“I wanted it to feel like a warm hug,” tells today’s bride Alex of the vibe she and husband Luke wanted for their wedding day. And when you combine a stunning country venue, a story that is packed full of personality, a twenty-person bridal party and these two, you not only get a wedding that feels like the best of stories, but a lot of feel-good factor too.

With Dan Cartwright behind the camera, the duo set about celebrating with their very favourite people at the Melross & Willows Estate – the most beautiful setting for an Autumn escape.

It was Tinder that drew Alex and Luke together. Alex telling the tale, “It was three years ago through Tinder. I had four matches on Tinder, Luke had 700. It took him 10 days to make contact and ask me out, and then on our first date, he told me he was likely going to move indefinitely to London before the end of the year. He was immediately friend zoned, but we got along like a house on fire and I thought he was super lovely, so we decided to keep in touch and be friends.
We only caught up two or three times in the months leading up to his departure but before we knew it, it was less than a week to go! We decided to have one last hurrah drink to say goodbye, and it was really in that final catch-up that we realised we actually really liked each other. It all escalated very quickly from there. We spent as much time over 48 hours as possible and then he hopped on a plane.
We both knew as he flew off that we were in trouble. We called each other everyday and every night from the moment he left.
It took him five days to tell me he loved me (albeit, after seven steins at Oktoberfest), eight days for me to book a flight to London to visit him, and seven months for him to fly home to me. He proposed on my birthday, eleven months after returning home.”

The bride wore two beautiful gowns from British designers Needle & Thread. She tells, “Both of my dresses were from a UK brand Needle and Thread. I found my dress three weeks after becoming engaged. I was looking in a wedding magazine and saw another bride wearing the brand. It was so different and beautiful and when I saw it was labelled ‘Needle and Thread by ASOS’, it immediately peaked my interest – how can something so delicate and beautiful come from ASOS??? I bypassed the middle man and went straight to the source for their full collection. My dress was sitting on the ‘fall collection coming soon’ page. I immediately fell in love with it. It was a dream. I stalked the brand for a month before the collection finally went on sale. It was so unbelievably affordable. When it arrived, I had two of my sisters and my mother over for the big try on and reveal. It was an amazing night. Despite my intense love for it, that dress ended up being my reception dress. I bought another Needle and Thread dress from their bridal collection for the ceremony. It was so nice having the two as they compliment one another and the reception dress was lighter, so I could easily party the night away.”

Alex and Luke enlisted Clementine Posy to style the beautiful floral details for the day, including an amazing floral arbour. Alex remarks, “I had the most AMAZING flowers from Clementine Posy. Ashleigh was absolute dream and took the time to individually tailor each bridesmaid bouquet to the girl and her outfit. Every bouquet was unique and it just took the whole look to a new level. I wanted to have a really romantic, autumnal, native feel with the flowers; pops of deep reds with creams and pinks, with some native flowers thrown in, which I think Clementine Posy captured beautifully.
My arbour was a masterpiece. I almost dropped dead from excitement when I saw it.”

The beautiful Melross & Willows Estate set the scene for ALex and Luke, who wanted a venue that accommodated their rather larger than usual bridal party. Alex explains, “It was a one stop shop with Melross & Willows Estate. We had two houses on the property for three nights that slept 10 in each, which was the perfect size for our two bridal parties. The Bridal House sat just across the lawn from the venue and had a plethora of locations where the ceremony could be held. We chose behind the house by a golden tree as it provided shade in the event of a glaring sun.
The Barn on Melross was our reception venue and it was an amazing space with high ceilings, a purpose built dance alcove and internal bar. Glass doors spanned half the venue, opening up to a patio with 240 degree views of the rolling hills. The venue gave us complete freedom to transform the space into whatever we pleased, which allowed for me to really get my DIY creative juices flowing. We had access from two days prior, so there was no stress leading up to or on the day.”

Alex remembers, “I wrote a custom song to walk down to. It was to the tune of ‘Kiss the Girl’ from The Little Mermaid but all the lyrics were about how we got together. I changed ‘kiss the girl’ to ‘marry her’ and the bridal party chimed in on the chorus. My Dad Warrick walked me down the aisle.

I also completely missed walking down the aisle. Even though I had watched it be built behind the house that very morning, and I knew exactly where it was, as soon as I rounded the house and saw Luke, I automatically took the shortest route possible behind the singers and around the guests. I just bee-lined for him and didn’t even realise until someone told me later that I hadn’t walked down the aisle. This also meant that Luke was busy looking in the opposite direction at the flower girls waiting for me to appear, so he didn’t see me until the last minute when he turned around. I remember saying to my Dad, ‘he’s not even looking at me!’ Ha ha.”

Alex and Luke were married by Celebrate With Kate who also acted as one of the bridesmaids on the day! Says Alex, “We wanted our ceremony to be really relaxed and warm and full of love. We had a few jokes and Kate kept it beautifully personal which we loved. It’s always the best having one of your best friends marry you.
My Aunty Ellen read out an excerpt from Plato’s ‘Symposium’. I love this reading because it talks about the gods ripping a whole into two halves and those halves finding one another again, but it encompasses all forms of love.”

“We had 20 in our bridal party, with one of my bridesmaids doubling as my celebrant! On my side were my three sisters Amie, Jane and Renee (who flew in from New York), my American exchange student (from when we were 15) Ashley, my four best friends, Stacey, Shelley, Bec and Kate (who doubled as celebrant).
On Luke’s side was his brother Shaun, his best mate from school, Ricky, and his best friends, Karl, Matthew, Jason, David and Simon.
The page boys were my two nephews Ethan and Henry, and the flower girls were my nieces Mia and Ava and Ashley’s daughter Irieanna.”

“Dan was incredible. He’s a very relaxed person, so he makes you feel very at ease,” tells the bride of their chosen photographer. “He also has a bit of a dirty, cheeky side, which is perfect for getting those genuine bursts of laughter shots. He was super professional, everyone loved how relaxed the photo sessions were, and he was incredibly fast with getting the photos back to us! I love every one of my photos.”

Alex added family heirlooms to her look for the day, explaining, “I wore my Nanna’s earrings, which I’ve always loved and my engagement ring is modeled off a ring of my Great Aunt June’s. Neither of them could be there on the day, so it felt like they were.”

Alex loved creating the decor for the day. “I especially loved the creative side – designing the invitations with my brother-in-law, painting the signs, making the diamonds etc. Just being able to build the ultimate party from scratch and see it come to fruition is the best feeling. Figuring out all the small details to make it that little bit more fun and playful for the guests brought me so much joy.”

Every moment of the reception was carefully planned, from the speeches to marshmallows for a bonfire, to cocktail hour! Alex explains, “I definitely wanted a cocktail bar at the reception, so we had a ‘Happy Hour’ between 7-8 serving an Espresso Martini, a Negroni and a Vera Green mocktail.”

Tells Alex, “There were so many amazing moments, but I think Ethan’s speech, and the night ending with everyone going mental to Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ were massive highlights. Also, our vows, they were special.”

The  newlyweds made the most of their band Tillee Music and DJ XYDJ for their first dance, with a fun mashup! “We had two parts to our first dance. Our first half was ‘Running Home to You’ from the musical episode of ‘The Flash’ (a show we binged watched all the time at the beginning of our relationship) sung by Britt and Bob from Tillee Music. The DJ then cut in with ‘Hey Ya’ by Outcast and we preformed a silly synchronised dance.”

A big congratulations to Alex and Luke! Thank you for sharing the beautiful stories of your wedding day with us. Thank you also to Dan Cartwright for sharing today’s imagery.