How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
E: We’ve been together for five and a half years. Mel picked the location for our first date and took me out to dinner to a great restaurant. We frequented that same restaurant for a few yearly anniversaries following. Our first date was pretty magical, so much so that we’ve been inseparable ever since.
Tell us about the engagement.
M: I knew Elle was planning a surprise, ‘bougie’, celebratory lunch for me, as I had just finished my butchery apprenticeship; however, she didn’t know that I knew about this lunch. I had worked out that the only way to surprise my overly organized girlfriend was to OUT surprise her.
As Elle was so busy organizing my surprise lunch, she had no idea that I too, was busy organizing the ultimate surprise proposal.
I asked her folks for their blessing the week before, but I knew I didn’t have long to act as I knew how excited her mum would be and that it wouldn’t be long before her mum may accidentally let it slip. I asked one of Elle’s friends to insist that the two of them go and get their nails done, but Elle being Elle, didn’t like how her nails were looking a few days later [the morning of the surprise proposal] and removed the polish!
Lunch was at a winery down in the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect [a gorgeous, crisp, sunny Winters day]. I had a few connections with the restaurant, and so we were very well looked after. We ended our long lunch with espresso martini’s overlooking the vineyard.
During our afternoon cocktail, there were too many people around, and so I panicked and suggested we go up to Arthur’s Seat look-out to watch the sunset.
We got there literally just in time, Elle jumped out of the car and was busy taking photos of the sunset and the odd kangaroo. I eventually got out of the car, indulged her with a few selfies and then asked her to marry me.
The surprise that radiated through Elle was absolutely priceless. I didn’t get down on one knee, as I figured I’m short enough as it is!
Our engagement was just under two years. We got engaged in July 2017, and we had our venue locked in by early September 2017, this was before the plebiscite was announced in Australia that year. We were determined to have our big day [even if it was in the form of a commitment ceremony], regardless of the law at the time. We weren’t going to let a government dictate out happiness. Needless to say, it all worked out in our favor, as come December 2017, same-sex marriage was finally passed!
What lead you to the venue & the wedding day vibe?
E & M: We knew we wanted to get married at a winery and once we visited ‘The Farm’ we knew we had found the perfect place. ‘The Farm’ is beautiful; the surrounds are picturesque, and the vibe is so warm and exciting. On the morning of our venue inspection, we were standing on the verandah porch, looking out of the vineyards and we noticed a cute light reflected rainbow. Sometimes it’s the little signs like this that often have a big impact – it just felt right!
We really wanted the theme and vibe of our wedding to be a mixture of the two of us; chic and refined, as well as fun and relaxed. We had a mixed bridal party [bridesmaids as well as bridesmen] and they were all dressed in black, looking very sharp! We kept our floristry mainly to white with light and dark green foliage, incorporating some native Australian gum. We had candles and fairy lights galore as well as a super cute neon rainbow light, a little added extra that really tied everything together.
Elisa’s godmother kindly made our favors. They were personalized biscuits with our names embossed on the front. She did an amazing job, especially in working with our color theme and overall vibe.
How did you go about finding your wedding day outfits?
M: I was fortunate enough to get a suit made and designed just for me, which was a pretty awesome process to be involved in. Initially, I was nervous, as I’d had a fairly lousy experience in the past, while getting a suit made. It was really about finding the perfect balance between looking sharp and feeling confident. Luckily Angela at Joe Black was an absolute dream and made the whole process a breeze.
E: I worked with the amazingly talented Mathieu Salem [designer and dress maker]. Mathieu really did make all my wedding dress dreams come true! I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my gown to look like, and thankfully with Mathieu’s expertise, he and I were able to design my dress from start to finish. It was definitely a process I’ll never forget, and I was even lucky enough to have Mathieu dress me the day of our wedding.
We want to know all the wedding details.
E & M: It’s true what they say about your wedding day, being one of the best days of your life!
Mel got ready with her bridal party and her immediate family at their family home, and Elle got ready with her bridal party and immediate family at Yering Gorge Cottages in the Yarra Valley. We both had a very busy morning of hair and makeup [much to Mel’s dismay!], as well as soaking it all up with a couple of glasses of champagne. The morning flew by, and before we knew it, we were each on our way to the venue!
Our ceremony was very special- we took our time with it and it was really personal. Our celebrant Janet was amazing and by the time we got married, we felt as though she was part of our family as she had worked so closely with us!
We had our wedding couple photos taken soon after our ceremony. It was so nice to have some one on one time together and soak it all in!
We made a real point of acknowledging our loved ones who have passed away. We mentioned that despite these people not being with us physically on our big day, we knew they were there with us spiritually. It was comforting, especially as we know that if these people were still around, they would have been the life of the party and would have celebrated with us.
We went straight into our first dance [which was choreographed by Elle’s brother and his girlfriend, as they are both professional dancers], once we returned from the photos and before any meals were served. It was lots of fun and it got everyone up and dancing and really set the scene that we were hoping for our reception to be, which was one big party!
Despite being hugely into food, it was amazing how little of an appetite we both had on our wedding night, which was such a shame as the food was AMAZING!! We were both running off so much adrenaline and excitement, we just couldn’t stomach much.
The day and night flew by, like a beautiful blur, but it was honestly the best day ever! We both wish we could go back and experience our wedding day/night over and over again – the lead-up, not so much, but the day, 100%!
M: Seeing Elle for the first time when she was walked down the aisle still gives me goosebumps because she looked so incredible! Our friend Kaia wrote the most heartfelt poem and delivered this as a speech during our ceremony. Basically, the whole day was my favorite part!
E: The moment I finally saw Mel as I was walking down the aisle was one of my favorites. Mel looked so gorgeous and we were both so overcome with emotion. I also recall a moment during the ceremony where I looked out at the crowd and it was so beautiful and endearing to see all our loved ones looking up at us, beaming! It was a very special moment knowing that everyone was there to celebrate us, our love and the commitment we were about to make.
Did you have a stand out vendor?
E & M: Oh man, the wedding coordinator from The Farm, Anthea, was like our Fairy Godmother! She was honestly so wonderful and made sure everything was just as we had hoped, planned and dreamed for our wedding to be! Mike from Native Weddings [our videographer], as well as Niki [our photographer], were also amazing and the perfect match. Their work compliments one another so beautifully and everything about our wedding day was captured so magically.
And finally, what does your marriage mean to you?
E & M: We have both been very fortunate to have been brought up by families where love, marriage and commitment was a big part of our family’s lives. Both sets of our parents have been married for 30+ years, which has been a really beautiful inspiration and reflection of love.
Marriage was something that we had both always dreamed of. Growing up as part of the LGBTIQ+ community, for us, we always felt that marriage was a ‘one-day’ thing. It wasn’t until we met one another, and we realized that we were each other’s ‘forever person,’ that we were determined we were going to celebrate our love and commitment to one another.
Accessories Anna Campbell Bridal
Bow Tie & Pocket Square The OTAA
Cake The Farm Yarra Valley
Catering The Farm Yarra Valley
Celebrant Janet Hussy
Entertainment Issac Main – Main Entertainment
Florist & Candles Sugar Bee Flowers
Gown Designer Mathieu Salem
H&MU Rachael Evans Hairstylist, Dana Vaughan – DMV Makeup Artistry, Little Rebel Barber, Runway Room Cosmetics
Hair piece Ulyana Aster Bridal
Marquee Hire Celebrate Party Hire
Prop or Furniture Hire Feel Good Events, One Big Day Event Hire
Rings Renee Pellizzaro
Shirt Tailor Store
Shoes Mi Paci, Basque
Stationery Samone Shepherdson Art & Design
Suit Designer Joe Black
Transport Corporate Cars & Limos
Wedding Favors Elle’s Godmother
Venue The Farm Yarra Valley