Zora & Michael
I am so very smitten with the vintage charm of Zora and Michael’s wedding. The bride’s gorgeous vintage-inspired gown won me over first, and then the little white church setting where everyone celebrates with sunshine, drinks and music? Well, you have my kind of party. But my favourite touch just might be the homemade cocktail mixes the couple whipped up as take-home wedding favours. Every part beautifully captured by Smith + Archer. So pour yourself a glass of their signature Honeysuckle Fizz and let’s dive in!
After meeting through an app, Michael and Zora decided to get married on a date that lined up with family visits – although they came to the realisation separately! Zora explaining “I was pregnant and had just gotten back from Switzerland, where I visited my family (I was born and grew up there before moving to Australia in 2009). My family had told me that they would be coming to visit in October 2017, when the baby would be 4 months old, so I suggested to Michael that we should get married while they were here. Little did I know that he already had everything planned.
On this day we had to go to Bendigo for an ultrasound and to run some errands. On the drive there, Michael suggested that we should go to the Goldmines Hotel (the pub where we had met for the first time, which also happens to have a stunning, romantic garden) for lunch. I replied that the Goldmines was on the other side of town from where we were going and that it wouldn’t be open anyway. But Michael convinced me to at least call them and ask if they were open (they had in fact opened just for us when Michael told them about his proposal plans). I finally gave in and we headed to the Goldmines Hotel, where we grabbed a drink and went to find a table out the back. Michael then talked me into a walk around the gardens (being pregnant and it being a hot day, I wasn’t too keen on the idea).
We got to the pond, where there was a little table set up in the rotunda with a bunch of flowers, a cheese platter and a bottle of alcohol-free sparkling wine. Michael got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and despite my efforts to sabotage the whole proposal, of course, I said yes!”
“All of our vendors were amazing,” says Zora. “But I would like to mention my fabulous friend, Jacinta, even though she isn’t technically a vendor. I had asked her if she’d do my hair and makeup on the day (she isn’t a professional hair and makeup artist, just very good with a makeup brush). She was a little nervous but agreed to do it as long as we had a practice session in advance. She ended up doing a fantastic job at creating that vintage, old Hollywood glamour look and I can’t thank her enough for that.”
Zora purchased her gown online and worked with JACH Textiles to tailor it to her own style. She tells “I had never wanted to spend a huge amount of money on a dress I would only wear once and wasn’t sure if I wanted a traditional wedding dress. I ended up finding a dress for sale online which had been used once for a pin-up competition. It was a beautiful vintage style and I decided at that price it was worth the risk that it wouldn’t end up fitting me (I was still pregnant at this stage).
The dress ended up fitting me and the style was quite forgiving and flattering, but as the wedding got closer I realised that I really wanted a lace dress. I found a local dressmaker, who suggested that we use the existing dress, but add the lace over the top and add some sleeves. This was exactly what we ended up doing, and I couldn’t have been happier with the decision and the process. The dress was everything I hoped for, it was unique and custom made and it even allowed me to breastfeed my daughter on the day!”
The couple’s daughter, baby Ella arrived at the church in a floral adorned cart. Zora explaining “I got it in my head early in the planning stages, that our Anatolian Shepherd Dog Arzu would pull a cart with our daughter Ella in it to the church. I think in the beginning everyone was convinced I’d lost my mind, but eventually, I got Michael to agree and my family helped decorate the cart (which our friend Marcus had customised) with wattle and gum leaves. It looked beautiful and Arzu seemed so pleased with herself when she spotted the crowd of people waiting out the front of the church. I’m pretty sure she thought they were all there to celebrate her.”
The Little Church At Spring Hill set the scene for the day to unfold. “We live in Spring Hill, so getting married there meant a lot to us. It’s a beautiful little church and the grounds are stunning. Luckily the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!”
Zora tells ” One of my favourite photos from the day is of my dad, sister and I walking down the road between our home and the church, closely followed by the one of me and my new husband walking down the same road later in the day.”
The bride walked down the aisle with her father to Cat Power’s ‘Sea Of Love’.
With Sweet Wonderful You officiating, Zora & Michael held not just a wedding ceremony, but a naming ceremony, explains Zora “We decided to combine a naming day ceremony for our daughter Ella Rose and our wedding ceremony as it was such a unique opportunity having all our family from Switzerland and Australia in the same place. Our celebrant did a fantastic job combining the two. My dad also surprised us with an amazing speech in German, which my little sister translated into English. Our band played some songs during the ceremony and I think everyone enjoyed the relaxed, personal and fun feel of the ceremony.”
Adding to the relaxed feel of the day, the bride made the wedding cake. She tells “We did DIY quite a few things. The biggest was probably the wedding cake, a two-tiered semi-naked orange and almond cake with an orange blossom buttercream icing, which my big sister and I baked together. It was nerve wracking baking my own wedding cake as an amateur who had never baked a cake on a similar scale, but ultimately extremely rewarding. It also tasted amazing (if I do say so myself) and my little sister has already requested that we bake the cake for her wedding in September 2018 as well.”
Guests took home favours of homemade “Honeysuckle Fizz” made by the couple.
Of their photographer, Zora remarks “Ali was amazing, and we’re so glad we found her! From the first time we met up with her, we just clicked and knew she was the right person to photograph our big day. For my birthday earlier in the year, my sister contacted Ali, and my family gifted me a newborn photo shoot with her after the birth of our daughter Ella. She took some stunning photos that day as well!
It was very important to us to get some great photos of all our guests as well as us, since we may never have both our families together like this again. Neither of us really like having our photo taken, but she made us feel very comfortable and at ease.”
As the sun set, guests gathered for speeches “Neither of us enjoy public speaking and I said early on that I didn’t feel like we needed to have any speeches, but Michael insisted that he would have to say something. He agonised over what to say for ages and then held the most amazing speech! There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd after his speech and he got standing ovations” tells the bride.
And then, dancing was on for one and all tells the bride. “Neither of us is dancers and I was adamant I would break tradition and not have the first dance. But as the night went on (and I’d had a few drinks), when the band started to play All I Want Is You by Barry Louis Polisar (from the Juno soundtrack), one of the songs we had requested, we couldn’t resist and had a spontaneous dance.”
Congratulations Zora & Michael! Thank you for sharing the beautiful stories of your day! Thank you also to Smith + Archer for sharing today’s wedding with us!