As we scrolled through Stephanie and Andrew’s wedding album, we found ourselves coming back to the same image. A fleeting moment between father and daughter; an embrace charged with raw, unfiltered and utterly moving emotion.
While we’ll forever adore cinematic shots of silhouetted dresses and light-filtered veils, it is images like these that remind us why we love weddings. We’re here for the moments that still time; exchanges so pure that everything else melts into the background.
Married on the beach where they first met a decade earlier, Stephanie and Andrew’s wedding was a culmination of their story, a curated retelling of their lives and their love. Captured by Erin & Tara, wedding is filled with images of exchanges so emotive they make you take pause, transcending their frame to pull you in…
Photographed by Erin & Tara
NAMES: Stephanie and Andrew
WEDDING DATE: November 19, 2016
GUEST NUMBERS: 120
HOW WE MET: We met 10 years ago on the very beach where we decided to get married. I was 16 at the time and just about to head into Year 12. It was New Year’s weekend, and my girlfriends and I decided to make it a big one before a year spent buried in books. At the time, Andrew was best friends with my girlfriend’s partner, so she suggested we go to Ocean Grove where we had free accommodation. It turned out to be Andrew’s family holiday location and we have been making memories there ever since!
OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: Andrew proposed to me on Hamilton Island. He surprised me with flight tickets one Friday night after work and said “Pack your bags, we’re heading to Hamilton Island”. Unbeknown to me, I genuinely thought he was just taking us both on a break as we both had just started new jobs and were very stressed and tired.
His initial plan was to pop the question over a romantic dinner the following night, but the minute we arrived at our accommodation, he couldn’t wait. He drove our golf buggy to a popular lookout and the rest is history! He even set the camera up on the tripod pretending to take a photo but had it on video record instead. We’re lucky we can play it back and relive that moment.
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: Many people have asked us whether marriage feels any different, especially after 10 years of being together. Mostly everything is much the same, but there is definitely a stronger connection between us. It’s important to us to maintain that connection for the rest of our lives.
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WEDDING LOCATION: We married in Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula, approximately 1.5 hours from Melbourne. We fell in love with the Ocean Grove Uniting Church the moment we walked in during our visit. It has an intimate chapel feel, with white and wood tones, tall ceilings and an abundance of natural lighting. Our reception venue, At The Heads, was the only venue we ever visited and we booked it on our first appointment.
We continued celebrations throughout the weekend with recovery drinks and a barbeque at our accommodation at The White Beach House in Barwon Heads.
THEME/STYLE: Our styling was very clean, simple and fresh. The natural scenery of the surrounds was already perfect, so all our styling was done to complement this. All our florals, stationary and venue styling was kept to crisp white tones with soft greys and lots of foliage.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Tara from Erin & Tara captured our day. We worked our wedding date around Tara and our venue to make sure they were both available on the same day – we just couldn’t book anyone or anywhere else! We didn’t spend hours researching photographers, we knew Erin & Tara were our one and only choice. I have been following their art for a little while and had met Tara onsite when I worked with The Style Co. Not only is her talent phenomenal, but I knew I also wanted her fun and vibrant personality to be there on our big day too!
BRIDE’S DRESS: Steven Khalil designed the perfect dress. I was very hands-on with the process, although he would constantly tell me to stop being a control freak and let him do what he does best. I’m not a visual person and have never been someone that can easily picture images in their head, so I would ask all the questions and go through all the details bit by bit. It’s absolutely true though, if you get your dress designed for you, just trust and follow your designer. Even if you’re a perfectionist like me and find it hard to let go. I learnt this when Steven decided to add sleeves to my gown on my final appointment before pick-up day! It was perfect and I’m so glad I took the risk because it turned out better than I could have ever imagined.
BRIDE’S SHOES: My shoes were Chanel. They were a patent beige with a solid, thick heel that had floral carvings matching the floral lace detailing of my dress. They were only 10 centimeters in height (which for a shorty like me is shorter than I would usually go in a shoe), but I was in them all day and all night long and never got sore feet, so the compromise in height was worth it! Plus, not being a traditional wedding shoe means I can wear them anytime.
BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: I got the dresses custom made by a local friend. The fabric was from Tessuti Fabrics in Melbourne CBD and was an end-of-the-run fabric from Lover The Label. Finding something off the rack was too challenging with four bridesmaids! By getting the dresses custom made, the girls got to choose the style they felt good in while still maintaining a similar silhouette to each other.
BRIDESMAIDS’ SHOES: I bought the girls’ shoes from Forever New. I searched high and low for shoes that were the right color and height. I stumbled across the shoes randomly and they were even on sale. Let’s say the hubby was pretty happy with the budget that day!
FLOWERGIRLS/PAGEBOY OUTFITS: My flowergirl’s dress was from Tutu Du Monde. It was a mid-length tutu dress featuring a silk satin bow that sits at the waist and simple embellishments on the bodice. My pageboy wore a suit from Next and Converse sneakers.
WEDDING RINGS: My engagement ring is a modern take on an art deco ring – a round brilliant diamond inside a halo setting. My wedding band is diamonds in a claw setting all the way around. Both were custom made in Melbourne. Andrew went for a matte silver band from Cliveden Fine Jewellers.
The groomsmen and bridesmaids wore their own jewelry – I didn’t want them to all look identical so got them to choose their own jewelry that still reflected themselves.
GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: The boys wore black tailored suits from Bell & Barnett. The groomsmen wore black bowties while Andrew wore a white bow tie to keep him distinct as the groom. The boys wore shoes from Aquila, Andrew’s shoes were black patent lace-ups, while the boys wore matte black in the same style. Andrew gifted his groomsmen silver cufflinks engraved with the initial of their first name.
HAIR: I was torn with hair as I never stick to one style. I decided to have it up for the church ceremony for a more formal feel, then my hairdresser/girlfriend, Kristina Canzoneri took it down with soft waves for the reception. Kristina is an amazing hairdresser. She was an immense help on the day and I was so calm having my friend around. Kristina also did my bridesmaids’ hair. I got the girls to choose whatever style they liked as again I wanted them to feel and look themselves.
MAKEUP: Kristina also did my makeup. The girls had theirs done by Hilary Holmes Makeup. We went for smoky eyes and soft earthy tones for the face.
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS:Our invitations were from Bespoke Letterpress– matte white 600gsm cotton stock with soft grey letterpress text. For the day itself, we had our stationery designed by Lonely Sea. We had a food and drinks menu for each guest inscribed with their name. We also had them make a large seating chart, a welcome sign, church cards and table numbers.
FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: We decided to forgo traditional favors and instead donated the money to the Royal Children’s Hospital. Each guest had a donation card on their table explaining our choice – these cards were supplied by the RCH. We made this decision as I have a brother who was born with a developmental condition and we thought we could help support similar families raising a child with a disability, and contribute to early childhood intervention, such as therapies and treatments.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: Danielle from Moss Industry is the best in the region. She did an amazing job and knew our style and theme with just a few looks at some inspiration pictures. The bouquets were fairly unstructured and featured white peonies, white David Austin roses, ivy berry and trails of star jasmine and peppercorn.
We knew we wanted a hanging roof installation above our bridal table as we were positioned in the middle of our guests, not in a traditional bridal table setting. We threw around some ideas but Danielle made the call on the day and it turned out amazing – it was like we were sitting under a forest of foliage!
Our guest’s tables had long full length garlands featuring ivy berry, jasmine, peppercorn and hints of white seasonal blooms. We also had foliage and flowers cascading down the face of the bar which is positioned as a focal point along the back of the venue.
VIDEOGRAPHY: The boys from Tango Films are incredibly talented. The highlights video gives us shivers every time we watch it! Even mutual friends who weren’t at the wedding feel emotional watching it. Tango truly captured our day perfectly.
PREPARATION: We hired The White Beach House in Barwon Heads for a few days before and after the wedding as we knew we wanted to continue the celebrations with our nearest and dearest.
On the morning of the wedding, my bridesmaids, Mum and I all got ready at the house while Andrew and the groomsmen rented an apartment at the Barwon Heads Golf Resort. Our ceremony didn’t start until 3pm so we had plenty of time to lounge around, eat and prepare. I ordered antipasto and fruit platters for breakfast and lunch and we just had a few drinks to kill the nerves.
I also wrote my dad and Andrew a little note to read before the wedding day, which had a few words about the two most important men in my life and thanking them for their love and support.
CEREMONY DÉCOR/ RECEPTION DÉCOR: Our tables were covered white linen which we paired with soft grey weave napkins from Linen Hire Di Simmons. On top of this, we had white pillared candles that sat inside glass cylinder vases. These were scattered between flower garlands to create an unstructured, organic look.
Our church and venue (unintentionally) matched with white weatherboard paneling and wooden beams. The venue had 360-degree views of the ocean with windows from floor to ceiling, so it felt like we were floating on the water.
The venue had this beautiful raw timber bookshelf, which we used to house our wishing well and wedding photos of our four grandparents in black and white, representing the true reflection of love and the example we want to lead in our lives together.
WEDDING PLANNER/ WEDDING STYLIST: I did most of the planning and styling myself, but closer to the day I hired Cara from Chic by Cara who assisted in coordinating on the day as well as helped with some final styling details. Cara has worked with Campbell Point House for many years so really knows her stuff!
CAKE: We went for a four-tier cake covered in white buttercream and adorned with a trail of white peonies and David Austin roses from top to bottom.
WEDDING SONGS:I walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years”, which was played live by our violinist and pianist. This got the waterworks going.
Our first dance was to “Still Falling for You” by Ellie Goulding.
We walked in to the reception with “I Love You Always Forever” by Betty Who.
We did a joint father/daughter, mother/son dance to “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay.
ENTERTAINMENT: We hired a professional violinist and pianist who I found within a local community website. They played continuous instrumentals (no vocals) of familiar songs as guests arrived to the church and throughout the ceremony. Our venue entertainment was Lauren Mac from Verve Agency and a saxophonist. They were an incredible duo and Lauren is just divine! Our cousin Elle Eliades sang acoustics during canapés at our reception.
FOOD & BEVERAGES: We had a two-course sit-down meal, plus a roaming dessert which meant guests could stay on the dance floor while attending to their sweet tooth! We had a bar tab on the night offering all drinks from ciders to spirits. At The Heads offers food and produce that is locally sourced from in and around the Bellarine Peninsula.
TRANSPORT: I drove to the church in my dad’s classic 1960’s MG while the girls followed behind in black Mercedes e-class sedans.
HONEYMOON: We wanted a big break after the wedding so we headed off for five weeks to the States, Mexico and a cruise around the Caribbean Island that took us to Jamaica, Haiti and Cozumel.
CELEBRANT: We wanted a catholic ceremony and were referred to Father Robert Wood, who is the most kind and compassionate man – he was very helpful throughout the whole process including the big day. He is a retired priest from Torquay, but was still willing to go above and beyond for us.
READINGS: Father Robert Wood provided us with a wedding booklet which we got to take home and choose from the many beautiful passages we wanted read during our ceremony. Our guests followed the ceremony by each having a wedding card that described the symbolism of each element of the ceremony and why Andrew and I chose those readings. On the back of the church card was a timeline of our relationship which marked special occasions over the 10 years that led to the wedding day.
SOURCES OF INSPIRATION: The LANE! I love the concept this online tool offers, where you can view all the beautiful photos from Real Weddings and get to read advice directly from the brides themselves. Of course, there’s also Instagram and the endless Pinterest mood boards too!
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: This would have to be walking hand-in-hand with Andrew exiting our wedding venue with our guests sending us off with an avenue of fire sparklers. It was truly magical and this is the final shoot on our wedding highlight video too, which really sums up the whole day (see the full video in the gallery!).
ONE THING I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY WEDDING PLANS… Calm the F’ down (is what Andrew would say). I would say forget about a budget, because that quickly goes out the window, and do things that make you happy. Also, don’t ask for too many people’s opinions, just the ones you know and trust!
STEPHANIE AND ANDREW’S CONTACTS:
PHOTOGRAPHY: Erin & Tara
BRIDE'S DRESS: Steven Khalil
BRIDE’S SHOES: Chanel
WEDDING RINGS: Andy the Jeweller (125 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC) and Cliveden Fine Jewellers
HAIR: Kristina Canzoneri
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Bespoke Letterpress
FLORIST: Moss Industry
CAKE: The Party Style Co
WEDDING PLANNER: Chic by Cara
CELEBRANT: Father Robert Wood
WEDDING VENUE: At The Heads
ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Lauren Mac via Verve Agency
TRANSPORT: Mercedes from First Class Chauffeur Cars
VIDEOGRAPHER: Tango Films