Real Wedding – Sarah & Liam, Albert Park VIC
High school sweethearts Sarah and Liam already share a life story filled with memorable moments, so it was fated that their dream day be filled with the same. Perfectly personal touches underpinned with classicly elegant styling and a huge dose of fun makes this one sweetly stunning soiree.
Choosing a black and white colour palette anchors the theme in old-world glam, while modern, minimal bouquets and outfits in crisp contemporary lines juxtapose the present with the past in aesthetic synchronicity.
With For the Love Celebrancy started the day in a relaxed, heartfelt style and legends One More Song leading the party vibes, this was bound to be a blissed-up, fun-filled affair. But as the sun went down, it was really the Irish dance-off that truly made the moment!
For us, it’s the ecstatic emotion between Sarah and Liam that absolutely elevates this already epic day. Captured in full blissful beauty by Motta Photography and Lighthouse Media, the sequence of portrait pics really show the electric energy and love between the new Mr and Mrs.
Scroll on to soak up every dopamine-filled moment!
We first met in 2011 at a party after I (Sarah) had done my deb with my family friend who was good friends with Liam. However, we barely spoke that night at the party! I was kicking myself after this so, over a Massaman curry with one of my best friends Lauren, she hit the send button on a Facebook message that read, “Hey Liam, how are you?” Liam, being the sweet guy that he is, of course, replied, and our Facebook chats went on for quite some time after that night. We continued to chat all throughout Year 12 and became ‘official’ at the end of 2012 after we had finished school.
Sarah: I knew Liam was the one pretty early on (maybe too early). I was crushing on Liam for quite a while, so once we started officially dating, I knew he was something special, and I could never not see us together. Even when spending months apart due to me dancing overseas, never once did we ever consider not being together. We have grown up a lot together since being a couple from the age of 18; we’ve experienced a lot together and have helped shape each other into the individuals we are today.
Liam: There wasn’t really a set time or moment for me. The more I got to know Sarah, the more I got to love and appreciate her. As the years went on, I couldn’t picture my life without her.
I thought I would be the organised one and book Liam and I a nice dinner for our nine-year anniversary. But wow, Liam’s plans really outshone my plan. I had finished teaching for the year, and Liam was attending his breakup day for work on the 22nd of December 2021. Usually, this day for tradies is BIG. In previous years, Liam has come home quite giggly and intoxicated. So, Liam really caught me by surprise when he got home at 11 am. I was mid bleaching the bathrooms, I had my cleaning clothes on and gloves on. Liam said that I needed to pack a bag because we were going away.
Thank goodness I panic packed and packed half my wardrobe because a second surprise was that we were staying two nights at the most beautiful place, Lancemore Lindenderry, in Red Hill. When we arrived, I thought, “is he going to propose?” But quickly tried to get this out of my mind to prevent disappointment.
Dinner was at 6pm and just as we were about to leave the hotel room, Liam said he got the time wrong, and dinner was 6:30pm. I was relieved that I could have more time to get ready, but Liam was adamant that we should leave now and go for a drink before dinner. Still oblivious and slightly annoyed that I could have had more time to get ready, we walked the weirdest way to dinner. We eventually got to a part of the vineyard where there is a really long walkway, and Liam said, “Let’s go down here”, to which I responded, “nah, it’s too far; let’s just go to dinner.” Liam was very persistent that we walk down there. Walking down the LONG path, I suddenly spotted what I initially thought was a statue on the table, is in fact a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket. I stopped and asked Liam, “What are you doing?” Liam then began saying the most beautiful words, and the next thing I knew, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. We popped the champagne, sat and laughed together for a good ten minutes before Facetiming both our families.
The only other person that knew about the proposal was my dad. Liam had met up with my dad to explain his intentions. Of course, my dad was very excited and managed to keep this secret from my mum. So, when we Facetimed our families, it was a complete surprise (but a long time coming, maybe) for them all. There were tears, and we couldn’t wait to celebrate with them over Christmas.
The weekend away was so, so beautiful. It was romantic and thoughtful. Liam had thought of everything, and it went perfectly.
We wanted a modern and timeless style wedding. We knew with the backdrop at Carousel, the beautiful city view of Melbourne and Albert Park lake, that we would not need to do too much.
Liam and I are the first couple out of our friendship group to be married, and besides a few family weddings we have attended, we really had no idea what we were doing. We knew we wanted our wedding to be in Melbourne, and because I am a Primary School teacher, we decided that over the summer holidays would be the smartest time for our big day.
We didn’t look at too many venues, but once we walked into Carousel at Albert Park, we knew we had found a winner. We couldn’t get over the view and loved the idea of having an outdoor area for our ceremony and a big dance floor! Being told and having a sneak peek of the renovations that were planned at Carousel made us fall in love with the venue even more!
After we secured the venue, we didn’t really know where to begin… then I was told about Ivory Tribe. The Real Weddings page became my nightly reading, and I filled my phone and laptop with screenshots of ideas I loved from other people’s weddings. I got a lot of helpful tips from Tik Tok as well. My For You page is still filled with a lot of wedding content.
Once Liam and I decided on our style, modern classic, we felt we had a clear vision of what we wanted our wedding to look like and that we wanted to create a formal event to celebrate our love – and for our dance floor to be utilised as much as possible!
Our ceremony was so special in many different ways. We didn’t do a first look and didn’t see each other the night before the wedding, so we were both so excited to see each other. Being an only child, I will forever treasure those last moments as a family of three when driving to the venue with just my mum and dad. Before walking down the aisle, my dad and I had a few tears and reminisced over a few childhood memories. My dad had been looking forward to this moment for a long time, so sharing that moment together was incredibly memorable.
The moment before I walked down the aisle and saw Liam for the first time after the doors opened, led to a mixture of tears and an enormous smile from myself. Seeing Liam standing there and walking towards him, I really felt like it was just the two of us. Once we were together, we were trying to take it all in. We loved seeing all our friends and family there, and everyone looked so happy for us. It felt so good to be together and hold hands throughout the ceremony. We loved hearing each other’s vows and sharing our story with our family and closest friends.
Sarah: I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted until my mum sent me a photo of the Eva Lendal Jess Dress. I loved the cut and thought it was a very timeless dress. I immediately searched where the dress was stocked in Melbourne. A week later, I went to the appointment with my mum. I tried on six dresses but as soon as I put the Jess Dress on, I knew that was the one. I added a split to the dress as I wanted my shoes to be seen.
Liam: At first, I was a bit apprehensive about wearing a tux but thought I would try and be open-minded when going suit shopping. Sarah had seen a real wedding on Ivory Tribe of a groom in a Hugo Boss tux, and I really liked the look of it. Once I tried it on, the cut and fit were great, and I liked how it wasn’t too flashy.
My late grandpa had left Liam and I some money for our wedding. Pop loved Liam and used to refer to him as ‘Mr Wonderful’. It was so special for us to use this money to purchase my wedding dress and veil, Liam’s suit and our wedding bands. Pop used to call me ‘flossy’, so I decided to honour him by having this word embroidered onto my veil. I loved having Pop with me on the day, as I knew he would’ve been so proud of Liam and I. My dad was unaware that I had the word embroidered on the veil, and seeing his reaction to this on the day, is a moment I will remember forever.
Sarah: There were so many moments that I will treasure forever, however, my top two would have to be walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Liam for the first time. Secondly, seeing everyone’s reaction when Liam joined in the Irish dancing performance!
Liam: For me, there were lots of moments that were memorable, but I enjoyed all the formalities being over and everyone being able to let their hair down and party.
Meaning of marriage.
For us, it means maintaining and cementing our commitment, team-work and honesty as a couple.
Aisle: Summer Rain by Paul Kelly
Signing: Sarah’s Last Dance – this was composed for Sarah by Irish dancing musicians, Stephen Carolan and Brian O’Sullivan
Recessional: Home by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Bridal party entrance: Sunchyme by Dario G
Reception entry: White Lotus (season 2) theme song (Renaissance)
First dance: Baby I’m Yours by The Arctic Monkeys
Father and daughter dance: Beautiful Day by U2
Funny stories (or near disasters).
Fortunately, we were lucky that there were no big disasters on the day; however, after we entered the reception, I got some makeup on my dress after hugging someone. Luckily, my Maid of Honour had prepared an emergency kit with EVERYTHING you could ever need and using a makeup wipe made the makeup completely disappear!
I think we both underestimated the never-ending to-do list and of course, the cost of everything. The small things that need to be done closer to the date kept increasing and were things we didn’t initially think of.
Words of wisdom.
Try and enjoy the process. It feels strange to spend so much of your time planning a one-day event; however looking back now, the planning process was really enjoyable and not too stressful for us both. We found it hard to delegate things to others as we (well, really, I) wanted to be in control of everything. We had a spreadsheet that we would both edit and tick things off. This had vendors, their cost when payments were due and their contact information. It helped keep us both organised and on track with payments as the day drew closer.
No matter how elaborate or pared back your vision for your dream day, there is no arguing that a wedding comes with a price tag. So, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you save some precious pennies without losing the impact or feels of your celebration. Check out our cost-saving tips here on the blog.
SARAH AND LIAM’S SUPPLIERS
We are so grateful to all of our vendors. By the end of the planning process, they all felt like friends to us. Everyone made us feel so comfortable and at ease. This was especially appreciated as we didn’t have much idea of what we were doing!
Rebecca Verrocchi from Carousel was incredibly professional and made everything so seamless for us. I don’t want to know how many emails I sent her, but she was always so prompt to reply and answer all my questions. Nothing was ever a hassle and we were able to change things in the venue to make it more suited to the vibe and feel we wanted to create.
Our celebrant Alexandra Baxter felt more like a friend rather than a vendor right from the beginning. We had met with a few other celebrants, however after our initial meeting with Alexandra over Zoom, I closed the laptop and said to Liam “we’ve found the one!” Alexandra made us feel very relaxed and created a ceremony that was Liam and I to a tee.
Alex Motta, our photographer, came recommended to us by my maid of honour, who had attended a wedding Alex had previously photographed. Alex was the first vendor we locked in, and we are so thankful we had him to capture every moment of our day. By 9am the day after our wedding, we had over 150 photos. Opening the link to these photos brought so many tears! I couldn’t believe how beautifully Alex had captured moments with myself and Liam as well as our family and guests. Whilst on our honeymoon and less than a week after our wedding, we had every photo back, which was over 1200 photos!
Pat from Lightbox Media also came recommended to us. We loved that he had previously worked with Alex Motta, and the two of them worked so well together on the day. Pat made us feel very comfortable when capturing our day, and we are so thankful we will have this video to reminisce about for years to come about our day. Our DJ, Eddy, was the perfect DJ. He gave us so much freedom with our music, and we loved how he was getting into the groove as well throughout the night!
Liam and I had previously done some home renovations to our house, so we thought we could tackle some wedding DIY projects too! We had countless trips to Bunnings and snagged a few things on Facebook Marketplace. By the end of it all, we were shocked ourselves with how well our décor turned out. We tested our champagne tower with soda water the week prior, but on the night we were so nervous to pour the champagne, however, it was a great success!
I knew Emily Cassidy (our florist) from my Irish Dancing studio, so I was able to be heavily involved in the process. The day before the wedding (which was also my birthday), Liam and I, my bridal party, my parents, four aunties (one being a florist too) and Emily, her mum and grandma were at our dancing studio from 9am-4pm putting all the arrangements together! It was such a fun day and a very rewarding experience seeing the arrangements on the day.
Ceremony and reception venue: Carousel, Albert Park
Event Manager: Rebecca Verrocchi
Celebrant: Alexandra Baxter from For the Love Celebrancy
Photography: Alex Motta from Motta Weddings
Videography: Pat from Lightbox Media
Florist: Emily Cassidy from Flowers by Cass
Hair: Corrie Luck
Make-up: Shelby Rose Makeup Artistry
The Dress: Always and Forever Bridal. The Eva Lendel ‘Jess Dress’
Veil: Always and Forever Bridal. Embroidery by Belinda Pieris
Bride Shoes: Amina Muaddi
Rings: Arnold Jewellers (Peter was so amazing to deal with and it was such a special experience being part of the design process)
Bridesmaid’s dresses: each bridesmaid was able to choose their own dress. I just wanted them in black silk
Tan: Spray Aus
Groom Suit: Hugo Boss
Grooms Shoes: RM Williams
Groomsmen Suits: Formal Red
Catering: Food & Desire
Favors: we encouraged all our guests to take home a vase of flowers from our tables at the end of the night
Champagne Tower: we bought the glasses from Facebook Marketplace and Liam made the drip tray.
Signage: DIY by myself and Liam. I made all signs on Canva and Liam made the stands.
Stationary: Ashley Simonetto Studio. Ashley has been one of my best friends for over 10 years and it was so special to have her contribute to our big day.
DJ: Eddy Mac from One More Song
Entertainment: Christine Ayres School of Irish Dancing
Transport: Rolls Royce by Exotic Limo
Décor: Melbourne Event Florals for a floral roof canopy. Everything else was done by myself and Liam!
Hire: Harry the Hirer
Honeymoon: Amarterra Vilas, Nusa Dua, Bali