Real Wedding – Monique & Matthew, Chum Creek VIC
Wild wedstival vibes, fancy-free fun and uniquely epic style, coalesce to perfection in Monique and Matt’s wedding celebrations. With only thirteen months from engagement to wedding, these two escalated the action to create a day that is incredibly memorable for all the best reasons.
With superstar stylists Logan Events at the helm, the aesthetics of the day were all about rustic boho meets contemporary style, an elevation and enhancement of the natural bushland setting. From the theme of French country meets Australian bush to the beautifully considered details, including a soundtrack to wow by Logan Entertainment, this is a day that truly reflects the couple, the occasion and undoubtedly, an overwhelming sense of fun.
Monique and her bridesmaids, in stunning vanilla looks, are the perfect combination of contemporary chic with a nod to retro cool. Jumpsuits, two-piece combos, oversized floral embellishments and sweet statement jewellery all feature, tied in with the vibrant florals through neon tangerine heels. And the guys added their own brand of effortless swagger in combos of forest green fits.
To see more of this epic celebration, captured in signature Jackson Grant ultra-cool style, scroll on.
We met at our footy club’s fancy dress party. Matt was on the men’s team at Collegians Football Club, and Monique (or Meeks) was on the women’s team. I (Monique) asked our mutual friend, Sia, to introduce us at some point, but we didn’t really chat beyond that. Matt wore a fanny pack, dark shades, too much hair gel and a dreadfully dark fake tan. I couldn’t resist and slid into his DMs the next day. We messaged back and forth for a while (maybe three months) – I had to finish off my short course before going on a date with Matt.
We knew within about four weeks of dating that things were getting serious.
Terry, Matt’s best man, made a funny observation regarding this topic in his speech. See the excerpt below:
“Jenks (Matt) became completely infatuated with Meeks. So, it didn’t take long until Meeks became a regular at our house. This meant she’d join in on our regular Friday night pizza order from Crust. Now, I won’t lie to you: in the 14 years that I’ve been friends with Jenks, not once has he ever offered me a slice of his pizza. So, one Friday night when Meeks was over, I watched in a state of shock as Jenks began sharing his family-sized pizza with Meeks whilst canoodling on the couch, and I knew from that moment she was the one.”
Matt bent the knee on February 11, 2022, in Aireys Inlet, where Monique’s family beach house is located. Prior to this, Matt had spent countless hours researching and comparing shiny rings – with little to no thought around how the actual proposal would unfold. But once he chose the ring, it was ready for collection in under two weeks – so he had to think fast about that next phase.
We were both working from home at Aireys, on a Friday. Monique’s parents, brother and brother’s boyfriend were all there, too. Matt had suggested an ‘EOD picnic’ and fancy dinner at A La Grecque around lunchtime, which Monique luckily (but of course) agreed to. Oblivious to Matt’s special arrangements, Monique took her sweet ass time getting ready for the picnic and wore a pretty poor, pattern-on-pattern combo. We sat on the edge of a cliff overlooking Eagle Rock Parade when Matt suddenly skulled his rosé and started talking about soul mates.
Although Meeks had a funny feeling, she didn’t properly catch on to what was happening until Matt pulled out the ring box and asked her to stand. She quickly burst into tears, stood up and said yes. Within a minute, Monique’s twin sister, Bee, magically appeared from a nearby bush – where she’d been hiding behind for over an hour, ready to photograph the whole thing. Matt’s parents had secretly driven down and were already waiting for the big phone call.
We arrived back from our picnic so Monique could tell her mum, and we could both hug our new in-laws! We all shared a glass (or three) before heading to A La Grecque for an amazing feast.
What made the proposal so special was where it took place and the fact we could celebrate the night with just our families – no distractions or interruptions from the outside world.
Note. Proposal date: 11.02.22. Wedding date: 03.30.23 = roughly 13 months.
We tried to secure all the big stuff first (like location, photographer/videographer, wedding planner(s), marquee, and celebrant), then worked out the guest list, invites, mood boards and styling elements, food trucks and other vendor requirements. Oh, and of course, Meeks was on a mission to find the perfect dress from the get-go. It was hard for her to focus on anything else until that was sorted. Luckily, her mum found Carte Blanche Bride early on.
We did (very briefly) consider hiring a venue in Melbourne or Yarra Valley, but Matt had his heart set on the family farm. As for our wonderful wedding planners/stylists, we knew they were 100% needed, given it was going to be a remote, DIY wedding on a private property with 180+ guests. Even nutting out the logistics of feeding, seating and transporting guests (plus lighting the whole space) felt like a huge feat.
Every now and then, we’d attempt to divide and conquer our weekly/monthly to-do list. But that mostly failed since we were both so stubborn and opinionated about almost every detail of the day.
Groomsmen and bridesmaid outfits were decided swiftly. Thankfully, they all nodded along.
As we got closer to the day, we really leaned on our families to help out. Matt’s mum, Andrea, worked closely with Here Comes The Truck, while Monique’s mum, Norah, collaborated with Wild Flos. Our dads were on booze duty, and our siblings helped with all the signage. Plus, we had a lot of help from Matt’s family when it came to prepping the farm.
Monique: The brief was French country meets Australian bush (with bright pops of colour thrown in the mix!). Matt probably thought this was an oddly specific (and somewhat confusing) brief. And neither of us has any connection to France other than me having a French name and studying the language for five-ish years. But I’ve always loved the casually elegant and laid-back nature of French weddings.
So, we made full use of the natural surroundings and materials at our disposal. We also used clear vessels (to make our flowers pop), white linen and pale blue napkins, antique side dishes and candles. Another key inclusion: bread and butter, the latter made by Bee (my twin sister).
Unfortunately, the marquee chandeliers didn’t quite suit – but we were stoked with how the drop pendant lights looked.
During our engagement, my Mum and sister sent me loads of inspo pics from magazines, wedding blogs and Pinterest, which really helped when it came to working with Catie (from Here Comes the Truck) and Dani (our main stylist). A lot of our ideas came from this sort of research, like the hay bale bar and seating, painted wooden plank signage and wine barrel tables.
In the end, there was a great mix of boho rustic elements and refining touches. Although the setup was by no means effortless, we certainly hope it looked that way! Hah.
The ceremony was held on Matt’s family farm in Chum Creek. The location wasn’t just private and unique but incredibly sentimental for Matt. It served as a beautiful backdrop and gave the whole scene a fun, casual vibe. Plus, we got super lucky with the weather! But the most memorable or touching part of the ceremony was when we exchanged vows. Because it’s not every day you stand before a crowd and express your deep love and admiration for your significant other. You can feel pretty vulnerable at that point. Neither of us knew what the other was going to say, so that lovely element of surprise was there, too. Both the location and vows felt incredibly personal, which is what made the ceremony so special for us.
Monique: I saved a lot of dress inspo on my phone before visiting a store in Armadale. But my first try-on session was actually a total flop. None of the styles/dresses suited me or made me feel like a bride. Mum then told me about this cute French bridal store in Malvern, and that’s where I found ‘the one.’ Anastasia from Carte Blanche Bride was not just knowledgeable but refreshingly decisive and patient.
For jewellery, I wore earrings and a necklace by Gillian Hillman – a friend of my Mum. We actually used a baroque pearl choker by Danielle Frankel as our source of inspiration when designing the necklace. My second outfit was a pair of AJE pants and lace cuffs by Kristie from House of Snowball, who also designed my Year 12 formal dress! Note, I emailed her shortly after our engagement.
Matt: Meeks and I walked past a suit shop one day and saw a forest green jacket in the window. Something clicked, and we immediately thought to seriously consider this colour for Matt and his groomsmen. The property, after all, is surrounded by the bush, so it seemed to be a good fit! We also wanted a somewhat relaxed cocktail vibe, so steering away from the traditional black suit, white shirt, and tie combo was something we could both agree on. Fortunately, MJ Bale had a great green suit in stock. So, I decided I’d wear that along with a green and white checked shirt. All my groomsmen wore the same green jacket – with a white shirt and beige chinos. But I wanted my best man to stand out a bit, so he wore the same checked shirt as me. For shoes, since the farm was our wedding location, we couldn’t go past the brown RM Williams boot.
We can’t pick! Our ceremony was a very surreal experience; the afternoon drinks on the lawn served as a great break from formalities, the speeches were sensational, our first dance was fun, and the band (who we’d never heard play before) was a huge hit!
Meaning of marriage.
Given we were already in love, committed and living together, not much changed after “I do.” We basically became legally bound, decided to join finances and started talking more seriously (or extensively) about the short-term future – like when to buy a house, get a dog and make a baby. These conversations were a lot more airy before marriage. Calling each other husband and wife still feels weird, but we’re getting used to it.
So, I guess marriage not only gives you a great excuse to host a party and celebrate your love, but it also invites a natural shift in your relationship and general mindset.
Monique’s bridesmaids exited the house to the tune of You Never Can Tell by Elise LeGrow. They then stopped at the gate and waited for the car to pull up.
Bridesmaids, followed by the bride and her father, then walked the aisle to the song Walk With Me by GoldFord.
Bride and groom walked back up the aisle to You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne.
Reception entry: Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez, and then Rock ‘n’ Roll (Part 2) by Gary Glitter for the bride and groom.
Unfortunately, we could not squeeze in the White Lotus theme song (Renaissance by Cristobal Tapia De Veer); Meeks is still OBSESSED with it, but it was thrown around as an option early on.
First dance: This Too Shall Last by Anderson East
Funny stories or near disasters.
Florist in a ditch! A warning to those hosting a wedding on a hilly property with dirt roads. Our florist was on her way to the bride’s house to drop off the bouquets and tried to pull a sharp turn on a downwards dirt slope. This resulted in her van being stuck in a ditch. Our wedding planner made a panicked call to the groom to request his help. Fortunately, being on a farm, the groom’s uncle had a ute and ropes to pull the van out of trouble!
A note to all grooms: at no point should you tell your bride about a hiccup or mishap that might cause additional stress! (Matt made the right decision and kept this piece of info from Monique until the next day).
The bridal car blowing a gasket two hours prior to the ceremony! The readiness of The Bridal Car was a race against time as it was being repaired/rebuilt by Matt’s uncle prior to the wedding. It was a beautiful white 1970 Holden GTS Ute and was given the roadworthy tick of approval five days prior. Unfortunately, it failed at the final hurdle. But, having a large family meant there was another white car on standby that could be used.
Matt had a few too many drinks leading up to our joint speech and ended up butchering the first two minutes of it. He also decided (IN THE MOMENT) to bin his prepared speech and improvise a little. Meeks started to panic when she saw him toss away an entire page of notes while standing up there! He did, however, finish strongly, and the whole thing made for a very funny/memorable part of the day.
It was surprising how much we bickered throughout the process! Because even though our vision for the day was mostly shared, how to achieve it was constantly up for debate.
The seating chart was more fiddly than we expected it to be.
I (Monique) thought my vows would be done and dusted weeks in advance, but I didn’t end up finalising them until a few days out.
Words of wisdom.
Before you pick a wedding party, a dress, a venue or your main vendors, figure out a date that most of your inner circle can make, as well as how many guests you’ll be inviting. Availability, budget and practicality everything else depends on these two things.
But in saying that, our wedding date was entirely based on Jackson’s availability. Having him as our photographer was a non-negotiable for Meeks. So if you have someone you’re absolutely determined to work with – check their avails first.
On the day: Don’t let nerves get the better of you! Make time to sneak away and look at what you’ve created. Observe the whole scene, including all your funny, tipsy guests, from a distance and just appreciate how wonderful it all is. As long (or as tiring) as the day may seem, it goes past in a flash. So, stress less about all those tiny details that didn’t go to plan or the extra things you forgot to do or ran out of time for. If you’re having fun, everyone else is too.
We were always going to love our wedding day. But we probably wouldn’t be drooling over it quite as much without the emotional and financial support of our incredible parents, Norah, Rick, Andrea and David. Not to mention their physical labour, sage advice and excellent taste in food and wine.
Love photographer Jackson Grant’s vibe? Check out Emily and Evan’s USA celebrations for a similarly stunning aesthetic, here on the blog.
MONIQUE & MATTHEW’S VENDORS
Ceremony location & reception: Cunninghams Rd, Chum Creek (Matthew’s aunt and uncle’s property). A special thanks to John & Anne for letting us host our big day on their stunning property
Celebrant: Ally Parker
Photography: Jackson Grant
Videography: John Kurt
Styling: Logan Events
Florist: Wild Flos
Hair: Tonic Agency – Madeleine Goldsmith
Make-up: Tonic Agency – Monique Ringeri
The dress & veil: Carte Blanche Bride
Necklace & earrings: Gillian Hillman
Rings: Cushla Whiting
Suits: MJ Bale
Cake: Natures Cakes (located in Healesville)
Stationery / Signage: Logan Events, State of Elliott (wax stamps from Sea & Paper), Bianca Horsley (the bride’s sister & MoH – she did our welcome sign). Note: Monique, her mum and Matthew’s crafty sisters spent a weekend painting the more functional signs (toilets, ceremony, reception, wedding, runsheet, etc). We also re-painted an old French dresser purchased off Facebook Marketplace. This was where the wishing well and guest book sat.
Entertainment: Band arranged by Logan Entertainment.
Transport: McKenzie’s Tourist Services
Honeymoon: Five weeks in Europe! It was a gloriously fun, action-packed and highly social honeymoon, which ended with a stunning wedding in Treviso with a big group of friends.
Cow Butter – the butter and custom mold designs were lovingly crafted by Bee (the bride’s sister).
Arbour – from Monique’s family beach house in Aireys Inlet.
Hay bar / hay seating, light structures, pergola & general setup – a huge group effort. But Matt and his dedicated family can take a large chunk of the credit!
Rosé tower – (the groom doesn’t like champagne) – this epic 6L bottle of AIX rosé was quickly consumed by guests after the bridal party entrance and purchased at McCoppins in Hawthorne East – a Jenkinson family favourite. McCoppins supplied most of our alcohol.
Dance classes – yes, they were NECESSARY! Matthew has two left feet. We had five private lessons at Phoenix Dance Studio in Richmond.
Glamping – (which was held at the “top farm”, up the road from our wedding reception area) – Twilight Glamping.