there. We were so pleased with all the natural autumn colours captured in the shots, that was just what we wanted when we held our wedding in Autumn.
The Reception was held in the Woolshed at Riverwood Downs and guests served themselves in a big Buffet style meal. Noni’s Fowlers Vacola bottles with a lace trim held beautiful bunches of flowers, by Sue at Gloucester Flowers. We had lace table cloths topped with doilies and hessian in the center, scattered with tiny gumnuts and colourful leaves. Our favours were colourful little jars with home-made preserves of Mango Jam and Mango chutney, made with our homegrown Mango crop and cooked by the Groom, my mother, and my brother-in-law. We had a guestbook made by scrapbook shop ‘Shabbyscrap’ on Etsy. Guests took a picture of themselves with a Polaroid Camera, stuck the photo in the book and wrote a message. The candelabra on the bridal table was made by Brad with ‘up-cycled’ materials too!
I left the cake completely in Brad’s hands – being a chef he wanted this part of the wedding to have his touch. He designed the three tier asymmetrical cake and had his favourite local cake shop ‘Piece Of Cake‘ Castle Hill create the design, in a mud cake, traditional fruit cake and gluten free almond cake. The tiers were held up by the champagne glasses used at his parents wedding.
The Speeches were kept short and sweet so we had maximum time for the BUSH DANCE! Brad and I attended many bush dances when we were dating, and always felt it was a guaranteed way to ensure all the guests got up and had some fun dancing – they tell you what to do – it’s a no brainer! We chose the Australian Folk Band Walcha Road on recommendation, and they were fantastic! They played live music while guests ate their meal and it just MADE the atmosphere. They were just like old friends playing away together and enjoying themselves – it was really uplifting. Folk music is such happy music – I love it! One of the instrumentalists even brought his dog along for the performance and he had been taught to ‘bark’ on cue at certain times during their songs – the guests loved it.