Nestled on South Australia’s Adelaide Hills, Danni and Tom’s wedding spoke to the allure of escape and the romance of seclusion. Guests were transported to a world of their own, a private oasis of rolling hills and sweeping views. The couple exchanged vows beneath a spherical arbor of cascading foliage, their backdrop a horizon strewn with vineyards.
Reminiscent of Tuscan estates and ancient cellars, the reception was held below ground. Set amongst barrels of wine and brick walls, festoon lights were strung between exposed rafters, blooms woven onto installations that hung overhead.
Wearing a gown sourced from LANE handpicked brand One Day Bridal, this was a celebration of the couple and their story. Superfluous detailing was forgone in favour of a relaxed atmosphere. Simple styling and minimal fuss underpinned every detail, each element a reflection of the couple, their life and their story.
NAMES: Danni and Tom
WEDDING DATE: February 11, 2017
GUEST NUMBERS: 120
HOW WE MET: We met for the first time at a bar and were instant friends. It was as if we had already met before. Conversation ventured into the early hours of the morning. We’ve spent practically every day together since.
OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: We both love good wine and food - so when Tom said he had a little weekend away planned at the wine region of the Barossa, I thought absolutely nothing of it!
The morning after we enjoyed a particularly special degustation at a winery called Hentley Farn, there arrived out of nowhere a bottle of champagne and a glorious flower arrangement.
It was only then that I thought he was up to something. I was so shocked when it happened. He caught me completely off guard. I didn’t even look at the ring for about 5 minutes.
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: Acceptance, stability, openness, unconditional love and FUN.
We want to have a home where our family and friends will be welcomed with love and support, no matter what.
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WEDDING LOCATION: My grandmother once told me that “dining with good company is one of life's most civilized pleasures”, and this was ever so true when we were deciding on the style for our wedding. We landed on a winery that we thought would suit our vibe.
We gravitated toward the cool climate wine region of the Adelaide Hills and discovered a winery called Bird In Hand.
When you are at the cellar door you could almost be in Tuscany. This fitted in with what we wanted to offer our wedding guests - a night of escapism.
THEME/STYLE: Like most brides, I spent many months as an internet-addicted, self-indulgent consumer of all things weddings… perving on other people’s gowns, flowers, hair, makeup, venues - you name it - in order to formulate a mood board of exactly what we wanted to brief all of our suppliers.
We eventually landed on was: Minimalist and classic, but with a fun, modern twist.
Every element, including the color palette, was stripped back and not burdened by trends that come and go. We tried to go with all whites where possible.
My advice for selecting your photographer is to choose someone who you could spend a lot of time with. Meet more than one of the same vendor. If you get a bad vibe from someone, I’d steer clear. It meant so much to us to have like-minded people around us in the planning and on the day.
BRIDE’S DRESS: The quest for the dress begun shortly after we were engaged, as I knew this was an element that would take some extensive trial and error- and it did. Gown shopping can be a confrontational experience, but it truly is a special time and it’s important that you embrace your individuality – flaws and all.
I’m not an extremely feminine girl and so I needed to find something that would make me feel like me. I went into the process thinking I would like a long sleeve beaded dress, but I came out with something that couldn’t be more opposite. I started in Melbourne where I visited mostly boutique and smaller studios around Brunswick and South Yarra. I came across One Day Bridal, where one of their stylists suggested a gown that (not even in my wildest dreams) I wouldn’t have picked. Turns out it was love at first sight. Being so early on in my travels I decided to bookmark it, and keep foraging. I booked a trip to Sydney, probably trying on 20 gowns, but nothing could get the image out of my head of the gown I had tried on first. I went back to Melbourne and rushed through the doors of One Day Bridal’s studio, where the owner and founder Kyha gushed with excitement when I told her it was the one.
The gown was a fitted neoprene floor-length dress that was extremely figure hugging. A v-neck, low back, long train and accentuated shoulder pads elongated my body. It was an absolute dream to wear, alongside a classic veil that delicately fell behind me.
BRIDE’S SHOES: Bridal shoes are a funny item to purchase, quite possibly because 99.87% of them are ugly. I found shoes to be the most challenging detail of my look. The key is to not buy bridal shoes. I ended up choosing a pair of Scanlan Theodore lace-up wooden block sandal heels that were equal parts modern and fun. I bought them a long time before I had even bought the dress, because I knew I would be able to wear them with almost anything.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: For the bridesmaids, I was after a bold yet elegant style. I was determined to find something that worked as best it could with three different body shapes. The dresses we chose are by Acler. They are white and fitted, with raw cut georgette edges. They flared from a high, curved waist seam and fell to a relaxed handkerchief hem. With the Acler designer, Julia Ritorto’s blessing, we had them tailored by her own mother, who came up with a creative way to add some additional panels to cover the bust area that didn’t detract from the original design. Ultimately I wanted to ensure the girls all felt comfortable.
BRIDESMAID’S SHOES: We picked a simple grey, cross-over block heel from The Iconic that flattered the dress.
WEDDING RINGS: Tom made a VERY daring move and designed the engagement ring himself. We were in safe hands with the craftsmanship of Mike at the Opal Diamond Factory, a second-generation family owned and operated jeweler.
I fell in love with mine as soon as I saw it. He proposed to me with a round center diamond, white gold, halo engagement ring, set proud with diamonds on the band. A matching wedding band was made to sit underneath neatly.
JEWELRY/ACCESSORIES: A timeless pair of pearls from Tiffany and Co. The bridesmaids wore matching pearls.
GROOMSMEN ATTIRE:We had a classic black dinner suit with bow tie custom made for Tom by De Luca Tailors. The boys were also looked after in matching black suits by De Luca. We loved their personalised service – they came to our home to do the measure/fittings, as well as coming to dress the ties on the boys on the day of our wedding.
Tom wore black patent leather lace-up dress shoes by Aquila.
HAIR: I wanted to feel like me on the day – so my hair was styled how I normally have it for other events! This made me feel relaxed and that I was just being me.
The bridesmaids had textured low knots with loose pieces at the front. I touched up the curls myself in the afternoon..
Tom also had his hair done on the morning of the wedding at Archie & Co.
MAKEUP: MAC makeup artist Alisha Babadimas created a natural, soft look with bronze tones. I wanted a bit of depth around the eyes but it was softened with a nude lip (that I actually saved for a year because the shade was discontinued!!).
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Despite not being crafty in any way shape or form, I decided to design our wedding invitations because I am a control freak. We had them set up for print by Rhi Creative and printed by Stitch Press in Melbourne, as I had seen their work before and knew they could nail a complex job!
Inspired by a lot of international packaging design work I had seen on Pinterest (such as Daniel Carlsten who designed the Acne brand), the finer details such as typeface choice took about 2 weeks! We ended up landing on an A5 horizontal single invitation that was blind embossed on white/ black 2ply textured 600GSM stock, totalling a whopping 1200GSM. We had a lot of comments on these as they were quite unique.
The invitations pointed to our website by Riley & Grey where guests could find out more information and RSVP.
This simplistic design trickled through to the big day. Once at the event, guests were welcomed with matching signage and personalized menus for each of them. We had them custom made with individualized quotes and personal jokes printed on them. We got a lot of comments on this as people felt really included in the day and that we had considered them when planning the event! Luckily we had Rhi Creative to help us to make this all possible.
FAVORS: We opted for chocolate favors by KOKO Black. We liked the stylish presentation of these and both have a sweet tooth! Flavors were milk chocolate hazelnut and dark chocolate salted caramel.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: The brief for our floristry team at EST (Emma Sadie Thomson) was to create a romantic and modern vibe. I liked Emma’s work as she was a bit different to all the traditional florists I had come across.
Our florist team designed a bridal bouquet with different fullness and height of white roses. They were closed in the morning but opened up beautifully throughout the day. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of this with blush accents to differentiate it. The boys, and other family members, had floral accessories that matched the same style but with accents of green foliage.
As our ceremony location was naturally surrounded by greenery, we had a single arbor that was decorated with beautiful white roses, white orchards, magnolia foliage, white lisianthus, white freesias, hanging green amaranthus, white disbud chrysanthemums, and plenty of other complimentary foliage. As you can tell, I became a flower expert during this process.
For the reception, we wanted our guests to experience the ambiance of hanging floral installations, but more of a romantic, chandelier feel. They ended up being big, unstructured spheres hung sporadically from the roof with chains, with longer cascading pieces hanging down.
VIDEOGRAPHY: We knew the day would be an absolute blur so chose Alex at Market Lane Media to film the day. We wanted something non egotistical that really showcased the celebration, using true-colors (no filters) and a lot of slow-mo!
I was lucky enough to get ready at a hotel close to the winery, The Stirling. The hotel had beautifully appointed rooms (with the BIGGEST bathrooms you’ve ever seen) that had a lot of natural light. Tom generously gifted me a new Scanlan Theodore handbag that is very beautiful and luxurious.
The girls and I grabbed a coffee on the morning of, and had an extremely relaxed day giggling over champagne and funny stories. Our suppliers really made the day magical as it felt like we were all just friends hanging out getting ready for a party!
We also had our recovery drinks at The Stirling the day after the wedding, to give our guests a taste of the gorgeous Adelaide Hills.
CEREMONY DÉCOR/ RECEPTION DÉCOR: In keeping with the minimalist feel, we had very simplistic styling throughout the ceremony and reception. For the ceremony we were inspired by Tuscan garden weddings, and for the reception we were inspired by a lot of industrial warehouse weddings, as well as those that were dripping with candles, charm and romance.
Our reception was hosted in Bird In Hand’s barrel hall, which is very raw and stripped back. To compliment this, we wanted the mood to be quite dark and atmospheric. We had festoon lights strung up in the ceiling around the floral installations. These were dimmed at different levels to suit the mood throughout the evening. We hired Louis Ghost Chairs, a sleek looking chair that we knew would create a modern look. We also hired white candles in hurricane vases that sat on grey table cloths surrounded by green foliage.
WEDDING PLANNER/ WEDDING STYLIST: Me, myself and I. A lot of late nights. A lot of wine. A lot of mood boards!
CAKE: Instead of a cake, we chose to deviate from this tradition and went with a decadent champagne tower.We hired a gentleman called Steve the Bartender to set this up - it was absolutely stunning.
WEDDING SONGS: Aisle song: Don’t Dream It’s Over, Crowded House (sung live acoustic)
First Dance: Let’s Stay Together, Al Green
Leaving Song: All Night Long, Lionel Richie
ENTERTAINMENT: We always saw live music and entertainment as being an integral part of celebrations so we went for an acoustic guitarist for the ceremony, and a DJ with bongos and sax for the party! It brought out the funniest dance moves in our friends and family!
FOOD & BEVERAGES: To toast we drank Bird In Hand’s signature sparkling pinot noir, resiling and sauv blanc, as well as montepulciano and shiraz. Beers served were Peroni and Vale Ale.
To feast we had canapés, entree’s, main course served, plus a dessert of espresso martinis by Kindling Coffee - that was a real hit! The menu was designed around seasonal, locally available ingredients.
TRANSPORT: Tom and his groomsman scooted up the hill in one of our family cars - testament to Tom not wanting to make a grand entrance! I opted for 2 white Range Rovers that we borrowed from friends of ours.
HONEYMOON: We spent a week up in Byron Bay and Cabarita Beach. For the first couple of nights stayed at a B&B in central Byron. We then scooted up to Halcyon House. There are few words that can be used to describe how we feel about our stay at Halcyon House. Indulgent, charming, luxurious and the most attentive in personalized service – just to name a few.
We are heading off to Europe in August 2017 for our big honeymoon. London, Paris, Venice, Rome, Venice, Positano, Mykonos, Santorini and Dubai.
GIFT REGISTRY: Our guests were extremely generous with the wishing well.
CELEBRANT: Camille Abbott was our celebrant. She was extremely calming and had a brilliant sense of humor. She kept us grounded throughout the ceremony.
READINGS: We wrote our own vowels and had a family member read “Marry Your Best Friend” by N’tima.
SOURCES OF INSPIRATION: The Lane and other wedding blogs and Pinterest. The girls at One Day Bridal were always amazing at bouncing ideas off!
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: Sending cute, excited text messages to Tom on the morning of the wedding.
ONE THING I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY WEDDING PLANS: You are in it as a team - you and your husband to be. Remember it’s only one day of the rest of your marriage.
IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE: One piece of advice….broken into 5 parts…
1. Be unapologetically you
2. Don’t listen to people’s negative opinions, or any opinions for that matter!
3. You’re a bride not an event planner. Take on as little as possible for yourself. Pay someone to do things for you as much as you can afford it. Trust people’s advice.
4. The day MUST represent both the bride and groom, in planning and execution. Every decision should be made as a partnership. The day itself is a celebration of a marriage of two people - not just one. People can see straight through a wedding that the bride has planned for herself.
5. Try not to have sky high expectations based on other weddings you might've seen on the internet. Brief suppliers with images and get a realistic expectation of what things cost. Nothing is plentiful or generous without a premium price.
DANNI & TOM’S CONTACTS:
BRIDE'S DRESS: One Day Bridal
BRIDE’S SHOES: Scanlan Theodore
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Acler
BRIDESMAIDS SHOES: The Iconic
GROOMS FORMAL WEAR: De Luca Tailors
WEDDING RINGS: Opal Diamond Factory
JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES: Tiffany & Co
HAIR: Ali at Joint Hair
MAKEUP: Alisha at MAC
FLORIST: EST - Emma Sadie Thomson
CHAMPAGNE TOWER: Steve the Bartender
CATERING: Bird In Hand
CELEBRANT: Camille Abbott
WEDDING VENUE: Bird In Hand
ENTERTAINMENT: Entertainment Adelaide
VIDEOGRAPHER: Market Lane Media