Real Wedding – Caitlin & Damien, Jan Juc VIC
Wristbands, a merch stand, coffee cart – there is nothing Caitlin and Damien didn’t think of when throwing their epic Big Day Out-inspired wedstival.
Channeling their love for festivals, and bringing loved ones together on a private property, together with an epic Tribe of talent, this duo pulled off a day and night to remember. An epic Twilight Glamping glamping village, food trucks and more – the wedding of these longtime lovers is a festival-goers dream.
Captured by the ever talented Michael Briggs photography, get lost in the magic of this special celebration.
In Caitlin’s words…
We have been together 13 years, we started dating in September 2003, I was 19 and Damien was 22. We first met when we were younger, as my best friend Kate’s older brother Josh, was one of Damien’s good friends. So we knew of each other, but actually started hanging out when I was in Year 11 (2001) and we had started going out.
We were friends to start out with, so we knew each other really well before we actually got together. I knew pretty early on that Damo was the one for me, as we just got along so well, we had so much in common and it was just so easy. I still to this day feel so very lucky that he looked my way, I am so grateful for everything that he does for me and for the way he makes me feel. He makes me so happy and there really isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t make me laugh.
After an unsuccessful first attempt, Damien tried again three months later. He took me out for dinner at a restaurant in St Kilda, he was very fidgety and restless the entire night, but I didn’t think anything of it. When we arrived home, I opened the door to find a letter addressed to Caitlin. He had left the original letter at work, so he had enlisted his best mate to create a new one and place it under the door while we were at dinner. I took my time to open it, as I just thought it might be a thank you from a client, meanwhile poor Damo was stressing out. I finally opened it to find a voucher that read “VOUCHER! Valid for one day only. To: Caitlin Malone. From: Damien Casey. Message: To be spent on a replacement engagement ring for the shitty one in my hand.” – I turned to find him down on one knee, with his “shitty” ring in hand. It was perfect! It was low key and a massive surprise, which was all I’d ever wanted and he made me laugh and cry all at once!
We thoroughly enjoyed planning our big day, Damien and I both had a very clear idea of what we were wanting to do and we were lucky enough to stay true to this vision all the way through. We each had our things to take care of. I was in charge of finding/contacting all the suppliers and doing all the admin/organising side of things. I also designed everything from our wedding logo, ‘save the dates’/invites, signage, styling, bon bons, etc. Damo was in charge of all the DIY building that needed to be done. This included making all the palette tables, log bench seats, building the signage, boys urinal, aisle door feature, running all the electrical needs for the site. He also took care of organising the lighting/sound, shuttle bus and portable toilets. We both stuck to our strengths and this helped make the planning process/lead up as smooth as possible!
The day before the wedding was by far the most full on, with many friends and family pitching in to get the property ready with all the finishing touches etc. We honestly couldn’t have had such an amazing wedding day without their help and all our amazing suppliers, they made our lives so much easier and made our dream wedding festival a reality! We cannot thank them all enough.
I would compare that final day to being on The Block with 5 minutes left on ‘Reveal Day’…everyone is running around all over the place trying to get everything completed and then bam, you reach your cut off time and somehow everything just seems to get done. It’s quite amazing actually!
Damien and I LOVE Music Festivals and throughout our entire relationship we have been to many, both in Australia and overseas, with Big Day Out always our favourite. So it made sense for us to create our own Big Day Out Wedding Festival.
Damien’s parents’ private property in Jan Juc, Victoria was the perfect setting for what we wanted to do and Damien’s family was really excited to have it there, as they have owned the 40 acre property for over 35 years. It is literally just paddocks, so we knew it was going to be a big job to set everything up from scratch, but it was awesome to work with a blank canvas and we really enjoyed the challenge.
We wanted our guests to be able to “choose their own adventure”, having everything in one spot, and offering them everything they could possible need/want to have an amazing and memorable time. We had multiple accommodation options for our guests – they could either stay on the property in our Glamping Village or they could set up their own BYO Camping or they could utilise the shuttle bus from multiple pick up/drop off points in Torquay, if they were hiring a house or staying at a hotel/resort.
We created a brand for our festival wedding and had everything a proper festival has, including tickets and wristbands to get in, our very own merchandise stand, with custom stubby holders, a ‘BEST OF’ CD and T-shirts. We had three food stations (Spanish Paella, Asian Hawkers, Greek Souvalakis), so guests could choose what they wanted. We had a “dressing room” where anyone, especially the ladies, could go and freshen up – it had mirrors, straighteners, hair dryers, deodorant, mints, tweezers, tampons, toothpaste etc etc…even a charging station for your phone…you name it, we had it. We just really wanted to give our guests an experience/party that they would never forget, but we wanted it to be really relaxed and fun!
I decided I wanted something more relaxed and a bit boho, seeing as we were literally getting married in a paddock. I was hoping for a skirt and bodice combo of some kind. I found the skirt first, via Instagram, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. So I bought it online from Needle & Thread London straight away, it arrived and I loved it even more. I knew I wanted the bodice to have boning, as I didn’t want to have to wear a bra, so I needed a designer that sold separates. Karen Willis Holmes was the perfect one stop shop, as they have a wide range of bodice and skirt combinations, which you can mix and match. I booked an appointment there, just to have a look and try a few on, I had no intention of purchasing one yet, then at the end of my hour appointment I had ordered and paid the deposit on the perfect bodice. I remember leaving there with my Mum and two bridesmaids second guessing myself and saying “That was not supposed to happen that quickly”…but as they say, when you know, you know. I really enjoyed the process, as I did have a good idea of what I wanted and it ended up being really easy to find.
We are so happy we did a “First Look”, it was so nice to have that moment for just the two of us and it certainly calmed the nerves when it came to walking down the aisle. It also allowed us to enjoy some good quality time with the Bridal Party and we didn’t have to leave our guests after the ceremony, so we didn’t miss out on anything. All the speeches were a huge highlight for us, everyone spoke so well, especially our Best Man and Maid of Honour…there were lots of laughs and a few tears as well, it was a really good mix and we will never forget them! We also wrote and read our own vows to each other, this was something that was really important to us and we are so glad we did it, even though it was very nerve racking.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage to us is simply a declaration of our love and making the ultimate commitment to each other in front of those who mean the most to us. We have been together for 13 years, so honestly we really hope it doesn’t change much, other than we get to wear some nice bling and we can stop referring to each other as “partner” haha!
Aisle – Bridesmaids: Georgia by Vance Joy. Bride: Can’t Help Falling In Love by Ingrid Michaelson
Recessional – Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap
First Dance – You’re in my Heart by Rod Stewart (acoustic version performed by Hay Bax)
Father/Daughter – Slice of Heaven by Dave Dobbin
Funny stories (or near disasters).
After getting sized up for our wedding bands, we returned to our jeweller to pick them up a couple of weeks out from the big day and he had somehow managed to make Damo’s ring five sizes too big…he had no idea how this had happened, as five sizes is a huge miscalculation. This lead to Damo having to drive from Jan Juc back to Melbourne CBD to pick up his new ring two days out from the wedding, which at the time probably wasn’t funny, but looking back now it’s pretty funny!
During our bridal party photos, we were in a convoy moving from one location to another, the car at the back got lost as they were following the wrong white Prado, all the way to that persons front door and wondering why we had selected such a strange location for photos. Then the Best Man had to be bundled into the car, due to an urgent need to find a toilet, which ended up a blessing in disguise, as it allowed us time to get one more photo while waiting at a random location…this ended up being one of the best shots of the day!
We knew it was going to be extremely difficult to finalise our guest list, but we never expected it to be as stressful as it was.
Words of wisdom.
It’s your day, so do what you want to do, don’t do what other people think you should do/want you to do. Try and get as much stuff done early, especially anything DIY, even if they are small jobs, as in that final week or two, time is not a luxury you have. If it’s possible, do a “first look”, as it really does allow you ample time to party and makes it feel like the day doesn’t go by so fast.
Let your suppliers, especially anyone creative (photographer, videographer, stylist, designer) do what they do best…don’t stump their creativity by telling them how to do their job. You have chosen them for a reason, hopefully it’s because you love what they’ve done previously, so put your trust in them! Obviously if there’s anything that you really don’t want to go without, let them know that and discuss it with them prior to the day, so everyone’s happy. As a designer myself, trust me when I say you will get the best results if you allow them room to be creative.
Choosing good suppliers that get your vision and will go above and beyond to make your vision come to life is key. You need to feel comfortable with them and build a relationship with them, then everyone is invested and the results will be truly amazing!
Wedstivals for the win! Another all-time Ivory Tribe favourite is Meg and Johnny’s – see it here.
Caitlin and Damien’s Tribe.
Ceremony and reception venue: Private Property, Jan Juc (Torquay), Victoria
Photographer: Michael Briggs Photography
Celebrant: Megan Thompson – The Commitment Company – Megan was brilliant. She absolutely nailed it and we had so many people raving about how great her delivery was. Her story telling was so creative and engaging and we cannot thank her enough for making it such a heartfelt and lighthearted ceremony. It was also Megan’s idea to incorporate a Marriage Advice section into our ceremony as we really wanted it to be different and engaging. Instead of having your usual readings or poems, Megan suggested that we choose six people, or couples, who are married to stand up the front and surprise us with some of their own marriage advice. This was the best surprise for us on the day…there was such a great mix of heartfelt and funny that not only Damien and I, but everyone was laughing and crying along with us…it was just perfect!
Cinematography: One Heart Studios – Both Briggsy and One Heart Studios brought so much energy to the entire day and they made us all feel so relaxed, it was like we’d all been friends forever. Their chilled approach really worked for us and they obviously enjoyed themselves as they also camped on the property and were able to join in the festivities as well! Their passion and work is second to none and I would highly recommend them any day of the week.
Event planner / stylist: Caitlin Malone (Paradise Hunter).
Stationery/design/signage: Caitlin Malone (Paradise Hunter).
Bell tent hire / Glamping village: Twilight Glamping – Beth and Lee from Twilight Glamping made our Glamping Village come to life. They were so easy to deal with and put together a really bespoke wedding package for us, which allowed our guests to have a lot of choice, for all budgets. They took care of everything for us, including guests booking and paying directly through them, which allowed us to focus our time and energy on other parts of the wedding.
Sperry tent: Under Sky
Florist: Loose Leaf
Catering: Fred and Ginger Catering – Emma and all her incredible staff at Fred and Ginger Catering were unbelievable. They did all the catering and event planning and there was honestly nothing they couldn’t do. Their composure, reassurance and enthusiasm on the day and in the lead up was exceptional. And the food…it was honestly to die for. So many of our guests are still raving about the quality and the quantity of what they produced, especially from their pop up kitchen in the shed…amazing!
Cake: King Island cheese wheel cake.
Cake Topper: Sketch and Etch Creative
Other desserts: Golden Gaytimes and Choc Tops by Fred and Ginger Catering
CD’s/T-shirts – Caitlin Malone (Paradise Hunter)
Prop or furniture hire: Peacock Chairs – Melbournes Wedding Planners.
Lighting / sound: Phaseshift Productions – Josh from Phaseshift Productions was an absolute blessing and worked tirelessly to create something truly special for us. We told him what we were thinking for the lighting layout and he ran with it, added his own twist and made it a million times better than anything we thought we could have achieved on the property. His lighting layout was the cherry on top and really made it a festival when the sun went down!
Entertainment: HayBax – HayBax, our super talented duo, ensured guests were on the dance floor all night. With their amazing ability to read the crowd, they managed to keep everyone dancing for hours on end. They also learnt two songs especially for our big day, making our night even more special.
Engagement ring: Burlington Antiques
Wedding bands: Diamond Prominence
Shuttle Bus Transport (Guests): Murrell Group Charter
Custom ring box: Sketch and Etch Creative
Custom wristbands: Wholesale Wristbands Australia
Coffee Cart: Bonappuccino
Honeymoon: Mexico, Central America (Cuba etc) and Colombia – July/August 2017
Bride’s bodice – KWH Bridal
Skirt – Needle & Thread London
Hair pieces: Loose Leaf
Earrings: Samantha Wills
Hair: Studio 2
Makeup: Lisa Cathcart Makeup
Spray tan: Spray Aus
Bridesmaid dresses: Victor Bridesmaid
Groom’s jacket: Politix
Shirts: Michael Christian
Pants: Peter Jackson
Barber / grooming: Saju Hair
Groomsmen gifts: Custom Engraved Mini Axes and Custom Group Caricature – Groovy Groomsmen Gifts.