Real Wedding – Stevie & Paolo, Fitzroy VIC
Stevie and Paolo’s intimate celebrations are big on personality, edgy contemporary style and a sweeping dose of effortless romance. Foregrounded by their inner-city surrounds, this day is the ultimate epitome of how epic a wedding can be when the couple do it their way.
With a nod to the special landmarks in their life and choosing predominantly local vendors and designers, the result was simply stunning. Whimsically dynamic floral arrangements by Xflos appear as part of the landscape of their ceremony surrounds, emphasising the couple in a maelstrom of soft blush, apple green and tendrils of spun vanilla.
Paolo simply beams as his glam goddess of a bride steps toward him, dressed in a chic Rachael Gilbert fit, accessories to perfection. There to lead the couple and their guests into their party with the perfect balance of light-hearted warmth and upbeat feels is our friend Precious Celebrations.
As the party kicked on, the vibes escalated in the best possible way, captured to personality-filled perfection by lens man Jackson Grant. Embedded with personality and panache, every frame is a visual treat. Scroll on to see it all.
Paolo: We met on the 6th of October 2018 at a nightclub, even though that is the last place that you would see Stevie or me hanging out! Stevie and I actually talk nowadays about how we always hated going out when we were teenagers and uni students – we’re just not the type! But Stevie was a bridesmaid and was out on a hen’s night. I had a couple of mates visit from New Zealand who are into that scene, so my friend James and I decided to take them out clubbing – that’s how Stevie and I ended up being in the right place at the right time!
Stevie arrived at the club quite late that night (I’m guessing past midnight), and I remember the moment I saw Stevie amongst the crowd from across the room – she was just the most stunning thing I’ve ever seen! I’m a pretty shy guy, but in that moment, all I wanted to do was talk to Stevie and get to know her. Stevie and her friends sat down in a booth for a few minutes, so I decided to wait for the right opportunity. I remember my mates wanting to move on; in fact, some of them were already outside. But I remember one of my mates stuck around inside with me, and I remember telling him, “Bro, just wait; I wanna talk to her!” Eventually, Stevie and her friends decided to hit the dance floor, so I walked up to Stevie and sparked up a conversation. When Stevie and I talk about it now, in hindsight, I always cringe! A Michael Jackson song was playing, and for some reason, I thought the coolest thing to say was to ask her, “So, do you like Michael Jackson?”. Stevie’s reply was, “Doesn’t everybody?” I think she rolled her eyes when she said it, too!
After a few more cringeworthy one-liners from me, I eventually asked for her number and got her to enter it into my phone. I teased that she had given me a fake number and even tried to ring it, but because we were underground, there was no service. Despite me being on a roll with my cringe-worthiness that night, according to Stevie, I stood out to her because, apparently, I came across as someone who genuinely wanted to get to know her, not just trying to get in her pants like other guys had that night! She distinctly remembers when I offered to get her and her friend’s water instead of alcoholic drinks. Turns out I was doing some things right!
Paolo: The second I first laid eyes on her. This sounds very cliche, but the moment I saw Stevie, I was in love. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to get to know her – marrying her even crossed my mind the night we met!
Stevie: I think the first date, we had so many things in common and could tell we had very similar values. The more time we spent together, the more that connection grew.
Paolo: I proposed to Stevie the weekend before Easter. I told Stevie that I had organised an Air BnB in Daylesford for us for the long weekend. Thinking that I might pop the question in Daylesford, Stevie got her nails done and everything. Which was lucky because, in hindsight, Stevie says that I would’ve been in trouble if I proposed and got pictures of her hand with nails unpainted!
Aston, one of the members at the gym I worked at (whom Stevie had never met), is an avid photographer, so I asked him if he could take photos of the proposal. Leading up to the big day, Aston and I scoped out the location and devised a plan. I planned to do it outside Morning Market on Gertrude Street, a cafe that Stevie and I frequented during lockdown. On the day, I invited Stevie to go on a walk around Carlton Gardens with me and to swing by Morning Market on the way to get a coffee. Hardly one to say no to coffee, she was happy to oblige. It’s a 15-minute walk to the cafe, and I was trying very hard not to let her see the ring – the box made a very big bulge in my pocket! Stevie suggested that we bring our keep cups, but because I wanted to write “Will you marry me?” on top of the takeaway cup, I said, “Nah, we’ll just grab a table there”, which Stevie thought was odd because we had never done that before at that cafe.
We arrived at the cafe, where Aston and his girlfriend had already taken prime positions at one of the outdoor tables. I told Stevie to wait for me outside while I ducked in and ordered our coffees. Stevie then said, “It’s ok, once we get a table, they come to us to take our order”, to which I said I changed my mind about dining in and would prefer takeaway – Stevie again found this very odd! At the counter, I gave the lady instructions to write “Will you marry me?” on top of the cup and explained what I was about to do – she was very excited!
I joined Stevie outside (I was very nervous), and after a few minutes, the staff member (who brought out the coffees on a tray) dropped one and spilled coffee on the pavement. I remember thinking, “Oh God, I hope that wasn’t Stevie’s cup!” But thankfully, it wasn’t, and eventually, Stevie’s cup came out. I grabbed the cup and handed it to Stevie. As soon as she saw the writing, she gasped and let out a “Nooo!” and I got down on one knee. Aston was onto it and was already walking around us, snapping photo after photo.
I got the all-important “Yes”, and we received a nice round of applause from the small crowd at the cafe. Afterwards, we had a little photo shoot with Aston at Carlton Gardens.
Stevie: Once we had found our ceremony and reception locations, finding suppliers was actually quite easy. Instagram and Ivory Tribe Real Weddings were really helpful. I found Precious, our celebrant, and Jackson Grant, our photographer, from researching on Instagram. When we met with Precious, we knew she was perfect for the style of wedding we were going for, and she really listened to what we wanted. When I came across Jackson’s work, I loved how much personality his photos had. We didn’t want posy and staged photos, and I could tell he captured real moments and emotions in his photos with loads of humour. When we met with Jackson and he said, “I have the energy of a Drag Queen”, I knew he was perfect for the job!
Stevie: To describe it in a few words – simple, meaningful, casual, fun, modern. We wanted a wedding that was small, intimate and a true reflection of us! We kept the guest list small and chose venues and suppliers that were mostly local. We kept it not too formal and skipped on some of the traditions, like a wedding party, wedding cake, stationery and wedding favours.
Paolo: The style was interesting without being over the top. We wanted the style to be timeless rather than trendy.
Stevie: Fitzroy Gardens was the place of choice. We chose not to have a wedding party, so it was a relaxed and small ceremony that was focused on sharing our vows in front of all the close and special people in our lives.
Paolo: The Plane Tree Walk, where we had the ceremony, provided the perfect backdrop and surroundings for the ceremony. We also had perfectly sunny weather, which was the cherry on top!
Stevie: I have never been a girl who dreamed of having a wedding, so my outfit was non-traditional. I chose a mid-calf length Rachel Gilbert dress that was quite modern – it was the first and only dress I tried on. I wore the most amazing iridescent Ryan Storer earrings and Scanlan Theodore shoes that were so comfortable and could be worn all day and night! I think finding shoes was harder than finding the dress! Everything I wore was from Australian designers and brands.
Paolo: I really wanted a type of jacket that had a slim lapel. After checking out a few places, I finally found the perfect one from Peter Jackson. It was the perfect fit for my body shape and needed only minor alterations. Finding the accessories from Calibre, Peter Jackson, and Florsheim was quite easy after finding the suit.
Stevie: Saying ”I do”, of course, but also the amazing reception and dinner we had at Poodle. The whole night was so much fun!
Paolo: Saying “I do” and seeing Stevie arrive at the ceremony, walking down the aisle.
Meaning of marriage.
Stevie: Marriage is about having someone in your corner, supporting you unconditionally. It should make you feel safe and happy.
Paolo: In my opinion, people focus too much on feelings and emotions when they talk about marriage. While that’s all part of it, yes, I think if one relies fully on emotion, there’s a danger that love will come and go just as emotions come and go. For me, marriage is a choice and a commitment to share your life with someone regardless of the circumstances or emotions involved.
Aisle: Everywhere by Bailley Rushlow
Reception entry: Coming in Hot by Andy Mineo
First dance: Love Never Felt So Good by Michael Jackson (of course!)
Funny stories or near disasters.
Stevie: Aside from taking the risk of having an outdoor ceremony without a backup plan if it rained! Since it was a windy day, our floral instalment kept falling over throughout the ceremony. Although it meant the ceremony didn’t run perfectly, it did provide a funny story, and if something had to go wrong, I would take that over rain!
I don’t think anything came as a huge surprise to me. I think I was a little surprised at how quickly things add up – even with a small wedding. There are always a few added expenses you don’t originally account for!
Words of wisdom.
Stevie: Work out what aspects are most important to you both and spend on those things. Don’t feel pressured to do or include certain things just because everyone else does. That way, you will end up with a day that is truly perfect for you both!
Paolo: The venue, celebrant and photographer are by far the most important components. If you get those right, everything else will fall into place.
There’s no doubt that Stevie and Paolo made some savvy choices when it came to choosing their dream day team. To follow their lead, check out the ultimate in vendor expertise, personality and style via our directory. But get in quick, these fabulous humans get snapped up fast!
STEVIE AND PAOLO’S VENDORS
Ceremony location: Plane Tree Walk, Fitzroy Gardens
Reception venue: Poodle Bar & Bistro. The most incredible interiors and food. Some of our guests said it was one of the best meals they have ever had!
Celebrant: Precious Celebrations. Precious knew how to create a ceremony that was exactly what we wanted. She also set the tone really nicely. She was super organised and made us feel calm on the day, knowing she was in control.
Photography: Jackson Grant Weddings. I think the most common question we were asked on the day was, “Where did you find your photographer?” We loved everything about Jackson, and so did our guests. From his personality to his skills and to his tomato-printed two-piece outfit (that he wore on the day). Jackson is more about quality over quantity, and he certainly has an eye for getting that perfect shot.
Hair: Boda Richmond
Make-up: Shelby Rose Make-up Artistry
The dress: Rachel Gilbert
Veil: Lola Varma
Rings: Cushla Whiting. This was Poalo’s choice for our rings since he had bought my Engagement Ring from them. They are a New Zealand company, and since Paolo is from New Zealand, it was the perfect choice. It was obvious they are experts in diamonds. We felt like every time we had appointments with them, they listened to what we wanted and were not trying to sell or pressure us into a choice.
Suits: Peter Jackson
Bow tie: Calibre
Catering & bar: Poodle Bar & Bistro
Entertainment: DJ DVMT
Hire: Weddings of Distinction (chairs for the ceremony)