Real Wedding – Ali & Jim, St Kilda VIC  
Real Wedding – Ali & Jim, St Kilda VIC  
Real Wedding – Ali & Jim, St Kilda VIC  
Real Wedding – Ali & Jim, St Kilda VIC  

Real Wedding – Ali & Jim, St Kilda VIC  


Ali and Jim’s wed day vibes are pure inner Melbourne house party amped up to the absolute max, with a huge lashing of turn-of-the-century glam. We snort-laughed, we oohed, and our heartstrings were thoroughly plucked, experiencing this epic day.

Featuring a stunning gown by our friends Love You More Bridal, an ensemble cast of super awesome friends and family, historic architecture, a tram, a theme park and a bunch of incredible moments, this is one real wedding you don’t want to miss.

Ali and Jim also chose to focus on the loved-up moments central to the day, writing their vows according to criteria they’d both agreed on and surprising each other by being decidedly in sync (read on to see how they did it). It was an oh-so-sweet, emotion-filled moment.

For a day as truly fab as this one, you want a photographer who can lift to the occasion, and Jackson Grant most definitely fits the brief. Our only question is; what happened at the ceremony that wrecked the groomsman’s slacks?!
Scroll on for every gorgeously genuine bit of fun.

The meeting.

We met a bit over ten years ago through a mutual friend. The night we met, Jim dragged me along to the Gershwin Room’s sticky floors at The Espy Hotel in St Kilda to see his mate’s terrible band.


The ‘one’.

I knew he was the one when I was crippled by salmonella poisoning, and Jim wrote my entire uni assignment for me.


The proposal.

During the COVID lockdown last year, we had a picnic in the national park near where we live on the Mornington Peninsula. We settled by a dam deep in the bush and drank sparkling while we picked at a cheese board. Jim bumbled out something resembling a proposal, presenting a beautiful Chloe McColl ring. He said he didn’t know whether to get on one knee or to give a little spiel. We were already lying down, so he didn’t get on one knee, and we’d been dating for over ten years and have lived together for four. How much more convincing did I need?


Planning process.

From the start, we wanted our wedding to be simple, authentic to us and as stress-free as humanly possible.

We started with the venue. Initially, we enquired with a few small local wineries. While beautiful, they required us to organise everything from food to portaloos and a gardener to mow the lawns.

Seemingly at a loss, my sister, Flick, suggested The Espy, as she works for the parent company. We looked at the website, saw The Ghost of Alfred Felton room and knew we were onto a winner. The decor was amazing, meaning we didn’t need to do a thing. In the end, it was cheaper, and they organised everything. (Months later, we’d remember that we met there and claim that we planned the whole thing – how romantic!)

Now, all we needed was a ceremony venue. We considered a few garden venues, such as the Conservatory at the Fitzroy Gardens and the St Kilda Gardens, but we ultimately thought we would save ourselves a rain-induced headache and hold the ceremony indoors. From here, we searched local town halls, eventually landing on the Malvern Town Hall. Our amazing photographer, Jackson Grant, pointed out to us later that it was built around the same time as The Espy, which would give our photos great continuity between venues.


Style inspiration. 

There was no real inspiration; we based everything around matching the style of the Ghost of Alfred Felton room at The Espy.

Jim knew straight away that he would wear a velvet Jacket; thankfully, he drifted from maroon, a la Hugh Hefner, and opted for the black instead. His tailor, Michael, from Mickey Blue in Mornington, was very professional and had a great eye for detail. Once he sighted my dress, the venue and what we had in mind for the flowers, he knew exactly what to do.

Blogs helped us get our heads around how much everything cost and what colours worked together. We also hunted down photos of other weddings at our venue to help us decide which aspects we would steal.

Blogs were most helpful when trying to figure out how to write your vows. Jim trawled a few before putting together a basic structure for us both to follow, including a few ground rules, such as: ‘no subtle digs’, e.g., “I promise to always pick up after you all the time – ha ha” and ‘avoid cliches’ – we love each other, but we’re not best friends.


The ceremony.

We loved that it was personal. Our friend and Jim’s colleague, Danielle Cuttler, was our celebrant. She’s very funny and charismatic, and she knows us so well. She was organised and professional while also accommodating of our personal touches, such as concluding the ceremony with, “you may now pash!”

At this point, you’ve probably worked out that we are not traditionalists, but surprisingly, Jim was really firm on not seeing one another before the ceremony and writing our own vows. As much as we were celebrating our love, his theory was that we were buying this moment, and he wanted to build it up as much as possible. Reading our own vows to one another punctuated this moment. From Jim quoting Shaka Khan at the beginning of his and choking up several times throughout to me nailing mine, we were shocked by the symmetry between our vows.


The look. 

Jim’s suit was easy enough. He deliberated for far too long over black or white buttons on his shirt and, having been mistaken for the groom at a friend’s wedding, ensured his groomsmen looked like groomsmen (no velvet for you, Rob and Mitch!)

My dress was a story of two halves:

After effortlessly finding a great dress from a particular designer, over the next few months, they proceeded to damage, shrink, offer to fix it, I sent it to Sydney for them to say that they couldn’t, and then haggle over a refund two weeks out from the wedding.

Enter my saviour, the beautiful Kim from Love You More Bridal. She was so sympathetic to my plight and helped me find the one – a beautiful draping full-length applique dress. All her dresses were stunning!

I also can’t speak highly enough of my make-up artist, Phoebe Lee, and my hair stylist, Hary May. Their professionalism, skill and attention to detail made us feel assured and confident on what was a high-stakes day!


Favourite moments.

We both loved the photoshoot with our best mates and our photographer, Jackson. We felt like we’d known Jackson for years as we raced around the City of Stunning-ton in what felt like one big fun shenanigan. Jackson’s subtle touch made for a unique album of memories that captured what our friends and we mean to each other.


Meaning of marriage.

Compromise. We’re forever battling our urge to pursue the hedonistic but ultimately shallow moments. What this day taught us was that relationships built over a lifetime are worth more to us than anything we own. We are worth more together than we are apart, but being together requires compromise.


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: Real Love by Father John Misty

Reception entry: Sissy Strut by The Meters

First dance: Praise You by Fat Boy Slim


Funny stories or near disasters.

The dress debacle was a near disaster.

Keep a close eye on your weird uncle.

Jim’s best man got him blackout drunk the night before; he spent the first moment of our wedding day clutching the toilet bowl of his hotel room. Thanks to his groomsmen, Mitch (AKA Mr Fixit), he soon had Gatorade and food into him and was as close to 100% as he was going to get. After the ceremony, he told me he felt so nauseous before the ceremony and was petrified that he would be too hungover to make it till midnight. He instantly felt better after the ceremony, confirming that it was just nerves – thanks, Mitch!

Our mate, Mark, was ‘best on’ at the ceremony. He ripped the leg of his slacks clean off and powered on!


Planning surprises.

How little the surrounding noise really matters: the flowers will be enough, there will be enough food, you can rein in the DJ’s rogue RnB side jaunts; your wedding will be what you want it to be, and no one will care. And if they do, they were probably a political invite in the first place.


Words of wisdom.

Don’t worry about what order you plan things. If you start with the dress and it’s the perfect dress, style everything off that. If you find the perfect venue, style everything off that. We couldn’t sort the bridesmaids’ dresses for ages, so Jim just went ahead and sorted the groomsmen’s suits. This just meant that the dresses couldn’t be navy. Just get it done – near enough is perfect.

Don’t sweat the small stuff – it’s just a day in a lifetime together (hopefully), so laugh at the cock ups.




For so many of us, writing vows can feel like one of the most daunting parts of your dream day. Ali and Jim mastered it via their own structure, but for further help, check out our tips for writing vows that will wow, here on the blog.



Ceremony venue: Malvern Town Hall

Reception venue: Hotel Esplanade, St Kilda

Celebrant: Danielle Cuttler

Photography: Jackson Grant

Styling: Ali & Jim

Florist: Hampstead Flowers, Richmond

Hair: Hary May Bridal

Make-up: Phoebe Lee Make-up Artist

The dress: Love You More Bridal

Headwear: Sylvia Vuu Bridal

Shoes: Bared Footwear

Rings: Chloe McColl Jewellery

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Shona Joy (not Rachel Gilbert).

Suits & bow ties / ties: Mickey Blue, Mornington

Catering & bar: Hotel Esplanade, St Kilda

Cake: Mosaic Patisserie

Stationery / Signage: St Hakea Event Design

Entertainment: DJ Knix!!

Transport: Uber, Nick (Danielle’s fella) and no. 59 tram

Hire: chairs – Party Hire Group

Honeymoon: Greek Islands and Iceland (we’re writing this from Sifnos, Greece).

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