Real wedding – Ben & Eliza, Coburg VIC
Despite a last-minute ceremony location change due to a downpour of rain, Ben and Eliza’s laid-back and seriously cool Coburg wedding couldn’t have been more perfect.
Working together to create some gorgeous DIY-delights for their guests, including hand-making napkins and sourcing decor to complement their vision, for them, the planning process was one of joy, and when it came to greeting on another on their big day, time stood still.
With an earthy colour palette of divine terracotta and dusty pinks, the accompaniment of gorgeous pampas grass, and megawatt smiles that you simply didn’t see leave their faces – Ben and Eliza’s marriage began exactly as they dreamed it would.
See it all now, as captured by equally cool Nikki McCrone, Ben and Eliza’s dream photographer and much-loved friend of Ivory Tribe.
We first met back in 2017 at the gym. I think we intentionally learned each others gym schedules because we also seemed to be there at the same time. One night we ended up skipping gym and went for dinner instead and that’s where it all began for us.
About two months into dating Ben he asked me to be his date to his dad and step mum’s wedding. Seeing him bursting with happiness and tears of joy that night, I just knew that one day I would marry this guy. It was also the first time I’d seen him in a suit…need I say more?!
Lockdown last year ruined a lot of peoples plans including Ben’s plan to propose to me on a holiday we had booked to Perth. Instead, in April last year I had finished a shift on a Sunday and came home to a clean house, cheese platter, bunch of roses and our dogs dressed in tuxedo’s.
I didn’t think too much about it because Ben was always a romantic however, when he told me he had something for me in the bunch of roses I just knew. We still laugh to this day that Ben didn’t actually properly ask me to marry him because he was so teary he didn’t actually get the words out. It was the most perfect proposal and it was so us!
The planning process.
At the beginning of our wedding planning we sat down and made a list of things that were important to us both for the day. We knew our wedding was never going to be a traditional wedding, we just wanted it to reflect us as a couple. Our bridal party consisted of three groomsmen, one bridesmaid, one brides-man and our beloved bulldog, Betty. We talked colour themes, decorations, outfits etc but the thing that stood out to us that we both really wanted was a chilled day that we could spend as much time as possible enjoying it with all of our nearest and dearest. This is where we made the decision to do a first look, because the biggest piece of advice that had been given to us was to try and spend as much time with your other half as you could. The first look we both still say was the best decision and one of the highlights of the day. It was about 40 minutes for us to just laugh with each other and settle each other’s nerves. We also decided to do all our bridal party and family photos before the ceremony which worked out so well because right after the ceremony we had a cocktail and grazing hour in which we devoured our two other big loves; espresso martinis and cheese!!
In the heart of lockdown last year, we set ourselves a task of making our wedding napkins. We borrowed my grandma’s and my mum’s sewing machines and together with the help of lots of wine, cheese and tunes, we cut, folded, pinned and sewed every single napkin for the big day! We had so much fun doing it and it was beautiful on the day to sit down and think back to all the memories we made making them. We wanted to do as many DIY things mostly because we had enjoyed the napkin making process so much so we went about sourcing our name cards which were frosted acrylic coasters for each guest, as well as op-shopping to find pots for the ceremony which we picked and dried out some pampas grass for. We loved the earthy colour palette so our napkins were alternating shades of terracotta, as well as incorporating the earthy tones with the boys ties, bridesmaids dress and the flowers. The tones came together so well on what was a rainy Melbourne day.
I found a lot of inspiration from real life weddings that I found on instagram and Pinterest that had the same sort of vision as we did. I looked through other weddings with the same colour theme to what we were vibing and I also watched so many wedding videos for lots of inspiration. I stalked a lot of real weddings that were held at our venue which is how I came across our incredibly talented photographer. The real weddings really highlighted for me things that were important and perhaps things that weren’t as important.
We had a very last minute change of ceremony location and by last minute, I mean five minutes before the start time. We had planned to get married in Queens Park, Moonee Ponds in a special little spot where we regularly go for picnics however Melbourne’s weather had other plans for us. All our guests had arrived at the park ready for the ceremony to begin when the rain rolled in so we had a quick chat to our reception venue, Post Office Hotel, and begged for the ceremony to be moved there and wow did they move mountains! We had guests jumping into Ubers with flowers, welcome signs and other decorations all whilst the venue set up a beautiful space for our ceremony to be held. Looking back now, I would not have changed a thing. All the guests said how stunning and intimate the ceremony location was and we couldn’t have been more grateful for the team at Post Office hotel for making this work for us hassle free.
My dress was one of those things that was pretty low on my priority list for the day. Of course I wanted to feel beautiful on the day however I wasn’t willing to splurge on a dress if it meant that we had to be a bit more conservative with our budget elsewhere. I had been looking at all the wedding dress shops online during Melbourne’s lockdown last year and I actually had a number of appointments booked to go and try on dresses. I think it got to about the third rescheduling and I thought this has to be a sign… So I started looking online and at weddings with a similar vision as ours and I came across a dress online that I fell in love with instantly. The dress was by “SIR the label” and it was a beautiful ivory, high neck with an open back dress that had an elastic waist and a back cross-over detailing. As soon as I saw it online I just knew it was the one. I showed my mum and best friend and they both were in tears and said how much of a “me” dress it was. So I bought it online, without trying it on, for a bargain price of $500. It came and it was perfect. No alterations or anything needed, it was just right. I still to this day have no regrets about not wearing a typical wedding dress because for me my dress was everything and I felt bloody beautiful and comfortable in it. By the end of the night it was filthy from all my dancing but hey, I didn’t break the bank for it so I didn’t care!
We both say that the best part of the day/night was the first look and having all our photos beforehand. The first look was so memorable for the two of us and a moment that we will treasure forever. I don’t think we could ever re-create that feeling of excitement, happiness and nervousness. The moment Ben turned around and looked at me truly took my breath away. From then we just laughed and cried our way through all the photos, happy tears of course as we just couldn’t believe that it was our real beginning. After the first look we had all our bridal party photos and seriously just laughing and carrying on with our best friends whilst looking glam doing so was magical. And then all our family photos, it really was the best part of our day because it was a short part of the day that we got to really soak up the love with our closest friends and family before the rest of our guests arrived. We both say how glad we were to have done it this way as later in the night we were so busy getting around to everyone else that we barely got to spend time with them.
Meaning of marriage.
We had a conversation about this when we were filling out our questionnaire for our celebrant and we both had pretty similar answers which was based around a really good friendship. We know that one day the romance might wear off however we both believe that if you have a really strong friendship to begin with then you are rock solid! We respect, support and encourage each other just as we do to our best friends! We think marriage is just a really strong and beautiful friendship with perhaps a bit more sacrificing and compromise!
Aisle: Acoustic version of Simply the Best. It was the perfect song for us as I’m forever telling Ben that he is the BEST!!! It was sung/played by our musicians on the day, Between the Covers.
Reception entry: We boogied our way into the reception to Angel by Akon and it was epic! When Ben and I first met he used to make fun of me for my obsession with the likes of Akon and Pitbull and one day I played him an Akon song and told him that it would be one of our wedding songs one day and well, I was right!!! The lyrics are very cute as well as it being an absolute banger! There are some hilarious photos of the two of us dropping it to this song.
First dance: Steer by Missy Higgins – You probably couldn’t find two bigger Missy Higgins fans if you tried. At the start of the year we saw her live at the Music Bowl and I remember holding onto Ben and singing and dancing to Steer under the stars and literally feeling like I was flying because I was that happy! We decided that it was the perfect first dance song for us and by the second verse, everyone was on the dance floor with us dancing to it! What a moment, god it was beautiful and such a power ballad!
Funny stories (or near disasters).
Prior to getting caught in the rain my hair was curled for the day however post the rain it was a flat, frizzy mess. After we decided to move ceremony locations at we arrived at the Post Office hotel, we had about 10 minutes in an office to freshen up before starting our ceremony. My beautiful brides-man spent this 10 minutes trying to re-curl my hair by wrapping it around his finger and hair spraying it into place. In theory it was brilliant however the execution not so much! I was not one bit fussed though. Me and my frizzy/flat hair just couldn’t wait to get out there and get married!
The only thing that really surprised me about the planning was how much I actually really enjoyed it. I didn’t think I’d love the organising as much as I did but I think because of all the DIY things I did I was so much more appreciative of the planning that goes into such a big day. I think what really helped me was having a clear vision of what was important to us and what wasn’t. For example something that I said earlier was that a “proper” wedding dress wasn’t overly important to me however our guests having a cocktail to enjoy after the ceremony was! We both knew that we wanted our day to perfectly encapsulate who we as a couple which is chill but bloody fun and all the feedback was that we nailed it!
Words of wisdom.
Try and enjoy every single part of it. Embrace the stress and the chaos because ideally you are only going to do this once so you may as well enjoy the process as much as possible. And remember it’s only as stressful as you make it. Don’t put extra pressure and stress on yourself unnecessarily. Sit down with your partner at the beginning of the planning process and come up with one to two words that you want people to describe/remember your wedding as and make that your aim for the lead up and on the day. We wanted chill and fun and that’s exactly what the lead up was as well as the day. We sewed every napkin together, cut out every invitation, wrote every address envelopes, jumped into creeks to cut out pampas grass to dry out at home, all whilst laughing and enjoying it all together. They are the memories that we remember most from the lead up to the big day, no sweating about the small things because we knew in the grand scheme of things none of it would take away from our day being fun and chill!
And on the day, try and spend as much time with your bride/husband as possible! After all its your day so take a few cheeky moments here and there to go and do a shot at the bar together or go and have a little pash and boogie. Those moments can never be recreated and they will be the moments you remember from the day, (plus they make bloody bomb photos).
Keeping your cool when facing wedding pressure isn’t always a breeze. For our top tips to help keep you calm on the morning of your big day, click here.
BEN & ELIZA’S VENDORS
We actually knew a few people in the wedding industry so we really just wanted to support them after the crap year they’d all had last year so we let go of the reigns a little bit with our flowers and cake because we knew both would be incredible! That’s another piece of advice I can give is that if you don’t have a clear cut vision of what you want exactly for something, then chat with suppliers they are the experts and also support people you know where possible! After all the money you pay them is going home to support another family.
Ceremony venue: Post Office Hotel -Jen and her team moved mountains for us with about 30 minutes notice to make our ceremony possible. We couldn’t have been more grateful and praising of just how brilliant they were. They really went above and beyond to make sure that we were both okay after being caught in the rain but also to make sure the ceremony area was set up beautifully. Seriously Jen and the team there are real salt of the earth people!!
Reception venue: Post Office Hotel – We had so many guests tell us how perfect this venue was for a wedding. They couldn’t believe how well a pub could turn it on for a wedding. And the food, people are still talking about how good it was and how much of it there was! Jen made the entire lead up smooth sailing and enjoyable for us. She was prompt, accommodating and extremely friendly. They ensured the whole night ran smoothly and were so laid back. Seriously couldn’t recommend more if you’re looking for a convenient location for your wedding.
Celebrant/Officiant: Weddings by Danielle Emily. Danielle was actually recommended to us by someone else and the first time we met was over FaceTime and it was great! She was warm and made us feel comfortable right from the get go. She was so organised for our ceremony and was easy and funny to communicate with. People are still telling us how fun and intimate she made our ceremony and she so perfectly told our love story, all whilst being heavily pregnant! Absolute trooper and incredibly beautiful and personable celebrant.
Photography: Nikki McCrone Photography – I came across Nikki from another couple who got married at the same venue and I instantly fell in love with her photography. Her Instagram page screams fun and candid! We also first spoke with Nikki over FaceTime and her and I bonded over both being healthcare workers in Covid times…fun… not! Nikki was such an asset to our team on the day and is a huge player in the day running so smoothly! She was funny and direct when she needed to be. She was organised when it came to family group shots and made even those who were camera shy feel warm and comfortable! She helped with the transition our ceremony locations and she was constantly making Ben and I laugh together and at each other when it was just the three of us taking shots. We now feel incredibly blessed to have found Nikki and cannot thank her enough for how much of a legend she was on the day and for capturing the most beautiful photos of our day.
Videography: Storyteller Videography – We were referred to Tilly from a friend of ours and we are so glad we were! Tilly was beautiful and understood completely how we wanted our day to be captured. We barely even noticed her and her twin sister on the day, that’s how brilliant they were however they perfectly captured every aspect of the day. We received our video promptly after the wedding and still have tears every time we watch it. We highly recommend Tilly and her high quality videography skills and affordable pricing.
Florist: Flowers By Megan – Megan was a high school friend of Bens so it felt only right after last year’s struggles for all to support someone we knew. Megan was incredibly accommodating and lovely to work with. I gave her a few inspo photos and a rough colour palette and left the rest to her and she blew us away! I had her create me a dried flower arrangement so it was something I could keep forever. It now sits in a beautiful vase in our house and reminds me everyday about how fun and beautiful our wedding was.
Hair: Prue, Boda Hair Boutique – Again I wanted nothing more than to support someone I knew so I called upon a long time friend of mine, Prue. Apart from being a beautiful soul and a great vibe to have there on the day, Prue is so talented. She gave my hair a big snip a few days before the wedding and a bit of a colour and on the day we went for some nice curls.
Make Up: Another friend who was the incredibly talented, Zoe J.
The Dress: SIR the label
Shoes: Sabo Skirt
Rings: White Shadow Jewellery
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec and Bridge
Cake / Cake topper: Ginger and Spice Cakes