Real Wedding – Carly & Dane, Collingwood VIC
Picture a dinner party with your all-time favourite people at your absolute favourite venue. Then amp up the style, the romance, the emotions and the fun – and you might get close to Carly and Dane’s stunning soiree.
Choosing an intimate celebration over a large-scale event meant that for this darling duo, ensuring their guests connected and had a blast was a top priority. And divine Melbourne venue Rupert on Rupert provided the perfect setting to fit the brief. Add in the epic skills of stylist and planner Bow Creative, and the venue not only felt incredible but looked the perfect concoction of warmth, timeless elegance and dramatic style.
An exquisite arrangement of florals by Tweed Twigs aesthetically centred the ceremony, with layer upon layer of dramatically textured greenery, soft creamy petals and midnight blue accents. Candle and lamplight enhanced the effect, while the tablescape was a vision of inviting elegance.
For Carly and Dane, up there with the best moments of the day was having their sweet pooch Nia join them – and we have to say, these images most definitely brought a smile to our faces! Genuine blissed-out excitement and love are infectious, and superstar photographer Amanda Alessi captured it all to perfection. Scroll on for a happy endorphin hit!
Dane: We met at work in 2014. Carly came to Melbourne from the UK on a working holiday and managed to get a job where I worked.
Carly: It was a culmination of little moments rather than one big one. The first time I met Dane, I immediately felt an attraction. I also remember sitting on the Yarra at Southbank, just talking about life and thinking that it felt pretty great when he was around. And then one of our first proper dates in Carlton when he interrupted me mid-sentence to tell me he loved me for the first time.
Dane: Probably when we were getting ready to go to that dinner in Carlton.
Carly: Dane had been working with a jeweller in Sydney for a few months to design the ring, and it was sent down about a week before we were heading for a weekend away in Daylesford. He arranged to pick me up from work on the Friday, and I had no idea he had the ring with him all weekend.
It wasn’t until we got back home on the Sunday night that I opened the front door and saw that he had laid out so many of these little candles and all the post-it notes that we used to secretly leave for each other at work years ago. At the bottom of a huge basket of candles was this hand-poured one which said, ‘will you…’, and when I turned around, he was holding the ring. I don’t even think he said anything because I just burst out crying. Of course, I said yes!
Carly: We had already started planning our wedding (in Daylesford) before a couple of COVID cancellations, but the delay actually gave us a chance to re-evaluate who and what was really important to us. We definitely lost a bit of energy, having already done some planning, but as soon as we met with Kath, the ideas just flowed. We cut down the numbers and gave Kath a lot of creative control – we just wanted a more intimate event with the most important people in our lives.
Classic, but modern. Moody but romantic. Lots of greenery and candles were an absolute must. Because we didn’t have a big event, we wanted our guests to really connect with each other. Rupert was perfect for that, with the cocktail hour to start, long tables with shared plates, and the perfect size to feel intimate but not cramped.
Meeting Megan beforehand was so important to us because we immediately knew that she ‘got’ what we wanted. With a more intimate event, we wanted something quite personal but not too serious, and Megan layered the love with the laughs perfectly. Writing our own vows was definitely something we both wanted to do, but we also wanted people to be able to start celebrating soon after. Megan also reminded us mid-ceremony to pause and take in the occasion – which we definitely would have forgotten to do.
Carly: I always wanted a classic white dress. I went to a few places and narrowed it down to two, but I just kept coming back to the same one each time. I just knew it was the one for me.
Dane: It’s hard to go wrong with a black suit. It was also easy for my best man to match.
Carly: Having my Dad walk me down the aisle was so important to me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him take something so seriously, and I know it meant the world to him. Seeing Dane at the other end of the aisle and then taking photos with our dog, Nia.
Dane: I had to compose myself when I first saw Carly walking down the aisle because I think I could have lost it. But having Nia there for photos is a very close second! But there are honestly so many amazing moments.
Meaning of marriage.
We didn’t really think that marriage would change anything for either of us. We were both fully committed to each other, we already shared a home and had our little family with Nia, and there was never a ‘what if’. But now that we are married, it just feels like we’ve become more of a unit, and we feel safe knowing that the other person really will be there for us for the rest of our lives.
Aisle: The Blower’s Daughter by Damien Rice.
Signing: I’ll Look After You by The Fray.
Recessional: Always Where I Need to Be by the Kooks.
Reception entry: Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.
First dance: Four Walls by Broods.
Final song: I’m Still Standing by Elton John.
Also, lots of 90s and 2000s RnB for the dance floor.
Funny stories or near disasters.
Carly: Our cake maker caught COVID days before the wedding. The day wasn’t a super-spreader event, but nobody told us there would be cardboard supporting the second tier. Dane tried very hard (but failed) to cut it.
Also, my parents’ flight from the UK was cancelled, so there was a bit of stress, but they managed to get another one
Dane: I got make-up on my shirt collar before the ceremony even started. I’m still trying to find the culprit.
Carly: I thought it would be a crazy amount of work and worrying about every little thing, but it really wasn’t. This is probably because we gave a lot of creative control to Kath, but it takes a bit of faith to trust your vendors. The day was absolutely perfect, and even if it wasn’t, that’s what will make it even more memorable.
Dane: If you can silence your inner control freak, it’s surprising how much time and stress you can save by giving control to a planner. It’s hard to quantify how much easier Kath made our lives in the lead-up and on the day.
Words of wisdom.
Even when it seems stressful, try to enjoy it because you’ll only do it once. And don’t try to please every individual guest. Make it the day YOU want because, ultimately, they are there for you, they are happy to be there, and they just want you to have the best day possible.
It’s just such a special day. And once it’s done, you almost wish you could get married again because we don’t regret a single thing!
Wanting to follow Dean and Carly’s lead and keep your stunning soiree more on the intimate side? You can find some top tips for keeping your guest list lean here on our blog. Sorry, second cousin twice removed!
CARLY AND DANE’S VENDORS
Ceremony & reception venue: Rupert on Rupert
Celebrant: Marry Me Megan
Photography: Amanda Alessi Photography
Planning / Styling: Kath at Bow Creative
Florist: Tweed Twigs
Hair: Shannon Brache Hair
Make-up: Make Up by Sophie Knox
The dress: Caleche Bridal
Suits: MJ Bale
Favours: The Cancer Council Donation
Cake / Cake topper: Made by a family friend
Stationery / Signage: Studio Nard
Entertainment: Paper Hearts
Linen: Table Art Event Hire