Real Wedding – Zoe & Will, Fitzroy VIC
Real Wedding – Zoe & Will, Fitzroy VIC
Real Wedding – Zoe & Will, Fitzroy VIC
Real Wedding – Zoe & Will, Fitzroy VIC

Real Wedding – Zoe & Will, Fitzroy VIC


We’ve fallen head over heels for Zoe and Will’s approach to their special day. Planning from their US home, they pulled together an incredible celebration that perfectly encapsulated them as a couple – relaxed elegance, filled to the brim with meaning and their most important people.

Marrying at Zoe’s parent’s home, before moving on to Fitzroy’s Cutler and Co for the evening celebrations, every element encompassed their favourite things and celebrated their love story – from a close friend conducting the ceremony and sharing powerful personalised vows that will remain in their hearts and minds for years to come.

Zoe shone bright in a chic strapless Prea James gown from our friends at Bluebell Bridal, and with her talented cousin charged with floral design in a timeless white and green colour palette – the overall result was timeless and sophisticated and captured exceptionally by the talent of Kyra Boyer.

Casting their minds back to the day, they couldn’t be more pleased with their untraditional approach to a wedding – it felt authentic, special and filled with love, and what more could you ask for?



The meeting.

We met at University. We were both completing our Masters of Business and were placed in the same project group. We instantly had a connection, but we were friends for the first year before we eventually got together.


The one.

Zoe: I knew almost instantly – even before we got together! I could just tell that, although we are very different in many ways (he’s messy, incredibly witty, mathematically a genius, loves sport, and I’m organised, creative, love art, a real people person), we are very aligned in the things that matter. We are both incredibly ambitious, we want the same things out of life, we get excited about the same kinds of adventures and projects, and we’ve got the same sense of humor – crucial! We learned a lot of this before we even started dating, while we were building our friendship during our Masters. So, once we got together it was very clear that this was a forever thing. At least in my mind!


The proposal.

Zoe: We’ve been living in San Francisco for the past few years and have come to love Tahoe. We call it our happy place! We planned to be there for a couple of weeks over summer with our new puppy – Molly – and some friends joining us towards the end of the trip in 2021. Will planned for us to go on an early morning picnic before we started work (we’re early risers!). I woke up at 5am to the sound of the blender going off and acai everywhere. Will was a nervous wreck. We walked out to the end of pier on the lake and almost immediately he got down on one knee and said some beautiful words. It was such an amazing morning; we had the whole lake and pier to ourselves – no one was around. We then drove home and called our families. It was a really happy time.


Planning process.

Zoe: Because we live in the US, we tried to make our wedding as easy as possible. But that doesn’t really go hand in hand with hosting the ceremony at your own place (as opposed to a venue). Luckily, we had amazing support from our parents back in Australia. They did so much of the work – visiting the restaurant for our dinner venue, researching which chairs to hire, working with my cousin who is a florist to do the flowers (thank you Alex! She did an amazing, incredible, one-woman job!), baking the wedding cake, hiring catering staff, etc. There is so much that goes into a wedding and each thing has to tie in with one another. So, it really requires someone to be at the centre of it all. And for us our family played that role on our behalf. We were very lucky!


Style inspiration.

Zoe: We are pretty casual people, but I, in particular, like things to look a certain way – elegant, but low key. It was also very important to us to have a wedding that meant something to us – the location, the celebrant, the guests, etc. So having the wedding in my parent’s back yard was exactly the vibe we were looking for, going to Fitzroy for dinner (where we first lived together) also just made the day feel like ‘us’. Our old housemate and good friend of both of ours was our faux celebrant (we actually got married at a town hall wedding a week earlier to sign the paperwork) and that was so special because she shared stories about the two of us that many of our guests wouldn’t have known. So, I guess the overall feeling of the wedding that we wanted was to just reflect who we are as a couple.

When it came to floral arrangements, I don’t know too much about this space, but I know what I like the look of. My cousin, Alex Atkins, is an incredible florist, event planner, stylist, just all-round creative person. She has been working in the industry for a while, but very generously offered her services to us for our wedding day. Even if she wasn’t my cousin, I’d have trusted her with every single decision. I could go on a rant about what I wanted explaining a completely abstract visual concept, and she understood it completely and came back with a way to execute it. She was genuinely amazing, and the flowers were one of my favourite parts of the whole day. She even was able to cleverly re-use flowers from the ceremony in Camberwell for the dinner in Fitzroy. Not only did it look beautiful, but she found ways to cut costs.


The ceremony.

Will: I think our ceremony was special because it was casual, intimate and reflected our life – it was in Zoe’s family backyard so it almost felt like a regular weekend get-together. When guests arrived, they hung out on the nature strip out the front of the house greeting each other and having a beer, then they all walked through the house that many of them had been to before and gathered in the backyard. Sarah – both Zoe and my close friend – did the ceremony and was able to share real stories from her perspective of Zoe and I. My mum made the wedding cake. Zoe’s cousin did the flowers. My brother made the arch at the end of the aisle. It really felt like every aspect of the day was meaningful to us in some way.


The outfits.

Zoe: Wedding dress shopping is HARD. I really struggled to find the right one. I knew I wanted something super simple, that wouldn’t date. Surprisingly the simpler the dress, the harder it is to find. Also, I prefer the style of Australian wedding dress designers more than American. But because I live in the US, it’s hard to pick a dress without trying it on. So, I had to do a lot of planning for when I’d be in Australia 12 months out to be able to try on the Australian designs. I ended up choosing a beautiful Prea James dress from Bluebell Bridal in Melbourne and had it brought over to the US once it was ready for pick up and then did my tailoring in the US. One thing I didn’t realize is tailoring is 99% of the time required, even though you buy the dress according to your measurements. And so, it’s important to bake this into the costs – and it’s not cheap!


Favourite moment.

Will: I think saying our vows – ultimately that’s what you’re there for. It’s the reason you’re doing it. The wedding and everything was great, but the vows are the thing that means something. We have both of ours written down and stored away and I love that we can read them at any time for the rest of our lives and cast our minds back to that moment.


Meaning of marriage.

Will: Honestly, marriage hasn’t changed much for me in our relationship. We’ve been together for such a long time – I’d already pictured my life with Zoe for a while. It is weird saying ‘my wife’ now though! I think what it has changed is how we see ourselves through the eyes of those around us. Internally it’s the same, but when you hear other people say ‘you and your wife’ it’s a nice reminder that you’re now connected on another level.


Wedding soundtrack.

Will: We did a lot of 70s and 80s classic songs. Zoe walked down the aisle to Elvis, which has been a constant soundtrack in our relationship – always playing in the background while we cook dinner together. We let our DJ really take control of the dancefloor. By that time in the night, we didn’t want to make any more decisions and were happy for others to take over!


Planning surprises.

Will: How many opinions there are about how to do it. I think you really have to stay true to what you want, and your own vision and trust yourself that you should do it your way. Our wedding was not the most traditional, and when you do something new, it might be hard for others to wrap their heads around how it will work and will it look good. But we had a very clear idea of what we wanted, but more importantly, the vibe we wanted to be surrounded by on the day, and that was only going to happen by doing it our way.


Words of wisdom.

Zoe: Lean on others for help but stay true to your vision. Get a day of planner if you aren’t going to have a planner for the whole thing and/or are going to have a wedding at a non-venue (i.e. at your home). That was crucial for us. Mum found someone who was willing to come on the day and just make sure everything ran smoothly, so we didn’t have to ‘host’ and could enjoy the day ourselves.


Final words.

Will: Things will go wrong and not how you wanted them to, but they will be small things – not big things. So don’t stress about them.






Ceremony location: Zoe’s parent’s house (Camberwell)

Reception venue: Cutler & Co, Fitzroy

Celebrant/Officiant: Our best mate – Sarah!

Photography: Kyra Boyer

Styling: Zoe!

Florist: Alex Atkins

Hair: Sandy from Zanik

Make Up: Steph Ke from Tonic Agency

The Dress: Prea James – Emilia gown

Veil: Borrowed from a friend

Shoes: $14 shoes from a cheap online store!

Rings: Reeds Jewellery (US based), ask for Tricia Bartley or Genna Zimmer.

Catering: Millstone Patisserie

Cake / Cake topper: Will’s mum!

Entertainment: DJ Dan – Spinning Disc Entertainment

Honeymoon: Will’s beach house in Lorne


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