Real Wedding – Genevieve & Rowan, North Melbourne VIC
Genevieve and Rowan threw tradition to one side, when they opted to spend their entire wedding day together.
Starting the day with a quiet cafe breakfast, they relaxed as they readied themselves before they were wed in an incredible ceremony at Laurens Hall.
This industrial blank canvas proved to be the perfect backdrop for Genevieve to deliver a hilarious and heartfelt speech that brought the house down before they partied on into the night with It’s Beautiful Here there to capture it all.
In their words…
We met seven years ago when Rowan was a social player at Richmond Central Football Club and Gen was working for the footy club as a trainer. Rowan made the first move – initially, Gen had no interest in him whatsoever, and actually told him she thought they were better off as friends. But Rowan was persistent! Who would’ve thought seven years later we’d be married?!
We went to New York City for Christmas in 2015. On the day in question, Rowan carried the ring around in his pocket as discretely as possible, seeking the best opportunity to mark the occasion. However, super chilly weather and relentless tourists kept getting in the way. With Rowan’s anxiety and Gen’s hunger building, we ascended to the rooftop bar of the Standard Highline, following a sunset helicopter ride. Rowan proposed over champagne. Gen said “yes” and then immediately followed with “I need to go buy some more appropriate clothes” before we hit the town to celebrate.
There wasn’t anything that went horrendously wrong, Thank God! From memory, the worst that happened was the make-up artist running half an hour late and the florist getting lost on the way to the hotel.
We were after a venue that matched the type of wedding we wanted – easy and laid-back and something different. Laurens Hall was the first venue we looked at and we immediately fell in love with it. It was an amazing space; embracing you with its extraordinary presence as soon as you entered. We also wanted to avoid stuffy, boring reception centres, and venues we’d attended weddings at before. Laurens Hall was perfect for us. The only problem was that it is scheduled to be demolished to make way for a new train station.
We looked at two other venues in person and countless others online. Nothing compared to Laurens Hall and it was an extremely easy decision in the end.
Because of the impending demolition our options for dates were limited but they had an availability of a Sunday in March, so we snapped it up quick smart.
Wedding day details.
Our wedding day was a blast. Everyone tells you that it will go so quickly, and you don’t believe them, you really should. As clichéd as it sounds, it really was better than we could’ve imagined.
We stayed at Crown Metropol for the weekend. We didn’t agree with the whole “you can’t see each other before the wedding” thing and both wanted to spend as much of the day together as possible. The day started with a quiet café brekky together, just like we would do on any other Sunday morning. It was so nice to have that time to relax and chat about how we were feeling and what the rest of the day might entail. It also meant we could make sure we ate at least one proper meal that day!
Following our poached eggs, we headed back to the hotel where our wedding party met us. The boys went off for a swim while the ladies did the whole hair and make-up thing. We all came back together for a quick bite of lunch before getting dressed and leaving for the wedding.
We arranged for all our family to meet us at the venue before the ceremony so we could get most of the photos over and done with (neither of us are big fans of cameras!) Then it was time for Gen and the girls to go and hide before the rest of the guests arrived.
The day itself was amazing – not a cloud in the sky and a simmering 35 degrees. The ceremony was hosted in an enclosed area within an old factory, complemented with just a few industrial strength fans. That said, it wasn’t a concern until people started to file into this room and the heat became very noticeable. Still, nothing could distract from the occasion itself.
With everyone crowded in, drinks in on hand and orders-of-service-come-fan in the other, Megan commenced the ceremony which could best be described as casual, yet elegant and ultimately personal.
The ceremony was over so quickly! The readings and involvement from both families really stood out and brought some heavy emotion to the occasion. It really was an incredibly beautiful thing and a privilege to be a part of.
We went straight into the reception with an intro to the sound of Queen’s “Don’t stop me know” – a suitable motif for the day. Gen’s brothers in law emceed brilliantly and kept the proceedings on track, with a sense of fun. The band brought immediate life to this incredible space and set the tone for the night.
The food was astounding and fitting for a regal feast, complete with a charcuterie station that would have been at least ten metres long and an ice-cream bar popping up later for dessert. It was clear that we were going to have to compete with the food for everyone’s attention that night!
Our aim was to create a comfortable and uplifting atmosphere where everyone, regardless of age could enjoy themselves and we really think that was achieved. We had such a great time ourselves – we just needed more time! So much so that we ditched the idea of our planned exit and stayed to the absolute end, much to the delight of our driver.
There was a stage where Gen kept suggesting Novelty themes to Rowan’s aghast but they were never serious, or were they?
We wanted to have and do something unique, and after a lot of internet searching it seemed that everyone else was after that same thing. It’s almost as if the ‘alternative wedding’ is now mainstream.
The other problem that we had, which was amplified throughout the wedding planning process, was that we are both very easy-going and indecisive. Not the ideal recipe for making important wedding decisions.
We tried our best to put ego aside and to just focus on the quality touches and accents that resonated with our individual style. We weren’t afraid to do something that was copied from somewhere, as long as it was true to us. We really focused on making sure that the big decisions around music, food, flowers, etc. came down to a simple criteria: did we like it? Would our guests like it? Would it contribute to improving everyone’s enjoyment of the day?
So as far as a theme we didn’t really have one. With a venue like Laurens Hall, you just have to embrace it and let it set the tone. Although, once Gen bought her hot pink wedding shoes, the day did take on a bit of a pink vibe.
I had a pretty sound idea of what I was after – something simple, sleek and classic and nothing Bridal Barbie-esque. However, you can’t help but google endless pictures of different wedding dresses, wondering if you can pull of a ballgown or something vintage.
I left my run late (which I was made rudely aware of in one Melbourne CBD bridal salon I visited, which I funnily didn’t buy from!), securing my dress just over 4 months out from the wedding.
I first saw a picture of the Marquise Ryder gown on Instagram. I immediately emailed the designer, Megan Condipodero, who was so lovely and quickly arranged for a sample to be sent to her only Victorian stockist, Soho Bride in Geelong. I went down to Geelong the next week to meet with Jade Tabak (also super lovely and extremely helpful at quelling my “I’m going to end up getting married naked!” worries) who runs Soho. I put the dress on and loved it, but of course had to try on 20 other options just in case. I deliberated over a weekend, but ended up going with my gut instinct and choosing the Ryder gown. I got so many compliments about my dress on my wedding day and I loved wearing it. It was the perfect dress for me.
Our brother-in-law who is a photographer set up a surprise, last-minute photo booth for the night. The pictures that came out of it were fantastic.
Also, Gen’s speech received a rollicking reception from our guests. Rather than gush about her groom, she let rip about how hopeless Rowan had been in the lead-up to the big day with all the tasks she given him to do.
The whole day was just so amazing. Getting to spend the whole day together, sharing the occasion with our close friends and family and not wanting to leave, wanting the party to go on as long as it could probably says all you need to know.
Funny stories (or near disasters).
We had such a beautiful setting for the ceremony with everyone situated in this makeshift room within the factory, surrounded by giant timber stacks. The bridesmaids were hidden behind huge wooden, floor to ceiling doors, filing out one by one with everyone looking back in adoration. Just as everyone was expecting Gen and her Dad to make their big entrance, a couple of latecomers snuck in and stole the limelight for a second. It was all smiles and laughs though, and of course it was Gen that waved them through, not wanting them to miss out.
We also thought it would be a laugh to give the emcee job to Gen’s brother-in-law’s, one of whom has a very thick Italian accent and a fear of public speaking, especially in English. Alfie (the Italian) decided to harness his native language and prepared an opening monologue in Italian. It took the other guests a minute to work out if he was speaking English really poorly or in fact speaking Italian.
There were so many small funny moments throughout the night, mostly involving people dancing, but the standout moment would have to be Gen’s speech. After dispensing the thankyous and special mentions, she started on a couple of anecdotes which not so elegantly detailed the pains of wedding planning with a husband-to-be who loves to leave everything to the last minute. Special mention must be given to the toothpicks!!
The room was in tears of laughter and we had so many people come up to us after saying how much they loved it – especially married women who had expressed how much they had wished they’d have given a similar speech at their weddings.
Meaning of marriage.
Day-to-day, married life really is no different to un-married life for us. However, getting married has solidified us as a family unit within but separate to our extended tribe. And it has reinforced our feelings of, “from here on in, on the good days and especially on the crappy ones, it’s you and me, until the very end.” We also both got a new, shiny piece of jewellery to wear everyday out of it.
Aisle – Strawberry Swing by Coldplay
Recessional – I want to hold your hand by The Beatles
First Dance – Watch over me by Bernard Fanning, performed by The Baker Boys
Words of wisdom.
Plan the day that you want, not the day that you think others want or expect you to have.
Spend the whole day together. Wake up together on your wedding morning, have a coffee, get ready together. This is one of the most important, amazing days of your life as a couple – why would you spend any of it apart?
Enjoy every minute of the lead up to and the day itself. It will all be over so quickly.
If there are special guests you want to spend more time with, organise hangouts outside of the wedding day. You won’t get the chance to spend quality time with them on the day.
Don’t sweat the small stuff! The world won’t end if he forgets to buy the toothpicks. Your guests can deal with having poppyseeds in their teeth all night.
Getting and being married is the absolute best – we really hope that all Australians have the right to experience this amazing life event in the very near future.
GEN AND ROWAN’S TRIBE
Ceremony and reception venue: Laurens Hall. The Venue was amazing, as we’ve said. It’s such a shame that others won’t get to enjoy it like we did, but that also makes it all the more special that we were fortunate enough to host our wedding there.
Celebrant/Officiant: Megan Watson. She was a calming influence throughout the planning, especially when we were a couple of weeks out and seemingly had nothing confirmed. Her helpful reassurance, even if it perhaps masked unbridled fear, was a godsend.
Photography: It’s Beautiful Here, the photographers too were amazing. Kat and Scout really shared our perspective (and were totally understanding of our dislike of having our photo taken!) and that reflected in the quality of their work. They were an absolute pleasure to work with.
Florist: The flowers by Anna Loughnan were astounding. Gen still gets heart palpitations when looking at photos of them. Gen gave Anna meagre ideas of what she wanted, but Anna was able to create arrangements and displays more breath-taking that Gen could’ve imagined. On par with how good the wedding cake was!
Jewellery/Accessories: earrings and cuff from Samantha Wills
Shoes: Nine West
Engagement ring: Parev Jewellery
Bride’s & groom’s wedding band: Ian Sharp
Bridesmaids dresses: Rodeo Show
Groom and groomsmen suits: MJ Bale
Catering: Fresh Fork
Food trucks or carts: Coffee PEDDLR
Favors: Cook book by Gen & Rowan
Cake / Cake topper: Our cake from Cherry Cakes was also a standout. Throughout the whole planning process, Gen took the task of finding the perfect wedding cake the most seriously. We tried a few different suppliers and they all felt generic. Cherry was definitely a slice (sorry) above the rest (we also got to eat plenty of leftovers in the week after the wedding. No frozen top tier for the first anniversary for us!)
Three tiered, semi-naked cake:
Chocolate mud cake and peanut butter buttercream
Spiced white chocolate mud cake with raspberry buttercream
Carrot cake with cream cheese buttercream
Furniture hire: We used Valiant Hire for our furniture hire, partly because they were local, but mostly because they were a lot cheaper than some other recommendations. They were easy to work with and gave us exactly what we wanted.
Photo booth: Darren Wirth Photography
Stationery / Signage: Rowan Pizzey the groom!
Entertainment: Baker Boys Band was fantastic, especially given how late we left organising the music. We had a 5 piece and they provided a perfect energy; they were the pulse that kept the party flowing until the last beat.