Sami and Shane

I am in awe of today’s wedding. It’s this amazing mix of high fashion, glamorous touches and a little bit of whimsy! Sami, the bride is co owner, stylist & interior designer at The Assembly Hall so was delighted to be able to put her passion for all things style into her and Shane’s wedding day.

Sami explains how the couple met and how Shane proposed. “We met on a plane and amazingly I had changed my seat number online three times before I took the flight and Shane had originally booked to fly out two days before but had to change it to fly with his mate. In September 2009, I was flying to Bali by myself to work in an orphanage for a month. There was a 4 hour stop over in Darwin, as we finally boarded the plane I thought the two seats next to me were going to remain free (hoping I could spread out) but the last two guys to get on the plane walked straight up to my row. I looked up from filling in my departure card to see a blonde guy (Shane) fumbling around in his backpack and looking up the aisle for his mate. I smiled and said hello, not really taking that much notice. As his mate (David) caught up, Shane moved out the way and allowed David to sit next to me (later I would find out this was actually Shane’s seat but he was to shy/ nervous to sit next to me).

Lucky David is quite the talker and kept me amused and in deep conversation for the rest of the flight with Shane putting in a occasional comment. We all exchanged emails at the airport, I wished them well for the surf trip and really didn’t expect to see either of them again…  I was quite focused and excited about my little mission trip and not thinking about boys… anyway I checked my emails a few days later and there was one from the boys asking if I’d like to catch up. My starting date at the orphanage had been pushed back a few days, I didn’t know anyone else in Bali, so I thought why not, they seemed harmless enough.

I must admit I wasn’t really that taken with Shane on our first meeting but the second time, when the Bali sun must have melted some of that shyness (so much that he got up and sang with the band at the bar) he had me… that’s all it took was to hear that voice (its quite amazing)…

Shane proposed to me on Anzac Day of this year. It was quite a production at his end. He had arranged with my agent (freelance styling agent) to organize a fake job. She had booked me in for a “job” doing a lifestyle shoot at a boutique hotel in South Yarra. It was a Sunday afternoon and I really didn’t want to do it but Shane coincidentally had been asked to do a last minute gig on the same afternoon, so we arranged to meet after.

I arrived at the Hatton Hotel and reception directed me to the balcony room where the ‘photographer’ was waiting for me. I could hear music playing in the room (a song that was significant to us, but I still didn’t twig), I knocked on the door and stood there a little stunned and confused as Shane answered. All I could say was, ”What are you doing here?” “I’m working babe, what are you doing here?” He said “ What do you think I’m doing? Come in and sit down!”. He had completely thrown me, I had absolutely no idea. As I sat on the bed he got down on both knees and I cant remember exactly what he said because we were both crying but we came out engaged. So gorgeous and an amazing planning on his behalf, very impressed.”

Photos today are by Leo Farrell who creates such feeling and emotion with his work – I absolutely love the stolen glances, romantic looks and raw emotion. Aren’t his photos just so delicious to look at?

Sami and Shane were married at Boyd Baker House in Bacchus Marsh. Not everything went smoothly, though the stories are certainly memorable. Sami recalls, “Shane’s mate did forget the wooden hand painted ‘wedding’ signs that were meant to be put out on the road. He did offer to replace it (God bless him) with an open beer box and black Texta, which at the mere suggestion I did loose the plot but regrouped and realize it wasn’t the biggest deal.”

Sami and Shane spent time before the wedding getting everything ready. Sami says, “To be honest we were both a little stressed on the day, before the ceremony. As we spent three days at the house and had to set up everything ourselves, the day of and before the wedding was exhausting but lucky we had lots of family and friend to help. It would have been nice to relax and enjoy the lead up but to fit into our budget we had to do everything ourselves, even down to weeding the courtyard! It was worth it and there was nothing but pure elation after everything was set.”

My dress was made by my very talented aunty. I took the corset idea from a D&G corset I’d seen on the cover of international magazine. In the image the corset was made from hessian but we used raw silk that kind of looked like linen. It was a long corset that finished under my bottom with boning and frayed edges and a velvet ribbon belt. The skirt was made up of 8 layers of tulle in ivory, toffee and black. My cap veil was made from an off cut from one of the skirt layers and we attached a fabric flower I bought from Diva and a piece of black lace.  I purchased a little cropped fur jacket on Ebay. My shoes from ‘KG by Kurt Geiger” (very high black suede pumps) were bought in London by one of my best friends and brought back a few days before the wedding. I hadn’t seen them but trusted her taste, I LOVED them luckily. I didn’t wear any accessories. I was thrilled with the way the dress turned out, it was perfect .”

Sami and Shane scrapped most of the wedding say traditions. “We didn’t really follow too many traditions, I had both of my parents walk me down the aisle instead of just dad”, Sami says.

Boyd Baker House became the focal point for the reception. Sami says, “There wasn’t really a theme we just wanted to enhance the stunning home and furniture that was already at the Boyd Baker House. We used lots of candles and lamps, although we did make tissue paper pom poms in black, white and cream that we hung from the ceiling over the dance floor.We had a DJ that played lounge music then Shane’s band played for about 45 minutes. The band playing really got everyone up to dance, and having the groom singing at his own wedding gave it a real difference.”

Sami and Shane bought flowers from the Melbourne Flower Market. “We did our own flowers. My best friend and her mum got up at 5am on the morning of the wedding and went to the flower markets (big brownie points!). We spent $300 and got enough flowers for the bouquets, birdcage, and whole house. I’m not a ‘girlie’ girl and didn’t want anything pretty. We used Kale (cabbage flowers) and other unexpected flowers. We also filled an old wooden birdcage with flowers and hung it from the roof in the courtyard,” Sami recalls.

“Our ceremony was held at the Boyd Baker House in Bacchus Marsh, the same place we had the reception. The stack stone house was built in the 60’s and is filled with mid century furniture, its quite amazing.  We decked the vine covered walls of the  open air internal courtyard with fairy lights and bare globe festoon lighting. I had collected old pickling jars and filled about 60 of them with candles and placed them around the edge of the courtyard and path leading up to the house. We had an open fire roaring in the main room that lead into the courtyard.

The ceremony was held on twilight so the all the lighting made it magical. Shane had built a wooden stage for us to stand on which made it easier for everyone to see what was going on during the ceremony.  One of my best friends, Evie, sang to an acoustic guitar as I walked in. We chose a Kings of Leon song ‘Use Somebody’ that Pixie Lott had covered. To walk into that courtyard and see everyone you love in the world all at once was mind blowing, it was really intimate. I was so excited and couldn’t stop smiling. Shane was a bit teary when he saw me, it was gorgeous. When I stood up onto the stage he grabbed me and hugged me. ”

The couple had some cute additions. “We also had our nephews in the wedding party instead of flower girls. I have 2 on my side and Shane had one. They wore flat caps, white shirts with skinny black ties and open vests, skinny black jeans and converse boots.. they looked very cool. I liked not being traditional.

I just had one bridesmaid, Jade, my sister. She wore a Wayne Cooper dress which had a pencil skirt and a black tulle overlay. She was really involved with the planning and preparation, even flying down from northern NSW to help with my dress. She did lots of research on accommodation for the guests and finding the outfits for the boys.”

Faith played an important part in the ceremony. “As I’m a Christian, we had chosen a Christian celebrant to perform the ceremony to make sure God was the main focus. She kept everything really personal and read a bible scripture I had chosen. My mum got up and prayed over us and we read our own vows that had written but not shared until that moment. The whole thing was quite surreal. We played “Mango Tree” by Angus and Julia Stone as we signed the marriage certificate.”

Sami’s styling knowledge came into play for the reception. “I spent weeks collecting 70’s champagne glasses from op shops, I’m a big retro fan. I made personalized lolly bags with “Mr & Mrs Johnno, June 5th 2010’ printed on them. And I ordered in red & white paper straws from America. We didn’t have a cake, we decided on a lollly table instead. I filled huge over sized jars with my favorite lollies  and got my aunties to make slices and cakes and  I printed bags for guests to take home the goodies.

Our reception was very relaxed and casual. We did it cocktail style with gourmet finger food (catered by Bettenay’s), boutique beer, champagne berry cocktails and vodka, dry ginger and mint cocktails.”

Throwing out tradition meant making new ones for their wedding reception. “We didn’t have a cake, first dance or even throw the bouquet… we felt it just wasn’t our thing. Instead of a first dance, Shane got up and sang with his band, that made it personal. He changed some of the words in the songs to my name, so gorgeous, felt like he was singing just to me and we were the only ones in the room.”

Congratulations Sami and Shane on your marriage! Thank you for sharing your wedding with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Leo Farrell for sharing today’s photographs!