Real Wedding – Imogen & Sam, Warburton VIC
That pesky pandemic was wreaking havoc on Imogen and Sam’s initial wedding plans, so they pivoted their planning, scaled back and hosted a magical micro-wedding in amongst the romantic redwoods…. and boy, is it a beauty.
The location couldn’t have been any better for this perfect pair who have enjoyed many a picnic date in the sweet setting and it brought a fairy-tale like feel to their ceremony. Their overarching theme was woodsy-elegance and while they kept the setting rustic, there was an air of elegance in their classic ensembles, particularly Imogen’s gorgeous Anna Campbell gown.
Following the ceremony they headed to their ‘tree house’ – an Air BnB where they enjoyed a party with ten of their nearest and dearest. Bringing a DIY-feel to the day, they incorporated a natural colour palette of forest green, dusty rose pink and gold with textured creams as they celebrated the night away.
Nikki McCrone Photography was the talent behind the lens and if you’re at all worried about hosting a scaled-back celebration without all the bells and whistles, this one sure proves that micro-weddings pack a punch.
We met working at a café in Canberra in 2011. We were both super young (Imogen was 18 and Sam was 21) and were saving to go overseas. We flirted for a while, but nothing happened for about 6 months as we were both feeling pretty shy, plus we weren’t planning on getting into a relationship before we each headed off overseas. Eventually we couldn’t resist anymore, and (with the help of some friends to get us out one night and plying us with many drinks) we kissed. After that we fell pretty hard and fast, and 3 months later we decided to move to Scotland together.
We both felt like we were so “right” for each other pretty early on, and it didn’t take long for us to not be able to imagine our lives without each other. Because we jumped in head-first at the beginning of our relationship, it meant that we experienced a lot of challenges, but getting through them and still being that happy together, supporting each other and being each other’s best friends meant that we were confident that we could get through anything life threw at us.
On our 7-year anniversary, Sam organized for us to go glamping in King Valley. We stayed in a really cool yurt in the middle of nowhere and spent the weekend going to wineries and eating local food (our favourite thing to do). We got home one afternoon, and Sam had set up candles and champagne everywhere and got down one knee. We were both ecstatic, even though we both sort of knew it was coming.
The inspiration for the wedding changed pretty dramatically as we grappled with the COVID pandemic and the challenges that accompanied it. One thing we always knew that we wanted though was to be in nature, so we were always going to have an outdoor ceremony. What was originally a 120+ wedding at Emu Bottom Homestead eventually turned into an intimate elopement with 10 people at Redwood Forest, Warburton. We’d visited the forest a few times on dates where we’d go for picnics nearby and we thought it was magical, it felt like a fairytale that we were married there. We knew we wanted our colour theme to involve forest green, dusty rose pink and gold, mixed with natural, textury creams. Our theme was a sort of woodsy-elegance, so we elevated the dresswear with tuxedos and sleek bridesmaids dresses for the ceremony in the woods, and for the reception in our ‘tree house’ Air BnB we incorporated lots of natural linens and textures with gold cutlery, plenty of candles and fairy lights. Imogen and her mum did most of the styling on the phone to each other, where they would each find items in op-shops (crystal glassware), online, or Janet (Imogen’s mum) would find fabric in Spotlight and turn it into table clothes or table runners. It was a very DIY process which helped to save costs, but was also so, so much fun.
The ceremony was officiated by Maureen Miles, who we found through Elope Around Melbourne. She was excellent in planning the ceremony, and had specific experience with small, intimate weddings. We had two bridesmaids and two groomsmen and then our parents in attendance. We always knew we would write our own vows, and that was really special – hearing the unique promises that we had for each other in our own words was amazing. Imogen had her mum walk her down the aisle to “Simply the Best” by Noah Reid (the Schitt’s Creek acoustic version, one of Imogen’s favourite TV scenes). Having such a small audience meant we could really soak up the moment with everyone and gave us more time to spend together.
Imogen wore an Anna Campbell gown, ‘Willow’ in empress (an A-line gown with 3D floral appliques). She fell in love with it pre-COVID but held off purchasing it because the wedding plans were so up in the air. Then, a year before the wedding on Valentine’s weekend, she had a look on the website and saw that they had her dream dress available as a sample sale, with a further Valentine’s weekend discount applied – perfect.
Sam wore a navy tuxedo from Ted Baker with black lapels and silk inner lining with pictures of owls on it. He had been looking for a forest green suit, but when he tried on the navy one, he decided that was the winner, especially because the owl lining gave it a “fun” element! His groomsmen wore matching tuxedos in black.
So hard to pick just one! It’s probably a toss-up between right after the ceremony, where all the excitement and nerves in the lead up to the moment culminated in pure elation – especially looking out into the forest and seeing our nearest and dearest – or hitting the dancefloor at the end of the night, fireball in hand, whipping out some killer moves.
Meaning of marriage.
To us, marriage means a celebration and an honouring of our relationship so far, and a commitment to continue to love and grow with each other in the future.
Imogen walked down the aisle to Simply the Best, the Noah Reid version from Schitt’s Creek and our first dance song was L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole
Funny stories (or near disasters).
We had lots of challenges in the lead up to the wedding day (lots COVID-related but plenty of other hiccups too), but probably the funniest was when Imogen and her bridesmaids got spray tans a couple of nights beforehand and they looked SCARY as. Leanne’s looked waaaay too dark and Imogen’s looked like it was super patchy, Maid of Honour Amber did a great job of reassuring everyone that it would be fine (though she was secretly panicking), but all the tans ended up turning out great!
Again, planning a wedding during a global pandemic meant that there were lots of unexpected aspects, but I think the thing that took us both by surprise was how some guests can have some big opinions about your day, and it can be really easy to get overwhelmed trying to keep everyone happy.
Words of wisdom.
As mentioned, lots of people will have thoughts on your big day, and although you want everyone to feel involved and happy, it’s impossible to please everyone – so do it the way you want it! We never planned on having a small wedding, we just couldn’t picture it and thought that loved ones might be hurt if they weren’t on the guestlist, but in the end it was so, so intimate and special. We realized that, at least for the ceremony, you really don’t need everyone you know there to witness it, and it makes it easier to focus on your partner with a smaller group. Everyone was so supportive of our decision, and we’ve been able to celebrate with a wider group of people in different ways.
Also, remember to have some filling snacks during the day and maybe even an electrolyte drink because it’s often hard to sit down to eat properly later on!
Go the micro wedding or elopement if you’re not sure about having a big wedding! We didn’t feel like we missed out, or that it was any less fun – in fact we had a blast. People will be happy for you regardless and, especially if you have a videographer/photographer, you can still share the day with people you love. Having a smaller wedding also meant more options in terms of where we stayed/what we ate/how we styled it etc. Also, because we could DIY a lot of stuff, we avoided “minimum spends” that a lot of vendors have in place, plus you get to have quality time with your guests and loved ones.
There’s something oh so special about an intimate wedding or elopement. See Jack and Britt’s magical Melbourne elopement here, Britt’s outfit was a beauty!
IMOGEN AND SAM’S SUPPLIERS
Ceremony location: Redwood Forest, Warburton VIC
Reception location: Amarant Retreat, Don Valley VIC
Celebrant/Officiant: Maureen Miles
Photography: Nikki McCrone
Videography: Peter Ali of Mocha Films and Photo
Florist: Alexandra Duguid
Hair: Shannon Brache
Make Up: Amy Bysouth
The Dress: Anna Campbell – ‘Willow’ empress
Rings: Forever For Love and The Wooden Circle Co
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Petal and Pup
Suits – Ted Baker
Catering: The Graze Keepers
Cake: Cakes by Kayla
Stationery / Signage: Inksy
Honeymoon: We had a minimoon at the Prince Hotel in St Kilda where we had a lovely dinner at Stokehouse restaurant – we’re still waiting to be able to do a proper honeymoon in NZ!