Real Wedding – Melissa & Luke, Fitzroy VIC
Radiant, infectious smiles are the outstanding theme of Melissa and Luke’s effortlessly stylish, urban chic day. Taking inspiration from what they love most; good times, good people, good food and drink, made for a celebration echoing with genuine fun and joy in aesthetically gorgeous surrounds.
Framed by the iconic arched window of Melbourne institution Panama Dining Room, Melissa and Luke’s guests experienced a laughter-filled rendition of their journey, as legendary celebrant Megan Thompson balanced lighthearted fun with huge dollops of heartfelt emotion; in a ceremony to wow. There’s nothing we love more than seeing smiles across the room and knowing the party has started in exactly the right way.
From choosing a wedding dress in the literal last minutes before lockdown to the constant ebb and flow of ever-changing pandemic plans, Melissa took another of our real brides advice to forget the small stuff and focus on the meaning of the day. And as these two stunners strolled the laneways of Collingwood after saying their I-do’s, the effervescent emotion between them everything.
Scroll on to see this captivating celebration unfold through the lens of photographer Tahnee Jade.
We met briefly through a mutual friend at a local bar in 2016, but Luke actually doesn’t remember it! I was told he would find me later to buy me a drink, but he never showed up! A few weekends later, I saw him out at another bar, so I gave him a wave. We chatted, exchanged numbers, and went our separate ways.
The next morning I was out for a walk, and right around the corner from my place, I saw two guys loading things into a van in a driveway. I had a quick glance but couldn’t see their faces clearly, so I kept my head down and kept walking. A few seconds later, Luke messaged me asking, “did you just walk past my house!?” The next day we got pizza for dinner, and the conversation flowed easily from there.
For me, it was when he was away in Europe, and I was at home. I think we had either just spoken over the phone or finished texting for the night, so I was in a peak moment of missing him. I’m pretty sure it just clicked, and I was like, “oh sh*t!”
It was March 2020 (pre covid lockdown #1), and we were on a weekend away with friends in Cape Patterson. Mid-morning on the Saturday, the two of us went for a drive to one of our favourite spots. I was looking out over the beach when Luke got my attention to turn around, and there he was on one knee!
For the most part, planning was enjoyable, but it was throughout 2020, so at times it was hard to get excited when you weren’t even sure the day could go ahead.
We locked in Panama Dining Room without even setting foot in the venue, all our vendor meetings were via Zoom or over the phone, and some things were organised really last minute as it was all dependant on what restrictions might have been in place.
Our vendors were amazing though, they were all super flexible, really kind and hopeful so that always made things easier when the stress of the unknown crept in.
My biggest resource would’ve been Instagram; hours and hours of scrolling went down! When I came across suppliers I was interested in; I would dig a little deeper on their websites. We’ve been to a few weddings recently or knew people planning their own, so word of mouth was really helpful too.
We were the inspiration! We love the simple things in life; good times, good people, plenty of food and drinks, so it seemed fitting to build the day based around those few things that were most important to us.
I chose a simple off the shoulder fishtail crepe dress. There were so many dresses pinned to my Pinterest board, and I picked the only style that wasn’t on it! I didn’t know what I wanted or would end up with, but I knew it wouldn’t be lace.
The way I bought the dress was never in my plans (thanks to Covid)! Luke and I had to make a dash to Melbourne once the announcement was made about Victoria going into its second lockdown to pick up our new puppy (we live about 90mins from the city). Whilst we were heading down that way, I managed to get an appointment at a dress boutique that I had scheduled for a later date but now had to cancel. Restrictions already limited the number of guests you could bring with you dress shopping, but this time I was completely on my own. I face-timed a friend for her opinion and then bought it, all whilst Luke was outside in the car watching Netflix!
The first look. The moment when we saw each other for the first time. The nerves just melt away, and for a few minutes, it’s just the two of you.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage is finding and committing to that one person that you want to go through life with, through the best and the worst moments. It’s having moments of strength and weakness and knowing that someone’s always got your back. You look forward to getting home just to talk to them; it’s having a laugh when you don’t feel like it; you’re officially official – locked in for life!
Aisle: Latch (Acoustic) by Sam Smith
Certificate signing: Ho Hey by The Lumineers
Recessional: It’s Nice To Be Alive by Ball Park Music
Reception entry: Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap
Funny stories or near disasters.
Melbourne’s five-day snap lockdown put a spanner in the works for me to pick up my wedding band and get my engagement ring cleaned, so I posted my ring to the jeweller, and she agreed to post them back. I had forgotten to communicate the date for the wedding, and she was so busy that it was posted a day later than she advised. This meant the rings were turning up at our house the day before the wedding, but Luke and I had to leave for Melbourne super early that day and would miss the postie!
We wrote permission slips for a number of friends and family and stuck a note on our front door asking for delivery to be made to our neighbour, but this was ignored. Mum collected the slip from our letterbox, spoke with the post office and explained the story, and luckily, they were kind enough to redeliver the package to her so she could bring the rings with her to Melbourne!
I think the biggest surprise was that restrictions didn’t affect our day whatsoever. Nobody had to wear masks, no changes to our guest list, and we were able to have a dancefloor! We truly were so lucky, and we’re so thankful for it every day. And Melbourne weather was on our side for the day!
Words of wisdom.
In a wedding feature on Ivory Tribe, a couple suggested to ‘not spend too much time making a decision on something if you or others won’t remember it later.’ For example, the colour of your menus or napkins. They’re not what the day is about, so try not to sweat the small stuff! I can’t tell you how many times this came to mind when I started to stress over the small things.
Unsure where to find the stunning setting for your dream day? We’ve collated a list of some of Australia’s best venues, from inner-city bars to wilderness wineries, coastal sanctuaries to sweeping homesteads. Inspire your imagination, here!
MELISSA & LUKE’S VENDORS
We just want to say a massive thank you to everyone that played a part in our wedding; family, friends, loved ones, but especially to our vendors.
You’re literally sharing the most important day of your life with your vendors, so choose them wisely; make sure you’re all on the same page, and the vibe is right! We were so lucky to find and work with such amazing people, they worked so hard to perfect every detail, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Ceremony & reception venue: The Panama Dining Room. Fabulous team, delicious food and the best party vibes!
Celebrant: Megan Thompson Megan Thompson was our celebrant. The best in the biz! We had so many compliments about our ceremony being true to us and really inclusive. Introducing the bridal party was a special touch; it allowed us to have a bit of fun with it, which really set the tone for the rest of the ceremony. Megan has the best presence about her; she’s so warm and welcoming, exactly what we were after! We cannot recommend Megan enough.
Photography: Tahnee Jade Photography. We are so glad friends recommended Tahnee! Finding someone on the same page as Luke and I was super important. She captured the candid moments perfectly.
Videography: Luca Zarik. Luca showed me photos of his new puppy when he came to my apartment to start filming for the day, and I honestly couldn’t have been happier to see them! He also makes killer wedding films; check him out.
Florist: The super talented ladies at Anatomy of Flowers, the florists a girl only dreams of!
Hair: Hair by Ashlea. I always knew I wanted Ash to do my wedding hair; she was the second thing I locked in right after booking the venue! She brings such a relaxed vibe to the day and nails the brief. Every. Single. Time.
Make-up: Kim from Mesmeric Makeup. Not only my make-up artist but one of my bridesmaids too! Kim was a no brainer when it came to my make-up for the big day. She makes you feel like you, just more glam, and that was such an important factor for me!
The dress: Madi Lane Bridal. The Miles dress from Madi Lane Bridal. I added buttons to the back to give this simple gown that extra something.
Veil: Luv Bridal. Single tiered, raw edge veil purchased from Luv Bridal.
Jewellery: I had custom made earrings by Rebellious Grace. Zoe’s service and attention to detail are like no other!
Bride’s Rings: Saphira Diamonds. Adriana is incredible. She worked with Luke to bring the dream engagement ring to reality and perfectly paired a wedding band to suit. Her work is of the utmost quality.
Groom’s Ring: Luke’s wedding band came from Mens Rings Online.
Favours: With the help of my mum and my sister-in-law, I made cookies as favours. We also gave out individual cocktails to those that played a special part in the day, which were purchased through The Budgie Smuggler.
Cake: We were lucky enough to have Luke’s Aunty make our cake!
Stationery / Signage: We purchased a template for the stationary from an Etsy store called ThePrintableShopDIY and had local printers print everything off for us.
Entertainment: The Fungis played an acoustic duo up until after dinner, and then they DJ’d the night away. They’re from our hometown in Gippsland and made the trip to Melbourne for us!
Photo booth: The Photobooth Girl
Hire: Menu holders, candles and vessels, cake stand and wishing well were hired from Small Things Co.
Honeymoon: We had a mini-moon in Byron Bay for five nights a few days after the wedding. We’re hoping to get to Noosa later in the year.
Skin: I saw Brodie and Michaela at Skinsense Laser and Dermal Clinic in Gippsland for wedding prep. I had been working to correct my skin for 12 months in the lead-up, and on the day, my skin was actual wedding goals. I couldn’t be more grateful for their help!