Real Wedding – Chris & Emma, Gippsland VIC
Chris and Emma’s divine day was a captivatingly crafted concoction of meaningful details, timeless connections, and the sweetest undertone of classic romance.
A celebration ten years in the making, Emma and Chris’s story played out in the perfect unfolding of relaxed elegance. From the start, these two stunning souls chose to weave in the things most important to them; a strong sense of family, of their personal histories, and of the people that enrich their lives. The result was a day that looked, and felt, incredible and impactful.
Choosing a soft colour palette of ivory, whisps of cotton-candy pink and warm forest green created a vision of fresh, crisp romance, of history reworked and old becoming new again, all tied together by the arc emblem that appears through the theming. Linens in powdery white and the softest hint of clean blush pink frame artfully arranged bouquets of beautiful blossoms, lit by garlands of festoon.
Scroll through to see how Emma and Chris connected it all through memory and symbolism, captured through Samantha Elizabeth’s artful lens.
We met at school in 2007 when Chris was the new guy, joining mid-term of year seven. Over the next two years, we became closer as friends until 31 January 2011, when Chris asked me to be his girlfriend.
It was relatively early on. I am really close to my family and so watching Chris embrace them as his own and his willingness to give up weekends to help on the property, attend multiple family dinners a week and even go on trips with my family spoke volumes to me as I knew this was a quality I needed in a partner for the rest of my life.
As a surprise birthday present, Chris organised lunch and night away in the Yarra Valley to get a bottle of Shiraz Gin that I was hoping to find. After lunch at Levantine Hill, we drove to Kangaroo Ridge Retreat, a private cabin with valley views. While admiring the sunset and drinking sparkling red wine, Chris got on one knee and popped the big question, responded to with a big (and long-awaited) YES!
We had been together for eight and a half years when we got engaged, so in some ways, by then we had a good understanding of what would be important to us for the day, and in turn, in the planning process.
With our 10-year anniversary less than 18 months away, it was an easy decision for us to select the date. On reflection, this made our planning process much easier, as throughout the changing restrictions relating to COVID-19 and living in Victoria, we agreed that we would proceed with getting married on that date, regardless of the restriction impacts, even with fewer guests, no dancing, face masks etc.
As for the venue, we both grew up locally, and the landscape of Mewburn Park was so reflective of the family farm I grew up on, and the entire venue aligned so well with our vision of relaxed elegance. We looked at the venue about a month after getting engaged and booked shortly after; we didn’t even look elsewhere. It just felt so right for us.
All of the other details and vendors fell into place from there; we got in early to pick our dream team and are so grateful for their flexibility and support as we spent 2020 readjusting, coming up with B and C plans and wondering what our day would look like due to COVID-19.
One piece of advice we learnt was to sit down before you start planning and, as a couple, agree on the priorities for the day. We are foodies, so excellent food and drinks were important to us; we also wanted it to be visually beautiful and for all of our guests to feel comfortable and appreciated for their impact on our lives.
As for the styling, we wanted to create something unique and reflective of us. We would describe our style for the day as relaxed elegance. Linen tablecloths and napkins, gold and white cutlery, green, white and blush florals formed organically, romantic candles and our cake design were all important elements in achieving this. We also centred our design around the shape of an arch which was reflective in our invitations, signage and the custom arches made for our ceremony and reception space.
With all the uncertainty 2020 brought, we were truly just so grateful and appreciative to have 89 of our nearest and dearest there to celebrate with us.
Our ceremony was held in the front gardens of the property and was quite relaxed. We had two pageboys commence the proceedings down the aisle with my brother and his partner. Following them was our flower girl and three bridesmaids. I walked down the aisle with both my parents by my side to Chris standing with his three groomsmen.
We laughed and cried through our ceremony and had both written our own vows, which was incredibly special. We both have one brother each, so we had asked them to accept one of the biggest roles of the day, which was to witness our marriage and support us for the rest of our lives. These moments and the photos of these are so precious.
We also worked closely with our stylist, Lauren, to gracefully incorporate our grandparents, who are no longer with us, into our day. We included photos of them on their wedding days, all six of them being married until they passed. We also included large candles in pillars with their names on them that burnt through the ceremony and until the reception finished.
Finally, the dried petal for our toss were all picked from our family members gardens.
All of these details were important to us.
Aligning with how we wanted the day to feel, I also wanted my dress to be classic and simple. Starting the process, I was somewhat overwhelmed but was recommended Twelve South Bridal, and I couldn’t have been more grateful for the owner, Grace. She was so warm and welcoming and made everything suddenly feel so easy and exciting. We tried on a few dresses before she got her pencil out and drew a sketch of what I had in my mind. From there, the dress was created, and after a few fittings it was perfect.
I loved the matte organza combined with the satin skirt and the symbolism of the knot that connected the bands going over and around my shoulder. Grace also sourced me the perfect veil, which my mum then embroidered our wedding date onto.
As for the shoes and accessories, I had two pairs of shoes, one higher and one with a lower heel; both were from the Iconic. My earrings were from Bianc and featured large freshwater pearls. I wore two Tiffany & Co bracelets that Chris had previously given me, and in my hair, I wore two family heirlooms on one side of my bun.
There are so many, but if I had to pick one or two, it would be holding Chris’s hand during the ceremony. Time just seemed to stand still at that moment. Also, the moments after we left the ceremony when it was just our bridal party and us realising we were officially married!
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage is getting to ride the highs and lows with your best friend. It won’t always be easy, but it’s choosing that person every single day.
All songs were performed acoustically.
Prelude: I Will Wait by Matt Johnson & Amber Leigh Irish
Ceremony: The Well by SAILR
Signing: You Make My Dreams Come True by Alexis Francis
Reception entry: Dance Monkey by Tones & I
First dance: Stay With You by John Legend, which was then mixed into Dancing in the Moonlight by Top Loader
Funny stories or near disasters.
The bridal car that Chris and his groomsmen were travelling in broke down halfway to the venue. A few quick decisions later, Chris and the groomsmen were in the second bridal car and on the way to get married with the other car left on the side of the road to be fixed!
The process just reinforced to me that while on the day you just roll with whatever happens, you can’t be too organised in the lead up to the day. One day it’s three months away, and before you know it, it’s the week before!
Words of wisdom.
Do what is best for you two. For us, it was letting go of some ‘traditions’ that just didn’t align with us and our wedding (e.g. flower and garter toss, the bridal party entering as couples). Also, for the brides, try and enjoy the process and the anticipation; it’s such a special and short time in the scheme of life.
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CHRIS & EMMA’S VENDORS:
Ceremony and reception venue: Mewburn Park Homestead, Tinamba
Celebrant: Kellie Eddy
Photography: Samantha Elizabeth Photography
Videography: Ollie Media
Styling: Etc Events
Florist: Benita Tscharke Floral Design
Hair: Alchemy Bridal
The dress and veil: Twelve South Bridal, Bespoke Dress
Shoes: The Iconic
Rings: Paul Bram
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Fame and Partners – Custom Studio
Groomsmen’s suits and bow ties: MJ Bale
Catering: Tinamba Hotel
Favours: DIY, Sugar Cookies with Gold Leaf
Cake / Cake topper: Torte by Mirjana
Entertainment: Danny Eddy & Band
Transport: Family Vintage Car for Bridal Party and Wynne’s Coaches Maffra for Guests
Décor and hire: Coordinated by Etc Events
Honeymoon: Jackalope Hotel, Mornington Peninsula
Tanning: Natan by Natalie