Tara & Andrew’s Bespoke, Creative & Joyful Surprise Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tara Whalley
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Tara & Andrew

Surprise! It’s a surprise wedding! When Andrew proposed to Tara, a Melbourne based textile and clothing designer, in the middle of 2019, she asked him if he wanted to have a wedding that was a little bit different. Andrew was open to ideas… and voila! The results speak for themselves as Tara details below. Capturing all the beauty, creativity and fun of this day? None other than Sayher Heffernan. You are in for such a treat!

Andrew and I first met at my stall at Melbourne Big Design Market, where another designer and long time friend of Andrew’s introduced us. Little did she know, we had matched on Tinder a couple of weeks before! She marvelled at how awkward we were being. She just thought Andrew thought I was cute. So we would have met anyway… but it could have been left at that!

We married on January 18, 2020. Our wedding was relaxed, fun, surprising and creative. At the after party we wanted people to be able to mingle and dance, so a surprise wedding/cocktail party with an amazing DJ surrounded by plants was perfect!

For my bouquet, I chose dried flowers from Gather Store in Queensland, as Andrew grew up in Brisbane and the Northern Rivers. They are also one of my stockists! The bouquet I chose had beautiful rust hues that tied in well to Andrew’s suit. I loved that they were already dried to last.

Just before the “party”, I had my best girlfriends meet me at Andrew’s house to help pick up supplies for the engagement. Each one arrived individually and was surprised one by one. You are a suprise-maid!

My suprise-maids were Steph, Carolyn and Kate. Andrew and I both had our brothers as best men. Lachlan and Alex. It was special to have our best friends for life as our people of honour.

The ceremony was help at Glasshaus Outside. After winning the Frankie Magazine 2019 Good Stuff Award for Fashion Design, I was delighted to have found this excellent dreamy wedding venue (where the awards dinner was held).

Guests believed they were attending an engagement. Keeping it a secret was a great challenge. Only parents and siblings knew! We thought rolling two events into one would create a relaxed and hilarious atmosphere on the day and we were right! The reactions were classic!

Andrew and I both had to hide out the back from guests, so my suprise-maids hid me under a pink blanket that I use for markets so Andrew wouldn’t see me yet.

There were a few really sweet moments on the day. One of them was Andrew’s reaction as I walked towards him.

Andrew loves supporting local made so had his linen suit custom made by Anna Cordell. It has a lovely vintage feel and we styled it with a black bolo I made.

After Dad walked me down the aisle, he had a surprise song (he loves to sing as Melbourne’s Happiest Tram Driver ) ‘Stand by Me’… and everyone had to sing along.

Our celebrant, PS Aaron Kelly, prepared a short encouraging sermon, which was lovely!

Sayher Heffernan was our wedding photographer and was one of the best choices we made! He was integral to the day, and was so aware of timing and kept the day on track. I don’t know how the day would have run without him, as you really do lose track of time laughing with everyone! We were above and beyond impressed! His photography is amazing and made it so easy. When we received the photos we were beyond impressed. He really captured the day in a warm and lovely way! Andrew really appreciates his artistry.

As an artist, I couldn’t resist painting a big pop up mural to use as a photo wall!

The reception was held down the road at Glasshaus Inside, where a few friends were still being surprised as they arrived late (we were very casual in our invitations). It was the best day ever! Glasshaus was really helpful, warm and organised. An absolute dream to work with! They took away the mystery of how to plan a wedding and had really helpful suggestions. They made the planning process really easy.

The cocktails were a lovely touch to the evening and it was lovely walking through to the after party and having a little cheers together.

I loved getting out the paint brushes and adding a personal touch to the space, with artwork dotted everywhere.

Creating the placement print was a challenge, with every section needing a different composition, but it was worth the work! I couldn’t help myself and painted a pop up mural, invitations, artworks and glassware to match. It has inspired me to offer a bespoke textile design service to create unique fabrics for brides and bridesmaids… and commissioned art pieces for photo walls and invitations.

I designed my dress by taking all of Andrew’s favourite elements from my collections and creating the ultimate dress! The print features my paintings of significant flowers from memories from our time dating, with an illustration of us at the front, and looking towards the future on the back. I wanted to have the flowers feel like they were being tossed like confetti: stawflowers and wildflowers falling from the sky around the portrait at the hem. It was joyous to dance in the swishy skirt and billowing sleeves!

I have created custom artwork and bespoke textile prints for some of Australia’s leading made to measure bridal designers since 2014, and I’m SO excited to launch my new services for clients planning their special day. I love creating hand painted textile prints which captures the unique story of the couple. All things are possible – as well as creating a custom dress, we can design prints for each bridesmaid and groomsman to capture their personalities. We can also create custom invites, that are so cherishable, custom photo walls and event decoration to live painting at the event. I love how artwork can completely transform a space and create the ultimate personal and memorable event.

My favourite part of the planning was learning a dance with HD Entertainment.  It was so fun, and so nice having something really special to learn together. I was looking forward to our first dance all day! HD Entertainment whipped up a delightful little dance for us. They mixed  ‘Girl Like You’ by Toro y Moi and ‘Mi Gente’ by J Balvin, Willy William ft. Beyonce to go with the amazing (but not too hard!) routine they created for us. It was fun to have a mix of two songs we love.

I think the closest thing to a tradition was to plan it ourselves just how we wanted it! The only advice my folks gave us was to create our own dream day, our way, as that was their favourite thing they did. So we just did everything ourselves, and made it exactly as we liked! But also really appreciated advice from vendors to help with the logistics! The Glasshaus team are logistics queens!

Ms Floral Says: Oh this day looks so much fun! Congratulations Tara and Andrew on successfully pulling off a surprise wedding and in such amazing style. Your artistic touches look incredible amongst the lushness of Glasshaus. Wishing you both all the very best!

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

  • Cinematographer
  • Lachlan Whalley
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