Alex and Ryan

There is something very magical about returning home for a wedding. Alex and Ryan organised their wedding from Qatar – a Victorian vineyard celebration, full of family full of friends and plenty of special touches they represent the life they share together.

Ryan tells their story. “Our story started on a dance floor wearing hot pink shorts, a mullet wig and an equestrian helmet – there is no need to go into detail of what Alex was wearing. It was a fancy dress party and after a couple of ‘quiet’ drinks, I (Ryan) dipped Alex, kissing her thinking that we were alone on the dance floor… and no one was watching. I would like to add that I woke up the next day still wearing the equestrian helmet but also an awesome memory of kissing the girl I would soon marry.”

Chris Garbacz at Epic Photography captured the fun, festival spirit of the day with all its twists and turns!

Alex chose the Eden by Jenny Packham with Jenny Packham accessories for her wedding day look.

“There are many stories so I will just pick the best, firstly Ryan was meant to sky dive into the wedding but unfortunately the weather prevented this. His best-man Robbie (his brother) called someone he knew, who knew someone with a helicopter and sure thing a helicopter picked them up within the hour.”

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“Not only did Robbie organise a helicopter at short notice he also bought the exact same ute as the one featured in the classic hit song of the 1990’s – Mona! Complete with hay bales. Gareth learnt the only chord played in the song and after getting out of the helicopter they jumped on the ute and sang Mona up to the chapel. I am not sure anyone would understand why they did this, but it was a big inside joke amongst his friends about the song Mona that they classed as the daggiest song of the 1990’s!”

Alex and Ryan were married at Stones Of The Yarra Valley. Explaining, “Rising from the rustic, weather-beaten remnants of a barn left idle for generations, Stones of the Yarra Valley has uninterrupted views across vines to the blue-tinged Great Divide, Stones of the Yarra Valley is located on one of the most picturesque and historic properties in the Yarra Valley, combining two superb venues – The Barn and The Stables – with a stunning rough-rendered chapel nestled under century-old oak trees.”

For her walk down the aisle, Alex says, “Our friend, Gareth strummed his guitar to our favourite song called ‘May You Never’, by John Martyn. Gareth used to practice this song over and over when he lived with us in NZ back when we first got together, so it brings us back to that time.”

“We had so much family and friend involvement. We would have to start with our friend Kieran who 6 months before the wedding, started a celebrant course so that he could marry us! Amazing effort and it really did make the day so special, having someone who knows us really well talk us through our vows. We practiced the day before and Ryan was messing up every line, I couldn’t hold in my giggles when he said his vows in the chapel – but he got it right!”

Ryan says, “When we explained the day, some people called it a circus, we’d like to call it a festival of fun!”

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“The groomsmen showed their love for Ryan by giving him little digs throughout the day – it was hilarious to watch. When we were enjoying our first glass of champagne after the ceremony in the stables, the boys were messing around for the photos – there is a series of 3 photos which are my favourite from the day. You will see them pulling each others braces, then watching it ping back! Everyone has most funniest pose, it really does capture the atmosphere of the day – fun fun and more fun! When you look at peoples wedding pictures, you always feel that the smile or laugh is staged. I now realise that they are not, Ryan and I were having the best time, so much had happened in the morning when we were apart (lost wedding rings, a helicopter landing to name a few) so we were catching up, we had many funny stories to tell each other, so those moments alone to have our pictures taken were magical.”

Of their photographer. Alex says ” He was tall, dark and handsome! Kept up with the mischief of the wedding party!  I would like to recommend our photographer, who was recommended through a friend. She described him as the guest you want at your wedding, you are bound to have fun with him. And Chris was exactly that, he felt like a friend having a laugh with us who also managed to capture the atmosphere of the day!”

“We would have to start with Ryan’s mum who made 150 jars of homemade chutney, jams and relish for our favours. Our seating plan, Ryan’s dad and Barbara made some old frames and distressed them to give a vintage feel, these held Polaroid’s capturing embarrassing old photos of everyone and doubled as name tags with a message on the back, some contained a dare to get the party started! (dares included, starting a conga line, a human pyramid, a vodka luge buddy to name just a few). We had friends make beautiful framed chalkboards for our signage, scale through boot sales and vintage shops to buy props for our photo booth, making the photo booth backdrop by sewing on buttons and ribbon to some old material, the best-man used an old vintage book to hold the rings and a friend made the bridesmaids beautiful earrings. ”

Of people she’d like to thank, Alex says, “Shannon Parker – for her awesomeness, she isn’t a vendor by any stretch – she is one of my closest friends in the world and without her, the wedding would have not been the same in any shape or form! She went to the moon and back to make all the little details work! Every bride needs her!”

Yes, that is a vodka ice luge in a wedding cake shape! Alex explains “Instead of having a traditional wedding cake, we had a vodka ice luge shaped as a wedding cake – when else would you have a ice sculpture as a wedding cake?? One of my favourite stories was seeing the grooms party carry the 60kg ice luge cake out of the Stones, onto the double decker bus and to the after party!”

“We had posters up to promote our friends who were playing at our after party, we had a band called “the Honey Badgers” which was made up to include our reverend and some of the groom’s party, Gareth Penhellerick, a solo guitarist again in our groom’s party and also Ben Martin a friend that goes way back who was another solo artist – they all played amazingly given they played in the wee hours between 11 – 3am and we had the whole place rocking!”

“Ryan and the groom’s party had thrown in a couple of surprises for me, firstly my best friends from the UK that couldn’t make the trip had created individual video messages which were played on a huge plasma screen on the dance floor. It felt like I had them there with me, it was very emotional!”

For their first dance, Alex says, “We didn’t want anything traditional, no waltz here! We choose the song ‘Hey Ho’ by The Lumineers, it created a fun dance that we could jump, spin and have fun with. I remember when we were planning out first dance, I kept asking Ryan to teach me to break-dance so we could do a routine but he kept turning me down. Instead he organised his old group to choreograph a break-dance especially for me, they put me on a chair in the middle of the dance floor and did head spins and flips to an old hip hop song – it was so much fun and the guests loved it!”

Congratulations on your marriage Alex and Ryan! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you to Chris Garbacz at Epic Photography for sharing today’s wedding with us!