Real Wedding – Louise & Danny, Coldstream VIC
After the pandemic caused Louise and Danny to rework their wedding plans, they landed on a sweet, intimate affair, large on the vibes and small on the stress.
Focusing their styling inspiration on the warm, rustic vibes of their venue led to a perfect palette of soft, whimsical hues of blush pink and creamy vanilla, with decadently folded fabrics and muted gold candle holders.
Danny cuts a dashingly modern silhouette in his deep forest velvet jacket, striking against Lou’s stunningly simple Chosen by Kyha gown. Clean, contemporary lines and dynamic movement make this gown a vision of modern elegance. We love the bridesmaids in their glimmering metallic olive gowns, accessorised with crisp gold heels; perfectly complementing the tones of the surrounds.
As the sun went down, the night heated up inside the venue, with Lou switching to a killer mini dress by Rachael Gilbert, perfect to carve up the dance floor, in the hands of entertainment energisers Astrosoul.
There to capture every darling detail to aesthetic perfection is photographer Georgia Verrells.
Danny and I first met at University 13 years ago back home in Ireland through mutual friends. It’s actually quite funny because initially, I wasn’t too keen on Danny! And he reckons he has no recollection of our first meeting in Uni, which was on a night out! A couple of months later, Danny and I went to Chicago to work for the summer with our friends. On one of our first nights out in Chicago, Danny made me laugh, and we realised we actually quite liked each other! We ended up having our first kiss that night and hung out every day for the rest of that summer.
It’s quite hard to pinpoint exactly when. When we flew back home to Ireland after Chicago, we ended things as we thought that what we had was just a summer romance. We were very young (20 and 21) and weren’t entirely sure if we wanted to be in a relationship. After a couple of months of trying to go our separate ways, we realised that we always ended up back together on nights out in Uni and that maybe what we had was more than just a summer romance. We eventually decided to give being “official” a go. We met each other’s families, and everything just felt so right!! And the rest is history.
Danny and I had been living in Melbourne for two years when my Mum, Dad and brother decided to come over from Ireland and visit us for Christmas. Danny and my Dad went for a drink one night, and Danny asked my Dad if he could marry me. Dad replied, “about time,” and they spent the rest of the night out celebrating.
A couple of days later, we went to the Grampians (one of our favourite places in Victoria) and stayed in a really beautiful house set amongst the mountains and nature. It was here where Danny got on one knee and asked me to marry him. My Mum, Dad and brother had snuck out of the house before this, knowing what was about to happen. I was in absolute shock for a couple of minutes but eventually came around and said YES!
My Mum, Dad and brother had a bottle of champagne ready for us, and we spent the night sitting outside, sipping on bubbles, listening to music and to all of the singing kookaburras that were around us! It was such a special night.
Initially, Danny and I had our hearts set on having our wedding at home in Ireland. We had everything booked and paid for. It was going to be a pretty big day with about 200 guests. Then, covid hit! It was pretty stressful trying to plan a wedding at home whilst living in Melbourne during covid. There were a lot of uncertainties: would we be able to fly home for our wedding? Would it even go ahead? Covid also meant we had a lot of time to reflect and think about the day we truly wanted and what was important to us. We came to realise that we both wanted a more intimate, laid-back and relaxed day, rather than the big traditional wedding.
Melbourne holds a special place in our hearts, so we thought, why not have it here? Having it in Melbourne also meant it would be a lot easier for us to plan the whole thing, and we were pretty certain it would go ahead over here, even if covid was still hanging around! We spoke to both of our families and let them know how we were feeling. We were so incredibly lucky that our families said they would be more than happy to travel over here from Ireland.
Once we got the go-ahead, we visited one wedding venue – Stones of the Yarra Valley- and fell head over heels in love with it! Stones had everything we were looking for – amazing food, wine and service. As well as a space to have our ceremony, reception, and accommodation for all of our family and friends in the one venue. It broke our hearts knowing that having our wedding over here meant a lot of our close family and best friends wouldn’t be able to travel over for it! But we had to do what felt right and what was best for us. After that visit, we decided to go ahead and book Stones and cancel our wedding in Ireland.
Because our guest list was so small, we were able to have our reception in the Stables at Stones of the Yarra Valley. This is such a stunning space and venue, so it really didn’t need much styling! We did, however, know that we wanted a rustic, whimsical, garden party-type feel to the day, which we thought matched the look of the stables perfectly.
We got most of our styling inspiration from Instagram. One post in particular, which was a styled shoot by The Romantics Weddings, really caught our eye. We loved the timeless, soft, pink and white tones and details from this. We sent pictures and ideas to our stylist, Teesh, from The Providore Styling. Teesh is amazing and really brought our vision to life. We stuck with this colour scheme and styling throughout the whole day.
Neither Danny or I are religious, so we opted for a humanist ceremony, and we are so happy we did! It was light-hearted, fun, personal and heartfelt – which is exactly what we wanted! All of our guests said that they really enjoyed the ceremony and were raving about it afterwards. It was delivered by the absolutely amazing celebrant, Shannon Jeans, and we can’t thank her enough for making it so special. Shan made it so personal. She had everyone in stitches laughing and crying (happy tears) throughout the entire ceremony. She also spoke about and included our bridal party, groomsmen and parents in the ceremony, which was so lovely as none of them were expecting it.
I had pictured myself in a completely different style of dress to the one I went for! I went to three or four different bridal shops around Melbourne and quickly realised that the style of dress I thought I liked wasn’t actually what I felt most comfortable in.
I eventually went to Kyha Studios, not really thinking I’d find my dress there. With the help of my stylist, Olivia, I tried on a couple of different dresses that I would never have picked out myself. I’m so happy Olivia got me to try these different styles, as that is how I found my dress! It’s a structured, strapless, floor-length gown that feels effortlessly elegant and timeless. I went for an Anna Campbell veil to finish off the look.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a dress change as I loved my wedding gown so much. Knowing our family and friends, though, I knew that we’d spend the night on the dancefloor, and I thought about what I would feel most comfortable in. I then came across the gold Frenchy Mini dress from Rachel Gilbert and knew I had to have it! I was so glad I did a dress change as I was right; we spent the entire night dancing and singing on the dancefloor!
Danny went for a custom-made, green velvet tuxedo. He got inspiration for this from a real wedding we had seen on our photographer’s page – Georgia Verrells – and we both loved it! Danny only visited one suit shop, Formal Red, in Richmond. He found the guys in here so lovely and helpful. They really helped him bring his ideas to life. He loved the planning process, and the tux looked absolutely incredible on him – it fit like a glove.
Probably the time around the ceremony. We loved the whole thing! I was dancing with my Mum, Dad, brother and bridesmaids before walking up the aisle to try and calm my nerves. Danny was chatting with his four brothers at the top of the aisle, also trying to calm his nerves. My Dad walking me up the aisle and shaking Danny’s hand was such a special moment! Seeing Danny for the first time in his tux at the top of the aisle and seeing all of our family and friends smiling faces while Shan was delivering the ceremony – it was all so beautiful.
Meaning of marriage.
Seeing as we have been together for 12 years, we knew getting married wouldn’t feel much different or change much for us. What it means to both of us, though, is that we will continue to love, support and respect each other. We will always prioritise each other and our beautiful families. And most importantly, to keep laughing, having fun and enjoying life together!
Aisle: Home by Sydney Rose (A song that we both loved in Chicago).
Reception entry: Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac (To get the party started and champagne flowing).
We didn’t do a first dance as we felt it wasn’t really us. We did have a bit of a dance to whatever song our amazing band – AstroSoul- were playing when I changed into my second dress, but everyone else was also on the dancefloor with us!
Funny stories or near disasters.
One of our suppliers accidentally fell into the fountain at our venue! They handled it like an absolute champ, though and kept the show on the road. We were all amazed at how they dealt with it. Lucky for us, they are a top-class supplier with great dedication to the cause!
Danny and I were surprised at how relaxed we felt in the year planning the wedding after we decided to have it in Melbourne. We really enjoyed the lead-up and all the planning that we did. I think we were so lucky with Stones as our venue because they gave us a list of vendors that they love to work with, which made it so easy to find amazing suppliers. And also, lucky for us, having our wedding on a Monday meant that all the suppliers we really wanted were available.
Words of wisdom.
Try to enjoy every moment, from the planning to the actual wedding day, as it goes by in the blink of an eye! Know what is important to both of you, and plan your day exactly as you want it!
It truly is the best day ever, filled with so much love and happiness, surrounded by your best friends and family. Have fun!
Louise and Danny kept their wedding party small, but the vibes big. But what if you want five of your besties alongside you on your dream day? Or, none at all? We’ve summed up the pros and cons of a wedding party, so you can make the decision best for you.
LOU & DANNY’S VENDORS
Our venue – Stones of the Yarra Valley – gave us a list of suppliers that they love to work with! This made it very easy to find amazing suppliers. We did, of course, also read through reviews and wedding blogs and looked at pictures on websites and Instagram before deciding on which of these suppliers we wanted to go with. Blogs and Instagram pages such as – Anti bride, Ivory Tribe, Chosen by Kyha, The Wed, The Bridal Journey, Together Journal, Georgia Verrells, The Providore Styling and Shannon Jeans Celebrant helped us out a lot.
We can’t speak highly enough of all of our suppliers!! They all exceeded our expectations and made all of the planning so easy and stress-free. I can’t recommend them enough!
Ceremony venue: The Chapel at Stones of the Yarra Valley
Reception venue: Stables at Stones of the Yarra Valley
Celebrant: Shannon Jeans
Photography: Georgia Verrells
Videography: Hey Jack
Styling, florist & decor: The Providore Styling
Hair: Rachel Evans
Make-up: Katia Amerena
Veil: Anna Campbell Bridal
Rings: Wesley Betts Fine Jewellery
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Forever New
Suits & bow ties / ties: Formal Red Clothier
Catering & bar: Stables at Stones of the Yarra Valley
Favours: Tree project at Stones of the Yarra Valley
Cake: Didn’t have a cake, we did a champagne tower instead and got it through the Cocktail Queen
Stationery / Signage: Ivory and Stone
Honeymoon: We didn’t do your typical honeymoon. Instead, we spent one month with both of our families in Australia. Because we don’t live at home in Ireland, what was most important to us was to spend quality time with our family. We had the best few weeks and made such special memories.