Real Wedding – Danielle & James, Geelong VIC
Real Wedding – Danielle & James, Geelong VIC
Real Wedding – Danielle & James, Geelong VIC
Real Wedding – Danielle & James, Geelong VIC

Real Wedding – Danielle & James, Geelong VIC


Beginning with a friendship and blossoming into romance, Danielle and James’ wedding is pure celebratory vibes, timeless elegance and truly magical moments. After setting their non-negotiables, these two gorgeous souls created an epic destination party with divine food, wine, and stunning style.

A warm colour palette of dusky pinks and endless vanilla contrasted perfectly with the natural wooden timbers and barrel wall of Mount Duneed Estate. Bridesmaids in soft taupe juxtaposed against the gents in classic noir added a modern touch, while James was every bit the handsome groom, filled with emotion as he watched his bride make her way towards him.

Danielle wore a sublime sheath gown by our friend Luci Di Bella, custom designed for maximum impact. Contemporary lines create the canvas for subtle all-over beading, while the sheer back detailing finishes the look to perfection.

As the night kicked on, Danielle switched out her gown for a sassy Rebecca Vallance number, ready to hit the dance floor, care of music masters Logan Entertainment. There to capture every blissed-out moment was photography talent Ryal Sormaz.

The meeting.

We both worked at PwC and were actually on a mutual mission to hook up James’ friend with my friend, which involved a group hang at two AFL games. James and I got along really well as friends, but nothing eventuated at this point.

James went on a boy’s trip to Europe in mid-2017, and upon his return, we had a work function that we both attended. The rest was history!


The ‘one’.

After three months of dating, I did my ACL and was banished to the couch for surgery and to recover. I was beyond impressed with James’ caring nature when he decided to stay at home with me one particular night and cook me dinner and keep me company rather than go out with mates. It was at this moment I knew I had found someone special.

James knew I was the one when we were able to get through my surgeries, and he realised he didn’t want to be anywhere else but by my side when I was recovering.


The proposal.

James had planned a birthday lunch at Tedesca Osteria down in Red Hill, but unfortunately, it had to be postponed due to COVID. James used the rescheduled lunch to plan a beautiful proposal. He drove us down to the restaurant, telling me it was just a late birthday lunch and then, after lunch, drove me to Cape Schank lighthouse. I knew the moment we pulled up into the car park that he was going to propose as he started leading me down the track in high heels. He stopped at a lovely opening and popped the question. In addition, he had also booked two nights in a suite at Zagame’s House back in Carlton so we could celebrate the engagement.


Planning process.

Once engaged, James and I sat down and determined our non-negotiables for the big day, and this helped guide us when planning our wedding. The non-negotiables were:

The wedding could not finish any time before 12pm as we wanted our wedding to be a big celebration/party (this cancelled out a lot of venues).

It had to be held somewhere where guests could spend a weekend away (most of our guests were from Melbourne), so Barwon Heads was the perfect weekend getaway.

The venue had to have amazing food and wine options.

Once we had this list in place, we got cracking on finding a location and landed on Mt Duneed Estate, which had great reviews.

The planning process after choosing a venue was very enjoyable. I love researching and spreadsheets, so I would put together vendor shortlists, and James would help meet with the vendors to make a final decision.

Luckily COVID was over when we started planning, so there were no stressful moments.


Style inspiration. 

Simple elegance was the two words we kept coming back to. We wanted something we could look back on in 10-20 years’ time and know that the colours, décor and our overall impression of the wedding would still be the same. As such, we chose a black tux for James and black suits for the boys, sand colour for the bridesmaids, and white and green for the flowers and asked all our guests to dress in Lounge Suit theme.

The majority of our inspiration came from looking at real weddings on Ivory Tribe, following different styles and photography vendors on Instagram, such as Poni Studio and Lou Lou Memphis, and talking to our venue (Mt Duneed), who also gave us a heap of great options.

The most useful inspiration was real weddings, where we could pick out things we loved and exclude those we didn’t like.


The ceremony.

The ceremony was one of our best memories of the day! We both recall only having eyes for each other from the moment I walked down the aisle until we got to the end of the aisle and started getting congratulations from everyone. I also got both my mum and dad to walk me halfway down the aisle, and then I walked the remaining on my own.

We also wanted a very modern ceremony, and therefore it started with our celebrant telling our story. We both wrote our own vows, which were very special, and we also chose not to sign the marriage certificate during the ceremony and do it in a more private setting with both our mums after everyone had left to go get drinks and canapes. This meant that the ceremony could flow without guests having to wait while we were signing.


The look. 

For James, it was very simple; we wanted something that was classic and therefore landed on a black tux. We wanted James to have the experience, though, so we went to Oscar Hunt and got him a custom-made tux.

For me, it was super difficult, as I am nearly six foot tall and therefore, all dresses that I tried on that come in standard sizing did not fit me properly. In the end, Luci Di Bella was recommended to me and from the moment I met her, I knew I was going to get my dress made by her.

I knew I wanted a slimline dress that had beading detail, and Luci worked with me to design a beautiful dress that suited my figure and shape.


Favourite moments.

James’ favourite moment of the day was seeing me for the first time as I walked down the aisle.

For me, there were too many special moments throughout the day, but if I narrow them down, it would be:

Seeing James for the first time as I walked down the aisle – there was so much built-up emotion that when I saw him, I got very emotional.

Getting photos after the ceremony – we thought we would hate it, but it was a moment where to spend with each other before the chaos of the rest of the night and just enjoy each other’s company.

The first dance. When the dance started, the blinkers were on, and we were just in the moment.


Meaning of marriage.

Spending the rest of my life creating special moments with our best friend.


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: Power of Love by Music Travel Love – sung acoustically by Logan Entertainment

Reception entry: Disco Inferno by The Tramps

First dance: Biblical by Callum Scott


Funny stories or near disasters.

So, three months out from the wedding, we found out that Rod Stewart had been booked to play at Mt Duneed Estate the day after our wedding. This meant that the whole venue would be set up for A Day on the Green with staging, food trucks, portaloos etc. Mt Duneed was very good when they found out and did whatever they could to make the day still feel special.

The funny story is that Rod Stewart actually got sick that day and couldn’t play.


Planning surprises.

Rod Stewart! And also the cost of certain items. Other than that, nothing took us by surprise.


Words of wisdom.

Do as much of the organising and planning as far in advance as you can, as the last couple of weeks before the wedding will already be busy.

Enjoy every moment – everyone says it goes really fast, but it honestly does. My partner and I wish we had made more special moments throughout the night, just the two of us.








Ceremony & reception venue: Mt Duneed Estate

Celebrant: Kahani Marriage Celebrant

Photography: Ryal Sormaz

Videography: Annette & Dani

Florist: Flair to Make You Stare

Hair: Alex Fielding Hair

Make-up: Montanna Yates

The dresses: Luci Di Bella – 1st Dress, Rebecca Vallance – 2nd Dress.

Veil: Luci Di Bella

Shoes: Harlo Alexandra

Rings: Old Gallery Bridge Jeweller, Florence

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec + Bridge

Suits: James – Oscar Hunt, groomsmen – MJ Bale

Bow ties / ties: MJ Bale

Cake: Leanne’s Cakes Geelong

Entertainment: Logan Entertainment

Transport: Abda Bus Company

Décor: Candle Co Australia

Honeymoon: Bali

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