It was an Italian proposal of romance that led Simone and Christian to pay homage to their love of Italy with their wedding. “We were in Florence, Italy – halfway through our Italian summer getaway” reminisces Simone. “We made it through 2 weeks of our trip and one late afternoon Christian was awake while I took a nap. As I woke, he was pacing around the room, urged me to get up and go for a walk, asked me to hurry up a few times before we headed out to catch the sunset at Piazza Michelangelo. It was pouring with rain and I was being asked to climb stairs…a lot of stairs. Through the rain, we trekked up to the piazza to see the view over Florence and he quickly asked me to walk a certain way – which happened to be away from the main view and people and into a random quiet area with a single wooden bench and views over terracotta roofs and treetops. I set my camera up and starting capturing the beautiful landscape, and turned around to find him down on one knee with the ring box popped open. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I screamed, ‘In Florence?!’ to which he laughingly replied ‘is that a yes?”.
Enlisting Jonathan Ong as their photographer, the couple set about planning a day that was filled to the brim with everything they fell in love with about the European country. From long lunch inspired tables for their guests, to beautifully designed stationery for the bride. It was all a nod to their own beautiful story.
The bride, a graphic designer, had a vision for the invitations. She explains “I undertook quite a lot of design myself. The invitations were designed by myself and printed by a letterpress studio in Tasmania. Invitations were letterpress printed on a crisp white paper, and wrapped in lengths of hand dyed blush silk. I sourced hand-dyed silk ribbon from overseas and had our envelopes crafted by a lovely calligrapher from the States. I then individually wax sealed every envelope with an olive branch design.”
The bride chose an elegant long sleeve gown designed by Suzanne Harward. She tells “I decided on a Suzanne Harward couture gown on my first day of gown pursuing! It was more of a feeling than anything – I just knew it was right. As my gown was custom, we spent the next weeks going back and forth with ideas – the girls were always too happy to help which was so refreshing! My gown was lovingly crafted from the finest lace and most exquisite silk, it was tailored to my body and fit perfectly. I went for a sweetheart neckline, which was hidden underneath a scalloped lace boat neckline. It had romantic long sleeves and a plunging deep V at the back. My skirt was a dual-layered silk crepe de chine, it had movement and blended whimsical and modern effortlessly.”
The groom wore a blue suit designed by Peter Jackson.
Simone and Christian chose Yarra Valley venue Stones of the Yarra Valley for their big day, inspired by the Italian style of the venue. The bride telling “When we got engaged in Florence, we knew immediately that our wedding would have a strong connection to this picturesque city. Stones of the Yarra Valley was the perfect piece of Italian style within an Australian landscape. We shared our vows in a chapel covered in vines, guests then enjoyed live music and canapés under the vines at the stables and guests were then invited to spend the afternoon reception inside the historic 100-year-old barn.”
The ceremony was heartfelt and carefully executed. Simone remembering “Our ceremony was lighthearted, honest and romantic. It was funny I wasn’t nervous at all, which was quite odd for me – I think it was because I knew deep down that this was the start of the best part of our lives. I could feel Christian squeeze my hand a little every now again – and that was the all the reassurance I needed. During the ceremony and in our Mass booklets, we mentioned our grandparents who were no longer with us. It was important to both Christian and I that we tried to include them in our day as much as we could.”
Simone wore a special piece on her day, noting “I wore my grandmother’s diamond earrings on the day, and a ring given to my Mother by her Father around my neck tucked beneath my dress. I never got to meet my Grandfather as he passed before I was born, so this was a way of having him close to me on the day.”
Of their photographer, Simone tells “WOW. Jon totally got ‘us’. He has an incredible ability to capture the most honest moments, without imposing on your day. We hardly knew he was there, and he made it so natural for us. The photos are rich with colour, filled with love and such a treasured part of our day.”
Flowers were hugely important to the couple, who hired Rita Feldmann Flowers to help them create their Italian inspired look. Simone explaining “We used florals in the Chapel to match my bouquet, made up of peaches, lilacs, whites and green – accented by brass lanterns and tea lights. The Barn was a green affair, lush garlands made from olive branches and eucalyptus cascaded down tables atop of a soft nude muslin runner. Brass candelabras randomly lined the long tables, leading the eye upwards to a large installation hanging from the rafters filled with an abundance of olive leaves and foliage. For our place cards, a single rosemary sprig sat atop every card.”
“We really wanted the dining table to look like an Italian feast laden with candles, wine bottles and foliage. The mix of olive leaves with raw cotton runners and gold candlesticks is still so dreamy!” gushes Simone.
Each place setting was carefully designed by the bride. She explains “After individually tearing and dipping the place cards in grey ink, I handwrote every guest’s name in gold on the hand torn paper. The table numbers and signs were also handwritten in gold, and the menus printed with a grey ink – all paper was handmade, sourced from India. This choice was a nod to my heritage, with my Father being born in Bangladesh and was something very close to my heart. Our guests were treated to alternating bonbonerie of Limoncello and homemade Olive Oil infused with Rosemary, made by my gorgeous Matron of honour and myself. I designed our seating chart and had it printed onto clear perspex, it was adorned with greenery.”
The couple chose a lunchtime wedding for their celebration – to maximise their time with their guests. Simone tells “Being a Friday lunchtime wedding, and having everything held at the one property meant guests could relax and spend the rest of the weekend exploring the Yarra Valley. We had a dinner with our closest family and friends the night before our wedding, then we carried on celebrations post-wedding at a local hotel and spent the Saturday enjoying brunch with loved ones. Weddings can run so fast, so this was a nice way of making the most out of having the people you love the most in the world in the one place at the one time!”
“Being a graphic designer I jumped at the opportunity to style my own wedding!” says Simone “if I didn’t know how to make something, I taught myself! I got to share my creative mindset with my fiancé and it was great for him to see what I do 9-5! I remember one night we were laughing measuring my head circumference with ribbon so we could send the measurements to my jewellery designer for my headpiece who was based in France, another time we spent the afternoon chatting and cutting the table runners for the reception – it’s these little memories planning our day that is just as sacred as the wedding day itself.”
The dance floor began as the couple took their first dance as newlyweds. “Our first dance song was “Better Together” by Jack Johnson” tells Simone. “We asked our band to learn it a few months before the wedding, and we heard it live the first time on our wedding day and we were blown away. It was an acoustic style which matched the chilled lunchtime theme, it really was the most magical moment. The lyrics are true to us as a couple, it is a song about love projected in a casual, friendly and everyday way.”
A big congratulations to Simone and Christian on their beautiful wedding day! Thank you both for taking such time to share your story with us. Thank you also to Jonathan Ong for today’s stunning photography.