Real Wedding – Caitlin & Steph, Kinglake VIC
When you know, you know and that’s exactly how Caitlin and Steph felt about one another from the moment they met.
Celebrating their love in Kinglake in a forest oasis, this perfect pair exchanged their vows as the sun streamed through. So much love and happiness was in the air that they couldn’t help but dance their way back down the aisle in pure elation.
They were inspired by the Australian bush when it came to their styling and they set the tone with native flowers, a relaxed vibe and food trucks to feed their guests.
It’s hard not to smile as you scroll through these stunning images so beautifully captured by Dan Brannan.
In their words…
Playing European Handball at a little local Melbourne Club. We instantly connected and developed a close friendship at first.
Caitlin: To be honest, I think deep down from the moment we met I knew she was perfect in every way. But it took a while for our relationship to be at a point where we were ready to take the step from best mates to bed mates 😉
Steph: When Cait and I first met, we were both in long term relationships. I’d never been with a women before but I was drawn to Cait unlike anyone before and in my heart of hearts I knew, she was someone special. She was pretty, athletic, talented, creative, adventurous, funny, fun, kind, and confident. I admired her and thought she was the most interesting person I knew. We talked and laughed often and very quickly developed a close friendship. I loved playing handball with her and looked forward to seeing her at handball each week. When I wasn’t with her I pined to be in her company, so naturally I found any excuse to do so. At the time, I didn’t analyse my feelings towards her, I simply followed my heart because being in her company felt right. Deep down I knew I was falling for her and upon reflection this was blindingly obvious to others. We went our separate ways overseas in 2010 but maintained our close friendship, checking in with each other regularly. On that trip I clarified my feelings for Cait and admitted to myself that I was in love with her and had been from the moment we met, love at first sight. When we were both back from overseas in 2011, my feelings unchanged, I confessed my love to Cait sitting in my car in the streets of Melbourne, I’m pretty sure she replied “I know”! Cait reciprocated those feelings and the rest is history!
Steph: I organised a romantic weekend away Glamping at Point Leo Foreshore Reserve that was full of surprises including a spa, massage, picnic and a proposal in the beach watching the sunset.
Caitlin: It was a big process, lots of spreadsheets, phone calls, emails and organising. We only had 3 months to organise our wedding so I made sure I ticked off at least one task every day. Sometimes I would tick off three things and add five… it felt never ending. We had a full DIY wedding, and organised and styled everything which meant there was a lot more to do that the average. However, it was all worth it in the end because the wedding felt the way we wanted; relaxed, loving and fun.
Caitlin: The main inspiration was based on the Australia bush location in Kinglake. This set the tone for the native flowers we went with, the relax vibe with food trucks and the overall style.
Caitlin: I knew I wanted a two piece, so I just Googled who sold two-piece wedding dress in Melbourne and ended up finding one in the first place I looked.
Steph: As everyone probably does, I did some ‘Googling’ and found a few dresses I liked from a particular brand. I was feeling a little lost without having Cait’s help as an option. I knew roughly that I wanted something Boho–ish, relaxed and oozing forest vibes. There was one store in Geelong who stocked the dresses so I booked an appointment and recruited my mum Helen, my twin sister Michelle, and my sister-in-law Josie.
We could only muster up one date when we could all get together one Saturday so all my eggs were literally in one ‘shopping’ basket. Of course I tried on the dresses and none of them were right. My sister said, “you’ve found a good runner up”. I was devastated. I hadn’t booked any appointments and we only had that day! We stopped in at a cafe and Josie went and brought a whole bunch on local bridal mags. We flipped through the pages, trying to find another store with styles I liked.
We were lucky enough to find one store, Pearls and Roses Bridal, who would accommodate us for their final appointment for the day. We walked in to the warm and intimate store, and were greeted by the lovely Karen. I was feeling quite overwhelmed by this point so I left it up to my trusty crew to select some dresses for me to try on. Karen had a range of her own Boho designs – I tried on one and it was close, I tried on a second and we all looked at each other, my mum burst into tears, then unanimously agreed it was the perfect one – “Wildflower”. It was such as stunning dress and was very comfortable (to dance in…#1 criteria!). The lace was gorgeous with a unique design of large flowers and foliage; it had a V-neck, low back, capped sleeves and flowed perfectly from top to bottom…everything I was looking for. My flower crown complimented the dress, perfecting my outfit on the day.
I spent months looking for shoes to wear but found they were all the same boring, ugly beige versions of each other. I then stumbled upon Shoes of Prey – an online store. I designed my very own perfect shoes – a stylish blue grey pair of shoes with a mid block heel and ever so comfortable. They were very helpful in the design process and when they arrived the slipper fit! I couldn’t of been happier.
Caitlin: Dancing back up the aisle together after been married. It was such a happy and beautiful moment with all our friends surrounding us, happy and dancing!
Steph: There were so many, it’s hard to decide…but I have to say the ceremony was the ultimate highlight for me. The sunlight streaming through the forest around us was breathtakingly beautiful. There was so much love in the air, thoughtful words and promises, and a dance up the forest aisle to Price. It was truly magical.
Meaning of marriage.
Caitlin: Marriage is important for me in a way I never realised. It gives me a sense of belonging and security. Regardless of being married or not, Steph and I will always be there for each other. However, getting married has made me feel safe in a way I didn’t think it would and doing it in front of family and friends made me feel so happy and lucky!
Steph: A marriage to me is a partnership built on love, trust and honesty. Accepting, appreciating and loving everything about each other. Doing the things we love together, enjoying moments, laughing and smiling together. Supporting each other through thick and thin. Making compromises, forgiving and admitting when we are in the wrong. Learning from each other, encouraging and challenging each other. Growing together through life. Being a family and sharing the pleasures of loving others, like Billie.
Announcing our engagement to our family and friends after the YES vote was a very humbling experience for us. We were so thankful to have our love recognised. The outpour of joy, love and affection we experienced from our friends and family, with the backing of the Australian community, was beyond words. All the excitement and love in support of our partnership spurred us on to get married and celebrate with our loved ones. We felt very privileged to have such supportive family and friends around us and wanted to show our gratitude through a unique, special and down right legendary wedding! Which we did.
Aisle: Stand By Me by Florence and the Machine.
Reception entry: We Are Family by Sister Sledge.
First dance: I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston, we did a dance with our bridesmaids
Funny stories (or near disasters).
Steph: I insisted on having our lovable miniature dachshund Billie as our ring bearer, despite Cait’s efforts to warn me of all the potential disasters. We slipped the rings through a ribbon and tied them safely around her neck, with her little flower corsage. Billie made her way with me to the start of the aisle. Just as our celebrant played our song (cuing my bridal party to start walking) I looked down at Billie to see her flower corsage had swung under her neck, then I saw our rings in the dirt in front her! There was a moment of panic as yelled to my brother to retrieve the rings from the dirt and place them in the safety of his pocket. We quickly ditched Billie’s flowers and just made it down the aisle – rings and all.
Caitlin: Nothing about organising surprised me. I think I was prepared for the amount of work that was involved. However, I was surprised about how nervous I was about the day. I wanted it to go smoothly, the weather to be good, for everyone to have fun and for me to enjoy the day. These pressures really stressed me more than I imagined they would.
Steph: I already knew Cait was a creative and organised person but her use of spread sheets and creative DIY skills were second to none in the planning process to creative such a unique, beautiful, and magical wedding.
Words of wisdom.
Caitlin: If you are nervous about the day, just remember that you (should) know everyone coming and they love you. And if anything doesn’t go to plan, that will just make the day more fun and memorable.
Steph: DIY weddings are a lot to organise when you’re doing the 9-5 but the reward is so worth the effort. It’s all about the spreadsheets! Divide and conquer together.
Caitlin and Steph: I love my wife. Being married is awesome!!!!
Laryssa and Adrian hosted a warehouse wedding with total wow, be sure to check it out.
CAITLIN & STEPH’S TRIBE
Location: Kinglake Forest Adventures, Kinglake West
Celebrant/Officiant: Cassie Duncan – Marry Me Melbourne
Photography: Dan Brannan
Videography: Happy Video Productions
Florist: Edward and I
Veil / headwear: Flowers by Edward and I
Rings: Blackfinch (Northcote, Melbourne)
Bridesmaid’s dresses: SilkFred
Catering: Happy Camper Pizza
Cake / Cake topper: Fig and Salt
Stationery / Signage: DIY
Transport: Everyone stayed in cabins overnight
Hire: One Big Day Event Hire