Shelley & Balan’s Classic Melbourne Wedding With A Modern Twist

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Shelley and Balan

It was at work that Shelley and Balan first met. “I was Balan’s HR Manager and developed a crush on him very quickly. He was not too sure about me at the beginning but I slowly chipped away and eventually won him over,” says Shelley. “We first got together at our company’s mid year ball, I was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and he was Aladdin. I guess it was the red cape that sealed the deal.”

The lovebirds chose a classic Melbourne wedding to celebrate their I do’s, a modern twist making the most of the cityscapes – from urban gardens to city skylines – and Steph Wallis behind the camera.

Shelley chose a Maggie Sottero gown from Raffaele Ciuca, telling “I had been shopping a few times, and thought I had found THE dress at another store. Because I already had my appointment set up at Raffaele Cuica I thought I had better go. Surprise surprise, it was there that I found the dress. I chopped and changed between two very different styles, one being more vintage and figure hugging, the other being a sassy and flirty number which highlighted my figure but was not skin tight. In the end, I decided to go with the dress that on the day I thought would be the most comfortable but still was a reflection of my personality.”

The couple chose Plane Trees Walk in Fitzroy Gardens for their ceremony. “We wanted to get married outdoors, ideally in a garden, and living in East Melbourne, Fitzroy Gardens seemed like a no brainer to us. We used to walk together to work most days and we would walk past the Plane Trees Walk and admire how beautiful the setting was through the seasons” remarked the bride.

Shelley notes “Our wedding was very romantic with lots of love. We wanted our guests to know how much we appreciated them and loved them, so we were sure to call that out in the ceremony and throughout the reception. We are both from big colourful families so our wedding was vibrant and diverse.”

For the walk down the aisle with her parents, Shelley remembers “I walked down the aisle to “Can’t help falling in love” by Haley Reinhart, a remake of the Elvis Presley song.”

Sharon Palmeiri officiated the ceremony. “We chose a celebrant who we felt best represented us as a couple, someone who was quirky, vibrant and a bit off the beaten track” says the bride. “We wanted the ceremony to be fun and for our guests to really feel like they were a part of it. We had our siblings (nine in total) stand and consent to the marriage. We had our siblings as our marriage witnesses, and Balan’s cousin sang “Ho Hey” while we signed the registry. We had two readings, a Winnie the Pooh excerpt and a paragraph from Tuesday’s with Morrie. Both talked about the need to compromise and communicate which we believe are the corner-stones to a strong relationship.”

The softly toned flowers were styled by North Street Botanical.” Shelley remarking “A friend of mine, Emily Bradbury, owns her own florist, North St Botanical, and having seen her amazing work, I knew she would be the only florist I would work with. She has such an amazing talent for what she does that I gave her complete freedom on the day to do what she wanted. My only request was to have a door frame as the backdrop for the ceremony, and I gave a loose guide on the colour palette. She completely nailed it.”

Of their photographer, the bride tells “We knew from the moment that we met Steph that she was the one for us. Not only are her photos beautiful, but she described herself as being the photographer that is more like one of your guests, works with you, more than you have to work with her. And this definitely stood out on the day. She captured so many wonderful candid moments in such an unassuming way. My guests still comment on how lovely she was and how patient she was too.”

The setting switched to urban style as the newlyweds and their guests gathered in Docklands at The Secret Garden By Tommy Collins . Shelley explaining “we had quite a list of challenging criteria. It needed to be big enough to hold a sit down reception for 160 people, we wanted it near the CBD as we had quite a few guests from out of town, so central was key, and we wanted something that showcased the awesome city that is Melbourne. We stumbled across Tommy Collins by chance, who had run really unique and special reception venues across Melbourne before. They had a pop-up venue on North Wharf in the Docklands, called the Secret Garden. It was a glass marquee, right out on the water, over looking the city and the water.”

The newlyweds did away with traditional favours, instead opting for something more personal “Rather than gifting our guests with something they may or may not want, we decided to gift each with a letter about what they personally meant to us and why we were so glad they had come to our wedding. We had the letters printed and placed on their plates so it was the first thing they saw when they sat down. It took ages to individually write 140 letters, but in the end, it was worth every single second. The love that flowed in the room that night was priceless” explains Shelley.


The bride remarks “The speeches were the best speeches I have ever heard (I’m sure every bride says that)! We were blown away by how much love and laughter had been put into them. My best friend and maid of honour had done her speech in the style of a mixed tape, complete with rap and mic drop. Our parent’s words were so kind and thoughtful and the best man speech was hilarious.”

“Honestly, I loved them all. The flowers and styling were just sensational, my make up artist (Je Da Vu) did a stunning job of mine and the bridal party’s hair and makeup. Our photographer was awesome, Tommy Collins was great…we also had a friend of ours do the invitations and she killed it! And our videographer captured our wedding so perfectly. We must have watched the highlights reel 30 times.”

“We debated for quite a while about our first dance, do we do one, if so, what style, what song etc. We spent a whole 3-hour road trip to Metung one weekend trying to get inspired about which song to pick. Nothing clicked until we were at a New Years Eve party and Beyonce’s “Love on Top” came on. We decided to ask a friend of mine, who is a dancer if she would choreograph a dance to it which she did. We had a few sessions learning it, and I won’t say we nailed it but we did our best on the day.”

The cinematographer captured all the magic, emotion and stories of the day on film.

Congratulations Shelley and Balan! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! Thank you also to Steph Wallis for sharing this big day!


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