Ralph and Susan

The thought of planning an overseas wedding is absolutely daunting and seems impossible at first. However with an amazing Mum, an obsession for being organised and research, research, research it all worked out perfectly.

My Husband (who’s family is from Croatia) and I originally from Melbourne, Australia live together in London. We decided on Melbourne for our wedding location, mainly for the great weather and as my husband said, it’s the brides day, it’s more important that all of her family and friends are there on our special day. My mother in law then decided that due to most of their Croatian relatives not being able to join us in Australia that she would arrange a family celebration in Dubrovnik 3 weeks upon returning back to London after the wedding.

I researched lots of venues online anything from beach side, to hotels to mansion style receptions and it soon became evident that (possibly being influenced by having lived in England for 10 years) I wanted a period, mansion style property with lots of character for our elegant Melbourne wedding.

I sent my mum to view our short-listed venues for the reception. I had seen photos of Butleigh Wootton and was in love with this venue from the moment I set eyes on it. Our wedding was small with only 50 people so we needed a venue that wasn’t over whelming in size. The gorgeous dining room with its sweeping staircase and beautiful chandelier made it a perfect intimate dining experience.

We had both always wanted to marry in a church so we chose my primary school church, St Joseph’s Elsternwick where I was baptised. A very cute, small church with lovely detailing. I flew to Melbourne 2 months before the wedding to finalise things, see the venue and transport all my DIY goodies. I was obsessed with all wedding blogs and had so many DIY ideas I wanted to do but at some point you realise where your limitations are and focus on the real meaning of the day and necessities. I still managed to do a lot of DIY to give a real personal touch and I was really pleased with how it all came together.

I think preparing for our flight was the most drama encountered in the wedding planning! Packing my huge wedding dress into my hand luggage was challenging. I was very optimistic when I ordered my dress that it would be no problem to carry it on the plane… I was clearly deluded and my mind had been blurred by tulle!! With 3 women from the bridal shop plus myself wrestling my dress to the floor, folding, wrapping, pushing, tying we realised the only hope was to vacuum pack my dress!!

The following week I arrived with all the hope in the world, an on board case and a vacuum pack bag… we did it! My beautiful dress had been vacuum packed and was ready to fly to Australia!! We flew into Melbourne approx 2.5 weeks pre-wedding to finalise all the little details. On the day we arrived we had back to back appointments with all our suppliers, the first being the venue, it was breathtaking, better than any photos could show.

The 2 weeks building up to our wedding was great fun, we had lots of guests arriving from overseas and interstate. We had plenty of entertaining to do, yarra valley winery tours, MCG tours and general dinner and drink catch ups. So the day finally arrived… Thursday 28th February 2013, I woke up early, greeted my bridesmaids on arrival and patiently waited for everyone to have their hair & make up done whilst drinking champagne to calm my nerves of course!! It was all very calm with a mad panic at the end trying to get me out the door and to the church on time.

From this point on the day was incredible, it was perfect, we enjoyed every minute.

The one tip that everyone had given to us was to take a few minutes away from your guests and enjoy it. I think our time spent together driving from St Kilda beach where we had our photos to the reception venue in our vintage Bentley was the most special part of the day.

We hired The Baker Boys band and they were brilliant and kept the party going. We also hired a photobooth and this was an absolute hit, we couldn’t get our guests away from this, so big thanks to Jimbos Amazing Photobooth. The DIY lolly bar I had put together was also a hit and people were able to take home a little box of lollies as their favour.

At the end of the night, we were whisked away to The Crown Towers for 2 nights which was a real treat and nice to relax with my new husband. My mum flew back to London from Melbourne with us and 3 weeks later we all flew to Dubrovnik, Croatia to enjoy our second celebration with Ralph’s family. We had a lovely 3 course meal overlooking the adriatic at The Palace Hotel in Dubrovnik.

Photography  and Film by The White Tree

Ms Gingham says: A lovely, intimate wedding and all planned from the other side of the globe! Congratulations Susan and Ralph!