Real Wedding – Anna & Andrew, Merricks VIC
Anna and Andrew, standing under a domed archway surrounded by vivid blooms and a stunning ocean backdrop, are nothing short of a vision of colourful magic.
These two university sweethearts took inspiration from Italian Alfresco styling, and created a day filled with bright, bold designs and buckets of vivacious vibrancy! It was all picnic panache meets Australian summer, and we are very much here for it.
Anna was all smiles and sparkles as she made her way towards her husband to be, preceded by her bridesmaids in mismatched gowns of teal, emerald, peacock blue and accents of crimson.
Finishing off the fun-filled affair in true dance floor decadence was tribe faves, Hey Jack. In demand photographer, Nikki McCrone, captured every amazing moment with fabulous flair.
We both say that we first met at university – however, we disagree about when this actually happened!
We went down to Apollo Bay for a little mini getaway after Christmas. After opening up a bottle of champagne on a balcony overlooking the ocean and the hinterland, Andrew said ‘so I’ve got a question for you…doyouwannabemywife’ and I quickly said YES! Short n’ sweet and very exciting!
We wanted a wedding that would be fun and fuss-free and would give our guests the option to make a weekend out of it, but not force them to sacrifice their weekend if they didn’t want to.
First, we each listed five non-negotiables (which thankfully largely aligned!) and prioritised them in our budget.
Second, we went venue shopping (because things basically flow from that).
Then I went into psycho organisation mode and started booking booking booking! So, until a few hiccoughs arose (see below re funny stories and near disasters!), there was a long period of not needing to do anything and just enjoying being engaged.
Overall, our planning process was pretty easy as we had a good idea of the vibe we wanted, and Andrew gave me free rein over a lot of the things because he really didn’t mind / notice them! We were also very lucky to have excellent vendors that made planning very easy!
We took a lot of inspiration from the Italian Alfresco style of doing things and went from there!
I wanted a dress that was fun, comfortable and that I would feel myself in. I usually wear a lot of colour, so the idea of wearing an all-white dress was pretty foreign to me. However, I am a sucker for any form of sparkle, so I knew I wanted to explore sparkly dress options!
I went to a few different places and tried on their sparkly dresses, but none seemed to have the cut that felt like it was me. I also tried on some non-sparkly numbers which were beautiful, but just not quite right.
Eventually, when I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across a picture of a girl in a sparkly dress, and I thought ‘that fabric is amazing’. I can’t actually remember what page it was on, but I started following the dress designer who was tagged and got in touch with her. It turned out to be Tiegen White from Clara White Bridal and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tiegen lives in Queensland, and we are based in Melbourne. But through facetime and sketches, we designed a dress together – it was roughly based on a few of my other favourite dresses I had already and felt good in, was made longer and more special, of course!
Tiegen put an order in for some fabric after I visited her Melbourne supplier and chose but, somewhat stressfully, the supplier didn’t come through with the goods! Four weeks out, I was back to choosing a new fabric! Luckily, by that time, Anna Thompson had started Silk and Stich. I ended up finding two fabrics which were even better than the first, and Tiegen used a combination of these to make my dress.
That is such a hard question as there were so many! All of the moments?
Meaning of marriage.
Committing to your favourite person in front of your loved ones.
We’ve been together for so long that getting married was more about celebrating what we already had, rather than starting something new.
Aisle: Just like Heaven by The Cure
Signing: If I Were a Carpenter by Johnny Cash & June Carter and That’s Amore by Dean Martin
Exit song: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by Leo Sayer
Reception entry: Volare by Dean Martin
First dance: We didn’t have one! We just jumped on the dancefloor with everyone else and started the party!
Funny stories or near disasters.
I think if there was to be a theme for our wedding planning journey, it would be ‘kicking the s**t out of plan B’.
Our first venue cancelled about eight months before our wedding as it turned out they didn’t have the proper operating permits to run weddings. Plan b ended up being our lovely family friend’s offering up their private property, which was even better than the first venue to host our wedding!
As I described earlier, four weeks before the wedding the fabric for my dress from the original supplier hadn’t come through – but then Plan B meant going to Anna Thompson’s Silk and Stich warehouse in Brunswick and finding even better fabric!
On the wedding day, the cars picked up the groomsmen from our accommodation, and then forgot to pick up me, my mum and the bridesmaids. We ended up making our own way there – it was a pretty funny story in the end, and we were lucky enough to have built in a lot of extra time in our scheduling. Although, I think I might have given Andrew a heart attack, as it meant he had to wait a bit longer than expected!
Most of our vendors were so lovely and talented; it made the process so good. And when things did go a bit skewiff, and we had to activate plan b, our vendors, friends and family were supportive and incredibly helpful!
I think after losing out on the first venue, nothing really seemed all that stressful! When a complication was thrown at us, we’d just bypass being annoyed and go straight into solve-it mode.
Words of wisdom.
If you decide to have an outdoor wedding, as we did, do not look at the weather reports or try to analyse anything (and don’t listen to family and friends who also feel the need to give you updates on the forecast as the wedding approaches!). When we secured our (final) venue and knew our wedding would be outdoors, we made sure there was a wet weather plan in place and almost presumed we would need it so that good weather would be a great bonus. Luckily, we got the bonus and the week leading up to the wedding was not marred by weather related stress!
When plans fall apart, take a breath and get into solve-it mode. Also, remember that often, plan b can be better than what you’d hoped for.
A friend told us to take a couple of minutes, just us, to look out on the reception and savour the moment. It was really special – and I highly recommend it!
Don’t feel compelled to have or do things because you feel you should. Andrew and I weren’t keen on a first dance, so we just started dancing with our guests! We wanted to have affogato and snacks, so skipped out on the party favours. Neither of us were interested in sitting down for an entrée separate to canapes, so we had a grazing entrée with the most incredible and abundant grazing table and canapes selection (this also allowed our guests to take in the beauty of the venue as well!). We didn’t want our loved ones who were making speeches to be nervous all night, so we had them at the start so party time could happen ASAP!
For styling that makes an impact, a palette filled with punchy hues won’t let you down. Check out some of our favourite vibrant vibes on the blog, here.
ANNA & ANDREW’S VENDORS:
Ceremony & reception venue: Private property, Merricks Victoria. When the first venue cancelled on us, we were stressed to the max, but thankfully, family friends stepped up to the plate and saved the day (literally!). Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Celebrant: Sally Hayes. Sally Hayes! Our wonderful friend, who just happens to be an incredible celebrant! We felt so lucky being able to have someone who knew us marry us. She was also very patient with all our silly questions!
Photography: Nikki McCrone Photography. Having Nikki McCrone as our photographer was one of the best decisions we made! Your photographer gets to spend a large proportion of the day with you, and we were so lucky that with Nicki it was hanging out with another old friend!
She also made us feel relaxed in front of the camera (not an easy thing to do) and managed to capture so many special moments (of us, and our guests!) throughout the day. She has the ability to find beauty in unexpected places and really capture the feeling of a moment in her photographs.
Videography: Hey Jack Films. Rich did such an amazing job with our video. I was nervous about feeling like I was being watched on the day, but he was unobtrusive and captured lots of special moments!
Florist: Flos Botanical Studio. Vivien and her team completely nailed the brief. When I met with her, I’d indicated a preference for an abundant and colourful festive look of flowers and fruit, and what Vivien and her team put together was exquisite.
Veil / headwear: Flowers and blackberries from Flos Botanical Studio!
Shoes: Alice & Olivia (bought online!).
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Zimmerman, Scanlan and Theodore, Bec + Bridge, Bul. I gave my bridesmaid’s a colour wheel to work from and said ‘wear whatever you like that fits within that spectrum’ whether it be skirts, dresses, jumpsuits – whatever! The result was fantastic as they each got to express their own style, and wear something they loved!
Groom’s suit and ties: Patrick Johnson Tailors
Groomsmen’s suits: Patrick Johnson Suit Shop
Catering & Bar: Bursaria Fine Foods. We were also so lucky to have Bursaria Fine Foods on our side! They were instrumental in the planning of the day (because let’s face it, the day ain’t nothing without good food!), helping us work out what we really wanted and providing loads of useful tips and suggestions along the way.
They were also flexible and supportive of little tweaks we wanted to make (for example, rather than having a regular coffee cart, we also provided guests with an affogato option).
The food they prepared was delicious (our guests were raving even after the wedding) and their staff really went the extra mile with everything.
We cannot thank Sara and her team enough for making our day so special!
Favours: We thought our guests would prefer affogatos and late-night snacks instead to fuel their dance moves – Bursaria Fine Foods provided delicious mini fish and chips and burgers. Yum!
Cake / Cake topper: Pollen Pastry. Krista made the most delicious trio of cakes, which we served as dessert to our guests who DEVOURED them!
Stationery / Signage: My bridesmaid Laura Petrucci. She is a very talented graphic designer!
Entertainment: Hey Jack Entertainment. Jordyn and her team provided the most beautiful music for our ceremony and canapes. And she even helped set up our epic playlist for the dance floor of good-bad music. An absolute treasure with a beautiful voice!
Transport: Given they forget to pick up the bride, mother of the bride and the bridesmaids, I don’t think you’d want to know!
Honeymoon: It was going to be a fun trip to Europe, but then Covid happened…we’ll see!
Other: Wine from Vinea Marson. One of my bridesmaid’s family businesses is Vinea Marson – an amazing boutique winery in Heathcoate. We arranged for all of our wine (and prosecco!) to come from there. It was an excellent decision and made the reception even more special!
If you’re ever in the region, you should definitely visit their cellar door!