Real Wedding – Tom & Jemmah, Port Fairy VIC
Jemmah and Tom’s wedding day celebration showcases the talent and vision of the vendors in their home region of Port Fairy. The result is a stylish soiree with a nod to their beautifully laid-back location.
Choosing to host their reception at a venue special to them, the Oak and Anchor Hotel, added a timeless touch, while a stunning open-air chapel built by the groom gave the ceremony a uniquely exquisite vibe.
Elevating the vision to timeless elegance were florals by Miss Flower JoJo, creating cloud-like arrangements in layers of soft vanilla with the slightest hint of creamy blush. Accents of noir in the decor and linen bring the overall effect into the now with chic style.
Jemmah chose a sleeved KWH Bridal gown with a perfectly on-point silhouette for the ceremony before switching to a sleek sheath, perfect to party the day away. Tom channelled his inner Bond in a classic black suit, silk lapels adding a modern touch.
There to capture every fun-filled moment was our friend, lens legend Kinship by Kristy. Scroll on to see this stunning summer celebration unfold.
We met at the local football and netball club in the town of Port Fairy. In 2014, Tom was the new recruit / new to the club after Jemmah had played her whole life at the club. We started dating officially in 2015 after a cheeky kiss on the dance floor at a friend’s 18th birthday not long after we first met.
Jemmah: I don’t think there was just one particular moment; instead, the more we got to know each other and spent time with one another, I knew I couldn’t picture my life without him. I was completely smitten more and more every day and continue to be.
Tom: the first time I met Jemmah, I knew she was something special. She was different to anyone else, and I knew what we had was something like nothing else I had experienced before.
Tom had asked Jemmah’s dad for permission in secret that week. Tom hadn’t told anyone about his plans or sought any advice on a ring. He popped the question on Jemmah’s birthday at our recently purchased block of land, where we have now just built our first home (after selling our first property).
Jemmah: I am the weddings/events/accommodation manager at The Oak & Anchor Hotel, where we held our reception. Ally, our dear friend and maid of honour, is co-owner of the hotel. I had already seen and managed a number of weddings there and had a clear vision of where to start planning our big day, given my background and having played a part in the planning process for many of our amazing O&A couples.
After we sat down together and spoke about our day, we worked out our non-negotiable’s such as photographer, videographer, musician and the style we were going for quite quickly. Everything slowly came together over the course of the next 12 + months with our amazing vendors, family and friends.
Classic, timeless and elegant was the theme for our wedding. Everything was put together with the consideration that we could look back on our day in five, ten, twenty or thirty years and still love what we created.
We held 100% trust and faith in our vendors to put their own flare on things and provided only a few inspiration images/styles to each of them. We booked our vendors based on their experience and quality of work – they are professionals, so we wanted to allow them to do what they are amazing at!
We also really wanted to support our small local community, so we used mostly all small local vendors. Being locals of a small coastal town, we know how important it is to support and showcase our amazing local businesses.
For inspiration, we looked at real weddings both at work and through social media like Pinterest, Instagram and specific wedding pages like Ivory Tribe for real feedback / real weddings. Also, we found wedding groups on social pages like Facebook were really useful for some advice and tips.
Our ceremony was held in the garden of neighbours from Jemmah’s childhood home. Tom and his brothers created an open-air chapel which was the centre-piece of our ceremony. This statement piece really brought our ceremony to a whole new level with the look and feel!
Jemmah drove in with her dad in his restored and beloved valiant ute while the wedding party were transported in a Kombi of a similar colour and style.
Dylan, Jemmah’s brother, played music live at the ceremony, which was an incredible touch.
Following the formalities, we were able to enjoy ice-cold beers and gin and tonics in the gardens prior to our cocktail hour commencing at The Oak & Anchor that evening. We had photographs on-site in the same space as our ceremony, meaning we didn’t lose time in our day travelling from location to location.
True to our theme, we wanted something classy and elegant – our bridesmaids were dressed in something that would make them feel comfortable all day long, timeless in black with local hand-made earrings from Luone Jewellery, gifted as a keepsake.
Jemmah wanted to support locals with her dress and was guided by Kayla at Ivory Bride in Warrnambool to purchase a statement hens dress and earrings, a ceremony gown, a reception gown and earrings hand-made from Luone Jewellery.
Tom and his brothers were all dressed in classy black suits with silk lapels. Tom also had DeJa Marc cufflinks made with both his parents and two surviving grandparents’ fingerprints imprinted. One grandparent was unable to attend, so it meant she was there with him even though she was unable to attend.
Jemmah: it was hard to pinpoint one moment; honestly, I was just trying to savour and soak up every second of the day as it was all simply incredible. There is never another moment where you get to have all your favourite people together in the one room to eat, drink and dance the night away.
Tom: once all the formalities were done and dusted and I was able to take off the bow tie and jacket and just enjoy the company of all our friends and family over a beer and have a dance.
Meaning of marriage.
Jemmah: marriage to me is a commitment, an honour and a privilege. It, to me, symbolises the commitment and love that I have for Tom.
Tom: marriage is about the connection and commitment of two people, committing to each other for the rest of their lives and taking the next step together.
Aisle: Latch by Sam Smith (Disclosure acoustic cover)
Recessional: Home by Edward Sharpe
Reception entry (wedding party): Mash up of Lose Yourself by Eminem, Let’s Get Loud by J-Lo, Just Feels Tight by Fisher, Rock This Party by Bob Sinclair
Reception entry (Tom & Jem): ACDC Mashup of Thunderstruck, Highway to Hell, Shook Me All Night Long
Private first dance: Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
Father/daughter and mother/son dance: Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
Funny stories or near disasters.
The most memorable for us and the vast majority of our guests was Jemmah’s Mum’s wedding speech – we best not go into too much detail, but it was far from PG and certainly had everyone in hysterics.
Not for us, given Jemmah’s background in weddings, but we recommend forward planning and paying for things as you go – keeping track of everything in a spreadsheet and saving every little bit of inspiration into a folder. Also, hunt around for the best value for money on some items where you can, but find a way to make the really important things for the two of you work – the non-negotiable’s you decided in pre-planning, whether that is a vendor, style, dress or similar. It is a really special day in your life, and you don’t want to walk away wishing you had done something differently.
Words of wisdom.
Cherish every moment; in the lead-up while planning, on the day, the whole weekend and having all your family and friends together in one space to celebrate the love of you two as a couple. Be fully engaged in the whole process. The day is about the two of you, no one else, so really be present in every moment together.
There can be real magic in a marquee wedding, as Tom and Jemmah’s dream day shows. However, knowing where to start when considering this epic element can be overwhelming. So, we’ve put together the top tips to planning a marquee wedding, here on the blog. Read on, and unleash your creativity!
TOM & JEMMAH’S VENDORS
All vendors were sourced largely from our small local community of talented makers and creators, either from someone who was a family friend, someone Jemmah had worked with or someone we had seen working with a friend.
Ceremony location: Private Property
Reception venue: The Oak & Anchor Hotel, Port Fairy. The Oak & Anchor Hotel is a venue like no other in South West Victoria. Of course, this gem was an easy choice, with Tom and Jemmah’s dear friends Ally (maid of honour) and Blair and Sally Robertson (Jemmah’s relatives) being the owners and creators of this magnificent space and Jemmah’s employers. The small family business has accommodation on-site, which meant both Tom and Jemmah could be together the evening before their big day with their wedding party, have the morning with their wedding parties privately in the on-site accommodation, and have a day-after celebration all in one location. The venue is heritage listed and has been lovingly restored by Blair into a real gem in the centre of Port Fairy with on-site catering (with food that is to-die-for), wedding coordination, styling, set-up and pack-down all-inclusive in their wedding packages. The team that brought our day to life, given Ally, Jemmah (bride), Blair and Sally were all a part of the wedding (who would normally run weddings), shows how incredible the team are at The Oak & Anchor Hotel.
Celebrant: Archibald The Celebrant – Archibald Pommelhorse. Archie was someone who stumbled into our big day quite last minute under extremely sad circumstances after the passing of our dear family friend Jen Buchanan who was to be our celebrant. Archie, a friend of one of Jen’s daughters, threw himself all into wanting to create a really special ceremony for us that was both true to our character and relationship whilst also paying respect to the work Jen had done for us and the role she played in our day. Archie took off his celebrant hat later into the evening and got out his saxophone during cocktail hour and into our reception dancefloor! To have a live saxophonist at our reception was something incredibly special!
Photography: Kinship By Kristy – Kristy Visscher. From the very first moment we saw Kristy’s photographs of a friend’s wedding, we knew that as soon as we were engaged, we just had to have her! Kristy and her family made the trek to Port Fairy for an engagement shoot in September 2022, and we instantly fell in love with her – she made us feel comfortable and ourselves in front of the camera, a space so foreign to us. On the day, every vendor and guest who had the pleasure of speaking with Kristy and her team, even if briefly, instantly loved her, and it became evident to them just why we had picked her to be a part of our special day. This is even more evident now to guests and vendors after having seen our incredible portfolio of photographs. Kirsty captured our day, our personalities and the style and vision of everything oh so perfectly, and we cannot wait to bring Kirsty into the next chapter of our lives sometime in the future. She will forever be someone incredibly special to us!
Videography: James Kol Creative – James Kol. James is a local vendor that is no stranger to weddings at The Oak & Anchor Hotel! Having gone to high school with Jemmah, James was an obvious choice for our big day, and we were so thankful he jumped on board. James is incredible at what he does, and we knew that he would be able to capture our day the way we wanted to remember it. We know videography is one of those things some couples find they can go without, but we 100% would recommend to anyone to invest in an incredible videographer like James to capture your big day! Your photographs and video are some of the only things you get to relive your special day and are worth absolutely every cent.
Styling: A | J Styling at The Oak & Anchor Hotel – as above.
Florist: Miss Flower JoJo – Jo O’Keeffe. Jo is a jack-of-all-trades, from floristry to photography to cooking and more! Jo is a Port Fairy local with an eye for creativity. Jemmah and Jo met on a few occasions where Jo was given a budget, a few inspiration photographs and told to run with what she thought was best, and wow, did she deliver! Jo went above and beyond to create something special, memorable and stunning to really elevate the look and feel of our day, and we could not be more thankful.
Hair: Salt Hair Port Fairy – Vicki, Tenae & Brie. Vicki and her team at Salt Hair went above and beyond to ensure that not only were they achieving the vision of our style, but they ensured that each person felt 100% comfortable in how they were going to look and feel for the entire day. I couldn’t be more thankful for the attention to detail, flexibility and understanding of Vicki and her team. These ladies were incredible!
Make-up: Lashes & Looks – Hannah Richardson. Hannah went above and beyond to ensure everyone felt 100% comfortable and looked absolutely flawless, like natural beauties. Offering airbrush make-up meant that despite the almost 40-degree day, mothers of the bride and groom, bridesmaids and bride all felt incredible with make-up that not only withstood the night and weather but I (Jemmah) had it last until even our Sunday recovery following a Friday wedding. Simply incredible.
The dresses & veil: Ivory Bride Warrnambool. Ceremony dress – KWH Bridal. Reception dress – Oui The Label. Bridal gown gifted by Ivory Bride from Etsy Style – to get ready in. Kayla at Ivory Bride is honestly a gem! From the booking experience to the first appointment, Kayla instantly made me feel so comfortable. She provided 100% honest feedback and made sure I tried multiple options and styles to ensure I found the one that both made me look and feel amazing. I had three appointments with Kayla (un-intentionally) where I purchased my reception dress, hen’s dress (she tirelessly hunted down a sample for me to try), followed by my absolutely stunning ceremony gown. At every appointment, I felt heard and understood and left feeling amazing. I couldn’t fault Kayla – her service, her store and her range were incredible and above anything else I had seen or felt. You can tell so much love and passion has been poured into her small business.
Shoes: Bared Footwear
Rings: Leske’s Jewellers Port Fairy. Leskes in Port Fairy, run by Sandra and her amazing team, made Tom’s experience in purchasing an engagement ring (which could have been a really stressful and nerve-wracking experience) an easy and seamless one. They were really flexible in ensuring that together we found what we wanted for an engagement ring, so much so that they were an obvious choice for our wedding bands. Jemmah’s band was custom-made and designed by their incredible team with amazing service throughout the whole experience and beyond to ensure we are happy with and continually maintaining our jewels.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: By Johnny
Earrings: Luone Jewellery (bridal earrings and bridesmaids earrings). These hand-crafted jewels are something incredibly tasteful, timeless and of such high quality. We cannot be more thankful for Lu and her jewels that we were able to wear for such a special day and now keep forever.
Suits & bow ties/ ties: Mens Suit Warehouse
Catering & bar: The Oak & Anchor Hotel
Cake: The Sweet Baker Mel – Mel McDonald. Mel’s creation for our wedding day was honestly nothing short of incredible! We could not be more thankful for Mel and the amazing cake that she created for us – she was shown some inspiration images and asked to run with what she thought, and wow, did she deliver! From someone in the industry, there are not many times you can say the cake tasted as amazing as it looked!
Stationery / Signage: Stationery – Azeus Print & Design. Signage – J Billington Signs & Designs.
Sue from Azeus went out of her comfort zone to create incredible save-the-dates and on-the-day stationery completely out of the norm to her usual day-to-day orders. In addition, Jordy, who is new to the industry, was incredibly passionate about creating something amazing for our special day. Jordy drew by hand our invitation image of our reception venue, drew by hand some of our on-the-day signage and individually addressed our guests with the same amazing handwriting on their save the dates, invitations and place cards. What a talent!
Transport: Hire a Kombi and Harriett and Jemmah’s Dad’s Valiant Ute
Hire: Grand Events Warrnambool. The Team at Grand Events in Warrnambool went above and beyond to ensure delivery, set-up and pack-down were all done in a timely manner. With a large range of hire items from napery to furniture, marquee and lighting, Jess, Dan and their team were communicative and efficient in providing many of the items needed to bring our vision to life, and we could not be more thankful.
Honeymoon: Wedding season has been too busy for The O&A, so no honeymoon yet!