Real Wedding – Megan & Shannon, Yarra Glen, VIC
Shannon and Megan’s story is as sweet as the celebration they had to honour it – from almost high school sweethearts, to always being one another’s ‘what-if’, and now their gorgeous family surrounding them – it’s a pleasure to get a sneak peek into their love and the joy that surrounds it.
When they came across Acacia Ridge Winery in the Yarra Valley, they knew they had found the perfect place to host their wedding. With views over rolling grassy hills, perfectly manicured vines, and a clear marquee situated underneath the stars, it was everything they had dreamed of.
With the venue itself holding so much beauty, they found they really didn’t need to over do it on their styling. They kept things to a minimal, a clean, classic, elegant palette with native florals but incorporated meaningful touches, such as handmade favours for their guests.
Above all, this dream duo made sure that everything about the day felt very ‘them’. They chose amazing vendors to help put them at ease like the enigmatic and passionate Megan Jordan who told their story beautifully and Tess Follett, who captured those divine in-between hidden moments you don’t always get to see.
Shan and I went to high school together, and although there was always something there, we didn’t get together until later in life. We crossed paths over the years, and we kept in friendly contact, but our timing wasn’t right, until 2015 when our lives realigned.
I’m not sure there was one specific moment… over the years Shan was always my ‘what if’, and I’m so grateful that the stars aligned for our relationship to develop. Initially I was nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the romcom-love that I imagined. But it exceeded my expectations.
A year after our first child, Charlie, was born, Shan took me away for my birthday down the Great Ocean Road. On the way we stopped at the twelve Apostles. We waited for a break in the weather to take some photos of the apostles or so I thought, Shan had a ring in his pocket and was trying to find a tourist to video his proposal unbeknownst to me. The rain stopped, we went down to get some pics and that’s when Shan got down on one knee and made the proposal. It was perfect. We then took a helicopter ride along the coast. It was a beautiful surprise and such a special day.
We had plenty of time to plan as our initial wedding was scheduled for the 27/11/2020. Shan was actually the visionary of many of the details of the wedding. He has been to many weddings over the years and therefore knew what he liked.
The venue was our first priority. We loved the marquee style wedding and Acacia provided that without all the work of organising it all yourself. We wanted somewhere far enough away that people could make a weekend of it, but close enough that they could get home to kids if they needed too. Once we found the venue, everything else revolved around that. We used local vendors recommended by the venue, for catering, flowers and accommodation. We then used our networks and spent hours scrolling through Instagram and real weddings for inspiration. The internet has made viewing vendor’s work so much accessible.
We picked a venue that was so stunning that we didn’t really have to do too much additional styling. Generally, we chose a classic palate as I didn’t want our styling to date too much over the years.
We wanted to make the day as personal as we could, so we added details that were really ‘us’. Each escort card was a photo of us with the guest, and on the back was a personal note outlining why they were important to us (we stole the note idea from Joel and Brit Selwood’s wedding the year before, as it was such a beautiful touch). The Table names were places that we have lived together, the name places/bonbonieres alternated with hand-made and painted cement pots, with succulents from my garden and bottles of olive oil, made with olives picked from my parent’s farm in Shepparton. I made a “Shannon & Megan” sign with recycled products. Then pre and post ceremony drinks were a shout out to our roots, as we labeled the bar the ‘Yahoo Bar’ (a bar from our home town) including a signature Shepparton drink, Mr D and Vodka.
I found looking at real weddings really useful, especially looking at the venue’s Instagram page to see how the space you’re using can be styled; as well as looking at the specific vendor’s Instagram page to be inspired by their own work.
Our ceremony was really personal; our kids were involved and stole the show at the ceremony in a lot of ways, such a cute age 2&4; it was relaxed and fun and every word was meaningful. Our celebrant, Megan, did such an amazing job at telling our story in a fun and engaging way. She said to us beforehand, “Now if you get to the end of the aisle and you want to kiss him… go for it; if you want to kiss him after the vows… go for it; it’s your ceremony, do as you like”, and that gave us permission to be us, which made me so much more relaxed.
I envisaged my dress being a classic lace cut, however when I tried them on the simplicity of the crepe felt right. I had our second child October 2019 so was holding off wedding dress shopping until I was closer to the shape I was going to be for the actual wedding, although then Covid hit so I had to rush and buy one because I wasn’t sure I would get another chance to try anything else on. I was lucky that I still loved it two years later. Each of my bridesmaids, were on their second or third dress by the time the day came around.
Shan wanted to wear a classic navy suit, so we decided on an all-navy wedding party which worked beautifully.
So many moments! We had a ‘first look’ which meant that Shan and I got to see each other before the ceremony and have some photos taken. It was a very special moment just for us. We also exchanged some gifts with each other not knowing that the other had something organised as well. There was also our kids walking down the aisle and just loving the attention, our gorgeous friend, Nicky, read a poem at the ceremony that he had been practicing all throughout lockdown, taking a moment just the two of us during the reception to take it all in and the awesome dance floor! Our band got everyone dancing, no one wanted the night to end!
Meaning of marriage.
Our commitment was made the moment we decided to start our family. Marriage, to me is formalising the commitment that we had already made, in front of all our family and friends.
Aisle: Sailr by The Well.
Signing: We played a recording of my late grandmother Joan Hanna singing Perhaps Love by John Denver while we signed the Marriage Certificate.
First dance: You are the best thing by Ray Lamontagne. However, we did a little skit leading into the first dance where Shan took control of the music in an attempt to persuade me to use some alternative songs as our first dance song (Everyday I’m shuffling, Billy Jean, Home and Away theme) to showcase some of his dance moves, before I joined him for the real song.
Funny stories or near disasters.
Two weeks before the wedding I decided to dye my hair (it worked ok during covid…) but it did not go well. Kat, at Sochi hair worked overtime to save my hair from genuine disaster!
The day of the wedding, one of the groomsmen got gastro and ended up in hospital, missing the whole day. It was pretty devastating.
I think I underestimated the amount of planning and back-and-forth that goes into a wedding, especially when you’re doing it within an already busy Christmas period.
Words of wisdom.
There is no one way that a wedding should be, do what makes you happy, make it your own. On the day if things don’t go to plan, just remember that regardless, you get to marry your best friend. We got a lot of advice relating to the day going so quickly and feeling like you barely saw each other. However, because we have kids, we didn’t have the rule that we couldn’t see each other before the ceremony. So we crossed paths throughout the day while getting ready, and we did a ‘first look’ before the ceremony. After the reception we also took a moment together to step away and take it all in. This meant we really felt like we spent the whole day together.
There’s something about a clear marquee that gets us every time, check out our wonderful selection of marquee suppliers here.
SHANNON & MEGAN’S VENDORS
Ceremony and Reception venue: Acacia Ridge Winery – This venue is stunning. You don’t need to do much to it because it is so picturesque even without any styling. We loved the idea of a marquee wedding but didn’t want to have to organise it all ourselves, therefore it worked out perfectly that the clear marquee is a permanent feature of this venue. Cathy and Lachy were fantastic to work with and they are continually updating areas so it’s only going to get better and better.
Accommodation: Araluen Boutique Accommodation – We booked out the whole accommodation site at Araluen (with three villas and a four room lodge) for the night before and the night of the wedding. This meant that we could get ready with our family and wedding party. We got our pre wedding photos done here as it is a beautiful setting within itself. It was also conveniently 5 minutes from the venue, which worked perfectly.
Celebrant: Megan Jordan – Megan was so wonderful. She really found out what was important to us and told our story so beautifully. When I was getting bogged down in the details of the planning, Megan was able to help me bring it back to what was important and refocus me on the specialness of committing as husband and wife. She kept up our spirits after having to postpone and gave us lots of ideas to create a meaningful ceremony.
Photography: Tess Follett – Our photos are everything we could have hoped for and more. Tess has an amazing reputation and it’s easy to see why. You spend more time with your photographer than almost anyone else on the day so it was so great to have someone take charge in keeping you moving while also keeping the atmosphere fun and joyful. She captured so many special “in-between” moments that I’m so grateful for.
Videography: Silver arrow Films – These guys were like flies on the wall. Taking in every detail, every moment. They were meticulous at ensuring the sound was perfect with back up microphones for their back up microphones.
Florist: Flowers of Yarra Glen – Allie is a genius. I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I sent her some general inspiration and she came up with the rest. I absolutely loved the end result.
Hair: Dream Catcher Bridal – I wanted a really classic low bun and Ally was able to work her magic on my thin hair! It stayed intact all day and I couldn’t be happier. Ally has a vast portfolio of options and all my bridesmaids were so happy with their hair.
Also have to mention Kat at Sochi, in Malvern East who saved my hair dying disaster two weeks before the wedding!
Make Up: Make Up with Pim – Pim made me feel like a beautiful version of myself. I really wanted natural glowy makeup that wasn’t too heavy. All the girls loved their make-up. Pim did such a great job.
The Dress and veil: Made with Love Bridal – It was a classic style, and was light and easy to dance in. Perfect.
Rings: Blizzards Fine Jewellers – The most amazing team… I should know, I use to work there back in High School 😊. I have so many amazing pieces from Blizzards so it was a no brainer that we would get our wedding rings there.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: various
Suits: Menszclub – The boys were so happy with their suits, they fit perfectly. There was limited access for fittings due to lockdowns and out of town Groomsmen. But they got all eight boys looking so smart, even when they were sweating from the heat! Worth it!
Catering: Locavore Studio – Sheridan and her team came highly recommended by our venue. They cater there almost exclusively which meant they were a well-oiled machine ensuring the reception ran smoothly. The food was delicious. We had so much amazing feedback.
Favors: Handmade by bride
Entertainment: Stock Standard – These guys had the dance floor pumping! Music can make a wedding and these guys made sure it was a night to remember. They came out on the dance floor and interacted with the crowd, creating such an awesome vibe. They also work with you to make sure music in between sets is exactly what you are after as well. We love our 90’s music so there was a half an hour 90’s playlist that kept the dance floor going hard even when they weren’t playing themselves.
Guest Transport: United Bus lines