Real Wedding – Isabella & Ante, Alexandria NSW
Modern elegance with a twist of art deco glam was the dream for high-school sweethearts Isabella and Ante. And from beginning to end, this was a wedding day filled with soft romantic touches, elegance and sweet emotion.
We love the stunning settings framing the bride and groom throughout the day; from the sweeping stained glass of the church to the urban landscape of Sydney city. Photographer Jimmy Raper lead the newlyweds and their wedding party on a romp through classic stairways, majesty arches and historical inner city buildings, with Isabella and Ante looking every bit the classically captivating couple.
With entertainment legends The White Tree at the helm, the reception was one to remember, with a blazing hot dance floor, styling to wow, and all the happy endorphins. Scroll on for your dose of feel-good glam!
Ante and I met in year seven maths and started off as friends. However, love didn’t bloom until year nine, and Ante played hard to get until year eleven when he asked me out after my 16th birthday party. We have been together ever since.
As teenagers, we always thought we had met the one and that the love would never end. However, we probably would both agree that it was after our first trip to Melbourne in 2016, when we spent a week together, just the two of us, and wanted it never to end. It was then that we realised we would never get sick of being together.
I had been pestering him for months about when we would get engaged. I thought it might happen during a big trip we had planned for later that year. Four weeks prior to our trip, Ante suggested we go to a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens (picnics were a regular weekend date for us, so it wasn’t random). He also worked near the gardens and had brought it up multiple times. I made him stop by my Aunty’s place for birthday cake prior to the picnic and could tell he was getting agitated that we were spending so long, but I didn’t know why. When we got to the picnic, we set it up, and I started to dig into the cheese and crackers. He asked me to put the food down – I was confused and hungry! Ante had been playing music in the background, and “our song” came on. At that moment I realised what was happening. He asked me to stand up, got down on one knee and popped the question. Plenty of tears and hugs later, the photographer and his sister popped out of the bushes, surprising us! Ante had also booked rooftop drinks with all of our friends and family later that evening.
We had an 18-month engagement, which really made the entire process feel calm, nothing was rushed, and all of the vendors we had wanted were available. We planned everything together and used a checklist and spreadsheet (Ante’s area of expertise) to map out all of the costs, deposits and due dates for each vendor. The planning was stressful, and COVID did impact our planning, especially in the three months prior when a) the day was quickly approaching and b) Sydney had gone into lockdown. However, it all worked out in the end, and I regret all of the time I wasted stressing (and crying). The day was exactly what we wanted from it.
I had been Pinterest-ing my dream wedding day for years and had a rough idea about what I wanted. Luckily Ante and I have similar tastes – we wanted an elegant and timeless wedding, one that we could look back on in years to come and still love. I also wanted a touch of art-deco glamour to tie in with the venue and bring a bit of sparkle to an otherwise classic day. We also gave our stylist, Lunar and Fox, a creative license with the brief, which she perfectly met.
I drew a lot of my inspiration from the blogs and magazines I came across during the planning period. The real weddings assisted in encouraging me that I could have my dream wedding and be a normal everyday person. I read reviews on all of the vendors, spoke to friends and family who had recently tied the knot and communicated with other brides-to-be to ease any fears or concerns. The biggest help was hearing from others who had been through or were going through the exact same process as we were.
My maid of honour found the church, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, on Instagram, funnily enough, and I immediately fell in love. Ante and I visited the church, and once we saw the stained-glass windows and 19th-century architecture, we were drawn to the church. Our officiant, Father Antony, was also funny and relaxed and helped us to really enjoy the ceremony and make it unique to us. We elected songs that were special to us and included special friends and relatives to do readings. Afterwards, everyone gathered outside the church and was embracing and laughing. It is one of my fondest memories from the day as a time where I could look out at everyone who was there to celebrate our love with us.
Ante wore a tailored tuxedo which was fitting with our style of a timeless and classic wedding. Opting for the tuxedo over a suit also reflected the art-deco glam that I had wanted to shine through on the day. He had his suit made by Tailor and Co, who worked with Ante in picking suitable fabrics and cuts all from scratch, right down to the smallest detail of having his initials stitched into both the shirt and jacket. The suit was the perfect match.
I had seen an image of a wedding dress on Pinterest by Melbourne designer Elly Sofocli that I immediately fell in love with. I visited a few bridal stores in search of that dress but ultimately decided to just book Elly in myself. I wanted a dress that was classic and timeless but also comfortable and unique to me. Elly was great throughout the design process, offering suggestions and ways to elevate the simple dress. We added pockets and tulle detailing on the bodice, as well as a leg split to bring in some glam. The dress definitely felt like the one, and I opted out of changing at the reception as I loved the dress so much.
The dancing! After months of weddings not being able to have dancing, it was so special to be able to groove and sing with my best friends and special family members. We definitely wanted the wedding to be a party and that it was, with the help of the band. Almost every person who attended our wedding commented on how special the band was over the usual DJ. The five-piece band from White Tree elevated everyone’s spirits after a very difficult 2020, and almost everyone had a dance at some point. Ante says that it was then that he was able to relax, the ties came off, and everyone was really happy. Ante and I were lifted up (literally) by our brothers and cousins, and that is one of my favourite memories.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage to us was a formal acknowledgment of the commitment and love that we had held for eight years. Marriage is a friendship and partnership, and for us, it just means getting to share every life experience (both good and bad) and never having to be alone. Ante is truly my best friend, and marriage means getting to do life with him until we are old and wrinkly!
Aisle: Higher Love by James Vincent McMorrow
Recessional: Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine
Reception entry: Feel So Close by Calvin Harris and Hey Ya – Outkast
First dance: La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf
Father/daughter dance: Tiny Dancer by Elton John
Dancefloor banger: Heaven by DJ Sammy
Funny stories or near disasters.
Too many to count! But all were dealt with, and the fact that we got there, in the end, was all that mattered.
Our singer called in sick two days before, but White Tree was amazing and had a Plan B ready to go – the Plan B was awesome, and I honestly couldn’t imagine the day without him.
Our cars wouldn’t start on the day. We had hired a vintage Rolls Royce that couldn’t start once it came to my house. We were 30 minutes late to the ceremony, but all worked out!
Before entering the reception by mum had a panic attack over how dirty my dress had gotten during the portraits, we tried to clean it, but the dirt wouldn’t come off. I accepted the dirt and went on to have the best night ever (I am so glad in retrospect that I didn’t sit there all night worried about dirtying my dress). Funnily enough, the dry cleaner celebrated that she loved seeing dirty wedding dresses as they were evidence of an amazing night. This definitely made me feel better!
How with some vendors, we were too early! I thought that the earlier you book things in, the better, but some vendors actually told us to come back in a few month’s time. This was surprising to me as I wanted everything locked in and ready; however, I appreciated this wait as it helped in preventing any rash decisions and by forcing us to let things go for a period of time, we were able to re-evaluate if it was even something we wanted.
Words of wisdom.
It is a cliche, but enjoy the process! It goes so fast. Make all decisions based on what would make YOU and your partner happy. Don’t make decisions for anyone else! The people who love you will support you through all of your decisions.
Avoid traditions if the meaning is lost for you! Or, if you want to maintain the tradition, twist it to represent you as a couple. Ante and I were not too fussed about having wedding favours as we were fearful of the waste (when people leave them behind or throw them out after). So, we elected to have a donation to charity instead. We sadly lost my grandmother a month before the wedding to dementia, and so in place of a favour, each guest received a pin to wear on the wedding day in honour of Dementia Australia. This was so special to me, and looking back on the photos and seeing people wearing them warms my heart.
We love a timeless, elegant wedding. If classic glam is also your style, we’ve curated some of our favourite moments from the blog, here. Treat yourself and sink in to some seriously stunning soiree’s.
ISABELLA & ANTE’S VENDORS:
Ceremony venue: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Randwick
Reception venue: Linseed House at The Grounds of Alexandria
Officiant: Father Antony
Photography: Jimmy Raper
Styling & florist: Lunar and Fox
Hair: Jacob Muller Hair
Make-up: Rachelle Facelo
The dress & veil: Elly Sofocli
Shoes: The White Collection
Rings: Grew and Co
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Petal and Pup
Suits: Tailor and Co
Bow ties and cufflinks: Otaa
Favours: Dementia Australia
Cake: Busted Baking
Stationery / Signage: Peterkin Printing
Entertainment: White Tree Band
Transport: Silver Cloud
Décor: Sketch and Etch, Neon and Oaklab
Hire: Duet Collete for morning styling
Honeymoon: Byron Bay – 28 Degrees