Real Wedding – Ridley & Cassie, Prahran VIC
Focusing on creating an incredible experience for their guests meant that Cassie and Ridley’s wedding was a celebration in every sense of the word. Simultaneously, choosing a stunningly chic venue and styling selections to enrich rather than overpower the existing aesthetics made for a day as gorgeously glam as it was fabulously fun.
Cassie took each element of the day in her stunning stride in not one but three gorgeous fits. As the day began with drinks on their hotel balcony with their nearest and dearest, before walking up to the venue together in a spontaneous celebratory parade, Cassie kicked her party off in a slinky Bec + Bridge sheath. Arriving at Sophia at the Prahran Arcade for their I Do’s, she elevated the look with a Sassi Holford gown accessorised with gossamer sleeves and veil by our friends Bluebell Bridal. And to take the party to the next level, she switched it up with a tinsel two-piece, perfect to dance the night into the early hours.
Against the classicly glam lines of the venue, the decor is considered and artful. Layers of off-white linen create clean lines, interspersed with brushed gold accents and soft vanilla and muted amber florals.
But for us, the outstanding element of this dream day was the emotion and fun that radiates from every movie-magic image by Maegan Brown moments.
Like most modern-day love stories, we met at work. Ridley exercised a subtle flex of his DJ skills following Grant Smilie and Ruby Rose on the decks at the Christmas party one year, and the rest is history.
The relationship was built on a friendship – one filled with easy conversation, good banter, shared common interests and in-sync values and priorities. We weren’t dating long before international travel plans and saving to buy a home became part of the equation, and then ultimate commitment ensued when we got our pug, Lenny.
We spent the best part of our relationship selfishly enjoying ourselves – indulging in travel, experiences, great food and wine, and setting up a home. We prioritised all these things and regularly exercised the “one day” response until one hot Christmas Eve; after nine years together and a 2-hour walk around the neighbourhood in the heat, Ridley decided to pop the question. Sitting at the park, across the road from our home, with a bottle of champagne and the two pugs in toe, was the perfect setting for Ridley to drop to one knee and pull out an exceptionally sparkly early Christmas present. A little hot and bothered (pugs included), it was the perfect proposal, at home, just us.
We’d never really spoken about wedding plans during the near decade of dating, so we set out with a reasonably relaxed view of how it would all come together. We locked in our venue fairly early in the piece and thought there wasn’t much more to do. Obviously, we were wrong – and this resulted in a hectic flurry when it came to the finer details in the months and weeks leading up to the big day. Luckily, we’d nailed it when it came to choosing an incredible line-up of suppliers who brought it all together flawlessly.
As we began the process, one theme became apparent quickly – we wanted the day to be as much about our guests as it was about us. This was a celebration for all our friends and family, and we didn’t want to miss a thing, so we pared back some of the more traditional elements and took a relatively low-key approach to the formalities so we could really enjoy it!
The venue itself, Sophia at the Prahran Arcade, was the hero when it came to our event’s visual identity and theming. The gothic façade of the building captured our attention when we lived just around the corner years before when it was artist David Bromley’s residence. When we learned the venue had been transformed after covid, there was no question – it was the perfect setting. The charm of the fireplace details at either end of the old-world ballroom, the gallery-come-dining-hall, and the capacious balcony overlooking Chapel Street; there wasn’t much to do! We simply added some greenery, neutral florals with a touch of toffee, and a mixture of candles and vases to layer upon the venue’s architectural design.
The venue, Sophia, really set the tone for the whole day – it was equally as intriguing as it was imposing, artful as it was modern and sophisticated – it levelled up the vibe of the afternoon and was the perfect backdrop for the party we had planned for the evening. The essence of the day was perfectly captured in our wedding video (which is more of a mini film!) by the uber-talented Maegan Brown.
Unsurprisingly, we were also rather focused on the booze and food that would be served on the day – this was a key consideration when we were searching for the right venue. We love nothing more than sharing a good meal (and a great bottle of bubbles!) with friends, so we wanted a spread well above your typical alternating drop menu. The Atlantic Group team behind Sophia did an excellent job, and the food received rave reviews.
The ceremony was a relaxed gathering of our nearest and dearest, and our celebrant, Zena Lythgow, told our story like it was a conversation among friends. So much so that people thought she was, in fact, an old friend of ours. It was genuine, authentic and, well, us.
The most magical part of the ceremony was, hands down, the walk down the aisle. Some years ago, we stumbled across a brilliant guitarist and singer who plays live at one of our local haunts on a Sunday evening and knew we wanted him to play at our wedding. (It was maybe one of the only wedding-related conversations we had pre-engagement!). With his modern take on R&B/ soul with a speakeasy jazz-like vibe, Tino transforms commercial songs into soulful, down-to-earth music. An acoustic version of Diamonds by Rihanna was the song – who would have thought – it was simply magic.
From the outset, the brief was low fuss. A quick visit to Hugo Boss and Ridley was sorted.
On the other hand, the dress was an evolving brief. The party outfit was secured first – who needs a better excuse for a sparkling tinsel two-piece set than the dance floor at your own wedding? Tick.
We made plans to have pre-wedding drinks with immediate family and some of our closest friends on the rooftop of the hotel where we were staying, a stone’s throw from the venue, with the view to walk up to Sophia all together. With this idea came the assumption that the wedding dress would be some kind of no-fuss, satin camisole slip number – super simple and comfortable was the brief.
However, some time spent at Melbourne’s Bluebell Bridal included trying the completely off-brief Sassi Holford Naomi gown. And, paired with the most delicate detached tule sleeves and the longest veil we could find, we threw the slip dress idea out the window. There was no question this was THE dress, and so a third outfit was required. Taking a similar tact to the original brief, a mid-length ivory Bec & Bridge number was the perfect segue from pre-drinks to ceremony.
We loved the pre-drinks with family on the hotel rooftop; it was such a great opportunity for us all to get together and catch up before walking over to Sophia. As we passed cafes and bars down Greville Street, we bumped into other friends and family members who were having a pre-drink of their own. It was a fun way to kick off the celebrations, collecting people as we walked to the venue.
Other highlights included the emotion that ensued with Tino’s acoustic performance of Diamonds, surprising our guests with the reveal of the hidden dining gallery, the group sing-along at the dinner table to Tino’s soulful rendition of Too Close by 90’s R&B boy band Blue, Ridley spinning Ministry of Sound classics on the DJ decks and ending the night with confetti cannons!
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage was always meaningful for us but was never the destination – we have made so many commitments to one another along the way and have shared so much of our lives already. It formalises what we already share and represents a commitment to further building on the life we’ve created. To continue to celebrate the highs, work through the lows, and make the most of the experiences planned for the future.
Aisle: Tino’s take on Diamonds by Rihanna
Reception entry: Foreign Language by Flight Facilities
First dance: Tino’s take on Hold On, We’re Going Home by Drake, mixed into Drake’s version – (this was so fun, blending the two – highly recommend!)
Closing song (with confetti cannons): Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia
Funny stories or near disasters.
Other than Ridley’s last-minute decision to exchange his shoes the morning of the wedding, it was all smooth sailing.
Most of our friends would probably say we’re two relatively organised people; however, we were pretty late in pulling everything together – but it worked!
Words of wisdom.
Lean on and trust the talented team of suppliers you’re working with. We invested much time looking for the right people to bring on the journey, and because of this, we landed the dream team. Angela Laird of Céne Studio was the queen of styling – from the invites and signage right down to the florals and table settings. Maegan, our photographer-come-videographer, became part of the party and captured both still and moving images perfectly. Tino’s music gave our day the most incredible soundtrack, and Emma Jolly and the team at Sophia never ceased to impress. Everyone who was part of our planning process was a dream, and we couldn’t be happier!
So, you’ve got the ring on your finger – congratulations! Or perhaps you’re mid planning for your dream day but are feeling a little lost? Whatever your situation, our wedding planning guides may be the perfect tool to unwind the stress and leave you with more time to soak up the special moments leading into your wedding day. Pour yourself something bubbly and enjoy!
RIDLEY & CASSIE’S VENDORS
Ceremony & venue: Sophia at the Prahran Arcade
Celebrant: Zena Lythgow
Photography & videography: Maegan Brown
Styling & florist: Angela Laird, Céne Studio
Hair: Steph Bacelic
Veil / headwear: Bluebell Bridal (veil and tule sleeves), A.B. Ellie (pearl hair comb)
Rings: Natasha Schweitzer
Suits & bow ties / ties: Hugo Boss
Catering & bar: The Atlantic Group
Cake: Get Caked by Lisa
Stationery / Signage: Angela Laird, Céne Studio