Real Wedding – Gabi & Mitch, Red Hill VIC
High school sweethearts Gabi and Mitch knew they were meant to be together forever, so post their romantic engagement they got right into planning their perfect day.
What stood out to us is the sheer joy wedding planning brought this pair, as they embraced the process enthusiastically and found it brought them even closer together as a result.
Set in romantic Red Hill they created monochrome magic along with a warm and inviting atmosphere that would leave their guests wowed.
Gabi and Mitch’s sweet celebration is one not to be missed and Motta Weddings was there to capture every moment.
In Gabi’s words…
We met in high school in year 9 at the ripe ages of 14 and 15. We were each other’s first boyfriend and girlfriend, little did we know we would also be each other’s last. Mitch asked me out after months of flirting with each other and a lot of late-night MSN conversations.
We got together so young, but something felt different to what everyone else had in their relationships at that age. Our worlds seamlessly came together, and it felt like it was meant to be. We both thought of each other as the ‘one’ from the start however it wasn’t exactly socially acceptable to say that in high school. After working hard to keep our relationship going into early adulthood, it was in our early 20’s that we decided we would start working towards officially building our future together.
At Montalto Winery in Red Hill. I had just been offered a new job, so Mitch said he wanted to take me out for lunch to celebrate on the Sunday. People may think I am lying having been together for almost 11 years at this stage, but I was not one bit suspicious. I thought we would get engaged within the next 12 months, but my mind thought it was still at least 6 months off. Mitch told me we were going to Montalto for a picnic as they do private picnics around the property and we had always wanted to go there. When we got to Montalto we went to the cellar door to pick the bottle of wine to have with our lunch and they gave us a map of the property with the path we needed to follow to find our location, where our food would be waiting for us. When we arrived at our picnic there was a white clothed table set that was looking over the entire property and a bunch of red roses. I thought it was very romantic but still wasn’t suspicious. Shortly after we sat down and cracked open the wine, Mitch popped the question, getting down on one knee and presenting me with a beautiful ring which he had designed himself. It was such a special moment, we sat there in excitement and had the opportunity to take it all in. Awaiting our call was my mum, my sister, Mitch’s sister and my godfather – who had been in the know the whole time. I was so amazed that it has all taken place without me having even an inkling that it was. That night we had our nearest and dearest over for drinks to celebrate.
Where to start! We had not been in a wedding before let alone been to more than a couple of weddings in our lives so this whole process was completely foreign to us. We decided the best thing we could do was start with the two biggest things to us, venue and entertainment, then it could start to come together from there. We booked the venue within two weeks of getting engaged which was a great basis to move forward with – you need that date to lock anything else in.
Once we had the venue and band, we moved forward to selecting celebrant, photographer and then videographer. Then we chose the florist and started to work on the styling.
In the background of that planning we asked our bridal party, I went shopping for my dress, we got the bridal parties outfits sorted and helped our parents find their outfits.
I think the order in which we chose to book things had a really nice and natural flow to it. You can’t book everything at once, so I would say breaking it up in a similar way based on your priorities is the best way to go. To give yourself the capacity to make each decision the best for your day.
Throughout the process we tried to make each decision, meeting, budget, etc a nice occasion. If we had a meeting with a supplier we would then go out for dinner afterwards, if we needed to go to the venue to check something we would turn it into a day out with a nice lunch, and we would make date nights at home where we would put out a platter and pop a bottle while we smashed out some wedding planning. It’s a long lead up but it’s the best time of your lives and really brings you closer together so we wanted to savour every moment.
Our favourite part of planning was choosing the music. Music creates such excitement. We had many a night where we would sit down to choose songs and open a bottle of wine, which would turn into bottles of wine and we would dance in our living room to the songs. It was a really fun time for us.
Modern, romantic, elegant and monochrome. When Christy and I first sat down together I wasn’t sure what angle I wanted to take, I knew that we wanted simple styling but whatever we would have we wanted it to stand out. We wanted everyone to walk into our wedding feel like it was a party but in a really beautiful and warm environment and we wanted it to flow from the ceremony to the reception. From the start we liked the elegance of black and white as a basis for the artwork and table settings. We decided we wanted to have some features in the room, a floral ceiling arrangement, a decal on the mirror and lots of candles.
For the florals we didn’t want a bold colour so we opted for soft blush, soft peach and latte tones with dark greenery to work with the monochrome.
Christy found the lanterns through The Small Things Co and they were really the key piece that brought it all together, once we had them it seemed easy to bring in the black for the place cards, menus and signage. We chose some gorgeous grey linen napkins to hire through Simmons Linen Hire to compliment the black and make the place settings pop amongst the white.
When we first went to Lindenderry one of the things we first spotted was the space for a ceiling arrangement which we loved the idea of. We worked with Poppy Culture to create a big luscious ceiling arrangement filled with different shades of greenery and fairy lights, it looked absolutely magical on the night.
Lindenderry has a really beautiful mirror buffet where the dance floor is. We wanted to make this a feature, so we opted for a bold pink coloured mirror decal and placed lanterns underneath to make it stand out with some flowers in the middle. On the night it looked amazing and brought a really gorgeous feel to the dance floor.
My dress was a one shoulder, mesh gown from Georgia Young Couture it is called Quince and is from her Marmalade RTW collection. I actually found my dress on the first day I went shopping. I went to 5 stores and Georgia Young was my last stop. Just before I got to her, I was losing hope after a long day of trying on so many different dresses. I just didn’t feel like how I imagined I would feel and was starting to think I would have to settle for something as maybe it doesn’t exist. The moment I walked into her studio I knew I would find it. Her designs were so unique and modern but still beautifully Bridal. I put on one of her couture gowns that was very similar to the one I ended up getting, it had the one shoulder like mine which I instantly wanted but the base of the dress wasn’t exactly what I was after. Then I tried on my dress and absolutely fell in love, I didn’t want to take it off. The mesh fabric was so different to anything I had seen, and the gown was so flattering and comfortable. Georgia took the appointment and was able to fit me into the gown properly which makes a huge difference and she talked me through the options for making some of the changes I wanted to make (I made the strap thicker). It was so nice to speak to the actual designer, I had so much trust in her and felt like she would do whatever it took to make me feel my best in the dress.
The ceremony. Standing there, all dressed up, holding hands and hearing the story of our relationship, as we laughed and cried with everyone we love was just incredible. It exceeded the expectation we had dreamed of for so long.
We also took a moment at the reception where we stood on the balcony outside looking in on the dance floor just the two of us and had a drink together while we watched the party going on inside. That was such an amazing feeling, seeing your favourite people having a such a good time and knowing they are all there for you.
Meaning of marriage.
It’s the ultimate commitment, a symbol of how much we love one another and signifies the choice to create a life together. We both really love the idea of wearing rings as a sign of our commitment and sharing a name.
Bridesmaids Aisle song – Higher Love (acoustic version)
Bride Aisle Song – You’re my Best Friend by Queen (acoustic version)
Reception Entry – Best of My Love
First Dance – If I ain’t got you
Funny stories (or near disasters).
One funny (only now) memory is that Mitch was in charge of getting the menus created and made a spelling error (he spelt polenta wrong, spelling it palenta). He sent me a version once it had gone to print and I noticed the error. The printing had cost us more than we had budgeted already so we had no choice but to keep them. I got really upset about it as it was only a couple of weeks from the wedding and my stress levels were high – I was caught up in everything having to be ‘perfect’. On the night of the wedding Mitch included this story in his speech, highlighting the error as a funny memory from our wedding planning experience and asking if anyone had noticed. It turned out hardly anyone had noticed and everyone had a good laugh about it.
Moral of the story – it’s hard but try not to get caught up in everything having to be ‘perfect’, there are so many things going on that something is bound to happen but it’s not worth beating yourself up over. Some of the imperfections may give you a memory you were not expecting.
Everything. The overwhelming number of options there are and how far in advance you need to book things were the two that stood out. I was extremely naive to the world of weddings that was out there until we started planning. I couldn’t believe the amount of resources that were out there. There are so many decisions you need to make.
Words of wisdom.
Enjoy the process, it is all about that one day but the lead up to a wedding is such a special time in your life so it’s important to recognise that. There are lots of things that will stress you out along the way and everyone has an opinion. However when you are standing there together during the ceremony making that commitment to each other; that’s what it’s really about so make your day whatever you want because you won’t be thinking about the stresses, little details and opinions when it comes to that time so don’t let it ruin the lead up.
Our best friend throughout this process was excel. Having everything in one document was amazing. Seating chart, guest list, guest details, budget, invoice status, run sheets. We didn’t do this at the start but when it got into the business end of the planning we did, and it was such a good point of reference for everything that we had as a shared document between us.
We have two very close families having been together for so long and we chose to involve them heavily in our planning. We had a little group message keeping them in the loop with the details, had lots of catch ups to discuss plans and made a day out of everything (dress shopping, fittings, flowers – the lot). It was the best thing we did, they all loved every minute of it and made it so exciting for us.
Magical Mediterranean vibes were the key to Dani and Dan’s Fingal fiesta, be sure to take a peek at this sensational day.
GABI AND MITCH’S TRIBE
Ceremony and reception: Lindenderry at Red Hill
Lindenderry was the first venue we visited. We knew that we wanted a winery wedding as visiting wineries on the weekends is one of our favourite things to do and a venue that would host both the ceremony and reception. We had browsed online and sought information brochures from lots of different venues around Victoria but something about Lindenderry stood out. After the hype of getting engaged, a week later we decided to take a couple of days off to getaway and stayed down in Mount Martha. We took this opportunity to visit Lindenderry just to get an idea of what we would like. As soon as we drove into the property we both got a feeling that this was it. The staff were all so friendly and the place had such a great vibe about it. The vineyard site for the ceremony was breathtaking and we loved that it was a short walk to the courtyard for pre reception drinks and reception room. There was also the option for guests to stay onsite which was handy for our families. The reception room was a big light filled beautiful blank canvas and we were excited by the potential to create a wedding that was truly us. We took our families down a week later to see the venue and they confirmed what we had thought so we booked it that day.
Throughout the lead up to the day the venue were incredible at meeting with us whenever we were down there, answering any questions we had over phone or email and went out of their way to help us with anything we needed.
A perk of having the wedding at Lindenderry is that they host a tasting night a couple of months before the wedding to select the food and wine where you can also stay the night onsite. That night was so much fun and got us both so excited for the wedding.
Celebrant/Officiant: Lara Williams
When looking for a celebrant we had no idea what it was we were looking for, all we knew is that we wanted a ceremony that was more about the story of our relationship than the formalities. To put that story together you need to trust someone with your feelings, history and hopes and dreams for your marriage so you need to feel comfortable. The moment we met Lara we connected with her and we knew she would make this process really special for us. She did our relationship such justice on the day and made it feel like we had known her for years.
Our ceremony was the favourite part of our wedding, we absolutely loved it.
Photography: Motta Weddings
Photography is such an important role, they are with you for most of the day and they are responsible for giving you the pictures that you will treasure forever. Neither of us have spent any time in front of a camera so we are definitely not naturals. We wanted someone that would make it effortless and make us feel comfortable. When we first met Alex we got a great feeling that he would do just that, he didn’t over complicate the process and made us feel like we would be guided without feeling staged. On the day besides the actual shoots we didn’t even notice he was there. We couldn’t be happier with the photos we have and will cherish them forever.
One of my favourite images of my godfather and his wife walking into the room for the reveal. They have been a huge part of my life and bought my dress for me so I really wanted to have that special moment with them. It was such an emotional moment and Alex captured this so beautifully.
Videography: The Wedding Fair
We didn’t want to spend too much on videography as we wanted to use the budget mostly for photography. We really just wanted a highlights reel and raw footage. After endless searching I had given up hope we would be able to do this, then I came across The Wedding Fair. I emailed them to see if they had anything along the lines of what we were looking for and they came back to me immediately with an option that would be possible for our budget. Ben was our videographer on the day and he was fantastic, he worked really well with Motta and was a big hit with the guests for his sense of humour.
Styling: Christy Takanen
This is the first wedding Christy has styled. After styling her own wedding from start to finish last November, she realised she had a passion for it and wanted to give it a go. We know each other through a mutual friend and after a few wines one night she offered to help me out as her first gig. She was so professional throughout the whole process and was such an amazing support to me as she had been through the process herself so she knew what was the most important. She created a mood board and briefing document from my Pinterest boards that we used as the basis to bring the wedding together. This document was used for everything from florals to briefing the graphic designer and selecting the decor. She blew us away with her knack for finding things and brought our vision to life. She has a natural talent.
Florist: Poppy Culture
I really wanted to use a Mornington Peninsula florist for the day as they were more likely to know the property and what would work there. After shopping around I came across Poppy Culture and was in awe of their stunning arrangements, they were so unique and textured compared to anything else I had seen. After meeting with Lauren I felt really excited about what they would put together. I went in thinking I would have an Arbor for the ceremony and they talked to me about using plinths instead and it was such good decision. On the day they looked so gorgeous on the backdrop of Lindenderry and were then able to be transferred to the reception to create a feature around the band. I made the decision a couple of weeks before to include orchids in our florals, after debating the inclusion due to budget. It was a decision I will never regret, they made my bouquet phenomenal. When they arrived at the room on the day it was my ‘omg I am getting married’ moment. I am not usually a huge flower person but they were just so stunning that it was impossible not to be taken back.
Hair: Elliot Steele
Carly is my hairdresser. It was so great having someone you know and who knows your hair to do it on the day. She did such an incredible job of my hair and the bridesmaids hair, it was exactly what I had envisaged.
Make Up: Makeup by Jaimie Lee
Jaimie is a freelance makeup artist that is also a close friend on mine. I can never fault her work, she does eyes better than anyone in the business and has a true gift for individual lashes that look so natural and feel so comfortable.
The Dress: Georgia Young Couture
Georgias designs are modern but still classic and she has the most unique and beautiful fabrics that you can’t find anywhere else. She made me feel confident that my dress would be exactly what I wanted so I didn’t have to worry between the time I first tried it on and my first fitting. On the day I felt exactly how I wanted to feel, a true bride with a modern yet elegant take and also very importantly, I was comfortable.
Shoes: Tony Bianco
Rings: Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson are a jeweller in Eltham where we grew up. My dad passed away when I was a teenager and he had rings made for me, my sister and mum at Michael Wilson that he gave to us before he passed away. Mitch had my engagement ring made there as a special dedication to my dad. When it came to choosing the wedding bands it was an easy choice to have them made them there so that all our rings are from the one place and it holds a lot of sentimental value to both of us.
Bridesmaids dresses: By Johnny
The dresses are from the W Collection on the By Johnny website.
Grooms suit: Travellers Apparel
Mitch wanted the feel of a tailor made suit without the price tag and was put onto Travellers. At travellers you select your suit and size then they will tailor it to you. Mitch has a silk lapel as a point of difference to the groomsmen. They even worked with them to change the buttons on the shirts to black for an extra touch.
Grooms Shoes: Aquila
Mitch went to the outlet in University Hill to select the grooms shoes, they had current season stock and lots of sizes. Aquila also gave them a group discount as they bought both the groom and groomsmen shoes there.
Bow ties / ties: Otaa
Catering: Lindenderry at Red Hill
Stationery / Signage: Anna Synan (friend)
Angus & Peninsula Bayside Music – I found Angus through the Peninsula Bayside Music. We only booked him a couple of weeks before the big day. Prior to this we had thought we would just use an iPod for the ceremony and pre reception drinks. However as the big day grew closer we found the nerves around potential iPod troubles too much and couldn’t think of a more stressful job to give someone than the responsibility to control the songs. We found Peninsula Bayside Music and sent of an enquiry, they were so great to deal with, they helped me find Angus based on the songs we had selected and made the whole process stress free, reaching out to the venue and celebrant themselves. Angus was fantastic on the day and absolutely nailed the songs. I would highly recommend anyone getting married in the area to use them.
Baker Boys – We weren’t sure if we wanted a band or DJ to start. The Baker Boys recommended by a few friends who had seen them or used them at weddings. We saw they had a showcase on at a The Market Hotel in South Melbourne. We took our families and made a night of it. It was great fun to have dinner and a drink listening to the different artists. After a few wines our families decided the 7 piece band was the obvious choice as they loved having a brass section. On the night the band was amazing, everyone loved them and they brought a point of difference. The dance floor was full all night.
We couldn’t of been happier with the quality of the items we hired. It’s always nerve wracking when you hire things but I couldn’t fault how good the quality of the products were. They made such a big impact on bringing the style to life.
Honeymoon: Mexico (Isla Mujeres, Tulum & Holbox) & USA (Boston & NYC)