Real Wedding – Sarah & Jeff, South Melbourne VIC
If an exquisitely curated celebration appeals to your styling sensibilities, Sarah and Jeff’s celebrations are for you. Choosing to focus on the details and letting their talented team of vendors guide them through their planning meant they and their guests were free to enjoy every moment of their alluringly elegant day.
Sarah and Jeff wanted classic romance with a fresh modern feel, and their colour palette of antique tones ensured each element tied in seamlessly. Sarah’s Carnegie Gown from Georgia Young Couture is a dream in contemporary elegance.
Star photographer Georgia Verrells was by their side to capture every perfect moment; from Jeff’s emotion-filled reaction to first seeing Sarah, to their talented duo of musicians who kept the dance floor heaving well into the night.
Jeff and I first met through mutual friends at a party when we were teenagers. One night we shared a cheeky kiss but nothing eventuated… that is until we crossed paths again more than 10 years later.
We have so much in common, our sense of adventure, our love for travel, the outdoors and great food. He was always up for anything and falling in love with him came naturally and very easily.
We got engaged exactly a year before the wedding at Whitehaven Beach on Hamilton Island. Jeff did such an amazing job in orchestrating a very extravagant proposal, I still can’t believe I had no idea that he was going to propose. There was a helicopter ride, a proposal written in the sand and a champagne picnic. When I first saw a proposal setup on the beach from up in the air, I was ecstatic for what I thought was another couple’s engagement that day! It wasn’t until we landed on the beach by the picnic that the penny dropped. Jeff is not your cliché romantic type so this gesture absolutely blew me away.
We decided that the venue was the first thing to lock down as the theme and suppliers would revolve around this. We wanted to find a venue that was centrally located and could provide both a ceremony and reception space. We didn’t want our guests relocating from venue to venue, we just wanted it be fun and easy. We then moved on to the big-ticket suppliers, the ones that book out fast in advance, so we arranged our celebrant, photographer, videographer and entertainment. We could then take our time with all the other suppliers and finer details.
We wanted and timeless and romantic wedding with a modern twist. Our theme consisted of a classic palette mixed with antique colours. Attention to detail was part of our theme, we included custom styling such as a balloon installation on the ceiling, three-tier seating chart, a personalised wishing well, bar signs, individual name coasters as favours, matching florals and personalised decals throughout the venue.
Great food, drinks and entertainment were very important aspects of the day for us. We started of the day with cocktails and canapés and followed on with a premium spirits bar. We also commenced the ceremony and canapes with live music and transitioned to a DJ supported by a saxophonist and drummer.
Prior to the ceremony, we completed a first look in Fitzroy Gardens along with all the bridal portraits. This meant there was no wait time or venue change between the ceremony and reception and we could spend more time with our guests.
I wore the Carnegie Gown by Georgia Young Couture, from the Nolita Collection.
My dress was made from laser-cut modern lace fabric and featured a fitted bodice, circle skirt, full train and the best feature… hidden pockets!
My journey to find the perfect dress wasn’t a simple one. I wanted something fun and modern however, I didn’t have a specific design in mind. After many fittings at various designers I was yet to find a dress that I was excited about and hadn’t yet felt the wow factor. I came across Georgia initially via an Ivory Tribe Instagram post and booked in a consult. The first thing I noticed when I walked up to Georgia’s pink door was that it was Georgia herself who was there to greet me and Georgia was there from the first consult to the last. Georgia’s style was exactly what I had been searching for and as soon as I put on the Carnegie Gown, I knew I had found the dress that I didn’t know I needed. I just fell in love with the light fabric and the detailing and it was like no other dress I had seen.
Around 9pm, Jeff and I took our cocktails and just quietly exited the wedding and went for a wander, we had a chat and laugh about the amazing day we’d had so far and just stopped to take it all in, it was the only time throughout the day where it was just us… although it was brief, it is my favourite memory.
Meaning of marriage.
Waking up next to my best friend every day, having someone to laugh with and confide in and supporting one other through our triumphs and challenges.
Bridesmaids entry: How Will I Know (Sam Smith version)
Brides entry: Beyond by Leon Bridges
Signing: Best Part by H.E.R
Exit song: We found Love by Rihanna (acoustic version)
First dance: I Wanna Dance with Somebody acoustic version by Rachel Brown which then transitioned into the original Whitney Houston version to open up the dance floor.
Farewell song: You’ve got the love by Florence + The Machine
Funny stories (or near disasters).
Just as we thought we had finalised the bridesmaid dresses, two of my gorgeous bridesmaids fell pregnant. My four bridesmaids ended up wearing a simple Bec + Bridge black dress. These dresses were flattering and provided a little stretch for their growing beautiful baby bumps – they all looked amazing.
Just how far in advance venues and suppliers book out. The earlier you start the process the more likely you are to get first pick for all your fave vendors.
Words of wisdom.
Remember, it’s your day as a couple, no one else’s. The planning process and the day itself is all over in the blink of an eye, it truly is one of most magical times in your life so make sure to have fun and take it all in…
Want to make sure your guests can’t help but hit the dance floor at the end of the night? We’ve compiled our top tips for what your DJ needs to know to work their magic and get your dance floor pumping!
SARAH & JEFF’S VENDORS
Ceremony and reception location: Luminare, South Melbourne – Luminare provided such amazing service from start to finish, they really concentrate on the client experience and genuinely want to help you make it the most memorable day possible. My wedding coordinator Nick was so accommodating and really helped pull everything together at the venue. Jeff and I were provided a bridal butler on the day of the wedding and for the whole event he ensured that we always had everything we needed and more importantly that our drinks were always topped up!
Celebrant/Officiant: Candice Souness – Our celebrant is also a very dear friend of ours and having someone who knows us personally to officiate our marriage made the ceremony all the more genuine and heartfelt.
Photography: Georgia Verrells – Georgia is easy going in nature and Jeff and I clicked with her as soon as we met her. Her style of photography is very natural and in the moment. As we are somewhat awkward in front of the camera, we knew she would make us feel comfortable throughout the day. Georgia also provided some amazing advice and tips during the planning process.
Videography: C2Films are well known in the wedding industry and for good reason. Marcus has been in the game for a long time and he worked seamlessly with Georgia on the day to bring it all together. C2Films are true professionals in their field and they deliver breathtaking results.
Balloon installation: Moonshot Balloons
Florist: Balwyn Events
Hair and make-up: Tahlia Jayde – Tahlia is extremely talented and somehow my makeup was still completely intact by the end of the night.
The dress and headwear: Carnegie Gown, Nolita Collection by Georgia Young Couture – I had also purchased a second/reception dress from Dion Lee but ended up having way too much fun, lost track of time and never ended up getting out of my Georgia Dress!
Shoes: I wore Jimmy Choo’s for the ceremony and changed into YSL’s for the reception.
Earrings: Christie Nicolaides – Lucia Earrings in Silver/White
Rings: AE Design
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec + Bridge
Menswear: Institchu – One of the groomsmen lives in New York and this Australian based company has showroom based there which made the process very easy.
Catering and Bar: Luminare/The Big Group put on a tasting night prior to the wedding where we were able to sample the in-season menu and various beverages. We were also able to meet other couples who were getting married at a similar time to us. We selected a modern Australian menu and premium cocktail/spirit beverages.
Favours: Round Coasters laser-cut with individual names, doubled up as place card. Made by a friend of ours, Tu Chu.
Cake / Cake topper: Three tiered, multi patterned, vanilla with butter cream cake. We had some decadent desserts included in our menu and so opted for a lighter wedding cake. Our cake was created by a personal close friend, Jackie, who bakes as side hobby but should probably consider moving into the cake baking business.
Stationery / Signage: Appy Couple
Entertainment: To source our live music, we went to a few gigs around Melbourne and listened to some local talent before we settled on Soli Tesema – she is truly gifted and one of the aspects of our wedding that our guests continue to talk about till this day.
Sax: The Sammy Sax
Drums: Rayan Aridi
Honeymoon: Straight after the wedding we had a minimoon in Bali where we relaxed in the mountains of Ubud. Our official round the world honeymoon was due to take place mid this year, travelling to USA, Europe and the Maldives however, due to the current travel restrictions our dream honeymoon is currently on hold and we hope to travel as soon as it’s safe again to do so.