Erica & Dave’s Bright & Joyful Wedding At The Melba Spiegeltent

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,

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Erica & Dave

A wedding should be romantic, yes, but it should be most of all fun. You should, you need to plan a day that you will utterly enjoy. Just like Erica and Dave did. Now we could talk about Eric’s sunshine yellow wedding jumpsuit, which let’s be honest is a little spot of joy without even checking out the wedding, but we need to add in all the whimsical details. The face painting guest activity, a dress code that simply stated “tropical glamour”, the theatre venue of the famous The Melba Spiegeltent, and all the beautiful photos by Elsa Cairns Wedding Photography.

And it turns out, a day of bright colour, of wonderful fun, of joy, of love, just what Erica and Dave wanted, the pair explaining “Our day’s theme was “all the colours, all the time.” On a whim, we came up with the dress code ‘tropical glamour’ for our guests, and everyone LOVED it and planned incredible outfits. Our colours were purple and yellow, and the atmosphere was truly one of joyful love meets riotous hilarity.”

The pair met on Tinder, a place where they’d both tried their luck before, they tell  “On the first weekend of December 2015 (we think, we can’t actually remember), Erica and Dave met for breakfast at New Day Rising, a tiny cafe in Brunswick. It was Erica’s 38th Tinder date and Dave’s second. Even though they had agreed on New Day Rising because the menu featured a vegan toasted coconut bacon bagel, Dave couldn’t decide what to order, and Erica was forced to tell him that he had to ‘choose or die’.”

It was a day of treats that led Dave to propose, he tells “In the beginning, there was the heavens and the Earth, and when the armies of darkness came in the form of Corey Bernardi, they were challenged in a battle for the very soul of… wait. Wrong story.

Proposal. Right. As a late Valentine’s getaway in February 2019, Erica and I went to the beautiful and picturesque Mornington Peninsula for a weekend of snacks, relax, and numerous coffees. After a luxurious morning at the Hot Springs, we had lunch at our favourite vegan cafe (Wombat in Dromana – try the nachos!). At both of these locations, Erica was expecting me to propose. Sike!

At the third and final location, Ashcombe Gardens, after exploring the hedge mazes, the rose maze, and the lavender maze, we found ourselves on a strange iron platform at the centre of the aforementioned lavender maze, which resembled the skeleton of a diving bell for some reason. At this point, after waiting for tourists to leave (they didn’t), I got down on one arthritic knee and launched into my proposal speech, which was mostly just saying very nice things about Erica, produced a ring and asked the big question: want to share a Netflix login? (just kidding, we don’t have Netflix).

But seriously. I concluded the several minutes of very nice things, which Erica kept interrupting to reciprocate, asked her to marry me, and she was kind enough to say yes so I could get up off the extremely unforgiving iron grate.”

The groom, chose a crisp, suit from Arthur Galan. “I was a bit stumped for ideas on what I wanted to wear for the first few months of planning. What does a groom wear to a wedding without looking like James Bond in Casino Royale? I can’t fill Daniel Craig’s suit. I decided that, based on my attendance at friends’ previous weddings, I look my best and most marriable in a suit. Erica had been following The Real Dads Of Melbourne on Instagram and recommended the tailor who created their amazing wedding suits, Arthur Galan in South Yarra. I swung down there, took one look at their suit wear and knew exactly what I wanted. Black suit, colourful lining, and a shirt in a very specific shade of purple – described later as “deep, vibrant, Anton LaVey purple.” The team at Arthur Galan were amazing, and grinned through our decidedly non-traditional ideas with exceptional good humour, and produced the best and finest item of clothing I own.”

It was always going to be bright yellow for Erica who worked with Sarah Seahorse on her custom yellow jumpsuit. She notes  “I knew I wanted to wear yellow because it was my Nana’s favourite colour. I also wanted to wear pants, because women had to fight for the right to wear them, and if I was going to engage in a historically patriarchal tradition (marriage), I at least wanted to do it in trousers.

I had met Sarah Seahorse, who is a milliner and costume designer while working at Circus Oz, and when I sat down and visualised wearing a bright yellow creation, I immediately thought of her. I was so grateful that she said yes to the project. I LOVED working with Sarah, she is extremely talented, and she also gave me really heartwarming moral support throughout the process.”

“Dave and I woke up together, but got ready separately, ” explains the bride. “And we had no idea what the other was wearing until we saw each other when I walked down the aisle. I also wore ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’. Dave’s mum Lesley lent me the pearl clip-on earrings she wore to her wedding, my shoes were a favourite hot pink pair from 2013, my bridal jumpsuit was new, and my remarkable friend Robyn created the most incredible aqua blue beaded bridal shawl for me.”

Erica and Dave chose The Melba Spiegeltent for their wedding, Dave remarking “We had our ceremony and the reception in the same space, the amazing Melba Spiegeltent in Collingwood. It’s owned by Circus Oz, where Erica used to work and is a wooden circus tent that’s over 100 years old.

Part of the appeal of this venue was our shared history – Erica and I had both been to numerous events there – and it’s right next to the iconic Keith Haring mural (you’ve been past The Tote, you know the one) which made a perfect backdrop for the family photo extravaganza after the ceremony. It reflected the best sides of both our personalities and passions and seeing it come alive with colour and joy on the day was mind-blowing.”

The bride and groom, both chose songs they adored for their walk down the aisle, played live by Perch Creek. “The incredible Perch Creek played their version of a song very special to my Nana, who was a talented musician – ‘How Can I Keep From Singing’, ” remembers the bride. “I walked myself down the aisle, buoyed by the love of all of the incredible people in the Melba.” Dave adds ” I also walked down the aisle, preceded by my groom’s people, to a Perch Creek rendition of the ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars. Because reasons.”

“Aside from the food, the music, the colours, all the wonderful people? ” tells Dave of his favourite parts of the day. “The moment when Erica walked in the door and I saw what she was wearing, and how jaw-droppingly beautiful she was, and watching her face light up when she saw everyone who had come from near and far to share the day with us. That’s the moment I think of every day, and grin ear to ear.”

Tell the newlyweds “It was extremely important to us that we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we were marrying – the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations. We contacted the Wurundjeri Tribe Council, and Aunty Georgina Nicholson conducted a Welcome to Country for us at our ceremony. It was awesome, and a really special part of the whole day.”

Dave and Erica enlisted the help of Damon Hughes to make their marriage official, noting  “For the ceremony, we wanted it to feel as bright, fun and joyful as possible. Damon did an amazing job of capturing the Erica and Dave vibe with his warmth and humour – people kept asking us afterwards how many years we’d known him, and we had to explain we only met him in 2019 when we chose him as our celebrant.

He’s just that good. As for readings, we didn’t include any, but our friends Brandy and Mark (who Erica was living with as live-in pet sitter when we met) are our favourite married couple, and they were kind enough to each share a few observations on what marriage means, and they captured the balance of gravity and humour perfectly.”

Erica and Dave chose Marina Antoniou Jewellery and Rhys Turner Jewellery to create custom, surprise rings. Erica telling “My rings were made by an old friend of mine, Marina Antoniou, who is an exquisite fine jeweller. She was there to see us get married, which was so wonderful.”

Dave adding “Our rings were a complete surprise to one another. Erica had no idea what her wedding ring would be until I put it on her finger, and vice versa, so when I held my hand out and Erica placed this amazing creation by her friend Rhys (who was one of Marina’s teachers when she was studying fine jewellery).”

“I will never forget the truly extraordinary sensation of walking into the Melba and seeing this sea of colour” remembers Erica. “Everyone was wearing the most incredible colourful tropical prints and patterns. I remember seeing two faces – a colleague from the circus, and then a friend from high school, and it hit me that all of the important people from all the different parts of our lives were all together in this beautiful tent to see us commit to each other forever. My heart just about burst when I saw Dave at the end of the aisle, and I couldn’t help kissing him when I got there. ‘The kiss’ during the ceremony was also pretty special, we got so lost in the moment that our celebrant Damon had to pull us back to reality.”

Floral arrangements packed with bright yellow sunflowers were styled by Bart Lorist. “Our dear family friend Bart Lorist told us in 2018 he was going to study floristry and we asked him straight away if he’d do the flowers for our wedding. We weren’t even engaged! We knew we wanted yellow and purples as our colours, but we had no strong preferences as to types of flowers or style, we were super comfortable giving Bart full creative control. His creations were EXQUISITE. I didn’t put my bouquet down the entire day I loved it so much. I held it throughout the ceremony because I thought it was so beautiful and it had been made with such love that it had to be part of this special moment in our lives. Bart’s daughter Lili was also our flower girl.”

The couple loved the one on one time they had with their photographer, Dave noting “Elsa has been a friend of mine for years – I met her back when she was working as an event photographer at several punk and metal nightclubs where I would go to watch my friends’ bands play (she ended up marrying one of Chris’s bandmates). We’d seen her work in all sorts of event contexts and has such an energetic, hilarious approach while still capturing the moment beautifully. We asked her to take photos of our engagement party (a picnic in Edinburgh Gardens, on the first day of winter – totally different to the wedding day) and she was amazing, and we knew she was the one to capture the wedding day.”

Dave’s favourite part of wedding planning? “Trying different flavours of cake to choose the best one (spoiler: they were all amazing).

(We went with Black Forest for the big cake, as well as gluten-free choc butterscotch brownie cupcakes, and pumpkin spice cupcakes for dietary requirements.”

The decor was kept simple, bright and handmade tells Erica. “Amy, my mum and my wonderful friends Maggie, Pippin and Clare helped us wrap 60+ glass jars in hessian and twine. We’d collected the jars (from pickles, mustard, salsa, etc) over the year, and used them as holders for little LED tealight candles and fairy lights.” Even the invitation was done by a friend of Dave’s, “For the invitation (and a few other locations), our friend Rory drew a beautiful design of two of our pet rats with their tails intertwined. ”

Food and drink were just as important as every other detail of the day for these two, who chose Moroccan Soup Bar and Market Juice to cater their day. “We had asked James (Dave’s groomsperson wearing the outrageous purple galaxy suit) to design a Melbourne mai tai for the reception. We weren’t able to have it at our wedding in the end, but James had recommended Market Juice, so we got some of their delicious juices and had blood orange mimosas and virgin mai tais outside after the ceremony.

Moroccan Soup Bar is one of our all-time favourite restaurants, and their amazing food is exactly what we wanted to have at our wedding. We were overjoyed that they were able to do our catering, and they created the most delicious vegan feast for us. Our guests are still telling us how much they loved the food, which was precisely what we’d hoped for.”

The face painting? One of the bride and groom’s favourite parts of their day. “My friend Holly has a face painting business, and we thought it would be fabulous fun to have her bedazzle everyone at the party” shares Erica. “We asked her to stick with a tropical theme, but also requested dinosaur options. Someone later told me they heard her asking one of the kids, ‘do you want to see the dinosaur on your face, or do you want to be the dinosaur?’ We thought it was marvellous. And we wanted a dinosaur on our wedding cake so Opal (pastry chef, baker and dear friend) and her partner Rhys found one with LIGHT UP RED EYES.”

On her advice for others yet to tie the knot? Erica shares “I think about what the two of you really want. In your heart of hearts, what do you want your wedding to be? And then stick to that, and don’t let the (well-meaning) people around you make you doubt yourselves. And come up with a ripper dress code for your guests!

We also had a Production Manager – Cath – who pulled all of the elements together so gracefully, with such charm and good humour. She did a fantastic job of liaising with all of our vendors and the venue and managed all of the logistics on the day. Having someone there to manage the technical side of things means you can focus on being with all of your loved ones.”

And then? It was time to celebrate! All thanks, to live music from Perch Creek. Tells Erica  “My dear friend from high school, Camilla, is in the most remarkable band – Perch Creek – with three of her siblings and her partner. We were THRILLED when they said they would do the music for the ceremony, as well as play two sets at the party. Our ceremony music choices were far from traditional.

Perch Creek kicked things off with one of their original songs, and then Dave and his groom’s people entered to the Imperial March. I had my Nana’s beautiful song, which was very moving for my Mum and siblings. And then when while we were signing the official paperwork, Perch Creek played a ripper version of the Ghostbusters theme song.

Dave and I were so grateful (and a bit surprised) that they agreed to it, and we thought it was FABULOUS. At the end of the night, they finished their last set by playing it again – it had everyone on the dancefloor. Who ya gonna call…”

A big congratulations to you Erica and Dave! What utter fun it was to share your beautiful day! Thank you both and thank you to Elsa Cairns Wedding Photography for sharing today’s celebration1

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