Real Wedding – Jessica & Anthony, Melbourne VIC
Jessica and Anthony planned their entire wedding from Hong Kong, though Jessica’s mother proved to be a planning gem taking a vital roll in pulling the perfect party together.
Set on the rooftop of Luminare in inner city Melbourne, Jessica wowed in her custom made J’Aton gown before she and Anthony exchanged heartfelt and personal vows. They hit the dancefloor all night long with incredible live music and there to capture the magic was Adrian Tuazon.
We met on the day that’s famous for stopping a nation; little did we know it would also signify the start of our amazing journey together. On Melbourne Cup day in 2010, we attended the same marquee where we had a very brief encounter and exchanged a few words. It wasn’t until the after party, a few too many drinks and a lot banter that we shared our first kiss. I also learned that Anthony only got his ticket the night before, as his friend could no longer make it, so clearly all the stars randomly aligned.
Anthony’s job relocated him to Hong Kong and initially I was a little reluctant about making the big move. However, it became pretty clear after a few weeks of long distance that nothing would be able to keep us apart and that he was my ‘forever guy’. Distance truly made my heart grow fonder and within 6 months I had packed up and moved to be with him and start our new chapter together in Hong Kong.
Anthony had planned several scenarios to pop the question whilst we were visiting our family and friends in Melbourne. He originally wanted to propose on the sand dunes out the back of my family’s holiday home, however after having an ankle reconstruction only weeks earlier the trek was near impossible. Instead he settled for a romantic stretch on the front beach, which we had all to ourselves, in perfect weather. The upside about my ankle surgery was that Anthony was certain I wouldn’t be able to run away! The following day we had all of our family and friends coming to celebrate Christmas, so we surprised them with our engagement news before flying home to Hong Kong, which was perfect!
We had 3 big-ticket items that were non negotiable and the rest followed; great food, wine and entertainment.
Being in Hong Kong made things a little trickier but we were very lucky to have the support of my mum on the ground and were able to work with some incredible suppliers. I planned a trip home to view venues, however for Anthony he only saw the venue for the first time when we said ‘I do’. We decided not to engage an event stylist as we had a clear picture of what we wanted – the fun was pulling everything together to create it! I can honestly say that my mother and I lived and breathed this wedding for the year in the lead up. We were constantly researching and sourcing products and coordinating with suppliers. If there was anything that needed to be decided in person, my mother would do so and everything else was done online. It is amazing how much you can do from another country, especially with Instagram and Pinterest as inspiration sources!
We wanted a modern venue, that reflected us as a couple, and Luminare did exactly that. With floor to ceiling views of the city skyline, it reminded us of the concrete jungle we live in. Our over all style was contemporary sophistication, with white florals, greenery and gold accents.
One of my favourite style elements were our bonbonniere which were handmade by my mother, mother in law, Anthony’s aunts and cousins – it was so fun to include them in the process.
I embarked on a whirlwind bridal dress tour in Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney and wasn’t able to find ‘the one’. I knew exactly what I wanted and in the end decided to go down the custom route. I was lucky enough to work with J’Aton, which was a dream come true. It was an incredible experience, and my dress was everything and so much more!
There are truly so many moments, almost too many to list, so we could be here a while! From my father seeing me in my dress for the first time, to meeting Anthony’s eye while walking down the aisle; our ceremony was exactly us and conducted by the best in the business, Damon Hughes; my brother in law’s speech was everything you expect from the best man and so much more; our entertainment was completely off the charts thanks to Rutherford Entertainment – DJ, Saxophone player, singer Chloe Maggs and rapper Matty Charles busting out some epic tunes.
As a couple we’re not super traditional. However, I did stay at my family home the night before the wedding, not seeing Anthony until my father walked me down the aisle.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage to us is about building an equal partnership and standing by each other’s side no matter what. It’s about being lifelong companions, creating a family unit and sharing everything with each other – including sharing the same surname. Anthony believes it’s also important that our family unit share the same AFL team – one where the household are all Geelong Cats supporters!
Name your wedding soundtrack:
Aisle: Human Nature, Michael Jackson played live by an acoustic guitarist (Guitar only)
Reception entry: Can’t Stop the Feeling, Justin Timberlake
First dance songs: Say You Won’t Let Go, James Arthur
Funny stories (or near disasters).
Thankfully there weren’t any huge disasters on the day. My makeup artist however had a family emergency but still came just to paint my face. Fortunately she also managed to organise a friend to come and do my bridesmaids and mother’s makeup at short notice – phew crisis avoided!
In the lead up to the wedding I was flying in and out for dress fittings. My final fitting was scheduled for 2 days before the wedding, however this was pushed back to the day before my wedding. I arrived for this fitting and discovered that my dress wasn’t completely finished. J’Aton worked around the clock and had my gown to me at 11am on my wedding day – if I wasn’t in such good hands I would have been a complete mess!
I thought the process would be a lot more stressful than it was. I think being based in Hong Kong was actually a blessing in disguise as the distance actually removed some of the emotional stresses that can sometimes come from extended family. It was also surprising seeing how much this day meant to all of our loved ones, we were overwhelmed by all our family and friends that travelled just so they could be there to celebrate with us.
Words of wisdom.
There are so many different options and choices available so it can become quite overwhelming. Decisions are often easier when made together, so try working with you future husband, mother or engaging a stylist/planner. If your future hubby is not the creative type then divide and conquer, which is exactly what we did! My husband planned our epic 5 week South America, Mexico and NYC honeymoon while I planned the wedding. The honeymoon was the best reward especially given I had no idea what was coming next!
If you have a big space, lighting can be your best friend – creating instant warmth that will transform the space into something really special. Be sure to light any hanging installations – if you’ve paid to have this special floral feature, you don’t want it to get lost when the sun goes down.
Personalising your vows is so very special. I know it might be a bit daunting at first and a challenge to find the right words, but it is definitely worth it. Hearing those words in front of your guests is a surreal moment that you will treasure forever.
Make sure you do your research. Don’t rush into any decisions unless you’re 100% sure. We had an instant connection with the suppliers we ended up working with, which I think is really important – after all they are working with you to create your dream wedding!
If inner city is more your style, pop on over to Emily and Paul’s stunning celebration.
JESSICA AND ANTHONY’S TRIBE
Ceremony and receptions: Luminare
Celebrant: Damon Hughes – his charm, charisma, calmness and humour was exactly the style we were looking for and definitely set up the day on the path we wanted. I particular enjoyed the jokes affectionately made at my hubby’s expense. It was the most perfectly ‘us’ ceremony and we had so many of our guests comment on how great Damon was – we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him!
Photography: Adrian Tuazon
Videography: The White Tree
Styling: Myself and Kaye Boyle, I seriously couldn’t of gone through this experience without my mother. She truly put pause on her life to live and breathe our wedding planning. We are both so very grateful to her!
Florist: Flowers Vasette
Hair: Bride- Marie from UVA and bridesmaid – @salonelle__
The Dress and veil: J’Aton
Jewellery/Accessories: My husbands surprised me with the most beautiful diamond earrings on the morning on the wedding.
Rings: We had our rings made by a local jeweler in Hong Kong
Bridesmaids dresses: Zimmerman
Grooms suit: Ermenegildo Zegna
Grooms Shoes: Florsheim
Groomsmen suits: Hugo Boss
Bow ties / ties: Calibre
Catering: The Big Group, special thanks to Ngoc who was an absolute pleasure to work with
Favors: Handemade candles that doubled as seating cards
Cake/Cake topper: Ab Fab cakes with Flowers Vasette flowers
Stationery/Signage: Alana from Concrete Creative
Entertainment: Rutherford Entertainment; we used a guitarist and singer for ceremony and at reception a DJ, sax, singer and rapper.
Honeymoon: The most epic 5 weeks in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and NYC all planned by Anthony
Other: Dann Event Hire for arbor, chairs and cutlery