Real Wedding – Katrina & Ryan, Gnarwarre, VIC
Real Wedding – Katrina & Ryan, Gnarwarre, VIC
Real Wedding – Katrina & Ryan, Gnarwarre, VIC
Real Wedding – Katrina & Ryan, Gnarwarre, VIC

Real Wedding – Katrina & Ryan, Gnarwarre, VIC

When you combine a couple with a vision to create a truly epic celebration, the styling and planning talent of Weddings of Desire, and an incredible team of vendors, the end result is a genuinely breathtaking curation of creativity, style and emotion. 

Leaning into their dream of a stunningly seamless event elevating the European gardens of Rosemount Stud, Katrina and Ryan were unwavering in their skilful decision-making—and on the day, they were a literal vision of radiant relaxation, excitement, and joy. 

Did we mention the styling? From Katrina’s simply exquisite modern gown, custom designed by Elly Sofokli, to Ryan’s multiple suit switches, both by Oscar Hunt (who doesn’t love a pink velvet party jacket?), this is one visually impactful affair.

The aesthetic centre point is revealed from the beginning of the purely personal, joy-filled ceremony in a truly epic arbour and petal blanket by Wildflos. Florals in a palette of perfect pastel hues with accents of soft magenta and lush forest metamorphose into the reception with the addition of citrus fruits, soft, buttery yellow linens, and artful tablescapes.

This is one intensely elegant, freshly contemporary soiree, encompassing everything we love about a wedding celebration – stunning style, unmissable emotion and indomitable character – all captured by queen of the lens, Katie Harmsworth.

We don’t think you’ll want to miss a detail of this unmissable day, so scroll on for more.



The meeting.

Ryan and I met how all modern-day couples are currently meeting – on a dating app! Hinge, to be precise. It was in the thick of lockdown in Melbourne, so you could say we had to be very creative in how we first started dating.


The one.

I (Katrina) knew very early on. The classic ‘when you know, you know’ scenario. It was probably about a month into dating, and I introduced Ryan to my mum and sister. The rest was history, as they say.

Ryan claims that he knew on our first date after he sampled the homemade pasta I had cooked for him! The way to a man’s heart, or something like that! But more seriously, he also felt that the moment after he had met my mum, early on, was when he knew this was the real deal.


The proposal.

We were taking a lovely Sunday afternoon stroll in the sunshine down the driveway of my family home, where we had always romanticised we would get married. While we were walking, we were talking through where everything would go for our hypothetical wedding ceremony in the driveway – and then I turned around, and Ryan was down on his knee with the ring box (which, funny fact, was turned the wrong way because he was so nervous! He had the ring turned back towards himself, instead of toward me). I was in complete shock – I always thought I would see it coming. But he managed to surprise me, which I was very overwhelmed about!

Ryan is a joker, so for about 12 months leading up to the actual moment, he would often pretend to propose in really romantic settings, so I had become rather desensitised to his fake proposals. Given the ring box was facing the wrong way, I almost thought this was another one of his stunts! Until I saw how red, nervous and lost for words he was.


Planning process.

We absolutely loved everything about the planning and process in the lead-up to our wedding. As soon as we got engaged, we made the absolute best decision we could have in the whole process, and that was to engage Laura Browning from Weddings of Desire to be our wedding planner. Laura is a family friend and had done three other family weddings of ours, so it was a no-brainer for us. 2023 was the best year of our lives overall. We got engaged in March and married in December, but the nine months in between whilst planning the wedding was so fun, AND we still managed four overseas trips. And that was all due to having peace of mind that Laura was our person!

I, like most brides, did lots of Instagram and Pinterest stalking of real weddings. That said, though, I didn’t overcomplicate the decision process. I’m a very decisive person in my everyday life, and I absolutely carried that through into the planning so that I wouldn’t become overwhelmed with too many options. Anytime I came across something I (we) liked, we locked it in with Laura and then moved on to the next thing. We didn’t dwell on the decisions we made or change our minds, which definitely helped in being able to keep the planning process flowing nicely and coming together with a clear vision. Information on specific suppliers was definitely helpful, particularly when it came to choosing the likes of our videographer and hearing the real-life testimonies of couples as opposed to viewing the work on vendors’ websites and social media, was most helpful.


Style inspiration.

We knew we wanted everything to be as much outdoors as humanly possible, and for it to lend itself to the beautiful natural European gardens of Rosemont Stud. We didn’t want our guests or the day to feel disjointed, complicated or hard to navigate. We just wanted our guest’s experience to be easy, seamless and flow beautifully.

We then leveraged the European feel to bring in citrus elements and lots of color! We didn’t want it to be plain whites and greens; we wanted it to be different. As the design process was evolving and things were coming to life, it quickly became all about the arbour in our ceremony – that was the anchor for all of the design elements afterwards, and Katie managed to activate that space for our sunset photoshoot later in the evening.


The ceremony.

Our ceremony, in one word, was iconic. This was the part of our day that we were set on being the most special part – it was the part that we were not negotiating on any details. I’m from a very European family, where getting married outside of a church isn’t usually the done thing. But alas, here we were, getting married outside of a church! So, we knew we wanted it to be epic, intimate, and tailored completely to us. We also knew there was only one way for us to achieve this, and that was to have our beautiful friend (Ryan’s best friend, Sarita) officiate our ceremony. Ryan and I were clear with each other right from the beginning that it was only our absolute closest family or friends that would be playing every key formal roles in our day. We didn’t want strangers guiding us through our day; we wanted it to be as intimate as possible. And boy, did we nail that! Even if it meant helping Sarita fast-track through her celebrancy course to be qualified in time (which was right down to the wire). Sarita went completely off script to the usual ceremony format that you see at weddings – in fact, she completely threw the playbook out and created her own! And it all centred around us and our unique story.

We wanted as many little details of the ceremony to be as different as possible from the norm. The layout of our ceremony was a little out of the ordinary – instead of walking down an aisle from behind our guests, I walked towards everyone (I liked the thought of Ryan being the first person I reached). Instead of having our bridal party stand with us, they sat down throughout the ceremony so that it added to the feel that it was only about Ryan and me (which I loved). We wrote our own vows, and we also took a dedicated moment to face our guests to completely take in the whole experience, which was initiated and prompted by Sarita at the start of the ceremony.

What topped our ceremony off was the floral arbor and the petal blanket we stood on – check out the photos, they do all the talking!


The look.

Katrina: My dress was something that I was nervous about right from the beginning. I ultimately knew that I just wanted to feel comfortable and effortless in whatever I wore. I wanted to remain authentic to my usual style and wanted to be able to look back at myself in however many year’s time and think, yep, I still love my look from that day. I was somewhat self-conscious of how a bridal gown would look on me and, again, didn’t want to confuse myself with too many styles. After going to a bridal boutique to try on a couple of ready-to-wear styles, I knew that I was likely going to have to do something custom-made to really ensure I felt as beautiful as possible. Enter Elly Sofocli into my life – the Roles Royce of wedding dress designers! I met with Elly for a Skype call a week after we got engaged, and from the moment she greeted me on the screen, I knew I was all in. Elly was patient, attentive, and completely focused on creating something unique to me and not drawing inspiration from too many other dresses. Elly took the time to get to know me, my lifestyle, Ryan, and the details about our wedding day, and from there, she produced only two sketches. After my Skype meeting with her, I visited her studio three months later. I expected Elly to sketch something for me while I sat with her and described what I liked – but she did one better. She had already done my sketches, even before we met face-to-face! She showed me the first drawing, and that was it. I did not need to see anything more. She had drawn perfection and then executed it exactly as it was drawn. Building my dress with Elly was the absolute highlight of my experience; I loved every moment, and she made me feel so comfortable!

Ryan: I was determined to make a statement with what I wore. I wanted to remind everyone, and myself, that the groom can be the star of the show as well! I took with me a picture of Daniel Craig in a pink velvet tux to Oscar Hunt Tailors and asked for them to recreate it – and they absolutely did! But I also knew I wanted something more formal and serious for the ceremony, then a fun, out-there change for the party at the reception. So, I kept a little secret from my darling wife and never eluded to the outfit change. I wore a forest green and black paisley tux for the ceremony and then pulled off a sneaky outfit change into the pink velvet for the reception – just to really kick things off. And then I completed the outfit with an incredibly bougie purchase – a stellar pair of patent Louboutin shoes with a gold heel. The famous red soles didn’t really pull up great the next day, but they made for one hell of a photo.


Favourite moments.

Katrina: our ceremony.

Ryan: the dancefloor.


Meaning of marriage.

For me (Katrina), marriage formalised what I already knew about my relationship with Ryan—that it will stand the test of time, that he is my entire future, and that I’ve chosen this person to be my partner for the rest of my life, and that we’ve chosen to weather all the storms together. It’s a choice that we’ve made – that was powerful to me. And I couldn’t have chosen any better!

Ryan: Marriage to me means growing together, challenging one another, putting your partner’s wants, needs and dreams before your own, adventuring, compromise – and lots of head and back scratches for my wife!


Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle: Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John, acoustic version played live by a singer and guitarist.

Reception entry: One More Time by Draft Punt

First dance: Welcome Home by Dave Dobyn (an iconic NZ artist and song. Ryan is a Kiwi!)

Father/daughter dance: Take Me Home, Country Road – and then a mid-song break out into the Collingwood theme song because…GO PIES!


Funny stories or near disasters.

ZERO! Probably a strange answer to hear because things go wrong all the time with event planning. I would have loved a little more sunshine, but hey, we’re grateful, not greedy!


Planning surprises.

Probably just how seamless it was. I’m not sure whether that was due to our attitude towards the process, the fact we had Laura, a combination of both, or that we didn’t really have any classic wedding disasters (that we were aware of, anyway!). We just loved every minute of it.


Words of wisdom.

Wherever is physically possible, pay for convenience (I know that seems like pretentious advice, but stay with them). Don’t put yourself under the stress of DIY’ing what you can, because the effort exerted isn’t worth the money you save. You want to be able to enjoy every second of the planning and lead-up, and too many times, I’ve seen brides go into their wedding days exhausted and drained from the effort in the lead-up. Don’t leave yourself with any actions in the week of, unless, of course, those are pampering things! And most of all, don’t sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, your guests want to be there to see the bride and the groom have a great time. They don’t know, nor will they notice any of the little niggly details that might have gone wrong in the lead-up or that may have been accidentally overlooked, so don’t spend too much energy on it!



For an alternate take on a gorgeously luxe outdoor celebration, we love Amelia and Daniel’s Byron Bay soiree, live on the blog.



Ceremony & reception venue: Rosemont Stud

Celebrant: Sarita Hasselberg (family friend)

Photography: Katie Harmsworth

Videography: OneHeart Weddings

Styling: Weddings of Desire

Florist: WildFlos

Hair & make-up: Kohl Studios

The dress & veil: Custom Elly Soficli

Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Rings: Ryan’s wedding band – Cartier. Katrina’s band: Catanah Jewelers Armadale

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Hexie

Suits & bow ties / ties: Oscar Hunt Tailors

Catering & bar: Smith & Co Catering Geelong

Desserts: We also had Cannoleria set up piping fresh cannoli for guests as part of our dessert offering, to tie in with our European theme. They were incredible!

Favours: Personalised tambourines with handwritten calligraphy names as place settings as well.

Cake: Love It Cakes, Geelong.

Cake topper: my parent’s cake topper from 36 years ago.

Stationery / Signage: Ivory & Stone

Entertainment: Rutherford Entertainment

Décor: Tent Society

Honeymoon: Minimoon in Noosa in Feb, Honeymoon in Europe June/July.

Other: We were incredibly lucky to have Natalie Rompotis do live illustrations of our guests, for them to have as keepsakes. She was incredible!


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