Real Wedding – Laura & Vincent, Geelong VIC
Fostering a beautiful connection from the moment they first met, Laura and Vince were intent on creating a celebration to honour their love in true style – with a refreshing, relaxed soiree.
But for these two stunners, relaxed most certainly didn’t mean forgoing style. Choosing to echo the industrial-chic vibes of The Federal Mill, they wove contemporary elegance with timeless style against a colour palette of tangerine tones and soft sage greenery.
In a move to delight all the senses, they chose to emphasise their love of cooking with their families through a huge Paella grazing table and a sweetly sumptuous cannoli cart to end the night. We love these perfectly personalised touches, and special attention to the guest’s needs – reflected in images overflowing with loved-up, laid back fun.
For Laura and Vince, taking a moment to step outside as the sun went down and soak up the day was inspired, all captured by their photographer superstar Ryal Sormaz. The perfect pause before hitting the dance floor, set alight by entertainment extraordinaires Hey Jack.
We met in 2016 when I moved to Melbourne and started at a new job. Vince was already working there and made me feel so welcome. In the first 12 months, it was purely a friendship. We got along incredibly well.
I recall riding my bike to work on an afternoon shift and incurring over time, leaving me stranded to ride the 10km home at 1am. Vince, the gentleman he is, offered me a lift home and even managed to cram my bike into the back of his car!
It wasn’t long after this when we had both moved to different work locations, that we realised there was a spark there, and he asked me out to dinner and a movie.
You know that old saying, ‘when you know, you know’, that is precisely how it was for both of us. We fell hard for each other, talking non-stop and spending all of our spare time getting to know each other better. Then, about six months in, I organised a trip to Bali for us to celebrate Vince’s thirtieth birthday. It is easily the best holiday I have had, and not because Bali is the be-all and end-all but because this is when we really knew that we had something special.
In the midst of 2020, the year we spent countless days in lockdown, Vince contacted a jeweller, designed and created the perfect ring – all via email and from the comfort of our lounge room.
He recalls racking his brain for creative ways to propose during the lockdown but was fortunate when the announcement came that restrictions were set to lift. Desperate to get out of Melbourne, I immediately jumped online and booked us a weekend away at Wolseley Wines near Jan Juc. For the first time in three years, I suggested we share a suitcase rather than take individual carry bags. Unbeknownst to me, Vince was thrown into a panic, not having anywhere to hide the ring. In a last-minute decision, he decided to stash it inside the spare tyre before we set off. We went out for dinner in Torquay, followed by ice cream and a walk along the beach. When we returned to the cabin at the winery, we sat out on the deck overlooking the lake, and Vince got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
It was challenging. When we got engaged in November 2020, we had just come out of lockdown, and things were looking up. We knew immediately that we wanted Ryal Sormaz to photograph our wedding as we have been privy to his work and adored his style. We chose our wedding day based on his availability, and the planning began. Initially, we had decided to marry at my parents’ property in Geelong, and we organised catering, furniture hire and music almost immediately.
As 2021 progressed, it became apparent in August, only three months before our wedding, that Covid restrictions were going to make things difficult. Scrambling, I made a list of venues in Geelong and began enquiring, knowing full well we needed luck on our side to find somewhere this late in the game. Fortunately, we stumbled across The Federal located in The Federal Mills, who were super accommodating and allowed me to bring in the vendors I had already committed to. As we were unable to visit regional Victoria, we could not visit the venue and see it in person but knew that it had the beautiful industrial feel that we were seeking. Much of our wedding planning was done in lockdown, foregoing the experience of menu selection and cake sampling; however, I was fortunate enough to have my dress custom made by my step-mum, who had created her own bridal gown business. It was a really special process having her create my dream gown, something I treasured. Restrictions were eased five days before our wedding, and we were finally able to relax and enjoy the moment.
We really wanted to create something that was true to us and our individual style. We wanted a relaxed vibe, nothing too formal, and we wanted people to let their hair down. The venue is set in the old Wool Mills and is fitted with red brick walls giving it a very industrial feel. We wanted the space to feel open and encourage our guests to mingle around the huge grazing table we set up in the middle of the venue. We chose to serve up paella because this is something we both love eating and the experience of cooking it with our family. We finished off the service with a cannoli cart where our guests could indulge in freshly piped cannoli’s which everyone loved.
Being that the entirety of our wedding was planned whilst in lockdown, we spent endless hours scrolling through real wedding blogs, Pinterest and Instagram. I found reading the real wedding blogs that covered weddings in the local Geelong and Melbourne area the most helpful; it allowed me to consider local vendors and their capabilities. I also loved reading the advice provided by other brides, particularly to slow down to enjoy that day because that was something that I really took on board.
In the week of our wedding, we shifted from meticulously refreshing the covid vaccination numbers to monitoring the weather apps to predict any chance of rain on the day. Something I am sure every couple will do! With a chance of showers at the time of our ceremony, we made the decision on the morning of the wedding to move the ceremony into the undercover arcade, creating a very intimate gathering. While I was initially apprehensive, feeling as though our guests would be cramped, this was the best decision. We were able to see all of our guests and their reactions during our ceremony. It felt as though everyone was a part of it. Just as I began walking down the aisle, rain gently fell, and it showered throughout our ceremony, creating that perfect pitter-patter on the corrugated steel roof.
We also wrote our own vows, which was something that we both felt strongly about including. Neither of us would consider ourselves wordsmiths, but we were both blown away by each other efforts and hearing them for the first time in front of all our family and friends felt really special.
We both wanted to wear something that we felt was timeless. Vince was a breeze, and he settled on the first tuxedo he tried on; it fit beautifully, and he felt comfortable in it. He also decided on patent leather shoes and belt to elevate the look.
I was so very fortunate that my step-mum had just begun a small business designing and creating custom wedding gowns, so it was an obvious choice for me. When it came to designing the dress, we worked closely on every detail, but I had a pretty clear idea and inspiration on what I wanted to wear on the day. I knew the shape and style, but Lisa had the experience to select the perfect fabric and make it come to life. Lisa is such a perfectionist, and I trusted her expertise when it came to the finer details of the dress. The first time I tried on the toile she created, I knew that the shape and design were perfect for me, and I could see the image in my mind emerging.
It was genuinely such an amazing experience being able to have a loved one design and create my dress, and I felt so honoured to wear it and show it off on the day. Lisa also designed and sewed my veil for me, which was covered in individually hand-sewn Swarovski peals. I loved the veil; it made me feel like a real bride and added a touch of romance.
I chose to wear vintage gold Oscar De La Renta earrings and gold Loeffler Randall shoes to add a bit of glam to the look.
We organised to sneak out with our photographer for some golden hour photographs. We each grabbed a drink and headed out to the gardens in The Federal Mills. The sun was setting, and we sat down under some festoon lights, which turned on as we sat down. Taking the time to just have a moment to ourselves and revel in the entirety of the day was our favourite moment.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage is the commitment to each other to share our lives together. To put each other first, to support and look out for each other.
Aisle: Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac
Signing: Heros by Vera Blue
Recessional: Baby I’m Yours by Arctic Monkeys
Reception entry: World of Our Love by Client Liaison
Cake cutting: Westside by The Kooks
First dance: Beyond by Leon Bridges
Final song: One More Time by Daft Punk
Funny stories or near disasters.
We had decided not to have formal bridal parties, but my best friend, who was 38 weeks pregnant and on maternity leave, helped me in the chaotic week leading up to the wedding with flower arrangements and setting up the venue.
At the end of our first dance, she was getting her boogie on in the middle of the dance floor when her water broke! She and her partner headed off to the hospital, and her beautiful son was born the following day. We had so many friends and family members calling the next day, not to congratulate us, but to find out if she had had a boy or a girl!
The amazing service and experience you receive from vendors who just know what to do. Being someone who is a little bit of a control freak, I found it difficult to put my trust in vendors, especially when I had not met any face to face and was really just dealing with people over email. I was so overwhelmed with how easily everything just came together and fell into place on the day. They all know their role and work like a well-oiled machine. They do not need to be micro-managed, and if you have good vendors, you can just enjoy your day.
A special mention to Cara Mia Cakes in Belmont, who phoned me a few days before the wedding and offered to attend the venue and set the cake up on the day as they were concerned about the cake being transported. This was something that had not even crossed my mind, and it is just the little things like that which make the day so much easier.
Words of wisdom.
Lean on each other. Planning a wedding is not an easy task, but at the end of the day, you are planning the most special day of both your lives, and you both need to be involved and help each other out. It really is the first step in your marriage and working together is so important.
We cannot even express in words how amazing the entire day is – from start to finish. There were times during the lockdown that we considered eloping or heading down to Town Hall, but we are so glad that we decided to go ahead with the day. It was everything we had dreamed of and more. Don’t compromise on things you really, really want. Have no regrets!
As beautiful bride Laura says, real weddings can be the bomb for affordable style inspiration, helpful words of wisdom and finding your perfect dream day team. Check out some of our favourites from 2021 on the blog, here.
LAURA & VINCE’S VENDORS:
I read a ton of real wedding blogs on Ivory Tribe, Hello May, GT magazine and used Easy Weddings to find vendors. I had also had a lot of friends or friends of friends who had recently been married in Geelong, so I used Instagram to locate vendors that they had used.
Ceremony venue: The Federal Mills
Reception venue: The Federal Café and Bar
Celebrant: Hannah May Weddings. Hannah Clark was our gorgeous celebrant. She wrote the perfect ceremony, which captured our love story right from the beginning. It felt so personal having her there with us.
Photography: Ryal Sormaz. We chose our photographer as he had photographed a wedding that Vince had been a groomsman in, and we loved his work and the vibe he bought with him. Ryal is someone who feels like a friend you have known your whole life. He makes you feel so comfortable, and it showed in our photos. He was the best decision we made, and I am so grateful for his work and photographs as they are something we will treasure forever.
Florist: As Daisy Does (bridal bouquet and boutonniere). The arbour and venue flowers were down by the bride and bridesmaid.
Hair: The Loft Hair Co
Make-up: Cherie Green Make Up
The dress & veil: LCI Designs Bridal. Lisa, my beautiful step-mum from LCI Designs Bridal, did an outstanding job designing and creating my dress and veil. I came to her with some Instagram inspiration, being some photographs. She was able to take these photographs and design the entire pattern, capturing every small detail that I wanted to include. She was so particular about the details and helped me choose a beautiful Italian crepe material that felt light to wear.
Suit and bow tie / tie: Ferrari Formal Wear (Myer)
Catering: The Paella Pan Geelong, The Federal Bar & Café, Cannoleria by That’s Amore. The cannoli cart from Cannoleria by That’s Amore was a real highlight. The team there were fantastic to deal with and so organised. The bite-sized cannolis were adored by our guests, and the service was impeccable.
Favours: In lieu of favours, we made a donation to Bowel Cancer Australia in memory of Vince’s father.
Cake: Cara Mia Cakes. Cara Mia Cakes were so thoughtful. I ordered my wedding cake online, without even speaking to anyone from the store, and they took it upon themselves to phone me and offer to attend the venue on the day and assemble the cake for me. They also made the cake vegan at my request, which was something that was difficult to find. The cake was so delicious, and we had so many compliments.
Stationery / Signage: Etsy, and a friend of the bride
Entertainment: Hey Jack Entertainment
Transport: Family cars
Hire: Pepper Sprout Hire (furniture)
Honeymoon: Byron Bay & Sydney
Accommodation: The Warehouse Geelong