Real Wedding – Annabel & Anthony, Point Lonsdale VIC
Real Wedding – Annabel & Anthony, Point Lonsdale VIC
Real Wedding – Annabel & Anthony, Point Lonsdale VIC
Real Wedding – Annabel & Anthony, Point Lonsdale VIC

Real Wedding – Annabel & Anthony, Point Lonsdale VIC

Locking eyes on the dance-floor at a less than glamorous nightclub, Annabel and Anthony fell in love over a decade ago and set to seal the deal in perfect Point Lonsdale, the same coastal town that Anthony proposed.

Wanting a unique location, they chose Lon Retreat, bringing to life the vision they had planned together and boy is it a beauty. Choosing local suppliers, they set themselves up with a dream team and their sensational ceremony set the scene for a love-filled day, including the most fabulous florals by Ivory Tribe’s Florette.

Annabel wore not one, but two gowns from our very own Bluebell Bridal and both looks were absolutely show-stopping as she made her way down the aisle in her ultra romantic first gown with a single-shoulder, asymmetrical bow bodice and cutout detail at the waist, before changing into a fabulous frock that she could dance the night away in.

With our favourites Hey Jack, heading up entertainment for the evening, and Anthony stealing the show with a sax performance, Annabel and Anthony had the day of their lives and there to capture it all was the talented Ed Sloane.



The meeting.

We met just over ten years ago. We were both students at Melbourne University (Annabel; Arts, Anthony; Science – opposites attract!), but it wasn’t until our mutual love for sport took us both individually to Uni Games on the Gold Coast, that we actually met. We locked eyes on the dancefloor of a seedy nightclub and the rest is history.


The ‘one’.

Pretty quickly, there was an instant attraction and we were super close from the beginning, but it was probably when I (Annabel) went to Europe a few months after we met (for about three months) that we realised how much we really meant to each other.


The proposal.

Anthony had grand plans to propose in Spain while horse riding, but Covid happened! But we were very lucky to spend a large proportion of lockdown in Point Lonsdale working from home. It was a random Thursday night after work (3rd Dec 2020) and we went for a stroll on the back beach with our dog Ziggy. As the sun was setting Anthony got down on, not one but two knees as the sand fell away beneath him and popped the question!


The process.

Because we had a year full of lockdowns, we were so excited to plan the wedding and quickly locked in the day just 364 days after our engagement. We presumed Covid would be done and dusted by then, but things got much worse before they got better with the emergence of the Delta strain. There was a lot of uncertainty in the lead up to the day, times when we were very close to changing the date and we had a lot of close people we really wanted there from overseas and interstate.

Luckily, things opened up just a few weeks out and we were able to have our special day with my sister and bridesmaid coming from Paris, my maid of honour from New York and a groomsman coming from QLD, making the call the night before and quarantining for seven days on his way back!

I (Annabel) work in marketing and have a bit of experience in events, so I took the bull by the horns with my trustee excel doc. Lon Retreat, being a fairly unique venue – they haven’t had a huge number of weddings and every element needs to be brought in for the day but that meant we were really able to make our own vision come to life and we could not have been happier with the way the day turned out.


Style inspiration.

The location was everything. We were engaged on Point Lonsdale back beach (the beach that Lon Retreat fronts onto) and Point Lonsdale holds a very special place in our hearts with many family connections from over the years. We spend a lot of time here, we love the beach, we have learned to surf together there and nothing could have suited us better than a relaxed and down to earth, yet polished venue like Lon Retreat.

With the location in mind and the challenges that covid brought for many businesses, we wanted to choose to work with as many local businesses as possible. We got some great suggestions from the team at Lon, I did  a fair bit of research and there were a few suppliers that were recommendations from others, which I think is really nice. All of our suppliers gelled really well, many had worked together and those that hadn’t, knew of the others and were very excited to collaborate.


The ceremony.

Our ceremony was on the back lawn of Lon Retreat, in fact our cocktail hour and reception was all in the same general area, it was set up almost like a mini festival.

Zena Lythgo was our celebrant and she made the ceremony super personal. There were lots of laughs and tears, we wrote our own vows and had a close friend provide a reflection.

My 18-month-old nephew Louis who was born in France during the pandemic (we met him for the first time just a week before the wedding) was one of the page boys, but he obviously felt very comfortable in his role, joining Anthony and I at the altar/arbour during the ceremony and sweeping around my dress with a small branch of gum leaves – it was hilarious and adorable.

We also had all of Anthony’s cousins, aunties, uncles and both sets of grandparents watching on Zoom from Tassie – crazy to think we could have people from the US and France attend, but no one from Tasmania could come.


The outfits.

Annabel – I was incredibly lucky to have what I can only imagine was the best possible experience you could ever have in finding your wedding dress(es). The amazing Julie Collings from Bluebell Bridal happens to be a very close family member, Anthony’s father’s long term partner, so now essentially my mother in law.

I saw my first dress (ceremony) – Newhite ‘TDG’ – on the Bluebell Bridal Instagram, their collection was landing in the salon just as I was organising to come in. I loved it as soon as I saw it, it was the first dress I tried on and nothing else could compare! The Bluebell team also created the perfect veil that matched the fabric of the dress. The dress fit perfectly with the beach theme and it almost felt/looked like a wave or sea foam floating around me.

My second dress (reception) – Alex Perry ‘Maddison’ – was spotted by my sister and she insisted I try it on, I am so glad she did! We came up with the idea while in the Bluebell Bridal salon to have the dress altered to be a ‘high-low’ which made it totally unique. I believe it was quite a challenging alteration to pull off and it did take a few fitting and adjustments, but the alterations team at Bluebell Bridal are obviously very talented and put in a lot of work to ensure it was absolutely perfect on the day. I cannot thank the team enough for going above and beyond for our special day.

Anthony – in line with the sophisticated beach vibe, Anthony opted for a light coloured linen suit from MJ Bale – ‘Robertson Sand’ with a white shirt, matching bowtie, brown belt and brown RM Williams boots.

The groomsmen had the same jacket paired with navy pants and RM Williams, while the bridesmaids wore linen dresses that matched the suits really nicely.


Favourite moments.

There were so many! Seeing each other for the first time on the day is very special, it’s like everything is moving in slow motion as you come down the aisle and there are so many emotions throughout the ceremony!

Our first dance was also a bit of a highlight, no one knew what to expect and while it certainly wasn’t perfect it kicked off the night in a really great way. We danced to ‘Never tear us apart’ by INXS and Anthony surprised everyone by grabbing his sax from over near the band mid way through and busting out the sax solo…everyone went nuts, they were certainly ready to party after that.


Meaning of marriage.

As we had been together for ten years already and have lived together for a long time, marriage for us was really about the recognition and celebration of our relationship, it really just means the continuation of more of what we already have and a step towards officially becoming our own little family.


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: Old Pine by Ben Howard

Recessional: Inner Smile by Texas

Reception entry: Always be my baby – Anderson East cover of Mariah Carey

First dance: Never tear us apart by INXS (feat Anthony Djakic sax solo)


Funny stories (or near disasters).

The emergence of Omicron certainly had us nervous (not to mention Covid in general for the entire year). Our friends Aaron (groomsman) and Fiona were living in QLD and the border was effectively still closed (although QLD was very close to 80% double vaxxed, but no announcement on opening) so they called us the night before and said they had made the call to bite the bullet and come regardless of quarantining requirements on the way back. They flew in on the day of the wedding and arrived just before the ceremony! Unfortunately the opening of QLD was delayed further and they had to do seven days quarantine going back home. We are so grateful they came and pleased to hear there were no regrets on their end either!


Planning surprises.

We didn’t have a wedding planner and we managed all of our suppliers individually as everything had to be brought into Lon for the day. I think at times it was challenging because of that and also with the uncertainty in the lead up but it made our day so unique and special. The adaptability, flexibility and positive attitude of all of the wonderful businesses we partnered with was just incredible. There was not one time that we felt a supplier didn’t go above and beyond to help us and while that shouldn’t necessarily be surprising, I just think it was incredible to see the resilience of these businesses after such challenging times.

Being so close with Julie from Bluebell Bridal we had an insight into what it takes for a business to constantly pivot and adapt to changing conditions and restrictions. The sheer effort, sustained energy, resilience and passion required to do so is immense and we are in awe of our suppliers because of that.


Words of wisdom.

If you aren’t a super organised, hands on kind of person, consider getting a wedding planner or using a venue that has a lot of the extras included. However, if you know what your vision for your special day is and want a unique wedding that is like no other, do it all yourself! It is a very rewarding experience and you get to know some wonderful people in the process.

Choose your suppliers wisely, they are the ones that make it all happen on the day, they are the experts and when you get good ones, like we did, it makes it so much easier – with that and good preparation on your part, you can just trust that everything will fall into place on the day.

Consider having the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception all in one location. It allowed the guests to really relax and settle in…everyone was ready to party by the time we returned from our photos and came into the reception.


Last words.

We had our gorgeous friend Josh Tonc MC the wedding. We got a sneak peek of his MC-ing skills at his own wedding in April 2021 and couldn’t think of a better person to do ours!

We would describe him as a bit of a control freak, classic school captain vibes with a long list of dad jokes.




Do you need a wedding planning book to help you and your partner create your own dream day? Be sure to check out Wedding Plans, an all-inclusive gender-neutral wedding guide, complete with themes and sections to keep your planning on track. Shop now



Ceremony and reception location: Lon Retreat & Spa

Celebrant/Officiant: Zena Lythgo

Photography: Ed Sloane

Videography: John Kurt

Styling: Annabel (bride)

Florist: Florette – Flowers by Erin Cusack

Hair: Alana Holmes

Makeup: Karen Burton

The Dresses: Newhite and Alex Perry from Bluebell Bridal

Veil / headwear: Bluebell Bridal

Shoes: Amina Muaddi

Rings: Saphira Diamonds (Adriana Traviati)

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Dissh

Menswear: MJ Bale

Catering: Annie’s Provedore

Bar: Boutique Event Co and Sandringham Sessions

Cake: Bridie Bakes

Stationery / Signage: One Mimosa Please

Entertainment: Hey Jack – Sigma

Transport: Coastal Kombi Weddings

Décor: Vases/candles by Florette, napkins by Event Art

Hire: Marquee, lighting and Furniture by Twilight Glamping

Honeymoon: Lord Howe Island

MC: Josh Tonc

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