Real Wedding – Laura & Tom, Kew VIC
After becoming engaged at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, Laura and Tom let this sentimental moment inspire their day and what resulted was a celebration that was festive, fun, vibrant and laidback.
With family and friends meaning a lot to them both, they included them in their day where they could; from Laura’s parents walking her down the aisle, and their wedding party made up of their nearest and dearest, to carefully-selected readings and speeches that sparked laughter, love and joy.
Laura looked a dream in her Rebecca Vallance gown with a sleek split and stunning Amelie George veil, that complemented Tom in his dashing black tuxedo, keeping the look classic and crisp against the backdrop of the city-scape. The celebrations then commenced as they hit the dance floor to the smooth beats of Ivory Tribe favourite, Married to the Groove.
Liz Barnes captured this dreamy duo in all their glory, scroll on to see all the fabulous festivities.
We met in June 2015 through mutual friends on a night out, over a mutual love for live music, a dance and party. We had both seen a DJ gig at Max Watts in Melbourne and as Laura was leaving, she bumped into some friends (a couple, Michael was one of Tom’s groomsmen). They were keen to join Laura and her friends and kick on somewhere else, and they had a third-wheel: enter, Tom. We went to a club on Flinders Street, previously called Can’t Say, where we partied the night away. Laura made the first move! Asking Tom if he felt like going outside for a cigarette. Once outside, Laura said, “I don’t actually smoke” and proceeded to talk away “at” Tom for hours, Tom could barely get a word in. Not much has changed!
Looking back, there was no defining moment, we’d been together for 6.5 years when we got engaged. Although… we were in a relationship just 1 month after meeting; with Tom being quick to make it “Facebook Official.” We had very deep feelings for each other very quickly, from the very early days it felt like we would “end up” together. One thing led to another. We’ve just let it be, not rushed any stage or decision, and also didn’t feel like we were in a rush to get married. Other than wanting to be married before we start a family (for reasons in what marriage means to us!)
It was March 2022. We were in Port Fairy for the annual Folk Festival; we’ve been together a few times since being together, and Laura’s been going with family since 1996! It’s always been a special place and a favourite weekend of the year – relaxed, fun, good, down-to-earth people and good vibes all around, a bit of an escape. On the Saturday night, Tom suggested we go for a walk the next morning (which was out of character). So off we went, over the hill out of the camping ground and along the beach. We got to a dead-end and then suddenly, in one smooth movement (very much in character), Tom was on one knee, asking the most important question, and Laura was in (happy) tears! I left him hanging for a bit, so surprised I forgot to answer! The proposal holds so much importance and meaning, Tom choosing such a special location (Port Fairy) and weekend (Folk Festival) to do it – it made an already special weekend, forever special. He knows me very well. Popping the question itself was straightforward, which is so Tom – tells it how it is, no beating around the bush, straight down the line!
We had a relatively short engagement (8 months) so there was always something to do in that period. We wanted to plan our wedding day together. We would take different elements on and then share with each other what we had found. There were so many decisions and choices to make along the way. Laura is a planner, very organized and detail-orientated, has to research far and wide, gathering all the information to consider before making an informed decision, worried about making the wrong one and regretting, and is also typically indecisive! Tom knows what he likes and wants and as soon as he sees something he likes he’s set. Some people gave us advice to delegate tasks, but we wanted to do it ourselves, so that every aspect of the day and what went into it was “us”. Instead, we sought advice and validation from our family and wedding party; as always, their guidance and opinion matters a lot to us.
There were a few sources of inspiration for our wedding day.
We initially thought about concept and themes but we didn’t want to pigeon-hole the planning process and our wedding, so instead we just went about planning it the way we wanted based on what was important to us and what we liked.
In a way our wedding was in two halves – traditional/formal ceremony and fun/laidback reception. It was personally important to Laura to be married in a Catholic Church
We wanted our guests to have as much fun as we did; that in turn made our day what it was.
Our ingredients were – festive, funky, fun, energy, bold, colour, bright, vibrant, laidback.
Port Fairy Folk Festival – the atmosphere (leaving the hustle and bustle behind and being present), the vibrancy and the branding of the Festival that we got engaged at inspired the styling and stationery for our wedding. Not to mention the music and dancing – we wanted everyone dancing straight after our first dance and that’s what we created.
Urban Melbourne – we love this city, feel lucky that we can call it home, and wanted to celebrate getting married at ‘home’.
We wanted a blend of city and nature which helped us decide the venue at Studley Grounds. The venue being surrounded by greenery and having a lot of timber inside also helped inspire bring bright and bold in colours.
We were inspired by the spring timing of our wedding in terms of colours.
Whilst some couples might want a quick ceremony, to get it over and done with to enjoy the reception, the ceremony for us was just as important, if not more, than the reception! It was personally important to Laura to be married in a Catholic Church, holding more significance, and sealing the validity of our marriage. We saw each other for the first time as Laura walked through the church doors. Laura’s mum (Anne) and dad (Mark) walked her down the aisle – a symbol of the support they have both provided and the importance that both have had on her life. We had our closest people right by our side; Tom’s brother was his Best Man and Laura’s sister was her Maid of Honour. They mean the world to us and our life and our wedding wouldn’t have been the same without our wedding party. Laura’s brother is a Jesuit (order of catholic priests) in formation. We chose a Jesuit to preside at our wedding and Laura’s brother, Julian held a significant role in the ceremony as acolyte and homilist, it was extra special. We carefully selected the readings and prayers and asked special people in our lives to take part in our wedding through reading them. We felt truly blessed in lots of ways. Including the fact it rained in the days leading up to, and the day after our wedding day – but the skies opened and it was blue skies and sunny on our day.
Laura: modern, elegant, structured, fitted, clean lines. Going into wedding dress shopping I knew what I didn’t want. There wasn’t enough lead-time to have one custom made or made to measure, and I didn’t want to go down that route as I wanted the dress process to be easy, straight-forward and one decision, not multiple at each fitting! I went with my Mum and sister (my maid of honour) one Saturday early on with the intention to try on a few things and get an idea of style. The result – three boutiques and a handful of dresses tried on, I found the perfect dress at boutique number two and went back and bought it the next day.
Tom: Traditional Tuxedo – Wanted a classic, clean black-tie look.
The pinnacle of the day was standing up together in front of all our favourite people as husband and wife and delivering our speeches. Our family and friends mean the world to us! Having the opportunity to explain how grateful we are and how much they mean to us was elating. And standing in front of them all, addressing each other as husband and wife, telling each other how much we love each other in front of all our favourite people, well we’ll never forget that moment.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage holds a lot of meaning and weight for us, it means being connected and unified on a deep level. It means commitment to each other for the rest of our lives. It means loving and supporting each other to be our best. It means solidarity; a partnership that gets each other through all of life’s ups and downs. Marriage means that the future is clear and certain. Everything and everyone else might come and go, but we know we’ll always have each other. For us, it means loving, creating and being in our own world, hence our aisle song choice.
Aisle: Private Universe – Crowded House
Walking out: Love You ‘Till the End – The Pogues
Reception Entry: Can’t Get Better Than This – Parachute Youth
First dance song: Given the Chance – Kite String Tangle
Funny stories (or near disasters).
Laura being overly late, not that it was funny at the time, and we’re still tender about it. There’s fashionably/expected late, and then there’s whatever Laura was. Leaving Tom on the alter for 45 minutes! Let’s just say after all the planning, one very important detail was left off – not factoring in traffic at peak school pick-up time on a Friday afternoon. Whoops. It pushed everything back and we had to compromise on a few aspects, but luckily our photographer and MC’s kept everything running smoothly.
Planning our wedding was the perfect prelude to being married. It reminded us of our differences and how we can each play to our strengths, respecting how we do things differently, have different opinions, but how combined we’re better together.
Words of wisdom.
Do it your way! Know what is important to you. Gather inspiration but stick to what reflects you. You don’t need to do everything that everyone else does. Also, you will have the day planned to the detail and minute but there will always be things that happen that you can’t control, and that’s ok.
If you’re searching for a gorgeous gown, we have some fabulous fashionistas where you can source exactly that. Check out our favourite boutiques and designers here.
LAURA AND TOM’S SUPPLIERS
Ceremony venue: Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn
Reception venue: Studley Grounds, Kew
Officiant: Fr Michael Smith SJ
Photography: Liz Barnes
Hair: Madeline Goldsmith
Make Up: Giuliana Corallo
The Dress: Rebecca Vallance
Veil: Amelie George
Rings: Diamond Creations
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Oroton
Suits – if applicable: Lidis Tailors & Moda Melbourne
Bow ties / ties: Hugo Boss
Catering: Studley Grounds, Kew
Bar: Studley Grounds, Kew
Cake / Cake topper: Croquembouche from Nikos Cakes
Stationery / Signage: Nick Rech Designs
Entertainment: Married to the Groove DJ
Transport: Always Classic Cars
Hire: One Big Day Event Hire (for the Recovery)
Honeymoon: Mitchelton Hotel & Winery – Nagambie