This so should have been an Adam wedding. Firstly it’s photographed by Mister Phill who Adam practically hero worships and secondly Katie and Tom designed all of their gorgeous stationery themselves having been inspired by Adam’s DIY stamp stationery post…
But it isn’t Adam’s it’s mine. Mwah ha ha ha!…. (evil laugh)
Apart from the aforementioned awesome photography and the pretty paper there is also a particularly lovely bespoke gown, unique blooms and a Pippa Middleton inspired hair do.
All this and the day was planned in just three months… all the way from Melbourne Australia.
Yup that’s right folks, Katie and Tom planned this whole shebang for a hundred guests in just twelve weeks from the OTHER. SIDE. OF. THE. WORLD.
I think they deserve some kind of award.
Oh and apart from Jar Of Hearts (!) this is possibly the greatest guest book idea EVER.
It has been commented that we had a very heavily branded wedding. Not only did our colour scheme run throughout, but the typography on our invitations ran was echoed on the order of service, wedding menu, table plan, table names, gift table and card box etc etc.. Everything was custom designed by Tom and myself in Photoshop to achieve this look, but one of our best buys was a custom stamp from Stamps Direct – a supplier which I found on none other than Rock My Wedding! We used the stamp on the place cards and cake boxes for a quick but personalised look.
As Glamorous As Royalty
For hair I visited my local salon, Level, where the Office Manager, Debbie, was exceptionally helpful at corresponding with me via email from Australia. We must have exchanged close to 20 emails discussing hair for me and Fiona, trials, appointment times, styles, exchanging photos, manicures, pedicures – the lot! When I finally met Debbie in the flesh it was like reuniting with an old friend! She even bought me flowers on my wedding day, which was a lovely touch. Laura at Level created a beautiful but simple ‘half-up’ hairstyle which was inspired by Pippa Middleton’s hairstyle at the Royal Wedding in 2011.
My make up was expertly perfected by Annabel Hornsby who was a true artist, and literally made me feel a million dollars. I selected her on recommendation from our venue, and I couldn’t have been more delighted with the fact that I still looked like me, just a lot more glamorous! I have a lot of respect for Annabel, as she has made a brave career change to start her own business and pursue something that she is passionate about. I can honestly say I looked as good at 2am after the wedding as I did at 12noon the day before when she waved me goodbye and good luck.
An Element Of Australia
It was really important for Tom and I to incorporate an element of our Australian life into our wedding day, and also into the rest of our lives. For this reason we bought our wedding bands from Melbourne, so that we will always wear something from Australia and remember our time there. We loved the selection at Ian Sharp Jewellery so much that it was the only shop we went to!
I bought my earrings, brooch and hair accessories from Linda Gorringe Couture which I stumbled upon by accident in Melbourne City centre and ended up spending an unexpected hour browsing the wide selection before I made all my purchases in one go. That’s what I call bridal efficiency… They have a great online store for anyone who isn’t in Melbourne.
My veil was from Rafaelle Ciuca and again in a moment of decisiveness I selected and purchased it in under 10 minutes, but then had to wait an hour for a very heavy rain storm to pass before I could leave the shop! They say its good luck if it rains on your wedding day.. does it count when you’re shopping for your wedding day?!
A Special Designer
I grew up watching my mum sew wedding dresses for friends and family. Whilst it was just a hobby, she was exceptionally talented, and I always hoped that one day she would be able to make my wedding dress too. Living in Melbourne could have been an obstacle to this plan, but my mum’s of the adaptable sort, and we figured out a way to make it work. Whilst on a visit to the UK in September 2011, we brainstormed designs and searched for inspiration. With a design picked, she took my measurements and off I went back Down Under. Three weeks later a package arrived on my doorstep – a toile bodice to try on, complete with instructions on how to pin it, and even the pins themselves! That was the only fitting I had until 10 days before the wedding, when the final dress was fully complete in beautiful ivory silk and organza. Despite my mum’s nerves, it fitted like a glove (as I was confident it would do), and it was quite literally stitch perfect.
I loved the design, and my dress was undoubtedly ‘the one’ – but not just because of the style, but instead because of it’s creator. It also had a special twist… the bodice and skirt were made in two parts, so that for our first dance I could change out of the floor length organza skirt and switch to a knee-length silk alternative. This made for much easier dancing, and whilst I wowed the ladies, I totally confused the men! Has she changed her dress? Did she cut her skirt off? If that change was hard to comprehend, it was even more confusing when I put the long skirt back on to twirl around the dance floor towards the end of the night!
So my dress was lovingly created by my mother, Pam Hague, an incredibly fortunate, experience, that was quite literally, priceless.
Passionate About Flowers
Tom and I had 24 hours to pick a florist, but it wasn’t hard once I met Maria at Simply Flower. I think a lot of wedding suppliers sell their personality as much as their product or service, and it was Maria’s enthusiasm and passion for creating flowers to suit us and our wedding that sold her services to me in an instant.
We chose purple throated calla lilies to match the deep purple of the men’s ties and boys waistcoats, and dusky lilac amnesia roses to match the bridesmaids dresses. These were complemented by ivory roses and eucalyptus leaves, another reminder of Australia.
Fiona wore the ‘Allure’ maxi dress from Coast in deep purple, accessorised with a fur bolero. She looked simply stunning, and our photographer, Phillip Allen, was convinced he saw a spark between Fiona and best man, Alex. Then he realised they are already married…
Tom, his Best Man, his two ushers and the fathers all wore grey three-piece suits and deep purple ties from Next. We found this to be almost as economical as hiring, and it gave us more options to chose suits with both regular, tailored and slim fittings to suit each person individually. We were also able to ask each of the men to try the suit on in their local store, or order online, which overcame the geographical challenges of suiting and booting six men all at opposite ends of the country.
We had quite a party of little attendants… aside from Fiona and Alex, we had three bridesmaids, three flower girls and three pageboys, with a total age of 46 and a half. They were again fitted out in ‘Pam Hague Couture’, with designs that started life as a drawing on the back of an envelope transforming into dresses that wouldn’t look out of place in a top bridal house, and that the children loved. The bridesmaids wore dusky lilac dresses with an ivory sash, and the flower girls wore ivory dresses with a deep purple sash. All had fur capes for outdoors, and the little flowergirls received rag dolls dressed in identical outfits as little ‘mini me’ souvenirs. The older bridesmaids all received charm bracelets with their initial. Meanwhile the boys wore corresponding colours on their waistcoats and ties.
An Unconventional First Look
Tom wore a grey three-piece suit from Next to match the other men in the party, but he wore an ivory tie and calla lily button hole to make him stand out from the rest. Tom’s Ted Baker shoes were inspiringly colour coordinated with purple laces, and he also wore purple socks and ‘T’ and ‘K’ cufflinks to add some detail.
This seems an appropriate point to mention the less-than-conventional start to our wedding day. Tom and I decided to take all of our group photographs at the Harbour Heights Hotel before the wedding ceremony. This was because the formalities didn’t start until 3pm and by the time the ceremony was over, the sun would be setting, and I wanted natural light for the shots. This meant the two of us meeting prior to the ceremony however.
We captured the moment with a formal ‘first look’- an intimate and quiet moment between Tom, myself, and three men with cameras! It was a wonderful way to record Tom seeing me for the first time, and it definitely took the edge off our ceremony nerves. We also loved getting all of the group photos out of the way in advance of the wedding itself because it allowed us to freely mingle with our guests throughout the drinks reception and all the little children were still looking freshly dressed and pristine! I’d thoroughly recommend it to any brides who don’t mind doing away with convention to make things a little easier for everyone on the day.
The First Decision
Photography is one of my passions (I am a part-time family portrait photographer in Melbourne – www.katielister.net) and so selecting a wedding photographer was one of the most significant aspects of the planning stage for me. I stumbled across Mister Phill on Twitter shortly after we got engaged in 2010, and I was instantly drawn to his style of photography. I became an avid reader of his blog and it very quickly became a one horse race in my selection for our wedding. I am drawn to his documentary style of photography,and the way he observes the details and captures them in a very contemporary manor. His imagery conveys emotion and has an exceptional ability to tell a story without words (although he is a good with words as he is with pictures, as demonstrated on his blog).
I could write for hours about how privileged both Tom and I felt that Mister Phill was a part of our day. Booking him was the first decision we made about the wedding, and it was the best one. I honestly believe he offers something very unique to the highly competitive world of wedding photography, and we will treasure his images forever. Every bride should consider him!
We also had two videographers in attendance from Wedding Memories because we were very aware of how fast the day would progress and that Tom and I couldn’t be everywhere to take it all in! My best friends all advised me to get a videographer, and I’m pleased we made the investment to record the day in moving image as well as stills.
I really wanted comfortable wedding shoes, and something that would stay on my feet during our ambitious first dance. After much Googling I discovered American dancer come shoe-designer Angela Nuran who makes ballroom dancing shoes for brides. She even had one Australian stockist, although unfortunately the shop was 879 kilometres away in Sydney. I had one opportunity to go to the shop during an upcoming visit to Sydney, but there was only a one hour window for me to get there before it closed, and I was depending on my flight being on time and my suitcase being first off at the baggage reclaim. Somebody, somewhere, was watching over me that day, and I made to the shop in time to purchase the very last pair of ‘Astoria Pearl’ shoes, which just happened to be my size. It was a wedding shoe miracle. Oh, and they were in the sale!
Two weeks later I was shopping for something entirely different when I spotted a beautiful pair of sparkly-soled bridal shoes in Australian shoe shop Wittners. The highly sparkling silver soles entranced me into a daze in which I thought it would be sensible to have two pairs of wedding shoes, so I bought them!
I ended up wearing the sparkly-soled shoes in the day, and my Angela Nuran’s for the evening. My shoe budget was smashed, but my feet looked and felt… smashing!
The Greatest Guest Book
We created some DIY entertainment throughout the wedding day…
During the drinks reception we displayed a slideshow of photos from our childhood and since we met – which got some laughs as well as some smiles, and even some requests to watch it again, so we turned it into a video and posted it on You Tube after the big day.
In the wedding breakfast we provided pens and paper and asked each guest to draw a self portrait. These were pinned to the table plan board to create a display of faces and quite a talking point! We didn’t explain this at the time, but we intend to piece together all the self portraits to be printed onto a tea towel, which we will then give as a gift to our guests. We had a much better response rate to this idea than our traditional guest book, but I will still treasure that as a record of messages from our guests.
In the evening we left out chalk boards and asked guests to write a message and take a photo. We received some lovely heartfelt messages and also some more amusing anecdotes! We also had a DJ from Direct Discos who kept the dance floor contingent happy throughout the night!
Music during the day was courtesy of the amazing Joy Walshe – who unfortunately couldn’t be present in person but we played her CD none the less!
Tom and I have vastly different musical tastes, but Joy is one singer who we’ve always both enjoyed and her album has been the soundtrack to our relationship from the start
We had three types of cake – fruit, sponge and rice-krispie cake! My mum baked and iced all of the cake and decorated the tiers with purple ribbon. Our florist made a beautiful calla lily display for the top tier. It was delicious!
Our table names were all places that Tom and I have travelled to in Australia, and Tom designed name cards featuring our own photographs. We had a table plan showing a map of Australia, but opted not to include names on this printed design in case of last minute changes. Instead we laid out small envelopes with our guests names, and inside each envelope was a card instructing them on where to sit. This proved very useful the night before the wedding when we needed to reshuffle!
The staff at The Italian Villa were also very helpful and liaising with me via email when I was in Australia, and made some fantastically relevant suggestions for our big day – including napkins folded into the shape of the Sydney Opera House!
We danced to an edit of Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls, a very emotive song for both Tom and I. Our first dance was hugely important to me (almost as much as the photography, but not quite). I was a keen dancer when I was growing up, and my childhood ballet teacher was in the audience, so we needed to look respectable. For this we enlisted the help of another Tom, this time Tom from Pheonix Dance in Melbourne.
He spent 8 weeks with my Tom, and myself, creating a beautiful first dance to a song that we both loved. This probably sounds like an eternity for most men, but let’s respect his achievement of tom learning not only ‘a dance’ (noun) but learning ‘to dance’ (verb) in such a short space of time.
I loved every minute of learning our first dance and every second of performing it. Tom endured the former and has admitted to actually enjoying the latter!
Never Stop Smiling
Our wedding was so very special to Tom and I because it brought together everyone that we love to celebrate starting the rest of our lives together. Everything ran incredibly smoothly and I understand from the reports of several guests that I did not stop smiling for the entire day!
A lot of people advised us to take a step back from the action for a few minutes and make sure we observe the guests and the party unfolding. Tom remembered this, and we spent a few moments on the side of the dance floor watching our guests and their crazy dancing. It definitely helped save some more memories of a day which went by in a flash.
We held a breakfast the morning after the wedding for immediate family and our dear friends from Canada who had travelled especially. It was a lovely way to debrief from the events of the previous day, and chat with those that you are closest with, after having very little time with each person on the day itself.
Oh.. and one last thing. I haven’t mentioned that it rained all day, because it was totally and utterly inconsequential to our enjoyment, and our guests’ enjoyment, on the day. Plus I hear it’s good luck….
Ceremony Venue – Harbour Heights Hotel
Reception Venue – The Italian Villa
Brides Make-up – Annabel Hornsby
Brides Gown – Pam Hague!
Florist – Simply Flower
Disco – Direct Discos
Photographer – Mister Phill
Wow. A Mum that can make your gown, everyone else’s gowns and your cake…. she deserves an award too!
And can I just mention how immense it would be to whip off the bottom bit of your dress and exchange it for a shorter dance-worthy version?! I think Pam Hague needs to open up some kind of W-day gown shop…..
Big Australian Love