Real Wedding – Catherine & Haydn, Elsternwick VIC
Real Wedding – Catherine & Haydn, Elsternwick VIC
Real Wedding – Catherine & Haydn, Elsternwick VIC
Real Wedding – Catherine & Haydn, Elsternwick VIC

Real Wedding – Catherine & Haydn, Elsternwick VIC


They say that opposites attract and this was definitely the case when Catherine and Haydn met through their work place. However, when it came to their planning, this darling duo were absolutely on the same page for their stunning celebration.

Using the venue as their style inspiration, they kept things natural with classic greens and whites, bringing old world timeless romance to the day.

Long Way Home Photography were there to capture all the magic and love filled moments.


In Catherine’s words…


The meeting.

We met at work in 2010. We would have a chat in the kitchen or at Friday night drinks and I enjoyed his company. But I just assumed I wasn’t his type as we were very different. So, when he actually took me out on our first date, I didn’t even realise it was a date!  I thought he was just being a nice guy, thankfully I soon got the memo in time to avoid sending some very wrong signals…


The ‘one’.

Haydn and I are polar opposites.  I’m from the city, Haydn’s from the country; he’s sporty and I’m a bookworm; Haydn loves to crank up the heater whilst I don’t feel the cold – we are the true embodiment of opposites attract. Yet our differences have only brought us closer and shaped us to be better individuals.  For me there wasn’t one light bulb moment when I knew he was ‘the one’.  It was more a recognition that grew over time that life is so much more fulfilling with him and that we make one formidable team.


The proposal.

We were at Phillip Island where Haydn’s family normally holiday at the end of every year. Haydn somehow convinced me to go for a run along the beach at 5:30am.  Half way along as the sun was rising Haydn stopped me, got down on one knee and asked me the question.  I was shocked, surprised and wondered why he would ask me this very important question while I was so hot and sweaty!  That feeling quickly passed and I obviously said yes.  Let’s just say there was no more running after that!


Planning process.

I’m a control freak but very indecisive – this is a dangerous combination when it comes to planning an event as big as a wedding.  My maid of honour along with my now-husband did an amazing job to help encourage me to go with my gut and not second guess myself.  I also had to get comfortable relinquishing a bit of control and trusting that my amazing Tribe of suppliers knew what they were doing and would nail it (which they did).


Style inspiration.

The biggest style inspiration was the venue.  Rippon Lea screams old world timeless romance, so it seemed only natural that this should be our theme. We decided to go with classic green and white for the flowers and keep any extra styling to a minimum as we didn’t want to take away from the amazing heritage features of the house and gardens.


The dress.

I chose a fitted crepe and lace dress by Pronovias.  The front was quite simple, but the back was low cut with gorgeous lace cut-outs and a breathtaking long train.  I was stoked to find something that suited my style as well as the venue.  I’m very petite so knew I needed to find a dress which didn’t engulf me.  It was important that I wore the dress and the dress didn’t wear me!  By chance, my dress was the first one I tried on, but it took quite a few more dresses after that to figure that out.  As I tried on others, my mind kept drifting back to it and nothing matched the way it made me feel.  I knew then that it was the perfect one for me.


Favourite moment.

Although seeing and laughing with all our friends and family was great fun, there are two moments at the ceremony that particularly touched me:

Walking down the aisle with my mother and father.  My mother has been battling cancer and undergoing chemo.  I cannot express in words how grateful I am that she was there on this important day.  Even though it was a traditional ‘dad job’, I wanted her to be by my side (literally!) as I walked to my soon-to-be husband.  She looked amazing.

We chose to write our own vows and it was so special to share them with each other and those nearest and dearest to us.



I was lucky to wear the earrings my mother wore to her wedding, that were in turn gifted to her by my grandmother.  I hope to give these to my daughter one day to wear on her wedding day.

My now mother-in-law arranged good luck charms for all the kids to put over my wrist after the ceremony.  I later found out that she actually made them by hand out of her own wedding dress, to pass on luck from her own 40-plus year marriage.  I was extremely touched.

My uncle led a “Yum Seng”, a traditional Cantonese type of “cheers” where people toast to the couple and shout “Yum Seng!!” for as long and as loud as they can.  Not all the guests were familiar with the tradition but happily rolled with it and joined in!


Meaning of marriage.

Marriage is a commitment to love, support and stand by one another, no matter what may come.  Before, I probably didn’t know what to make of marriage but having been married for a few months now, I can say that marriage brings a special meaning and weight to our relationship.


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: Sea of Love by Cat Power

Post ceremony: Somewhere over the rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

Reception entry: Locked out of heaven by Bruno Mars

First Dance: Can’t take my eyes off you by Lauryn Hill

Party Starter: Happy by Pharrell Williams


Funny stories (or near disasters).

The night before the wedding I had this sudden worry that I wouldn’t be able to dance in my long wedding dress.  So, on the morning of my wedding day, I actually went shopping for a second outfit! Thankfully Alice McCall had the most beautiful playsuit which suited me perfectly.  But it probably wasn’t ideal going shopping on my wedding day!


Planning surprises.

I was surprised how early things get booked up and the lead time required to order/book some items (like wedding dresses).


Words of wisdom.

Use your budget wisely and think about what’s worth spending on versus saving on.  For instance, we saved by printing our own invitations and stationery, but felt our guests would appreciate more canapes and premium beer at the reception.

Try not to delay the honeymoon too long.  Haydn and I were exhausted after all the wedding festivities, not just from the planning and excitement but all the emotion.  It is really overwhelming to have all your friends and family there just for you.  We definitely appreciated a quick break and some “time out” for the two of us.

Remember it’s only the wants and needs of you two that matter, regardless of how much others may impose their opinion.   No one else will look back on the day with such fondness and happiness as you two so go with what you want.



Love this style of photography? Check out more of Long Way Home’s portfolio here.



Ceremony and reception venue: Rippon Lea Gardens

Celebrant/Officiant: Natasha Webb

Photography: Long Way Home – I’m so happy I found Steph.  Her relaxed and kind nature made us feel so at ease and her talent speaks through the pictures we received.  The photos were natural, candid and captured exactly the feel of the day.

Florist: Pomp & Splendour

Hair and makeup: Susan Lee

The Dress: Pronovias (purchased from Eternal Weddings)

Veil / headwear:  Eternal Weddings

Bride’s Shoes: Charles & Keith

Rings: Diamondline Jewellery

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Cooper St

Bridesmaid’s shoes: Tony Bianco

Groom’s suit: MJ Bale

Groom’s Shoes: Aquila

Bow ties / ties: Jeff Banks

Catering: Peter Rowland

Cake / Cake topper: Miss Ladybird Cakes

Stationery / Signage: Etsy

Entertainment: Rachel Costanzo (DJ & Singer)

Transport: Envirofleet

Honeymoon: Maldives

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