Real Wedding – Emily & Zac, Bendigo VIC
Rolling with the belief that people remember how they feel when attending a wedding, rather than sweating the small stuff, Emily and Zac took a ‘less is more’ approach to their planning, and boy did they nail it.
Simplistic styling that let their gorgeous surrounds do the talking, and Emily in a relaxed and elegant One Day Bridal gown, all combined to make for the perfect party to celebrate with their favourite people.
Opting for a private ceremony with just a handful of their nearest and dearest, before joining the party afterwards, Emily and Zac had a beautiful balance of intimacy and celebration, and one of our favourite photographers, Tony Evans, was there to capture it all.
In Emily’s words…
We met at a huge night club in Melbourne! We were both living in Bendigo but had come down for a Melbourne race day. I was there with my sisters and he was there with a group of friends. One of his friends came to talk to us and once he realised we were from Bendigo, he introduced Zac and I. We exchanged details and met up in Bendigo a few days later! Zac’s friend who introduced us told this story in his wedding speech, saying he was chatting me up and made the mistake of introducing Zac to me, saying ‘he didn’t find a Mrs Williams that night, but he found a future Mrs East!’
It was pretty early on for both of us. I was living in town with some girlfriends, and he would come over after work and bring either coffee or juice and we would sit out in our courtyard and just talk all afternoon. I remember thinking he was perfect! He’s so handsome, he plays sport, loves to fish (which my dad and brothers are also obsessed with), goes to a naturopath, meditates and works on farms which is where I grew up! He has always given me the feeling that I can do anything I set my mind to, just by how much he believes in me and loves me. Zac recalls how easy it was to spend time with me, and how much fun we would have together.
Funny story – I have an identical twin sister, Jane, and Zac and I set her up with one of Zac’s friends, Brady. Apparently, they were both planning on proposing to us. So being very clever, they thought that if they did it at the same time, we could not only enjoy the moment together, but we wouldn’t wonder when the other one is going to propose! It was the morning of the races back in our home town – this is a day where all our school friends and family come home for a catch up. So it was absolutely perfect. We got to share the news with our closest family and friends in person, and enjoy the day celebrating together! It also meant that the boys were able to ask our dad together the night before.
Zac and Brady took us for a walk by the river, but without knowing what they were up to, Jane and I asked our Aunty to come for the walk with us. It’s so funny to listen to our Aunty tell the story, because she says they had to ask her to go away for a minute so they could propose! Jane and I were chatting and walking ahead, the boys called out to us so we both turned around and saw them on their knees, both with rings in their hands! I’m pretty sure I swore at Zac because I was in such shock, then I cried my eyes out because I was so happy! Our Aunty then came out from behind the bushes and we got to share that moment with her, too. Such a magical moment getting to share it with my twin sister as well!
We got married six months after we got engaged. We wanted something simple and low key. The first step was deciding that we wanted it at Zac’s mum and dad’s house, because they have a small property. Then we got working on a guest list.
We went with the ‘less is more’ approach. We spoke a lot about what was the most important to us, and put our energy into that and gave nothing to the small stuff. People remember how they felt at a wedding and whether they have a good time or not – not so much about the finer details.
I have followed One Day Bridal on Instagram for a while and loved their work. They had such a broad and beautiful range that I just booked the one appointment with them and didn’t make other bookings anywhere else – I knew I could try lots of different styles in the one place. I also wanted to start off with one place to ensure I didn’t get too overwhelmed. I also remember dress shopping with my older sister and we went to a number of different places, and the places that stood out for me where the ones where the staff gave you an experience. The ones that were amazing were the ones where you felt special as soon as you walked in. You sat on a couch with your other sisters and mum, champagne in hand and it was a real special moment. One Day Bridal gave me this experience. I felt special and looked after, which made finding my dress easier I think because I was in a relaxed and confident frame of mind because of the environment they had created there.
I know that my body fluctuates in size pretty frequently, and especially during really busy times I can get thinner. So knowing this, I wanted to pick something that could accommodate for that. I also wanted something simple that reflected the day as well. I wanted to be comfortable, simple and elegant and I think my dress was perfect for the way I wanted to look and feel.
Zac loves to dress up, and wanted something different that suited the warmer weather. A friend’s wedding we went to earlier in that year had Angela Nicolades from Melbourne make their suits. So we got her details and the boys went down to get fittings. It was so much easier than finding a brand of suits that all of the boys could fit in to and then need fittings – they were made perfectly for them! She had so many different fabrics and choices which was perfect for Zac – something unique and not mass produced. All of the boys chose a different coloured lining for their jackets, and had their initials embroided on the inside of them. On the inside of Zac’s jacket was ‘Emily and Zac 26/01/2018’. Angela also put their initials on the cuffs of their shirts, as well as on their pants. It was a really special touch and made them individual. They were perfect.
Great question! I’m one of five children, and we are all very close. Because there are so many of us, it’s not often we are all together. So on our way to our private ceremony, I had my mum and dad and four other siblings in the car with me. It was just like our childhood – we were cracking jokes the whole time and reminiscing. It was a really special and magical moment.
Zac’s favourite moment was the private ceremony, and he loved sharing the reception with everyone. It was a great mix of private and intimate, with then lots of socialising with everyone afterwards.
Meaning of marriage.
Another good question… Zac and I didn’t feel like we needed to be married to be committed to each other – but I guess it was about making that commitment official and having a reason to get all of our friends and family together to have a good time and celebrate our love for each other.
We had my twin sister’s fiance sing for us and play his guitar at the private ceremony. He sang ‘XO’ by Beyonce as I walked down the isle, ‘Just the way you are’ by Bruno Mars while we signed the papers and then ‘Love Somebody’ by Keith Urban after that!
When our bridal party entered the reception we had ‘Stranger’ by Peking Duck and when Zac and I entered and poured our champagne tower, ‘Easy Love’ by Sigala was playing. We wanted something up beat and fun!
We hired Simon Phillips from Melbourne to play for us for the night, and he played ‘If I ain’t got you’ by Alicia Keys for our first dance.
Funny stories (or near disasters).
Not really. I’d only ordered three bridal party bouquets instead of four! So that was tougher for our florist that it was for me – she did an incredible job. Also our champagne tower of glasses got knocked over before the bridal party and Zac and I made our entrance, so we had to stay inside for a bit longer while some friends of mine fixed it up. None of that really made us worried or stressed though! It was all a part of the fun.
It rained! During the speeches there was amazing thunder and lightening. The rain held off until the speeches were over and then we had a downpour for about 20 minutes. We didn’t hire a marquee because it never rains! So all of our guests squished under the veranda of the house until it stopped raining. Talking to guests afterwards, everyone said it was wonderful because they spoke to people they probably wouldn’t have otherwise because they were standing undercover with them! It didn’t last for long and it didn’t ruin anything by any means. But it did make for a killer sunset which turned out beautiful in our photos!
Because we had a private ceremony, it was a little tricky planning the running sheet or thinking about how we would enter our reception already being married. We originally thought it would be nice to arrive and go into our first dance to then greet everyone. But after meeting with our photographer Tony, he was really helpful in planning this for us. He suggested that our first dance is a great way to get everyone up on the dance floor – so it could be too early in the evening to do that from the get go. So instead, we entered, Zac and I poured a champagne tower, we did a toast and then guests came to us to get a glass of champagne and greet us. It worked really well!
Words of wisdom.
There was a specific moment for me when I realised I was really caught up in the wedding planning. We started off wanting something small and simple, but when you get planning it can very easily get bigger and bigger or more extravagant. There is so much out there that you can do, like marquees and beautiful stationary. I remember sitting in my office at work and realising I was in this whirlwind of planning. From that moment on, I took a step back and bought it back to what the day was really about – Zac and I. So from then on, every decision that was made kept that in mind. We had a really stripped back wedding that was all about us, celebrating our love with our family and friends. So my advice is to think about what the day is about and remind yourself of that. It’s a pretty seductive industry, so it’s easy to lose yourself in it. Be patient, look after yourself, make your decisions out of love not fear, and just enjoy the ride. It’s a pretty special time!
We had a private ceremony with just our immediate family and bridal party. We wanted something really intimate and private which is why we chose to do it that way. We had my sister write and read a short meditation where we paused for a moment to soak in what was happening. We wrote our own vows as well. So I guess it was a pretty private thing that we just wanted to be with our family. We then went to get photos while all the other guests arrived. We also planned it this way so we didn’t have to leave our own party for photos – this was happening while guests arrived instead, and we didn’t miss a beat of the fun!
To nail your wedding planning, just like Emily and Zac, check out our top tips for avoiding a budget blowout here.
EMILY & ZAC’S TRIBE
Location: Private Property, Bendigo
Celebrant/Officiant: Jan Dunlop
Photography: Tony Evans
Florist: The Flower Mint, Bendigo
Hair: Samantha Andriotis
Make-up: Taylah at Glow Beauty, Bendigo
The Dress(es): One Day Bridal
Veil / headwear: Mariana Hardwick
Rings: Joel Evans (custom)
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Kookai
Menswear: Angela Nicolades
Catering: Two Sisters, Bendigo
Bar: We had some friends work behind the bar – we had cocktails (moscow mule, mojito, pimms and a lemon lime bitters mocktail. As well as your usual beer and wine available).
Stationery / Signage: Paperless Post
Entertainment: Simon Phillips
Hire: Bendigo Party Hire
Honeymoon: New York, New Orlenes, Vegas and Bora Bora