Real Wedding – Brenton & Madison, Ballarat VIC
For an ultra-cool celebration giving effortless, laid-back vibes and perfect party styling, look no further than Madison and Brenton’s fab festivities. Choosing to do their day their way, these two scaled back the fuss and amped up the feel-good fun in a day that reflected their personalities to perfection.
Starting with a ceremony set in the modern art surrounds of the Ballarat Art Gallery, made for an impactfully stunning backdrop to their I Dos. From there, after a visually vibrant portrait shot with lens legend Maegan Brown Moments, the newlyweds joined their guests to continue the party at their favourite restaurant, Mr Jones Dining. Letting the venues take centre stage meant that styling requirements were minimal, yet none of the dream day impact was lost.
We love Madison’s choice to wear a killer mini-dress with stunning statement sleeves by Van der Kooij. A floor-length veil by our styling friends at Amelie George completed the look for this blissed-out beauty. As Brenton and Madison made their way through the historic streets of Ballarat, the images are a perfect blend of old-world architecture and chic contemporary style through the lens of the sweetest modern-day love.
Scroll on for every ultra-cool detail.
Brenton and I met 11 years ago now when I had been on the lookout for a couple of tickets to an upcoming gig. I put the call out on Facebook, where Brenton had added me not too long beforehand, and he was the one to reach out and let me know he had some tickets he no longer needed. I collected the tickets from his place a couple of days later, where we then arranged to see each other again that weekend. I returned the following weekend again, and then all of those after that!
I don’t know if there was ever a specific moment that cemented this for us. I think we were very drawn to one another from our first meeting and just preferred to spend time together rather than apart from one another, and we each fit into each other’s lives quite seamlessly. Although early on in our relationship Brenton’s career as a touring DJ was taking off, and he was spending months at a time over in Europe while I remained at home, so I think the whole ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ sentiment rang true at this time also!
The both of us are very much homebodies and quite low-key in general, so it was only fitting this took place at home. Brenton proposed to me on my birthday and had asked if I would like my gift the night before; however, I insisted on receiving this the morning of – right before I had to head off to work. Made for a very long workday! We then celebrated with my family and some of our closest friends that night.
Brenton and I both agreed that the one thing this wedding taught me is that I am a massive procrastinator. I constantly avoided any wedding-related questions and shuddered at the questions that included the term ‘the big day’. Neither of us ever wanted a big wedding, and so I think we just tried to lock in the big must-haves and then whatever came after that would be what it would be. My mum would just end up going to speak with some of the vendors herself and relay the information back to me as the ‘see where the wind takes us’ approach was not quite as appealing to her! (Understandably).
Less is more. More of a courthouse wedding feel while still being able to incorporate some of our favourite vendors and locations. We enjoy a more modern style in general, but we also wanted something that would remain timeless and to ensure we still injected our own personalities into the day.
I think real weddings were the most helpful to look at when planning. And so many of these now look like styled shoots anyway! They were great to understand what was required from a more practical standpoint and to work out what I needed to prioritise. So many helpful little tips and tricks too!
We had always aimed for a more intimate ceremony. To us, this meant having just the two of us rather than a full bridal party (I, of course, still had my bridesmaids for all the fun parts, like getting ready). Part of what made this so special was that our celebrant, Tyler, is actually a very good friend of ours who had just recently become a registered celebrant so he could officiate his sister’s wedding a couple of weeks earlier. Tyler knew just how to suit the ceremony style to us, which was very casual but still meaningful. It was just so special and such a joy to have some of our closest loved ones in the room with us to celebrate something that had felt like such a long time coming.
We were both one and done with our outfits. I always knew my dress was never going to be overly traditional and had really put off dress shopping for as long as possible. I just really trusted the right dress would show up at the right time and that it did. I had followed the brand Van Der Kooij for some time, and finally, with just two months to spare, I took myself and just a couple of my bridesmaids with me to check the boutique out in person, and I was sold. Natasha, the designer, was in-store at the time, and I tried the one Neve Volume Sleeve Mini Dress, and Natasha quickly began customising the fit! I walked out, probably just half an hour later, and was absolutely thrilled.
Brenton was the same, the two of us just drove down to Peter Jackson in Melbourne with probably a month to go before the wedding, and he tried on the first black, slim suit recommended to him, and it fit like a glove. It was the last of its size, and we took it home that afternoon with a few very minor adjustments by a local tailor.
I would say our first look. I had really tossed up whether I wanted to have a first look or not, but I knew Brenton would be a bit nervous and thought this would be a nice way to calm the nerves, have a quiet moment between the two of us and have a drink together. This was also a perfect way to get some photos done so we could spend more time with our guests after the ceremony.
Meaning of marriage.
I think for both of us; marriage just signifies a real commitment to one another. I also think that after over a decade together and having experienced so many life events with one another, it’s a particularly sweet feeling. It solidified the coming together of our families and the start of our own.
Aisle: Hold On, We’re Going Home (Live) by Lykke Li
Signing: Days Like This by Van Morrison
End of reception: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell
(We opted out of the first dance)
Funny stories or near disasters.
We had a beautiful ceremony and enjoyed a couple of drinks with our guests in the art gallery before they headed off to the reception, and we stayed for a few more photos with our gorgeous photographer, Maegan. Once we were done, and my feet were killing me, we went outside to realise no one had stayed to take us to the next location, and neither of us had our phones on us. The three of us (me barefoot with shoes in hand) had to walk down the main street to our next location through several St Patrick’s Day street celebrations. We were a sight, but it made that first drink on arrival feel like it was very well deserved!
How much I disliked it! I guess I just realised that I had never actually spent much time envisioning what my wedding would be like prior to planning a wedding. And, although it was our day, I was surprised at how the little things we either chose to or did not do, ruffled other people’s feathers so much.
Words of wisdom.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Do what feels right for you, and try not to let other people’s opinions or own experiences alter your vision for the day. It’s easy to second guess yourself and start to question if your day should be more like someone else’s, but at the end of the day, it’s about you and your partner.
We love Amelie George’s gorgeous bridal accessories, like Madison’s stunning veil. For more of their dreamy creations, check out their latest campaign, E M E R V E I L L E, here on the blog.
BRENTON & MADISON’S VENDORS
To find our vendors, we just thought about the venues we enjoyed going to together, the local businesses we wanted to support and venues that fit the vision for our day. I sought inspiration from blogs like Ivory Tribe, the Anti Bride and The Lane, but having the wedding locally meant that we generally already had a good idea of the people and places we wanted to use and support!
Ceremony venue: The Art Gallery of Ballarat. This venue was just incredible. A central location, amazing staff, and nothing needs to be done to make this place look any better than it already does! This venue literally rolls out the red carpet for you and is so accommodating. I could not have asked for a more beautiful venue that just really suited our vision.
Reception venue: Mr Jones Dining. We chose Mr Jones to host our reception dinner as it is just genuinely our favourite place to eat. We always come here to celebrate special occasions, and so, of course, it was very fitting to celebrate our marriage here. The reason we love this restaurant is the incredible food, the amazing service and just the overall atmosphere, and somehow the venue managed to outdo itself. It was the perfect night, with the venue really catering to what we were after, and there was honestly never a glass empty in that room. Our guests have been raving ever since about Damien and Daneille’s friendly team and immaculate service.
Celebrant: Tyler Murphy. Given this was only Tyler’s 2nd or 3rd wedding in a matter of weeks, his website is still TBA. You would never know, however, as Tyler is an absolute professional and such a pleasure to work with. Tyler really made our day that extra bit special by having a friend beside us, but his work ethic and grounding presence were clearly noticeable to our guests as well. Our guests had nothing but lovely things to say about Tyler and the ceremony!
Photography: Maegan Brown of Maegan Brown Moments. Where do we even begin with our photographer? We came across the incredible Maegan on Instagram early in the wedding planning process. This was the first vendor we booked and was easily the best decision we made throughout this entire process. I knew that photos would be the one thing we kept, and wanted the photos to really reflect our style. Neither of us are big into taking photos, and I was worried that we would look awkward, feel awkward and hate the end results. How wrong I was. Maegan was so disarming; she had this fun and vibrant personality that we just adored being around while at the same time barely noticing she was there. She was so discreet and managed to capture these beautiful moments while Brenton and I just went about our day. Above all, when I look at our photos, I remember actually enjoying the time we spent taking them, and that is something I never would have expected and is such a pleasant surprise. We tell Maegan her ears must still be burning because not only us but our guests also rave about her nonstop and how amazing our day was as a result of having her in it.
Styling: Who needs styling when your vendors have the most stunning venues and locations!
Florist: Monique Creative. I reached out to Monique to enquire about a handful of white roses for our reception tables and my bouquet. Monique nailed the brief and was so wonderful to deal with. And despite me not needing a lot, she was at the venue to make sure all went smoothly regardless. Although we went with minimal florals, what we had really made a statement and added to the vision.
Hair: Maddison Pretty-Riley at Studio Canvas. Maddi was such a joy to have on the day and did an amazing job! My hair was beautiful and looked as gorgeous at the end of the day as it did at the start. Maddi brought fun and relaxed vibes the morning of, and having been a bridesmaid several times previously, this was a must!
Make-up: Ally Dower-Cook at Studio Canvas – (Ally has since opened her own business Ally Nicole Makeup). Ally did a stunning job, and I was so happy with my make-up on the day and received so many compliments. We were very lucky weather-wise, and it was quite warm, but my make-up did not budge. Ally was also a very calming presence on the day!
The dress: Van Der Kooij. Natasha was just incredible. I had just one fitting after my initial visit, where we chose to give the sleeves some extra volume – the bigger, the better – and Natasha promptly sent this one to me soon after, making sure I got the dress in time, given the short amount of time I had left prior to the wedding date. This entire experience was seamless, and I couldn’t wait to show it off!
Veil: Amélie George Bridal. I ordered my veil a week before the wedding, to the great stress of my girlfriends, and it arrived with days to spare still. The quality was amazing and really completed my look.
Shoes: Wittner. I didn’t want shoes that would take too much attention away from the dress, so a classic white pump did the trick.
Rings: My beautiful engagement ring is Sarah and Sebastion, and our wedding bands were made for us by a friend of Brenton’s mum, based in Hong Kong. She so kindly gifted them to us, and they are perfect! We were very lucky.
Earrings: Jolie & Deen – Bianca Earrings Crystal.