Real Weddings – Caitlin & Christian, Nagambie VIC
With a romantic history that stretches back to primary school, Caitlin and Christian’s celebrations were bound to be filled with electric emotion and epic levels of fun. Against the gorgeous backdrop of Mitchelton Winery, on a sun-drenched day, this wedding was every bit the chic, modern dream these two sweethearts hoped for.
Every darling detail reflects timeless style – from soft ivory clouds of florals with accents of muted blush and apple green to the wedding party in classic black and white. And of course, the couple; Christian cutting a dapper figure in black and Caitlin in her simply stunning gown by Khya. We can’t get enough of the modernised ball gown, and Caitlin wears it to perfection.
Superstar Katie Harmsworth was behind the lens to create a visual capture of the day that is sure to wow.
Part of the brief was that this night be, above all else, a cracking party – and in the hands of Nathan from Melbourne Entertainment Co, it was quite literally pants splitting (read on!)…
We first met in primary school and dated for a few months when we were 16. We remained friends and got back together again when we were 23.
Given our history, we both knew as soon as we got back together that this was it for us. After a few dates, things moved pretty quickly and it didn’t take long for us to become ‘official’.
We went to Vue de Monde for lunch which Christian had told me was a belated birthday surprise. After a beautiful lunch, I thought we were going to meet my sister and her boyfriend for a drink at Crown where they were staying for the night. As we walked into what I thought was their room, there were roses everywhere and a big sign that said ‘Marry Me’. I turned around and Christian was on one knee! It was amazing and to make it even better, he had organised for both our families to come in and celebrate and we all went to Rockpool for dinner.
We’ve always known we wanted to get married at a winery and with us both being part of quite big families, we knew we were limited with venues that could hold 150+ for a sit-down wedding. We always had our eye on the beautiful Mitchelton Winery and this was the first thing we booked (within a week of getting engaged!). The same day, we booked the incredible Nathan from Melbourne Entertainment Company and from there everything else kind of fell into place. We knew we didn’t have a whole lot of time to book our vendors so I created a spreadsheet with all the recommendations we had received and locked in meetings with whoever was available for our date. We had so many phone meetings with different vendors and found it pretty easy to lock in those we felt most comfortable with. All our vendors were amazing!
We really loved the idea of a destination wedding, without it being too far to our guests to travel. We also found Mitchelton to be the perfect venue as they have accommodation onsite which gave it a holiday vibe and meant we got a lot of our guests for a whole weekend. Mitchelton ticked all the boxes with great food and wine, having ceremony and reception at the same place, and having a backup plan in case of bad weather. The staff at Mitchelton were wonderful throughout the entire process!
We also really wanted it to be fun for our guests and for everyone to have a great time and music was an important aspect for us. Nathan being a DJ and sax player created the perfect party atmosphere.
In terms of styling, we wanted to keep it classic, modern and simple to complement the room. I found that I got inspiration via real wedding stories on wedding blogs. It was so helpful to hear experiences of real brides – hearing what other couples found was worth investing in and how to style certain elements of our ceremony and reception.
We absolutely loved our ceremony and our celebrant Sophie Cleary was one of our standout vendors, and one of the elements we received the most compliments on for the day. She made the ceremony very us; it was like she had known us forever and perfectly set the tone for the rest of the evening.
We had the most perfect day so our ceremony was able to go ahead as planned outside, overlooking the river. We wrote our own vows and asked one of our best friends to do a reading. She surprised us with an amazing poem written about the two of us which was so beautiful and such a nice surprise.
We also wanted to involve both our Mums in a special way so asked them to be our witnesses. We loved having them up there with us during that time.
For Christian, this was an easy process and he decided to go with a dark navy suit for him and his groomsman from Peter Jackson.
For me on the other hand, I found this the hardest part of the whole planning process. There are so many different dresses, styles and designers that I found it extremely hard to decide on what I wanted for the day. I went back to Kyha a number of times (the girls were extremely patient and helpful) and ended up deciding on a traditional ballgown style, that had a strapless bodice and an open split.
We ended up having a short dance choreographed for us which involved Christian, myself and my Dad so it became quite clear I would need to get changed if we were going to do this. I ended up changing into a Nookie dress with a big bow on the back.
The ceremony! Seeing each other at the end of the aisle and looking out and seeing all of our family and friends was the absolute best!
I also loved slowly getting ready during the day with my bridesmaids, Mum and Christian’s Mum – it was very relaxing and both Jess and Arielle (hair & make-up artist) made it such a fun environment. We also loved hearing the incredible speeches and dancing the night away!
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage to us means being a team and being each other’s biggest supporters. Always having respect for one another and laughing through life together.
Aisle: Can’t Help Falling in Love by Kina Grannis
Recessional: This will be (an everlasting love) by Natalie Cole
Bridal party reception entry: Let’s Get Loud by J Lo
Our reception entry: Together Again by Janet Jackson
First dance: Perfect by Ed Sheeran then into Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader
Funny stories or near disasters.
We were so lucky we had absolutely no disasters in the lead up or on the day (apart from the usual covid concerns). However, towards the end of the night Christian and I were dancing on shoulders and Christian’s pants fully split! I think everyone was too busy to realise and luckily it was at the end of the night.
Seating chart! Everyone warned us this would be the hardest thing to do. As both our families are very close, we didn’t think it would be an issue as we could seat them anywhere however this did take us so much time.
Words of wisdom.
It’s so easy to get caught up in all things wedding planning but listen to your venue, recommendations from friends who have been through it before, and trust your gut! Also trust your vendors – they are the experts.
And, make sure you have food in your room to come home to! We were so busy we didn’t really eat much so were starving by the time we got back to our room. We had an amazing cheese platter we came home to which we were so grateful for.
There is no doubt the ballgown is having its moment, and we can’t get enough. From full skirts, thigh-high splits and bold bodice details, we’ve collated some of our favourite modern princess looks here, on the blog.
CAITLIN & CHRISTIAN’S VENDORS
Ceremony & reception venue: Mitchelton Winery
Celebrant: Sophie Cleary
Photography: Katie Harmsworth
Videography: Annette & Dani Films
Florist: The Petal Project
Hair: Jess English from Alarah Studio
Make-up: Arielle Wray Beauty
Veil: Kyha Studio
Shoes: Harlo AU
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec & Bridge
Suits: Peter Jackson
Bow ties / ties: Peter Jackson
Catering & bar: Mitchelton Winery
Cake: One Sweet Baker
Stationery / Signage: Grace Falvo Design
Entertainment: Nathan from Melbourne Entertainment Co
Hire: welcome sign & seating chart stands: The Small Things Co
First dance choreographer: Jackie Scott