They started out as housemates in a share house in London but Fionna Pearson and Aaron Melder’s friendship soon blossomed into a relationship. The picturesque city of Bruges in Belgium is where Aaron asked a speechless Fionna for her hand in marriage. “It was the last thing I had expected!” Fionna remembered.
Fionna and Aaron relaxed into the wedding planning process once they had booked their ceremony and reception venue at Gardens House in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. “Once we had our venue locked in, everything seemed to come together. With the help of The Style Co. we had a clear idea of what we wanted our wedding to be like and went for it. We couldn’t have been happier with the result,” Fionna said. The pair had fallen in love with Gardens House because it was ideal for their outdoor wedding. “We were so relieved to have perfect weather on our wedding day. An outdoor wedding in Melbourne with its unpredictable weather can be a little risky.”
Aaron’s family furniture business Mulbury, came in handy for the couple to source their own furnishings. They used couches and coffee tables at their reception to create a cosy living room outside.
“The ceremony backdrop with its peeling paint and summery flower arch was my favourite piece. It was a vintage screen that once separated a living room from a kitchen in an old Sri Lankan house,” Fionna said.
The wedding was decorated with seasonal and colourful flowers combined with berries and herbs. Fionna and Aaron also created an overhead light feature with festoon lighting. Fionna described the design as a “circus tent canopy” of lights.
“Our wedding wasn’t very traditional. We didn’t have a formal sit-down dinner or a first dance. Our ceremony music was provided by La Mauvaise Réputation, a French Gypsy swing band and South City played covers at our reception. We took our shoes off and danced the evening away on the grass.”
To see Fionna’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by David Rosendale Photography
Kate Cahill and Guy Gunasekera held a sophisticated black tie wedding in Sydney with two very different ceremonies.
Why did you choose your particular venue?
Both our venues were chosen in celebration of Sydney. Our ceremony was held at the Rose Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens, a peaceful and beautiful public space. From there, the Little Red Train, which is usually reserved for children, came to take our guests to the Man O’ War steps where the ferry departed for our reception at Fort Denison. The adults were a little heavier than the train’s normal load so our guests had to get out and help the train uphill! The journey was a great talking point. Fort Denison is also a significant location for us because we see it every morning when we take the ferry to work.
What was the theme of your wedding?
Our wedding didn’t have a definite theme but we wanted it to be modern and white with an emphasis on flowers. To create this look, we used ghost chairs and white flowers of all different varieties to create interest and layering. We didn’t want to detract from the incredible backdrops of Sydney Harbour and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Describe your two ceremonies.
We had a civil ceremony and a traditional Sri Lankan blessing ceremony or Poruwa. In modern times this kind of ceremony refers to the decorated platform on which the marriage takes place. There are a number of rituals involved in the ceremony. For example a conch shell is blown to signal that the ceremony is about to begin and then the bridal party and the families of the bride and groom enter in a procession accompanied by drummers and dancers. An auspicious time is chosen for the couple to be married. In our case the time was 4.07pm. It was derived from our horoscopes and based on our dates and times of birth.
What kind of flowers were featured at your wedding?
The bouquets were a selection of peonies and roses. Magnolias, hydrangeas and carnations were some of the other flowers used for the reception table centrepieces. The flower garlands hanging from the ceiling of the marquee created a lovely garden feel. Our guests were able to enjoy the flowers as they were wrapped and given to all of the women.
How did you decide on your gown?
I found a wedding dress that was completely different to what I’d originally envisioned. I felt comfortable in my gown and it was important to me to be able to move around and enjoy the day without worrying about it. My dress is something I would love to pass on to my daughters if I am lucky enough! I also wore my mother’s veil. It was special because it felt like I was wearing a piece of my mother and father’s history as I embarked on the same journey they had years before.
What was the concept behind your stationery?
We wanted our guests to be excited to receive their invitations in the mail. It took us a while to work out a concept that integrated calligraphy with a modern twist. Finally we decided on a blind letterpress with a calligraphy style. Our envelopes and place cards were also written in calligraphy with grey ink for a more contemporary look.
To see Katharine’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Sugarlove Weddings
With twelve short months to plan their wedding in the middle of a paddock with no running water or electricity, Joanne and Michael’s wedding day was a truly spectacular event. Here Joanne shares their experience with Real Weddings.
Michael and I got married one year to the day from his proposal. It’s a special date to us as it was Michael’s late mother’s birthday. At the end of November each year the Wilson family and friends gather at our home to celebrate Michael’s mum Trish’s life. Michael thought it was the perfect opportunity to propose and include not only his mum but all of our family in the moment. I was the last person in the back garden that night to realise what was going on, I eventually worked it out and of course said yes. We were extremely grateful that we were able to share that moment with our loved ones and will always remember that Michael designed my ring with 7 stones to mark the 7 years since his mums passing.
Michael and I had been searching for a wedding venue and really struggled to find something that felt like us. We both really wanted a fun day filled with laughter, a real celebration style party. It became very clear to us that the best place to hold such a celebration was at Michael’s family farm. Being a city girl through and through, it had taken me some time to warm to farm life, but the stunning views and fresh air won me over and I just knew that it was the perfect backdrop for our wedding.
Just because we were having our wedding in the country, we were not having a country wedding. I really struggled to explain this to people (mainly Michael!) and so I came up with a modern take on The Great Gatsby; relaxed glamour. We settled on a colour palette of ivory and navy base with pink tones as highlights. I wanted to use pink not only because it’s my favourite colour but as a bright and brilliant contrast against the natural landscape.
My bridal bouquet was made of David Austen roses, I loved that they were creamy with a hint of pink around the edges of the forming buds. The groomsmen also had these for their buttonholes. I chose a pink palette bouquet for the bridesmaids including peony roses as I knew they would look striking with their navy dresses. Michael’s buttonhole was made from a Gardenia as they were his mother’s favourite flower, and I also included one in my bouquet.
For visual impact we sourced beautiful self striped ivory table linen from Table Art, this really helped set the tone in the marquee. Other decor included a stunning white pressed metal bar, a cheese station which was extremely popular and even miniature figures of Michael and I sent to us all the way from China by friends unable to attend. Two gold and crystal chandeliers from Hire Style hung over the tables, set back with a ceiling of fairy lights covered by silk lining mirroring the beautiful night sky outside the marquee. This created a lovely symmetry between the inside and outside spaces.
Decorating the outside space were beautiful Bordeaux inspired bar chairs and tables along with lounges and ottomans allowing for guests to relax in the ‘paddock lounge’ and enjoy the beautiful evening scattered amongst the hay bales.
Our wedding cake was delicious! Michael and I selected a flavour each, I chose Baci and he chose white chocolate and raspberry. The cake was a 3 tier circular design, covered in white chocolate and highlighted with pink pearl beads around the base of each layer. We chose to have fresh flowers on the top layer of the cake to tie in with the room.
Michael’s favourite aspect of the day was being able to share his farm with our guests and provide them with the opportunity to sleep over. He made contact with Happy Glamper, who specialise in glamping, which truly is glamorous camping. A tent village was constructed in the paddock, and each tent was decked out with cot beds and matting. Along with the essentials such as torches and bedding, quirky items were included such as board games and old suitcases. The bridal suite even had a flamingo! Guest names were on signs outside their tents and everyone slept comfortably (despite the Karaoke machine lasting until 5am!) I had made and labelled late night snack packs filled with goodies like chips and chocolate bars to be left in the tents along with bottled water.
There were so many moments that have stayed with me from our wedding, and the most significant of these is the genuine happiness that we felt from each and every guest. It was so wonderful to share our love and commitment to each other with all of our family and friends.
To see Joanne’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Nerida Phelan Photography
Happy Easter from the Real Weddings team! We hope your break is full of family, friends and delicious food.
The Real Weddings team are taking a long weekend from the 3rd of April to the 6th of April, and will be back on Tuesday the 7th to share many more inspiring weddings with you. Xx
Photography by Rustic White Photography
Kylie Halliday and Ben Pintos-Oliver share their wedding day extravaganza with Real Weddings.
After luring Kylie in for a picnic, Ben got down one knee just as speed boat disembarked a large luxury cruiser that had anchored offshore.
The speedboat had come to take Kylie and Ben aboard the cruiser, where Kylie was ushered downstairs to find a new dress, shoes, and accessories waiting for her.
Once she’d changed, they cruised into Circular Quay, where 30 close friends waving balloons and banners were waiting to board the boat to celebrate their earlier engagement.
A Perfect Match
Finding the perfect venue was one of the hardest aspects of the wedding planning process for Kylie and Ben. “We had two key requirements; we wanted a non traditional, unique space and it had to be be on the water. As soon as we set foot on Cockatoo Island we knew we had found the one. There was so much about it that was perfect. It was a blank canvas, meaning we could bring in our own caterers, styling, furniture and entertainment. We loved that there were so many different locations on the island that we could utilise throughout the day for the ceremony, picnic, reception and all the little surprises along the way.” said Kylie.
When deciding on the overall theme for their wedding, Kylie and Ben wanted to incorporate a Japanese element, as Ben’s mother and grandmothers have Japanese heritage. To do this they used Kylie’s favourite flowers, cherry blossoms, throughout the styling; 1000 paper cranes made by Ben’s grandmother, hanging above the dance floor; and bamboo palms in the chill-out area.
“We wanted the whole day to be a surprise for our guests so the location was a secret, all they knew was that they had to meet a person with a giant balloon at the Quay. They were then taken across to the island, via ferry ride on the harbour. After the ceremony they were surprised with a picnic on top of the island watching the sunset. They were then led through the middle of the island through a tunnel lit by 100 candles and brought to a marquee outside the reception for cocktails and canapés, before being led inside the naval store for a sit down dinner and entertainment.” said Kylie.
Love at First Sight
Kylie chose to wear Johanna Johnson’s ‘Sassine’ gown, the first gown she tried on. With it’s structured lines, silk covered buttons and detachable tulle skirt, it was love at first sight. Kylie finished off her look with a Swarovski crystal jewelled belt and matching head piece, also by Johanna Johnson.
Grey Suits You
Ben chose to wear a grey suit, and found the perfect one at Hugo Boss. In keeping with the colour palette, he paired it with a soft pink shirt, matching grey and white patterned bow tie, and pocket square and braces.
The Greatest Gift
Kylie and Ben chose to have a honeymoon gift registry with a travel agent, allowing them to embark on their dream honeymoon to the Seychelles Islands. The greatest gift of all came afterwards, finding out they had returned home pregnant with their first child, “our very own honeymoon baby,” said Kylie.
To see Kylie’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Len from I Love Wednesdays
On a warm summer afternoon in rural Victoria, Tania Petts and Simon Hill were wed beneath a magnificent elm tree.
With its vast grounds, modern restaurant and boutique accommodation Lindenwarrah allowed Tania and Simon to fulfill their vision of an understated, modern wedding.
Originally from Wangaratta, Tania and Simon wanted to create an intimate celebration in the country so guests could experience the region where they had both grown up.
The styling was sophisticated and simple with a restricted colour palette. Fresh, white blooms of hydrangeas, tulips and roses were heavily featured throughout the wedding, and hanging frames added interest and a sense of theatricality to the ceremony space. Tania and Simon were all smiles as they said their vows, “We told our story and shared many laughs. It was a heartfelt ceremony and I will always treasure my memories of the day,” Tania said.
Tania looked stunning in her strapless, bespoke gown. “I was blown away with Jane Hill’s incredible creation. I felt nothing short of amazing and cherish the fact that I was able to work with such a talented woman.” Tania kept her jewellery to a minimum with large pearl earrings and a classic bun hairstyle that showcased the elegant cut of the gown.
Tania and Simon’s reception had a spirited feel. With its bi fold doors and panoramic view over the vineyard, Restaurant Merlot was the ideal size for the couple’s seating arrangement of 3 long dinner tables. With the bride and groom situated in the middle, Tania and Simon felt they could connect with all their guests.
Large clusters of flowers were showcased at the reception and as a parting gift, guests could visit the ‘wrapping station’ and take home a sweet-smelling reminder from the day. Tania and Simon also thanked their guests with custom-made chocolate bars.
To see Tania’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Meaghan Cook
Wanting to combine the intimacy of a small wedding with the joyous festivities of a large Italian wedding, Emily Hunt and Damon Scolaro went about creating a wedding celebration that truly represented them as a couple.
With Emily wishing for a rustic barn ceremony, and Damon wanting a church ceremony, the couple compromised with the local priest marrying them in the beautiful gardens at Stirling Cottage, on the banks of the Harvey River in Western Australia.
Choosing a ‘vintage bohemian’ theme, with a colour palette of pinks, whites, golds and hessian, Emily wore a gown by Grace Loves Lace in keeping with their theme, and as it was lightweight with a flowing skirt, she was able to dance the night away!
Rustic flower arrangements continued their theme with various pink roses, peonies, white gum, berries and babies breath used in both the bouquets and reception centrepieces.
After their wedding ceremony, Emily and Damon’s guests were treated to an iced tea station, with milk bottles and paper straws displayed on vintage furniture. A selection of vintage and oversized games were also on hand for guests to enjoy after the ceremony.
At their wedding reception, each of the table centrepieces were hand made by Emily, Damon and their families, with Emily’s Mum having collected books from op shops and antique stores leading up to the wedding.
For their wedding cake Emily and Damon chose a three tier white chocolate mud cake, embellished with a lace overlay, ruffles, and pink sugar peonies.
During their speeches, Damon’s dad gave Emily a key necklace, a touching gift, symbolising she can go to them for anything that she may need in the future. Plenty more toasts were shared, before they danced into the night with their family and friends, as husband and wife.
To see Emily’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Amy and Alec Ovans at Amare Images
Lia DiMingo and James Kasikakis grew up in the same local area, but it wasn’t until years later, both returning home after having lived overseas, that they started dating. Lia shares their story with Real Weddings, and describes how they kept their wedding day true to who they are.
On the beach in Ulluwatu, Bali, James asked me to take a photo. Out of the camera case I pulled a box with a diamond inside. Before I knew it, he was down on one knee asking me to spend the rest of my life with him as husband and wife. I loved the fact he proposed with a diamond only, as it gave me complete creative freedom to design my own ring.
I chose a designer that was going to give me creative license to design my dress in collaboration with their ideas. I knew what I wanted but found that many designers had a range which you had to stick to, allowing for minimal changes and fabric choices. Sonia from Sonia Cappellazzo Couture and I were on the same page – she understood exactly what I was after.
THE FLOWER GIRLS
My 90 year old grandmother is a dressmaker and really wanted to make the flower girl dresses. She did a fantastic job with the little lace top and tulle skirt. They both wore silver high-tops as shoes – which were too cute!
When choosing flowers, it was simple. I didn’t necessarily pick ‘typical wedding flowers’ instead I went with my favourites, King Proteas. Everyone that knows me know it is my favourite flower. I’m not a roses kind of girl.
We chose Luminare because it is very modern and very much represented James and my style. It doesn’t have a traditional reception centre feel about it, and you can create a warm atmosphere and mingle with everyone around the bar, lounge and dance floor after your meals, rather than staying at your allocated tables.
Our bridal table was in the middle of the room. We wanted to be amongst our guests not up on a table facing everyone. We also decided to have the husbands and wives of those in our bridal party join us for drinks after the ceremony and to sit with us on the bridal table.
THE SMALL STUFF
Don’t sweat the small stuff, particularly things that are out of your control. I was really worried about the weather leading up to our wedding, and it ended up raining. I can honestly say I didn’t let it bother me, in fact I barely noticed it; I was floating on cloud nine.
To see Lia’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Meredith O’Shea
Julie Taing and Thomas Lo’s wedding had incredible visual panache and innovative style. Exceptional design made for an unforgettable event.
A private beach in Bora Bora was where Thomas proposed to Julie his girlfriend of 4 years. Having organised a romantic dinner at sunset, he popped the question and made sure the magical moment was captured by a photographer.
Julie and Thomas found the wedding planning process to be stressful at times. “There were so many suppliers and different styles of weddings that we felt quite overwhelmed,” Julie said. However after seeking help from Marisa Welcome, Principal Planner and Stylist at A Lavish Affair, Julie and Thomas were given the advice and direction that allowed them to relax and enjoy organising what was going to be a spectacularly elaborate wedding.
The wedding day began with a traditional Chinese ceremony where Julie and Thomas served tea to their immediate families. As per the tradition, in return, family members presented the pair with red envelopes that contained gift money.
The intimate setting of Thomas’ family home in Toorak was where they chose to be married. “It was so meaningful to take our vows in the home where Thomas grew up, and where we have shared so many memories,” Julie said.
Elm trees and a magnificent red oak tree cast shade, providing a cool retreat from the sunshine for guests who sipped Champagne and relaxed on white tiffany chairs. The aisle was lined with white rose petals and Julie walked towards Thomas to the melodious sound of Pachelbel’s Canon played by a string quartet. The pair stood in front of a birch ceremony structure draped with sheer, white fabric and mixed pink and white blooms. The iron gates and surrounding fence of the garden were dressed with lush ivy and flowers.
When it came to choosing her gown, Julie couldn’t decide between a princess ball gown or a slim fitting dress. She decided to wear a Sottero and Midgley tulle ball gown for the ceremony and then changed into a Demetrios beaded lace dress for the reception. She accessorised with silver, T-bar Jimmy Choo heels and diamond and pearl earrings which she received as a wedding gift from her mother. For her something old Julie wore a diamond tennis bracelet that her mother in-law had passed on to her. “It felt special and symbolic to be able to wear something from both our families,” Julie said.
Julie and Thomas chose the avant-garde, waterfront event space of Peninsula for their wedding reception. As they were having a second wedding at the hotel ballroom at Intercontinental Hong Kong, Julie and Thomas were keen to have something completely different in Australia. The spacious and modern interior of the Docklands venue was the blank canvas they were looking for to transform into a dynamic and lavishly decorated reception space.
Inspired by Julie’s love of all things pink and beautiful, the theme for the reception was ‘A Pink Fairytale’. This was created with soft pink light, copious amounts of pink flowers with painted gold leaves, and 3 daring floral and crystal hanging installations. Hard-working suppliers waved their magic wands to make the romantic vision a reality and a dream come true for Julie and Thomas.
A 6 piece band entertained guests all evening and the night concluded with a Champagne toast on the pier overlooking Victoria Harbour. Julie and Thomas cut their grand, 5-tier cake and snuck a quick kiss before a spectacular display of fireworks began.
To see Julie’s Style Guide, be sure to visit realweddings.com.au
Photography by Blumenthal Photography
Here in the Real Weddings office, we are often swept away by the stunning gowns worn by our featured brides. However, we also love when our featured grooms have stepped out of the box and are wearing something special. Whether it be a three-piece suit, contrasting jacket and pants combination, or vibrant accessories; bow tie, neck tie or a pocket square, just to name a few.
Here we take a peek at the 2015 autumn/winter campaign of Australian label, M.J. Bale, for some wedding day groomswear inspiration. Shot in Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, the autumn/winter campaign was crafted as the ‘Adventures of a Well-Dressed Gentleman’ just as every groom should feel on his wedding day; a gentleman on his next adventure.