Real Wedding – Rachel & Elias, Red Hill VIC
The romantic region of Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula, played host to the stunning wedding celebration of Rachel and Elias.
Rachel wowed Elias from the moment she set foot down the aisle in her gorgeous off-shoulder gown. The soft tones of pinks, maroons, greens and sea-foam grey accented their gorgeous styling and their heavenly mismatched maids were a dream.
After feasting on a beautiful banquet, they hit the dance floor all night long and there to capture each and every moment was the talented Dan Brannan.
In Rachel’s words…
Elias and I met mid-way through high-school. He was new to the school and pretty shy, so I couldn’t get a word out of him until were 15 (which drove me absolutely nuts). That year (2007) he started talking to me at a party — and the rest is history. We went on our first date on October 20, 2007 – and ten years to the day, we got married! We are embarrassingly “that couple” from high school. We passed love notes in maths, spent all our time on MSN to each other and talking on the landline when our pre-paid minutes were all used up. Yep, it was another era! High School passed and we have never let go of each other.
There was never a revelatory moment where we felt a realisation of the other one being ‘the one’. From the day we started dating, there was an intrinsic sense from both of us that our relationship could take us anywhere.
He totally and completely surprised me! I was away for a girl’s weekend, and on the Saturday we went to a beautiful little spot called Shelley Beach in Portsea. My friend Emily lead me to an area where the beach curves off around a corner, and Elias was standing there, with a big bunch of roses, standing in a love heart made of candles, sporting a very cheeky smile! I was completely shocked and blown away. It was no easy feat though. Elias stumbled through coastal scrub and down cliff faces with bags full of candles, candle holders and flowers to reach this perfect spot without me knowing. When he got down on one knee to propose, there was a boat full of people watching from about 200 metres away, and they began to cheer! It was more than I could have possibly imagined. Shout out to my poor friend Emily (normally she loves a chat and was unusually quiet all day) who was so relieved that she’d pulled off the logistics with Elias!
We were lucky in that we had a really great run considering we planned it in eight months. We knew that planning a wedding could mean big dollars, so we decided to focus on things that were really important to us – great food and styling. Some things came super easily, which we were so grateful for. We locked in the amazing Epicurean Red Hill as our reception venue within a week of getting engaged (big relief!) and then things started to fall into place. From there we were able to lock in vendors on the Mornington Peninsula. It was important to us to try to use local vendors where we could, not only because they all work with each other consistently making it easy logistically, but also because it’s awesome to support the local talent in the community! The final piece of the puzzle fell into place two days before the wedding, where my bridesmaid Velena and I finally found her perfect dress! Phew!
Our main priority was making sure that whole day felt relaxed We wanted a traditional chapel wedding for the first half of the ceremony because we felt it reflects that traditions of our faith. But we’re also very relaxed people, and when we saw the amazing grounds at Tanglewood, we moved the other half of the ceremony outside for the vows and kiss amongst the beautiful forestry. It was important to us that the day reflected exactly who we are. For styling we wanted effortless and interesting textures – soft tones of pinks, maroons and greens in our flowers, sea-foam grey for our linens and then a range of different warm pinks for the bridesmaid dresses.
My dress was a soft, raw silk, off-shoulder ivory dress with crochet lace details on the sleeve edges and the train! Fit and flare style – but not too body hugging! It was perfect to me because it was simple but special. There was nothing complicated about it to wear, which is exactly what I wanted. Mum and I went down to Geelong to try it on and the girls at Embrace Bridal were AMAZING – they let me stay for three hours to try dresses on (instead of the usual hour you get at other stores!) and as soon as I tried the dress on, I fell in love.
Definitely walking down the aisle with my Dad and seeing Elias’ face when he saw me – that big smile! I replay that moment in my head all the time.
Meaning of marriage.
Selfless, reckless, gracious love. Not placing a conditional agreement on your commitment. Never changing the way you treat each other, no matter what pressures may fall on you.
Aisle: You Go To My Head by Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson
Hymn: Oh Happy Day performed by Astrosoul (Jess Wilson + Christian Barbieri)
Signing of Registry: God Only Knows by the Beachboys – Performed by Astrosoul (Jess Wilson + Christian Barbieri)
Exit Song: Lady by D’angelo – Performed by Astrosoul (Jess Wilson + Christian Barbieri)
Bridal party reception entry: Heartache Number 9, So Far To Go – J.Dilla ft, Common and D’angelo, Still Not A Player – Big Pun, Lady – Modjo, Groovin – Famingosis, In the Stone – Earth Wind and Fire.
Bride and groom reception entry: 21 Questions (instrumental) by 50 Cent.
First dance: Nakamarra by Hiatus Kaiyote
Funny stories (or near disasters).
We originally had five bridesmaids and five groomsmen, which was already a pretty substantial wedding party. But the closer we got to the day, we just couldn’t imagine going ahead without our other two close friends, Keven and Lauren. We asked them to be in our bridal party just over a month out from our wedding, and we were thrilled that they said yes. It could have been really tricky, but luckily Lauren and Kev are some of the most easy going people we know. The same day I asked Lauren to be a bridesmaid, we had already picked out her dress!
We’d had a lot of friends get married already, so there wasn’t too much that surprised us. We planned the whole thing in eight months, so we had to be really organised from the get-go. That being said, we had an enormous amount of help from our friends and family. Sometimes the help came in really big ways, and other times it was just the small things — and maybe this willingness from our friends and family to lend a hand is what surprised us the most.
Words of wisdom.
Make good but quick decisions. If you like it and it feels right, find a way to make it happen. If you don’t feel it’s necessary, and the process of actually organising it will stress you out more than it’s worth, then scrap it.
We were able to plan our wedding without the help of a wedding planner but it was tough at times to co-ordinate everything given we both work full time. It’s really helpful to have someone you can lean on to make that extra phone call or pick something up during the day. For me, it was my mum (who just so happens to be a low-key event planning extraordinaire) and without her, I feel like the day wouldn’t have happened!
The Mornington Peninsula is magic, here’s our top venues for this romantic region.
RACHEL & ELIAS’ TRIBE
Ceremony location: Tanglewood Estate – I can’t say enough great things about Tanglewood. Donna and her daughter are angels. So warm, friendly and relaxed. They let us have part of our wedding in the chapel, and then let us move it outdoors for the vows and the kiss, which made our wedding feel like it was uniquely our own. We changed our outdoor ceremony location on the property at the last second the day before the wedding, and they just rolled with the punches like absolute stars.
Reception venue: The Epicurean Red Hill – amazing venue, incredible service and lovely staff. The food! We had an incredible wedding banquet that could feed a thousand people! We felt like royals.
Celebrant/Officiant: Bill Van Schie
Photography: Dan Brannan. The incomparable and lovely Dan! Absolute diamond in the rough. If we could do the whole thing over again, we would 100% have Dan back. It wasn’t just us that loved him — he put the entire bridal party at ease (14 people!). The photos were everything we wanted and more. Whimsical, natural, beautiful tones, and captured who we are.
Florist: Poppy Culture – our flowers were my absolute favourite thing about the day. Lauren and her team have incredible style!
Make-up: Ally at Riot Dolls
The Dress: Daughters of Simone (Kemp gown)
Veil(s): Eternal Weddings I actually wore two! One cathedral length for the ceremony and photos, and then a shorter, ‘party-veil’ for the reception
Shoes: Forever Soles
Rings: Natalie Marie
Groom’s suit: Menzclub
Bow ties / ties: OTAA
Cake / Cake topper: Kongs Cakes. My talented friend Nicholas Kong made our cake as a wedding gift to us!
Stationery / Signage: Our menus, invitations and place cards, were designed by clever Elias, but our paper was sourced from Feathers and Stone on Etsy.
Entertainment: Max Bishop Events
Décor: Table Art provided our sea-foam grey linens.
Honeymoon: We travelled across the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico for three weeks and a whirlwind three days in Havana, Cuba.
Other: Mum and I spend weeks pressing dried flowers to have on everyone’s napkins (we weren’t sure how it would look, but it really paid off in the end!)