Real Wedding – Riley & Tess, Richmond VIC  
Real Wedding – Riley & Tess, Richmond VIC  

Real Wedding – Riley & Tess, Richmond VIC  

 

Tess and Riley’s wedding planning philosophy was to be kind; to the environment, their guests, and themselves. We couldn’t love this more, and the result is a stylish, sustainable and stunningly sweet celebration.

Every carefully curated detail was chosen to be as eco-friendly as possible- from selecting only local suppliers, choosing vendors that make sustainable choices in their practices, and even giving the florals away as wedding favours. But there was also no compromise in style; a colour palette of soft cotton candy pink, velvety crimson and creamy latte linens was pure sophistication, and the natural elegance of Butler Lane a beautiful backdrop to the effortless elegance.

The couple cut a gorgeous silhouette against the vertical green wall framing their ceremony, filled with magically meaningful details with the amazing Damon Hughes at the helm. As the party continued into the night, one of our all-time fave DJ’s, Aleks of One More Song, took the celebrations to a whole new level.

Every wedding day is filled with contrasts, from heaving dance floors to the quiet moments in between, and it’s the sweet first look photo session that gave us all the goosebumps, captured to perfection by the incredible Katie Harmsworth.

The meeting.

We met in our first year of uni in a linguistics tutorial in 2012. After the tutorial, Riley introduced himself, and I learned that he was new to Melbourne, so I invited him to have lunch with me and some friends. He seemed really genuine, and I really thought I had just made a new friend, as you do starting out at uni. We became friends, and that soon grew.

 

The ‘one’.

Tess: There wasn’t really one moment for me; I guess it’s the accumulation of moments. He reminds me every day that I have found ‘the one’.
Riley: I had that knowledge and trust very early on, and that only grew stronger and louder as years went by.

 

The proposal.

Riley: Santorini, July 2019. From months before, I had a private dinner planned on the caldera in romantic ‘cave’ accommodation. 5am on the day I fell ill and was hospitalised. One week later, after both of us going through influenza on the Greek islands and with no proposal yet, we flew to Athens to meet Tess’ family. Her dad encouraged me to make a Plan B while in Greece during the family leg of the holiday. He slipped a small piece of paper into my pocket. On it was the name of a resort in a nearby town on the Peloponnese. I booked, and we fled the family holiday. After a romantic dinner, we went out onto the candlelit balcony of our room. I was soon scrambling through the contraption I had made in my suitcase to hide the ring box that I had carried through Italy and Greece. I grabbed it and walked out onto the balcony, and all of a sudden, I was on one knee, and all that I could say was what I had been holding onto for so long: “Will you marry me?”

 

Planning process.

We knew that we wanted to plan a day that was as kind to the environment, our guests and ourselves as possible. We spent a lot of time thinking about the things that really matter to us and what we were happy to forego. There were a few things we already knew we wanted, especially having Katie Harmsworth as our photographer.

Our planning process was really collaborative, and we came to almost every decision together. Obviously, Melbourne lockdowns throughout the lead-up were stressful, but we were in it together, and really, that extra time together gave us the space to truly understand what we wanted from our day.

 

Style inspiration. 

We wanted a modern and minimal style for our wedding day. Underlying that was our strong intention to make decisions that would have a low environmental impact. We used local suppliers for almost everything, including our outfits, which were both made in Melbourne. We wanted our day to be about us and our family and friends. We were inspired by others before us who did what they wanted to.

We took a lot of advice from blogs written by real brides and grooms and were inspired by photographs from real weddings. We also were really inspired and empowered by the Bride Disrupted Wedding Unchecklist. It gave us a lot of clarity, especially through the uncertainty and lows of lockdown.

 

The ceremony.

Our ceremony was really important to us and a huge decision for me personally. Having Greek heritage, there was an expectation from my family that we would get married in a Greek Orthodox Church, but Riley’s heritage is Welsh, Irish and English. Together, we made the decision to hold our ceremony in the courtyard of Butler Lane with our celebrant, Damon Hughes.

Damon was so wonderful to work with and empowered us to make the ceremony a real reflection of who we are. Aside from our personal vows, we were blessed to have our wonderful friend Steve perform a traditional Greek wedding crowning with my parents’ ‘stefana’ from their wedding. It was also really important to us to have an Irish blessing that has been read as a tradition from Riley’s family, and it was shared in our ceremony by Riley’s sister. It was such a special moment and definitely a highlight of the day.

 

The look. 

Tess: On the very first day of shopping, I had booked an appointment at Anna Campbell in Armadale, and I was especially excited to try on their separates from their Luminaire range. I fell in love with the Meadow topper and Darcy skirt, but I was unsure whether they were ‘weddingy’ enough. After many other dress hunting expeditions, I kept coming back to how that outfit made me feel. The sequin tulle top and simple crepe skirt were not what I would have envisioned for my day, but I felt so comfortable and beautiful in them, I never wanted to take them off!

Riley: I went with Adriano because I wanted to have a suit and shirt that were tailor-made for my specific body shape and measurements. I wore a handmade midnight navy suit and white shirt made by Adriano Carbonne. Adriano has over 40 years of experience, so this is a guarantee in itself. The suit is made from Huddersfield Cloth and was truly personalised with my choice of lapel, pockets and paisley lining with embroidery on the internal lining. The design process included two fittings as well as a final fitting, all with the master himself.

 

Favourite moments.

Tess: Our portraits. We chose to do a first look before the ceremony, and it was definitely one of the best decisions we made.
Riley: The ceremony. It was the excitement I felt when I saw Tess come down the aisle and then finally go through our experience of saying our vows to each other. It was a huge sense of relief to have made it to that moment, to know that we had finally done it, after one postponement and another lockdown due within hours.

 

Meaning of marriage.

Tess: Marriage to me is sharing the joys and challenges of life and everything in between; it is being strong when the other is not and allowing them to hold you when you’re weak; it is giving each other space to grow individually and an unconditional commitment to growing together; it is the greatest adventure.

Riley: For me, marriage is my relationship with Tess, enjoyed for as many years as my body will let me. It is my greatest intention, and I feel that marriage is a way of life where our shared values and experiences, togetherness, and our commitment to each other and our future unite to create the present.

 

Wedding soundtrack.

Aisle song: Latch (Acoustic) by Sam Smith

Reception entry: World of Our Love by Client Liaison

First dance: 6s to 9s by Big Wild & Rationale

 

Funny stories or near disasters.

Tess: I had organised for my dad to come and pick me up on the morning of our wedding and take me to my parents’ house. When he was running late, I gave him a call, and he said he was outside our house on the Mornington Peninsula – but I was in our accommodation in Carlton! We didn’t have a car with us, so we rang around in a bit of a panic, and Riley’s brother James came to the rescue and took me to my parents’ place. I was late for my hair and make-up appointments, but Steph and Valentina were amazing!

 

Planning surprises.

We never thought we’d be limited in the number of guests or have to postpone our wedding! Otherwise, we found it surprising that, while women’s wedding outfits and accessories are always acknowledged and linked, it was rarely the case for men’s attire; Instagram posts and wedding blogs often didn’t mention where grooms found their suits and shoes.

I was also really surprised at how hard it was to find modern wedding signage (like welcome signs and table seating charts) that were environmentally friendly; most are made from foam board or perspex and cannot decompose. We ended up printing our signage onto A1 card and adhering it to wood for stability.

 

Words of wisdom.

Consider the impact of your choices. Your wedding is an incredible day, and it is about you, but after that day, all the things you’ve bought and used could be reused, recycled or end up in landfill. For the most part, making sustainable choices is a lot easier than you might think!

 

 

Want to follow Tess & Riley’s lead, and ensure your wedding day has minimal impact on our beautiful planet? We’ve got some suggestions for ways you can make more environmentally friendly choices when planning your celebration. Read on, here.

 

 

RILEY & TESS’ VENDORS

We used Ivory Tribe, Wedshed, Less Stuff More Meaning and other blogs like Polkadot Bride and Easy Weddings; they were really useful for finding vendors. We used Google reviews and website reviews as well as recommendations from our photographer, Katie – that’s how we found the incredible Andrew and Grace of Bottlebrush Films!

Ceremony & reception venue: Butler Lane. We chose Butler Lane for many reasons; we loved the vibe of the red brick, the beautiful courtyard and the stunning green wall, as well as the architecture of the building itself. We also loved that it was in the city, central and accessible.

Celebrant/Officiant: Damon Hughes. Damon is just a legend. He is so down-to-earth, and he really understands what weddings are about. He made our ceremony about us and was excited by our personalisation suggestions. He never gave us a questionnaire; to get to know us, we just had a lovely conversation, and with that information he produced the most amazing ceremony. Damon was also our MC for the reception, and he was just fantastic. His care for us and our day really shone when I was ready to chicken out of doing our first dance; his response was to take us outside in a private corner, and he had us practice until I felt ready, and I am forever grateful to Damon for that.

Photography: Katie Harmsworth. Katie is not only an incredible artist but just such a beautiful person. She was an absolute joy to share our day with. She made us feel so comfortable, made us laugh and let us just be us. So many of our guests were blown away by her warmth and professionalism on the day, and we are just in love with our photographs.

Videography: Bottlebrush films. Andrew and Grace of Bottlebrush films were recommended to us by Katie, and we can see why; they too are absolute artists and absolute legends. Working with them both was such a wonderful experience, and the way they captured us and our day is priceless.

Styling: Georgia Kotchet, Butler Lane by Peter Rowland

Florist: Georgia Kotschet. I initially sent inquiries to a handful of florists, but from the moment I received Georgia’s response, I knew that I had found the most passionate, generous and caring florist in Victoria. We wanted to make sure our florals were locally sourced, did not use any floral foam and that there was no plastic used in our arrangements and Georgia not only accepted those requests but was already doing all of these things herself! She put so much time and effort to really understand our vision and just elevated the floral arrangements beyond our dreams and within our budget!

Hair: Valentina (Tonic Agency). Val was so wonderful and attentive during my trial and was great on the day.

Make-up: Steph (Tonic Agency). Steph was just so lovely and warm and made me feel so beautiful. She listened and made me feel comfortable and was also so great with my family.

The dress & veil: Anna Campbell. Renee was my stylist at Anna Campbell, and she was knowledgeable, honest, and so kind. She made me, my sisters and mum feel so comfortable and really listened. I was also lucky enough to have Anna herself involved in the alterations of my outfit, and she was wonderful too. It was great to support a Melbourne business!

The suit: Adriano Carbone Master Tailor. Adriano’s suit fit unbelievably well, and he made it in less than eight weeks. It was a true tailor service compared to ‘made to measure’ suit shops that outsource alterations overseas. It was great to know I was supporting a local family business.

Headpiece: Hairpins – Jeannette Maree

Shoes: ‘Francolin’ from Bared footwear (Tess), ‘Berwick 1707’ from McCloud Shoes Melbourne (Riley)

Rings: Paul Bram. We were initially interested in Paul Bram because their designs are certified conflict-free. However, it really was our gemologist Wilson’s friendly, transparent and patient approach to customer service and the design process that sold us. We had the engagement rings and wedding bands made by Paul Bram.

Catering: & bar: Peter Rowland. The most important thing for us regarding catering was the fact that the chefs at Peter Rowland were willing to produce an entirely plant-based menu for our wedding. The way they made that happen was amazing, and so many of our guests commented on the food on the night.

Favours: The table florals!

Cake: Tidbit Cakes. Rhi at Tidbit makes cakes that you wouldn’t believe are plant-based. She was a dream to work with and created all we could have dreamed of!

Stationery / Signage: Black Rainbow & Print Together. Black Rainbow printed our A1 signs. They are a Melbourne owned and run company that specialise in eco printing. Print Together printed our name cards and thank you cards, and we were beyond impressed with how easy it was to have eco-friendly stationery. Their website was so easy to use, and they were prompt and great when communicating with us.

Entertainment: Aleks from One More Song Entertainment. Aleks timed all of the music for each part of our ceremony into the reception perfectly; she touched base with us through the night, she did an awesome job integrating the Greek and English music and dealt well with a couple of hiccups that were out of her control. Overall, our experience with Eddy and Aleks was professional, with great communication and one where our desires were their priority.

Transport: Tess’ dad in his car and Riley’s dad in Tess’ family ute.

Décor: Table Art and Georgia Kotschet. Table Art’s linen was just gorgeous and elevated our reception with organic textures and warm tones. Table Art was also amazing to work with; they were responsive, accommodating and the quality of their linen was exceptional.

Honeymoon: We spent the next five days in lockdown and then stayed in an Airbnb in the Apollo Bay hinterland.




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