Luke and Madeleine

We are so thrilled to share Luke and Madeleine’s Relaxed Yarra Valley Farm Wedding with you today. Both Luke and Mads looked radiant on their wedding day and told us they felt relaxed and excited throughout the entire wedding planning process and by all accounts, the entire day went off without a glitch too! Their ceremony and reception was held at the The Farm Yarra Valley, which set the tone for a relaxed, rustic yet elegant event. All of the precious moments laughs and happy tears were captured by the talented Dan Soderstrom Weddings and Luke and Mads write about the details of their day for us below. 

This is how their love story began… We met in 2007 through a mutual friend while camping in Echuca. We were paired together to play mixed doubles in the annual Easter tennis tournament. We all went out to the local pub one night, and on the walk home to the caravan park we had our first kiss! The following Easter, I came up to Echuca over Easter with Luke’s family, and have done so for 10 years ever since!

Set the style of the day for us… The style of the day was very much dictated by our stunning venue, The Farm Yarra Valley. We loved everything about it – the chic interiors of the farmhouse, the rustic feel of the barn, the focus on good food and wine, and the friendly people who run it. So once we booked the venue, the whole look of our wedding really fell into place. Our overall style was relaxed modern and rustic, with an elegant and romantic overall theme.

The florals had beautiful tones of pale pinks and deep crimson reds, with native, textural greenery and gumnuts throughout. The buttonholes carried the theme through with gumnuts, gum leaves and other textural greens. This was set against navy suits and brown shoes for the boys, with a striking navy polka dot tie and a pop of pale pink in the pocket squares to tie in with the florals.

The bridesmaids all wore white, in different styles, textures and tones. The girls all chose their own dresses – Madeleine had five bridesmaids (her two sisters and three best friends) and felt it was only natural for them all to choose something in their own style in which they felt totally comfortable and also amazing! The combination of all the different styles and textures looked so beautiful altogether, particularly together with Madeleine’s structured dress.

When we thought about how we wanted to do our wedding, we thought about what we like most about weddings in general, as we had been to quite a few already. It was getting around and talking to people, enjoying delicious food and wine, dancing, and most of all, having fun! So it was pretty easy for us to create the atmosphere that we wanted with those things in mind. We had our professional photos taken before the ceremony (called a First Look) which was lovely -our immediate families, grandparents and bridal party were there and it was a really special time to be together with our closest friends and family. This also meant once we were married, we joined the party straight away! We had a cocktail style wedding, so we were able to get around and talk to everyone and the night felt so relaxed – it was wonderful.

The dress was designed by Suzanne Harward in Collingwood- such amazing designers. I used one of their designs as a base, and changed the neckline and back. So the final product was exactly what I wanted, it was elegant and romantic with the flow of the material and classic neck and back line, but the overlay fabric was a textured mesh/honeycomb fabric, which gave it quite a modern look. It also had pockets which were really fun! It had a short train, and the hem was cropped at the front to see my shoes! When it bustled, it had great geometric shape because the fabric was quite structured. The cropped front to show off my shoes made the dress so playful, so dancing in it was really fun. The ultimate goal was to make it elegant but playful, and the designers definitely achieved that, I loved it!

The groom’s suit was made by our good friend and very talented tailor, REMY by Remy Ghougassian. It was a simple navy fabric, with classic features such as waist buckles. It was paired with chestnut brown brogues, a pop of pale pink in the pocket square and natural greenery and gumnuts for the buttonhole. It had an overall relaxed feel, and tied in with the rustic theme really well.

Local florist Dayne Tyler Floriart did the most exceptional job with the florals. We had deep crimson red paired with pale pinks, tied in with natural textures of gum and magnolia leaves and gumnuts, and flashes of textural whites. We also had a magnificent greenery arbour outside on the barn, and we got married underneath, and inside the farmhouse where we had our reception, there was a stunning installation across the wooden ceiling beam, with gum and textural greens and magnolia leaves. It all looked magnificent!

Both the ceremony and reception were all at the one location, The Farm Yarra Valley. We were married outside in front of the picturesque barn, a very rustic setting right by the river. It was tranquil and quiet during the ceremony, and felt like we were the only people in the world! Our ceremony was at the adjacent farmhouse, inside and out on the gorgeous wide deck and out onto the grass.

The Farm had stunning interiors with polished stone floors and exposed brick walls, with modern lighting and white beams across the ceiling to create a rustic but chic feel. They have great wines grown on site at the Rob Dolan winery, and use local produce in their food. Their cheese selections were unbelievable, and they made our wedding cake on site – the best cake I have ever eaten (flourless hazelnut and chocolate cake with Kahlua icing)!!

We were married in front of the Barn at The Farm. We wanted it to have a loving, reflective and warm feel, not overly religious but more about Luke and Madeleine and the love they have for one another. Our celebrant told a story about how we met and some memorable moments in our relationship, which was a lovely way to begin. Madeleine’s brother Mark read an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Luke’s sister Emily read a reading called Home written by one of Madeleine’s bridesmaids who is a wonderful writer, Stephanie Doidge. We wrote our own vows together, and said the same words to one another, which was really special. We were both quite emotional during the ceremony, with the beautiful music being played and special words being spoken – it was so wonderful, and a moment we will never forget.

Madeleine walked down the aisle to ‘Feels Like Home’ by Chantal Kreviazuk – we both love this song so much, so it brought a lot of emotion to the start of the ceremony! For our first dance, we danced to Callum Scott’s song called ‘Yours.’ We loved his voice and the words of the song, so it was a special moment in the night. Funnily enough, we had some dancing classes but felt too rigid with the routine, so we ended up making up our own dance and sort of winging it on the night!!

We designed all our own invitations and signage, and Madeleine styled the gift table and “Advice for the Bride & Groom” station. It was fun to have some hands on involvement! We had a sparkler send-off as we left the venue, so everyone held a sparkler and we ran out through the sparkler corridor which was heaps of fun – and made for some great photos!

So what was your favourite element of the event? Tough question!! The flowers were absolutely stunning and made everything look wonderful, but we also loved the absolutely unbelievable cheese station that The Farm put together. It was on a long wooden board set across two barrels – they had their head chef there to explain the cheese to people and serve, it was truly spectacular!

The newlyweds tell us about the special traditions and heirlooms included on the day… 

Madeleine is a traditionalist for some things and not others. We had a First Look (so we saw each other before the ceremony), which is fairly non-traditional, but it was also really special and intimate. Then with other things, Madeleine is the ultimate traditionalist. She wore something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Her something old and blue were actually the same thing – a ring with sapphires that her grandmother had given her, which was very special.


Dan from Dan Soderstrom Weddings is a great friend of ours, and he is also a very talented photographer! It was very special to have someone like Dan involved in our wedding – he was always there when there was a good shot or an important moment, but we never noticed him – and he managed to capture everything! The perfect wedding photographer! We love the photos of us running through the sparklers, and also the photos of the whole bridal party together – they all looked so great together! There are some beautiful pictures of us down by the river catching the last light of the day with a blue and apricot sky – they look amazing!

The entire wedding was just a whole lot of fun! At the end of the night we were driven back to our hotel, but we didn’t want the night to end, so we stayed in our wedding clothes and had a cocktail in the bar at the hotel – which was such a lovely way to top off the most magical day!

Guests having a good old time…

Luke and Mads tell us about their favourite part of wedding planning… The team at The Farm Yarra Valley were absolutely amazing! Nothing was ever too much trouble, and they were always so excited and enthusiastic about our day, which just made the whole process so enjoyable. The locally brewed beers and on site winery, cheeses, local produce used, all added to the unique and boutique feel of the venue. Not to mention the stunning interiors and features of the venue – everywhere you looked was breathtaking and picturesque!