Melanie & Sean
If gorgeous French antique stores are your thing, then you may just fall head over heels for this beautifully intimate Vieille Branche wedding. The beautiful store, full of French antiques and art was love at first sight for the bride and groom who chose Aaron Shum Photography to capture their day.
As for how they met, the couple tells their story like this. “Sean and Melanie met at a point in their lives where they both thought they had decided on the road they were taking. In a theme that would seem recurrent in their relationship, the plans they made mattered for nothing. God or the Universe had other plans for them.
They were introduced by a mutual friend, Kirsten, who was one of Melanie’s two bridesmaids. And as they got to know each other they discovered there were many more, friend, family and place connections.
In the way of things today, Melanie and Sean got to know each other through texting, phone calls and a little bit of Facebook stalking. Melanie made such an impression on Sean, that he bought her a large bunch of flowers before they had even met and left them on her back deck. Sean surely must have been smitten, because, in a move that is highly unlike him, he hired a sporty car for their first date (to see Prince in concert) because he didn’t think his work van would cut the mustard with this girl.”
The bride worked with My Patterns Shop and Design to make her wedding gown, remembering “Whilst out dress shopping, I was chatting with my mother in law to be on the phone, who just happened to mention that she had meters of Silk Dupion that had been sitting in her cupboard for years and if I wanted to use it, she would be delighted to give it to me.
I took the material to a local Russian dressmaker, Inessa from My Patterns Shop & Design, who has been making wedding dresses for years. Inessa exclaimed that the material I had was amazing and that it would save me a small fortune. How could I not use it? I based my wedding top and skirt on a combination of 1950’s Dior dress and a 2015 Delphine Manivet gown.
The two dresses reminded me so much of my late Grandmother’s ballroom dresses that she used to take so much pride in making. I felt by having a top and skirt it would help put my own stamp on it. I loved the experience of designing my own dress and working closely with the dressmaker. I’ll miss my Thursday fittings with Inessa.”
Melanie and Sean chose Vieille Branche as their wedding venue, noting, “To ensure the day was relaxed we chose to only have one venue. We fell in love with Vieille Branche from the moment we stepped into this beautiful space. It reminded both Sean and I of Kalk Bay, a little fishing village in Cape Town, where I am from. The warehouse is filled with the most beautiful pieces of art and French antiques which the owners JC and Jen source themselves from France. The venue provides the perfect backdrop for a stunning wedding that no amount of styling could achieve.”
The bride chose “Lover of the Light” by Mumford and Son’s performed live by Jayden and Akshay of Golden Oak for her walk down the aisle.
“We wanted a ceremony that was inclusive and intimate. Instead of having a pre-made bouquet, I assembled my bouquet upon arrival. The Bouquet was assembled by collecting a flower from each of our female guests, thus allowing me to have a lovely private moment with each wonderful woman present. As I entered the venue I was met by my Mother in Law, who handed me a King Protea, South Africa’s National flower, a nod to my heritage.
Once I had collected all my flowers, I walked up the aisle with all my favourite women walking behind me (my backup). When I reached Sean, he tied my flowers together with ribbon, making my bouquet and signifying the act of “Tying the knot”.”
Caitlin Healy officiated the ceremony, the bride remarking, “Sean and I wrote our own vows. My 12-year-old son, James who was also Sean’s best man read the “Apache Wedding Blessing” and a beautiful friend from interstate, Danielle, read “Love” by Kahlil Gibran. My oldest friend and Bridesmaid, Shirlee gave me away as my father could not be there (her speech was heartwarming and hilarious.)”
“Sean made a backdrop of hanging ropes that were tied into knots, yet again signifying the act of “tying the knot”. I made blue dipped dyed serviettes to match our antique cake plates that were secretly bought in Katoomba by Sean’s mum and then posted to us.”
“We decided on an intimate wedding so that we could spend quality time with all our guests. We also decided on a small wedding so that we could indulge in good food and wine. I wanted to ensure that no-one went home hungry and that the day wasn’t just another wedding but an experience that people would remember favourably. In keeping with the relaxed Sunday session feel we opted for cocktail catering which meant we could keep circulating and chatting.”
“What made it perfect was having our closest friends there. One of my bridesmaids, my oldest and closest friend flew in from London. Others flew in from interstate. It was a day filled with good vibes and good friends. Our two-year-old twin boys even sat quietly throughout the whole ceremony. Our invitations and styling on the day were done by a good friend. The flowers were done by Sean’s mum and the live music was provided by two very cool dudes who we just happened to know. It all felt very personal and our “Sunday Session” vibe was achieved.”
Of their photographer, Melanie tells, “Aaron Shum just gets it. He loves what he does and that shows. Not only are we so happy with our photographs but we couldn’t have asked for a better person to have around on our special day. Aaron is genuine, kind and talented.”
“To merge our two backgrounds we had both Banksia and Proteas in our floral arrangements and we had African bead and wire animals on the tables which were purchased on our last visit to Cape Town from local street artists.”
Cake Kiosk and Black Pearl Epicure created cakes for the celebration, the bride explaining, “We decided to have two cakes, one sweet and one savoury to ensure everyone’s tastes were met. The cheese for the cheese wheel cake was sourced from Black Pearl Epicure in New Farm. Both cakes were a huge hit as was the fantastic catering. Jade from Cake Kiosk makes the most scrumptious cakes, we couldn’t decide on one flavour so we had three different flavours and types of cake.”
“All our vendors were great, from hair and make-up to the extra help we received from JC of Vieille Branche, to our gorgeous, calm and helpful celebrant Caitlin Healy, to Aaron Shum spending extra time taking photographs, to Lea McGinnis being my right-hand woman on the day, doing all the coordinating and setting up, to Andrew of Standing Room Only providing gorgeous food, fantastic staff and helping out with the cakes and to our most brilliant musicians who provided the soundtrack to our day (and who bought us Jaegerbombs at the after gathering with their earnings). I loved every bit of planning our wedding. There is so much talent out there. I just loved discovering it all.”
Congratulations on your marriage Melanie and Sean! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Aaron Shum Photography for sharing today’s wedding with us!