Real Wedding – Emily & Josh, Mornington Peninsula VIC
Ever thought a love of camping could inspire a gorgeously glam wedding celebration? Nature lovers Emily and Josh absolutely nail the brief with their bliss-filled soiree, set against the sweepingly stunning bushland of Tanglewood Estate.
Choosing to honour elements of their personalities and relationship, they perfectly balance natural touches with a chic contemporary vision. Organic floralscapes blend with the ceremony setting, while bridesmaids in harmonious hues of muted greens create a coalescence of colour palettes.
Lit by festoon lighting, cocktails are served around fire pits from a sleek caravan bar, with guests relishing every atmospheric moment. And inside, the rustic beauty of The Winery perfectly foregrounds soft white detailing, natural linen table runners, understated brass accents and candlelight illumination.
For us, this stunning styling is glorious but rightly takes a backseat to the dynamic, smiled-infused emotions of Emily and Josh. Looking like an absolute dream in her gorgeously modern gown by d’Italia, Emily truly glows. Beautifully cut, full-length sleeves add a timeless feel, while crisp bodice cut-outs bring contemporary lines and elevate the overall effect. It’s giving fresh, unique elegance, and we can’t get enough.
Check out every sweetly dynamic moment through the lens of Paul Osta Photography.
We first met as teenagers one summer down here on the Mornington Peninsula. Fast forward ten years later, when our paths collided again at a friend’s farm party in the Yarra Valley. After this, we went on our very first date! The saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ felt very fitting for us.
For Em, it was our Wilsons Prom hike – I was so happy that I had met someone in life that appreciated nature and the outdoors as much as I did. It was so nice to see Josh in his element; the outdoors really brings out our best selves.
For Josh, the moment I decided I wanted to propose was after we bought our first home together. After the adrenaline of the auction and the celebration had settled, there was a sense of certainty that our lives would be spent together forever.
We were a few days into our Tasmanian road trip and had just found the most incredible beachfront camping spot along Binalong Bay, Bay of Fires. After going for a walk to explore the beach and scenery, Josh bent down on one knee and proposed. It was such a special time, just the two of us on the empty beach soaking it up for hours before we told anyone. Given Josh’s interest in photography, he had sent a drone up to shoot some beach footage, so the whole proposal was secretly caught on film.
We really enjoyed planning for the wedding! Once we had chosen our venue, the rest all fell into place so naturally. We often reflect on how nice it was to work together as a team, both having equal parts to play in it all.
We wanted our wedding to reflect us as a couple. Given we are big outdoorsy people who love our camping, we really wanted our guests to feel like they were with us on one of our adventures. We had firepits, festoon lighting and a caravan serving cocktails under the gum trees to create our classy camping vibe. We love earthy, native floristry tones, so this helped guide our colour palette for our bridal party, décor and floristry.
We honestly found Ivory Tribe so helpful for inspiration. There are so many different types of weddings you are bound to find elements that ring true to your own style and budget. Instagram and Pinterest were also very helpful.
Our ceremony was located at the very back of Tanglewood under the gum trees; it was very serene and calm being out in nature. One of our closest friends, El, was our celebrant, which made it all feel very personal.
Our aisle song was really special to us; Moments by Hollow Coves. This song highlights life’s pinch-me moments and how you need to seize these as time is a precious gift. During the ceremony, El asked for everyone to pause, take a deep breath and enjoy the special moment with us.
For Em, I had so much fun going dress shopping and trying on absolutely anything and everything! Although I didn’t find my dress in these shops, I did find lots of style inspiration. I took all the ideas to the wonderful team at D’Italia. Right then and there, they started drawing these ideas on paper, and it was just perfect. D’Italia helped pick my fabric and dress couture – Judith Penak. Judith was wonderful and made the couture experience so special and personal.
For Josh, I wanted to wear a classic, timeless piece that wasn’t overstated. SOHO Workshop had a welcoming feel and tailored all our suits with ease.
The ceremony was one of our favourite parts of the day. To be able to stand up in front of our closest family and friends amongst nature and have one of our closest friends marry us was so special.
Our wedding dance was also a big highlight for us; we think about this moment often. Straight after this, the dancefloor went off and didn’t stop until close – it was just the best.
Specifically for Em, I loved the drive to the wedding. It was such a special intimate time with my mum, dad, sis and best friends before the big day formally commenced! There were lots of giggles and nerves but most of all lots of love.
Meaning of marriage.
For Em, marriage is a promise to be a team and support each other through whatever life throws at you. For Josh, marriage is more than a label; it’s a forever connection, an official team, a support blanket and an everlasting friendship. We are both so lucky to have incredible role models in our lives; both our parents have been married for over 35 years and have always modelled teamwork whilst building a loving family.
Aisle: Moments by Hollow Coves (sung acoustically by our musician Angus Legg)
Recessional: This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole
Reception entry: Foreign Language by Flight Facilities
First dance: Purple by Hollow Coves
Final song: December 1963 (Oh what a night!) by Frankie Valli the Four Seasons
Farewell song: Treat You Better by RUFUS
Funny stories or near disasters.
We wouldn’t call this a disaster; however, it was a very funny process choosing our ceremony location. We knew we wanted it to be outdoors amongst the Australian bush; however, given Tanglewood has 50 acres of this, it was a difficult task! We spent several weekends trialling new spots, looking silly and pretending to stand at the altar. We ended up making our decision last minute on the day!
We had decided to write a personalised message for each of our guests, which we used as place cards. We wanted them to know what they meant to us and how thankful we were to have them there. To our surprise, this process took us a lot longer than expected, given we had 120 guests! Regardless of the time it took, it was a really nice, reflective experience, and we wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Words of wisdom.
Soak up the enjoyment of the planning process and do each step together as a team. On the day, be present and don’t sweat the small stuff, as it’s all part of the experience and memories.
For more real wedding inspo, check out Robbie and Alex’s weekend-long wedstival. Aiming to create a glammed-up family holiday vibe, this is one stunningly styled yet beautifully fun-filled affair.
EMILY & JOSH’S VENDORS
Ceremony location: The gardens at Tanglewood Estate. We loved Tanglewood from the very first visit. This venue brought together two of our favourite things; the beautiful Australian bush and the Mornington Peninsula. Given Josh and I first properly met down here on the Peninsula, it was a very special place.
Reception venue: The Winery at Tanglewood Estate. We loved the modern and romantic vibes of The Winery with its timber-cladding roof, recycled brick walls and polished concrete floors. It was spacious enough to fit all our guests comfortably, yet it felt intimate and cozy.
Celebrant: El Watson. El is one of our closest friends, so it felt extra special and personal to have her up there with us on the day. El was so helpful and relaxed throughout the whole process.
Photography: Paul Osta Photography. Paul was so wonderful to work with from the moment we met him. We absolutely love our photos, in particular his ability to capture candid moments with our family and friends.
Videography: Bliss & Boho. Michael was loads of fun on the day, laughing and cracking jokes, making us feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Styling: Em & Josh.
Florist: Lowevly Flowers & Events. We absolutely loved our floristry! Courtney and Brianna nailed the brief, using all native floristry and presenting it in a way that looked so natural and fitting within Tanglewood. Our arbour floristry was particularly incredible as if it was growing right out of the ground – these guys went above and beyond!
Hair & make-up: Sophie Knox. Soph and the team were so much fun to work with. There were lots of smiles and laughter the morning of, which made everyone feel so calm and comfortable. As I don’t usually wear much make-up, Soph perfected a natural look that would last through hours of dancing!
The dress: D’Italia and Judith Penak Couture. I had so much fun going dress shopping and trying on absolutely anything and everything! Although I didn’t find a dress in these shops, I did find lots of inspiration from everything I tried on. I took all the ideas to the wonderful team at D’Italia. Right then and there, they started drawing these ideas on paper, and it was just perfect. D’Italia helped pick my fabric and dress couture (Judith Penak). Judith was wonderful and made the couture experience so special and personal.
Veil/headwear: Kim Alpha Bridal. Em’s mum surprised her on the day with a handmade hair piece which she had sewn small pieces of lace from her own wedding dress. I wore this at the reception after my veil was taken off.
Rings: Ruby Tuesday Jewellery, Warrandyte. We had our wedding bands custom-made by a handmade jeweller local to where we both grew up. It was a warm and welcoming space, and the team made us feel very comfortable sharing our ideas.
Suits & Bow ties / ties: SOHO Workshop.
Catering: Finesse Catering. From the moment we made contact, all communication was professional and friendly; it really made us feel special throughout the process. Everyone raved about the food and professional service with a smile.
Bar: Tanglewood Estate wines and local Mornington Peninsula beer/cider. Cocktails were served post-ceremony. Nic and the other Tanglewood bar staff were all legends!
Favours: DIY – we wrote personalised messages to all our guests, thanking them for coming to our special day and why they were such an important part of our lives. My sister (Katie) also handmade timber coasters for each of our guests to take home. Katie sells these on Etsy.
Cake: Bake a Wish. Gwen is a local on the Mornington Peninsula and was wonderful to work with. Our cake was delicious and exactly what we were hoping for! The flowers for our cake were from a local florist, Deb’s Floriography.
Stationery / Signage: We designed the signage/stationery ourselves through Canva, then had everything printed at MBE Glen Waverly.
Entertainment: Angus Legg; Unplugged Entertainment. We had been to a wedding that had booked Angus Legg through Unplugged Entertainment, and we fell in love with his style and voice. We decided to book him for our own wedding, and we couldn’t have been happier. He was easygoing, made us feel comfortable from the outset, and the booking process was seamless. On the day, Angus was brilliant, singing a live cover of our favourite artist, Hollow Coves, for our aisle song. His DJ performance had the guests dancing from start to finish, and that’s what we had hoped for all along.
Transport: EV Tours. Professional, friendly, and local service!
Honeymoon: Southern Italy (Puglia, Sicily, Sardinia and Amalfi Coast)