Real Wedding – Tessa & John, Dromana VIC
When Tessa and John began planning their sweet celebrations, choosing Tanglewood Estate, with its darlingly delightful chapel, warm rustic rooms and breathtaking surrounds, was a no brainer.
With such a beautiful backdrop, keeping true to their theme of relaxed romance was simple. Crisply classic black and white, with lashings of pampas, brushings of blush, and bouquets of cream upon cream.
The ever effervescent Kathryn, aka The Celebrandt, kicked off the celebrations with a laughter-filled, upbeat ceremony in her signature style, filled with sweet personal touches. The only thing that could have topped off this dream start to the day was when Tessa and John exited the chapel to be greeted by their darling dog, George.
Jessica Rose Photography captured it all; from a simply stunning portrait session against an epically expansive vista to the intimate moments in the bushland forest. This day is a vision of ease-filled, elegant style and sweet emotion – we recommend scrolling on to see it all!
John and I first met eight years ago through mutual friends. To cut a long story short, I was off to Europe for four months with four girlfriends, and he attended our going away party. If you ask him, he doesn’t remember me from that night! So, we then connected on Facebook and started chatting online. I went away; we kept chatting through messenger my whole Europe trip. I came back, we went on a date, and the rest is history!
There wasn’t a specific moment in time that we both knew. We both enjoy the same things in life and share the same values, so I just knew we had something special that I never wanted to let go of. We have been best friends for over eight years and have shared so much together; we just knew marrying each other was the next chapter in our love story.
Ah, poor John! So, we had planned a holiday to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in 2019. First, we went around Sri Lanka for ten days (I say poor John because he had to carry this ring around with him in his backpack for most of the trip), then we got to the Maldives, and on our second last night, he dropped to one knee. He had organised this incredible dinner on the beach with our own chef; it was truly amazing!
After we got engaged, we started looking at venues straight away. I have always dreamed of having my wedding at Tanglewood, so we immediately went there. We didn’t even go to any other venues; we fell in love straight away and booked it on the day. It was crazy, though, as back in 2019, their next available date wasn’t until April 2021. We were okay with having a long engagement and lucky we did, as we were in lockdown for almost all of 2020 in Victoria.
So up until June 2020, I was planning away and had locked in most of our suppliers. I was really organised with it all, so when Covid got really bad in Victoria last year, I stopped planning anything and just left it for six months because, in my mind, I was convinced it wouldn’t happen. Then December 2020 rolled around, and things started to improve dramatically, so I picked it all back up again. There were a few snap lockdowns, but we somehow came out unscathed.
The lead-up to the big day was the most fun part! I loved doing all the girly stuff like picking up the dress, getting a tan and getting our nails done; that is when you know the wedding is super close! We also had a BBQ the night before our wedding with our closest friends, which was lovely and probably a highlight for me. It kind of distracted me and took my mind away from falling into a ball of stress before the big day.
I wanted our wedding day to reflect what John and I are like as a couple; we don’t take life too seriously, love having a laugh, we are both very relaxed in our own way and always up for a good time. With that in mind, I drew inspiration from classic and traditional colours. That is how we landed with the black and white, which, to me, will always be timeless. Then I knew I wanted a touch of rustic as my love for pampas grass and dried flowers is real, which Tanglewood was the perfect landscape for.
I drew most of my inspiration from a mixture of real weddings, and my florist also helped.
Our celebrant made our ceremony so special! Seriously, having a celebrant you can trust and who truly understands you as a couple is key in setting the tone of the day. The one part of the day I was dreading was walking down that aisle, but it ended up being the BEST part of my day. I had discussed with our celebrant prior that I didn’t mind if guests cheered or clapped as I walked in; I really didn’t want the ceremony to be super serious – but, literally, the chapel erupted! Everyone was clapping and cheering as I walked in, and it just lightened the mood.
Then we had John’s epic fail in his vows which became a running joke for the day. He got to his last sentence, and it was, “today is the biggest day in our lives”, but what he said was “today is the biggest lie” – he still hasn’t lived that one down!
The dress was probably the easiest part for me in this entire process (besides booking Tanglewood Estate). My dress was made by the very talented Marquise Bridal. I started the dress hunting process in April 2020 and went to only two places. I had chosen a dress by May, but it was a different dress from the one I ended up going with! Marquise released more dresses later that year, and I decided to change, and I was so glad I did. The dress I wore was more edgy and modern, and how could you not fall in love with those sleeves – which were detachable!
I don’t think I stopped laughing or smiling the entire day! But, If I was to narrow it down, it would be the speeches, and in particular, my dad’s speech. It was just a really special moment, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. Another favourite moment was seeing our beautiful fluff-ball George and our first dance.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage to me means spending the rest of my life with my best friend.
Aisle: Can’t Help Falling in Love by Kina Grannis
Signing: Treat You Better by Rufus Du Sol
Recessional: Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root
Reception entry: One More Time by Daft Punk
First dance: The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
Funny stories or near disasters.
Ah yes, waking up the Friday morning before the wedding with a swollen eye – it thankfully went down.
Oh, and the wind and rain! How could I forget that it started down pouring an hour before the ceremony? All our poor guests arrived in the pouring rain, but whilst we were in the chapel, it cleared, and the sun came out – thank you, Melbourne.
Planning a wedding can be stressful. I will be honest, throughout the entire process, I had two meltdowns, and they were over the stupidest things. However, that is what is surprising to me – I thought I would have more! I think if you are organised, it is so much fun and you will enjoy it. I was surprised by how much I loved the planning process and all the spreadsheets.
Words of wisdom.
Just do you. Do exactly what you want to and in your way. It is your day; friends and family will give opinions but just go with your gut. Also, do not sweat the small stuff. No one will notice (but you) if your entire seating plan is backwards. And lastly, get yourself a great photographer and videographer – the day seriously goes in the blink of an eye!
Need five tips to help you escape pre-wedding stress? We’re here for you, with some hints and tricks. Head here.
TESS & JOHN’S VENDORS
I found most of my suppliers on Instagram, through wedding blogs and through word of mouth from friends. I loved all our suppliers; they were so amazing on the day and great to work with in the lead-up.
Ceremony & recption venue: Tanglewood Estate
Celebrant: The Celebrandt
Photography: Jessica Rose
Videography: True Story Wedding Films
Florist: Flowermuse Styling Co.
Hair: Kelly Heitzmann
Make-up: Sophie Knox
The dress & veil: Marquise Bridal
Shoes: Loeffler Randall
Rings: JGS Jewellers
Bridesmaid’s dresses: DISSH
Groom’s suit & bow tie: P Johnson
Groomsmen’s suits & bow ties: Black Tie Classic
Catering: Finesse Catering Group
Cake: A Mini Kitchen
Stationery / Signage: Ivory & Ink Stationery
Entertainment: Top Dog Entertainment
Décor: Linen – Simmons Linen Hire
First dance: The Next Step Co