Real wedding – Anastasia & Riley, Taradale VIC
Real wedding – Anastasia & Riley, Taradale VIC
Real wedding – Anastasia & Riley, Taradale VIC
Real wedding – Anastasia & Riley, Taradale VIC

Real wedding – Anastasia & Riley, Taradale VIC


Anastasia and Riley’s dream celebration transports us to a place of old-world glamour.

Moody, candlelit magic was the order of this Autumn day, where the stunning pair took to centre stage before their loved ones in a heartwarming and joy-filled exchange of love officiated by our very own Jo Betz.

With incredible floral artistry by Prunella, beauty abounded, but unsurprisingly, it was hard to look past Anastasia in her breathtaking Georgia Young Couture gown and Riley in a sharp black ensemble, flanked by an equally gorgeous monochromatic-clad wedding party.

With stellar photographer Katie Harmsworth at the helm to capture all of the romance, this is one wedding celebration we can’t take our eyes off.



The meeting.

It’s safe to say that our relationship has been over a decade in the making, having met one another when we were just 20 years old through mutual friends. According to Facebook Messenger in 2010, Riley commenced things with the old “hey, how’s it going?” as the first point of contact. We exchanged a few messages when an invitation to a house party meant our first face-to-face meeting was on the cards. I arrived eager to see what could come of this, only to not see Riley the whole night and not a word spoken between us.

Looking back, this may have been the 20-year-old mentality of ‘he will come find me’ or ‘I’m bound to bump into her at same stage’ with young nerves playing a big part. In the years to follow, we always happened to cross each other’s paths be that at the tennis, a festival, a house party or even on a rooftop of a random pub in Melbourne, Riley always seemed to be nearby. I’m not sure if this was the universe trying to tell us something or not, but either way it took us eight years before we went on our official first date, and 11 years since he first slid into my DM’s.


The one.

It was in those early stages of our relationship that I knew Riley was my person. As couple (and a family) we went through quite a challenging time when Riley’s mum Bev was quite sick, and sadly passed away. To see the way Riley conducted himself in the toughest of times made me look at him in a completely different light. His strength, compassion, attitude, caring nature and his resilience made me realise I wanted to remain around someone like Riley for the rest of my life. I clearly recall thinking, if he can be this type of person through one of the biggest challenges he will ever have to face, those qualities will shine on forever, and three years on, I was right. His pure happiness is what’s most infectious, and he does this by natural living so authentically which inspires those around him.


The proposal.

I had absolutely no idea Riley was going to propose which was the best part about the entire thing. Riley asked me to go to Birchip (his home town) because he had to do his solar accreditation. He backed it up by saying, we should then stop in Castlemaine and celebrate the fact we just settled on our first investment – that’s what won me over. When we arrived at our Airbnb it was heaven. The first night we cooked pasta and stayed in. Riley watched the AFL Prelim Final whilst I looked at cook books in the spa for a couple of hours (so romantic but we wouldn’t have it any other way). The next day we got up and went to the Vintage Bazaar which I spent the next few hours at. I lost Riley but had a few jackets that I really wanted him to try on. When I found him, I handed him these jackets, but little did I know he had the ring in a box in his pocket. Apparently when I turned around he shoved the box down his pants. This now makes sense as he was walking around the shop ‘rearranging’ himself and looking very uncomfortable to the point where I went up and whispered to him “Darls if you’re sore down there you need to get that checked”. 

We then proceeded with our day and went to the Cascade Falls to set up a picnic basket on the rocks. After an hour and a half of our normal chats, Riley asked me if I wanted to go dip my toes into the water. This was a rather odd thing for him to say but I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I actually responded with “no, I’m all good thanksl”… fail on my end as clearly he wanted me to stand up. He took his shoes off and went over to the water which then encouraged me to get off my bum and follow. I felt him come up close behind me and honestly at this point I can’t remember much apart from him giving me a hug and saying “you know that if you never came into my life I feel like I would be lost without you”. From that moment I saw his shaking hands reach into his pocket and nek minute he was on one knee. I cannot describe how I felt. I was in so much shock that I proceeded with a few swear words, asked if he was being serious, cried for the next three hours and didn’t look at my ring properly until the next day.


The process.

We decided that we wanted a reasonably quick turnaround from our engagement to the wedding, and in the end, we settled on five months. At the time, this didn’t feel like a wise move, but looking back it was the best decision we made. For all the other indecisive brides out there, I highly recommend, as a short turn around meant decisions had to be made rather quickly instead of texting every man and his dog for their opinion. Luckily for us, we had a clear vision from the start, so the biggest initial challenge was locking in a venue that would allow us to express our vibe we had envisioned. We worked out what we each found to be the most important aspects of the day such as catering for me (being a big foodie), and band for Riley (as he loves his music). Other important aspects for us were locking in our celebrant, videographer, photographer and hair and makeup, which we felt was a good start. When it came to making these decisions, we stalked these vendors (now friends) socials, and then met with them all via zoom (love planning a wedding in covid, said no one ever). For us, we just knew who we clicked and connected with best and that’s as technical as it got. I remember people asking me why I wasn’t too stressed in the few weeks leading up to the big day. This was all due to doing bulk of the leg work in the early stages of the planning process which I highly recommend.


Style inspiration.

With our wedding falling in the autumn months, we knew we wanted a moody, candlelit, espresso martini kind of vibe. If you know me well, you know espresso martinis are my Achilles heel. A lot of our inspiration came from taking elements of real weddings online where we would screenshot images we loved (even if they were from a castle in Florence… one can only dream) and creating a mood board from these. Once we collated everything, we noticed a few common themes throughout. These included; A pastel colour palette with rustic vibes, an elegant formal dress code and enough candles to put Madam Tussauds to shame. We loved the idea of long tables where guests felt comfortable in an intimate cosy setting. Our Photographer Katie Harmsworth captured these moments so perfectly, which is when we knew we nailed our vision.

Ironically our main go to was Ivory Tribe. This truly was the ideal place for us to seek inspiration and find the perfect vendors that spoke our language. I remember spending a multitude of hours one night going down a ‘real wedding’ rabbit hole, where it felt like information overload but for all the right reasons. As I mentioned above, we had a really clear vision of our vibe from the start, so the images incorporated in the ‘real weddings’ section was super helpful, as it allowed us to get a feel for each wedding and if it resonated with us or not. From there, we purely focused on these couples’ vendors to short list our selection, as we could tell by their images that we all had a similar vision. Instagram played an extremely helpful part in our planning journey as well. One image can open a treasure trove of inspiration, ideas, tricks and tips and it’s amazing how helpful all this content is when fine tuning your day.


The ceremony.

The ceremony truly was the highlight of our entire day and there are few reasons why. Firstly Churchill, wow what a venue. The moment we walked into this beautiful old church that has a relaxed European rural charm to it we knew we found our dream space. We lucked out with the most beautiful autumn day with not a cloud in the sky, and I remember entering the church with my dad on my arm and thinking, this is exactly how I always envisioned our ceremony to be. The mix between the grand timber ceiling, classic yet rustic backdrop, and detailed stained-glass windows where the sunlight radiated through, made it the most exquisite and intimate space.

Apart from the venue, it was our celebrant Jo betz who was the architect behind bringing what we feel was the perfect ceremony to life. From the moment we met Jo over zoom, we instantly knew that she was the one who was going to capture our story so perfectly and deliver it in such a way to fill the room with smiles, laughs and a few tears at times. Not only was this our highlight of the day but our guests mirrored our thoughts exactly, doting on Jo as a celebrant with many compliments trickling in post wedding. We can’t recommend Jo highly enough, she epitomises all the qualities you seek in a celebrant and person, and she’s someone you can turn to for advice as she is so highly regarded in this field.


The look.

It’s interesting that when you start this process you have a preconceived idea of what you want in mind. For me it was a long sleeve, more fitted number. Being in the cooler months, I thought this would be more appropriate and I loved the elegance of something more fitted. It’s true what they say though, most bride’s end up with something the complete opposite and in my case, that’s exactly what happened. I went to only five bridal shops in Melbourne, with my last one ending at Georgia Young Couture. After trying on numerous dresses at Georgia’s, I was actually on my way out when a fabric design caught my eye poking out amongst a plethora of dresses that I have already tried on. As Georgia goes by appointments only, I asked if I could quickly slip into this dress, and little did I know this chic number would be coming home with me a few short months later. This dress was from Georgia’s Pink Lemonade Collection which drew inspiration from the Hollywood golden era, which felt fun, feminine with a vintage twist. A piece of advice from one of my bridesmaids post this appointment that stuck with me was “choose a dress you feel you can’t wear to an event, that would look out of place at a work function”. I think that was her subtle hint to say this is my favourite look on you. Georgia was so professional and efficient, and if you are looking for someone that is all about attention to detail look no further, Georgia is your gal.

For my reception party dress, I wanted to slip into something a little sexier, put on a red lippy and change into a versatile shoe to dance the night away. I found a pleated, high-necked flared silk jumpsuit on The Bridal Journey Instagram page, which I instantly fell in love with. I reached out to the designer Daniella Hajaj who was extremely accommodating, however sadly due to Covid she wasn’t shipping dresses worldwide. I ended up taking this design to a local fashion designer called Lainie Brookman, who was an absolute dream to work with. Lainie had such a can-do attitude which helped reassure me from the start that this look could be achieved. We changed the design to a dress versus a jumpsuit, but kept the same elements throughout.


Favourite moments.

Thanks to our celebrant Jo Betz, the ceremony was our favourite moment of the day.


Meaning of marriage.

Marriage to us doesn’t mean our relationship changes in any way, however to me, getting married signifies a life-long commitment that we are making to each other which I think it’s pretty special. I look at marriage as an exciting option, not ‘the next step’, and feel it’s a bond like no other. The wedding was a celebration of our love, shared amongst our closest friends and family as we embark on a new and exciting chapter together.


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez

Reception entry: Sign, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder

First dance: Say a little Prayer by Aretha Franklin


Funny stories (or near disasters).

We thankfully had no real disasters and everything ran really smoothy. If I had to mention some funny moments though, it would be two days before the wedding when Riley realised his ring was a size too small. He made a mad dash to Melbourne and a crisis was averted. Come the wedding day, it was at the peak of the ceremony and the all-important ring exchange where I went to slide the ring onto his finger, and sure enough, it still didn’t fit. Thankfully with a bit of coaxing and encouragement, it slipped over the knuckle to the cheer of the crowd. Fair to say it won’t be coming off anytime soon. Another near miss occurred when the bridal party was being introduced, the first of our groomsman was busting a move entertaining the crowd and in the heat of the moment threw back an arm and proceeded to leave a perfect elbow shaped dint in the cake. After a bit of wobbling back and forth it thankfully stayed upright, a touch misshaped, but still delicious which is all the matters.


Planning surprises.

Nothing that specifically stands out, but just how much work is actually required when you don’t have a wedding planner. 


Words of wisdom.

Just relax, enjoy and trust the process. Start with what you deem most important and work from there. Pick suppliers you connect with, on not just a professional level, but a personal one too, and allow yourself time to not rush these decisions as these special people are the backbone and experts of the day. The cliché saying ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ rings so true as everything falls into place, and if something goes south, you’re too busy having fun to notice anyway. I was the calmest in the week leading up to the wedding as I was organised. This is probably my biggest piece of advice. Set deadlines a couple of weeks out so that you can have a reasonably care-free run into the week of the wedding, vs in front of a screen trying to pull things together last minute. If you remember, grab your partner and a champers during the reception and take a moment together to step aside, scan the room, and appreciate all your hard work in bringing together your loved ones for an incredibly special celebration.



We couldn’t take our eyes off Anastasia’s gorgeous Georgia Young Couture gown, get to know this dream designer and other fashionistas we endorse, by heading here





Ceremony location: Churchill, Taradale

Reception: Cadella Park, Cadello

Celebrant/Officiant: Jo Betz

Photography: Katie Harmsworth – A special mention to our Photographer Katie Harmsworth. We truly can’t recommend Katie more to all couples getting married. From our first initial meeting over zoom (due to covid) we clicked instantly. On a personal level she was friendly, funny, approachable and warming (just to name a few), and we just knew she had to be a part of our special day. Come the day, she was all these things plus more. Our bridal party and family adored her, she brought along a calm and vibrant vibe whilst remaining professional throughout which was really important to us. We feel working with people who you see as friends can really help the day run so smoothly, as you know you can relax and trust them to do what they do best. Now to our photos, WOW! We had stalked Katie’s Instagram page for months so we knew what she was capable of creating, but when we received our own photos, they exceeded all expectations. Looking back, we are so grateful that we had the pleasure of working with someone of her calibre, as she epitomises what an A-class photographer is all about. Our photos were magic and were exactly what we had discussed with Katie in our brief, she nailed it! So grateful that we have these photos to look back on for a lifetime.

Videography: Moon and Back

Styling: Anastasia and Riley

Florist: Prunella

Hair: Anni Palmer

Make-up: Tess Holmes

The Dress(es): Georgia Young Couture (wedding dress) and Lainie Brookman (party dress)

Veil / headwear: Lainie Brookman

Shoes: Shehzarin Batha Couture (wedding shoes) and Loula (party shoes)

Rings: DB Jewellery

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Héxié

Menswear: Formal Red

Catering: Emma James Catering

Bar: Dan Murphys & Melbourne Mobile Bars (Espresso Martinis)

Cake: Cake By Amber

Stationery / Signage: Inhaus

Entertainment: The White Tree

Transport: Organs Coaches

Décor: Prunella, Table Art and The Small Things Co

Honeymoon: New Zealand

Crop The Image

Actual Size

Recommended Size

Cropped Size