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Aria & James

When we got engaged I was in my final year of a music degree at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) so we decided to wait until the following year before the wedding (Girl has got to get that degree!) We had 18 months exactly between proposal and wedding.

The first venue we chose was the proposal venue, it was gorgeous and of course held sentimental value. I got the call nine months before the wedding, that the venue was going bust and we couldn’t have it anymore. We were initially crushed but decided to see it as us having a unique proposal that no one else could have now because the venue doesn’t exist! We rushed back down south to find a new location and fell head over heels for Knee Deep Winery in Wilyabrup. The staff were beyond understanding and helped us create a perfect day… then they sold the venue and we lost the staff and catering.

We honestly thought something was against us getting married at this stage. However Brendan, who had stayed on during the transitional period at Knee Deep, opened his doors to hold the wedding (thank goodness! We didn’t want to send out a third round of invitations). We could have the beautiful venue we had fallen in love with, we just needed to staff / cater it and set it up ourselves. Yes stress filled, BUT, this is where Food By the Chef stepped up and offered to act as staff and catering for the big day. George and Kayleigh stepped up for us after multiple venue stumbles and took on more work than was ever expected or required of them, making our wedding a giant gastronomic success.

We planned our wedding to be exactly what we wanted, the date 18/09/18 happened to fall on a Tuesday, but we didn’t care, the people who loved us would take the time to be there – AND they did! We had the ceremony at 11am and had a lunch time reception which was still filled with dancing, drinking and games, remember, there are NO rules about your day and the only people you are required to make happy are yourself and your partner! We like getting up early and spending the night indoors so that’s exactly what we did!

The dress took about a year to come to fruition with the fabulous Nicola from Wild Violet Evening Wear… she hand cut each leaf lace piece and maintained amazing contact with me throughout the process. The piece is completely unique and it was more than affordable (the grooms suit cost more!)

Family can be difficult on these days, we thought to celebrate family by making the statement that family is based on choice, not blood. Every guest was being invited into our family. One way we celebrated this was in the bouquet. Every guest presented one flower to me as I walked down the aisle, we wanted to tell people that although we may be messy as individuals, together, we can be something beautiful. We pushed that further by having our two witnesses be people who, although aren’t related by blood, are honourable father figures in our life. My pop and my partners’ stepfather were more than grateful to be included in such a special way.

As hardcore feminists, a lot of what a wedding is ‘supposed’ to be can be contradictory. We thought the best way to move on this would be to embrace what we liked and make statements on what we didn’t like. My father was only too happy to participate in only walking me HALF way down the aisle. We wanted to point out that we love and appreciate our families for getting us to this point in our lives BUT these steps, I now make on my own. Pointing out that it was MY choice to get married, in no way was I ‘given’ away but I love and adore my families support. Our amazing celebrant Joanne Armstrong even made a patriarchy joke during the ceremony which had my partner and I in stitches (while probably going over other people’s heads). Joanne took the time to get to know our morals and values to really personalise the ceremony. Once again, the day is about the two of you – why be generic?!

The biggest stamp on our individuality was our name change, we both decided to take a stance on ownership and forging your own path by coming up with a brand new surname, rather than either of us taking on each other’s name, it was my (now) husband’s idea. We presented the idea to our parents before the wedding and while it was difficult initially for a couple of people to understand, after some discussion, any ‘opposition’ just melted away with the knowledge that family is more than a word or name, you get to choose your family. The remainder of our guests found out on the day itself and we were thrilled with the response to Mr&Mrs Delcore.

Our family contributed to the wedding enormously. My partner’s father worked on the Valiant Charger for months in the lead up, making sure the car would run perfectly on the day. My mother used her artist skills in creating a welcome sign for the ceremony and my dad helped us set up the venue (since there was no staff, we needed to move tables and chairs ourselves) and hid my wedding gift from my partner.

Our celebrant may as well have been our saving grace for the entire event, through all the venue and catering changes, she was the glue that held it all together. We started looking for a celebrant almost as soon as we got engaged. For us, it was important to have the perfect fit. Someone who matched with our core values, sense of humour and style all while maintaining an air of professionalism.

Approximately 4.5 seconds after I had filled in the ‘contact me’ form on her website, I received a phone call. The call was confident, kind and came with a warning “Just so you know… I’m not like other celebrants” well that was all I needed and my fiance and I were down the rabbit hole!

Before our own wedding, I had only been to one wedding before and I was 10 so my memory on it isn’t crash hot. We were entering into uncharted territory for the both of us, with no idea on how to balance how things are “supposed” to be with our own style and quirks. Joanne was essential in navigating that pathway.

The ceremony is something I’ll never forget. The most important half hour of our lives filled with love, laughter and tears. The script was heartfelt, personalised and relatable to our guests. The immense pressure vanished in her presence and there was only the three of us, chatting and laughing like we had been in the months prior.

As far as decor, we focused on colour, I had purple hair and tattoos out so we built our design from that. The reception had purple everywhere with our DIY decorations and paper floral arrangements on the tables. The back bar was decorated with the significant moments of our six year relationship, including the corsage I wore to my high school ball and the keys to the first home we bought. If there was a design theme… it was essentially just about us, the room screamed us.

Food began as soon as the ceremony ended, with canapes and bubbles flowing. People played giant Jenga and connect four to kill the time while we took about 1000 photographs of ourselves. The five canapes on offer provided something familiar to people along with something out of the box (cheese croquettes next to Kangaroo gyoza). Our lunch time reception was banquet style. The best way to describe this is to think of a giant family Christmas meal, when the table is just full of food and goodies and people dive on in and take what they want. Do you no like fish? That’s fine! Don’t take the fish then. Are you really into the potatoes? (As so many of our guests were). Then take ALL the potatoes. It created conversation, and smiles as dishes full of delicious food were passed from person to person. Our vegetarian, vegan and gluten free guests were more than looked after with personally designed meals just for them.

The reception (although it was a lunch time one) was full of speeches, dancing and games. We had spent a long time practicing a dance to the world’s worst song (also our first kiss song back in 2012) ‘Wild Ones’ by Flo Rida which after food, three glasses of wine and a piece of cake, I didn’t think we’d get right, but we nailed it! We played the inevitable ‘shoe game’ where both the bride and groom remove their shoes and exchange one so that they are both holding one of each shoe. During the game, a series of questions are asked, and the answer is either “the bride” or “the groom.” Instead of answering verbally, you hold up a shoe. I added an extra twist (think the TV show ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ with the tomatoes and capsicums), I made up a bunch of mini signs with a ‘J’ on one side and an ‘A’ on the other (representing either myself or my new husband) and our guests would answer the questions first before the groom and I revealed the true answer. It was a great to get the guests involved and created a lot of fun debate in the room.

On the drive to the wedding my dad turned around and said ‘I don’t think I’ve been this nervous since you were born.’ He walked his half of the aisle with a huge grin but filled with tears as it was time to say goodbye. It reminded me of something important. He topped this all off in his speech when he began with ‘If you didn’t know I loved you before… I hope you know now.’ And for me that’s what weddings are about… love. Creating true feelings and memories for people that stretch beyond that particular event. The creation of new families, no matter what mess of people are inside of them.

Photographer: Jackie Ferguson Photography / Cinematographer: Silver Key Films / Bride's Dress: Wild Violet Eveningwear / Bride's Jacket: Unorthodox Bride / Bride's Accessories: Wild Violet Eveningwear / Bride's Shoes: Irregular Choice / Groom's Attire: Calibre / Groom's Shoes: Calibre / Hair & Makeup Artist: Allure Beauty / Invitations & Stationery: La La Design / Flowers: NovelHeartsBouquets / Venue: Knee Deep Winery / Ceremony Officiant: Joanne Armstrong / Ceremony Musicians: String Quartet with a Twist / Marquee: Wonderland Tents and Events / Catering: Food By The Chef / Rental Furniture: Yallingup Event Hire / DJ: DJ Saramony / MC: DJ Saramony / Donut Wall: Sweet Stylin / Wedding Cake: Sweet Stylin / Cake Topper: Esina Designs / Engagement Ring: Mazzucchellis / Wedding Ring: Mazzucchellis / Dance Lessons: Jus Dance

Twenty Eighteen was our big year!  The one we had been dreaming off since the day we got engaged.  I met my husband back in 2011 and we instantly fell in love. Within six weeks of meeting we were living together and five months later we were engaged (and I was the one who proposed to him). Yes, we were that ‘crazy in love’ type.

My husband and I were engaged for six years before we actually got married. During that six years we had planned several types of weddings but could never really decide. We were torn between wanting  the intimacy of an elopement but also yearned to share the moment with every single person in our circle of friends so we decided to have two weddings! Yes TWO, and we partied for four months long.   It all started in January with our two rockstar Hens and Bucks weekends.  Then in February we had our ceremony. In March, we had our reception at home and the month after we took off for our honeymoon. It was so much fun stretching out the celebrations!

WEDDING DETAILS

For our first wedding celebration – the ceremony, we invited our nearest and dearest guests for a three day weekend at the Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast where we would be married. We welcomed them with an Italian feast over lunch the day before the ceremony, followed by a relaxing afternoon around the hotel pool. We had a small and intimate ceremony, followed by canapes and cocktails in the hotel lobby and a three course dinner with our own DJ that would take us into the night.  The following day we recovered with butler service in the hotel pool cabanas.

Ceremony Venue

Everything at the Palazzo Versace Hotel is simply breathtaking. The best part about having a wedding at the Versace, was that the hotel has their very own wedding coordinator/Fairy Godmother. Simply tell her what you want and she will make it happen for you. It was like magic. From styling, floral arrangements, menus, invitations, and transport, our wedding fairy godmother took care of it all, which meant we could really relax and enjoy the weekend together.

I was getting married right in the middle of an Australian summer  so I was looking for something cool and comfortable to wear.  I am also very athletic so the dress I chose needed to fit me really well.  Because of this I knew that getting a dress custom made was the only decision for me and I couldn’t go past the lovely Judy Copley Couture who is based on the Sunshine Coast where I live and makes the most stunning gowns. I kept my accessories minimal as I wore a custom made crown also hand crafted by Judy Copley. I just threw on some Tom Ford perfume and my Valentino rock stud heels and I was done!

I went for a very classic pony tail for my hair on the day with my favourite glam make up look.  Nikki from Sass and Niki Wedding Hair and Erin from Erin Fedele Make up Artistry did an amazing job. I didn’t know how much went into a pony tail until I worked with Nikki on this day! We kept it simple for the bridesmaids with some glamour waves.

I had my two best friends as my bridesmaids. I am a big fan of dress hire so we hired our bridesmaid dresses. In consultation with the girls, we decided on a classic, black ‘off the shoulder’ gown which we hired from Glamcorner for only $79 per dress.  We hired two sizes for each girl so we were confident that there would be no sizing issues on the wedding day! I treated the girls with some gold statement earrings from Brie Leon and Reliquia Jewellery and the entire bridal party enjoyed getting ready in their personalised black robes from Homebodii. 

The groom opted for a James Bond look with his suit and accessories selected from Hugo Boss. The groomsmen hired their formal suits.

Both our daughters were our flower girls on the day.  Their dresses and accessories were from Tutu De Monde and they each wore sparkly gold ballet flats from Walnut Melbourne.

My ring was a classic band from Tiffany’s and the groom got his from Prouds.

We were married by Daniel Gettis, a celebrant and a pastor at our local church. Our youngest daughter Sydnee walked down the aisle on my hip and stayed there for the entire ceremony! For the styling, we kept it simple and classic with gold tiffany chairs and white floral arrangements. 

 

After our ceremony our little crew enjoyed cocktails and canapes in the hotel lobby followed by a lovely three course degustation in the La Finestra Room at the hotel.  The space was intimate and breathtaking, so again we opted to keep things simple. Fresh white flowers, gold tiffany chairs, a classic table setting and a white wedding cake with gold foiling did the trick.

THE ‘AFTER AFTER’ PARTY – The Reception

Two weeks after our wedding ceremony we enjoyed a big old fashioned house party at our home. We invited anyone and everyone we knew and told them all to dress in white. We really got to let our hair down as the pressure of the wedding was over and we got to indulge in the moment (for a second time) with our entire tribe of friends. For the party I did the styling myself and hired all the props we needed – a juke box and a personal chef to do all the catering. With buckets of champagne and beer, a photo booth, grazing table and a few self dispensing cocktail jugs, we were set for a good night in!

 

Ms Zebra Says: I’m in awe! What an incredible idea to stretch out the one event in life you never want to end!! Congratulations Claudia and Simon on a beautiful life and marriage together!

About the Bride: Hi I’m Claudia, mum of two girls, lifestyle blogger and content creator based on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. As a former corporate marketing professional, now running my own business, I am a creative at heart who loves to write. I’ll be the first to admit that I am ‘winging it’ most days while I do my best to master the delicate balance of running a business and household while trying to be a ‘cool’ mum and half decent human. Find out more here.

Photographer: Cassandra Ladru Photography / Photographer: Nicola Holland / Ceremony Venue: Palazzo Versace / Wedding Cake: Palazzo Versace / Ceremony Officiant: Daniel Gettis / DJ: DJ Zee / Cinematographer: And Ever Collective / Bride's Dress: Judy Copley Couture / Bride's Accessories: Judy Copley Couture / Hairstylist: Sass and Niki / Makeup Artist: Erin Fedele Beauty and Make up / Bridesmaid Dresses: Glamcorner / Bride's Jewellery: Brie Leon / Bride's Jewellery: Reliquia Jewellery / Bridal Robes: Homebodii / Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss / Flowergirl's Attire: Tutu Du Monde / Flowergirl's Attire: Walnut / Catering: Penfolds Catering / Styling: Splash Events

Taleah & Ryan

There’s nothing more romantic than a snow covered mountain top, a beautiful floral arrangement – and of course, two newly engaged lovebirds in blissful love! Talented florist Taleah shares her stunning engagement shoot and story of how her partner surprised her and popped the question!

We woke up at 4am one Saturday morning to go for a day of Mountain Biking with friends in Bright, Victoria. This wasn’t a one off occurrence, so I wasn’t suspicious that “this could be the day!” because we often do biking trips just like this one. The morning was beautiful and sunny and made for some nice riding. On our last lap, the rain poured down. We ended up fully covered in mud but happy.

After I changed into a comfy hoodie I noticed Ryan changing into his Sunday best (well, almost) and I started to get a bit suspicious at that point. We drove to a beautiful look out over bright at the top of a mountain and the rain stopped, the clouds parted and we had an amazing view of the little town below us. Ryan got down on one knee and I said yes to spending life with my best friend.

We returned in the winter with our fabulous photographer Cindy Habel to capture some beautiful snowy photos. As I am a florist, I chose to add to the snowy environment with a wintery foliage bouquet.

 

Photographer: Cindy Habel / Flowers: Taleah Tilley / Wedding Ring: Heidi Gibson