Elisa & Danie

From the outset, you can feel the love between Elisa and Danie! Their day surrounded by lush farmland is the perfect backdrop to their stunning white dresses and bridesmaids in deep burgundy. Family was at the centre of their day, as Gemma Clarke Photography seamlessly caught all the special moments at Ottimo HouseElisa is sharing their day with us, as the self-confessed ‘wordsmith’ of the relationship!

Danie and I met through Danie’s sister. Her and I started playing soccer together, however it wasn’t until many years later that Danie and I became best friends and spent most of our time together – the rest I guess is history, as they say! Our friendship moved into uncharted territory and blossomed into something neither of us was expecting but we haven’t looked back since.

Our wedding was held at Ottimo House, in Denham Court, on the 31st of March this year. The venue is on large farmland and has this spectacular view from up on the hilltop, plus the day we had was brilliant blue skies, so it set off the best day for us!

We didn’t have a theme as such exactly, it was sort of a green woodsy type feel, flowers that fit with a relaxed garden with pops of burgundy to match our bridesmaid dresses. We wanted everyone to enjoy the day and not go overboard with theatrics or embellishments, the venue in itself is breathtaking, and we wanted to match that atmosphere.

Choosing a song to walk down the aisle to was a bit of a process! I had songs I wanted, but most of them too fast and upbeat to walk down the aisle to! A bit of you tubing and a few songs later I picked Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long will I love you’.

Danie’s choice was Luke Graham’s ‘Love Someone’, she knew she wanted that from when she heard it on the radio one day in the car! On the day however, we had some interference with the speakers and so the songs couldn’t play loud enough for us to hear, I don’t think I actually walked down the aisle to anything in the end!

Danie and I weren’t planning on finding our dresses the day that I picked mine out. We were looking for bridesmaids’ dresses and if we found something for ourselves it would be a bonus! Danie was expecting that she would find her dress before I would and to be honest, I thought the same. I knew it would be something like the styles I found (and pinned) on Pinterest though! We had decided that neither of us wanted to see each other’s dresses so it was a bit of work trying to pick something that the other wouldn’t see!

At one of the stores I remember seeing this dress as soon as we walked in and whispering to my sister that I wanted to try it on. Unfortunately, that store told us we’d never get any dresses ready and delivered by March and so we walked out again without being able to try the dress on. When we walked into the very last store for the day, I wasn’t hopeful of finding something, but the universe thought otherwise because when I walked in, I saw the dress I wanted. I tried it on while Danie went outside and I knew it was the dress for me, but it was out of my price range and I knew I wouldn’t be able to push the envelope on this one, so I tried on other dresses and none of them made me feel the same.

The lady in the store was really lovely and she offered me another amount to help with my budget – if I decided that was the one and if I put a deposit on that day, but I still wasn’t sure I could afford it, so again, I left the store without a dress. We found the bridesmaid dresses that day which was great but I knew the dress I tried on was the one I wanted and so I told Danie I may have found a dress, but it was more than what we’d budgeted for. She said if I really wanted it and knew I wouldn’t like anything else, to go back, try it on again and decide – so my sister and I went back, I tried the dress on and put a deposit down straight away!

Danie found her dress after trying on about 10 different ones with her Mum and good friend. She had put the one she liked in the ‘maybe’ pile and wasn’t 100% on it at first. After trying on the others she liked, it came down to 2 and after trying on the one she got for a second time, her mum teared up and that’s when she decided ‘I think this is the one’.

For our bridal parties, I had my sister and two brothers as well as my cousin, who is just like a big sister to me. Danie had her sister and niece as well as her very close friend!

Gemma our photographer was amazing! She captured some amazing moments and I couldn’t have asked for a better result. The photography was another one of my designated tasks for the wedding, because like the flowers, photography is another love of mine and I had a very specific idea in mind of what I wanted. Danie and I aren’t the ‘serious, look into each other’s eyes and hold that pose’ kind of girls, as you can see from our pictures, we’re mostly laughing! Gemma was great though, she knew that wasn’t what we wanted and so was like, just walk over there together, forget I’m even here and just take in the day…that’s when she captured some sneak shots of us NOT laughing.

Even at one point when some stray horses were coming towards us and I was freaking out one would eat my dress her assistant Katie was there to guide them away and calm me down – in one of the sunset photos you can see I’m slightly leaning into Danie and away from the horse too!

Gemma is an amazing photographer and we’re really glad we stuck to using her on the day!

Again, I had an idea from images I pinned, so it was a matter of finding a florist who could emulate that within our budget. I was very close to securing one when it fell through as soon as I was going to make the deposit – the florist booked the date out and so it was back to the drawing board. I looked around, sent through quote requests and then found a florist who could provide what I wanted within the budget.

We visited Petals and Leaves, discussed arrangements and Amy, our florist did an amazing job! I did make some changes to our original selection, but the result was just perfect. I had deep red carnations, dusty roses, succulents and white freesias, Danie had the same but with burgundy dahlias and white carnations and the bridesmaids had a combination of both.

I’m a bit of a lover of flowers and carnations are my favourite. Most of what we had in our bouquets were flowers/items I love. Danie had already designated flowers to me so I had free reign on this one!

I have so many favourite images! If I had to pick, it would have to be one of Danie and I on hill (there are quite a lot!) but it’s where Danie has her back to the camera and we’re laughing at something…we have so many like that. I also love the one of my youngest brother hugging me after the ceremony and the one at the end of the night with my siblings.

Danie’s favourite photo is one that I’m standing on my own and picking up the tule on my dress, she has it as her screensaver on her phone and always goes on about it

The venue, photography and florists were all pretty standout vendors, and our celebrant, who is the wife of a family friend, was just amazing. We couldn’t fault any of them!

In terms of our favourite part of planning, you could probably ask any of the vendors but we were actually pretty cruisy when it came down to it! We only had a short time frame to get things sorted – normally you’d aim for a year of putting it all together, but Danie and I did it in 7 or 8 months I think. Personally the end was a favourite!

We only used the one venue, it’s quite a way away from where Danie and I live as well as most of our family and friends so we wanted somewhere that both ceremony and reception could be held, and this was a perfect fit. As soon as we saw Ottimo House, we looked at each other and agreed this was the place!

The photos showcase just how amazing the venue is and we’re happy with how our entire day turned out – it was all we could have hoped for and more.

Our table seating chart and our party favours were made by us! The party favours doubled as name places as well! We also gave our bridesmaid, flower girl and ourselves personalised glasses – we DIY’d the names on them – that was a process in itself!

We had this song picked a long time ago for our first dance! We were watching Twilight one night and Christina Perri’s Thousand Words played, and we knew that would be our song. It was also the night we got engaged so seemed fitting!

Danie isn’t into dancing as much as I am, but we did a practice at home without the music just to see how we’d dance – and didn’t even do that on the day! Danie had fractured her ankle a few weeks earlier and so we were dancing in tiny little circles, basically the same spot, for most of the song! Neither of us wanted to be in the spot light for that long and Danie’s ankle wasn’t ready for a full song, so midway we asked our family to come and dance with us for the rest of it.

It went from being a little awkward to watch (and be watched) to being one of the most emotional parts of the entire day!

Advice for any future ‘marrieds to be’, I think you just have to remember that the day is about you, pick a venue that resonates with you, not just somewhere convenient or close or extravagant. If you want a farm wedding, choose it, if you want a castle wedding go for it.  No one else should factor into your day apart from you and your other half.

Pick food you know you’ll love (even though we barely ate ours!), choose songs that speak of your love. Don’t stress about the weather – it’s the one thing no one can control. If it rains, your photo’s can have an amazing effect with the right photographer! Go with your gut feelings and stick to your budget – but always be flexible. If you can’t save on one price, look at saving on another, that’s what we did!

Lastly, enjoy your day!! You can’t fix something before it happens, so take it as it comes. If you have your dress/tux, the one you love waiting to marry you and the people who matter around you, the day is already perfect. Take the time to go, “WOW!”, the day will be over before you know it so take as much in as you can.

Ms Zebra Says: It’s hard not to have tears in your eyes as you witness the true love between Elisa and Danie! Congratulations lovers! We wish you all the best in your wonderful lives ahead.


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  • Hairstylist
  • Adriana Guidaci
  • MC
  • Rachel Browne
  • Wedding Cake
  • Steph Riggio
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Deciding to celebrate with an elegant, inner city Wedding, Ally and Steve tied the knot in Richmond. Their reception at the Botanic Gardens, was filled with warmth and fun with guests being able to enjoy the balmy night. Ally shares her words of advice after planning a perfect Melbourne wedding!

Give yourself time to plan!

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Anita & Angus

In an intimate, glamorous wedding in a beautiful Perth Garden, Anita and Angus married in front of their nearest and dearest. Taking the reception to the close by Old Brewery, photographer extraordinaire Amy Skinner was on hand to capture the aesthetic and feel that encompassed both Anita and Angus and their dreamy day. Lovely Bride Anita tells the story that brought her and Angus together!  

Angus and I met online, and while dating we met every week usually for lunch or dinner to try new restaurants, go to markets and concerts, watch live comedy or go bike riding or for walks. Angus proposed while we were on a weekend away in Sydney. He originally planned to ask me at Mrs Macquaries Seat in the Royal Botanic Gardens, however he could see a tourist bus there, so he just stopped at a park bench on the way.

Angus didn’t propose with a ring, so when we returned to Melbourne after our holiday we went shopping together. We found an amazing jeweller, Ian at Ellissi Jewellery, who helped us find the diamond and setting we wanted. This was quite an easy step as Angus and I liked the same style. We went with a traditional solitaire cut diamond and yellow gold band, which our jeweller made for us.

I actually bought two dresses! My first one was bought online as I really don’t like shopping. It was lovely but I didn’t really feel comfortable or feel that it was me. I thought it would be better if I went and looked and tried on the bridal shop dresses. I narrowed down the number of shops I had to visit by looking at their online catalogue, and because I had a particular style in mind, this narrowed down the number substantially.

My goal was to find a dress with sleeves, was modest and very comfortable to wear. The first shop I went to wasn’t helpful at all, but then I found my second one by Wendy Makin Bridal Designs at Always and Forever Bridal, where the staff were amazing. I tried on other dresses just to make sure, but nothing compared. They also restyled my veil to a mantilla style. I was extremely surprised at how fun the experience was and how down to earth and helpful the staff were too.

We wanted a small wedding but also wanted our friends and family to be there, so we had around 60 people. This was very large for Angus, but considered small for my family, so it was a great compromise! As I have the larger family (Angus is an only child), we decided on Perth (my home town) and later had a smaller celebration in Brisbane (Angus’ home town).

We wanted friendly and professional vendors that were able to create the feel we wanted for the day. We had a budget, and we also needed people that communicated via email as we were organising everything from Melbourne. Some vendors that we originally contacted, took weeks to respond, or were quite rude as we only had 60 people and wanted a Saturday wedding. We didn’t choose these ones! Instead we chose vendors that loved what they do and made the day amazing.

We decided on a ceremony at Kings Park as we loved the gardens, and a sit down dinner reception nearby at The Old Brewery. About half of our guests travelled to Perth so we wanted to show off the city too. Claire from House of Primrose styled our wedding ceremony. She is extremely creative, friendly, and we were confident going with her ideas. We loved her style and idea of stacking books on the signing table and aisle runner.

Our ceremony went for about 20 minutes and our celebrant, Lisa Jones, helped us write our vows. They were simple and quite traditional. We didn’t want the ceremony to drag on, and we were also conscious that it would likely be quite a hot day so we also didn’t want our guests overheating. Also, I initially decided to change my name, but about 6 months before the wedding I decided to keep my own. Changing it just wasn’t me.

Upon arriving at the ceremony in Kings Park, our guests were welcomed with classical music from the Chromos Quartet. Angus chose the music as he only listens to classical music, so I walked down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin and we left to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Angus wasn’t fussed about the reception music, so I decided on the Baker Boys Band as I was really impressed when I heard their music. They were great musicians and really created the atmosphere we were after. I initially wasn’t sure if a live band would be worth it, however it really was!

I have three sisters who were my bridesmaids, and our ‘best woman’, was Angus’ best friend Georgie. The decision was really easy. They all wore dusty pink dresses that were really easy to wear and flattering. We gave them jewellery as thank you gifts that they could wear on the day too.

I had heard so many people became stressed about their wedding and they didn’t enjoy the day, so we just wanted it to be fun, relaxed, and with a few surprises. That was our goal. For example, we had That Little Gelato Cart serving ice-creams to our guests after the ceremony as it was summer. I actually found the organising quite easy, and the day went smoothly, which I attribute to our fantastic vendors. They were all great at what they do.

I absolutely love flowers and had to restrict myself quite a bit! Our photographer, Amy Skinner Photography, recommended our florist, Beans & Bunches, and ceremony stylist, House of Primrose. We wanted a relaxed feel to our wedding and chose Australian natives in a rustic free-form arrangement to make our invitations.

Proteas featured on our wedding invites, and although they were at the end of their season, Stacey even managed to track down a couple for us. I sent through inspiration photos and photos of our bridesmaid dresses to our florist, and she did the rest. The day before the wedding when we picked up the bouquets, I was so surprised how beautiful and large the bouquets were – they created the look I was after perfectly and we received many comments on them.

There was a particular style we were after, so I was really drawn to Amy Skinner Photography – her photos had a vintage appearance that others didn’t have. We immediately felt comfortable with her and she made it a very fun experience too. I cannot express how happy I am that she and her team photographed our wedding!

I spent a bit of time at home deciding on how the place settings were going to be arranged. We had sugared almonds and chocolate as our bonbonniere. By chance, I went to Italy a few months before the wedding, so I purchased sugared almonds from Confetti Pelino in Sulmona, Abruzzo.

They are one of the oldest Italian confectioneries and have been making sugared almonds since 1783. We gave each of our guests 5 almonds that traditionally represent health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and long life. Angus is a chocoholic, so our bonbonniere also included a bar of Winnow Chocolate with roast wattleseed and honey roast macadamias. The packaging was beautiful and really stood out on each place setting.

We wanted to have a wedding dance, and Angus chose the waltz from the opera by Charles Gounod: Faust, as he likes classical music. I couldn’t stop laughing throughout our wedding dance. In most of the photos I was pulling a face as I tried to not laugh as I felt it was so over the top. It was pretty challenging to pull off and we practiced for nearly a year at the Secret Garden of Dance. I am so glad we did it as so many people complimented us on it, and that I got Angus to dance at all!

Angus loves baking and made our wedding cake. We both love fruitcake so went the traditional route with a three layered cake covered with a layer of marzipan and royal icing. We weren’t too confident icing it to a professional finish, so we got Nikki’s Novelties Cakes to ice the cake for us, as my family has ordered cakes from her before. We wanted the cake to be lighter than a traditional cake, so Angus spent months developing and trialling the recipe. We bought it over to Perth, alongside all clothes and everything for the table setting, from Melbourne. Angus also organised the wedding cars, ceremony music and reception.

Ms Zebra Says: Thank you to Anita and Angus for sharing their incredible day with us! We wish them all the very best for their new life together!!

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