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Heartfelt Autumn Wedding in the Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is quickly working its way up my “places to see” list. I mean, look at these shots from Kylee Yee (who also happened to be the bride’s sisters). The turning orchards and dramatic weather provide the perfect backdrop for this detail-rich wedding. And I could go on for days about the bride’s beaded Karen Willis Holmes dress. So head on to the gallery for more loveliness to bask in.


From the Bride… The question of who said, “I love you” first sometimes pops in conversations between girlfriends. In the case of Steve and I, that person was Steve’s mother on Steve’s behalf, almost nine years ago in what was my first meeting with Steve’s family. This really is symbolic of the love and support we have received from both our families since we started dating. Our wedding was the chance to celebrate — not only our love, but also the love of our families and friends and to express our gratitude for the people who had made our lives so special. The brief was simple: create the most beautiful wedding within our power for the most important people in our lives.

It was my baby sister, Karrie, who first suggested Stones of the Yarra Valley as a possible venue. A couple of other friends also suggested it as the perfect venue for us and when we went to have a look, we knew it would be the most beautiful, magical venue to share with our friends and family. Their warmth and professionalism made Stones of the Yarra Valley an easy choice.

Our wedding day was the warmest, most heartfelt day, filled with lots of tears and plenty of laughter. How could it not be when we had so many talented people around us, who made huge sacrifices to make our day so special? My beautiful sister, Kylee from Kytography, agreed to the insane proposition that she fly from London to Melbourne to not only be my Maid of Honour, but also my photographer. People might think I’m biased but just one look at her photos will confirm that she is supremely talented. To pull this off, we enlisted the help of Sam Dennaoui from Fox + Feather Photography to take some shots when my sister was part of the ceremony and in official photos. Sam is actually a primary school friend and she did a wonderful job supporting my sister.

My friend of 15 years, Rashmi, upon hearing of our engagement, expressed her wish to marry us. She went through the entire course and received her Certificate IV in Celebrancy just for our special day. A natural public speaker, Rashmi blew everyone away with her funny, intelligent, out of the box ceremony. Having someone who had been there since the very start of our relationship conduct our ceremony and speak about us as a couple was incredibly moving and something that we will always treasure. We had my brother Ken read a Buddhist blessing and Steve’s cousin read 1 Corinthian 13, representing the faiths of both our families.

My sister, Karrie, also a bridesmaid, spent much of her final year of school designing the stationary and monograms for our wedding. Our invitations set the tone for our wedding, with touches of burgundy, peach and gold in a vintage autumnal setting and sealed with a custom made wax seal with our S&P logo. She also designed the ceremony cards and the stickers for our “Kissing Corner” bonbonierres – ‘So Fresh Mints’ for the boys and ‘Pucker Up Lip Balm’ for the girls.

Our “Kissing Corner” was inspired by an article we had read in the lead up to the wedding about the benefits of kissing. We had a photo booth and props set up on a table. On the table were our homemade lip balms and tins of mints with labels designed by my sister. Above the table, Winnie Q of Vintage and Blooms set up some string and pegs so that guests could peg a copy of their photos in the“Kissing Corner” for us to keep, rather than having a traditional guest book. A lot of our guests were relatives who had flown in from overseas – Canada, New York, Malaysia and Singapore to name a few – and it was the first time many of them had used a photo booth. They had an absolute blast, which meant the world to us!

When thinking about our wedding Steve and I definitely had an idea of what our day should look like to represent us as a couple. My favourite season is Autumn. We spent many years in the beautiful Canberra autumns and to me nothing is more beautiful. There also had to be plenty of delicious food. This was paramount. So much so, that we wanted to incorporate this into our wedding. Our vision was a luscious, autumnal feast featuring fresh produce as part of the floral arrangements. Rita from Blooming Brides understood our brief and absolutely blew us away with the styling and decorations. Our bouquets featured hydrangeas, roses and crabapples. Each guest had an apple as their place card, cleverly pinned with leaves bearing their name. The centerpieces of birch candelabras were surrounded with beautiful flora, apples, pears and grapes. Over the bridal table, we had a sensational autumnal arrangement, which looked like we were sitting under the branches of a beautiful oak tree, complimented with hanging tea lights. It has to be seen to be believed.

It was everything I had hoped and dreamed for the day but didn’t think possible without a giant Hollywood budget. But it happened. Rita is magic. Having our guests indulge in the La Familia share platter dining experience completed our vision of a lush, delicious feast shared with loved ones. And so determined were we that our guests would go home with their tummies filled, we provided a candy buffet, provided by the very talented Winnie Q of Vintage and Blooms. If this wasn’t enough, we also decided to have a cheese wheel cake to represent our absolute love of cheese!

My dress took over a year of hunting to find. But when I put on the Caitlyn dress from Karen Willis Holmes, it just felt right. When it came to finding the right pieces for my outfit, it was impossible to go past the beautiful craftsmanship that Jannie Baltzer pieces deliver. I had come across her pictures early on in my planning process and they served as a huge source of inspiration for how I wanted to look on the day. The bridesmaids wore cream, pearl, lace and blush Zimmerman dresses, complimented with gold headbands and a burgundy lip. Steve wore a velvet burgundy blazer and there were touches of burgundy in our bouquets to tie it all in. The rich burgundy blazer looked amazing on Steve and ensured that he was just as much the center of attention as the bride.

Our guests were treated to a great five-piece band, Tone Tone Semitones, playing all the great dance tunes. Our ‘bridal waltz’ was to Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Slice of Heaven’ and after a few bars, guests were encouraged to join us on the dance floor and boogie before entrees were even served. Our fun loving guests loved this and ensured that this would not be a quiet affair with people sitting on their chairs for the evening. This was all captured on film by the very talented Simeon Bain.

Apart from our vows, the most important part of the day was making sure that the people in our lives felt special and understood how much we appreciated the impact they had on us. Rather than having a traditional bridal table, we had the bridal party sit with their partners and friends and had our parents and Steve’s grandmothers join us under the beautiful autumn wreath instead. The speeches were so heartfelt and warm that everyone said they had spent the whole evening between tears and laughter. The speeches were beautifully punctuated by our amazing MC, and bridesmaid, Cris Laria. A professional presenter, she was able to entertain and delight guests between speeches with warming and personal anecdotes. When I think of our wedding, I feel so proud of the people we have around us. Most of all, I’m proud of my husband and I. We pulled off the most spectacular day for our family and friends – and ultimately for ourselves.

Photography: Kylee Yee | Videographer: Simeon Bain | Floral Design: Blooming Brides | Wedding Dress: Karen Willis Holmes | Cupcakes: Butter & Milk | Shoes: Wittner Shoes | Bridesmaids Dresses: Zimmermann | Band: Tone Tone Semitones | Accesories: Jannie Baltzer | Candy Buffet & Styling: Winnie Q | MC: Cris Laria | Photography - Assistance: Fox + Feather Photography | Wedding & Reception Venue: Stones of the Yarra Valley

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Yarra Valley Wedding at Yering Station from Kate Robinson Photography

Oh Kate Robinson Photography, you sure to know how to start a week off with the prettiest of bangs. Case and point? This Yarra Valley beauty. Which is simply the perfect recipe for a day spent swooning. Elegant, yet personal and filled with the prettiest of details, it’s all around perfection if you ask me. But you don’t have to take my word for it, one look at this gallery and you’ll be singing the same song. See it all here.


From the Bride… Our wedding, styled by ourselves, centred around country elegance.  We wanted to create a relaxed vibe with a relaxed colour palette of ivory, baby pink and splashes of raspberry.  Touches included mis-matched white ceremony chairs, flowers hanging from trees, hessian aisle runners and table runners, an old window pane that doubled as a seating chart, an old school suitcase that doubled as a wishing well, lanterns lining the entrance to the venue and the sitting area outside.

As Shane is from South Africa and I am from Australia, we also incorporated touches that paid homage to our origins, such as kangaroos and springboks on the wedding stationery and placecards, and native flowers in the bouquets and table settings. We tried to make the wedding personal to us.  Our seating plan had tables named according to times in our life that were important to us: The Cherry Bar (where we met), Ascot Vale (where we first lived together), Young Street (where we got engaged) and Hawthorn (the football club that is the second greatest love in our lives).  The table names were photos of us holding signs taken by Kate Robinson.  We also had three wedding cakes of different flavours: Shane’s favourite (white chocolate chip), my favourite (orange poppy) and “the one” which was the main cake (red velvet).  Our entrance to the reception contained photos of us growing up and our parents’ weddings.

My bouquet had my late grandmother’s sapphire brooch pinned on it.  This was my something blue.  And I carried my other late grandmother’s lace handkerchief borrowed from my mum and worn by other granddaughters in my family on their wedding day.  This was my something old and something borrowed. We wrote our own vows.  Readings were a declaration of love by Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother, s8 ep6) and Dr Seuss’s, ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’.  We love Barney so much he had to be part of our special day! Our families and friends surprised us with a slideshow of Shane and I growing up and our time together.  Easily one of the highlights of the night! Guest transportation was provided, picking guests up from their accommodation and dropping their wobbly boots home.  This was our gift to our guests.  We surprised our guests by getting on the bus with them on the way home and the festivities kicked on at our place. It was quite an experience organising a Melbourne wedding from Sydney!

Wedding Photography: Kate Robinson Photography | Wedding Venue: Yering Station in Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia | Event Planning + Design: the Bride | Floral Design: Flowers of Yarra Glenn | Wedding Cake: The Cake Company | Band: Melbourne Hit Parade| Wedding Invitations: Ruby & Willow | Wedding Dress, Veil + Silk Flowers: Lisa Gowing | Bride’s Shoes: Lisa Choi | Bride’s Jewelry: Les Nereides  + Tessarella House | Rings: Tiffany & Co | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Alanna HillAnna Campbel + Custom designed jumpsuit by the Bride | Grooms + Groomsmen Attire: Country Road | Hair: Hair by Deanne

Stones of the Yarra Valley Wedding from fotoJOJO

Happy  Friday, lovelies! I’m about to send you into your weekend with a huge does of pretty from fotoJOJO and this Stones of the Yarra Valley wedding. After the bride + groom visited the Victoria vineyard, everything else began to fall into place for their big day-from the bride’s custom Wendy Makin dress to the gorgeous cake made of cheeses by aDixions. There is so much more to feast your eyes on in the full gallery!

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… When Nobuto proposed to me on Boxing Day last year, choosing a venue or a date was the last thing on my mind, especially as he had to return to Japan the very next day on my birthday! But after having lunch with my family at Chandon, my sister suggested that we visit Stones of the Yarra Valley (her pre-chosen venue). The moment that I walked in, I knew that it was perfect for us. Simple, beautiful and in the middle of a vineyard! Nobuto put all of his trust into me when we booked Stones on our six-year dating anniversary, and he only saw it two months before the wedding. Luckily, he loved it too!

We are both passionate about wine, and there was never a question that we would get married in a winery setting or that the theme would be wine-related. Our stationery set was hand-written in the style of Vouette et Sorbee, “Saignee de Sorbee,” a bottle of champagne that both love. The flowers reflected subtle wines colors in a spring theme. I gave Rita of Blooming Brides some ideas but trusted her to create her own special magic, which she did. Nobuto and I both love cheese, so we decided to go with an actual cheese cake. Vicki from aDixions sourced cheese from France and Spain, and created a work of art. When I saw it for the first time, I couldn’t believe how perfect it was for the setting. Nobuto and I wanted a photographer who was able to capture the day in a natural, candid way without too much unnatural posing. Jo Cush did that for us perfectly. She was so amazingly easy to get along with, and I felt that we had known each other for years! Finally, my dress was designed by Wendy Makin. I was lucky enough to meet with her in Melbourne during my visit, and she created the perfect dress for me in two months! I cannot recommend her or the team highly enough, and their dedication and friendly personalities are second to none. It was quite difficult to plan a wedding from overseas, and in the case of the officiant, florist, hairdresser, makeup artist and cake designer, they were the first and last people I looked at. I was able to go back to Australia for a very busy two weeks in August and meet with everyone, and I was happy with my decisions.

The actual day was wonderful. I was so blessed and honored to see all of the people that I love in the same room, sharing the special day with us. I was so grateful that not only did I get to marry my perfect man, but also that everyone I care about was able to come and celebrate. Especially as I don’t get to see everyone that often because we live in Japan. I know that my grandmas were also there celebrating in spirit, and I pinned two of their brooches to my bouquet as a reminder of their love. One of the highlights was feeling the emotions and love in the room, especially when my dad conducted his speech in Japanese and Nobuto’s dad performed his in English. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of tears. It was a rainy, windy and cold day, but that didn’t stop all of the guests from enjoying themselves and having a great time. We arranged for instant photos to be taken instead of a guest book, and the guests had fun doing this! In terms of DIY, I created orders of service for everyone and including fun facts about us and the schedule of the day.  I also created the place card holders from all of the bottles of wine that Nobuto and have enjoyed over the years. And of course, arranging all of the favors. It does go by in a flash like everyone says, but I wouldn’t take a second of it back.

Wedding Photography: Jo Cush of fotoJOJO / Reception: Stones of the Yarra Valley in Coldstream, Victoria / Floral Design: Blooming Brides / Officiant: Ann Flockhart / Wedding Cheese Cake: aDixions / Wedding Invitations: Little Flamingo / DJ: Full Dress / Bus: McKenzie’s Transport / Wine Favors: Ocean Eight / Wedding Dress: Wendy Makin / Hair: Christie Buswell (A Friend) / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Swish / Rings: Tiffany & Co.