Real Wedding – Sarah & André, Yarra Valley VIC
When it came to their celebration, Sarah and André were set on keeping things simple, elegant and timeless as possible, which is why the Coombe Yarra Valley was the perfect location to be wed.
In stunning garden surrounds, and to the beautiful acoustic sounds of Hey Jack, Sarah made her way down the aisle in a statement gown by Elly Sofocli that looked exquisite, with a corseted bodice and sleek split, the craftsmanship was phenomenal. Our very own Natalie Drum then led the loved up duo in a ceremony that captured their love story to perfection, before exchanging personal and heartfelt vows and sealing it all with a kiss.
Hosting a black-tie affair, they were focused on giving their guests a memorable experience. Throughout the celebration they served cocktails at various intervals, allowed their guests to engage with one another over a feasting menu, before serving gelato to the dance floor so no one missed a minute of the action.
Jackie Dixon captured every magical moment as it unfolded, a true celebration of the romance of this day – this one is definitely worth a scroll.
We were introduced by mutual friends at a BBQ on Grand Final Day in 2013. I had arrived home that morning from a three-month trip to Europe, so I was exhausted. I saw André right away and thought he was absolutely gorgeous. He was very shy, though and nervous, and we didn’t end up talking until much later in the night, by which time I was convinced he wasn’t interested, and I actually left without giving him my number. I woke up the next morning to a text msg from André. He had gotten my number from a friend. I still remember exactly what he was wearing (a bombers jersey and light-coloured chinos), so he clearly made more of an impression than I thought.
Sarah: So, I definitely fell harder earlier. It wasn’t until we had a little test in our relationship in 2017 when Andre got a job offer in London while we were briefly separated. He accepted the job, and I remember feeling with my whole body that there was no way I could be without him; this wasn’t something I would just get over and look back on as my first love; this person was in every aspect of the future I had imagined for myself. We got back together, and I went with him to London. I was still studying and had two full years left in my degree, so I split my time between Melbourne and London. It was incredibly hard, but somehow we became the best version of ourselves as a couple during this time. They say long distance really makes or breaks a relationship, and it certainly showed me that this person was the one person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It didn’t matter to me that when I was in London, I had no friends and no family with me. Wherever André was, was my home.
We had gone down to Barwon Heads for a birthday on a Saturday in Dec 2021 and spent the weekend doing what we normally do, pottering around the house and going down to the beach when it was sunny enough. On the Sunday, we spent the morning at home and then went to the beach in the afternoon, it was a warm day but very windy, and when we arrived at the beach, I was complaining the whole time about being sandblasted! We finally found a spot hidden by a sand dune, ate our sandwiches and relaxed. Just as we got comfortable, a giant group of children in taekwondo whites descended over the sand dune with their parents for an event on the beach! André quickly suggested we move to another part of the beach. His romantic move wasn’t going to plan! As we were walking along the water’s edge, I felt a tug at my hand. I turned around to find André on one knee in the sand. I’m really difficult to surprise, but I was completely shocked and a bit stunned! He opened a ring box with a plain platinum band in it which is exactly what I wanted from him so I could help design my own ring. He said some beautiful words and then asked me if I would marry him, to which I said yes!
Once the shock had worn off, he said okay, now for part two. We went back to the car and in the boot was an esky with my favourite champagne and all our bags! My stepdad had dropped it all off while we were at the beach using Andre’s spare key. We drove for a little while before arriving at the stunning Campbell Point House, a venue I have loved for years. We were staying the night! To top it all off, we were actually the only guests in the entire hotel. We had a lavish dinner in the restaurant, just for the two of us, which the staff made even more special by emptying the restaurant of all but one table and two chairs set up right in the centre of the grand dining room. Andre had packed a beautiful dress for me, and honestly, I couldn’t have possibly asked for a better experience.
We are very different when it comes to our planning and organisation styles. Andre is very laid back, and I am an absolute planner. One thing we both agreed on right away was that we needed to lock in our key suppliers like venue, florist and celebrant, and the rest would fall into place. We didn’t use a planner, so it was quite a lot of work; we are both very particular with our style and enjoyed being in complete control throughout the process.
As soon as we had locked in our venue, I went straight to Ivory Tribe to see what suppliers would suit the aesthetic I wanted. I also knew from the beginning I wanted Nat to be our celebrant. I had followed her Instagram for a while, and her style matched ours perfectly. Once I knew which florist I wanted (Flowers St Germain), I used her Instagram as a bit of a mood board to see various styling elements and how they were used. She did a shoot at Coombe with Poni Studio that I used as inspiration for our day. The grey suite for our stationery was inspired by a tablecloth, believe it or not, that was used in that shoot!
Most things were booked and organised by about March 2022, and then finer details tuned throughout the year. Our venue, Coombe, were absolutely amazing; they gave us tips along the way and really helped bring everything together. The same goes for our Florist Sonia from Flowers St Germain and our stationery provider Bec from Frankly Smitten.
We knew we wanted to get married at Coombe because of how beautiful the gardens are and how minimalistic we could be with our styling. We wanted the day to be a reflection of our style. We like simple and elegant and wanted the day to be as timeless as possible. We knew we wanted a black-tie affair, so we kept the other styling quite simple. The colour palette was centred around our gorgeous stationery, which was shades of grey. We then kept the flowers a simple white with a little green foliage.
We also wanted the day to be fun, so we organised for cocktails to be served at various intervals and for an outdoor dancefloor with the most gorgeous festoon lights from Feel Good Events. Bianco Latte came at the end of the evening to serve the most delicious Gelato to all our guests on the dancefloor. We had a feasting-style menu as well so that everyone could engage over the meal. Coombe also let us set up a gin and whiskey station, which was so fun.
Despite the very formal attire everyone was wearing, we wanted the ceremony to be fun and nothing more than a reflection of how much we loved each other. It was a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky; we both got a little hot, which made for some funny audio in our raw footage from the day. We wrote our own vows, which was so incredibly special.
Our celebrant Nat was phenomenal. She told our story like she had known us for years and tied all aspects of the ceremony together so well. Hearing Andre’s vows and then learning how hard he had worked on them with Nat was one of the best moments of my life.
My wedding dress was the most exquisite custom gown by Elly Sofocli. I knew I wanted Elly to make my dress well before we were even engaged. Her vision and craftsmanship are second to none. My dress was a beautiful strapless gown with a fully corseted bodice and hand-laid fold work. The way that Elly was able to drape the fabric was magic. It had a split up the side so I could walk and a fully detachable overskirt to give me the true bridal moment I had dreamt of without having to bustle my gown for the reception. The skirt was attached under the main folds of the bodice, so when it was gone, you weren’t even able to tell! It was constructed from a stunning matte Japanese Twill. I wore a 3m Italian tulle veil also by Elly and gorgeous pointed-toe pumps from Scanlan and Theodore.
Andre had his tux made by Oscar Hunt Tailors. He knew exactly how he wanted the lapels to look and even had a custom shirt designed. He had our wedding date embroidered inside the jacket, which is so special. He loved working with them; they were friendly and professional, with exceptional attention to detail.
Sarah: Hearing Andre’s vows and our first dance! We have four left feet between the two of us but managed to rehearse enough at home that it went off without a hitch.
Also, walking around the gardens at sunset, just the two of us. Andre turned to me and whispered, “You are the woman of my dreams”. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.
Andre: Watching Sarah walk down the aisle towards me and seeing how stunning she looked. We also got a moment inside the venue after the ceremony to see the setup before guests arrived. It was great seeing the vision come to life.
Meaning of marriage.
It is the ultimate commitment you can make to someone. It says I love you today, but I will also love you forever, and I accept all that you are.
Aisle: An acoustic version of Simply The Best. Sung to perfection by Sarah from Hey Jack.
Signing: Signed Sealed Delivered
Reception entry: Happy by Pharell Williams
First dance: Let’s Stay Together by Al Green
Funny stories or near disasters.
Right as I sat down to have my make-up done, my make-up artist Cassandra Lusi turned to me and said, “Don’t panic.” I had been bitten by some sort of bug while getting photos outside with my bridesmaids. It was smack bang in the middle of my cheek! Luckily one of the girls had an antihistamine, and we iced it. I held off on having my make-up done for a little while, and the bite went down. Other than this, the day was absolutely perfect and went off without a hitch.
I think just the sheer amount of work that went into all the finer details. Not having a planner meant we had to liaise with every supplier ourselves. We loved being so involved, but it was certainly a big job.
Words of wisdom.
Have a really good idea of what you want to spend and try and stick to it. Weddings are expensive, and it is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning the day, and then before you know it, you’ve completely blown your budget.
Surround yourself with people that will make the process easier, not harder. It’s your day, so don’t worry about trying to keep other people happy. Just remember, it’s all about the love you and your partner have for one other in the end, so the rest doesn’t really matter.
Bridesmaid fashion, don’t know where to start? From colours to styles, fabrics and beyond, her are some key considerations that will help you narrow down a look for your wedding party ensemble and make the process an easier, (and dare we say perhaps even an enjoyable!) one – read it now.
SARAH & ANDRE’S VENDORS
I found most of my suppliers through Ivory Tribe! Once we had a few key players, we used their recommendations for other vendors they had worked with so that the day would be as seamless as possible. I used the explore feature on Instagram a lot and would see what suppliers were tagged in photos where I liked the styling. I also got a lot of inspiration from our venue, Coombe.
Ceremony venue: Coombe Italian Gardens
Reception venue: Coombe restaurant
Celebrant: Natalie Drum
Photography & videography: Jackie Dixon
Styling: Us! (plus our florist)
Florist: Sonia from Flowers St Germain
Hair: Keely Alister
Make-up: Cassandra Lusi
The dress & veil: Elly Sofocli
Shoes: Scanlan Theodore
Rings: Wedding bands by Saphira Diamonds
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec and Bridge
Bow ties / ties: Oscar Hunt
Catering & bar: Coombe
Cake: Sincerely Velvet Cakes
Stationery / Signage: Frankly Smitten
Transport: Vintage rolls Royce and Bentley – All About Class. Buses for guests- budget bus charter Melbourne
Hire: Gelato cart – Bianco Latte
Honeymoon: Three weeks in Japan (wow, the food!)