Laura & Jesse
It wouldn’t be The Vintage Issue without an Art Deco delight! Laura and Jesse, who met 10 years ago, tied the knot in an old school cinema as a nod to their love of the 1920s and 1930s. And what could make their unique ceremony even more heartwarming? Perhaps having your sister as your celebrant! Megan Jordan, Laura’s sister, was on board (or should I say stage?) to make things official. There to capture all the big moments and gorgeous details was Mardy Bridges of All My Wednesdays. Below, Laura retells the story of her special day.
Our wedding was on September 14, 2019. The ceremony was held at the Palace Westgarth Cinema in Northcote, in the main cinema. The reception was held at Little Henri in Thornbury. We also had first look photos along the Merri Creek. We requested our guests to dress cocktail/Art Deco as our venues were both built in the 1920s and 1930s.
We enjoyed the relaxed nature of the first look photos at the Merri Creek prior to the ceremony with the entire bridal party. This created a relaxed atmosphere (the groom was particularly nervous) because the groomsmen and bridesmaids got along great, bantered and made the afternoon light and fun.
We love Australiana flowers and foliage and feel that the colour palate worked well with the burnt orange of the cinema curtains during the ceremony. We used Floral Accent and worked closely with Laine McCully to create two large centrepieces, 11 medium arrangements in up-cycled gin bottles, eight posies, multiple boutonnieres, bridesmaid bouquets and, of course, the bridal bouquet. We chose in season Australiana flowers and trusted Laine who strategically added some beautiful roses to draw us back to the Art Deco style. She was also excited to add anything else to the bouquets that I had collected, including pampas grass and even green rooster feathers!
I had my dress made by Kathryn Ellard. I designed the dress based on varied aspects of multiple dresses I’d seen and tried on previously. I wanted a dress that was multifunctional with a top and skirt design.
The ceremony skirt was long with a small train with a heart shaped under button. The reception skirt was a Ginger Rogers style skirt which floated out and down when dancing in it (I never wanted to be stuck doing the bridal shuffle on the dance floor for my wedding day!). The bodice affixed to both skirts and was made with the most amazing beaded and embroidered material that Kate and I chose together. We kept elements of the 1920s feel (particularly in the ceremony skirt) but still was able to keep a modern feel that felt like ‘me’. I had an amazing experience working with Kate on every aspect of this gorgeous dress!
The groom wore a black velvet jacket by Jack London, with a paisley press print and a Politix double breasted vest, and a YD purple and pink floral print bowtie. He was going for a decadent look, with an eccentric twist, to stand out from his groomsmen.
For our bridal party… On the groom’s side, the best man was Jesse’s older brother Jake, and the two other groomsmen were his close friends Luke and Anthony. On my side, the matron of honour was my older sister Megan, and the two other bridesmaids were her close friends Minja and Danni, whom I’ve known for over 10 years.
We chose the Palace Westgarth Theatre for the ceremony because we wanted a venue that suited our interest in Art Deco and the 1920s and 1930s, also we liked the idea of all the guests being comfortable for the ceremony… something which is often not the case at many weddings. The main cinema has an elevated stage with burnt orange curtains in front of the screen, and seating for about 120 people.
We chose a song by Hozier called ‘Shrike’ to walk down the aisle too. We initially wanted ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E. King because we both had a strong connection with the song before we met, however a few weeks before the ceremony we decided the rhythm and grandeur of the Hozier song better set the mood for our ceremony. We did use ‘Stand by Me’ during our signing.
My sister, Megan Jordan, was our celebrant. She walked us through every stage of planning the ceremony, from vows and ring exchanges to positioning on the stage and even where we would sign our wedding certificate (on the edge of the stage). She has a warm and genuine nature that comes across when she performs a ceremony. She took our renditions of our love story and wove them together to create something entertaining, meaningful and very ‘us’. She also had lots of different ideas we could draw on for ways to involve our guests and family without being too traditional or stuffy. Such as having a ring warming ceremony, where our rings were passed around from the back of the cinema person to person, everyone blessing them with good wishes and hopes for our future, until everyone in the cinema had held them. There were a lot of difficult decisions to make while planning our wedding, however working with Megan was relaxed, easy and under control from the very beginning.
The beautiful burnt orange curtains covered the picture screen and became our backdrop for the ceremony making it feel lush, opulent and warm. We wanted a very stunning and grand looking ceremony that was also relaxed and humorous but most importantly expressed who we are as a couple.
We were pleasantly stunned by the grandeur of the cinema and how my decorative design came to life in the stunning Art Deco atmosphere. Including the beautiful posies with roster feathers, floral centrepieces atop of stylistic bar stools acting as our alter (created by Floral Accent) and having our classic black and white photo shoot couples photos playing on the big screen. Having all of those things in place gave a gravity to the ceremony.
Our photographer was Mardy Bridges from All My Wednesdays – she did an amazing job on the day and was able to get great candid photos as well as managing all the family and friends photos. She had three cameras strapped to her at all times and was able to capture over a thousand usable photos, create a highlights reel and provide us with footage of the ceremony, dance and speeches.
Having both venues so close together we decided to take the tram from the cinema to Little Henri with the bridal party and many guests. When the tram arrived the conductor was visibly excited when she saw us on the platform, ringing the tram bells for us and congratulating us over the loud speaker. Over the 15 minutes journey we laughed and joked and got some great photos all together that would not be considered part of the normal wedding photos you’d see at other weddings.
For the reception we decided on Little Henri. This was a cafe that I introduced to Jesse when we started dating and we both really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. The building used to be a bank in the 30s and 40s and has a nice rustic vibe to it. Not only was it a convenient distance from the Palace Theatre but it also had plenty of mingling room (we had a cocktail reception), a dance floor with space to accommodate the band, an outdoor area where our guests could get some fresh air and chat amongst each other. We were also impressed with their menu and knew everyone would be well looked after.
Little Henri has a stunning rounded food display unit with dark wooden trim; and large green industrial lights hanging down over it. The layout allowed for easy mingling, access to a tasting table full of cheese, cold cuts and dips. The wall as you enter has a full length leather style bench which aided those who wanted to be a part of the party but seated.
I had the great idea of building a paper moon photo booth that was fashionable in the early 20th century so that our guests could pose and take their own photos. Another idea was to have a ‘wish you were here’ wall with photos of important family members that had passed away and couldn’t be with us on the day.
We DIYed pretty much everything. We didn’t have a wedding planner so the organisation of both venues was pretty much on us, as well as all of the decorations besides the flowers (although I did design the layout of these too).
We had the old timey paper moon photo booth that Jesse built with his brother over a couple of weekends and then spent another weekend painting it with me.
There were the blankets that Jesse’s mum helped to sew, the neon signs that I spent many, many nights designing and Jesse glued into place, the ‘wish you were here’ photo frame and the welcoming table to name a few.
We also created a wedding inspired movie poster, which everyone signed on the way in to the ceremony. This was in lieu of a guest book. We have since framed it with our marriage certificate.
My sister Megan had beautiful wrist purse made from left over material of my dress, Megan’s dress from her own wedding, a bead on the base of it from one of our nana’s necklaces, and on the inside was one of our oma’s lockets with a picture of our mother and a small piece of her wedding dress inside the locket. The bag was big enough to fit my lipstick and a dainty handkerchief.
During the speeches, Jesse’s dad, Pete, sang to us the same song he sang to Jesse’s mum, Denyse, on their wedding day. This was done with the same aptitude and class as Tony Bennett would’ve delivered.
We did our first dance to an acoustic version of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Rachel Brown. A couple of years earlier we went to see the stage performance of The Bodyguard and at the end the band played this song, we both just jumped up and started dancing with each other in the aisle on the balcony, and it is one of our favourite memories together.
My last wedding day highlight was Jesse carrying me across the alter of the Air BNB we were staying in that night. When the entrance door to the apartment opened onto a vista of the Melbourne skyline, we found it lit up with fairy lights.
My advice? Make sure your wedding is unique to you as a couple. As we were searching for venues we realised that if we went with a typical wedding venue we would have a pretty generic wedding, something we didn’t want.
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- Bride's Dress
- Kathryn Ellard