Real Wedding – Eliza & Samuel, Fitzroy VIC
Eliza and Sam knew they were meant to be together after six months of long distance lovin’ early on in their relationship. These high school sweethearts tied the knot in front of family and friends in the Fitzroy Gardens, before the party kicked on at the Panama Dining Room.
Although not much else was required to style this effortlessly cool warehouse space, Eliza and Sam added added some trendy touches with the help of their talented tribe. Simple florals in white and green with pops of classic navy linen made for an edgy and elegant event. The couple searched far and wide to find their dream photographer, Sabine Legrand, who they enlisted to take some heavenly happy snaps.
In Eliza’a words…
We met in high school. We went to different schools, but were often at similar gatherings and parties in our senior years. It wasn’t until year 11 when we starting finding each other on the dance floor, but it took until the end of year 12 for us to finally get together.
We knew we were meant for each other pretty quickly. Six months into our relationship, Sam was heading off to Europe for 6 months as part of his year off after school. I knew it was something pretty special as I was so devastated the closer it got to Sam’s departure date. We decided to stay together, and kept in close contact the whole way through. $1000 worth of phone credit later (Whatsapp and i-messages were not yet a thing) and the rest is history.
We had planned to head down to Sam’s families’ beach house in Sorrento for the weekend. I was meant to get away from work a bit early on the Friday so we could hit the road, but of course it was a busy day and not a great weather forecast, so I was trying to convince Sam we should just stay in Melbourne. Little did I know, he had already done the trip down to Sorrento and back that day, to deliver all the goodies he didn’t want me to know about! Luckily it wasn’t particularly hard to get me to keep to the original plan, and for the second time that day, Sam drove, this time with me, all the way back to Sorrento.
On the Saturday morning we were planning to go out for breakfast but Sam suggested stopping off to walk along the beach on our way. It was when I tried to walk one way on the beach and Sam rapidly steered me in the other direction that I got a bit suspicious. As we turned a little bend in the beach, I could see a picnic rug with roses, candles and breakfast set up for us; Sam had snuck out whilst I was still asleep to set it up. It was then that Sam got down on one knee and made me the happiest girl alive. After the proposal, Sam unveiled the weekend of celebrations he had planned for us: we started with our breakfast picnic on the beach, followed by lunch at Mont Alto. We then returned to Melbourne where Sam had booked the most amazing hotel room overlooking the city and dinner at Cutler and Co.
To top the weekend off, Sam had organised massages on the Sunday morning after which we told our family and friends and spent Sunday afternoon celebrating with them. It was the most special weekend, and we loved having the day to enjoy it to ourselves, before sharing the news and celebrating with our loved ones.
We had a complicated start to planning, as we spent the first 6 weeks waiting for Sam’s leave dates for the following year to be released. We started looking at venues but it was tricky to ensure we didn’t get our hearts set on anything until we knew when we would have the time off to do it!
As soon as we could, we locked in Panama Dining Room. We knew we wanted a Melbourne based wedding with amazing food and Panama was just perfect. We chased the big-ticket items for quite some time. We searched high and low and were so glad we put in so much effort until we found our photographer Sabine. When we met her, we just clicked. She was fun to be around, really understood us as a couple and most importantly has an incredible effortless style!
As it all started coming together, I made the largest excel document known to man-kind! I think I ended up with about ten different pages, all interlinking each other, tracking our suppliers, guest lists, budgets, to-do list, honeymoon, on the day schedule; you name it and it was on the spreadsheet.
For typically decisive people, we became so indecisive and completely did our own heads in at times. I spent so much time scouring Instagram for ideas, but it definitely became important to step away from it all and just plan what came naturally to us – there are endless ideas but only one day to fit them all into!
In saying that though, we had such a fun time exploring the wedding world and planning it all. Sam was super involved which made it even more fun and meant that our day was truly a reflection of us both.
We knew we wanted a fun, vibrant, inner-city wedding. We wanted something fresh and modern, and it was essential that there was great food. Once we decided on Panama Dining Room, the rest kind of fell into place. The venue itself is so eclectic and vibrant, that we kept florals simple with greens and whites. We decided on navy blue as our colour and tied that through with the bridesmaid dresses, cake, napkins and stationary. We worked with a friend, Emma Lewis, to create our on-the-day stationary, and she absolutely nailed it! It was the perfectly modern and simple and helped tie it all together.
I was pretty certain from the beginning that I wanted a dress that if you changed the colour, you still wouldn’t be able to wear to any other event. I wanted something a bit different and that would be so much fun to twirl in on the dance floor!
I went to a few bridal boutiques to try on a range of styles and get a feel for what felt good, but I knew ultimately I would get it made. Luckily for me, one of my bridesmaids mum’s is a wedding dress designer, Erica Lewis, and she is absolutely amazing! I shared with her all my inspirations images and together we spent a day searching Melbourne for the perfect fabric. We settled on this 3D hexagonal mesh-like fabric, which was a bit different and would hold its own shape. Erica made the dress entirely by hand, folding it on itself to make the lines and shape of the skirt! It was pretty incredible watching it all come together and it was all that I could have ever imagined. Erica has an amazing ability to really hear what you are saying and turn that into a beautiful creation.
I wanted to make the most of the process, so would often take champagne and cheese to fittings! Erica also made the bridesmaids dresses, so together we would sit around sipping our champagne whilst one of us was getting fitted. It was such a fun and special process, although Sam did comment that he was starting to wonder if my dress would be made out of champagne bottles at the rate we were going!
It’s so hard to pick! Walking down the aisle to Sam was so special and overwhelming; I knew he would get emotional but I didn’t expect him to get THAT emotional.
Early on in our reception, Sabine sneaked us out to the Rooftop at Panama. It had the most incredible view and lighting, but was also so special to get to sneak away from the day, take it all in and treasure the moment with Sam.
The meaning of marriage.
Marriage to me is a commitment to creating the best life together. Its about putting in the hard yards when life is tough, celebrating the mundane and saying publically to the world “I love you, you are everything and I will do whatever it takes to put you and us first and make you feel loved, appreciated and valued.”
Aisle Song: Better Together by Jack Johnson (performed live and slowed down)
Signing Songs: Bright Eyes by Jason Mraz
First Dance: How will I Know by Whitney Houston (Cover by Sam Smith)
Last Song: Good Old Days by Macklemore
We are usually really decisive people, so were surprised by how indecisive we became!
We also didn’t know there was this amazing world of CAKE MAIL. Whereby cake creators, post you the tasting boxes. It was, THE BEST! And quite possibly something we will continue to treat ourselves to, even though we no longer require a wedding cake.
Words of wisdom.
Try to get as much done as early as possible – even the small details – to limit how much running around you do right before!
If you are staying in a hotel the night of the wedding – get a friend to check you in and give you the key at the reception. It was so nice, being able to go straight through to our room at the end of the night.
Have fun with it and make the most of it, but most importantly remember what it is really about. Yes the dress, the flowers, the food, all of that adds to it and helps make an incredible day, but ultimately, it’s about marrying your best friend and celebrating the life you have for one another. Nothing else really matters.
Love that warehouse vibe? Melbourne venue 40RD could just be the venue of your dreams!
ELIZA & SAMUEL’S TRIBE
Ceremony venue / location: The Dolphin Lawn in Fitzroy Gardens
Reception venue / location: Panama Dining Room. Panama was such a hit. They were so great to deal with, their food and wine is amazing and we are still getting comments on how good it was.
Celebrant/Officiant: Harriet Lonnborn – Marriage Celebrant. We were so lucky to have my sister in law officiate our wedding! She did an amazing job, and has a great ability to create warm and genuine ceremonies, which really capture the essence of the couple.
Photography: Sabine Legrand. We searched high and low for a photographer we just loved, and we were so glad we continued searching until we found Sabine! She is amazing and would keep checking in on us throughout the year. She was always a great source of other vendor recommendations and she even spent time doing a location scout before the day, so she know just where she wanted to take us! She was so much fun and lovely to share our day with and has captured such a range of artistic and beautiful moments that we know we will treasure for years to come!
Videography: Video Boutique
Styling: Styling by Bride and Groom
On-the Day event organising: Maddie Wood – firstname.lastname@example.org. We had a close friend and event planner, Maddie, help us as the day approached to ensure we had dotted our I’s and crossed our t’s. She also acted as our contact on the day, getting in touch with all the vendors to ensure everything was as it should be, giving the ceremony and reception a once over pre-guest arrival and organizing drinks in the gardens post ceremony. She was an absolute god-send!
Florist: Lulu Bird
Hair: Ashlea from HairbyAshlea. Ash did such a great job with my hair and all the bridesmaids hair. She was super organised, relaxed and nailed the brief.
Make up: Danielle Gardiner. Danielle was fantastic! She did an incredible job and was so patient with me as I fumbled my way through trials working out exactly what I wanted.
The Dress: Erica Lewis. Getting your dress made is such a trust exercise and I couldn’t have trusted Erica more. She is a true master of her craft and has a unique ability to really hear what you are saying and translate that into a beautiful dress. She spent hours and hours perfecting every tiny detail and ensuring I was completely happy with the outcome. I honestly miss not having dress fittings anymore!
Jewellery/Accessories: Earrings by Witchery.
Shoes: Nine West.
Rings: Paul Bram.
Bridesmaids dresses: Erica Lewis.
Grooms suit: Oscar Hunt.
Grooms Shoes: Florsheim.
Groomsmen suits: Oscar Hunt.
Bow ties / ties: Oscar Hunt.
Catering: Panama Dining Room.
Cake / Cake topper: Boutique Cake Art. Christina was so patient with us whilst we flipped and flopped on what we wanted! The final product not only looked amazing, but we had so many questions as to where we got it from!
Stationery / Signage: Emma Lewis. Emma took our design and turned it into life! She was so patient with us and turned it around in absolutely no time. Such a dream!
Entertainment: Tobi Music. We were not looking for live music at all, but I accidentally stumbled across Renee whilst looking for a DJ and after hearing her voice booked her instantly for our ceremony. She was incredible and an absolute gem to deal with. We can’t wait to come up with another excuse to hire her.
DJ: Jesse Fultone. Jesse was so relaxed to deal with, remembered the little details on the night when we had completely forgot, and just generally made the dancefloor a kicking place to be.
Honeymoon: Maldives and Italy. We spent a week staying at Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives and it was absolutely magic. We then spent 4 weeks eating our way around Italy. Wedding body be gone!
Ceremony Set Up: Bella Events. We used Bella Events for all the ceremony equipment. They were fantastic, easy to deal with and seamless on the day. We booked them, told them the venue and the time and the rest honestly seemed to happen like magic.