Real Wedding – Siu-Mei & Adam, Collingwood VIC
Siu-Mei and Adam celebrated their marriage in the kind of celebration we can’t help but wish we were part of. Elegant, urban and relaxed, their Melbourne day celebrated all of what the city they call home is about – it’s glorious, grungy streets, amazing food, incredible creatives, and boy, they did it beautifully.
True to their own laid-back style, a hilarious mix-up with wedding favours, that saw 150 pint-sized, pink baby rattles – instead of musical maracas – greet their guests, didn’t phase them one bit, and their night was fun-filled and fabulous.
They also have glowing words for their incredible photographer, Elsa Campbell, who not only captured their day to perfection, but created some of their favourite moments of their big day. Scrolling through their memories – it’s not hard to see why.
We met almost ten years ago in one of our favourite spots, beautiful Byron Bay! Adam had been making his way up the coast on a surfing road trip with friends and some girlfriends and I had decided to escape Melbourne for a little mini-break. Some mutual friends invited us around for drinks and the rest is history!
I didn’t realise at the time but Adam had run out of cash (we were just students at the time), so was actually shouting me drinks all night on one his friend’s cards. Thanks Dougie for helping this love story get legs!
Something after our second date told me he was really special. I felt completely at ease, like I had known him forever. When we both independently met with the celebrant as part of the wedding process, we both expressed that same feeling: there was something incredibly comforting and familiar early on. No big moment or big declaration, we just fell naturally and easily into each other’s worlds.
I didn’t make it easy for him. The poor guy had been trying to propose for six months but every time he went to propose, I (without knowing obviously!) would invite friends along to join us to whatever the occasion/event was.
He proposed in Paris a few years ago when we were in Europe for a wedding. We were travelling with friends for most of the trip, which didn’t give him many opportunities to pop the question.
On the day he proposed, we honestly walked all over Paris – from area to area and landmark to landmark. It was his first time in Paris so he was slowly sussing out spots to propose. 35km later and he finally found a spot in the Tuilleries gardens he thought was right (up near the L’Orangerie gallery). I was none the wiser and started blabbering on about a friend who got engaged in the same spot. He eventually cut my story off, dropped down on one knee and proposed. The only problem was that I had waffled on for so long about this other proposal that the secluded spot had attracted a crowd. We ended up with a bunch of onlookers including one loud American who decided to shout out to us and join in the proposal. I also didn’t realise Adam was proposing at first, as some tissue had caught on the ring, so I actually thought he was handing me a tissue, not a ring. It was hilariously awkward but perfect.
I like to think it was pretty cruisy (may be my family and friends would disagree!)! We had watched a lot of our friends plan elaborate and incredible weddings on their own properties or in big event spaces. While they were amazing experiences to attend as guests, we didn’t have that much organisational willpower in us. So instead, we opted for a simpler and more relaxed affair. We put our faith in our suppliers and venue to do their thing and eliminated anything that might cause too much stress or admin (e.g. getting married indoors to avoid the risk of Melbourne weather and keeping everything at one venue). We focused on the things that mattered the most to us and didn’t get too carried away on the other things. It meant it was a lot less stressful than I think otherwise would have been the case.
For us, we wanted something that felt modern, relaxed and fun. We didn’t want it to feel too conservative or uptight and wanted it to feel like us! We also love living in Melbourne and wanted a wedding that celebrated the bits of Melbourne we love too – the city, grungy streets, amazing food and an incredible creative community (from musicians and florists to photographers).
Hmm…well it was a little bit of a process. I found a dress within about two months of getting engaged, before we had even found a venue. It was one of the first dresses I tried on and I really hadn’t done that much research. When it arrived, I was waiting for that cliché moment when you first see your wedding dress and gush but instead I hated it – it didn’t feel like me or suit the venue or the vibe we wanted! I definitely regret rushing into it too quickly!
After sitting on it for a while, I decided to bite the bullet and just buy a second one. Adam was incredibly supportive and just said I should get something I feel comfortable and happy with and so off I went hunting for the perfect, SECOND wedding dress.
I did a lot more research that time and tried on lots of dresses (my poor, amazingly patient bridesmaids!). The one I ended up choosing just felt so effortless, simple and easy and perfect for me! I also LOVED Fiona the designer who was so much more laidback than other designers/sales assistants I had come across, which was so refreshing and nice. It was a perfect match.
It’s so hard, there were so many on the day.
I have to admit, one of the parts I thought I wouldn’t love was the photo section of the day (only because we’re incredibly awkward behind the camera and I didn’t want to be away from all the fun of the wedding for too long) but it was one of our FAVOURITE parts. Our totally brilliant and super chill photographer Elsa was a bit part of that, she had this amazing ability to just help you feel at ease and made the whole process so fun. We were still on cloud 9 after having just tied the knot and then got to spend an hour wandering the streets of Collingwood with our best friends, laughing, dancing and having a ball. Before nipping back to the reception, we found this cute little jaffle bar in Collingwood and all went and shared a bottle of champas before returning. It was total perfection.
The impromptu dancefloor midway through dinner when Tina Arena’s Sorrento Moon came on was also a highlight.
My dad also organised for the most incredible trio to sing Stand By Me as a gift to us. You could have heard a pin drop. It was magic.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage to us is about living out all the things we do every day but committing to do it for the rest of our lives.
It’s building a life together that’s made for both of us. It’s making comprises but never comprising on who we are, what we stand for or what we aspire to be. It’s being loved for every part of ourselves.
It’s about asking life’s big questions and overcoming them together and challenging each other to grow and be better.
It’s about always bringing out the best in each other and embracing the weirdness and idiosyncrasies that exist in us.
It’s friendship, romance, patience, unwavering support and partnership. It’s endless love.
Aisle: Wild Love by James Bay and Your Song by Elton John (Harriett Allcroft did INCREDIBLE acoustic versions of both)
Reception entry: Dancing in the moonlight (Adam’s favourite)
First dance: Come and get your love by Redbone (inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy)
Funny stories (or near disasters).
Accidentally ordering 150 baby rattles, not maracas, was definitely one of those moments. When people saw them on the night, they thought it was a gender reveal and that I was pregnant! My mother-in-law also had a lot of fun spreading that rumour amongst family.
Probably just how early things book out! My goodness people are organised.
Words of wisdom.
Don’t get swept up in recreating someone else’s wedding. Let the day reflect you both, that’s the most important thing!
Enjoy every moment as it will absolutely fly by!
An urban soiree such as Siu-Mei and Adam’s is sure to get hearts racing. For another incredible city-inspired celebration, check out Kate and Ryan’s big day.
SIU-MEI & ADAM’S TRIBE
Ceremony and reception location: Panama Dining Room
Celebrant/Officiant: Woody Whitelaw
Photography: Elsa Campbell – Easily one of the best in the business, if not THE BEST! For two people who are incredibly awkward behind the lens, she made us feel completely at ease. We loved every second. I honestly cannot praise her enough and am totally in awe of her talent. She was such a pro and was so fun to have there on the day. She captured the emotions and the spirit of the day so perfectly. I want to print all 800 photos she sent us out because they are honestly all incredible and take me right back there. Not only is she incredibly talented, she is just the kindest and warmest soul. Elsa was everything we could have hoped for and more. She absolutely made our day – we love her!
Videography: Ryan Lee Films – He captured the day, the vibe, our guests and us SO perfectly. He really is so talented. Watching his video, even for the 2000th time, still gives me chills. You’re a genius Ryan!
Florist: Pomp and Splendour – Creative geniuses. So professional, so thorough and so good at what they do. They created an absolute wonderland and I loved working with them so much.
Hair and make-up: Carla Dyson – Simply the best! Wish I could go through life with Carla getting me ready for everything. We all felt so comfortable and happy on the day – she nailed the brief! She is also an absolute delight to spend time with.
The Dress: Fiona Claire – Another amazing, young, local, female businesswoman. The whole experience of dealing with Fiona was SO enjoyable. She was so relaxed and not at all pushy. She genuinely just wanted me to find something I felt comfortable in and was so proud of her designs, which she should be. Her designs are beautifully understated, simple and modern. Exactly what I wanted.
Rings: Miško Jewellery – Ele is one of those people you meet in life and just think wow, I wish I was as creative, clever and cool as she is! I fell in love with her designs, which felt so refreshingly different and modern. It took me so long to find a ring that felt like me and not a carbon copy of everyone else and boy am I glad I waited until I found her. I was also so glad to be able to support a young, amazing, female businesswoman doing her thing and killing it. And Paulette à Bicyclette.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Own dresses
Menswear: Angela Nicolades – Couldn’t recommend her more – we’ve been going there for years! Her attention to detail and quality are second to none. Proof is in the pudding – look how handsome all the boys looked!)
Catering and bar: Panama Dining Room (one of the best venues in Melbourne and so amazing on the night!)
Stationery / Signage: Papier and DIY
Entertainment: Harriett Allcroft – Voice of an angel. Absolutely made the night! Her versions of the songs were honestly better than the originals. I could listen to her all day. Also, Rutherford Entertainment.
Honeymoon: The Atlantic
Other: Table Art linen