Real Wedding – Chris & Caitlyn, Yarra Glen VIC
Ambient warmth, autumnal hues and an effortless sense of style coalesce to sweet perfection in Caitlyn and Chris’ dream day. With an A+ team backing them to realise their vision, these two stunning souls basked in relaxed romance and beautiful emotion from beginning to end.
Prioritising highlighting rather than overwhelming the timeless style of Zonzo allowed florist extraordinaire The Redwood Florist to work a harmonious vision. Arrangements based around skyward-reaching levels, cascading blooms and a multitude of floral forms create a sense of whimsical elegance, while the palette of vibrant tangerine, deep rusts, creamy vanilla and muted cobalt add a sense of dynamic energy.
Whilst Chris encapsulates laid-back luxe in his stone-hued jacket and black chinos, Caitlyn went for the perfect blend of vintage glam meets contemporary chic. She simply glows in a custom gown by fashion favourites d’Italia, with bold gossamer sleeves and statement headpiece.
There to ensure every moment is an aural treat are our friends at Hey Jack, transitioning the vibe from ceremony sweet to dance floor heat.
Scroll on to see every darling detail through the lens of photographer superstar Nikki McCrone.
It was August 2016. Chris’ work company hold a big annual gala event. One of my best friends, Nellie, was dating Jedd at the time (now married and also featured on Ivory Tribe Real Weddings!) and Jedd worked with Chris. I went along with Nellie, Jedd and their gang as a plus-one. Chris was on our table. We got to talking, and the rest is history!
It’s almost hard to pinpoint a moment because it’s hard to remember what it felt like not to love each other! We were instantly drawn to each other when we met, and before we knew it, I was spending more time at Chris’ house than my own. We slotted into each other’s lives and families in a way that just made sense.
We were off to see Hamilton and booked a stay at Crown for two nights. I came back to the room after a massage and noticed the bed made and a bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine on the table. At first, I thought it was housekeeping and then walked towards it, realising it was from Chris. I asked, “Did you get this for me?” And turned around, Chris was on one knee and said, “And I got you something else too.” Instant tears. I had kicked one shoe off at some stage, so there I was with oily hair and one shoe on being proposed to. It was totally us. My first words among hysterical crying were, “Are you sure – I only have one shoe on??”
Our first step was locking in our date and venue. We then worked through the big ticket items like photographer, celebrant, entertainment, accommodation and florist and also commenced the process with d’Italia for my dress.
Our general approach was not to second guess our instincts and to try not to feel overwhelmed by the choice of vendors. For example, we only visited two venues in person, and Nikki (photographer), Prue (celebrant) and Louise (The Redwood Florist), were the only vendors of their type that we met with. We had been selective and had a good feeling before reaching out for a meeting, and then the meetings just confirmed that the vibe was right, and these were our people!
We wanted to embrace a May / Autumn wedding with our colour scheme and general styling. We went with dark olive green Shona Joy bridesmaids dresses with felt very Autumn and then complemented this with rusty orange tones for our nieces. We didn’t necessarily want our wedding to feel too formal, which is why our nieces were in less traditional flower girl dresses (from Aere) and the boys in their blazers, chinos and boots.
We loved what Zonzo’s ambience had to offer on its own (the big window in the Capella, the timber table tops in the reception space and the lighting) so we didn’t feel we needed to overcrowd the space. Louise from the Redwood Florist did the most beautiful job of bringing this all together with pops of orange, varying textures and beautifully styled floral arrangements that she then relocated to the fireplace in our reception. We feel like all these elements came together!
We took a lot of inspiration from real weddings, especially Instagram posts from wedding vendors in Victoria. The Instagram tags were a huge help, and I would find myself down a deep Instagram hole going from tag to tag. But it was really useful and how we landed on most of our vendors!
We have seven nieces and nephews aged one to thirteen, and we knew that we wanted them to be involved in some way. We had them all walk/stumble/get carried down the aisle as a collective. Our oldest nephew read the Acknowledgement of Land, and our oldest niece helped us in lighting a candle for Chris’ late Dad. We were also able to incorporate contributions from some of our other favourite people who were outside the bridal party – Caitlyn’s mum gave a reflection, and we had Chris’ sisters and two of Caitlyn’s best friends among the witnesses and ring bearers. It wasn’t about giving everyone a job, but it felt really meaningful to have these important people play a special role in our ceremony.
Our celebrant, Prue Takle, did the MOST wonderful job of setting the tone for our ceremony. We wanted moments of light and shade, for it to feel authentic to us and, above all, for it to be joyful. Prue nailed the brief; we couldn’t have been happier!
I (Caitlyn) knew even before getting engaged that the traditional wedding dress experience probably wouldn’t suit me. So, in a slightly controversial move, I didn’t try on a single wedding dress! I had my sights set on some key elements (a statement sleeve and a headband), and so I decided to go the custom route. I worked with d’Italia, who designed and created my dress (and headband) and I was so overwhelmed with their care and skill. I also knew I wanted a chunky shoe that struck the balance between statement and letting the dress do the talking – enter trusty Wittners.
Chris – unbelievably straightforward! He knew he wanted a stone-coloured jacket and chinos and to spend the day in his dependable RMs. We went to Politix at David Jones, and he had picked the jacket and pants within minutes! So, we averaged out our outfit-finding process this way!
It’s so hard to pick just one! Some highlights – waking up to a beautiful clear sky at Yering Gorge Cottages and thinking, “We’re getting married today”.
For Caitlyn, the moment the entrance music started up and I was standing with my Dad, ready to walk down the aisle (instantly overcome with emotion).
For Chris, when we walked into the canape hour after having some photos and got to see all our friends and family enjoying themselves, formally entering our reception, hitting the d-floor and dancing the night away with our favourite people!
Meaning of marriage.
A further strengthening of our commitment to our life together, which we continue to build. A daily promise to show up for each other as a teammate and spouse.
Ceremony songs were all performed acoustically by Romy from Hey Jack.
Aisle: Simply The Best by Tina Turner
Signing: I Believe In a Thing Called Love by The Darkness
Recessional: You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates
Reception entry: (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jimmy Barnes version
First dance: We did this a little differently; we didn’t have an official first dance as a couple but instead a first dance with EVERYONE welcomed on to the dancefloor, basically a song to open the d-floor – Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder.
Funny stories or near disasters.
The zipper on my dress was really having a moment ON THE DAY! This was not expected because I had tried it on just days earlier! Between my two sisters, my mum and Nikki McCrone, photographer extraordinaire, it finally went up – crisis averted!
Honestly, the volume of wedding admin! There are lots of emails – from initial enquiries, engaging vendors and then right through the planning process. At times, it felt like having another full-time job (but a great one). That being said, we were so lucky to have very talented and accessible vendors who were great communicators and always available to guide us and answer our (many) questions, and also the best family and friends who were so eager to help in whatever way we needed.
Words of wisdom.
Try to walk the line between knowing your non-negotiables and having a level of flexibility to adapt if elements of your initial vision can’t be achieved or need to be varied. We think it’s important to keep your “couple vibe” at the heart of your planning, but being a bit flexible leaves you open to some wonderful input you will receive from vendors.
There were some elements that we both really wanted, such as staying together the night before, having a first look, travelling to the venue together, no first dance or other formal dances, and short/sharp speeches, no videography, and we stayed true to these elements. That’s not to say that’s the right way, but it felt us, and we’re glad we weren’t pressured into doing something “just because”.
There is no doubt that the soundtrack to your dream day can play a huge part in setting the vibe, beginning with that very first note as you walk down the aisle. But if choosing that very first track can be an overwhelming decision, we’re here to help. Put your air pods on, settle in and enjoy our guide to the best songs to walk down the aisle to.
CHRIS & CAITLYN’S VENDORS
Ceremony & reception venue: Zonzo Estate, Yarra Glen. Zonzo already held a special place for us, but when we went to meet with the wedding team and look at the venue through the lens of a potential wedding location, we were so in love; it’s really a magical place. And the team at Zonzo are the best of the best! We knew we were in good hands right throughout the planning process, and then the day ran SO smoothly.
Celebrant: Prudence Takle Marriage Celebrant. From our first Zoom meeting and all the way through the process, we knew Prue’s vibe was perfect for us. She guided us through the planning process, was so responsive to our questions and ideas, and was unbelievably helpful and creative with her input. Prue gave us the ceremony of our dreams: warm, heartfelt and full of joy. Our family and friends also LOVED our ceremony. Prue was a total pro, but we also always felt like we were talking to a friend who was invested in us!
Photography: Nikki McCrone. We feel so lucky to have had Nikki capture our wedding day. She brought the best energy and made us all feel so at ease…it felt like having photos taken by a good friend or member of the family! Nikki has effortless vibes but also does not miss a beat – we are so blown away by the moments she captured, especially the authentic unplanned ones. We are taken right back to our special day when we look at our photos, and that comes down to Nikki’s unbelievable talent.
Florist: The Redwood Florist. Louise is so talented and passionate, and we were so over the moon with our wedding florals… we are still talking about them. Louise took our idea for autumn-inspired florals and ran with it, producing the most beautiful bouquets that worked so well with our colour scheme and creating an amazing ceremony display with varying textures that could then be repurposed in our reception space. Louise is also so warm and easy to work with.
Hair: Hair by Bianca Louise from Cropped Hair and Beauty. We are so glad we found Bianca! She was so available to me in the lead-up – so accommodating with doing a trial and giving tips for hair preparation for the day. She did the most beautiful job with soft brushed curls for me and my sisters/bridesmaids. We were so in love with our looks! Bianca is so fun and friendly, and it was a joy having her a part of the day.
Make-up: Makeup By Dani Cousens. Dani is so skilled and the ultimate professional. I wanted to feel and look like myself, and Dani really did such a great job; I couldn’t have been happier with my makeup look. She did such a beautiful job of the bridesmaids and also the mother of the bride. She listens and adapts but brings such a high level of quality and knowledge to her work. Dani was also such a calm presence on the morning of the wedding – exactly what we needed.
The dress & viel: d’Italia – custom made. The team at d’Italia made my wedding dress dreams come true. From the design process right through to creation, I knew I was in the hands of very talented people. As someone who wasn’t sure I would ever find a dress that was really “me”, I am overwhelmed when I think about what the design team and then their dressmaker Eva Tomala were able to create for me and how it made me feel. They took my ideas and, with their expertise, experience and skill, gave me a dress more perfect for me than I could have imagined.
Rings: Amie at Pinnacle Diamonds
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Shona Joy
Suits & bow ties / ties: Politix
Cake: Cake lovingly made by Chris’ talented sister Amy, cake topping flowers by The Redwood Florist
Stationery / Signage: CelebrAIT Wedding Co. We are lucky enough to know Cait, and she did an amazing job of designing and sourcing our signage and stationery. She nailed the brief, and the colouring, font and even shape of the signs just tied our other elements together so perfectly.
Entertainment: Hey Jack – acoustic duo Romy and DJ Chris. Our acoustic duo Romy were unbelievable. As soon as I heard our entrance song playing at our ceremony, I was overcome with emotion. It was so, so special and helped set the tone for our ceremony so perfectly! The acoustic vibes as the ceremony transitioned into reception were amazing. And DJ Chris was amazing – had our dance floor pumping from start to finish which was EXACTLY what we wanted. He read the crowd perfectly and made our dance floor dreams come true. The Hey Jack team were great to deal with and really epitomise the best combination of talent, professionalism and fun!
Transport: Yarra Valley Transfers & Tours
Honeymoon: The Maldives
Other: Accommodation and getting ready venue – Yering Gorge Cottages. We had stayed at Yering Gorge Cottages before and fell in love. The individual cottages provided the perfect way for us to stay together the night before, have separate spaces for getting ready and then have our immediate family with us as well. The scenery and second to none and provided the perfect space for our “first look” and our family and bridal party photos, which we wanted to do before the ceremony. We are looking forward to booking anniversary stays at Yering, which we might need to accompany with a meal or glass of vino at Zonzo.