Real Wedding – Alyssa & Tom, Yarra Glen VIC  
Real Wedding – Alyssa & Tom, Yarra Glen VIC  

Real Wedding – Alyssa & Tom, Yarra Glen VIC  


Planning a wedding mid lockdown, with only a six month lead time, meant that Alyssa and Tom dreamt only of a big party, surrounded by their friends and family. Everything else was an added bonus. But the stars aligned for these two lovers, and the result was a stunningly stylish, warm and intimate celebration.

Choosing to draw inspiration from their favourite travel destination, Italy, meant that Zonzo Estate in early autumn was the perfect setting. Warm russet tones, soft muted light, and moody skies contrast perfectly, against which the electric excitement of the couple and their guests shines.

This was a day filled with darling details, from bridesmaids in perfectly mismatched florals, in a colour palette of warm winter tones to the sweetest flower children preceding Alyssa down the aisle. Tom looked every bit the handsome groom in his tux, while Alyssa glowed in her White April lace detailed gown.

And of course, an Italian inspired wedding naturally comes with lashings of romance, brought to the forefront in Tess Follett’s incredible images. So to get your fix of love, warmth, and sweet style, scroll on!


The meeting.

Tom and I met absolutely by chance! A friend roped me into coming along to a party to see her fling of the moment, and it turned out to be a great decision to go along. I started chatting to Tom at the party, and six years later, we were saying our vows. The friend who brought me along to the party also played a role in the ceremony!


The ‘one’.

It only took a couple of dates for me to realise Tom was the one. After playing the single game for two years, Tom was the first person I’d dated I felt truly happy and at ease with. As for Tom, he couldn’t remember my name on the night we met so asked one of his friends to find out for him because, quote, ‘I need to know that girl’s name, I’m going to marry her one day!’


The proposal.

We had booked a fancy weekend away for our anniversary, and Tom had a beautiful day planned with a long walk along the beach and picnic. As it happened, there was torrential rain all day, so we ended up picnicking in front of the fire, and he popped the question over champagne.


Style inspiration. 

Because we got engaged amid COVID lockdowns, Tom and I were initially not planning a proper wedding at all, rather a big party with friends – and this suited us fine. We also didn’t want a long engagement, so we thought finding a specific wedding venue would be too difficult. While we were searching for a space, I reached out to Zonzo just by chance as it’s long been a venue I thought would be beautiful for a wedding. As it turned out, we were able to book in a Saturday six months away, so we jumped on it. Our favourite place in the world (that we’ve visited so far) is Italy, and we wanted to bring some Italian flair to the wedding, Zonzo being the perfect place for it! This was the inspiration for the bridesmaid dresses and florals as well.

I definitely found it inspiring to look at real weddings. It’s amazing what some people pull together!


The ceremony.

Our key priority for the ceremony was for it not to feel stuffy, and I think we achieved that. It was lighthearted, intimate and full of love! We had six little people open the ceremony, some with confidence and some without, and then my beautiful Mum walked me up the aisle. Our celebrant was the step-mum of Tom’s best man. We loved that we had a real connection to the person marrying us.

There were a few very important people to us that couldn’t be there due to international travel restrictions, but we got to see them on a phone rigged up to a tripod which was wonderful. The Capella at Zonzo was also absolutely beautiful with the scenes of the Yarra Valley behind us. Luckily, the weather was beautiful for a day in May, so all the walls could remain open for the ceremony.


The look. 

Finding a wedding dress was quite a stressful experience as my short timeframe meant many of the designers I would have looked to were off the table. I quickly searched high and low and ended up stumbling across a dress that was nothing like what I was looking for. I felt great when I put it on, and I had a day to make the decision to get it in time, so I just went for it.

Tom was originally going to wear a more casual outfit until I started sending some Tux-spiration his way, and he started to get excited about it all. As I said to him, it’s the one day in your life where you get to go all-out!

I thought I was making it really easy for my bridesmaids, letting them know they could wear whatever they wanted (with some guidelines), but they were quite stressed without anything concrete from me!  My wonderful girlfriends and sister all coordinated amongst themselves to bring my ‘fabulous Italiano’ brief to life, keeping to a colour theme while all wearing something they felt comfortable in.


Favourite moments.

It was definitely standing in front of Tom during our ceremony. I loved confessing our love for each other amongst our favourite people in the world. Our second favourite moment was definitely the speeches; they were all incredible.


Meaning of marriage.

For us, the wedding was really about celebrating our love with those closest to us. We were already committed to one another, but this was a beautiful way to announce that commitment to our community.


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: We had a very abridged (i.e. non-offensive) version of Smiles Don’t Lie by the Thundamentals

Signing: You Make My Dreams Come True by Daryl Hall and John Oats

Recessional: Lifting Me Higher by Jackie Wilson

Reception entry: Be Faithful by Fatman Scoop

First dance: Stand By Me, acoustic cover version


Funny stories or near disasters.

The accommodation we’d booked and planned for the bridesmaids to get ready in before the ceremony turned out to be a disaster! It looked close on the map but ended up being all the way at the top of a very windy mountain. Luckily my bridesmaids had booked a big house we could relocate to.

My biggest stuff up for the day was also the first line of my vows. Tom sniggered as I started, and I just burst out laughing! At least it kept the mood light!


Planning surprises.

I was surprised at how many little organisational things there are to organise and how much time they take. Invitations, menu’s, baskets for the flower girls, all those little things you forget about!


Words of wisdom.

Try not to take it too seriously, and don’t get too caught up in everything being perfect. With our wedding in May, I convinced myself it was going to be freezing and raining all day, so I prepared for it, then was so pleasantly surprised when it was a perfect day.


For European elegance with lashings of opulent style, check out Bring Grand Back, a styled shoot capturing showstopping sophistication.



Ceremony & reception venue: Zonzo Estate, Yarra Valley

Celebrant: Andrea Kneebone. Andrea was fabulous. She understood we wanted the ceremony to be casual and heartfelt and absolutely drove that theme throughout.

Photography: Tess Follett. Tess was amazing to have on the day. She was a joy to have around, kept the mood light and captured some amazing images, even of the kids that usually never smile for the camera! We would recommend her to anyone.

Florist: Amalfi Floral Designs. We absolutely loved working with Bess from Amalfi. She managed to turn my very vague vision into something beautiful and has incredible style.

Hair: Cat Hughes

Make-up: Laura Dunstan

The dress: White April Bridal

Shoes: Tony Bianco

Rings: RUUSK

Entertainment: James Marris. James was excellent. He managed to turn a rap song into a beautiful tune for us to walk down the aisle to and had the dancefloor roaring all night.

Honeymoon: Frog Hollow Lakehouse 

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