Inspiring dreams of iconic brides like Grace Kelly, Caroline Besset Kennedy and Princess Diana, a bride is flanked by yards of vintage tulle and engulfed in ornate lace. An air of regal mystery surrounds her, face shielded with an art deco inspired crystal headpiece as she walks towards her future.
Sometimes there are fleeting moments and sometimes there are eternal stories. A traditional chapel wedding in the heart of Melbourne, a J'Aton gown and Tom Ford suit, a lavish yet chic city reception, an enchanting mood of regal old world charm. This wedding is an eternal story. One that will have you longing for tradition and timelessness.
Captured in a polished yet soulful way, Erin + Tara with their raw and natural style and incredibly beautiful blend of fashion with photojournalism have enchanted every tiny details of the day, magically giving life to a dress and a love.
HOW WE MET: Robert and my families had known each other for years, however we had never met. Our sisters were friends and would hang around in the same circles. Robert came across me on Facebook and added me as a friend and merely remained as such for some time because he was too shy to message or talk to me.
After a few months, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to message Rob saying that I was sure I knew him or his surname from somewhere but wanted to know how. The conversations just flowed from there and after a few weeks we met up for coffee where we both felt relaxed and comfortable. Our first date was a visit to the Melbourne Museum, and from there we were inseparable.
OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: Robert had an idea to propose where we had our first date; Melbourne Museum. He wanted to do something different and came up with the idea of getting the ring encased in glass with an engraved plaque and have it as part of the display in the precious stone wing of the museum.
Robert went to the museum and told the ticketing clerk about his idea; she pointed him to the admin offices. He again explained his idea to admin and they told him that they didn’t think it was possible, though they were so very moved by his idea. He asked to speak to someone else, and they pointed him to the 'Discovery Centre'. He explained his idea again and whilst she was excited by the idea, she refused also. She did make a phone call to someone higher up and they explained that many people have asked for something similar and they had to refuse due to the resources and costs that would need to go into it. So Robert walked away from the museum a very disappointed man.
Robert thought for the next few days of what he could possibly do at the museum for his proposal but was adamant that his idea was best and that the museum would just have to comply. He messaged the Melbourne Museum on twitter but received no reply, so he messaged them on Facebook with his idea to which he received a reply from an enthusiastic lady; giving Robert contact details of the appropriate person to talk to.
Robert emailed this person with his idea and after signing some forms and handing over some cash for security guards, electricity and staff he was able to hire the Melbourne Museum privately for the two of us. The proposal was booked in for August 20, 2012, our one year anniversary.
Robert and I had the museum all to themselves after hours and we walked around through exhibits; I was amazed at how he was able to get the museum just for us. Robert was sure to leave the 'Precious Gems' section until last. As we passed the ring encased in glass, I took a moment to read the plaque, then read it again another three times. The plaque read 'This ring was presented to Leanne Garma by Robert Bartucca at the Melbourne Museum on August 20, 2012’. I then turned to find Robert down on one knee where he asked if I would spend the rest of my life with him.
From the museum, we had dinner reservations at Vue de Monde at the Rialto Tower. When the elevator doors opened to the restaurant, we were greeted by both our families. It was the perfect night.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Robert came across Erin and Tara on Facebook and immediately fell in love with their work. Robert emailed them about availability about 1 year before the wedding, and arranged to meet with them. I had only briefly seen their work and upon meeting with them for coffee (or maybe it was wine), I recognized Erin and Tara's passion and quality work and fell in love with their energy so we booked them straight away. Having both Erin and Tara on the day was magical. These two talented ladies behind their lenses were able to capture moments and angles that the other may not and the results were unbelievable. We also posted a few of their shots to social media and they got much more attention than we could have imagined. Their amazing photos went viral. With all the happenings of the wedding day, it was so fabulous to have photographers who managed themselves and captured more of our day and the emotion of our wedding than we could have ever have wished for.
BRIDE’S DRESS: (From the J'Aton boys) For us, Leanne was an incredibly important client as we have literally seen her grow up in front of our eyes. Her family were clients of ours from the beginning of our career so we had a very intimate relationship with the family.
Leanne wanted a gown that would be different to all that she had seen to date, she wanted a gown that she would feel was truly and uniquely hers so she was happy to take risks and push the boundaries. We suggested going back to all the iconic bries that captivated, not the common one like Grace Kelly or Caroline Besset Kennedy, but our all time favourite Princess Diana. She was truly significant in changing the way brides think about fashion in bridal.That is where the infamous sleeves came from, we are in love with them today as much as we were when we created them.
We set out to find the most amazing lace from our incredible network of suppliers but we just couldn’t find the one that truly captivated us. Finally we discovered the most unique amazing vintage piece of lace that had been sitting under piles and piles of fabrics for decades. It was the most incredible french lace originally from Lyon in France that was in absolute pristine condition. The lace was very fragile and did need a lot of backing and securing as it would have fallen apart as it was so old but the condition was flawless and incredible as they had close to 10 yards of the lace. It was an incredible find and we were just beyond elated. It was this piece of lace that then dictated the entire dress's creation. We then decided to add leather as we felt Leanne needed the strength and modernity. We still wanted Leanne to look current and inject the dress with a strong masculine feel amongst all the ornate embellished lace carvings. Although it was so incredibly and intricately carved in lace and layered transparency with heavy corsetry construction, we kept the main design silhouette simplistic with a balance of masculine and feminine elements in the design. It is the fine art of balance. Leanne fell in love with its understated richness yet still pure simplicity.
The gown for us was like a piece of art that we were creating to represent both Leanne and Rob as a couple. The male and the female, the femininity and the masculinity. Hell, we went through a lot but the end result was perfection…
ACCESSORIES: From the J’aton boys: Leanne first said when she came to us that she had always loved the headpieces we used to do from the beginning of our career. So we created her an art deco inspired crystal headpiece that was just perfection. Truly her crowning. She wanted the drama in her headdress so we created a spectacular headdress that perfectly framed her face. With her veil we created a veil that we used to make 20 years ago for most of our brides as it was so different at the time - it was the caged netting that we used to love so much and to give it a modern twist we encrusted it in hundreds of pure white Swarovski glass pearls, we wanted it to be matte so when the groom removed her veil after the vows her crystal headpiece was revealed in all its grandeur.
We created a second veil that fell from the back of her dress clipped into her gown like an empire line for a classic romantic feel. This was later removed for the reception to reveal the sexy back of the gown that was sculptured to her body.We wanted her to walk down the aisle looking ethereal and very delicate and feminine sp we also covered the crystal headdress with the Pearl netting as she entered as we didn’t want the distraction for her entrance. She was going to be captivating enough with her entire look walking up the aisle but once her vows were complete the veil was removed to reveal the sparkling crystals that made her stunning and captivating eyes just stand out even more.
(From Leanne): After our ceremony we had booked a private room at the Waiting Room, Crown, for the bridal party and our immediate family to relax and have a drink and bite to eat. Here Robert presented me with the bracelet that I am wearing later during our wedding day. It is the Cartier Diamond Love Bangle. The bracelet which has been made by Cartier since 1969 locks around your wrist, and tiny screws are then screwed in to it with a tiny gold screwdriver that each bracelet comes with. The locking of the bracelet symbolizes eternal love, and once the bracelet goes on the wrist it isn't easily removed, the only way to remove it is with the screw driver that the giver of the bracelet keeps. The idea is that it is locked on forever. My bracelet has remained locked on to my wrist since it was screwed on to me on our wedding day.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: (From the J'Aton boys) The Bridesmaids being her two divine sisters that we had gowned for their own weddings, so they had stunning contrasting styled bridesmaids gowns that were created in a nude perforated leather coated mesh. The gowns were contrasted in styles and both featured strategically placed sheer paneling and featured couture bows as accents. They were simply beautiful and tailored to tie in with the wedding gown.
The two bridesmaids also wore stunning handmade stud earrings intricately detail with chain edging and a Swarovski crystal centre by Fabienne.
FLOWERGIRLS/PAGEBOY OUTFITS: I had decided on an idea for my flower girls dresses before anything else. I knew that I wanted them in a leather bodice, with a large leather bow at the shoulder for Alana’s dress and at the waist for the younger flower girls dresses. J’aton then incorporated the lace from my dress into the front of each of the flowers girls bodices. The lace on the front bodice of each of the four younger flower girls dresses were then embroidered with one letter, together spelling LOVE. Our pageboy wore an Armani Junior suit, shirt and tie.
GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: The groom wore Tom Ford tonal black paisley dinner jacket with satin shawl collar and custom lining as part of a three piece ensemble including black waistcoat and trousers from the Tom Ford Autumn/Winter 2013 collection. He wore a silk Jacquard bow tie from Saint Laurent. The groomsmen wore Hugo Boss Glamour slim-fit tuxedo. The Groom and groomsmen all dressed in Saint Laurent patent leather oxford shoes.
HAIR: I knew that the very talented boys at J’aton were constructing a head piece for me to wear. To allow for this, we decided to have my hair pulled back into a low tucked under ponytail, in keeping with the romantic feeling of my dress.
MAKEUP: Tre Dallas has been my personal makeup artist for many years, so for my wedding day I just let him do what he does best. He would describe the make up for that day as flawless, stylish and glamorous. I love that his makeup felt so light but gave a flawless cover and from when my makeup was applied at 6am the morning of my wedding, I did not need to touch it up once all day.
FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: We gave each guest a box of 6 Koko Black chocolates. I love Koko Black for not only the amazing flavours of chocolates they offer but also for their beautiful packaging. I love receiving boxes of their chocolates as gifts and I thought my guests would love them also.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: All of our flowers throughout the wedding were designed and constructed by the floristry team from Styled By Solution RED. We went with a selection of soft white seasonal blooms, including hydrangea, dahlias, delphinium, alstroemeria, orchids and roses with volumes of complimenting foliage. Nothing was too structured, and was pulled together with a more organic approach.
The bridal party bouquet’s featured lush white blooms including Amy Lou and white lace roses with hints of complimenting foliage to tie in with the overall style.
From the J'Aton boys: One last touch was the bouquet. We had envisaged from our early discussions we wanted to go back to the days when our mothers in the 60's held onto beautiful bouquets that were made in silk flowers. We loved the romance and dagginess behind that as they wanted to keep the flowers forever. We always grew up thinking how that was so romantic yet no one still really had them any more as 40 years later people get rid of things and many brides back then wouldn't have there bouquets anymore. We loved how the thought of that wanting to hold onto something that meant so much. So we drew inspiration from that time and created Leanne two single pure white leather roses to make it an heirloom… her romantic daggy keepsake with a modern twist, a bit Rock'n Roll!
When we presented them to Leanne on the day, we thought she would just be able to keep them and remember the wedding or even use them as the throw away bouquet so the girl who catches the bouquet could have a keepsake. We would never have expected that she would ditch her fresh bouquet but when we met her at church she walked out of the car holding our two simple white leather roses… she truly brought a tear to our eyes. She carried those flowers all day with so much pride and respect for our vision like the incredible and spectacular vision that she was. You can see in the video when she enters the church just how passionately she held those two simple Roses … just breathtaking, she owned the entire look and made it her own.
PREPARATION: Robbie and I both prepared for our wedding at our own parents houses. Our ceremony was quite early, so it was a little crazy that morning at my home. The boys from J’aton arrived with all the dresses the morning of the wedding and dressed each member of the bridal party.
CEREMONY DÉCOR: Newman Chapel is an historical church featuring dramatic architecture which on its own makes for a grand impression; therefore ceremony styling was kept traditional and pared back with Styled By Solution RED providing two large statement floral pieces that sat behind the alter on tall white plinths.
RECEPTION DÉCOR: Feature floral arrangements sat on a central ottoman, with white pillar candles in glass terrariums lining the foyer which helped set the tone as guest walked through into the reception area. The venue for the reception was laid out with long banquet tables dressed in white linen, and styled by the team from Styled By Solution RED. Custom designed gold frames stood tall with beautifully cascading floral arrangements consisting of trailing foliage and soft white flowers to the top. This created impact and height to the tablescapes, and created an overall WOW factor in the room.
Clean yet elegant, the styling team worked with a palette of soft whites and green foliage, along with a mass of pillar candles and tea lights in an assortment of glass vases and terrariums to add warmth and ambiance to the room.
A large and stunning ceiling feature was installed in the centre of the room above the bridal party table that stretched out over the dance floor. The lush green installation featured more of the white blooms that trailed out into a mass of foliage including jasmine, ivy berry, dodda vine and hanging green amaranthus. This allowed guests to dance the night away beneath a whimsical canopy of foliage and twinkling candlelight that tied together our ‘Narnia’ theme perfectly.
The deck was styled with large mirrored plinths that were topped with feature floral pieces. A long seafood / oyster bar/ station was set up along the back of the deck which was tastefully styled with additional floral arrangements and tea light candles. Pillar candles in more glass terrariums were scattered along the deck adding to the gorgeous backdrop of the city skyline over Albert Park Lake.
WEDDING PLANNER: Robert, my beautiful husband did most of the planning and research for our wedding. I helped with achieving the idea’s he brought to me.
WEDDING STYLIST: Working with Styled By Solution RED we wanted to create a ‘Narnia’ feel that was opulent, elegant yet whimsical and without constraint. We went for a textural and free flowing style that created our own little piece of “Narnia” that gave our guests an enchanted and welcoming atmosphere.
CAKE: The cake was three tiers each being a different flavour. The flavours were red valvet, Caramel Mud cake & White chocolate, Coconut and Rasberry Mud Cake. The cake was topped with more of the soft white seasonal blooms and foliage by the Styled by Solution Red floristry team.
WEDDING RINGS: Top Image Jewellery. Jenny came highly recommended from a friend of Roberts mum. Robert had a design in mind for my ring and the order of the day was BIG! Jenny only sources the best diamonds out there which are hand picked by her. She showed Robert a plethora of diamonds, and each time Robert would eject saying 'bigger!' Jenny soon understood the task she was up for. The master handmade craftsmanship by Jenny's husband George was flawless, and the level of service overall by Top Image Jewellery was impeccable from start to finish.
FOOD & BEVERAGES: We had a sit down dinner. We both come from large European families and so really good quality, great tasting food was one of the most important priorities when finalising our menu with our caterers Food & Desire.
HONEYMOON: W Retreat & Spa in the Maldives. If there is a heaven on earth, this would have to come close. We decided on a a relaxing honeymoon to just chill out, away from our busy lifestyles. From the moment we landed the stress of the wedding was a distant memory. The W's motto is 'whatever/whenever' meaning that the W Talent (staff) will get you or do whatever you want, whenever you want. The island is tiny. You can walk around the whole island in less than 10 minutes; but each villa lets you hide away and enjoy the amazing views and crystal clear water. There is nothing to do, whilst there is everything to do. You can just relax and watch the world go by, or there is a plethora of activities of adventure. We cannot say enough about the staff and the experience at W Maldives. It was our paradise for 10 days, our escape, our tropical dream.
VIDEOGRAPHY: C2 Videography - Marcus is the man! We had seen some of C2's wedding videos so we were well aware of their amazing work. We met with Marcus and locked him in straight away as it just felt right. It could have also been because we loved his socks.
On our wedding day he was literally there from start to finish, capturing the day perfectly. Marcus is cool and calm and made our special day a breeze. We have Marcus free reign on our edited videos as we just trusted him and the results were fantastic.
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: Speaking our vowels at our ceremony was definitely the most memorable moment for me. I remember that moment so vividly.
IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE... No matter how organised and prepared you are things won’t go as planned. We didn’t stress about anything once our wedding day arrived as we didn’t want to miss enjoying our day for minor details. We simply laughed of any mishaps and embraced them.
ROBERT & LEANNE'S CONTACTS
PHOTOGRAPHY: Erin + Tara
BRIDE'S DRESS: J’aton Couture
BRIDES SHOES: Chanel
BRIDESMAIDS DRESS: J’aton Couture
BRIDESMAIDS SHOES: Saint Laurent
BRIDESMAIDS ACCESSORIES: Fabienne
FLOWERGIRLS/PAGEBOYS: J’aton Couture
JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES: Cartier
MAKEUP: Tre Dallas
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Studio Bauhaus
FLORIST: Styled by Solution Red
CAKE: Ab Fab
WEDDING STYLIST: Styled by Solution Red
CELEBRANT : Father Bob
WEDDING VENUE: Carousel
HONEYMOON DESTINATION: W Retreat & Spa Maldives
TRANSPORT : Triple R Luxury Car Hire
VIDEOGRAPHER: C2 Video