Real Wedding – Michael & Yolanda, Yarra Glen VIC
Embracing the beauty of the Yarra Glen region was Michael and Yolanda, who celebrated their wedding day at the always elegant Zonzo Estate.
What we loved about this dream duo was the importance they placed on creating a dream team who could bring their wedding day vision to life. Choosing to just go with their gut when it came to selecting suppliers, they could not have imagined a better team by their side when they celebrated their happily-ever-after.
Going for a summer winery wedding vibe, they kept the day relaxed and fun, focusing on incredible food, music and of course their much loved guests.
Their sunset photos with the very talented Michael Briggs was the most incredible experience for them both. Taking a moment away from the crazy they were able to soak up how lucky they are and how perfect the day had been.
Mike and I were introduced very briefly at a house party in Richmond on AFL Grand Final Day in October 2015. A few too many drinks were had that day, and a week later at a bar in Richmond with the same group of friends I introduced myself to Mike, to which he responded something along the lines of ‘yeah, we met last week’.
Quite early on! It took a couple of weeks after we met before the beginnings of a friendship turned into something more, but from the moment it did we barely spent any time a part. Living only 5 minutes away from each other definitely helped. Everything just felt so easy when we were together.
We had planned a weekend away in Red Hill for Easter, including a picnic lunch for the two of us at Montalto winery. It was a sunny autumn day and we picked up our map from the restaurant (along with a couple of bottles of wine) before heading off into the winery to find our picnic spot for the afternoon. Given it had been my idea to do the picnic, it hadn’t occurred to me that Mike would hijack the lunch as an opportunity to surprise me! While unpacking our delicious picnic lunch, Mike managed to slip the ring box into the picnic basket. I opened the picnic basket one last time to find the little blue Tiffany’s box with its white ribbon, and Mike suddenly by my side on one knee. We got to enjoy an afternoon picnic lunch in the sun, with me staring at my ring the entire time. When we walked back to the winery, I had several waitresses rush up to me, wanting to see the ring! We spent the hour-long car ride home from the winery calling all our family members to give them the news.
We had one meeting with each vendor and locked them in! Mike and I had a rule to just go with our gut and not confuse ourselves by “shopping around” for vendors. If we liked someone, we booked them! And our approach worked – we could not have imagined a better Tribe surrounding us on our special day. We did a lot of work booking in everyone early, then sat back and relaxed for most of our 18-month engagement. As the wedding date drew closer, we got back in touch with all our vendors to finalise the details. We also had a rule of listening to any advice we received from our vendors. They were the wedding experts, if they had a suggestion, we would always take it on board!
Our wedding style was relaxed and fun, with a huge focus on food, music and, most importantly, our guests! Mike and I wanted our wedding to be a true celebration of our families and friends coming together. We both love food and enjoy hosting friends and family at our home. We wanted our wedding to be just as much fun for our guests as for the two of us. I am known among our friends and family for over catering when we have people over, so food was always going to be important!
Everything came together so well on the day. We had that rustic summer winery wedding vibe going on: the venue was filled with bright wine coloured flowers, we had a saxophone and guitarist playing during our canapes, with all our guests enjoying a drink in the sun on the lawns overlooking the vines.
My dress was from Mariana Hardwick. I knew when I tried it on for the first time that it was ‘the one’ because I could picture Mike’s reaction when he saw me wearing it. I had tried on a lot of beautiful dresses, but this one ticked all the boxes. It was elegant, slim fitting, with a low back and a slit in the front – classy while still being a little sexy. Perfect for our summer winery wedding. The reaction of my bride tribe and the lovely team at Mariana Hardwick when I put on my dress was also hard to ignore!
I stumbled upon my Gianvito Rossi shoes while on a lunch break walking through David Jones in the city. They are a white mesh shoe covered with little diamonds, with a good size heel. I bought them on the spot, sending a photo to my bridal party and showing them off to the girls in the office.
Finally, I had a sheer white jacket from Mariana Hardwick with the word ‘Wifey’ printed on the back. I fell in love with the jacket while at Mariana Hardwick during one of my dress fittings. It added an extra element of fun to my outfit, and as a bonus the photos of me wearing it on the day came out amazing!
Our sunset photos – Briggsy took us outside to get some snaps of just Mike and I as the sun was setting, and it was the perfect time for us to take a step away from all the fun, crazy happiness we were experiencing and reflect on how lucky we were, how perfect the day had been, and how much we loved each other. In our 15 minutes away from the reception we got to share some laughs and some intimate time together. Oh and when the gelato cart came out… because how amazing is all-you-can-eat gelato!
Meaning of marriage.
Exactly what we said in our vows – it is recognizing the amazing life you have already built as a couple and committing to continuing that journey of growth together. It is the privilege of waking up with the person you love every day, and saying I love you to them again before you fall asleep each night. It is being with that special person who represents your entire world, making your two worlds become one.
Aisle – Angel, Jack Johnson
Walking out of ceremony – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Joseph Vincent version
Reception Entry – Feel the Love, Rudimental
First Dance – You are the Best Thing, Ray La Montagne
Father/Daughter Dance – Sweet Child of Mine, Guns N’ Roses
Funny stories or near disasters.
I had thought it would be a brilliant idea to get a photo of my girls and I popping open a bottle of champagne on the morning of the wedding while we got ready. Unfortunately, I was a little too enthusiastic and ended up drenching our photographer Briggsy (and his very expensive camera) in champagne! Poor Briggsy had to spend the rest of the day smelling like champagne, and I’m not sure if the camera survived! Luckily Briggsy was such a good sport, he took it like a champ.
How well all our vendors worked together! The vendors we had were all so professional, they talked to each other and coordinated to ensure things ran smoothly on the day. It took away a lot of our stress knowing they all had it under control!
Words of wisdom.
Listen to and trust your vendors! We had some great advice along the process from our vendors, in particular from our photographer Briggsy and from the wonderful team at Zonzo. You are paying them because they are experts at what they do, so let them do it!
Also make the planning process fun! Mike and I would take any opportunity to turn our wedding planning into a date. If we had appointments or dance lessons, we would use it as an excuse to go out for lunch together. Or if we were planning things at home, we would open a bottle of wine!
Everyone says it, but it really is the best day of your life! You will be overwhelmed by all the love and happiness you receive and share with your family and friends. Soak it all in! I wish we could relive our wedding day over and over again.
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YOLANDA AND MICHAEL’S VENDORS
Ceremony and reception venue: Zonzo Estate – Zonzo was very professional and organized, they made the process of planning our wedding so seamless. They took us through the planning step by step and ensured nothing was missed. Even when last minute changes or issues arose, they were able to quickly respond to us and accommodate our requests. It eased a lot of my nerves in the lead up to the big day. On the day itself, they took care of all the logistics and made sure everything ran smoothly. Rodney Swart, our Zonzo wedding coordinator, and the rest of the Zozno team did an incredible job ensuring us and all our guests were well looked after. Whether it was to holding my hand before the ceremony, keeping our glasses topped with champagne, making sure we had plenty to eat, even helping me with some outfit issues, the Zonzo team were so attentive and helpful. As an unexpected bonus, they sent us home with delicious leftover food, meaning Mike and I did not have to cook for the days before we left for our honeymoon! They really went above and beyond to make sure our day was perfect.
Celebrant/Officiant: Rita Cohann – Rita is very experienced and prepared. She knows how to take charge to make sure things run according to plan.
Photography: Michael Briggs – We knew Briggsy was a talented photographer from what we had seen of his work. But we could never have imagined how vital Briggsy would be to our wedding day magic. You spend a lot of the day with your photographer by your side, and Briggsy had an incredible way of making us feel comfortable in his presence. From our getting ready parties, all the way through to the dance floor later in the night, Briggsy was a huge source of energy, laughter and fun. He was so easy to be around, and our guests absolutely loved him. The result was wedding photos that perfectly captured the love and happiness of our day. We were blown away with them, they went beyond all our expectations. Everything Briggsy does is done with 100% heart and perfection. He was so prompt in getting us back our photos, even sending us a few of sneak peak favourite snaps the very next day. He recently delivered our finished wedding album and, again, it exceeded our expectations! It is such a beautiful keep sake full of memories of our day, I’m thrilled with it. Basically, we love this guy!
Videography: Where the Heat Is Wedding Films & Photography – When we were planning the wedding we got a lot of opinions from others as to whether we should book a videographer for the day. In the end, I could not have imagined our day without Mat from ‘Where the Heart Is’! Mat was such a positive source of energy on our day, and his talent at capturing moments shines through in his work. Our wedding ‘highlights’ video was so beautifully put together, I’ve watched it a million and one times and it still gives me goosebumps. It’s a way for us to relive the truly special memories from the day, including my personal favourite, Mike welling up with tears as I walked down the aisle. Oh and also us nailing our first dance! Every second of our wedding day was magical, I’m so glad we had Mat there to capture all those magical moments on film.
Florist: Sugar Bee Flowers – I love flowers, I always have them in my home. So our wedding flowers was something I had dreamed about as soon as got engaged. We only had one meeting with Youki from the Sugar Bee team and that was all we needed. She completely understood what we wanted for our wedding flowers and executed that dream perfectly. The end result was beyond my wildest expectations. The colour scheme, the variety of flowers and, in particular, my bridal bouquet – it was all absolutely stunning! Sugar Bee helped give our wedding that romantic, magical feeling.
Hair: Kali Alexopolous – I feel so lucky to have had Kali doing my wedding hair! She knew the general style I wanted, and the end result was even better than I could have imagined in my head. It was classy, beautiful, detailed. I felt like a princess, it was exactly what I wanted! She was so much fun to have as part of our getting ready party, and easily accommodated requests from each of our family members and bridesmaids for how they wanted their hair done. From my Maid-of-Honour’s tight curls to my Bridesmaid’s straight hair, she was able to work her magic and left everyone so happy with the results. Bonus was that it stayed in place all evening, even after all my crazy end of night dancing!
Make Up: Ellie Makeup – By my wedding day, Elissa already felt like family. I had heard of Elissa through a friend and booked her in for a trial for my 30th birthday, over a year before our wedding. Not only was she talented, her fun and caring personality won me over instantly! She did my make up several times leading up to the wedding. Each time we shared a lot of laughs and she always left me feeling incredibly beautiful. Still, nothing prepared me for how I would feel about my wedding day make up. Elissa made me feel beautiful, confident and sexy. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, she made me a bride!
The Dress and veil: Mariana Hardwick – I am so happy I chose Mariana Hardwick to make my wedding dress. I loved every single appointment I had with the Mariana Hardwick team. I had a dedicated staff member, Lara, who held my hand in every appointment and made it her personal mission to make sure every inch of my dress was perfect. The whole Mariana Hardwick team worked hard to give me my dream dress, and I felt beyond lucky wearing it on the day. Looking over the photos and videos from our wedding I fall in love with my dress over and over again.
The extra special touch to my outfit was my beautiful sheer Wifey jacket! It looked amazing in our photos and I felt so cool and special wearing it. It added a whole new level of fun to my day!
Shoes: Gianvito Rossi – I fell in love with my shoes instantly and I didn’t once regret the impulse purchase. They were the finishing touch to my outfit, they looked amazing in all the photos, and I was able to dance the day and night away in them without even contemplating taking them off.
Rings: Michael Wilson – When we were looking for wedding bands, we loved the idea of having them made locally. Having driven past the Michael Wilson sign in Eltham a number of times, we finally went in and were blown away by the beautiful pieces they had. The rings we chose are breathtaking and truly reflect our individual styles. The Michael Wilson team made us feel so special, we loved our whole experience of picking out the rings and trying them on once they were made. And I enjoy popping in and chatting to the team while getting my ring cleaned, whenever I feel like my day needs a bit more sparkle! The decision to source our rings from Michael Wilson was one of the easiest decisions we made in the lead up to our special day, it gives us so much joy to look down at our beautiful wedding bands.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Shona Joy – This is bridesmaid dress shopping made easy! My maid of honor spotted a Shona Joy dress she liked on their online store. After a little looking around, we ordered the one she had first spotted in their sizes. I had my girls over to my house for brunch to try on the dresses when they arrived. The material was great quality and they both fitted perfectly, first go. Definitely the most relaxing and fun way to find a dress, and the girls looked absolutely stunning.
Groom’s attire: Bell & Barnett – Bell & Barnett looked after my hubby to be and his boys! The boys all looked so handsome, the suits were well made, and their customer service made the whole process of ordering them very simple for the guys. Mike even got the inside of his suit engraved with our wedding date and a special saying of ours, which was a very cool surprise.
Cake / Cake topper: Zephyr & Bloom – Safe to say I’ve fallen in love with Jemima from Zephyr & Bloom and her delicious cakes and desserts. Mike and I both have a serious sweet tooth, so it was important to us that our wedding cake was not just any ordinary cake. We did a number of tasting boxes with Jemima because her cakes were just so delicious, we wanted to keep eating them! Our family and bridal party loved being involved in the tastings, everyone had their favourite flavour! It was a hard choice, but we finally decided on our flavours for our three-tiered wedding cake. Visually, the cake stunning – tall and elegant, with flickers of gold and a tall golden sugar shard on top. The cake was so delicious, both our guests and our vendors couldn’t stop raving about it. There was a lot of “this is the best cake I’ve ever tasted” being exclaimed. I’ve bought several cakes and desserts from Jemima since we first booked her in for our wedding, and each one has been a masterpiece. Her tasting boxes themselves are a work of art. She puts so much time and love into everything that comes out of her kitchen. On top of her incredible cakes, I highly recommend chocolate brownies, her cupcakes and her stopple waffles.
Stationery / Signage: Danger & Moon – From the moment I called Annette from Danger & Moon to talk about wedding stationary she was full of enthusiasm to be part of our wedding journey. She is incredibly passionate about what she does.
Entertainment: Lark Music – Lark music are so professional and talented. They executed all our musical requests perfectly and took our wedding to a whole other level. We had a solo acoustic guitarist during our ceremony, a guitarist and saxophonist duo during our canapes, and a five-piece band for our reception. There was something so special about dancing along to live music, whether it was for our formal dances or just tearing it up with our friends at the end of the night. I had so much fun dancing to their tunes!
Transport: Samba Kombis – These Kombis were the epitome of cool when it comes wedding transport! Samba were very professional, even our driver was dressed the part! Our Kombi was an extra splash of colour and fun to our day and looked incredible in all our photos. Some of my favourite photos from the day feature our bright blue Kombi in the background.
Hire: Bianco Latte (Gelato Cart) – Without a doubt one of the highlights of our wedding for both us and our guests, the Bianco Latte Gelato Cart was a huge hit! Authentic Italian gelato that even my Italian family members were obsessed with. The Bianco Latte team were so wonderful to deal with. They put so much heart and love into their product, every dealing we had with them was a delight. Mike and I had such a fun date day going down to their store in Elwood to taste their flavours in the lead up to the wedding. The team really looked after us. It was such a nice way to surprise and treat our guests.
Honeymoon: Grand Centra Maldives – This resort was exactly the luxurious, romantic, relaxing honeymoon we were looking for! If you book here I definitely recommend upgrading to ‘The Club’. From the moment we stepped off the boat onto the resort we were treated like royalty. Five days on the island was exactly what we needed to unwind, with plenty of good food and drink and lovely staff looking after us. It was the perfect way to start our new life as Mr and Mrs Shennan!