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Winter, hands down is one of my favourite seasons with all the magic it brings; the slowing down, the unexpected beauty, and of course, the wintry flowers and blooms! The team behind today’s editorial certainly knew how to make the most of the magic of the season.
At the beautiful The Robertson Hotel, photographer Abbie Melle Photographer teamed up with the talented Catherine of Gathered Floral. They’ve showcased a look that highlights an ombre effect of blush pink to deep burgundy, contrasting against a neutral colour palette – an unexpected winter combination.

A tablescape of stark white linens, with white cane chairs was understated, the beautiful floral centrepiece and flowers plus a few special stationery pieces by Inkberry Calligraphy doing all the talking as highlighted against the blank white canvas. Outside, a grand floral arch makes the most of the muted tones.

Catherine tells, “I wanted to make Old English garden inspired florals that could be shown off in a beautiful old heritage building and gardens. I have included photos of myself as it was a day to create for my own wellbeing – to feel the joy in the making.”

 

Photographer: Abbie Melle Photographer / Flowers: Gathered Floral / Venue: The Robertson Hotel / Invitations & Stationery: Inkberry Calligraphy
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Alex & Luke

“I wanted it to feel like a warm hug,” tells today’s bride Alex of the vibe she and husband Luke wanted for their wedding day. And when you combine a stunning country venue, a story that is packed full of personality, a twenty-person bridal party and these two, you not only get a wedding that feels like the best of stories, but a lot of feel-good factor too.

With Dan Cartwright behind the camera, the duo set about celebrating with their very favourite people at the Melross & Willows Estate – the most beautiful setting for an Autumn escape.

It was Tinder that drew Alex and Luke together. Alex telling the tale, “It was three years ago through Tinder. I had four matches on Tinder, Luke had 700. It took him 10 days to make contact and ask me out, and then on our first date, he told me he was likely going to move indefinitely to London before the end of the year. He was immediately friend zoned, but we got along like a house on fire and I thought he was super lovely, so we decided to keep in touch and be friends.
We only caught up two or three times in the months leading up to his departure but before we knew it, it was less than a week to go! We decided to have one last hurrah drink to say goodbye, and it was really in that final catch-up that we realised we actually really liked each other. It all escalated very quickly from there. We spent as much time over 48 hours as possible and then he hopped on a plane.
We both knew as he flew off that we were in trouble. We called each other everyday and every night from the moment he left.
It took him five days to tell me he loved me (albeit, after seven steins at Oktoberfest), eight days for me to book a flight to London to visit him, and seven months for him to fly home to me. He proposed on my birthday, eleven months after returning home.”

The bride wore two beautiful gowns from British designers Needle & Thread. She tells, “Both of my dresses were from a UK brand Needle and Thread. I found my dress three weeks after becoming engaged. I was looking in a wedding magazine and saw another bride wearing the brand. It was so different and beautiful and when I saw it was labelled ‘Needle and Thread by ASOS’, it immediately peaked my interest – how can something so delicate and beautiful come from ASOS??? I bypassed the middle man and went straight to the source for their full collection. My dress was sitting on the ‘fall collection coming soon’ page. I immediately fell in love with it. It was a dream. I stalked the brand for a month before the collection finally went on sale. It was so unbelievably affordable. When it arrived, I had two of my sisters and my mother over for the big try on and reveal. It was an amazing night. Despite my intense love for it, that dress ended up being my reception dress. I bought another Needle and Thread dress from their bridal collection for the ceremony. It was so nice having the two as they compliment one another and the reception dress was lighter, so I could easily party the night away.”

Alex and Luke enlisted Clementine Posy to style the beautiful floral details for the day, including an amazing floral arbour. Alex remarks, “I had the most AMAZING flowers from Clementine Posy. Ashleigh was absolute dream and took the time to individually tailor each bridesmaid bouquet to the girl and her outfit. Every bouquet was unique and it just took the whole look to a new level. I wanted to have a really romantic, autumnal, native feel with the flowers; pops of deep reds with creams and pinks, with some native flowers thrown in, which I think Clementine Posy captured beautifully.
My arbour was a masterpiece. I almost dropped dead from excitement when I saw it.”

The beautiful Melross & Willows Estate set the scene for ALex and Luke, who wanted a venue that accommodated their rather larger than usual bridal party. Alex explains, “It was a one stop shop with Melross & Willows Estate. We had two houses on the property for three nights that slept 10 in each, which was the perfect size for our two bridal parties. The Bridal House sat just across the lawn from the venue and had a plethora of locations where the ceremony could be held. We chose behind the house by a golden tree as it provided shade in the event of a glaring sun.
The Barn on Melross was our reception venue and it was an amazing space with high ceilings, a purpose built dance alcove and internal bar. Glass doors spanned half the venue, opening up to a patio with 240 degree views of the rolling hills. The venue gave us complete freedom to transform the space into whatever we pleased, which allowed for me to really get my DIY creative juices flowing. We had access from two days prior, so there was no stress leading up to or on the day.”

Alex remembers, “I wrote a custom song to walk down to. It was to the tune of ‘Kiss the Girl’ from The Little Mermaid but all the lyrics were about how we got together. I changed ‘kiss the girl’ to ‘marry her’ and the bridal party chimed in on the chorus. My Dad Warrick walked me down the aisle.

I also completely missed walking down the aisle. Even though I had watched it be built behind the house that very morning, and I knew exactly where it was, as soon as I rounded the house and saw Luke, I automatically took the shortest route possible behind the singers and around the guests. I just bee-lined for him and didn’t even realise until someone told me later that I hadn’t walked down the aisle. This also meant that Luke was busy looking in the opposite direction at the flower girls waiting for me to appear, so he didn’t see me until the last minute when he turned around. I remember saying to my Dad, ‘he’s not even looking at me!’ Ha ha.”

Alex and Luke were married by Celebrate With Kate who also acted as one of the bridesmaids on the day! Says Alex, “We wanted our ceremony to be really relaxed and warm and full of love. We had a few jokes and Kate kept it beautifully personal which we loved. It’s always the best having one of your best friends marry you.
My Aunty Ellen read out an excerpt from Plato’s ‘Symposium’. I love this reading because it talks about the gods ripping a whole into two halves and those halves finding one another again, but it encompasses all forms of love.”

“We had 20 in our bridal party, with one of my bridesmaids doubling as my celebrant! On my side were my three sisters Amie, Jane and Renee (who flew in from New York), my American exchange student (from when we were 15) Ashley, my four best friends, Stacey, Shelley, Bec and Kate (who doubled as celebrant).
On Luke’s side was his brother Shaun, his best mate from school, Ricky, and his best friends, Karl, Matthew, Jason, David and Simon.
The page boys were my two nephews Ethan and Henry, and the flower girls were my nieces Mia and Ava and Ashley’s daughter Irieanna.”

“Dan was incredible. He’s a very relaxed person, so he makes you feel very at ease,” tells the bride of their chosen photographer. “He also has a bit of a dirty, cheeky side, which is perfect for getting those genuine bursts of laughter shots. He was super professional, everyone loved how relaxed the photo sessions were, and he was incredibly fast with getting the photos back to us! I love every one of my photos.”

Alex added family heirlooms to her look for the day, explaining, “I wore my Nanna’s earrings, which I’ve always loved and my engagement ring is modeled off a ring of my Great Aunt June’s. Neither of them could be there on the day, so it felt like they were.”

Alex loved creating the decor for the day. “I especially loved the creative side – designing the invitations with my brother-in-law, painting the signs, making the diamonds etc. Just being able to build the ultimate party from scratch and see it come to fruition is the best feeling. Figuring out all the small details to make it that little bit more fun and playful for the guests brought me so much joy.”

Every moment of the reception was carefully planned, from the speeches to marshmallows for a bonfire, to cocktail hour! Alex explains, “I definitely wanted a cocktail bar at the reception, so we had a ‘Happy Hour’ between 7-8 serving an Espresso Martini, a Negroni and a Vera Green mocktail.”

Tells Alex, “There were so many amazing moments, but I think Ethan’s speech, and the night ending with everyone going mental to Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ were massive highlights. Also, our vows, they were special.”

The  newlyweds made the most of their band Tillee Music and DJ XYDJ for their first dance, with a fun mashup! “We had two parts to our first dance. Our first half was ‘Running Home to You’ from the musical episode of ‘The Flash’ (a show we binged watched all the time at the beginning of our relationship) sung by Britt and Bob from Tillee Music. The DJ then cut in with ‘Hey Ya’ by Outcast and we preformed a silly synchronised dance.”

A big congratulations to Alex and Luke! Thank you for sharing the beautiful stories of your wedding day with us. Thank you also to Dan Cartwright for sharing today’s imagery.

Photographer: Dan Cartwright / Cinematographer: La Lune Cinema / Bride's Dress: Needle & Thread / Bride's Reception Dress: Needle & Thread / Bride's Shoes: Shoes Of Prey / Bride's Veil/Hair Accessories: Needle & Thread / Groom's Attire: MJ Bale / Groomsmen Attire: Ben Sherman / Getting Ready Robes: Country Road / Makeup Artist: Makeup By Megan / Makeup Artist: Flawless by Shelley / Hairstylist: Carly Wood / Flowers: Clementine Posy / Venue: Melross & Willows Estate / Ceremony Officiant: Celebrate With Kate / Ceremony Musicians: Tillee Music / Rental Furniture: Ashdown & Bee / Lighting: Barrel and Bulb / Catering: Garnish Catering / Favors: Molossi / DJ: XYDJ / Band: Tillee Music / Wedding Cake: The Artful Caker / Transport: Shelly Shine

Our whirlwind romance began after first meeting at a local cafe. We would spend hours talking about our dreams, passions, experiences and sharing our stories. We were immediately enchanted with one another. From the moment we met, we kept trying to find ways to spend more time together and we fell madly in love.

I soon decided it was the right time to introduce Harrison to my children. When he met Ayla and Nate he fell in love all over again and it wasn’t long before we all lived together in our new family home. The four of us would spend our days at the park, snuggling up on the couch watching movies or seeking adventures on the weekend. The kids were absolutely smitten with the newest member of their family and forged a strong and everlasting bond with Harrison. Our beautiful blended family was born.

In 2017, on a cool winter’s day, I came home and unlocked the front door to hear our favourite song echoing through the home. I found a trail of roses, Haigh’s chocolate hearts and twelve love letters. I followed the trail, savouring every note and soaking up every minute of what would be one of the best days of my life. When I reached note twelve, Harrison appeared behind me, he got on one knee and opened a Cerrone purple box. It was boasting a stunning one-of-a-kind white gold engagement ring. He asked me to marry him. With tears streaming down my face, I proudly said “yes”.

The morning of the wedding I was surrounded by my closest friends and family. Waking up on the warm and sunny Mornington Peninsula was glorious. The girls organised an upbeat playlist to listen to while getting ready, snacking on their favourite platters and sharing their thoughts and feelings about the day ahead. My bridal party consisted of my best friend Georgina, my girlfriend Anabelle, my sister-in-law Emory and my darling daughter Ayla.
  Before the wedding day, we wrote each other a letter, to open on the morning of the wedding. My heart warmed with every word I read. I reminisced about when we first started dating when Harrison would often write me poems and love letters. He was incredibly eloquent and emotive with his writing. Today was no exception. A short five minutes later I received a text from my husband-to-be, “your letter made me cry already. I love you.”

I was so excited to marry the love of my life. As the girls started to get ready, I became overwhelmed in my beautiful gown. It has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to wear a Raffaele Ciuca gown. I have watched so many of my family members, friends and other brides find their dream gown at their emporium. I dreamt one day I would too! Shopping for the gown with my bridal party, my mum and mother-in-law was an absolute dream. I love every detail of the lace work on the bodice, and how the train and three different colours subtly flowed down.

Harrison didn’t have to think twice when selecting the men who were to stand beside him on his big day. His best man Sam had been his best friend from kindergarten. The two have been inseparable for over twenty years and that isn’t changing any time soon. His groomsmen are his closest friends Cam, Ryan and Campbell, and of course our beautiful son Nathaniel. The boys had a relaxing morning getting ready, sharing stories and having a laugh over a few beers.

When looking together for the perfect ceremony location we came across Tanglewood Estate. The song Harrison proposed to me with is called ‘Tangled up in You’. It seemed a perfect fit for us as a couple. The beautiful 100+ year-old chapel overlooks the vineyard and was the right balance of beautiful simplicity for our special day.

The chapel became home to 30 guests. An intimate and small wedding of our closest friends and family. When Harrison and the groomsmen arrived, the celebrant Robyn Paterson and the Auslan-English Interpreter Georgia were ready to go. Robby sat with Harrison to ensure he was feeling cool, calm and ready for one of the biggest moments of his life. The guests started arriving and were all encouraged to sit in the front three pews because of course, it was such a small wedding everyone should be at the front. We chose an unplugged ceremony.

The ceremony commenced with, ‘Make it to me’ by Sam Smith. First walked Emory and the flower girl, followed by Anabelle, and then Georgina. It was finally my turn. I held my dad’s arm so tight. He has always been my rock, my constant, my support and my best friend. Having his support and encouragement for today meant the world to me. I walked into the chapel and soaked up every moment. All of the smiling faces of the most important people in my life. I scanned the room at all of the people I love so dearly, then I made eye contact with him. My world. My partner. My soon-to-be husband, Harrison. He was overwhelmed with emotion, his cheeks were pink, his smile was wide and his heart was open and ready for me. Once he shook hands with my dad, we just stood there, looking at each other, holding hands, refusing to let go. We didn’t break our gaze. He was all I saw in that moment. Those eyes I love so dearly.

The ceremony was officiated by Robyn Paterson and interpreted beautifully by Georgia Knight. My stunning bridesmaid Anabelle is deaf, as is my sister who was also a guest at the wedding. The interpreter allowed full access to the day’s events, speeches, teary declarations, stories, vows and special moments. Several of the guests are also bilingual which allowed for great conversations in both English and Auslan. A beautiful day shared by all.



We organised the incredible Laura and Cassie from Perla Photography to capture our day and Matt from The Wedding Fair for our wedding video.
For our reception, we carefully chose the Epicurean Red Hill. It wasn’t an easy process finding a location and venue for a sit down 30 person wedding. The Epicurean were delighted to host such an intimate event and ensured the us that everyone would be seated together like one big family. It was perfect for us.
The reception was in an intimate space with one long table hosting all of the guests and bridal party. A generous amount of alcohol and a five-course meal was shared by all. The mood was set by a string duo (Girls On String), playing the cello and violin, organised by my dad. He knows how much we love stringed music. They were absolutely incredible, doing beautiful covers of modern and classic songs. It was one of the highlights of our night and really set the mood.
The reception was full of laughter, large smiles, glasses toasting, passionately signing hands and warm expressions. The kids loved every minute of the reception. Highlights for the kids? Our daughter Ayla loved ‘riding’ on my train and being escorted around like a princess. For our son Nate, it was being the unofficial photographer and holding many Polaroid cameras at once to capture every moment. A perfect day for a beautiful new family.

Photographer: Perla Photography / Cinematographer: The Wedding Fair / Bride's Dress: Raffaele Ciuca / Bride's Corset: Dickory Dock / Bride's Jewellery: Raffaele Ciuca / Bride's Veil/Hair Accessories: Raffaele Ciuca / Bridesmaid Dresses: Asos / Getting Ready Robes: Homebodii / Flowergirl's Attire: Tutu Du Monde / Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Connor / Page Boy's Attire: Bardot Junior / Flowers: Hello Blossoms / Invitations & Stationery: Nicola Laura Design / Hair & Makeup Artist: Beauty Within Makeovers / Ceremony Venue: Tanglewood Estate / Ceremony Officiant: Robyn Paterson / Ceremony Musicians: Girls on String / Vow Boards: Sketch & Etch / Reception Venue: Epicurean Red Hill / Signage: Whimsical Logo Shop / Wedding Cake: Sweets for Tilly / Favors: Pink Frosting / Wedding Ring: Cerrone