Real Wedding – Rizzah & Paul, South Melbourne VIC
Super sweet love story? Effortlessly stunning style? A day brimming with beautiful emotion? Paul and Riz’s intimate celebration has it all, giving us the epic dopamine dose we all love to feel. And with Finder Seeker behind the lens, the images map out this aesthetically incredible journey to perfection.
Every aspect of this dream day has hints of the personal, from the venue choice to the sweet soundtrack. South Melbourne is a special suburb to Paul and Riz, so their first look portrait session holds particular meaning. And we can’t get enough of the historic urban backdrop, from stylishly traditional architecture to a bold pop-of-pink kissing booth. Against it all, the electric energy between the newlyweds shines through the shots, leaving no doubt of the absolute happiness of the moment.
Within the Topiary at Bells Hotel, Paul and Riz let their florals define their styling, and it’s a choice to applaud. Organically artful spans of textured branches, clouds of cream blooms and accents of soft blush and crimson clusters elevate rather than overpower the winsome interior. We love that the good vibes only escalate as the day continues, with every photo of the guests filled with stunning smiles. To experience a sweet day with fab feels, scroll on.
Riz and I met in mid-May 2020 on a beautiful blue-sky Saturday morning for a walk around Albert Park Lake. We’d only recently been released from the first COVID lockdown in Melbourne (back when we thought that’d be the only one) and were brimming with positivity. We’d been chatting online for a week prior (because that’s how people meet these days!) and were both very excited to meet in person.
I distinctly remember the day and the time! It was only about four weeks after we’d met in person, and we were lying on my bed chatting on a Sunday afternoon with Josh Pyke playing in the background. I was suddenly overcome with this very unusual feeling. When I rolled over to tell Riz, I looked her in the eyes and said, “I think I’m… falling… in…” and then she said, “Me too… but I was worried it was too soon to say!” And that was pretty much that!
We are very practical people. We, in fact, discussed the engagement on my couch in September 2020 before officially popping the question. We picked the date (28 August 2021 – later cancelled by COVID lockdown number six), and then I sent Riz a Gmail calendar invite (once we’d agreed on the appropriate emojis to include in the invite) – which Riz accepted immediately!
I officially popped the question during lockdown number three once the ring had been agreed upon, ordered and delivered from Kate & Kole, a boutique jewellery business in Newcastle (where Riz grew up).
We wanted a small and intimate wedding with close friends and family. We wanted limited fuss but a fun and relaxed day for our guests and, most importantly, a special day for us.
Fun, casual and low-fuss. For inspiration, we found pictures and the websites of specific suppliers were most helpful, particularly where plenty of information was provided. Our photographer Dee was just amazing and referred us to almost all our other vendors on the day (other than the venue, which we picked out ourselves).
Our civil wedding celebrant Sarah Aird was just wonderful. She brought a real warmth and a sense of fun to the ceremony, which set the tone for the whole day’s celebrations.
Riz found the perfect dress for the day but then, when our original wedding date (28 August 2021) was cancelled due to COVID lockdown number six, we decided not to delay our timetable and to try for a baby in the new year. So, by the time the big day came around, Riz was three months pregnant with no chance of fitting into her ultra-small wedding dress.
Fortunately, Riz found a great alternative on Amazon (for the low, low price of $300! – about 5% of the cost of the original wedding dress), which, as you can see in the photos, she looked beautiful in!
Things just work out sometimes.
My favourite moment of the day was when Riz and my cousin spontaneously performed the entire Grease Lightning dance together when the Grease medley song came on – unchoreographed but performed to a tee – everyone was impressed!
Meaning of marriage.
Best friends making a life-long commitment to each other.
The only song we choreographed was the Josh Pyke song The Summer when Riz walked down the aisle (this was the song playing in the background when we first professed our love to each other).
Funny stories or near disasters.
The cancellation of our original wedding day was a bitter pill to swallow, but we understood how important it was that people’s safety took precedence. So while it was a disappointing start to our original wedding day (as it was a beautiful 24-degree blue-skied August day), we ended up having a great afternoon where we made frozen margaritas at home (Riz wasn’t pregnant yet) and married ourselves, exchanging vows and wedding rings in the lounge room. All’s well that ends well!
In the lead-up to Wedding 2.0 in May 2022, the only real clanger was that Riz had to get a new dress and couldn’t drink on the day, which was a shame (other than non-alcoholic wine). So, I had her drinks on the day!
I was really surprised at how emotional it all was. I haven’t cried in front of people since I was about five or six, so that was a shock to the system (in a good way).
Words of wisdom.
It is all about the vendors! Get good vendors, and your life will be made much easier.
Don’t get too caught up in the pomp and ceremony; just enjoy the wonderful relationship you are in.
Considering a first look portrait session? We’ve got the lowdown from a wedding photographer on the pros and cons of seeking an early peek, here on the blog.
PAUL & RIZ’S VENDORS
We found our photographer Dee online via her website. She was just amazing – she almost exclusively referred us to all other vendors we used on the day, save for the venue, which we picked out ourselves as it was the perfect smaller (and trendy) venue in South Melbourne (we had our heart set on a South Melbourne wedding as so much of our relationship centred around that suburb) and the wedding singer Croq who was one of Riz’s friends (and was fantastic on the day).
If you find a good vendor, I would encourage you to leverage that relationship and get them to recommend other great vendors – they know the industry better than you ever will!
Ceremony & reception venue: The Topiary, Bells Hotel, South Melbourne
Celebrant: Sarah Aird
Photography: Finder Seeker Photography
Videography: N/A (Riz’s Mum!)
Styling: N/A – get the right place and the right florist; you won’t need it.
Florist: Botanics Melbourne. Shane was just fantastic and really made the venue pop. We became good friends with Shane (and our photographer Dee) throughout the process.
Hair & make-up: Sarah at Making Pretty
The dress: Riz’s Manhattan crop jacket was Bubish; and the dress was Amazon!
Veil: Raffaele Ciuca Bridal
Rings: Kate & Kole – the rings are brilliant.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: N/A (we decided to drop the broader wedding party before the big day and just have them all as guests)
Suits: Kenneth Cole
Tie: Pierre Cardin
Catering & bar: Bells Hotel. The food was great on the day!
Cake: Ladybird Cakes
Entertainment: Croq. Croq is one of Riz’s good friends and was simply fantastic on the day – he helped to continue the warm celebration vibe all day long!
Transport: Bride – her Mum’s friends Mazda 9; Groom – his 2009 Toyota Yaris
Honeymoon: To be determined (original Honeymoon was to be in Margaret River WA – thanks COVID)
Other: A huge thanks to all our vendors who worked with us to secure a second wedding date – they were all amazing and helped to create our perfect wedding. I cannot recommend them highly enough!