If you need me today, I’ll be flipping through this gallery of gorgeous over and over again. Because it’s pure perfection. Captured beautifully by Anitra Wells, this beach soiree at The Baths is one for the books. And you can see every perfect moment right here.
From the Bride…It was always going to be hard to top the proposal! Back on the 10th… of the 11th… of the 12th (10th November 2012) – as my partner of 4 years Mark and I fell from 14,000ft out of the sky…. i reached the ground and there was a huge banner on St.Kilda Beach that read “WILL YOU MARRY ME?”. All our closest friends and family present on the beach to witness the moment! – of course… the answer was YES! although I’m not sure he could even make out my answer through the tears!
Little did I know 9 months earlier when he bought me a sky diving voucher for my birthday – that this was his plan all along! To pop the question after we skydived together!. Had I known – I would have booked the jump the very next day! but not being as adventurous as Mark – and being a little (A LOT) scared of heights – I put it off for as long as possible! It was an amazing day… a phenominal surprise… and something we will never forget…Topping that moment with our Wedding Day was going to be a tough ask!
That Christmas we spent down at Sorrento with Marks family – as we do every year. Mark has spent every Christmas and Summer at Sorrento since he was born. A beautiful house in a beautiful street that has been in the family for 80 years. Almost 30 family members packed into one house – chaos… and at times – stressful!… but so many funny and gorgeous memories made every single year. After a few weeks spent down there – It was a no-brainer for us…. we would get married in Sorrento. And The Baths would be the perfect venue!… we met with the functions coordinator one day – and had booked by the next!… a very easy decision for us!
Our wedding day would be the 22nd of December 2013. Just prior to Christmas when Marks family come from Sydney and Tasmania (and Melbourne) to spend Christmas in Sorrento… and everyone would already be together. While we knew we wanted our wedding in Sorrento – we also knew we didn’t want a typical “beach wedding”. There would be no ceremony on the sand… and certainly no navy blue or star fish!. It just wasnt “us” and wasnt what we pictured. While taking our gorgeous dog Marley for a walk down the beach one night – we detoured back through the Sorrento park and straight past the Rotunda. It was staring us straight in the face! and it was perfect!. Our ceremony would be held at the Sorrento Park Rotunda.
The planning and organising between Christmas and December flew by. At the risk of being hated by most brides reading this – it really was easy. Sure – the few weeks before the wedding were a little stressful trying to sort out those last minute bits and pieces – but all in all… it was a wonderful experience planning our wedding. We figured out the main things that were important to us (amazing photography, meaningful songs, beautiful invitations – and a ceremony that was true to us – nothing too traditional). Once we had those out of the way – the rest followed.
Our choice of photographer and videographer was a no-brainer. Anitra and Ben Wells have been family friends for quite some time – and having spent many a work lunchtime scrolling through Anitras beautiful blog and beautiful photos… there was no way our photographer was going to be anyone else. And Ben having recently joined Anitra as a videograper – was perfect for us! Anitra and Ben made us both feel so so comfortable and her trademark style of “shooting from the background” and not being too “in your face” was perfect for us! We were dreading being told to pose a certain way… or kiss as a certain time… or be prompted on some cheesy poses… but there was none of that!. Following our ceremony we were able to spend some genuine time with our bridal party and each other… strolling along Shelley Beach not far from Sorrento… just taking in the moment. Anitra captured some amazing shots – while we hardly knew she was there!
Our song choices were a lot harder than we thought they would be! Not through lack of songs… but we had too many that meant so much to us and represented key moments throughout our relationship. But in the end – i wouldnt change our song choices for the world! I walked down the aisle to “Until you came along” by JJ Heller. And we walked back down the aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. Our first dance was to “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino (The song Marks grandma and late Grandpa used to sing on the pianola down at Sorrento). Also as a tribute to Marks grandpa and to have him with Mark on the day… My wedding gift to Mark was a watch engraved with his Grandpa’s initials (N.V.S) and our wedding date.
Our invitations were my trademark GREY! (For those who know us – everything is GREY!… Most furnishings in our house… and most clothing! its now a running joke!). Yet finding a lovely Grey invitation proved harder than i thought it would be! Eventually we settled on the ‘Twine’ design from Minted. What an amazing company! so so easy and so efficient! from the day i ordered i had my finished invitations in a week. And was so impressed with the quality when they arrived. Mark asked me more than once how much they cost! I don’t think he believed me they were as cheap as I said!
Our flowers – I fell in love with! Our florist was also a very good friend and knowing nothing about flowers or what we really wanted – having someone we knew and someone we could speak honestly with – made life so much easier. Having searched the web and the SMP archives… I knew I wanted to include succulents somehow. Having found two images I liked – Lakeside Flowers went on to create all our flower arrangements from there! All the bouquets! All the button holes! All the arrangements for the tables! And decorations for around the reception!… All from two little images! they are AMAZING!. And the fact that my Mum burst into tears as soon as our bouquets arrived while getting ready – sums it up really. They took my breath away and couldnt have been anymore perfect!
We also decided to use succulents in little pots as our ‘thank you’ gifts for guests. But finding exactly what we were after proved a little tricky. They were either too big – too small – no the right colour – or not available at that time! But my Pa came to the rescue and offered to grow 100 little succulents for us! And they turned out beautifully! I loved knowing that there was some meaning behind each little gift… grown with love rather than something we bought in a store or online!
The wedding day itself – I cannot sum up in words. Although I hope we will – i don’t think there will be another day in our lifes where we will experience such excitement, love, emotions and happiness all at once. I surprised myself at how calm I was – being a person that follows a strict schedule and has to have everything in order. On the day – nothing phased me. It was just like it was all meant to be… and what would be would be.
Walking down the aisle was the most surreal moment of my life. And as much as friends and family can tell you about that moment – nothing will prepare you for it. Walking into the park with my Dad – in our little bubble… i’ve never had a prouder moment or experienced a prouder moment with my Dad. It was just him and I… walking arm in arm… we could have been walking anywhere. It was only when we rounded the corner to the rotunda and everyone came into view – that I remembered what we were there for!!
Our vows were my second favorite part of the day (my fav will come soon I promise!). We had both agreed on a first line (I take you Mark/Courtney to be my Husband/Wife) and both agreed on a final line (Until “see-you later” becomes goodbye – I will love you) – a little “in-joke” between us both… what we didnt know was what we would fill in between. Among my vows – I promised to cook Mark the most amazing chicken enchalatas (his fav!) and leave the fan on while we sleep (even though it drives me crazy!) while he promised to never make me drive a manual car (because i’m useless at it!) and to keep the credit card limit high for my shopping trips to Country Road (slightly obsessed!). We laughed and cried all the way through – and they were just perfect…
Before we knew it – the ceremony was over… photos were done… we were husband and wife… and we were at The Baths for our Reception. The Baths is right on the front beach with a huge jetty stretched right in-front of the restaurant. A great spot for some of our photos!. The jetty would be the spot for Marks big surprise for the night (and my favorite moment!). At 9pm just after the sun had set and we had danced our first dance – everyone was asked to make their way out onto the front deck of The Baths – for what i thought was a group photo!!!!
Just as we were asked to say CHEESE… fireworks exploded off the end of the jetty! A phenominal surprise! And just as i thought it was ending… another firework would explode over the bay!… and just as i would turn to say thank-you… yet another would go-off! A 10-minute fireworks display in total!…
And just when i thought nothing could possibly top our skydiving proposal…. right there in that moment – fireworks exploding overhead… it was topped! (only just!! hehe).
Photography: Anitra Wells | Flowers: Lakeside Flowers | Wedding Dress: Mori Lee By Fairytales Bridal | Wedding Cake: Peninsula Cake Art | Invitations: Minted | Reception Venue: The Baths | Celebrant: Emma Ceremonies | Celebrant: Emma Ceremonies | Accommodation: Hotel Sorrento | Bride's Jewellery: Samantha Willis | MC: Kate Haley | Nails & Pre Wedding Pampering: All Skins Beauty Clinic