Real wedding – Rhianna & James, Geelong VIC

Real wedding – Rhianna & James, Geelong VIC

With personally written and heartfelt vows that left their guests in tears, Rhianna and James wed at their Geelong home with a back drop that had those present in awe. Their ceremony was a real stand out, both meaningful and filled with light-hearted moments, that included a rap music mash up of Usher, Jay Z, Beyonce and Mario, delivered by the bride’s sister. Talk about creating wedding memories!

For this romantic couple, the wedding planning journey was relaxed and stress free and they never lost sight of the fact that a wedding is just one day, a marriage is forever.  Rhianna and James say they had an absolute ball styling their day, and every little aspect had meaning, from their poolside ceremony to the donation to the Heart Foundation as their wedding favours.  It was incredibly special for them to be married at the place they call home and fotoJOJO was there to capture every moment.



The meeting.

On the 27th of March 2009 (6 years to the night we were married), James and I met on the dance floor of a party boat, just off Cunningham Pier in Geelong. James’ dance moves caught my eye, whilst my push up bra caught James’ attention.

Finding ‘the one’.

After we had a little dance that evening we kept bumping in to each other. It turned out we worked close by to one another. It felt like it was meant to be.

The proposal.

After five years of fun and adventure, James took my daughter and I out for dinner at the end of Cunningham Pier. Upon leaving the restaurant, James asked ‘where do you think it was that we first met?’ My daughter pointed to the water and said ‘out there’.

James then asked ‘was it about here that we boarded the boat?’ He then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. So many happy tears!

Then like the gentleman he is, James revealed a second box from his pocket and asked Mia if she would be his stepdaughter. This completely blew my mind!

The lead up.

James and I gave ourselves a year to plan everything, we found ourselves to be very organised and relaxed throughout the process. We paid for everything as we went, which helped to avoid stress.

Wedding style.

We envisioned a ‘whimsically romantic’ backyard garden party. We built a clear marquee and filled it with festoon lights – the perfect place for celebration and dancing! It was very important to us that everyone who attended had a blast. Our hashtag was #howmuchfundowehave

Our inspiration was our home. As it was a backyard wedding we wanted to keep it simple while complementing the excitement of sharing our love. We kept things very natural and earthy. Lots of timber and flowers, with a hint of gold.

The dress.

I saw it on Instagram and instantly knew that it was the dress for me. It is Berta 2014/2015. It took six months to have it custom made to fit me perfectly. Featuring delicate long sleeve lace with a luxurious skirt that could be mistaken for soft fondant icing. Complimented with a gold bow and pearl belt. Fitted from neck to knees and finished with a humble train.


James wore cufflinks that were handed down from a family wedding in 1907 and our ‘something blue’ was a cocktail.

We avoided all other traditions, opting to have photos before the wedding so our friends and family didn’t have to wait for us.

We asked our guest to dress in classic black and white / black or white to make up our bridal party. We only invited people we love and thought all our friends and family should be part of our party. We didn’t have ‘maids’ (I feel the term is dated) and we decided to have one best man, one best sister and one best daughter.

Favourite moments.

Standing at the alter sharing our vows and looking back at our incredible family and friends. They all looked sharp in black and white. It was overwhelmingly beautiful to see so many tears of happiness shared. Entirely surreal.

The meaning of marriage.

Forever in love and friendship.

Wedding soundtrack.

Walking down the aisle – ‘Love Sweet Love’ was played on the harp

First Dance – ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ by Lauryn Hill

Cutting Cake – ‘Until the end of time’ by Justin Timberlake

Leaving song- ‘Drunk in Love’ by Beyonce

What took you by surprise?

That a backyard wedding means hiring port-a-loos and all your glassware. And even a backyard wedding needs a wedding planner or coordinator to ensure you can relax on the day. I was so organised I didn’t believe this would be necessary until a week before the wedding when I luckily found Shonel of ‘Nomad Styling’ who looked after everything and ensured James and I could enjoy our day.

Words of wisdom.

Make your marriage more beautiful than your wedding. 





Ceremony  and reception location: Our home sweet home

Celebrant: Belinda McPherson (0452 224 862) – We chose Belinda McPherson after finding her at a friend’s wedding. She made us laugh and cry tears of happiness, her peaceful aura and smile made our wedding perfect.

Photography and cinematography: Jo and Greg of fotoJOJO. They captured the story of our day perfectly. I was initially drawn to their photos because of the journalistic nature. They capture a beautiful and natural feel and exceeded our expectations.

Styling: The bride and groom and we loved it!

Florist: Alice – She’s a Wildflower While searching for a wedding florist, I found a lovely lady by the name of Alice ‘She’s a Wildflower’ at a market. I asked her for a business card and she handed me a quirky floral arrangement. I decided right then and there that she was the one! I looked at her arrangements and fell in love. We met up and gave her a small colour guideline and asked her to do her thing. Seeing how all the flowers came together on the day was spectacular!

Hair: Caitlin of Blondie – Hair and Cosmetica Very simple with a half halo of flowers. We decided to have everyone’s hair out for the day.

Make Up: Alysia of Aura Health and Beauty. Natural with slight bronzed tones in the eyeshadow. Soft pink lips.

The Dress: Berta from Brides by Francesca. There were only two places in Australia that stocked the dress, I am originally from Sydney so decided to go with Francesca. I cried happy tears throughout the process and was treated like a princess!

Accessories: Flowers in my hair and beautiful pearl earrings my mum and sister gave to me the day before the wedding. My daughter also wore her beautiful (Charles Rose) diamond earrings from James.

Shoes: Charlotte Olympia

Rings: Charles Rose

Best sister dress: Zimmermann – We decided on this as it is timeless and effortless, my sister had a beautiful baby one month prior to the wedding so we went with classic yet comfortable.

Groom’s suit and shoes: Calibre

Best man suit: Eddy Elias

Catering: Claire of Pink Saffron. Our menu was cocktail style to allow friends and family more time to mingle and dance. It was lavish as we love food and wanted to share our love of food with our wonderful family and friends. It was similar to a 17 course degustation menu. There were many wonderful comments regarding the food.

Favors: A donation was made to the Heart Foundation on behalf of our guests. James had a lifesaving heart surgery operation almost two years ago – it’s an organisation we hold very near to our hearts. We also had clear umbrellas (to match our marquee) for our guests in case of rain, which we encouraged our guest to take home.

Cake: Ladybird Cakes. Naked wedding cake. Top tier coconut with lemon cream, middle tier red velvet with raspberry cream and lower tier caramel with salted caramel. The cake was decorated by our florist with stunning fresh flowers. We also had alpine mud cakes, made by a friend, decorated with dried rose petals. Our cake was surrounded by our dream dessert bar that we filled with sugar coated almonds, Nutella and Ferrero Rochers.

Timber Invitations: Print Fairy

Timber sign: Sketch and Etch

Harpist: Harp Love

Music: DJ Rod G. He played the best RnB music and had our guests on the dance floor all night. We had the best feedback and he has been asked to DJ other events!

Transport: Murrell Group Limousines

Hire Items: Dann Event Hire

Photo booth: Treasured Mems

Honeymoon: Bungendore Travel – Hawaii, NewYork, Cancun, Vegas and Bora Bora. We were married on the Friday night and flew in to Hawaii on the Saturday. We also visited New York, Vegas, Cancun and Bora Bora. The place we would visit again in a heart beat is LeBlanc Resort in Cancun, the all inclusive resort was pure luxury!