Hana & Ben
There is something beautifully enchanting about Hana and Ben’s whimsical Laurens Hall wedding. The venue, a working furniture workshop gave an industrial blank canvas feel to the wedding day, but the special stories (like the groom’s serenade) are what completely added the magic. Hana and Ben chose Ali Bailey to photograph their wedding day.
Of how they met, Hana tells. “Our story is full of coincidence and we’re basically “star-crossed lovers” (but with families who are besties as opposed to warring rivals). When we first met and got talking in a bar we discovered that Ben’s parents and my dad were from the same little town in North East Victoria called Myrtleford. They had in fact grown up together and our meeting was a very happy reunion for them. They also have a mutual friend called Noel who had coincidentally gifted Ben and I matching hobby horses when we were babies.
Not long after this discovery, we also found that we had our own dear friend in common, Tash, who had photo evidence of us both at her 21st birthday party in Melbourne 10 years earlier. Then, when I first met Ben’s wonderful ‘cousin-in-law’ Em she recognised me as “that little girl” with whom she’d walked hand-in-hand at the Heidelberg street parade as a child. Our families each have photos of us together in costume on that day and it’s extra magical as I was only at Em’s school here in Melbourne for six months before my family moved away to Canberra. These are just a few of the many synchronicities that keep on presenting themselves and we feel pretty safe to say that we were meant to meet eventually.”
The groom and groomsmen wore black suits with black ties from Jack London.
Hana and Ben raved about the vendors they chose, the bride remarking “Ben’s cousin Bianca Browne of Section A Jewellery also custom made our wedding rings. My cousin Emily Lo Bianco of Emily Jade Make Up Artistry generously did a beautiful job for me and my bridesmaids. Elena Nardone of Rokk Ebony South Melbourne did my hair, and she’s a magician.”
The bride wore Carla Zampatti, remarking, “My dress was by Carla Zampatti. I chose it with the help of my mum and “honorary godmother” Sarina. I am very small and it was the first dress that didn’t swamp me. It actually made us giggle when I put it on because it was fun and floaty and different.”
Hana and Ben held both their ceremony and reception at Laurens Hall, North Melbourne, Hana telling, “Both our ceremony and reception were held at the magnificent and characterful Laurens Hall. It is a recycled timber workshop and was the original Railways Printing Works in the industrial part of North Melbourne. The space is lovingly curated by Charles who makes beautiful furniture and now hosts all sorts of events on site. A number of our guests commented that the venue touched on all the senses, which is a part of its charm.”
Hana walked down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun, played by our friend and Ben’s fellow guitarist Christian Meyer.”
Sian Holm officiated the ceremony, the bride telling, “Our ceremony involved a lot of our people and was the best. Tash read the lyrics to Nick Drake’s Time Has Told Me, my cousin Jenna read the Peace Prayer of St Francis in Italian and Ben’s cousin Bec read some choice words from Doc in Back to the Future.”
Hana remembers, “My dress caught on fire. True story, and actually kind of devastating. After we had some photos taken I went to give a friend a hug and stood in front an industrial heater which burnt a hole through a couple of layers of my dress. Luckily my exceptionally resourceful aunt Carmela came to the rescue with a ribbon from my mum’s wedding dress and in the end it wasn’t so bad! If I hadn’t laughed I would have cried, so I laughed and downed the champagne my sister immediately shoved into my hand.”
Of their photographer, Hana tells, “Ali Bailey is magnificent. She is not just exceptionally talented, she is very natural and has remarkable attention to detail. Neither of us is especially comfortable in front of the camera but her calm and warm nature made it all fun and easy. We both trusted her implicitly and couldn’t recommend her highly enough.”
Sarah Conly of Chalkies Blooms created the gorgeous floral arrangements for the day, Hana explaining, “Sarah put together perfect bouquets and a stunning hanging installation for us. She interpreted perfectly what I imagined and is so genuinely creative.”
Guests enjoyed a sit down meal catered by Ed Dixon Food Design , Hana noting, “We were both impressed with our celebrant Sian Holm and our caterer Ed Dixon Food Design (thank you in particular to Gabby) as well as with Charles and Mary of Laurens Hall. They are both so refreshingly authentic and worked very closely with us to make our wedding the unique experience that it was.”
Each guest was gifted a potted herb plant at their place setting, Hana noting, “My mum is responsible for most of the decoration, she put so much love and care and creative wizardry into the day. She and Sarina nurtured the favours, which were high maintenance little herb plants, for months on end to the point of referring to them as “Rosemary’s Babies.”
The wedding cake and accompanying desserts were made by family and friends, Hana remembering “So many people came together for us it’s unbelievable, especially for the dessert table.
Our two wedding cakes were made by Sarina and by my actual godmother Sue along with my “god siblings” Alex and Tris. My aunt Carmela made cannoli, Ben’s mum Pat made his grandma’s pumpkin pies and lemon tarts for the next day, another of my “honorary godmothers” Vasilo made traditional Greek biscuits and my nonna, who wasn’t able to be with us on the day, still managed to produce her delicious biscotti.
Oh, and the fabulous children’s book illustrator Ann James not only drew our invitations but also created a cake topper for us featuring our beloved Boston Terrier Bruno as a Dean Martin-style crooner complete with backing dancers. It was called Bruno and the Brunettes.”
“There were so many special details it’s hard to pick just one or two. My new sister-in-law Anna is a professional vocalist and she gave a stunning performance after the ceremony. Benny’s comedy duo cousins, Jack and Roh, MC’d for us like champions. Bruno made a cameo appearance as an “oracle” during the speeches assisted by Ben’s oldest friends Zeke, Paul and Felix. Mikko provided all the food hire equipment, Dan Mac was a dream DJ and Tabata and Giulio whipped up a photo booth at the last minute. Basically, our people made the day!”
The first dance was unforgettable, Hana explaining, “We planned for our first dance to be to ‘A Te’ by Jovanotti. Then on the night Ben went and blew me away with a cover of it that he’d recorded with his band Anna Paddick, Alan Dinh and Christian Meyer. He sang it in Italian and I was actually so overwhelmed that I wasn’t able to properly take it in until we were in Tokyo three days later. The song holds meaning for us from when we lived in Italy together.”
Congratulations on your marriage Hana and Ben! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Ali Bailey for sharing today’s wedding!