Real Wedding – Matthew & Gabi, Coldstream VIC
Sleek, soft romance, huge lashings of glam, and endless, effervescent emotion were the effortless undertones of Gabi and Matt’s divine day. From decadent, cloud-like clusters of blush and ivory blooms, to the chic simplicity of cleanly pressed taupe linens and simple gold accents, this was a celebration in which each detail was carefully curated. The result? The perfect balance of stunning style and laid back revelry.
With a long history of love and friendship behind them, high school sweethearts Gabi and Matt could not dial down their beaming smiles as the day unfolded. Every excited emotion was evident from the very first moment, captured with aesthetic artistry by Tribe superstars Lou Lou Memphis and C2 Films.
We are loving the full skirt and thigh-high split this season, and Gabi was every inch the glam goddess as she stepped down the aisle towards her husband to be, dressed by the always astonishing Chosen by Khya.
And of course, Gabi and Matt kicked off the party in fabulous, stylish festivity with a champagne tower, outdone only by the radiant looks between the newlyweds.
Pour yourself a glass of bubbles and get scrolling to experience this delightful day!
Matt and I have actually known each other since we were 16 years old and met in 2007. We are high school sweethearts and started dating in year 12 (corny, we know!). We went to different schools, but we mixed in the same circles and had a lot of mutual friends. We met the old-fashioned way – through mutual friends and then sealed the deal with a good old MSN add.
There was no exact moment where I knew Matt was “the one”, but I remember early on that Matt was special, and it just felt right. It was just a feeling that I knew we would end up getting married.
At the end of 2015, we went on a trip big trip to America and Mexico. The trip was a great adventure for us, and we had such a fun time together. We both came back from that trip with a feeling that we couldn’t be without one another (and we didn’t hate each other by the end of it, so that was a bonus!).
At the beginning of 2019, Matt and I were holidaying at Jackalope on the Mornington Peninsula, and he won tickets in the ballot to go to the Ashes in England. Naturally, this opportunity could not be missed (by Matt), so we went about planning a trip to Europe in August/September 2019. From that moment, everyone kept telling me that Matt would propose in Europe, but deep down, I knew he wouldn’t do it then – it was too predictable for him.
The week before we went to Europe, it was my birthday weekend, and Matt left a note on the bench telling me to pack a bag and that we were going to stay in the city for my birthday. This was the perfect disguise because I didn’t suspect a thing. After we checked into the hotel, we went for a walk and sat on a park bench where Matt asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. It took me a while to realise he was actually proposing. After that, we went to Dinner by Heston and had such a beautiful night celebrating together. The next day we told our family and friends, and they all came over to celebrate before we headed off to Europe! It was the most beautiful weekend, and I didn’t see it coming at all.
The planning process is the most fun, exciting and stressful time, but I absolutely loved it! I knew that planning a wedding would be no small task, but I significantly underestimated how much work it would take (especially with COVID interruptions). We were very fortunate that we never had to change our wedding date.
There was a constant stream of emails to and from vendors, meetings and decisions to be made that took a lot of work. It felt like there was always something I could be doing or organising. I actually used the Bride Business book to keep organised. Mum brought it for me when we first got engaged. The book had a checklist, and I ticked off a lot of the big things early on. I then went about organising the finer details as soon as I could and as we got closer to the date.
I found finding inspiration pretty easy because there are so many beautiful weddings happening every weekend! I did a lot of the work myself as I’m pretty confident in what I do and don’t like! My mum and bridesmaids were amazing, and they would constantly check in and ask whether I needed help. I bounced a lot of ideas off them and went with my gut feeling on a lot of aspects. I tried to choose things that felt like “us” or that we’d have in our home.
It was worth it in the end and by the time the wedding came around, I was relaxed about it and couldn’t wait to see everything I organised.
We love the Yarra Valley, and once we locked in Stones, it all fell into place. We visited one other venue in the Yarra Valley, but as soon as we drove down the tree-lined driveway and saw the stunning grounds, we didn’t need much convincing! We couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else.
The style and theme of the wedding were really guided by the venue. We agreed from the beginning that we wanted to make sure great food and wine was a feature and that our wedding was a true representation of us as a couple and of our love.
We loved that we were able to have the ceremony and reception in one place, making it easier for guests. Ultimately, we wanted the wedding to feel like a giant dinner party, intimate but lavish enough to be memorable. All we really cared about was getting married, so everything else was a bonus!
Throughout the planning process, I worked closely with Anastasia from Stasia Fox. Stasia Fox did the amazing florals, stationery and styling on the day. We were very conscious not to lose ourselves in the styling of the wedding and to keep it minimal and elegant but floral dense.
I wanted something modern and minimal with a classic shape! I worked with Kyha Studios, who were incredible. They got my vision straight away, and I loved going in for appointments. The entire process was relaxed and enjoyable.
Initially, I loved the “Jerri” gown, but I always knew that I wanted something bespoke. The girls at Kyha designed something custom but based on the Jerri gown. They altered a few elements, such as moving the buttons from the side to the back of the gown, and they added beading to the front and back of the gown. They also created the most beautiful bespoke veil for me. I absolutely LOVED my dress! The girls at Kyha just got me!
Our ceremony was such a beautiful part of our day! Having the Chapel doors open and walking down the aisle with my dad to see Matt was a surreal moment and one I will treasure forever! Matt and I took the time to write our own vows, and we are so glad we did this. We now have a beautiful reminder of the promises we made to one another. They were so heartfelt and so special. Our celebrant, Shura Taft, created the most beautiful and relaxed vibe, and we had so many guests comment on how amazing and personal the ceremony was. Shura was also our MC, and we cannot begin to thank him enough for ensuring that the night ran smoothly and that we stayed stress-free!
Matt and I also both respectively really enjoyed getting ready with our families and bridal party during the day. I had such a relaxed and great day getting glammed up with the girls and my mum and drinking mimosas. I organised Brittany Galea and Isabella Quinn to do our hair and make-up, and they were the best! So chilled and so much fun – we even had time to sit down to a beautiful lunch during the day!
Matt’s speech was also a highlight for me. He means what he says and says what he means, so to hear him speak on our wedding day was not only a treat for me but for everyone.
Meaning of marriage.
To us, marriage means committing to your best friend forever, no matter what, in the ups and downs, successes and failures. It is a way to affirm your commitment, and it means that you will unconditionally support one another to achieve individual and common goals.
We were lucky enough to have Tobi Tobi perform for our ceremony and canapes!
Aisle: Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
Signing: Le Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf & Stand By Me by Ben E King
Entry: Celebration by Kool & The Gang
First dance: Simply The Best by Tina Turner (inspo taken from a favourite lockdown Netflix Binge – Schitt’s Creek)
Father/Daughter dance: God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
Funny stories or near disasters.
Matt hates this, but everyone found it so funny – during the ceremony and straight after he finished his vows to me, he misheard the celebrant, and he went in for the kiss. I hadn’t said my vows yet, and we hadn’t exchanged rings or anything. The photos of this moment are pretty funny – I’m pulling away because I was confused about what was going on, and our guests were laughing!
Due to COVID, unfortunately, we couldn’t have all of our guests in the Chapel with us, so we split guests into two groups, and those who couldn’t be in the Chapel were in the Stables located on the Stones property. We organised for these guests to have drinks and for the ceremony to be live-streamed on a projector. On the day it was raining so much that this cut out and there were some technical difficulties. It all worked out fine, and the guests didn’t seem to mind – they all mingled and watched the live stream on their phones!
I went into wedding planning absolutely dreading it, but the fact that I absolutely loved planning the wedding was a surprise in itself! The process of wedding planning is much more in-depth than I initially anticipated, and in hindsight, it would have been great to have a planner, so I didn’t have to do the groundwork.
However, it was so satisfying seeing everything come together on the day, knowing the hard work it had taken. It was so nice having close friends come up to me on the night and say how great things looked after they’d all been my sounding board for so many months!
Words of wisdom.
Don’t take it too seriously – it’s meant to be fun, not stressful! A close friend gave us advice before the wedding. Her advice was to take a moment with each other during the day/night to take it all in and reflect! We did just that, and it was the best advice. Remember that it’s just about the two of you and your love story.
We were a bit extra and turned our wedding into a weekend extravaganza. Our close family and friends all stayed at the same hotel, and we organised an afterparty at the Yarra Valley Lodge. We served our favourite cocktails. This was so much fun and a real opportunity for Matt and me to let our hair down. The next morning, we all had breakfast at the hotel, and it was a great way to catch up with guests. The bridal party and immediate family then headed to my parent’s house for a recovery lunch.
Love the ever-elegant, classic wedding style? So do we. We’ve spent some time scrolling through some of our timelessly chic real weddings to put together a selection of some of our favourites, to keep you inspired and romance ready!
MATTHEW & GABI’S VENDORS:
Ceremony & reception venue: Stones of the Yarra Valley
Celebrant: Shura Taft – an absolute legend! From the moment we met Shura, we knew we were in good hands. By the time the wedding came around, it felt like he knew us individually and as a couple. He also felt like a friend, and the ceremony reflected us as a couple.
Photography: Lou Lou Memphis. Eliza’s work is amazing, and we love her candid style of photography. Despite the bucketing rain, Eliza made us feel so comfortable and relaxed. Eliza became part of our journey at the early stages of planning.
Videography: C2 Films – Gareth from C2 Films filmed our day, and he was so lovely. He worked so well with the photographer. From the beginning of the planning process, I knew I had to have C2 film our day.
Florist / Décor / Stationery / Signage: Stasia Fox. Anastasia’s work speaks for itself! She went above and beyond, helping me with little details for the day. Stasia Fox created the florals, and we selected colours of ivory, white, and creams focused with subtle tones of toffee, blush and nude. We used roses and Phalaenopsis orchids to achieve this look. For the ceremony, Anastasia created two dense plinth style arrangements, and these were then re-purposed at the entrance of the reception. In the reception, we also had two large installations on the beams in the Barn, as well as arrangements on the tables, bar and sideboards.
Stasia Fox also created the invitations, website and ‘on the day’ stationery. Matt and I really recommend having a wedding website – we found it easy to track the RSVPs. The ‘on the day’ stationery incorporated the theme of our invitations, and we had personalised menus for each guest.
Make-up: Isabella Quinn
Hair: Hair by Brittany (Brittany Galea)
The dress and veil: Kyha Studios
Rings: Matt’s wedding band was from Cartier, and he wore a watch I gifted to him on the day of the wedding.
My engagement ring and wedding band are both custom-designed by Bensimon. Matt chose my engagement ring himself. It’s an oval diamond on a very fine pave diamond band. It is so special knowing that he chose the piece for me. As a wedding band, Ron gave me a range of ideas to choose from, and I selected an eternity band with oval diamonds all the way around. Ron is fantastic and funny as well, which is a bonus.
I also wore earrings from my favourite Fiorina Jewellery and a diamond tennis bracelet gifted to me by my parents.
My something blue was an evil eye on a gold pin gifted to me by my bridesmaid Elisse. On the day, I pinned this inside the dress. My something borrowed was a ring from my mum (which also featured a blue stone).
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Hexie Official
Bridesmaid’s shoes: Naked Vice
Groomsmen’s suits & accessories: MJ Bale
Groomsman shoes: Aquila
Catering: Stones of the Yarra Valley took care of the catering. We selected the alternating drop, had an oyster bar during canapes and served antipasto as a little nod to our Italian heritage.
Bar: We had a champagne tower to open the reception.
Favours: We selected cocktails from the Everleigh Bottling Co and had these personalised with our name and date wedding date on them. These alternated between a negroni and espresso martini.
I also organised disposable cameras for the tables. I placed them on the side of each floral centrepiece.
Cake / Cake topper: Miss Lady Bird Cakes
Entertainment – Ceremony and canapés: Tobi Tobi (Rene is so lovely!)
Entertainment – Reception: Rutherford Entertainment: DJ Dan Martin (DJ and Sax). Dan was sensational, and he got the party started. Dan came highly recommended, and everyone loved the surprise sax performances.
Transport: Triple R Cars (the driver was so lovely and helped get me in and out of the car without getting rained on!).
For transport to and from the hotel, we used Wild Wombat Winery Tours
Hire: I hired linen table cloths and napkins from Table Art Event Hire.
Honeymoon: We were fortunate enough to travel to Hayman Island for our honeymoon.