On Saturday 25th February 2012, Ben and I got married. It was the most beautiful day of my life. We were surrounded by so much love and sunshine (it was 37 degrees!), light and limoncello. There were endless smiles, warm affection and well-wishes. Ben vowed to always indulge my air guitar performances and I promised to watch more Van Damme movies with him, and then we danced and drank and ate ice-cream. And now we are married. It's official. And it feels pretty great... Our dream was for a blissful, relaxed celebration with loved ones. Just a big party, you know? With lovely things. Ben and I were going for simple and classic, with rustic Italian food influences and an emphasis on local produce. And I kinda think we did just that. Thank you to everyone who helped make it all happen. We are the luckiest.
Our celebrant was Martin Ormond. He was fantastic - friendly, relaxed, supportive and accommodating. I very much recommend him, we were thrilled.
We had two readings during the ceremony. One read by my mum, which was a compilation of "advice and well-wishes" from my parents, Ben's parents and my grandparents (Ben's are no longer with us). We wished for a more personal touch when it came to the readings - words that really relate to us, from people we love and respect. I adored this reading. The second reading was read by my bridesmaid, Denita, and was a piece written by my mum. When we initially asked my mum for her advice and well-wishes, she had an overflow of words. Pages of notes. And so we selected some of our favourite words and made a little second reading.
Ben and I wrote our own vows, which we sent to my mum and Martin to check that they were a similar length (and also to ensure one wasn't just completely more lovely than the other...that would be awkward). Then, during the ceremony, Ben and I read them out to each other, hearing each other's words for the first time. I cannot recommend this enough. It's as intimate and personal as you can get. I was blown away by Ben's vows. Not surprisingly, our tones were very similar and we had common themes. Just thinking about them now makes me grin like a loved-up fool.
DRINKS ON THE LAWN
Between the ceremony and reception we played games (bocce, croquet, badminton, quoits), bashed a love heart piñata (which was filled with pineapple lollies, sherbets and love heart lollies), ate popcorn and prosciutto-wrapped melon and drank cocktails and Red Hill Beer. My parent's friends manned the cocktail station and were supremely wonderful and helpful, thank you so much, Vince, Ruth, John and Jess. "His" cocktail: rum, ginger beer, ice, lime. "Her" cocktail: strega, sparkling grapefruit juice, ice, rosemary garnish. There was also a kids table, with colouring books and pencils, and our guests wrote well-wishes on a 1920s typewriter we found at a vintage store (it kind of worked...). Most of us just sat on the grass, drinking and enjoying the cool change that was finally coming.
SPEECHES AND STUFF.
Ok, brace yourselves here... Ben serenaded me.
It was a complete surprise. All of a sudden, right before our Dad's were about to give a toast, he took the microphone and started singing. My brother, Jackson, had been helping Ben prepare this for months, and he accompanied him on guitar. I actually still cannot believe Ben did this. And how good he was! So very committed to each and every note. Ben is not a singer - he has a good voice, but he is not a "singer" by any means. And he has never, ever sung in front of people (well, besides late night karaoke). So this was a big deal. A big, beautiful deal.
What did he sing?....... My Girl.
"I've got sunshine...."
Yeah, still pinching myself about that. My Dad decided to learn some Italian phrases for his toast, which he did so well, it was truly wonderful. He then lead us in a toast, as all the guests were handed a shot of his homemade limoncello.
FOOD AND THE TABLES
Our caterer was the incredibly talented and gorgeous Anna Gentile. Anna started (then sold) the popular cafe Via Boffe in Mornington and also runs her own cooking school, La Zucchera. She's presently running Rumours, in Mt Martha. Anna is Italian herself, and so completely understood and nurtured our vision for a rustic, Italian-style dinner, with sharing platters and an emphasis on quality produce. I cannot thank her enough for her passion and persistence. She's a truly outstanding lady. Anna was so pivotal in helping to make our day so perfect. Knowing how important food was to us, she went out of her way to ensure that the quality was exceptional. And it was. She was our champion.
We knew we wanted long tables for our Wedding, with a few special little touches to make it feel like "us", like a party we'd throw at home. But, obviously, so much better.
Lisianthus, rosemary, mint and lemons lined the tables. And we had Espalier lemon trees from Nielsen's Nursery along the sides.
We spent the months before the Wedding collecting vintage spoons from op shops to use as our place settings. They were all different styles, shapes and sizes, and I rather adored them. We had Dad's homemade Limoncello as a gift for our guests, and I was in love with these little lemon-kissed bottles.
On the table were Anna's homemade olives , along with crusty bread, beautiful extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Entree: divine lamb backstrap salad, with garlic and mint dressing. Vegetarian Entrée: roasted vegetable stack with beautiful ricotta.
Main: beautiful prosciutto-wrapped, stuffed chicken breast with a sage, white wine, butter sauce. There were two fillings: mushroom, thyme and fontina, and olive and provolone. Vegetarian Main: agnolotti with basil pesto drizzle.
Along with simple mixed leaf, radicchio, shaved fennel salads.
To drink: Port Phillip Estate 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and Lavina 2008 Shiraz.
Dessert: deconstructed lemon tart served in little jars. This was my dream dessert. A beautiful homemade biscuit base, topped with homemade lemon curd. Bowls of whipped cream were on the table for guests to add if they desired. Anna realised my vision and made it come true. I was in love... and the guests adored them also.
And then there was the Somers General Store Retro Gelati Van! Thank you, Leisa. I cannot believe how lucky we were to have this. From the van we ate dreamy scoops of Ricketts Point ice-cream. After much research we chose mixed berry and honey and ginger. This was our cutting the cake moment. It was perfect.
There was a tea and coffee table with (english breakfast or peppermint tea for guests to choose from). We also had baci chocolates (our favourite) for a sweet bite.
Mum and our friend, Phyllis, worked very hard two days before the Wedding making Orange Almond Cakes. These beauties were simple, gorgeous and elegant. Mum also discovered a vintage trunk and crafted a sign for our cards. My parents are so amazing. It's overwhelming. They worked so hard, but very happily so, to help make our day so special. I will never ever be able to thank them enough for this. Ever.
Location: The Briars Historic Park and Homestead.
Dress: Fleur Wood.
Bridesmaids Dresses: Anthropology.
Hair: Minks Studio. Erin was my hairstylist.
Make-Up: my friend and bridesmaid, George.
Earrings and Hairpin: my Nana's.
Boy's Suits: Tailor Made.
Flowers: Poppies in Red Hill.
Photography: our friend, Bella.
Face props: from Etsy
Feel free to contact me for further recommendations.