Our story all began when I spotted Andy at university orientation-week; both out of high school, both a young 18 years of age. Now I clearly remember Andy from day one of university, I’m pretty sure I can even remember what he was wearing! Andy appeared so relaxed, so not-fussed by the demands on university. It so happened, that we ended up having all the same tutorials together, and also that neither of us drove to university and both lived on the same tram line. And so it started with a smile, a hello, a conversation about homework, a walk to the tram, a MySpace friend request, an exchange of phone numbers…and after a few weeks he sent me “x x ” at the end of a message…and well, that was it for me! I was completely smitten! It took a few months, but we eventually had our first kiss….in the least romantic spot possible…the TAB at Crown.
When you’re younger, navigating your way through relationships can be awkward, so we never really had “that chat” about being together….I asked via text message and Andy responded that he assumed we were boyfriend and girlfriend. I remember exactly where I was when I got that message; so many important memories, still cemented in my mind, as if I knew they would one day be so important.
Over the past seven years, we have been on holidays together, bought a house, got a dog (who is basically our child), so it only seemed right that the next step was to get married. Of course I had been badgering Andy for probably a good two years before he proposed.
The night of Andy’s proposal, we had dinner plans, however given it was poor weather and the brand new puppy had just got filthy outside, I was not really in the mood to drive 45 minutes to the restaurant. Andy called out to me, but I was too busy trying to figure out how to clean the puppy. I told him to hold on. Then I walked into the lounge room, thinking what did he want….and then I saw him sitting there, nervously, looking at me. He asked me to sit down. And I honestly cannot remember what happened, except that I balled my eyes out.
I can’t remember what he said, I don’t even actually remember him asking me to marry him. He pulled out the ring and I kissed him. He had to actually ask me if that was a yes. So after a few minutes, I tried calling my Mum and she answered and I told her the news but the phone cut out (seriously!) So I called her back and she was crying and Dad was crying. And so then began the calling and texting to our closest friends and family. I am not one to keep exciting news to myself so after we informed all of the most important people, I put a post on Instagram and Facebook.
Choosing my bridesmaids was the easy part; my two best friends and my cousin who is like my sister! They were so helpful and supportive throughout the 14 months lead up to the wedding. The were even better on the day. Their dresses were probably one of the hardest things of the wedding to decide on however. I promised them they wouldn’t have to wear pink, as they’re not the most “girly girls”….but what did they wear? Pink!!
The dresses were from Sheike and fitted perfectly. They all looked so beautiful. I wanted something full length for a few reasons, firstly I prefer them for a wedding, also it wasn’t summer so it was more practical (especially in Melbourne) and I felt the style suited the glamorous mansion.
I would have to say that my Mum probably spent more time looking at venues and vendors than I did….she scouted out options and I narrowed them down! We visited one venue prior to going to Mansion Hotel and Spa at Werribee Park…and it was nice, but I just didn’t feel butterflies. When we parked the car at the Mansion Hotel and walked towards it, I remember turning to Andy and saying “this is it”! And it was, because we decided that day that we wanted to have our ceremony and reception there.
I wanted to have everything in one place and had always wanted a destination, “out of town” wedding. The Mansion Hotel was perfect as it has accommodation as well so people could make a weekend of it and stay the night (which most guests did).
I just loved the gardens, the open parklands, the old historic mansion contrasted by the modern reception venue. It was “classic meets modern” and we pretty much could do whatever we wanted and pick any spot we wanted, so it was great to have so much freedom.
I think I had tried on around 20+ dresses before I found the one I liked…it was between the one I chose and another dress – and they weren’t similar at all. The second time I tried on my dress, I just knew. I did tear up but I think part of that was just the relief that I had found a dress! I must say that I didn’t find dress shopping the most enjoyable part of planning the wedding; I think because it had to be “the one”, so there was a lot of pressure.
My dress was ‘Ontina’ by Pronovias and I purchased it from Fairytales Bridal. I loved the lace, how it fitted me and that it was not so classic, but more modern. And it turns out it was quite comfortable on the day; I couldn’t sit down properly, but I was walking normally (which is a speedy pace!) and all the bridesmaids were worried I was going to trip.
I couldn’t find a veil that I liked for a reasonable price, so I had mine made to order by Cailin Alainn. I was able to choose the exact length and width, how many tiers and the exact lace. I also asked Cailin to make a headpiece for me which she was able to match to my dress and veil. I liked that I had these custom-made so they were exactly as I wanted them.
My usual hairdresser travelled to Mansion Hotel to do my hair, as well as my bridesmaids’ hair as well as the mother of the bride and mother of the groom. Given the style I wanted, I had taped in hair extensions to give my hair more volume to allow me to have a fuller style.
My makeup artist was a DREAM! Amelia from Makeup by Amelia Webb was so easy-going, on time and did our makeup perfectly. Amelia had previously done my makeup so I had full faith in her!
I found my florist, Sonia from Flowers St. Germain, at a bridal expo and showed her exactly what I wanted and she made it happen. My bouquet was a mix of peonies and David Austin roses; mostly pink with some white. The bridesmaids carried David Austin roses, most white with some pink. Sonia was so wonderful to work with, I would recommend her to any bride (and so reasonably priced!).
My mum did all the flowers for the reception as she has had experience in this area before and this was a huge saving!
In the lead up to the wedding, all I wished for was that it wouldn’t rain. And of course, on the morning of the wedding, it was 80% chance of rain in the afternoon.
I had been so relaxed the night before, I wondered when it was going to all set in. Saturday morning I woke up and squealed “I’m getting married” and then the day began! Everything was running to time so I wasn’t getting anxious. There were a few small hiccups that the bridesmaids kept a secret from me, so I didn’t really have anything to worry about. I was ready to go and in my dress….and still….I was so calm. No one could believe it, especially for me, such an excitable person.
Meanwhile, poor Andy was so so nervous, he was fidgety and just wanted to see me walk down the aisle so it could all begin.
So two hours before the ceremony, I had to decide whether to move the ceremony indoors. I had faith that the rain would hold off….and luckily it did!
I started to get emotional when I was standing there waiting to walk down the aisle….Dad was trying to talk to me and I had to tell him to “shhh” because I needed to pull myself together. I remember every step around the trees, towards the aisle, where I stopped, took it all in, looked at who was there and then walked towards Andy. I was so happy to have my Dad walk me down the aisle. I was secretly so worried in the months leading up to my wedding that he wasn’t going to be well enough to walk all that way, as he had a very big surgery for cancer only 2 months before and the recovery was very slow. I had cried many tears at the thought he would not be well enough, so was so genuinely filled with joy when it was time to walk down the aisle.
I remember whispering to Andy throughout the ceremony…and also keeping a pretty face when my veil was blowing in the wind and almost ripping my hair out! Andy’s younger brother, his best man, forgot that once he gave us the rings, he needed to step back to his spot and not stand in the middle of the ceremony…that gave everyone a giggle. My Mum also told me just a few days ago, that my Dad thought it was nearing the end when Andy’s oldest brother went up to do a reading…his response was “what there’s more?”. It felt as though it went for five minutes for me!
I found Smitten Wedding Photography online when trying to find a local photographer close to Werribee. I loved their photos and booked them after a few emails and a phone call. Jenna and Jemima were so easy to work with, so professional and produced some amazing photos that we will always treasure. I love photographs and I loved having so many options for location shots…what I did not love was being in freezing wind for 2 hours to the point where my hands were going blue. But, no pain no gain! and the photos were beautiful so it was worth it!
Our reception was held in the Pavillion at Mansion Hotel. We entered to the band playing “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. I had never been to a wedding with a band; my Mum had never been to one without. Luckily my Mum knew someone in a popular Melbourne wedding band so we didn’t have to search far. Paris by Night played during the reception and were fabulous; we received so many compliments. They just completely changed the whole atmosphere and made it more personal. We had our first dance to “My Girl” which went well; but I was devastated that no one got any photos or videos .
Our meals were great; entrée was Kangaroo or Queensland king prawns, main was eye fillet steak or chicken breast and dessert was chocolate orange pudding, or Crème Brulee with a biscuit and mini milkshake. I did not get much of a chance to eat; but did manage to drop some chocolate on my dress. I was enjoying myself so much that I didn’t even care after about five minutes!
Andy’s brother Jake made the best speech I have ever heard. There was a lot of laughs, some tears and a huge applause when he finished. So many guests commented on it being the best speech they ever heard. It felt as though the night was over after only one hour…and I didn’t want it to end. But of course all good things must come to an end…luckily most guests stayed the night so we all had breakfast the next morning so I could enjoy our celebrations a little longer.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Erin and Andy; what a perfectly happy day for you both!
About Erin: Hi, I’m Erin, I’m 26 years of age and recently married Andy, my partner of 7 years. I work as a social worker in Child Protection and together we own a Golden Retriever named Abbie who we love dearly!