Michelle Moran and James Benson

Gardens House, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria

Photography by David Fowler Photography

Michelle Moran and James Benson

It was a spring day when Michelle walked down the aisle on the arm of her father in Melbourne's picturesque Royal Botanic Gardens. She laughed at a joke her father made to calm her nerves, and thought to herself how lucky she was as she finally laid eyes on James, her husband to be. Wearing a stunning vintage gown found in their hometown of London, the raven-haired Michelle and James exchanged vows in an intimate ceremony in front of close family and friends.

Although it wasn't a ‘traditional' wedding, Michelle's mother had surprised her with a handmade vintage garter made with lace from her own wedding dress. "It was so beautiful. She even trimmed it with a little green bow and a Claddagh pendant so I had the luck of the Irish," Michelle said. For ‘something old', the bride wore a brooch and earrings that were her grandmothers, while ‘something new' was three bracelets - one from James, one from her dad and a beautiful art deco style bracelet given to Michelle by her godmother. ‘Something blue' was her first ever gift from James - a topaz and amethyst necklace. "I completely forgot about ‘something borrowed' so my sister lent me her lip gloss for the day," Michelle said with a laugh.

After the ceremony, celebrations were held at Gardens House with pre-dinner drinks and dancing in the rain to a three piece band that played 1940s swing music. "It was so lovely watching James' 90 year old grandparents dance and sing to the music". Guests then moved to the upstairs dining room with its beautiful, soft vintage theme. Romantic centrepieces consisted of assorted vases and jars filled with soft blooms while dinner menus were designed to resemble vintage newspapers. Gorgeous china teacups, some of which were carried over by a friend from the UK, were placed around the room to add to the quaint and charming feel.

After dinner Michelle changed into a second vintage dress - a short 1950s raw silk dress that gave her a chance to show off her fabulous Christian Louboutin shoes! Following the speeches guests were treated to a selection of fabulous wandering desserts in the garden, including fig and pistachio ice cream cones and old-fashioned coconut ice. "This was a great hit as it gave the evening a more relaxed feel," Michelle explained.

At the end of an enchanting evening, cabs were arranged to ferry guests safely home but as the newlyweds were literally staying just around the corner they chose to walk back to their hotel instead. "It was so lovely and a nice way to wind down after a wonderful night".

Have you been inspired by Michelle and James's intimate wedding? Check out our comprehensive guide to small weddings with helpful advice, inspiration and ideas.


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As seen in

As seen inIssue 17

Flowers by

Flowers byVictoria Whitelaw

Michelle's Style Guide


My Vintage Wedding Dress


David Fowler Photography

Ceremony location:

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Reception Venue:

Gardens House, The Royal Botanic Gardens

Reception Caterer:

Peter Rowland Catering

Reception Decorations and Stationery:

Pretty Little Things by 3 Fat Fairies


Christian Louboutin

Wedding rings:

Jan Logan

Groom’s attire:

Gieves and Hawkes

Flowers and floral decorations:

Victoria Whitelaw


Let them Eat Cake


Top Dog Entertainment

First Night:

The Hatton Hotel


For more inspiration, view our small wedding venues