Once the champagne had been sipped, the families called and we had stopped looking at each other at random moments throughout the day to squeal “We’re getting marrrrrriiiiiieeeeeeeed!”, Buzz and I set about finding our venue.

Bertie tries to snag the shinyshiny

Above: my little cat Bertie tried to pounce on the shinyshiny while I was trying to take a photo of it! He is a cat of very refined tastes.

We knew we wanted somewhere beautiful, historic and, most importantly, indoors! Having set the date for August – month of blustering squalls, pounding rain and icy chill –  we knew there was no point in pretending that we could have an outdoor wedding. We wanted to have our ceremony and reception all in the one cosy place so that guests didn’t have to be rained on or venture out in the cold dark between venues.

Treasury Restaurant

Above: The imposing, glowing doors outside Treasury Restaurant, Melbourne. Must be fierce competition for this shot – hope I don’t have to boot any other brides out of the way. (Photograph from the Treasury Restaurant website).

Another element that was a make-or-break for us was the ability of the venue to offer a vegan menu. Although Buzz is omnivorous, I am vegan and we had already agreed that we wanted to serve an all-vegan menu – and for some people this may be the first vegan meal they had ever eaten, so we want to knock their socks off! I was heartened and very impressed that all four venues we visited were more than happy to work with us and their chef to create a suitable menu, which I think is a good indicator of the sophistication of venue catering in Melbourne.

We visited four venues, all historic and gorgeous buildings with lovely staff and their own special charm. But our decision was really made at our first venue, to which we couldn’t help but compare all others.

Treasury Restaurant, interior

Above: Treasury Restaurant, interior ground floor. Will you just look at those chandeliers. Sigh. (Photograph from the Treasury Restaurant website).

Treasury Restaurant, formerly the Bank of Australasia, was built in 1874 in the Renaissance Revival style and has been brought up to date as part of the Sebel Hotel. It is warm and intimate whilst spacious enough to hold all our guests without cramping their ability to throw down some serious dance moves – a must at any wedding! We loved the nods to history with the retention of the old bank teller windows lining the central hall, along with beautiful restoration work and plush modern furniture. After our ceremony our guests can gather on the mezzanine for pre-dinner canapés while we brave the dark for our photos, and we will all re-assemble downstairs for dinner and dancing. At the end of the night, Buzz and I can simply hop in the lift and be taken up to our own suite, suitably exhausted and exhilarated.

I am dreaming of walking down the aisle, under chandeliers, past bank teller windows and in the presence of history, family and friends, to see Buzz  at the other end, waiting for us to become husband and wife.

Treasury Restaurant, mezzanine

Above: Treasury Restaurant, mezzanine level. Excellent position to throw your bouquet from to the gaggle of single ladies below. (Photograph from the Treasury Restaurant website).

Miss T’s Top Three Tips – Venue Shopping

1. Start early. 12 months is fine for off-peak but if you’re planning on peak season between about October and March, and  especially on any high profile days like St Valentine’s Day or 11/11/11, make sure you get in as early as humanly possible. And with that in mind, prepare to compromise. You may not be able to get the anniversary date of your first kiss or your grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary, and you will need to weigh up whether you want your wedding to be at your perfect venue or on your perfect date. My advice is that the date will be special to you regardless, and always will be, whereas all of your guests will benefit if you choose the venue you love most.

2. Think about the type and size of event you want and choose venues to inspect accordingly. There is no point wasting time to drive to Tullamarine to look at a 500 person capacity venue if your dream day is a cocktail party for 70. Likewise, if your guest list is sky high, don’t pretend that you’ll all fit on to the Eureka SkyDeck.

3. Make sure to read the venue’s contract details very, very carefully. It’s one of the largest expenses and you need to be across what you are committing to. Be sure to discuss it with your venue before signing. Before. That’s before signing. Not three weeks before your wedding.

3a. And I know I said three, but this one’s important: you must love it. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but you do need to love it.

Ms Polka Dot says: Miss T is back (follow her journey here) to share with us her wedding planning journey –  this time the all important task of choosing the venue. With some really great tips to keep in mind!

Miss T says she is: ‘Organised to the max; fan of all things sparkly and organic; vegan (but no hemp or dreadlocks); proud mama to a Chihuahua princeling and two snooty cats; drinker of beer; and thrilled to her little cotton socks to be marrying the sweet, silly, smart and snuggly Buzz.’

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Ben and I met in St Kilda, Melbourne  at a bar and after a whirlwind romance, spent a couple of years living in London before returning to South Melbourne where Ben proposed a few years later (with the help of our loving Cocker Spaniel Boseley – who was the ring bearer in our local park).  Ben (originally from a small country town in Gippsland ) and myself (being a Melbourne girl born and bred) wanted to have our wedding somewhere that would be easy for all our guests to get to.  We decided on the perfect venue located in Mt Eliza on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Morning Star Estate had all the elements that we wanted, a beautiful restaurant with views of the ocean and manicured English style gardens, fantastic food and wine all contained within a historic property with beautiful period details.

The day of our wedding, was fraught with drama, with storms lashing Melbourne and labeled  “the worst in 100 years”.  Fortunately, our wedding was held at 6pm and because the venue was located just an hour’s drive out of Melbourne the weather was not quite as bad as in Melbourne. The  wedding was able to be held  inside the main building in the “Theatre”, where Ben and I were married in front of a roaring open fire.

There was a real buzz of excitement from the beginning of the day until the end, even though the ceremony didn’t start until 6pm, the whole drama with the storms and whether or not we would have it outside added to the drama of the day…..fortunately it all went perfectly and even though we only had a 15 minute window of time outside to take photos the photographers did a brilliant job and captured our day perfectly.

I walked down the aisle to “Claire De Lune” by Debussy. This piece was special to me as I had played classical piano from a young age and I always loved this beautiful tune…..our first dance was “Message To My Girl”….both Ben and I have very similar musical tastes so our decisions were easily made in regard to music.

I planned the wedding myself with the assistance of my mother and sister (who was my only attendant and maid of honour). My vision for my day was something classic with a modern twist.

This style was evident in my choice of dress,  black and white colour theme and simple, low key decorations in the venue.  The tables were kept simple with tea light candles scattered throughout and small vases of bouvardia and gardenia. This simple effect looked perfect as the venue didn’t need a lot of competition with the gardens surrounding us.

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Wedding Dress: Jane Hill

Shoes: Mollinimelbourne wedding0005

I wore emerald green shoes by Mollini – I saw them and just had to have them! I have always had an obsession with green things and I have an emerald cut engagement ring so I thought it would all tie in perfectly! Plus my mother’s engagement ring is an emerald so it felt like it was meant to wedding0006

Venue: Morning Star Estate, Mt Eliza

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Hair and Make Up: Georgie Pickett

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Groom’s & Groomsman suit: Hugo Bossmelbourne wedding0010

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Bridesmaid Dress: Willow

Photographer: Dally Street Images

These guys were fantastic, and managed to capture our day in a natural candid style as well as taking photos of all our guests.  Ben and I sent thank you cards that were designed by Dally Street with images of us on the front in black and white and inside we placed photos of each guest we sent the card wedding0013

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Flowers: Blush Floral Design

Cake: Cioccoalata Bellamelbourne wedding0015

Music: Baker Boysmelbourne wedding0016

Stationery: Papyrus Design

Special Touch – As our venue was located in Mt Eliza and we had guests coming from Gippsland and Melbourne that would be staying in and around the venue, we thought it would be nice to hire a large bus to transport everyone to and from the venue to save them having to wait for limited taxis in the wedding0017

Wedding Night Accommodation: Fairview Bed and Breakfast, Mt Eliza, VIC

The following day guests who stayed over joined us for lunch at the local pub in Mornington so we could reflect on what a fantastic night we all had…it certainly was the best day of our lives and most importantly Ben and I both made sure we took moments together to take it all in.

Ms Polka Dot says: What a gorgeous wedding this is! We are thrilled that Zoe and Ben have shared their day with us in such a beautiful way. And don’t I just covet those yummy green shoes!

Zoe says: During the week I am fairly organised and stuck in routine, being Front of House for a large organisation in Melbourne so on the weekends I love getting away from it all.  Ben and I and my very cute Cocker Spaniel Boseley head to his old hometown in the Gippsland hills at any opportunity for some R and R, …I am a bit of a gym junkie – helps me unwind but I LOVE my food especially cashews and I never say no to a glass of bubbly or a Mojito…I asked Ben to describe me in three words as I was having trouble…he said “Caring, talented and beautiful” I don’t know about that after all he is biased 🙂

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Kylene (a photographer herself) had some wise words of wisdom for other brides when she married her husband Ryan. (See her wedding day on Polka Dot Bride )

Being a photographer herself (Forever By Kylene Photography) Kylene’s advice relates to one of the lasting memories of the day.

“All of this would be a fading memory if we didn’t have fantastic pictures to remember it all by!  Having a great photographer made the day really special to me, and it will allow me to remember every detail no matter how much time goes by.  Don’t skimp on this important part!”

Photo by Vue Photography