Real Wedding – Nicole & Ben, Yarra Valley VIC
Real Wedding – Nicole & Ben, Yarra Valley VIC
Real Wedding – Nicole & Ben, Yarra Valley VIC
Real Wedding – Nicole & Ben, Yarra Valley VIC

Real Wedding – Nicole & Ben, Yarra Valley VIC


For Nicole and Ben, their wedding day was completely focused on their love and their marriage, versus how many likes they could get on Instagram.

Having met in a pizza shop, quite some years ago, this perfect pair have built a life together that they are proud of and marriage was the natural next step.

Set in the stunning Yarra Valley their ceremony conducted by celebrant Natalie Drum was a standout, and there was not a dry eye as they exchanged vows in front of their nearest and dearest.

Lauren of LJM Photography captured the celebration, and we think you’ll agree that this day was a special one.


In Nicole’s words…


The meeting.

Ben and I met at ‘Pizze Pizzoli’, a pizza shop I was working at when I was 19 years old. I became friends with the off the boat Italian pizza maker whose cousin (he came into the pizza shop very regularly and ordered a capricciosa) was Ben’s best mate. Vince (best man and the cousin of Italian pizza maker) came in a lot to order pizza or drink coffee. Little did I know that Benjamin had his eyes on me. It wasn’t love at first sight. I didn’t even want a boyfriend, I was 19! Ben’s first words to me when ordering one day in the shop were ‘Do you come on the menu?’ When I heard this, I scoffed at him. Not knowing Ben, I thought he was a bit of a jerk and thought, what an idiot. Now knowing him, it is something he would NOT say and is very much part of his humour. Ben said I was looking sad and down that day (a terribly managed place to work) and he wanted to cheer up the young waitress who had pizza dough everywhere (literally I would walk away from every shift looking like a walking pizza). I actually don’t know how I scored Ben as was a young 19-year-old pizza chick who still had some baby fat lying around, a bad haircut and a face full of pimples.


The ‘one’.

This is a tough one! I kind of barred him at the start, so it definitely wasn’t love at first sight. I did appreciate how his bum looked in his nice fitted jeans though. So maybe that was a sign? I honestly think he was ‘the one’ when he quoted a line from the ‘Sex and City’ movie to me one day. Seriously.


The proposal.

Ben proposed to me overseas when we were at my family’s lake house in Montana, America. It literally looks like the movies.  I was unfortunately unwell while overseas so Ben was hanging onto proposing until I was feeling better, he had to hang on awhile. We had begun going on my family’s canoe at the lake and we loved cruising around together, me pretty much being a princess at the front as Ben took me around (I was unwell remember, but milked it!) There was a particular spot on the lake that we loved as it was quiet and we were surrounded by nature. We had decided this was our ‘spot’ like we do. One afternoon, Ben took me for a cruise. He began chatting about how my Dad loved the lake and about my family which I thought was a bit off task, but didn’t phase me or make me suspicious. Nek minute, Ben impressively got down on one knee, said lovely things about me which I can’t remember, but I’m sure they were good and held out a ring and asked if I would marry him. I don’t think I gave him an answer as I bawled my eyes out and the poor guy was still on one knee unsure if this was bad or good news. Of course I said yes! If I had said no, my Dad said to Ben that he would meet him in Vegas and kick me off the trip. If we ever broke up, I would definitely be the first to go. I understand why they would keep Ben though, so it doesn’t bother me


The process.

It’s hard to describe the process as it seems like such a blur. I am a pretty organised person, being a teacher, so I feel like I just sort of knew what to do. We have always had our eyes on Zonzo Estate as this was one of the first places we went to together and both have always loved it. Once visiting again and meeting the team there, we knew that this was where we wanted to get married. Once we had a date and booked the venue we then went hunting for a celebrant. After meeting with four, it was Natalie that was a God send and the perfect fit for us. It was so important to us that we found the right person to marry us. Then I went through the motion of finding the other big guys – videographer, photographer etc. Some people are booking weddings before they are even engaged, so this can make makes life tricky!


Style inspiration.

Our personalities and stalking Instagram – we soon knew what we liked or didn’t like from other weddings. Zonzo Estate is so beautiful as it is, and this is what drew us to it. We didn’t want to over style a place that has so much character as it is.


The dress.

I searched quite a bit to find a dress that was two things; 1) me and 2) comfortable.

I had no interest in wearing something that I couldn’t eat, dance or breathe in. I did your usual scouting down High Street Armadale but quickly learned that this would not be for me. I had seen a wedding dress that a girl I went to high school wore and loved the style. I found out that it was  a One Day Bridal gown so instantly did some research. Once I went there, I realised the experience was much more inviting and comfortable with these guys than other bridal boutiques that sometimes tell you that you look amazing in a cardboard box. I tried on three that I really liked all from One Day Bridal and this was rare for me. I never quite imagined myself in a full white gown, as I never wear white normally, so why change now?


Favourite moments.

There are honestly so many favourite moments and all so loved for many different reasons. We absolutely loved and are so thankful that we did a ‘first look’. Having an Italian traditional father, this was hard to get past but it was something I really stood my ground on. I knew that the day would be so hectic and really wanted the time  for just us. It made such a difference in the day and I don’t think it would have been as special without it. Ben and I hid around a side of the house and cheersed with a shot of homemade limoncello (made by a friend of mine) then turned to see one another. It was such a beautiful moment just for us to see one another and take it all in without a crowd of people. We could suss out each other’s wedding get ups and get excited. It really calmed our nerves as normally we turn to each other in crazy times- and your wedding is the craziest!

I also loved the moment I secretly watched Ben walk out to the two Kombi’s I had hired as a surprise for our wedding. Being in the one location, I watched from the balcony, unknown to Ben, and saw him see the cars and his reaction was more than I could have imagined. He was so touched by the gesture and was so grateful.

I also absolutely loved our ceremony. I feel that sometimes we all get caught up in the wedding side of things and not the marriage. I wanted to ensure that for us this wasn’t the case. I have been to many of weddings where the ceremony was my least favourite part and I wonder why this is when this is the reason we gather. We wanted to make sure it was us and that it captured who we were. Our ceremony was absolutely amazing and this is credit to our celebrant Natalie. It felt like a friend we had known for a lifetime was standing up there with us moving through the motions of the ceremony. There was not a dry eye in the house and when people commented on how special the ceremony was, we knew it wasn’t only us that was overwhelmed with love that day.

The feeling throughout the whole day is something I wish I could bottle and capture and relive.


Meaning of marriage.

Marriage for us is the opportunity to celebrate two people’s love, respect and bond with one another with the people in their lives that contributed to making that a possibility. Ben and I had been together for a decade. We had bought a house together five years ago, got a rabbit and were then settled and in a place for us to celebrate all of our achievements together, not a day that ‘allowed’ us to do those things.


Wedding soundtrack.

Processional: A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

Register: Die a Happy Man by Thomas Rhett

Recessional: Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root

First dance: I’ve had the time of my life – Dirty Dancing

Father daughter dance: Isn’t She Lovely? by Stevie Wonder


Funny stories (or near disasters).

Unfortunately, no funny stories. There were no disasters, just a lot of running around! Why I decided to make personalised named cookies for table settings I still don’t know. In saying that it was a lot of fun to do with my family and added yet another touch to the day.


Planning surprises.

I wouldn’t say I was suprised, but I underestimated how much there was to plan. There were more emails than a centipede’s sock draw. I also was planning for a whole weekend away with 27 people and this included family from overseas. We stayed in the most beautiful house all together from the Friday to Monday. Did I mention that this also included an organised dinner out on the Friday and a recovery lunch on the Sunday? What was I thinking? I wouldn’t change any of it though as it made the weekend incredibly fun and all the pressure didn’t just fall onto the one big day. Both of our families had the opportunity to bond so well and it wouldn’t have been as incredible without that time. Many of the memories fell around those moments.


Words of wisdom.

Be yourselves and not what Instagram weddings want you to be. This can be so hard to do as we are surrounded by a world of social media, but the day is about two people committing and celebrating their love for one another with those that matter the most. If that looks like fish and chips and seagulls as your guests, just do it. Guests won’t remember hanging flowers from the ceiling, the size of the tag on your wedding favours or how many candles were on the table, but they will remember how happy you were and in turn they were because they were glad just to be there and celebrate- with some delicious food and flowing drinks.

The day goes really fast, so try to not get caught up in the little stuff. Enjoy the planning and each moment in the lead up as this really is a main part of the whole experience. You want to wake up on the morning of your weekend and just let go- you can’t change anything now anyway. Plus, who would know that there were meant to be three roses instead of four! Remember why you are getting married, for the marriage not for the likes on Instagram.


Last words.

Don’t get married, elope. Jokes!




Monica and Warren used the backdrop of the Yarra Valley to party the night away, be sure to check it out.





Location: Zonzo Estate

Celebrant/Officiant: Natalie Drum – AhhhhMAZING! Truly talented, humble and beautiful. Couldn’t have imagined a better person to marry us.

Photography: LJM Photography – Couldn’t have been happier with our choice of Lauren. She made us so comfortable on the day and in the lead up as we aren’t people who enjoy the spotlight. I love how she captured the day as it went. It was so natural and we didn’t ‘fake’ moments which has allowed the day to be documented as it happened- some bad angles and all, but that was exactly what we wanted. Real life.

Videography: Mark Adams – Mark is a friend of ours and did such an incredible job at capturing our day. He was like a ninja in the background and we are so thankful for his talent and passion.

Styling: Me!

Florist: Sharon Toscano – family friend

Hair and make-up: Kristina Canzeroni

The Dress: One Day Bridal

Veil: One Day Bridal

Shoes: Mi Piaci and Converse

Rings: Top Image Jewellery (both mine and Ben’s, including engagement)

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Rodeo Show

Groomsmen’s suits: We got these through a friend who works at Expedition Apparel.

Groom’s suit: Oscar Hunt – These guys are amazing people and no wonder their work is just as amazing. They fitted suits for Ben, my Dad and Ben’s dad. I am a big believer that a groom should have the same privilege of wearing something incredible on their wedding day. It shouldn’t just be a female who gets to splurge and have the show stopper. The person by their side should be just as swish with a similar price tag. The guys at Oscar Hunt made the experience so incredibly special for Ben and our Dad’s and a memory that they will have forever.

Catering: Zonzo Estate

Bar: Zonzo Estate – We also had pre wedding drinks before the ceremony for guests – it was a hit

Cake / Cake topper: Fiona at Something About Cake – Fiona is a beautiful friend of ours who also happens to be absolutely incredible at cakes! Her business is thriving all due to her hard work, love and dedication. Our cake was a surprise as we left the creativity up to Fiona as she does this every day! Was so nice to have something as a surprise and for us to be excited about.

Stationery / Signage: Jarryd Hardner (cousin) – Jarryd will be a big thing one day and I can’t wait to say that he created our invitations and all things stationery! He is so talented and patient and we couldn’t have been happier.

Entertainment: The Baker Boys Band – Seriously one of the easiest companies to deal with. They were so amazing in the lead up, at the ceremony, at canapes and throughout the night. The Baker Boys were worth every penny and are true professionals. Some guests who said they weren’t ‘wedding band fans’ even complimented on how incredible they were.

Transport: Samba Kombi’s – Amazing, punctual and great fun

Décor: Hired items or bought/organised by me

Ben made our wishing well and menu holders – hence why I locked that down

Hire: One Big Day – lawn games (didn’t get used because of the ONE day it rained in April). The Small Things Co – vases, wishing well and entrance sign, easel, candle stick holders

Honeymoon: USA (in September later this year) BRING IT ON! We didn’t get any alone time after our wedding. We had three days off work all in which family were here from overseas. At the same time, we had my sister move in with us a few months before the wedding and is still with us. We enjoyed some wedding cakes as a trio. Our lives shouldn’t have to change or be different because we are married. This is what I love the most.

Guest transport: Yarra Valley Transfers

Dessert: Bianco Latte – gelati cart



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