The challenge for every destination wedding is how to plan your day from abroad. How do you sample food, scout locations and source flowers when there’s oceans between you?
For Georgia and James, the secret lay in securing a wedding planner. Communicating through late night emails and screenshots of perfect locations, their wedding was a project managed from afar, where distance proved the secret to dreaming big.
Hidden on a private estate in Victoria’s Mornington Penninsula, Georgia and James’ wedding was a secluded affair. Manicured hedges stretched into the sky, while at ground level guests mingled before a sunken lap pool. Vows were exchanged on the estate’s main garden, rings swapping hands before a wall of white hydrangeas. Post-ceremony, guests made their way to the private tennis court, taking their seats beneath a crystalline marquee as they watched day turn to night…
Names / Georgia and James
Wedding Date / February 23, 2018
Guests / 107
How we met…
We met in 2011 at Ryan’s Bar in Sydney, possibly the most obvious place for Sydney 20-somethings to meet. There was nothing overly romantic about the way we met. I had had a few too many rosé’s and was not shy about approaching and making my intentions known. We’ve been together for almost six years. The first two of those were together in Sydney, the last three and a half have been in Amsterdam.
Our Engagement story…
We got engaged in Amsterdam on my 27th birthday. James planned a private tour of a photography museum called FOAM as a birthday surprise. At the end of the tour, the guide left us alone to browse. As I walked around the room, I noticed one of the photographs on the wall looked familiar. It was of James, on one knee, holding a ring. When the penny dropped, I turned around to find the scene from the photograph happening in front of me. And I said yes! We then went out to dinner and drinks and basked in our happiness, all whilst I had the photograph of James on one knee in my hand.
Marriage to us means…
Both of us have always pictured marriage as a central part of a long and happy life, filled with family, friends and love. To us, marriage is a commitment to love and support each other, regardless of the circumstances we face. We really are best friends and couldn’t imagine being without each other. We love to laugh together and travel the world, we really do bring the best out in each other and push each other to be our best selves.
As soon as we got engaged I knew that I didn’t want to get married somewhere obvious. We also wanted it to be a destination and a weekend away for all of guests where we could have both our wedding day and a next day recovery party. After scouring the internet for what seemed likes months and some serious stalking and handy work on Google Images, we found it!
We had both our ceremony and reception as well as our next day recovery at a private estate in Flinders, Victoria. The estate was epic, an amazing house, a grand pool area, 2 polo fields, a grass tennis court and a beautiful rose garden all surrounded by huge, thick and extremely manicured hedging . It was perfection! The ceremony was in pool area which featured a 100m long lap pool and at the end a huge stone urn which was decorated with sprawling white hydrangeas and greenery which we got married in front of. The pre-dinner drinks were also here, up the other end of the pool, with the amazing hedges as the backdrop and some beautiful styling from The Style Co.
The reception was held in the tennis court area. We really wanted it to be open-air but the weather was looking unpredictable, so two days out we decided to erect a clear span marquee but removed the walls to keep it as open as possible. Again, the huge hedging made an amazing and perfect backdrop. We also used this area for our next day recovery and styled it with new furniture.
Theme & Style
When we met with the amazing team at The Style Co we told them we really wanted our wedding to be different. We wanted our ceremony to be beautiful, covered in flowers and super elegant and romantic. For our reception we really wanted a party! We had stunning table settings filled with organic linen and beautiful florals but created a party vibe with a huge custom neon sign behind the DJ booth of our last name, ‘Rollin’ and a huge linen install behind the bar. It was perfection! We labeled our look ‘Hidden Soiree’- ultimate garden party with luxe touches and layered textures.
We chose Zoe Morley. James actually had worked with Zoe a really long time ago and mentioned her once when we came around to deciding on a photographer. We took a look at her website and I fell in love immediately. We loved how Zoe’s photos captured moments rather than posed photos and her use of natural light is exactly what we were after. Looking back on our photos we LOVED all of the photos of us when we are laughing at each other and the incredible dance floor photos. We all look like we are having the best time, which we were. I still look at the photos almost every week! Zoe made us feel so comfortable and happy and that’s exactly what we wanted. All of our guests still tell us how lovely she was.
I knew that I didn’t want a traditional wedding dress, anything overly feminine is not me and when I started looking I knew it would be hard. My first trip to a bridal shop was a disaster! As I live in The Netherlands, I found a boutique here when my mum came to visit and we decided to make an appointment. When we got there we weren’t able to see the gowns and I had to describe what shapes I liked. Needless to say it didn’t go well.
After a heap of research, I knew I wanted an Australian label for my dress as we have the best designers! I was almost 100% sure I wanted an open back and long sleeves and knew I didn’t like lace, it was too bridal for me. So as soon as I saw my dress at Jane Hill I KNEW it was the one! From the moment I put it on my mum, my aunt and my cousin were all speechless, it was my perfect dress. An open back, a low front and long sleeves accompanied by really detailed and different embellishment that followed the lines and curves of my body. It was gorgeous and paired back with an extra long, single layer tulle veil it was everything I wanted and more.
After James and I had our first dance and the dance floor opened I changed into my second dress, my ‘party’ dress. It was purchased from Browns Fashion and it was a green mini sequined dress with pink details from the brand Halpern. I wore it with no shoes and I partied all night!
I wore strappy, suede Alaïa heels from Net-A-Porter in a perfect pink/nude hue. Although high, I tested wearing them next to James and we were the same height, any taller and he would have veto them. For the reception and my party dress I wore bare feet. I was so relaxed and determined to stay on the dance floor all night, and I did!
I really wanted my bridesmaids to love what they wore and feel comfortable and like themselves. So I gave them free reign. My only criteria was white, below the knee and no lace! Loren wore a Dion Lee dress with an open back, Sally wore a Monse high neck dress with a long side split, Emrys wore a column Dion Lee dress and Jordan wore a strapless Cameo The Label dress. The same was for hair and make-up, I let them choose their hair styles and their make-up. I wanted them to feel beautiful and relaxed.
As with the dresses, hair and make-up I let my maids pick their own shoes they just had to be nude. All four coincidentally picked nude heels from Tony Bianco. They were all different styles, which I loved as it continued to show their own style.
My engagement ring is from one of the oldest jewelers in Amsterdam and is a rectangular cushion cut diamond with a thin diamond band in platinum. My wedding band is a slightly larger platinum band with slightly larger diamonds. James had his wedding ring made by the same jeweler with the gold from his dad’s wedding ring, it’s so special and was such a nice tribute to his dad on the big day.
Jewelry & Accessories
I usually wear a lot of jewelry day to day including a watch, a tennis bracelet, my engagement ring and 2 Cartier love bangles but I decided on my wedding day to just wear my engagement ring and some round diamond studs of my mums which my grandmother gifted her many years ago. My dress was so detailed and had long sleeves I didn’t want anything to detract from it
Groom & Groomsmen
James wore a custom made black tuxedo from a renowned tailor in Amsterdam, Gallery Tailors. James had several fittings with them and it was fully custom made for him including his initials and our wedding date embroidered on the inside of the jacket. James’ groomsmen wore custom made black tuxedos from Suit Shop by P. Johnson.
I came home from Amsterdam one week before our wedding and decided to get my colour re-done in Australia at Edwards & Co. I used to go there before I moved so decided to go back. I sat down with Michael from the Alexandria salon and we chatted about the colour of my hair and how he could improve it. After 6 hours I walked out with a completely new and natural blonde and about 3cm cut off my hair! It was risky to have such a change right before the big day, but I am glad I did, I loved it!
I always wear my hair down and I didn’t want to do anything with my hair that didn’t look like ‘me’. I had a trail with my amazing stylist Jasmine from Edwards & Co. Melbourne and we decided to do loose waves with a bit of body and volume. One the day this is exactly what Jasmine did and it was perfection, everything I wanted.
I was so lucky to have Chantelle Baker do both myself and my bridesmaids make up for the big day. Chantelle and I wanted to do a glowy, bronzed look with a nude lip and warm eyes as well as big, thick lashes. She absolutely nailed it! Not only is she so talented, she is so lovely and a dream to work with.
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Stationery & Invitations
We used Some Design Studio in Melbourne to do all of our stationary. They work really closely with our wedding planners and stylists so the process was easy. We had a digital Save The Date designed and then sent out physical invitations in the post. We also created a wedding website with Bliss & Bone.
Flowers & Bouquets
I was really particular about the flowers that were to be used on the wedding day. Luckily, The Style Co are amazing and offered amazing suggestions. We went with white hydrangeas and a load of greenery for the ceremony installation backdrop and white rose bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids. The reception featured textured and sculptural arrangements of black, blush and white roses with green amaranthus and pampas grass as well as white hydrangeas.
We used Joseph Willis. We locked in Joey pretty mush as soon as we decided on our wedding date. My best friend and bridesmaid Emrys also used Joey at her wedding and after seeing his video of that I knew he was the one for us. Joey is also a friend of a friend so we already had a rapport. Joey is known to capture amazing and romantic footage but also capture epic dance floor moments which is EXACTLY what we were after. Joey was a dream to work with and so much fun he even got down and dirty with us on the dance floor.
James and I headed down to Melbourne the Monday before our wedding on Friday. We stayed in Melbourne for two nights so that I could have my last dress fittings and also my hair and make-up trails. We drove up to Flinders on the Wednesday. The night before the big day my mum, my grandmother and I went to dinner at the local Italian. We dropped into the local pub after and saw most of the guests of our wedding there having a ball, we literally took over the town of Flinders.
The morning of the big day my four bridesmaids came over as well as my soon to be sister in law, my mum had stayed with me the night before so she was there too. We had a relaxed breakfast together and then started all of our wedding prep.
After hair and make-up was done my sister in law gave me my wedding present from James, an original custom sketch from my favourite artist who is based in Amsterdam- Cate Adriana, of my engagement ring, my wedding ring and James’ wedding ring intertwined. It was beautiful and now hangs proudly in our Amsterdam home. I then gifted my bridesmaids and my mother Cartier Diamants Legers Bracelets. They all loved them and now have something extra special from our special day. It was an emotional morning to say the least
Wedding Planner & Stylist
We used The Style Co. as our wedding planners and stylists and they also styled and organised our ‘Recovery’ the next day. As we are based overseas I knew I wanted to get a wedding planner, there was no way I was going to be able to pull off the wedding I wanted by myself and from The Netherlands.
The Style Co. were and are INCREDIBLE! So easy to work with and nothing is too big of an ask. They are so responsive and came back to us within hours despite the time difference.
When I first found the location for the wedding, I didn’t actually know where it was, rather I sent a photo to The Style Co and said I would like to have my wedding here, but I don’t know where it is, only that it is in VIC. And within days they had found the location and had locked it in for us, what a dream!
I was rather particular about what I wanted for the big day (and the next day) and they did exactly as I asked and more. They are so creative and worked so hard for us. There is no way our day would have been what it was without them.
Ceremony & Reception Décor
Our guests entered through the estate’s Rose Garden which was in full bloom and were greeted by a waiter with champagne. They then made their way down to the pool area guided by large round directional signage which was decorated with greenery.
We had our ceremony around the gorgeous pool area on the estate surrounded by the huge, green manicured hedges. We were married at the end of the pool in front of a huge stone urn which was styled with over flowing white hydrangeas and greenery that came all the way down to the ground and around James.
Our pre-dinner drinks were at the other end of the pool. We had a bar set up serving cocktails, champagne, wine and beer as well as a seafood bar offering oysters, prawns, mussels and sashimi. We also had waiters serving roaming canapés both hot and cold. We styled this area with marble bars and high brass and marble bar tables with velvet bucket high bar chairs. We also decided to bring in some blush daybeds and ottomans to provide more seating. There was also our custom seating plan – a large piece of white linen measuring over 2 meters tall in a steel frame displaying all of our guests names and their seats, it was PERFECTION.
After pre-dinner drinks we had all of our guests enter into the reception area through a door in the hedges to the grass tennis court. Here we had our clear span marquee erected with the walls removed and black wooden flooring. We had 3 long tables for our guests which had been decorated with long cascading white linen table cloths and grey Brentwood chairs. The place settings featured grey linen napkins with personalised menus in the same style as our wedding invitations. We used matte black cutlery and had crystal tumblers and wine glasses set up. All the tables featured short and tall glass tea light candles as well as three different alternating floral arrangements of two varieties of roses with minimal foliage. It was gorgeous!
We also decided to set up a ‘lounge’ area for our guests once the dance floor started. We had black velvet lounges paired back with grey ottomans and brass coffee tables as well as some floral arrangements
For the bar we used the same marble bars from the pre-dinner drinks which featured a large floral arrangement as well as a brass bar cart next to it that displayed James’ whiskey bar. The Style Co also had a custom installation made for us for behind the bar. At over 3.5 metres tall and 4 metres wide we had custom layered drapes in grey linen that fell behind the bar, they were pulled back to reveal the amazing green hedges from behind. It was incredible and such a feature of the wedding.
Lastly, we had a DJ Booth that used again the same marble bars but behind it featured a blush pink wall that had ‘NOW WE’RE ROLLIN’ printed on it with the ‘ROLLIN’ overlayed with a custom neon sign also saying ‘ROLLIN’ (our last name). It was EPIC and kept the dance floor going all night!
We had a simple two-tier chocolate cake with textured white icing and rough edging highlighted in gold. Our guests told us it was great (James and I were too busy dancing to eat it!)
We had the incredible Timmy Knowles sing and play for us during the ceremony and pre-dinner drinks. DJ Luke played for our reception. DJ Luke was so much fun and played some amazing, old school songs which is what James and I wanted. We also had a saxophone player join the DJ for a few hours which really ramped the night up.
Processional for the Bridesmaids: Higher Love, James Vincent McMorrow
Processional for me: Georgia, Vance Joy
Signing of the register: River, Leon Bridges
Recessional: Signed Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours), Stevie Wonder
Reception Entrance of the Bridal Party: We had a different song for each couple. First Couple: Like a G6, Far East Movement. Second Couple: Here Comes The Hotstepper, Ini Kamoz. Third Couple: Hallelujah, Dr Alban and Fourth Couple: Good Vibrations, Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch
Reception Entrance of the Bride Song: This Is How We Do It, Montell Jordan
First Dance Song: Sweet Thing, Van Morrison
Food & Beverages
We had Tommy Collins cater the wedding and they did an incredible job! They were amazing to work with and came up with some great, fun ideas – exactly what we wanted for our food.
As the guests arrived they were given a glass of champagne in the rose garden before heading down to the pool for the ceremony. Following the ceremony, we had a bar set up serving two types of cocktails- a No.8 (a favourite cocktail of mine from a great Sydney restaurant, Icebergs) and a Southpout Pour (a gin cocktail with lemon, ginger beer and honey) as well as champagne, beer and wine. Here we also had a seafood bar with oysters, sashimi, prawns and mussels. As well as this we had some amazing hot and cold canapés including a mini steak frites, and a tiger prawn roll.
At the reception we served grazing entrees and shared mains. For entrees we had salami boards with burrata and grilled octopus. For mains we served whole roasted fish as well as slow cooked lamb shoulder with some great sides of triple cooked chips, charred broccolini and a crunchy lettuce salad.
Dessert was also served shared and canapé style including chocolate mille-feuille as well as our epic cake. We decided to also have a cheese station of local cheeses for those who don’t have a sweet tooth.
The drinks at the reception included champagne, beer and wine as well as a sgroppino (an Italian desert cocktail) when the desert canapés came out. Also, as a surprise, when James finished his speech all of our guests were served a Smirnoff Double Black to signal that it’s party time. It was so funny as my friends and I all used to drink this way back when.
When the dance floor started we opened a small whiskey bar next to the main bar which featured a lot of rare whiskeys. James used to work for an alcohol company so had collected a lot over the years.
As the night got on and a lot more drinks were consumed we served a late night snack of a chicken gyros, it was perfect and got our guests really excited.
We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet! As we live in Europe we travel frequently and so have had a few mini holidays since we got married. We are planning a trip to Mexico later in the year for 5 weeks for our ‘actual’ honeymoon.
As we threw a huge wedding and we live overseas we decided that we would rather our guests donate to two charities that are both close to James and I than give us gifts or money. James’s father passed away from Leukaemia and my brother took his own life so we chose The Leukaemia Foundation and Livin’ as the two charities. Our guests were so generous and both charities were so grateful. We raised over $12,000!
We had Megan Watson marry us. We was divine, so lovely and very calming, she made James and I so comfortable and helped to ease our nerves.
James and I wrote our own vows and surprised each other with them on the big day, it was so special. James’s sister Josie also said a reading/paragraph from James and I favourite book ‘The Alchemist’.
The Style Co. had custom coloured visors made up for us with ‘NOW WE’RE ROLLIN’ printed on them. They handed them out when the dance floor was full and all of our guests wore them and danced the night away. It was so fun to look out over everyone and see everyone having a ball in them. We even all brought them the next day and wore them to the recovery!
Sources of Inspiration
The LANE of course! Pinterest and Instagram and our amazing suppliers The Style Co. and Tommy Collins
A memorable moment…
Oh all of them! As cheesy as it sounds our wedding day was really the best day of our lives (and the next day!). It was filled with such beautiful moments of love and was just so much fun later on in the night. Dancing around the dance floor with my new husband, our best friends and amazing families was something I will never forget.
One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…
Planning the wedding should not be stressful. Enjoy the process of it and take all the help and advice as you need. Being engaged is such a nice time, don’t let the stress of planning your day take away from that
If I could give other brides to be one piece of advice
Stop and take in every moment of your day. It’s such an amazing time and you want to be able to have amazing memories. Soak up every minute!
Photography / Zoe Morley Photography
Bridal Dress / Jane Hill
Bridal Shoes / Alaia from Net-A-Porter
Bridesmaids Shoes / Tony Bianco
Groom / Custom Tuxedo from Gallery Tailors
Groomsmen / Custom Tuxedoes from Suit Shop
Wedding Rings / Bonebakker
Hair / Edwards & Co
Makeup / Chantelle Baker
Stationery & Invitations / Some Design Studio
Florist / The Style Co
Cake & Catering / Tommy Collins
Wedding Stylist & Planner / The Style Co
Celebrant / Megan Watson
Venue / Private Estate, Flinders, Victoria
Honeymoon Destination / Mexico later in 2018
Entertainment / Solution Entertainment
Videographer / Joseph Willis
Gift Registry / Everyday Hero