Real Wedding – Emily & Thomas, Sorrento VIC
Underpinning Emily and Tom’s blissfully beautiful wedding celebrations was their theme of home. For a couple who spent years living overseas before returning to Australia, home is wherever they are as long as they are together. This sweet and powerful theme made for many captivatingly curated moments as they weaved details from the places and people who mean most to them into their dream day.
Inspired by their love of the beach, Emily and Tom leant into Australia-does-Hamptons styling; soft sages and muted emeralds, fresh creamy accents and organic linens against natural textures and white timber finishes. The result was modern elegance giving coastal-chic vibes, with perfectly personal details.
Photography artist Georgia Verrells took the newlyweds on a romp around the clifftops, creating images that capture the amped-up emotions and stunning style to perfection. Emily chose a gown by our friend Luci di Bella, custom designed to emphasise classic elegance with an on-point sculptural silhouette and beautiful bow detailing. Obviously captivated with his gorgeous bride, Tom looks ultra-cool in his tux by P Johnson.
Scroll on to enjoy every divine detail of this darling day.
We first crossed paths on a Saturday night at Public House in Richmond around eight years ago. Tom stopped in for a few beers with his mates after the footy, and I was there for a girlfriend’s birthday. It wasn’t long until we locked eyes on the dancefloor. The following two weekends, we kept returning to Public House in the hope that we would bump into each other again! We had our first official date three weeks later at Cumulus in the CBD.
There isn’t a precise moment that comes to mind – for me, everything came naturally and easily, so I never second-guessed it. Seeing how quickly and comfortably Tom fit into my family and me into his, was telling.
Tom tells me he started to plan the proposal when I went back to Australia for my best friend’s wedding (we were living in London at the time). He set a goal to have the ring when I returned to London, and he would find a time over the European summer to propose. Six months later, he still had the ring!
It was three days out from my 30th birthday, and Tom knew time was ticking. He took me out for an early birthday dinner to my favourite restaurant in Notting Hill. At this stage, nothing was off other than the fact he visited the bathroom three times! However, when we got back to our flat, and he awkwardly insisted on giving me an early birthday present, I realised something was up. Before I could blink, Tom was down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
We popped a bottle of champagne and set about excitedly calling our parents back home. My 30th birthday celebration was even bigger than I had planned! We got married 16 months later after we returned to live in Melbourne.
Ivory Tribe was our main go-to source. When starting the planning process, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to consider. Looking at the Real Wedding blog posts was hugely helpful in giving us a clearer sense of direction and not to mention a black book of supplier contacts.
Our florist Poppy Culture also played an important role in shaping our vision. I found it particularly helpful to create a Pinterest board which I refined and shared with our suppliers along the way.
We both love the beach and have shared many happy memories with our families at Robe in South Australia and Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, so this was really what inspired our wedding. We went for an Australian interpretation of Hamptons style – a relaxed, coastal vibe with an emerald green palette teamed with fresh white-washed linens, natural textures and white timber finishes. Sorrento Golf Club fit into this theme beautifully. Our floral brief included touches of Australiana with asymmetric clusters of native flora, gum nuts and pods.
We had our ceremony on the golf club’s terrace lawn. The altar was marked with asymmetrical ghost plinths featuring large clusters of foliage and sculptural elements. A coastal cane signing table and chairs were positioned to the side. Paris chairs and market umbrellas lined either side of a jute aisle runner. A vocalist and pianist were positioned in one back corner and a golf buggy with champagne buckets in the other.
We were inspired by a friend’s wedding in France, where Tom’s Mum walked him down the aisle first before our bridal party. Words cannot explain how special it was to have both my parents walk me down the aisle and to see Tom’s face light up at the end. I don’t think I can even recall hearing our incredible ceremony duo perform; I was so swept up in the moment. Hearing Tom’s vows for the first time and being able to share mine was so deeply personal, raw and beautiful. Tom’s sisters shared a reading from the song Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, where we adapted the lyrics. And both our mums were witnesses, which was a lovely way to share in the moment with them.
I knew I was after something very classic and elegant with a sculptural element. I was determined to find my dress whilst I was back in Australia (as I didn’t particularly love any British bridal designers) and came upon my dream dress at Luci di Bella. While I had only been to two dressmakers before Luci, as soon as I put this dress on, I knew it was the one as I felt completely myself in it. Luci elongated the train for me and made a large asymmetric bow at the back to make it more of a statement piece. I loved the off-the-shoulder collar and subtle split so you could see my heels peak through.
Separately, I had been eyeing off an A-lined mini dress with a feather trim from Rachel Gilbert as a party dress to change into during the evening. It was good fun to wear, particularly on the dancefloor!
Tom had his suit custom-made at P. Johnson, which has long been his favourite tailor.
There were too many, but if I had to pick, it would have been hearing Tom’s beautiful vows during our ceremony, followed by our wedding band and the dance floor (they were exceptional)!
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage is the ultimate partnership. Being each other’s co-pilot through life, travel, babies, and the ups and downs. A running theme throughout our day was the concept of home, as it not only resembled us having returned home from living overseas but also the feeling of being at home when we’re together – wherever in the world we are.
Aisle: Feels like Home by Bonnie Raitt
Signing: Your Song by Elton John
Recessional: This will be (an everlasting love) by Natalie Cole
Reception entry: Praise You by Fatboy Slim
Bride solo: You are the Sunshine of my Life by Stevie Wonder
First dance: Just the Two of Us by Grover Washington, Jr. Bill Withers
Sparkler exit: Love is in the Air by John Paul Young
Funny stories or near disasters.
There were two moments during our ceremony that we laugh about – the first was when my veil got stuck on the stair Velcro as my parents walked me down the aisle. I had to subtly yank my head forward a few times to detach it. The second was when the celebrant told Tom he could kiss his bride, and a gust of wind came through and lifted off my veil mid-kiss. There are some amusing photos of my poor sister as Maid of Honour covered in a cloud of tulle!
The level of planning towards the end. It can easily become a (second) full-time job. I’m glad we put in the amount of planning we did, as it meant we could enjoy the last few days leading up to and during our wedding. But no one should underestimate how much time is involved! While we didn’t have a wedding planner, we did have two on-the-day wedding coordinators who made sure everything ran smoothly. Laura and Alex from Weddings of Desire were worth their weight in gold and meant we didn’t need to worry about logistics on the day.
Words of wisdom.
Get your venue and suppliers booked as early as possible – the good ones go quickly!
Don’t sweat the small stuff – linen versus polyester napkins, are your guests really going to notice?
Take moments out for just the two of you – the day goes so quickly, and there’s so much happening; make sure you remember to step away and take it all in.
As stressful as the lead-up can be, keep reminding yourself this day is for you and your partner. Put aside your friends and family’s expectations; this day is about celebrating the love you have for each other. If you have an incredible day, others will vibrate off your energy.
Emily’s chic Rachel Gilbert mini gown was perfect to dance away her dream night. Second outfit looks are a trend we are loving; check out some of our absolute faves here on the blog.
EMILY & THOMAS’ VENDORS
Ceremony & reception venue: Sorrento Golf Club. The house manager Richard was highly accommodating, and the club’s chef, Shane did a sensational job of the food (our guests raved about it)!
Celebrant: Elizabeth Graham. Our celebrant Libby was incredibly personal and authentic. She put a lot of time into crafting a beautiful narrative around our relationship. She is super well-organised and conscientious.
Photography: Georgia Verrells. Georgia made us feel completely ourselves in front of the camera. There was one moment when we were getting ready that Georgia could see my Mum needed help. She was so caring and thoughtful. She did such an amazing job capturing our day so beautifully.
Videography: John Kurt. We had seen some of John’s work through Ivory Tribe and loved how authentic it is. He has a fantastic eye for capturing small details and storytelling. We are thrilled with our wedding video and (one day) can’t wait to show our kids!
Florist: Poppy Culture. Lauren was fantastic to work with. She helped me along our styling journey and brought our vision to life on the day. She was super flexible throughout and helped find solutions that worked within our budget.
On-the-day wedding coordinators: Weddings of Desire. We couldn’t recommend Laura more highly. She and her team are super experienced, detail-oriented and practical. Having her and Alex there on the day meant that we could fully relax, knowing we were in their capable hands.
Hair: Erin Quinn-Smith
Make-up: Sophie Knox
Veil: Luci di Bella
Shoes: Mach & Mach
Earrings: Christie Nicolaides
Rings: Holloway Diamonds
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Shona Joy
Suits & bow ties / ties: P.Johnson
Catering: Sorrento Golf Club
Cake: Cornelius Cheese
Stationery / Signage: The Parker Effect
Entertainment: Like This! We were so, so excited to have secured this band for our wedding day. We had seen them play at a previous wedding and never danced so hard! Chloe has the most spectacular voice, and the entire band is so talented. They are honestly the best in the business.
Transport: AAA Peninsula Hire Cars
Hire: Memphis Hire
Honeymoon: Arku House, Sisters Beach, Tasmania