Real Wedding – Emily & Steven, Newport VIC
Real Wedding - Emily & Steven, Newport VIC - Ivory Tribe
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Real Wedding – Emily & Steven, Newport VIC


The way Emily looked on her wedding day, you would have never have known she narrowly avoided a dress disaster! Dressed in a stunning Charlie Brear gown, she married the love of her life, Steven, a the Substation in Newport, Victoria.

The couple created the perfect party to celebrate their wedding day, featuring festoon lights, quirky DIY styling and epic entertainment. A touch of Jewish Tradition saw the couple party well into the night, being hoisted up on chairs above their party-goers on the dance floor below. Kat and Scout from It’s Beautiful Here, were there to preserve the memories!

In Emily and Steven’s words…

The meeting.

We’ve been together since February 2010, so seven years now! We didn’t mean to get married so close to our anniversary (it’s not something either of us usually think about) but it definitely makes the date easier to remember!

The proposal.

Steven had no intention of getting engaged when we specifically did. (Especially as, if he had, he thought it would be super tacky; a weekend away to Sydney, seeing a ballet at the opera house, having drinks in a nice bar, getting engaged. No, too lame!). We had discussed marriage and stuff, and it was definitely on the table. We were discussing the concept over the weekend in Sydney, and Steven thought that I was getting a bit annoyed that he wasn’t asking me (I was). So after we got home for the night I asked him why he wasn’t asking me. And then he said, “So, do you want to get married?”. My reaction was to say, “Seriously? Yes…. yes yes yes!” I then asked “So, are you going to get down on one knee?” and he replied, “Not a chance”.

The planning.

Emily: Everything went really smoothly (except for maybe the dress, see below!) and the planning process was really enjoyable. Although, very happy to never plan a wedding again. (They are time consuming!)

Steven: Emily is very creative, and with the vibe we were going for leant itself to a bit of project work. The most notable thing was the gems hanging from the roof, of course. We got together with friends, over a few afternoons, and following instructions I conveniently found in the Triple R magazine (shout out to Beci Orpin, whose design it is!) we cranked out 19 gems, made from cardboard boxes and fringed crepe and gold paper. It was a lot of work, but they really made the space seem so magical.

Although it was a massive effort, I’m really glad we did the gems. They added our personality into the space, and gave the room a relaxed, party vibe that we were aiming for. The making days were also a great way for all our friends to meet each other and bond before the wedding, which made the day all the more fun!

Emily: With Steven’s sister Fay, I also made heart-shaped gingerbread bonbonniere for everyone to take home, the signage for the space, and glittered the wooden letters that adorned the photo station and gift table.

The Substation was the second, and last, venue we visited. It was the right mix of industrial and modern, without being too formal or stuffy. The thing we really wanted to achieve was a relaxed, fun wedding that was full of dancing and the large open space of the main room in the Substation really worked with this idea. We also liked how it was a blank canvas, and that we could really customise the food, layout, decorations, and everything else to our taste. Finally, we really appreciated that we were supporting a community facility, and that the money spent would go back into events that would benefit the community.

Style inspiration.

No theme! We just wanted it to be a really fun, chill time for everyone. We didn’t want it to feel to formal, we wanted people to feel that they were at a party with all their friends, with good food, drink and great tunes, where they could be relaxed and happy and chat to people if they wanted, and have a boogie (or several). The gems really helped give the place a fun, glittery vibe, and the DIY vibe helped keep it down to earth.

The dress.

In searching for my dress I had two requirements; I had to be able to dance, and go to the bathroom without assistance. When I saw the Arlette dress by Charlie Brear online, I felt a little jump in my heart. It looked exactly my style, and nothing like any other wedding dress I had seen. It also seemed to suit my requirements, as a simple, tea length dress would be easy to handle on the day. Plus, it had the one thing that every girl dreams about… pockets!

However, the experience to get my dress was anything but smooth. I found my dress at the bridal store Primrose and Finch in Collingwood. This dress was the first one I tried on, and made both my mum and sister cry which seemed like a good sign! After a bit of thinking, and trying on other dresses from different stores… because the pressure of choosing the ‘right’ thing is real… we all agreed that this dress was the one! Unfortunately, after I had ordered my dress, the bridal store went into liquidation… taking my order and deposit with them. I contacted the designer directly (under advice from the significantly more calm Steven), and they could not have been more lovely and helpful. Luckily, my mother used to work in a bridal store so she took my measurements to send to Charlie Brear directly, who then fabricated my dress for me. Jayne from Empire Room Bridal (who was the seamstress for Primrose and Finch and who hadn’t been paid for many months work due to their liquidation) then did the alterations on my dress once it arrived in Melbourne. Not the ideal bridal dress experience, but thanks to these amazing people everything came together and I couldn’t have had a more perfect dress for the day!

My favourite detail of the day was probably my headpiece. I remember growing up seeing it in my parent’s wedding photos, and thinking how beautiful my mum looked (she has always been so stylish, and didn’t have the typical 80’s bridal outfit!). I loved the idea of wearing something that had been my mum’s, and the headpiece was so beautiful and complimented my dress so well. I also kept a handkerchief in my pocket that my mum had on her wedding day… luckily I didn’t cry so didn’t need to use it, but it was definitely a comfort to have it with me!

Favourite moments.

Emily: One of my favourite moments was meeting Steven before the ceremony. I was just going to tell him to come into the room where we were getting ready, but Kat and Scout from It’s Beautiful Here convinced me to meet him alone in another room. Such a good idea! I was pretty (very) nervous before that point, but the minute I saw Steven I was immediately relaxed. It was so lovely to just chat and hang out alone (albeit with two photographers, but I didn’t really notice them as I was so happy to see Steven!) before the ceremony.

Steven: It’s so hard to choose! It was a really great day, filled with so many fun moments. Everything went really well so it’s tough to single one thing out. Was it Kim’s lovely, heartfelt, personal, but not at all sappy ceremony? Was it seeing friends and family who had come from near and far to celebrate the day with us? Was it dancing all night with all our friends around us? Moshing to Sandstorm? Surviving being carried high in the air on chairs? The speeches, all of which were funny, sweet, and very true to the people who made them? Was it those sweets again? If I have to pick one of those, I’m going to say the sheer joy of pulling shapes for hours, all our friends and family cutting sick on the dance floor (which was very slidey, making me feel like a dancing machine). Being surrounded by the people you love, everyone having a great time and all there to be with you is a really great feeling, and I’m very grateful we could have that.


Steven: I’m Jewish, and Emily’s Anglican, and so even though we weren’t going to have a religious ceremony, it was important to both of us to incorporate some elements of our backgrounds and cultures. We got married under a beautiful chuppah, which Emily’s parents (Andrew and Bonnie) put in heaps of work to make for us. Following Jewish tradition, I walked down the aisle with my parents, and Emily walked down the aisle with hers. We were married under the chuppah, surrounded by our parents, with the bridal party standing on either side. The ceremony itself mostly followed the ‘traditional’ (i.e. Protestant) structure, with a reading from Song of Songs (a shared book in both Christianity and Judaism). At the end of the ceremony I smashed a glass (luckily I got it on the first time), and when we came into the ceremony we broke straight into the Jewish dancing. That was really fun. All our friends and family got involved, and even though being lifted on the chairs was a little bit terrifying, neither of us were harmed in the process!

The meaning of marriage.

Steven: We’re excited to no longer be living in sin! We’ve lived together for three years now, so really it hasn’t changed that much (except that now all our stuff is a lot nicer), but we really wanted an occasion to celebrate with friends and family. I have a big family, and it’s rare for so many of us to get together, so that was great. It was also nice to take a moment to appreciate our relationship and celebrate it with everyone we love.

Wedding soundtrack.

Steven: We were really happy that we were able to incorporate some tunes that really captured the mood for the day. We walked down the aisle to Hysteric by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which was a suitably fun, but still sweet and pretty tune. We signed the registry to Running Down Your Street by local band Girl Crazy (which is a huge banger that I highly recommend). It was important to me to capture that down to earth, very Melbourne sound, which to me matched the vibe of the day perfectly. Our recessional was Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson, which is just the greatest track, a joyous northern soul jam that was perfectly celebratory. Our first dance was to the With Whom to Dance by Magnetic Fields. We listened to the Magnetic Fields a lot when we first started dating, and this is such a good first dance song. Emily would even call it our song.

Emily: Steven would too!

Funny stories/near disasters.

Emily: During the rehearsal Steven didn’t know what hand his ring went on. On the day, I assumed that he got it wrong again. But turns out I was wrong, and we spent a little while in confusion about where the ring goes.

Our friend’s rendition of ‘wrecking ball’ by Miley Cyrus, where she leapt into her partner’s arms and swung back and forth like a wrecking ball.

Steven: Emily’s face (and mine too, to be honest) as she was about to be lifted up on the chair during the Jewish dancing. A pure scream as she’s holding on for dear life (no one was harmed!). I’m glad the moment was well documented!

Words of wisdom.

No one will see the options you didn’t go with, so try not to worry about small choices too much. Get your friends to help out with DIY stuff; they’re eager and willing, and it means they all get to be a bigger part of the special day. Choose things that you like, and that feel like your style, not just things that are in or that you feel like you should do. It’ll make it feel a lot more personal, and people will love how representative it is of you, even if it isn’t their taste. Have as much dancing as possible!



If industrial weddings are your style, then Rosie and Brendon’s celebration is a must see.



Ceremony venue / location: The Substation

Reception venue / location: The Substation

Celebrant/Officiant: Kim McClelland 

Photography: It’s Beautiful Here 

Florist: Flawless Flowers 

Hair: Hair by Lelo

Makeup: Brittney Rose Beauty

The Dress: Charlie Brear. Alterations made by Empire Room Bridal.

Veil / head wear:  Emily’s mum’s hair piece that was worn on her wedding day.

Jewellery/Accessories: Earrings from A Quirk of Fate.

‘Love me forever or never’ pink silk bomber jacket worn by Emily, found at Wanting Collection, Sydney.

Ceremony Shoes: Kate Spade

Dancing Shoes: Keds for Kate Spade

Rings: Engagement ring: Melanie Katsalidis, Pieces of Eight Gallery 

Brides wedding band: Melanie Katsalidis, Pieces of Eight Gallery

Grooms wedding band: Natalia Milosz-Piekarksa, Pieces of Eight Gallery 

Bridesmaids dresses: Anna – Gorman gold top, ASOS grey tulle skirt, earrings by Martha Jean, Fay – Bec and Bridge, earrings by Merci Perci, , Jess – Skirt and top made by Empire Room Bridal, Sarah – Tailor made in Vietnam

Bridesmaid shoes: Anna – Mountfords by Gabor, Fay – Novo Shoes, Jess – Ebay, Sarah – QVB (Sydney)

Grooms suit: MJ Bail

Grooms Shoes: Aquila 

Socks: Vanishing Elephant

Barber / grooming: Lords of the North 

Groomsmen suits: MJ Bail 

Bow ties / ties: MH Bail 

Catering: Kinfolk and Donkey Wheel House Events 

Cake / Cake topper: Mad About Cakes – Lemon curd (bottom 2 tiers), Raspberry Cheesecake (top tier) with lemon zest butter cream icing (entire cake) with sugar glass triangles for decoration

Invitations:  Grace West 

DJ: Kieran O’Sullivan