Ali-Breeze and Chris
The wedding of Ali-Breeze and Chris is a feast for the eyes – Ali-Breeze walked down the aisle is a blush pink gown, to the surprise in the lining of the boys suits, to the impeccably decorated reception. Ali-Breeze and Chris embraced their love of literature and words and wove it through every facet of their wedding day.
Ali-Breeze recalls how she and Chris met. “In a pub! We got chatting, and after I wandered off to mingle, Chris was approached by a guy who wanted to get the word on what we’d talked about, so he could ask me out. He wasn’t my type, but I certainly had something to say to Chris about setting me up like that! ”
Photos today are by You Can’t Be Serious. Hailey and the YCBS team always capture weddings in such a uniquely fun way with so many unexpected and beautiful photographs. Lumina Motion Pictures shot the couple’s wedding film.
Ali’s blonde hair was twisted and tousled into curls by Lily Fontana. She says “Lily Fontana created stunning tousled up-dos for me and my four bridesmaids, incorporating tiny plaits to add a unique element to each style. Lily and Joseph bravely draped and pinned my birdcage from a plain piece of French veiling on the day.” Lily worked with Melanie Brooke of Beautique Body & Beauty to style the girl’s makeup.
Ali-Breeze wore a beautiful blush pink gown created with one of her dearest friends. She explains “My close friend Joseph Cairns work-shopped ideas with me over many glasses of wine, and worked late into many, many nights to create my flowing dusky pink silk georgette gown with wide v-neck, low back and ruched and draped bodice and long train. Over the course of the multiple fittings and sewing sessions, I got to help sew my own wedding dress, which was a very special experience. The end result was more beautiful than I could ever have hoped, and I felt quite literally dressed in love when I put it on.” The gown was finished off with a rhinestone belt buckle from Fletcher & Grace and earrings loaned from Artisans Gems & Jewels
Ali-Breeze and Chris hired vintage cars and had bridal party members drive them. Ali-Breeze explains “We hired two self-drive London taxis from A Golden Roller, and Chris’s brother Stefan, best man Nathan and my friend Jason generously drove them for us. They were very cute and since they seated eight, also very practical.”
Ali-Breeze’s wedding day finished off with beautiful shoes. Ali-Breeze recalls “Rachel Simpson UK made my off-white satin 1930s style t-bar heels with platinum leather and pink suede trim. They complimented my pink gown perfectly and were surprisingly comfortable and easy to dance in.”
Ali=Breeze’s bridesmaids wore cream silk gowns from Forever New . The floral arrangements were styled by Kate Dawes Flower Design. Ali-Breeze remarks ” Kate Dawes produced stunning, varied arrangements with a wild and rustic feel from mixtures of old-fashioned scented flowers. Her suppliers were not able to source my favourite hydrangeas so early in the season, but luckily my sister Tuscany spotted flowering hydrangeas at Bunnings only two days before the wedding!
We delivered them to Kate, who was flexible enough to incorporate them into the girls’ and my bouquets at the last minute. Kate’s designs had the perfect combination of light and shadow that I had hoped for, and each bouquet and buttonhole included tiny paper flowers made from pages of vintage novels. I provided Kate with vintage cotton lace to wrap the bouquet handles – pale blue for me and creamy palest pink for my bridesmaids.”
The invitations kept to the literature theme and were made by Ali Breeze and Chris. Ali-Breeze says “Sometimes I wonder if there were any details we didn’t DIY! I designed the Save The Dates and designed and made (with help!) the letterpressed invitations, which each included an embossed bookmark and tiny RSVP cards. The invitations ended up being even better than I’d hoped – we sewed the spines of the booklets with metallic thread, lined the cover with imported hand-marbled paper to mimic old leather-bound books, and each had a vintage bookplate on the inside cover bearing the guest’s name. The envelopes were hand-lined with pages from an old thesaurus.
One funny quirk resulting from this was that we realised just how many negative words there are in the English language. To this day we suspect that one of our guests received their invitation in an envelope lined with a page prominently featuring the thesaurus entry for “incest”! Thankfully nobody has had anything to say so far, so we can only hope that they didn’t notice!”
Of their “theme, Ali-Breeze notes, “We didn’t want to have a themed wedding as such, but one repeated detail throughout was words, reading and vintage books. We ordered wreaths from Etsy made from pages of vintage music books to hang on the wide wooden entry doors of the great hall, and the pew ends were decorated with cute paper hearts made from vintage children’s books. All the floral arrangements, bouquets and buttonholes contained tiny flowers made from vintage novel pages, the Save The Dates and invitations were book inspired and the favours were decorated with hearts cut from a vintage thesaurus.”
Ali-Breeze and Chris were married at The Great Hall, Brisbane Grammar School. Ali-Breeze explains “We considered having a garden wedding, but it was really important to me that our guests be comfortable during our ceremony, and that we not have to worry about the weather. The Great Hall was perfect! It has a beautiful, grand ambience and the afternoon light streamed in through the leadlight windows to bathe us as we signed the register.
As a non-religious couple, it was very important to us to find a secular venue to get married in, but we also wanted to be married somewhere with a sense of history and tradition. A few months before we became engaged, we discovered that Chris’s great-grandfather had served as principal of Brisbane Grammar School from 1928 to 1940. Normally only Old Boys are allowed to marry in the Great Hall, but the current principal generously made an exception for us!”
Angel Strings Quartet (which included a cousin of Ali-Breeze) performed at the ceremony, playing Coldplay’s “Chasing Cars” for the bridesmaid’s entrance and Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. Ali-Breeze remembers “Angel Strings created such a romantic atmosphere; I felt like I was floating down the aisle.”
The couple were married by Jennifer Cram and made sure to add many personal touches into their ceremony. Ali-Breeze explains “As keen writers and booklovers, finding the right words for our ceremony was the single most important aspect of our wedding. I spent months researching readings and rituals that would be meaningful to us, and many drafts went back and forward between us and our dedicated celebrant, Jennifer Cram.
The main theme of our wedding ceremony was the importance of our community of friends and family, and the idea that for us, it was the presence and support of key people in our lives that made our wedding sacred.
I was Jennifer’s suggestion of a love letter ceremony that proved most powerful. Chris and I wrote love letters to each other, and exchanged and read them aloud for the first time during our ceremony. Despite insisting beforehand that he wasn’t a crier, we were both in tears by the end! This ritual was especially meaningful to us because the first few months of our relationship were spent long distances apart, during which time we exchanged many thousands of words in letters and emails.”
Ali-Breeze and Chris had their rings hand made. She explains “Artisans Gems & Jewels handcrafted our lovely rings. Mine is a delicate white gold and diamond eternity band with a millgrain edge to match my 1920s-style cushion cut millgrained engagement ring, and Chris chose a platinum band with a millgrain edge to reflect my set. We couldn’t have been happier with Artisans – they worked so hard to make something special just for us, and were so genuinely delighted for us, often waving us down in the street to request updates on our wedding planning and even loaning me a beautiful pair of earrings to wear on our wedding day.”
Of their photographer, Ali-Breeze remarks “We both adored the colourful, playful and happy feel of You Can’t Be Serious’s images. We loved the way Hailey and Andrew’s work found something different in each of the weddings they shot; there was nothing cookie cutter about any aspect of their work. On talking to Hailey about what we had in mind for our wedding, it was great to see her eyes light up and know that she was genuinely enthusiastic about our vision!
Our pictures ended up so beautiful, with a lovely soft feel to them. Hailey and Andrew were great to be around on the day, and their relaxed and fun approach belied the technical excellence of the pictures they took.”
One of Ali-Breeze’s favourite stories from the wedding day was one played out by Mother Nature. She recalls “I had to work very hard in the week or so leading up to the wedding to not stress about the weather – the forecast varied between one to two inches of rain and severe thunderstorms. Mostly, I was concerned because our guests had a 700 metre walk from the hotel to the ceremony, and then back to the hotel to have afternoon tea and wait for the bus we’d organised to take them to the reception.
On the day, the weather was crazy – hot with sunshine until after the ceremony, with just enough light to take some lovely pictures, then the sky turned green and a gigantic hail storm blew up while we were doing bridal party photos at The Great Hall. (I was mightily relieved to hear that all our guests made it back to the hotel with just a few minutes to spare before the hail started!)”
The couple hired Belinda Cee Weddings and Events for the wedding day. Ali-Breeze says “With a restaurant venue that does a Saturday lunch sitting even with a big evening wedding booked, we could never have orchestrated the set up of the reception venue without our Day Of Coordinator, Belinda from Belinda Cee Weddings & Events. I knew I could trust Belinda’s impeccable taste in all the little (and big) styling decisions that I couldn’t be there to make. Her setup was perfection, and her dedication to getting a mammoth job done without ever letting me know about the inevitable dramas she encountered on the day was simply extraordinary. I couldn’t recommend Belinda and her team more highly.”
Ali-Breeze and Chris held their reception at The Summit Restaurant, Mount Coot-tha.. Ali-Breeze remarks “The Summit Restaurant is a Brisbane institution; the building was originally a 1920s teahouse, and has been sympathetically renovated to showcase the most magnificent view across the city and river all the way to the sea. The broad deck was a wonderful spot for our guests to mingle and watch the sunset with welcome cocktails while Chris and I had our pictures taken. People gasped to see how stunning it was as evening fell and the city lights came out.
The Summit staff were excited to host a completely different kind of wedding to any they’d had before, although I think that perhaps they were a bit shocked at amount of wedding stuff we brought in for the setup! We decided we wanted a relaxed wedding where our friends and family could mingle and decide for themselves who to spend their time with, so we removed most of the tables and chairs from the restaurant space, and created mismatched conversation areas from six sets of vintage velvet armchairs and couches I collected on eBay in the months leading up the wedding.
Originally, I had intended to hire furniture, but we found the range of vintage-style pieces was very limited, and it was cheaper to buy them outright. All this required enormous patience from poor Chris, who watched helplessly as our house filled with piles of vintage furniture, and from my Dad, who ended up moving most of it into and out of the venue! But everyone agreed that the effect was magnificent, like a grand-but-shabby English country house.
I also bought a rustic vintage dresser to use as our signing table, and dressed up battered vintage birdcages to hold cards and floral arrangements. The entire garden entry area, walkway, restaurant and deck were all scattered with hundreds of tealights in assorted mercury glass votives I collected. I styled our wedding myself, sourcing furniture and props through my vintage fashion and homewares business, Breeze Vintage at Woolloongabba Antique Centre. Since the wedding, I’ve expanded into a second shop space at the Paddington Antique Centre Brisbane, under the name Breeze Vintage Wedding & Home.”
The favours were homemade sweet treats. Ali-Breeze explains “My mother and I made jars of delectable salted caramel spread that we decorated with hearts cut from vintage novels and labelled with hand-stamped manilla luggage tags.”
The cake was a labor of love, says Ali-Breeze. “My sister Tuscany’s mother-in-law Fran Attard made us a beautiful three-tier “naked” citrus mud cake layered with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries. The stunning confection was topped with flowers and a seventy-year-old bride and groom cake topper that has been in my family for as long as I can remember.”
The reception was filled with meaningful mementos for the couple. Ali-Breeze explains “The bridesmaids and I made tissue paper pompoms to decorate the reception area, and I collected hundreds of vintage vases, snow domes representing the many places we’ve traveled, medicine jars to represent Chris’s work as an anesthetist, as well as assorted bits of bricabrac that represented us as a couple. These were scattered around through the reception venue to create little vignettes, along with piles of vintage books and our favourite novels, all displayed on vintage lace tablecloths and embroidered doilies.
I collected vintage picture frames off eBay and my dad painted pieces of blackboard to fit in them for our signage. He also made gorgeous blackboard arrows that we hung as “wedding this way” signs. I ordered giant ivory balloons on streamers of vintage lace that we used to create paths to help our guests navigate the ceremony and reception site layouts. Thankfully, nobody got lost!
My mum and I sewed tens and tens of metres of bunting cut from cream lace curtains, which was crisscrossed around the walls of the restaurant and around the deck railings. A vintage mirror became the menu for our cocktail-style reception, with the canapé selections and wine choices written on it in chalk pen.”
The favourite moment of the day, was one that happened before anybody knew the newlyweds were there. Ali explains “For Chris and me, arriving at the Summit and seeing all of our friends and family partying hard on the restaurant’s lovely deck, with an amazing spread of stars, occasional sheet lightning and city lights behind them, was such a joyful feeling. In fact, when we arrived they were all having such a good time that hardly anyone noticed us for quite a few minutes – it was great to have the experience of being guests at our own wedding!”
For their first dance the couple has another hilarious moment. Ali-Breeze explains “We did a rumba to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” – it was hilarious, because the mirror ball above the dance floor was hung a trifle too low and 6’2” Chris had to keep ducking under it to avoid hitting his head!” The couple hired Angel Strings Quartet before their dear friend Dr. Offig moved guests into party mode.
Ali-Breeze and Chris were lucky to have friends who made them stop and smell the roses on their wedding night. Ali-Breeze tells the story, “Chris’s friend Nick came up to us during the evening as we were both doing the rounds separately, and dragged us out onto the deck to see the magnificent golden moon that had risen above the view of the city. We think of it as our “wedding moon” and being lifted out of our social duties to see it was one of the best wedding present we could have received.”
Congratulations on your marriage Ali-Breeze and Chris! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to You Can’t Be Serious. for sharing today’s images!
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- Bride's Dress
- Joseph Cairns