Real Wedding – Chris & Joy, Emerald VIC
To be married in her parent’s garden was a dream come true for bride Joy, who wed longtime love Chris in the most magic of settings.
Taking planning in their stride, the pair created an affair to remember. Festoon lights lined the romantic backyard and fabulous florals definitely set the scene. However what they loved most was being surrounded by their loved ones as they danced the night away.
Enlisting the expertise of Tribe favourite, Blossom Daisy Creative, Chris and Joy’s dream day was truly a dream come true.
In Joy’s words…
It’s a good story! It was 2010, and I was 17 years old, had just finished Year 12 and was on my first ever overseas holiday (other than family trips) with my first boyfriend. We were on Phi Phi Island in Thailand, and as he and I were having lunch Chris happened to walk past with his best mate Nath. Ironically, they had gone to high school with my ex-boyfriend. If it wasn’t for him I possibly would never have met Chris! They chatted about what a small world it was to run into each other on Phi Phi Island, and we bumped into them again that night on the beach. Chris and I chatted about our lives back in Melbourne.
When my ex and I broke up about a year later, Chris was straight onto Facebook messaging me! That was 2011 and we have been together since.
I had still been in the mindset that it was too soon after my previous boyfriend to be getting into another long term relationship so was just taking everything as it came. I remember being at work in my retail job when mum text me saying I had received a postcard. Three months after starting to date, Chris had gone to Europe for a month. Mum sent me a photo of the postcard and it was from Chris who had sent it from Amsterdam! He had remembered my address off by heart and said he wanted to brighten up my day and to say hi to my family for him. I remember reading this, looking at my friend I was working with and saying, “Crap, I think I am in love!” It caught me totally by surprise!
It was coming up to our 7 year anniversary and we had booked our favourite campsite at Pt Leo as a late Christmas present that coincidentally was only available the weekend of our anniversary. The week leading up to it he kept continually saying how lucky we were the forecast was for sun, and I did think he is really obsessed with this weather forecast! We had already said we wanted to walk along the beach from Pt Leo to Shoreham, but then he suggested we pack a picnic because it is a 5km walk. I would never say no to a picnic! We woke up early that morning and watched the sunrise over the beach which was beautiful! Chris seemed a bit quiet but was in a good mood so I thought he was just relaxed. He was in the process of interviewing for a new job AND we were putting an offer in on a house so I had wondered if that was playing into it.
We walked along the beach, the sun was shining and we chatted easily the whole way. When we got to Shoreham Chris picked an AMAZING spot up on the hill overlooking the beach. He pulled out all my favourite snacks and wine. I still wasn’t really suspicious but did think it was weird of him to buy so many of my favourites for a casual camping weekend. I opened the wine, handed it to him and he absolutely swigged it from the bottle! Again, I thought he must just be thirsty from the walk! Chris suggested we take some photos, and told me to pose looking out at the ocean, back to him. This is where I started to get suspicious because he HATES social media and staged photos. He basically yelled, “JOY BULLOCK!!” I turned around fast wondering what was wrong and swore! (I did not expect to swear and wish I had done something more romantic haha!) He was on one knee with a ring in his hand, and asked me to marry him. I don’t remember it clearly but remember saying yes and laughing in shock, pulling him up and hugging him. We drank the rest of the wine, ate and listened to music while he told me all the awesome stories of him sneaking around for months planning the whole thing! We walked back an hour later and rang our families and friends. It was perfect!
I’d known for years that I wanted to get married in my parent’s garden so that meant I could start the planning process easily by basing our date around our photographers availabilities. My parents started getting the garden and house ready straight away!
I love organising so took the whole process on myself. I didn’t really have many close friends who had been married before me so I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. We mainly relied on bulk spreadsheets and tried to plan everything to a T. As the wedding was in my parent’s garden, I really didn’t want them to feel like they had to step in and ‘host’ so tried to ensure I had organised as much as I possibly could. I ran a lot of decisions by my bridesmaids as we are all super close, but mainly tried to go with my gut which was right every time!
A lot of our vendors were well known to us or came highly recommended, so I felt really comfortable with the team involved. My mum was also a massive help and did so much to prepare things for the house and garden. We also hired a friend to be the on-the-day who kept things running smoothly so that myself and Mum could just enjoy the whole day!
I wanted our wedding to be relaxed and feel like ‘us’, not something super showy or too formal. I knew I wanted festoon lights and long, sharing style tables and this was a good starting point for the styling. I wanted natural colours like wood and whites, lots of the gardens greenery showing, the festoon lights shining under the stars and for everything else to be quite simplistic! We also had a lounge area with lots of comfy cane chairs my mum sourced and layered rugs for people to relax on. The garden was a feature and the open air setting was perfect. I had seen a few weddings at Fig Tree in Byron Bay which stuck with me as styling inspo, but mainly just tried to tune in to what I liked and what fit us as a couple.
I had a dress pinned on Pinterest for years so when it came to having to start properly searching for one I went back to that. It was by a designer called Marquise Bridal so I got in contact with Megan and made an appointment. Marquise Bridal was the first appointment with all my bridesmaids there, so was already special! I tried on the dress I had pinned which was the ‘Berlin’, and the look on my bridesmaid’s faces when I walked out was the best! I felt really sexy, confident and like myself. I had a few other appointments elsewhere afterwards, but knew in my gut I wanted the Berlin! I am so glad I chose this dress – the process with Megan was amazing and I felt like a goddess on my wedding day! I got so many compliments on my dress and couldn’t recommend Marquise Bridal enough.
So many! But two spring to mind. The first was when Chris and I entered the reception area in the backyard after getting family photos. We had no formal entry so just snuck down the path and were able to take in the whole space for the first time. The festoon lights were on, all our loved ones were chatting and the sun was starting to set. It was beautiful!
The second moment was during the last song of the night, which my bridesmaid had requested and it was Chris’ favourite, Paul Kelly’s ‘How to Make Gravy’. There were about 20 remaining guests, who gathered around us in a circle and sang and danced. I just remember swaying in the middle with Chris, the full moon above us and feeling so loved! Some of our guests were even crying! It was such a love-filled moment.
Meaning of marriage.
Over the last 8 years we have had so many epic experiences, challenges, opportunities and memories together. The wedding itself gives us a chance to celebrate these with the people we love, who have all had input into those memories over the years. To me, marriage itself is a commitment to each other that acknowledges the role we play in each other’s lives, the balance we have found and the love we share. It’s not restrictive or “just a piece of paper”, it is us reflecting on everything we have done up until this point, and wanting to create new memories in all the phases of life that come our way.
Aisle: Chateau (Acoustic) by Angus and Julia Stone
Signing: Love on the Weekend by John Mayer and Only Love by Ben Howard
Just Married: Loving is Easy by Rex Orange County
First dance: Sugar by Maroon 5
Funny stories (or near disasters).
A week out the forecast was not looking great for the Friday (our set up day) and the Saturday of the wedding. Not only was I finally starting to panic about this, I also woke up with a giant pimple! We had no back up plan if it rained, because I had always firmed believed it wouldn’t rain. So that forecast shook me a little! Luckily the forecast changed (classic Melbourne) and it was a perfect 24 degrees. The pimple went down and I was happy!
We also had sent my wedding ring off to be resized, but after getting it back the Thursday night we realised the jeweler hadn’t even touched it! It was still 4 sizes too big! We woke up on the Friday and rang all the local jewelers and thankfully Monbulk Jeweller resized it within a matter of hours.
Weddings are expensive! I’d obviously known that, but couldn’t believe it when some of the quotes started to roll in! Also the pressure these days from Instagram and Pinterest to have a #insta wedding is so engrained! I found I had to really separate what I wanted from what is everywhere on the ‘gram.
Words of wisdom.
Ditch any tradition or expectation that doesn’t sit right with you or makes no sense! We spent the night before together, enjoyed a chilled coffee in the morning, and chatted about our hopes for the day before Chris left to get ready with his groomsmen. We didn’t cut the cake, didn’t have an official Maid of Honour or Best Man, no garters and no boring, slow First Dance. We asked our guests to join us for our first dance and started the dance floor early by choosing Sugar by Maroon 5 for this. We also did a First Look, which I would highly recommend!
Go with your gut! We did and I believe that’s why we had a team of vendors who ended up feeling like friends. Our guests felt the relaxed atmosphere and this showed – the smiles in the photos are proof!
Garden glamour right up your alley? See more celebrations set in the great outdoors here.
CHRIS AND JOY’S TRIBE
Ceremony venue / location: Private residence, Emerald VIC – My family home!
Celebrant/Officiant: Natalie Drum – We love her! And we had rave reviews from our guests, so much so a bunch of our friends are pinning her down for their future weddings! She just fit our vibe – so many celebrants recommended to us came across as so old school and cringey.
Photography: Blossom Daisy Creative – I’ve known Cass for years and we always knew we wanted her! We booked our date based on her availabilities. She was amazing!
Styling: Myself with the help of my mum
Florist: Lowevly Flowers – Another personal connection who we have known for years. I loved my flowers and am still obsessed with them when I look back at the photos!
Hair: Vim Hair Salon – My hairdresser! The girls were amazing and fit our vibe perfectly.
Make-up: Blush & Brows – Another one we have known since high school. She was an easy pick when it came to make up.
The Dress: Marquise Bridal – I secretly had a Marquise Bridal dress pinned on Pinterest for about 4 years, long before we were engaged! Miraculously it turned out to be the dress I ended up choosing, which hopefully shows how timeless it is!
Veil / headwear: Datto Bridal Design – Just a cheapie I found on Facebook Marketplace of all places!
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Seed Heritage, Keepsake the Label and Bec and Bridge – I asked the girls to choose their own dresses so they felt comfortable in what they were wearing. I went with white and it was the best choice. They were glowing angels!
Groomsmen’s suits: H&M and Connor
Catering: The Grub Club – Another connection we had known for years! Our local fave café whose food we have been feasting on for many, many brunches.
Favours: Personalised biscuits made by a friend
Cake / Cake topper: Mum! After 10 trials, she nailed the recipe I wanted. Mum and a family friend decorated it the morning of the wedding.
Stationery / Signage: Stationery was designed by me and the signage was hand written by a friend – Pen To Paige.
Entertainment: DJ Chris Passa – Passa was recommended to us by several friends, and then it randomly turned out he had been DJing my work Christmas party for years which sealed the deal for me.
Transport: Uber! The driver’s face when we got in at the end of the night was priceless
Honeymoon: Canggu, Bali