Real Wedding – Paul & Danielle, Kew and Coldstream VIC
It was a tale as old as time, well modern times that is. Paul had met his Tinderella, Danielle and everything had fallen into place. It was a seamless transition into each other’s lives, however when it came to planning their wedding, things were a little trickier than expected – namely all the decision making and the changing of their minds when Covid extended their wedding date.
The intricate details may have changed, but what never wavered was the overall feeling of the day that Paul and Danielle wanted to capture. They wanted it to feel warm and magical, like something out of a fairy-tale or one of Danielle’s favourite Disney classics. They went about choosing venues that spoke to them and including touches that would make the day even more meaningful, like including the same bible verses that were read at Danielle’s parents’ own wedding.
Levantine Hill was the venue they decided to hold their reception. With floor to ceiling glass windows, there was an abundance of light that coupled with large bundles of baby’s breath gave the illusion to their guests of being high up in the clouds, as if on a magic carpet ride. The theme was timeless and romantic and superstar Erin from Erin and Tara and Duuet Weddings were there to capture their entire tale as Paul and Danielle began to live their happily ever after.
We matched on Tinder a few days before my 25th birthday! We had only had a handful of conversations online, mostly him mucking around and trying to crack jokes that were not funny, so I didn’t think anything of it. But he looked cute in the photo so I took a big risk and invited him out to the night club I was planning on celebrating my birthday at with some friends a few nights later (thinking he probably wouldn’t show up) but there he was. As we were both waiting for a drink at the bar, he used the very smooth line of “So, a little birdie told me you haven’t had your birthday kiss yet!” and it was there we shared our first very tipsy (on my behalf) kiss, and the rest is history.
For me, I am a hopeless romantic so it didn’t take long. After dating for a few weeks, Paul developed a habit of calling me every night to chat for hours about absolutely nothing, which was very unusual to me as I was mostly used to texting and used to hate talking on the phone. One night however, he must’ve been busy or had fallen asleep early and forgotten to call. It was then I realised how much the calls meant to me, and that I really didn’t want to live without him.
Paul on the other hand was adamant that he wasn’t sure I was the one until much later, despite calling me every day, jokingly telling me he would break my legs if I talked to other boys and spending two years telling me he “lamped” me very much (not wanting to use the word “love” as he had never said it to a girl before). Ironically, the lamp played a key part in his proposal to me six years after…
On Pauls birthday in January 2020, he asked me to take the day off work as he wanted to go on a day trip to Wilsons Prom. After spending 5 hours on the most strenuous hike I have done/will ever do, we decided to sit on the sand of Squeaky Beach for a while before we headed home. As you will soon learn, I am an incredibly huge Disney/musical fan, so while my back was turned Paul quickly buried a brass genie lamp (almost identical to the one from Disney’s Aladdin) which had inside a homemade scroll asking me to marry him. In that moment, I was in such shock that I could not even read the words and we both spent the next five minutes laughing and hugging each other. I remember continuously pinching myself on my cheeks and arms because and feeling no pain, repeatedly saying “I must be dreaming” because I just could not believe it had happened. It was the most surreal moment of my life.
Having dreamed of this day for many years, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted and that booking and planning the whole thing would be a breeze. How wrong I was. I changed my mind about absolutely everything, multiple times. From the hair to the dress, to the flowers, I think the only thing about our wedding that did not change from beginning to end were my shoes (which I purchased before my gown). And then when covid hit, we pushed our date out a whole extra year, which gave me an additional 365 to continue being indecisive about every aspect of the day. From early on, Paul and I made a deal that I would choose the ceremony space and he would choose the reception. Of course, he had to pick the only venue in Victoria that had not even been built yet – a literal patch of dirt when we put our deposit down, and all we had to go by was an artist impression of what the room would look like upon completion. You can imagine how uneasy I was, planning a wedding for a room that I had not even set foot in yet. My poor fiancé thought I was losing the plot, especially while witnessing me lose sleep over the tiniest detail like the kind of paper we should use for the invites. I look back now and laugh, but in those moments I just wanted everything to be as perfect as it could be, and in the end I believe all the hard work paid off.
At the risk of sounding like the biggest baby this blog has ever seen, I took much of my inspiration from the way that my favourite Disney music and films (the animated classic from the 90’s) made me feel. I wanted myself and our guests to feel that warm and magical feeling that these films have provided us with for many years. As a small example, the last lines to the film Aladdin are; “A whole new world, a whole new life, for you and me.” Right before the couple fly away on their magic carpet into the clouds. I tried my very best to create a day that made us feel just as these lyrics do whenever I hear them, overcome with emotion and love. I used only big bundles of babies breath for our reception floral to mimic the feeling of being up in the clouds. The cherubs beautifully painted on the walls of our chosen church are quite similar to those in the ballroom scene of “Beauty and the Beast” (best movie of all time, don’t even try to deny it). I tried not to focus too much on making the day look beautiful but, perhaps more importantly, I wanted to it to feel equally as beautiful and the only way I knew how was through these special films and emotional lyrics that have touched so many over the years. It was quite hard to do tastefully, especially given that the reception Paul had chosen was ultra, ultra modern. So a modern day fairy-tale is what I set out to create.
100% real weddings was what I found most useful, but not only the latest ones trending, I dived way back decades and centuries to ensure our wedding was not only modern but also classic and as timeless as can be. I rewatched our parents and aunts weddings from the 80’s numerous times, took inspo from my fav celeb weddings over the years and also from my favourite films (cue the vintage nighties I had the bridesmaids wearing the morning of, from the iconic The Sound of Music “my favourite things” scene, plus every Disney princess ever who wore gloves) While researching for my headpiece, I went as far back to the weddings of the 1940’s as I sought to create a look for myself that would last through the ages. “Fashion fades, style is eternal” Yves Saint Laurent once said, and it’s for this reason I wanted our wedding day to still be up to date with what was trending but at the same time and more importantly, to be timeless. Instagram was also one of my biggest blessings. I followed many wedding photographers before our big day, and it was this way that I learned how important styling was. At our very first meeting with a florist (two years before our wedding day) I remember telling her that the only floral I cared about were the ones in my hand (i.e the bouquet) and that for the reception, she could just do whatever she wanted. Her exact words to me were: “Okay, but you are going to change your mind a hundred times about this.” I laughed and told her “No, I won’t” but of course, she was right. It’s quite easy to get sucked in by all the trends, especially when they are now available to you at just the scroll of a finger. But as mentioned, I wanted the overall look of the day to mean something and to be truly special to us.
Our ceremony was my absolute favourite part of our day. Getting married in a church was one of my two only non-negotiables, as I felt it highly important to not only be married officially in the eyes of the law but also in the eyes of God. We wed inside a quaint chapel inside of the Carmelite Monastery in Kew. The first time I entered this chapel, I was blown away by its beauty and it reminded us both of the chapels in the little towns of Italy, where both our families originate from. Most of our guests had never set foot inside, nor knew of its existence, which to me made it even more special – a true hidden gem, tucked away from the main roads and surrounded by beautiful gardens filled with flowers. We had the most beautiful strings duet set the mood while guests arrived, and play “A Whole New World” during our signing, while my talented cousin played the church organ as we exited. I chose the very same bible verses that had been read at my parents wedding and asked my cousin to read the same scripture that his father (my uncle) recited all those years ago. These little touches, which may have gone unnoticed by some, really made the world of difference for us and the feelings and emotions we shared that afternoon. Having the lovely Carmelite sisters there watching over our ceremony and giving us their blessings was also very special.
Like every other aspect of the wedding, when it came to finding a dress I thought I knew exactly what I wanted; very tight & sexy, fit and flare and completely covered in beading/highly embellished. And like every other aspect of the wedding, I came out with something completely opposite. After trying on dozens of what I thought I wanted, I just wasn’t feeling anything special for any of them. One day, Paul saw one of the cards I had taken home from a bridal store to write notes on, and on the front of the card was the model wearing my Pronovias dress. Immediately, he said “I really like that dress, it’s very different.” When I saw the picture he was referring to, a plain silk ballgown, I laughed out loud and said: “You like THAT? That’s a poofy Cinderella dress! There’s no way I’d ever choose one so big and princessy.” The next time I was in a bridal store, I saw the dress on the mannequin and the sales assistant asked if I wanted to try it on. I immediately rejected the idea, stating that I was only eyeing it off because of the comments made by my fiancé. Next minute, I was standing in front of the mirror, wearing my first ever ballgown and I remember the way the dress fell, the way the fabric moved and the way the skirt swayed. Instantly, my mind went to Belle’s ballgown from Beauty and the Beast, which I had just watched for the millionth time the night before. After a few moments in the dress, I did not want to take it off and this is when I realised it was the dress for me. The original design had an oversize strap which I converted into a flap at the front, to mimic a bow. We also added extra tulle under the skirt to make it even more Belle-like. It was a lot of work to make the gown strapless, but I am very thankful that Maria and Cathy from the Eternal Weddings alterations trusted my vision even if it seemed strange at the time. It’s funny to think back at how totally opposite I went with the look and even funnier to imagine that, without realising it, Paul actually chose my wedding dress for me.
My second gown, which I got changed into after our first dance, was a beautiful strapless fitted piece from Cappellazzo Couture of Melbourne. I am so glad that I decided on having a second look, because it meant I really got the best of both worlds – how lucky was I.
Without a doubt, my most favourite part of the day was arriving at the church, knowing that in a few short moments I was about to walk down the aisle and see my husband standing at the other end. To think about it even now brings a tear to my eye. It has always been a dream of mine to get married, but never could I have dreamed for a husband as perfect as Paul is for me. I knew in that moment I was making the best decision of my life. Paul is twice the man of anyone I know, and to be called his wife until the end of time is something I take great pride in. To share that moment with my Mum, Dad and sister, and to be wearing the most beautiful garment I will ever wear in that same moment is a feeling that cannot be put into words; only the brides reading this will know that feeling. Another special moment was Paul and I riding in the car, both after the ceremony and reception, and just being alone talking about how the day had went. We stayed at Crown after the wedding night and although technically not part of the day, when we arrived that night I just remember feeling the happiest I have ever felt. I was a wife.
Meaning of marriage.
They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. – Mark 10:6-9
Much like love, marriage is a both a feeling and a choice. You choose that person, choose to love that person and continue to choose them every day of your life. You decide to live happily every after, and then you live it. Marriage is putting the needs and wants of somebody else before your own; two souls becoming one, as suggested in the bible verse.
Aisle: Edelweiss from The Sound of Music by Andre Rieu cover
Signing: A Whole New World on strings by Heartstrings Music
Reception Entry: Levels by Avicii
First Dance: Can You Feel The Love Tonight by Elton John
Funny stories or near disasters.
A few weeks before our wedding, I accidentally but very painfully got my big toenail caught in the wheel of a shopping trolly at Coles, and then later had to get it surgically removed. While the skin healed in time, and while I had already planned to wear closed toe shoes, I was still extremely embarrassed of my “troll foot” and made sure it didn’t make an appearance in the photos/ video.
Probably not so funny when it happened, but as my sister was hastily doing up my dress, she broke the hook and eye and later on told me she even bled a little on the gown, but luckily this was not noticed by anyone!
Just how stressful it was, especially in the final few weeks, I always knew it would be stressful but did not anticipate just how much!
Words of wisdom.
Do whatever you feel in your heart will make the day magical and meaningful to you. Try very hard not to compare your day with others. Don’t worry if something you love is not “on trend”, if you love it and it means something to you, do it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, so pay no mind to the opinions of strangers and most importantly, remember what the day is about. When you feel so completely in love with your spouse on the day, you will be so happy that everything else just fades away. On that note, give your phone to a bridesmaid/groomsman for the day and ask them to take random snaps and videos of everything because the day goes by in a blur and you won’t remember a thing!
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PAUL & DANIELLE’S VENDORS
Ceremony location: Carmelite Monastery, Kew VIC
Reception venue: Levantine Hill, Coldstream VIC
Celebrant/Officiant: Fr Gerry of St Kevin’s Parish
Photography: Erin & Tara – the absolute best in the biz. I cannot thank Erin enough for all that she did for us on the day. The photography was another non-negotiable for me, and I believe we made the best choice in choosing E&T- their work speaks for itself!
Florist: Classic Bouquets
Hair: Ellas Bridal Hair
Make Up: Mon B makeup – the most beautiful and kind hearted person you will ever meet! Such talent too. I looked flawless all day, the makeup did not budge.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Les Demoiselle
Catering & Bar: Levantine Hill
Favors: K-mart (LOL)
Cake / Cake topper: T With Cake
Stationery / Signage: Sea & Paper
Entertainment: Higher Ground band
Transport: Always Classic Cars
Hire: Amica Event Hire
Honeymoon: Intercontinental Resort Hayman Island