Real Wedding – Tenika & Sean, Brunswick East, VIC
The Wool Mill in Melbourne’s inner west provided the perfect backdrop for Tenika and Sean’s big day. Light-filled and crisp with a touch of industrial edge, which all popped against their scarlet red roses and autumnal floral arrangements. And it was everything they could’ve asked for.
It was relaxed yet full of so much love and joy with little nods to Tenika and Sean’s style and values. Everything from a first look, a very special and private moment shared just between the two of them and a memory they’ll cherish forever, all the way through to their full plant-based menu for their guests.
Every idea and decision was made that much easier due to their stellar team of wedding suppliers; Erica Evans relayed their love story with just the right amount of humour injected into their ceremony, Ali from Smith & Archer was the star behind the lense and the team at Nudo Events were so accomodating through little speed bumps like postponements.
An evening of happy vibes and a killer dance floor, truly topped it all off! Scroll on and enjoy.
We met sometime in 2013. Funnily enough, we both have differing opinions on the first time we met! For Sean, he remembers meeting me at a friend’s gig at the Penny Black in Brunswick but I think the first time I met Sean was at a friend’s house to celebrate a birthday. Either way, we met and continued meeting on nights out with our mutual friends. Group hangouts changed to more time one-on-one and voila, the rest is history!
For Tenika: Sean and I have a lot of overlapping passions – one of them is being on the Murray River with our friends and family wakeboarding and waterskiing. When I reflect on our time together, for me, there was a moment while we were at the river that provided me with a lot of clarity when it came to mine and Sean’s future together. Sean was taking me out for a wakeboard and I had a fairly significant fall which resulted in my splitting my head open. Cue a lot of blood and even more tears! Sean jumped out of the boat and swam towards me, he survival-stroked me back to the boat and grabbed his perfectly good t-shirt to stem the bleeding from my head. That t-shirt was never the same again and neither was I. There was something about how scared I was at that moment and how he sprung to action to make me feel safe again. It was so special. It’s a bizarre moment that I will truly cherish forever.
For Sean: I don’t know the exact time I decided I wanted to marry Tenika but I have known for years. Much to Tenika’s annoyance though, I am a planner and I needed to make sure we could do everything we wanted to do (e.g. buy a home) before we decided to get married. Tenika accepting this about me as just another one of my quirks and personality is just another reason why I love her.
It was the one week anniversary of moving into our own home (so about November 2020) in Brunswick East and Sean suggested we get dressed up, have some cocktails and order a Maha dinner pack through Providoor to celebrate. In between courses, I ran upstairs and heard Sean follow me. I thought for a second, ‘wow, this is a special night, I wonder if Sean is proposing’ but that thought quickly left my mind as I was sure there was no way he would be able to coordinate the ring purchase in the midst of a pandemic and I was sure my Dad wouldn’t have been able to keep the secret once Sean asked him. When I returned, Sean started telling me some lovely things about how he feels about me, our relationship and our future and then he proposed. Naturally, I was balling my eyes out and after saying yes I proceeded to thank Sean profusely. What followed was a whole lot of face-timing our friends and family and that was super special. In the end, I now know Sean is pretty savvy with online jewellery purchases and my Dad can keep a secret!
Sean was always keen on a short-ish engagement, so we were pretty much straight into planning the wedding from the moment we were engaged. I had been following The Wool Mill on social media for a while and after we bought our home in Brunswick East, it seemed only natural to check out a wedding venue in the same suburb! The Wool Mill was everything we were after (local/inner city, industrial, loads of natural light and character) and little did we know at the time it came with the best team to help you through all your planning.
After securing the venue, we locked in our wonderful vendors – our celebrant, caterer, florals, photographer and videographer. From here, there were a fair few (mostly virtually) planning meetings with the gorgeous team at Nudo. They were with us every step of the way and we were super grateful for their support, especially when we made the decision to postpone the wedding from October to December. Luckily enough, our major players were available for our postponed date and it meant our special people from interstate were able to attend the wedding.
Once we were closer to the date, we created a mega to-do list which we ticked off slowly but surely.
We were always keen on an industrial look for our wedding and once we secured The Wool Mill, our main goal was to hero the magnificent venue! It is a breath-taking blank canvas so you really can do whatever you like with it but for us, less was more. We chose to soften the industrial finish with florals of peach and toffee and include lush greenery. We also added a last minute pop of red to re-introduce some vibrance to the blooms.
We wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us and our relationship so we highlighted elements of what was important to us and brought that to life. We knew we wanted a personal, relaxed, paired-back and most of all, fun day! As we were in and out of lockdowns that year, our wedding would be one of the first times we would see all of our friends and family together so we knew the celebration called for great food/drink and some fabulous music (more overlapping passions for the both of us). We have both been plant-based for a fair few years now and while it might not have been considered conventional, we knew we wanted to serve our guests a plant-based meal on the day. We curated our own playlists to be played as our guests arrived pre-ceremony and during our cocktail hour. We also chose to have a vinyl DJ as we like to collect and listen to vinyl.
We gathered inspiration via real weddings! Seeing how couples chose their special details and how it came together was it for us. Weddings are so unique these days. You really can do anything and it’s great to get inspiration from others to help your own decision-making about your wedding day.
Our ceremony was exactly what we were after and we cannot thank our celebrant Erica enough! It drew on how our relationship started, the great memories and milestones we have experienced together over the years and the many things we have to look forward to in our future as husband and wife. It wasn’t overly formal or very long but it hit all the right spots for us. With just the right amount of humour too! Looking back, our decision to write our own vows is something that we both cherish. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes you just don’t stop to tell each other how much you love and appreciate one another. Writing our own vows gave us that opportunity.
Sean: I browsed online for some time and was keen on a peaked lapel and something a little bit different but still a suit that was classically cut. I considered a made to measure tailored suit but as a lot of the lead up to our wedding was in lockdown, this made the process difficult. When retail opened up again, Tenika and I browsed through numerous shops in the city and eventually stumbled across a dark green Calibre option which ticked all the right boxes.
Tenika: I picked three bridal boutiques to search for my wedding dress and found ‘the one’ in each of them (eeek)! After visiting the bridal boutiques, I stewed over the many pictures my bridesmaids took for me and eventually chose my Mariana Hardwick gown. Having a made to measure gown added something special for me and with so many of my friends and family also choosing Mariana Hardwick gowns over the years – it felt right.
Our ceremony! This was the ‘official’ part of the wedding and it was super special for both of us. It was so nice to hear Erica telling our love story in our words and having all of our special people look on and experience that moment with us.
Meaning of marriage.
Two people coming together to promise to support, challenge, inspire and love each other forever.
Aisle: Into my arms by Nick Cave
Signing song: It Rains Love by Lee Fields & The Expressions
Leaving ceremony: You Make My Dreams (Come True) by Daryl Hall & John Oates
Reception entry: Lovely Day by Bill Withers
First Dance: I Found You by Alabama Shakes
Funny stories or near disasters.
As we were down to the wire with lockdowns impacting our ability to visit retail stores, it was touch and go with getting Sean’s groomsmen their suits. We picked most of them up a week before the wedding and realised later that night we were missing one pair of pants for our friend Mitch. Of course there were no pants of that style in his size in the state and we went back and forth with the supplier trying to work out what our plan of attack was. Turns out it would be tailoring a 32 pant to a 29! The pants arrived a day before the wedding and I think we were all pretty grateful about that, especially Mitch!
On the day of our wedding, I walked outside, in my wedding dress with our photographer and videographer to a parking inspector issuing me a parking fine! I of course tried to negotiate but was unsuccessful.
We decided to BYO our own drinks for the wedding which was great as we got to choose the drink on offer but as we had never planned a large event like this before, the quantities were difficult to estimate. We were very grateful to lean on our suppliers to guide us here. What we didn’t account for was our friends and family being so keen to celebrate that they would start drinking pre-ceremony! Running out of booze would be a sure disaster in our eyes. Luckily, our bar staff were still able to call last drinks so our estimates were on point despite the pre-ceremony tipple.
Seating plan! We sat down to do this as a ‘fun thing’ and wow it was not.
Words of wisdom.
Work out what is important to you both and hero those things. Once you lock in your main players, most decisions don’t need to be finalised straight away (depending on your timeline). Take your time and ask for guidance from your vendors as this is their area of expertise! Relax and enjoy the process. Everyone around you will be so excited to share this day with you, remember the whole point of your wedding when you feel weighed down by planning.
Don’t fear the first look! It was one of the best decisions we made. Yes – it meant our run sheet was a bit different to those who don’t opt for a first look but it worked! Seeing each other for the first time, in our own private moment was everything for us. We can confirm that walking down the aisle and seeing each other after the first look is just as special because in that moment, you have all your friends and family looking on and experiencing it with you which adds another layer of special.
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TENIKA & SEAN’S VENDORS
Ceremony & Reception venue: The Wool Mill, Brunswick East
Celebrant: Erica Evans – We found Erica online and she is just the perfect mix of warm and welcoming. She brought our ceremony to life and we are so grateful!
Photography: Smith & Archer – We loved Ali from the get-go and her skill set extends much further than photography! She provided sound advice throughout our planning period, was super accommodating and helped us to feel so comfortable in the moment so our photos reflected this.
Videography: Artistic Films – Alper shot our best friend’s wedding and after seeing that, we knew he was the one for us! The footage we have seen so far sums up our day perfectly.
Styling: Linen – Table Threads
Florist: Anatomy of Flowers – The team at AOF were incredible! They worked with our idea, offered suggestions and brought our vision to life. We could not have been happier with how our florals turned out.
Hair: Maria Kaplanis – Maria was so brilliant and powered through the 5 x hairstyles for the day! She was professional, super efficient and made us all feel super comfortable on the day.
Make Up: Tonic Agency – When we postponed our wedding to December, I was back to the drawing board with make up. Tonic were so helpful and made the process of finding 2 x MUA for our wedding day so easy! We absolutely loved Steph and Kim.
The Dress & Veil: Mariana Hardwick
Shoes: Jo Mercer
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Shona Joy
Catering: Fresh Fork – We are both plant-based and have been for some time so having a plant-based meal on our wedding day was very important to us. Paul and his team at Fresh Fork were amazing. We didn’t try the food before but knew we were in safe hands as Paul catered our cousin’s wedding a few years earlier. Not many of our guests were plant-based (and some were shocked when they heard what our plan was for the meal) but everyone ended up raving about the food!
Bar: Boccaccio Cellars
Cake / Cake topper: Zephyr & Bloom – Jemima made us the most delicious plant-based lemon, passionfruit and blueberry wedding cake! It almost looked too delicious to eat but we know our guests were happy to taste it all the same! Everything was easy with Jemima – her communication, rescheduling of our wedding date, design elements! And she did it all while growing a baby – what a woman!
Stationery / Signage: Designed by a very special person to us!
Entertainment: DJ Rich
Honeymoon: Far North QLD