Real Wedding – Murray & Paris, Cheltenham VIC
When your plans for a destination wedding in the tropics is upended, what do you do? You be like Paris and Murray. These two recreated the lush vibrancy of their island vision with stunning style, setting the scene for a summer soiree that has us all dreaming of our favourite holiday destination!
Contemporary tropical was the theme for this beautiful bash, underpinned by crisp layers of white on white, clean graphic lines and accents of palm green and burnt copper. The dress code of neutral shades made for an incredible impact, with guests bringing pure vacation chic and an epic amount of emotion.
Paris’s dress by Marquis bridal was a perfectly on point combo of sleekly chic, sultry sass and huge parts party, teamed in true style with Murray’s cream-on-white get up.
We love how these newlyweds embraced every element of their day, from mixologists crafting cocktails to stunning styling by Cloth and Confetti and florals by The Flower District. Every momentous moment was captured by lens legend Liz Barnes. Pour yourself a mimosa and get ready to dream of long summer days and even longer summer nights as you scroll through Paris and Murray’s celebration!
We met at work; I was an accountant in a past life… and Murray still is!
Paris: Murray was working in Bermuda when I saw his name on an old file. Thinking that no-one called Murray is below the age of 50, I asked who he was, and my manager replied, “He is just about to return from Bermuda. Stay away from him, you are just his type”. It turns out he was my type too.
Paris: I’ll let you answer this one, Murray…
Murray: After we’d been dating for a while, things just felt very special with each other. We both shared so many similar interests, whilst had traits that were naturally complementary, i.e. I’m a little bit too relaxed, whilst Paris can be a bit of a stress head!
Paris: It was the best day! We went on holiday with Murray’s family to Thailand and Malaysia at the beginning of 2020 (before COVID), but Murray and I planned a little three-day stopover in Singapore to catch up with friends. We arrived quite late at night, and Murray said that we should get up early the next day to go to the Gardens by the Bay before it gets too crowded. I really should have known something was up because Murray hates waking up early on holidays!
So, we walked around the beautiful gardens, and I took a zillion photos, as usual, then Murray found a beautiful quiet spot where we were alone. He bent down on one knee and asked me to marry him. However, instead of pulling out a ring, he pulled out scrunched up sports tape?! He was so paranoid about damaging the ring that he wrapped it up 100 times over! When he finally unwrapped it, he revealed the most beautiful ring! I literally told everyone that passed us that we had just gotten engaged! Then we went out for breakfast, and celebrated with our friends and lots of champagne!
Funny story – when getting ready that morning, I washed my hair with purple shampoo. I didn’t realise, but I had bought actual ‘purple’ shampoo (not blonde toning shampoo), and my hair went bright purple!!! It was after many tears from me and lots of words of encouragement from Murray that we could actually leave the hotel to go to the gardens.
After almost 13 years, we were so excited to get married. So, our wedding was virtually planned before we returned home from our vacation. We love to travel, so a destination wedding was a given. We found and booked the most perfect villa, Pure Shores Villa, on the island of Bohol in the Philippines.
We booked a wedding planner, the lovely Joyce Bella and her team from Event Planner Philippines. My sister had worked at a wedding where Liz Barnes was the photographer, and as soon as I saw her photos, I knew that she had to photograph our wedding. We got in touch, and she was all for coming to the Philippines!
Most things were organised (thank goodness not as many deposits were made), and then COVID got really serious. Every week we kept saying, “Surely it can’t last the year…” but by the time we got to Melbourne’s second lockdown, we knew that our destination wedding was not going to happen.
We stopped thinking about the wedding for a while but still used it as motivation to keep up our ‘wed-shred’ fitness regime. Then one day, during our allowed one hour of exercise within a 5km radius of home, we walked past The Button Factory in an industrial area of Cheltenham. We were really intrigued because it looked like such a cool building and space. Once restrictions started to ease, we got in contact with Phil, the owner of the venue, and had a look inside. We immediately fell in love with The Garden Room (and with Phil), and it was a done deal! As we didn’t have much time to plan, we asked Phil who he had worked with in the past – and he put us on to all our amazing team!
So many things changed due to COVID; our guest numbers changed throughout (we couldn’t formally invite people until quite late in the planning stage), we moved the wedding three times between all the different spaces at The Button Factory… however, everyone was so understanding and worked with all the changes.
After cancelling our wedding in the Philippines, the theme of our Wedding 2.0 was to bring the tropical South-East Asian vibes to Melbourne. I used Pinterest and wedding blogs, such as Ivory Tribe, for inspiration. I would call the overall look a ‘contemporary tropical Australian theme’. We mixed forest greens with mustard and grey tones and a white backdrop.
We actually asked if all our guests could wear white or neutral colours. There were quite a few doubts by some, and we had a lot of questions about what constitutes ‘neutral’; however, we are so happy that we stuck with it as the photos have turned out amazing! On the night, literally everyone commented on how well the dress code worked with the space and theme.
Our ceremony was set in the beautiful Garden Room, with all the ferns and Caroline’s amazing palm arch as the backdrop to the aisle. Our celebrant was Katie Breheny, whom I used to work with. She made the ceremony so personal, warm and added that hint of fun and humour that we were wanting (her brief was “no lovey-dovey stuff”).
Unfortunately, due to COVID, Murray’s identical twin brother and his family were unable to fly from the UK to attend. So, we had them set up on live stream in the front row. They made sure they also dressed up in their neutrals for the occasion, even though it was 6am on a snowy morning in London. It was really special to have them still be part of our day.
The best part about the ceremony was how very “us” it was. We wrote our own vows and didn’t follow the usual structure; we just did our own thing and told our own story.
As soon as we got engaged, I was Insta-stalking every bridal atelier in Australia. One dress was always the standout, the Johnsen dress from Marquise Bridal. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So we made an appointment, and I went with my mum and sister to try it on. Instantly I knew I wouldn’t find a more “me” dress. I didn’t want a princess dress; I don’t wear lace or sequins, I like to feel comfortable and couldn’t deal with a 7kg masterpiece. I didn’t have to see anything else – it was the first and only dress I ever tried on. Megan and her team were amazing throughout the entire process!
Paris: EVERYTHING! I know it’s so cliché (I never believed anyone who said the same), but it was actually the best day of my life. I couldn’t stop smiling! One standout moment was our first look. Because we wanted to get the party started straight away, we took our photos beforehand. To make it a little special, Murray and I did a first look photoshoot with Liz at the Royal Botanical Gardens in South Yarra. I will never forget how Murray looked at me as he turned around; I’ve never felt more beautiful. I will also never forget the look of all the walkers and joggers as I hiked up the Anderson Street hill by myself in my wedding dress and Valentino heels!
Murray: The speeches. I was really looking forward to getting the microphone in my hands and sharing some stories and jokes with all the guests. It also happened at the part of the night where the formalities had largely finished, and we were able to ‘cut-loose.’
Meaning of marriage.
We’ve been together 13 years, so really it was just a chance to celebrate us with our closest family and friends. That said, it does actually feel a little special and different to be married.
Aisle: (I can’t help) Falling in Love With You by UB40
Signing: Waiting for tonight by JLo
Pronouncement: Stuck with U by Ariana Grande feat. Justin Bieber
Reception entry: Piece of Your Heart by MEDUZA
First Dance: ily (i love you baby) by Surf Mesa (feat. Emilee)
Funny stories or near disasters.
Paris: A few planning mishaps happened, but the one that is the icing on the cake occurred after our ceremony when we were taking some family photos. Murray helped fix up my train and accidentally draped it over the candles beside the aisle!!! Lucky I realised in time!
Paris: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. COVID made for some testing times, but it also helped to put in perspective what really matters. So it was a really fun process! I also never appreciated how important a running sheet was… I was pretty impressed with the final running sheet we created!
Murray: Planning a wedding in the midst of COVID creates a lot of surprises, but working with a team that were really accommodating and full of helpful suggestions was definitely a welcome element to the wedding experience. It made the planning process that much more enjoyable and stress-free.
Words of wisdom.
Paris: You do you! I read a quote that said, “It doesn’t matter how, where or who is watching you walk down the aisle, what matters is that the person you love most is waiting for you there at the end.” That really put things into perspective.
Murray: Enjoy the journey and try and take in as much as you can in – because, like everyone will tell you, the day will go so quickly.
Love an all-white wedding? We are with you! We’ve collated some of our favourite vanilla visions for your inspiration, on our blog.
PARIS & MURRAY’S VENDORS
Ceremony and reception venue: The Button Factory, Cheltenham. The ceremony was held in The Garden Room. The reception was held upstairs in The Maxx Art Room. Phil is amazing and the loveliest person to work with!
Celebrant: Katie Breheny. Katie is so kind, hilarious and warm. The coolest chick!
Photography: Liz Barnes. She is honestly the best! She made us feel so relaxed and comfortable, and we are so in love with her fun and candid shots from the day.
Videography: Unfortunately, this is something we regret not getting. However, we were so happy that Liz put together a little slideshow of the day for us!
Styling: Cloth & Confetti. We hired Jazmine to do the on the day styling. She was so amazing and organised and created the most perfect space.
Florist: The Flower District. Caroline completely got our vibe and created the most beautiful, tropical and lush arrangements!
Hair: Valentina from Tonic Agency
Make-up: Holly from Tonic Agency
The dress: Johnsen dress from Marquise Bridal
Veil/headwear: No veil, but I had the most gorgeous art-deco hairpins from Stephanie Brown. She also designed my earrings and matching bracelet.
Shoes: Valentino Rockstud pumps from Miss Louise. They were so perfect and comfortable. Just before our wedding, another lockdown was announced, so to help cheer me up, I also bought a pair of Gucci Marmont block heels in blush from Net-a-Porter. They were so perfect to slip on at the end of the night and helped me to keep on dancing!
Groom suit: Bespoke of Melbourne. Ivan and his team were so great to work with and designed the perfect suit for Murray.
Rings: We got the rings from our beautiful friend Nathan who owns Solitaire Jewellery.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec & Bridge
Groomsmen’s suits: Saba
Catering: Foodstyling Melbourne. Sally and her head chef Sean were recommended to us by Phil from The Button Factory. We told them that we wanted to have a sit-down menu with fresh, zesty and delicious South-East Asian flavours, but we also wanted it relaxed and in a shared style. They created a menu that could be found in Chin Chin’s or Longrain; the food was honestly next level!
Bar: Sipsters Cocktails. Ben and his team made some amazing cocktails! We served Espresso Martini’s with dessert and then had ‘his and hers’ cocktails served throughout the night – a Filipino Sour (whisky sour) and the Borocay (a gin-based amazingness).
Cake: We were so lucky to have our beautiful friend Janelle from Cake.Ink design and create our cake. It was so modern and stunning, and absolutely delicious!
Stationary/signage: Samone Shepherdson. The lovely Samone did an amazing job with the invitations and stationery. For our Filipino wedding invitations, Samone hand-sketched the most beautiful map of Bohol.
Entertainment: For the ceremony and canapés, we had an acoustic singer perform named Blush’ko. His voice is heaven. Then for the reception, we had Sam from Salacious Entertainment on the decks. Sam really knew what the crowd wanted and got us into full party mode!
Décor: We hired the gorgeous linen napkins and tablecloths and gold-dipped cutlery from Cloth & Confetti. Jazmine also organised some other gorgeous important items for us, such as the cake stand, wishing well and table numbers. Caroline from The Flower District made all the flower arrangements and provided the various vases and candles.
Hire: We hired the gold signage easels from The Small Things Co.
Honeymoon: We had a quick mini-moon to Mitchelton Winery in Nagambie (so beautiful). We are hoping to travel up north to the Northern Territory in June/July, and then once the world is back to normal, to go to the Philippines and stay in our beautiful villa!
Spray Tan: The bridal party were spray-tanned by the amazing Jill from Raw Organic Tanning Studio.
Nails: Because of an auto-immune disease that I have, my nails were severely damaged. I spent five hours at Buff Nail Studio in Brighton the day before our wedding, and they absolutely saved me!
Skin: My skin was the best it has ever looked, thanks to Liberty Belle; their treatments and products are second to none!