Real Wedding – Lauren and Chris, Nagambie VIC
Chris and Lauren’s story started with the hashtag #wifeme and a bowl of homemade pasta, in one of our all-time favourite meet-cute moments. Fast forward to their wedding day, and the feels continued in stunning style.
Photographer Ali Bailey captured all the perfect personal details; from paying homage to Chris and Lauren’s Italian heritage through incredible food and wine, to the apricot and peach roses in their floral arrangements, a gorgeous gesture to Lauren’s grandfather’s rose garden; crafted by bloom artist extraordinaire, Flowers St Germain.
The nods to the memories and people most important to Chris and Lauren continued through her glorious gown, designed with amazing artistry by Lauren’s sister at Nina Couture.
When COVID19 hit, and government restrictions came into play just days before Chris and Lauren’s wedding, they had to adapt quickly, leaning on their expert vendors to help them come up with a plan B that still ticked all the boxes. After that unexpected pivot and the stress that came with it, hitting the dance floor that night with their friends and family, to pumping tunes by the always amazing Baker Boys Band made for an intensely incredible celebration!
Six years ago, I made some homemade pasta and decided to take a picture of it and put it on Instagram with the hashtag #wifeme. For some unknown reason, Chris found my Instagram account and liked my pasta (and then liked some more photos) and then added me on Facebook! I took notice and thought this guy is pretty cute, so I messaged him on Facebook messenger.
We’ve been together ever since.
We both knew pretty early on that we just understood each other. We instantly felt comfortable and just wanted to be together.
I joked to mum after our first date that I was ‘going to marry that man’. As corny as it is, I think when you know, you just know!
It was our friends 30th birthday in Melbourne, as well as our anniversary, so Chris and I thought we would make a weekend out of it and stay in the city. To start our awesome weekend, the hotel mistook my Chris for another Chris, and accidentally gave us a huge room upgrade to an amazing suite with a view across the city and a treats hamper (completely not planned – sorry to the original Chris!)
We had a great night out with our friends, except for Chris disappearing for a while (I didn’t know he was calling my dad who was in the Netherlands).
On Sunday morning, our anniversary, we woke up and reminisced about our amazing five years together. We had breakfast plans at our favourite café, so I went to go and get ready in the bathroom. When I walked out, Chris was standing deadly still in the middle of the room.
That’s when the pin dropped.
Chris asked me if I’d like to marry him (OF COURSE!)
And then we both just sat on the bed and cried A LOT.
(We still made it to breakfast on time, but we didn’t eat anything as we were too excited.)
Chris and I both had a clear idea of how we wanted to celebrate our big day, and we honestly had such a breeze planning.
We chose wonderful suppliers and small businesses to help us along the way, and we had so much fun coming up with a day that not only celebrated our love but our family and friends too.
Then, COVID19 happened.
Like everyone in the world, we found ourselves in a situation that we didn’t understand. Every day there was new statistics and new regulations, so it was stressful just trying to keep up with information. Three days before our wedding, the government imposed the 100 person limitation on inside gatherings with strict social distancing requirements. So what do you do?
Chris and I knew two things.
1. That we wanted to get married
2. That we were going to make this day the very best day that we can.
Our original plan of the long table Italian style shared dinner was not going to happen.
What happened instead was a day that was very authentically Lauren and Chris.
We put our thinking caps on and came up with this – a mini ‘wed fest’ on the lush grounds of Mitchelton for all our guests to have lots of space, have fun and feel safe, followed by an intimate candlelit dinner with our immediate family and bridal party. To sit down with our loved ones (and unbeknownst to us, the last time we saw them all for a while) was magic.
We could not have done it without our incredibly hardworking tribe. Everyone was in a world of unknowns, yet everyone we knew, all our suppliers, friends and family, did everything they could to make our day happen. Chris and I will be forever grateful.
Rather than just focusing on an aesthetic, we drew inspiration from things that were most important to us, and it all fell into place (regardless of the late changes).
When choosing our venue, the Goulburn River has a massive place in both our hearts. Finding the extraordinary Mitchelton blew our minds.
Tradition and memories played a big part in our styling. Growing up, my late grandfather always had the most incredible rose garden, with the most perfect apricot and peach roses you can image. And my Mum, Aunty and Grandma all had bridesmaids that wore ivory.
Chris and I both have Italian heritage, so it was important for us to pay homage to that with beautiful food and wine.
Music and dancing is 100% Chris’ thing, so we had live music by the Baker Boys all day/night.
Everything just evolved naturally!
Not many people are lucky enough to have a sister that is an amazing wedding dress creator. My sister Stephanie has insane talent, so having the most important dress of my life made by my sister feels beyond special.
I knew right from the start I wanted a dress that wasn’t what one would assume to be a ‘typical’ wedding dress. Mitchelton has stunning architecture and textural styling, so I knew I wanted my dress to feel the same. My sister Stephanie, with the help of our dear friend Craig Braybrook, came up with this modern and elegant silhouette – with the train pinning into a bow on my shoulder once bustled. Seeing it come to life was a dream come true.
Because Chris wasn’t allowed to see my dress before the big day, I wasn’t allowed to see his outfit either! Chris and his groomsmen Kurt chose this handsome Reiss velvet blazer for Chris and traditional black suits with bow ties for the boys. I believe they were channelling their inner Bond (and I think they nailed it!)
Our first look. This was Chris’ idea, and I am so grateful he convinced me to do this.
Those three days before our wedding were an absolute whirlwind; we were stressed, we were emotional, and we still didn’t know if our wedding was going to happen. So to have a private moment in this hauntingly beautiful cellar, with candles all around us and to just have each other meant everything to both of us. It is a moment we will both cherish forever.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage to us is a confirmation that your best friend will always be by your side. We chose to get married because we just love each other! Our lives are so much better with each other in it, and the last six years have been a joy. It is honestly that simple.
Aisle: Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac (acoustic version played live by Baker Boys Band). We had the lyrics ‘I want to be with you everywhere’ on our welcome sign.
Signing: Better Together by Jack Johnson
Recessional: You Make My Dreams (Come True) by Hall & Oates
Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dance: How Sweet It Is by James Taylor
First Dance: Honeymoon by Johnny Stimson
Last Song: Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) by ABBA
(Chris’ personal favourite)
Funny stories or near disasters.
Look… despite everything that happened in the lead up to the day, everything was soon forgotten.
It didn’t matter that we could no longer use our seating chart sign, or that it was a little bit too windy before the ceremony to put the flowers on the wine barrels, or that the whole day almost didn’t happen due to a global pandemic!
Our love WON! We were able to provide our friends and family with some kind of relief from reality, and even if there was a little less touching and more hand sanitizer than imagined, we all had the very best day.
(It was also a great way to kick off isolation – and BOY did our people celebrate!)
We are so spoilt in Victoria, and in Australia in general, to have so many talented people in the wedding industry. So, deciding on suppliers can be VERY overwhelming!
Don’t second guess your ideas, though. Stick to your vision and choose suppliers and creatives that you think are wonderful. (Trust me, they WILL be wonderful!)
Words of wisdom.
The most important thing about your wedding day is the fact you get to marry the person of your dreams. Life isn’t worth getting caught up on the small things that didn’t happen.
Our day was not necessarily our Plan A, but we still had the absolute best day of our lives, and I got to marry my love. That is all that matters.
Are COVID restrictions messing with your planning? Chrisa and Carston were facing the same situation. Here’s what they chose to do. (Spoiler: the results are stunning!)
LAUREN AND CHRIS’S VENDORS
Ceremony and Reception venue: Mitchelton Wines – We will be forever grateful to their amazing team for making sure our day was everything we could dream of. Mitchelton will blow you away – it’s a must-visit!
Celebrant: Celebrant Kate Mac – Kate created magic with the most personal and heartfelt ceremony. So much so that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! She is so professional and made our planning process so easy.
Photography: Ali Bailey – The only photographer we decided to meet with was the formidable Ali Bailey.
Her talent blew Chris and I away from the get-go. Her photography is not only brilliant, but she was such a pleasure to work with and she is so LOVELY. We both felt she would be a great fit for our day and we were 100% right.
Videography: AJR Films – We saw that Anthony and Gracie had shot at Mitchelton several times and we loved that their films were so natural. Chris and I were both a bit apprehensive about booking a videographer, however booking them was one of the best decisions we made – what they created was so authentic and special.
Styling: A big team effort by our families (luckily we are surrounded by creatives!)
Florist: Flowers St Germain – Due to all our planning changes Sonia from Flowers St Germain had to change all of her plans for our day at the last minute too. She did such an amazing job and finding the worlds most perfect peach rose for the top of my bouquet brought me to tears.
Hair: Kristy Hair Stylist
Make-up: Demi Ryan Makeup –
The dress and veil: My talented sister – Nina Couture
Rings: G Salera Jewellers in North Melbourne
Bridal jewellery: Amelie George Bridal
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Esther & Co
Groom’s suit: Reiss
Groomsmen’s suits and bow ties: MJ Bale
Favours: DIY – Our families made the olive oil bottles and lollipop favours
Champagne Tower: Cocktails2U
Stationery/ Signage: I made our wedding invitations. All other signage for the day was created by Atelier Creative – Lauren went above and beyond with our signage, she has such an eye for detail.
Entertainment: Baker Boys Band – Again, The Baker Boys had to change all their plans at the last minute to create our day and no one would have ever known! They know how to make a party!
Décor: DIY – I spent a lot of time collecting candles and votives
Hire: Signage Stands hired from Letter Me
Honeymoon: We had planned to go to Margaret River straight after our wedding, and then to Italy for their Summer, however the world had other plans. We will get to both one day.