There is a reason I adore autumn for weddings so much, and I have to tell you; Suzie and Matt’s beautiful Abbotsford Convent day is why! It’s all about fiery, autumn-coloured backdrops, bouquets of vibrant, red leaves, the smuggling of fluffy jackets, deep tones of emerald green, burgundy and orange and amazingly crisp days. Yes, I do think this wedding is a beautiful example of autumn weddings done right. Luckily for us, Gold and Grit Photography was there, capturing every single moment and proving the point.
This is a pair who have plenty of stories to share, so grab a cup of tea, because we’re sharing all of them (just wait until you read the tale behind the bride’s shoes!)
After meeting ten years ago, the groom returned with Suzie to the scene of their first kiss to pop the question. In his words: “I asked Suzie to marry me at the site of our first kiss on our anniversary. We had a nice day out and about in Melbourne. Starting with lunch at Misschu. We wandered down to visit the NGV to take in the best of the Triennial. Whilst there we paused for a couple of moments to enjoy an iced coffee. I spilt it all over myself. Suzie says that she was getting a little cluey at this point, hoping something might happen, and sensing some nerves might be causing my clumsiness. I think it was because I’d hardly slept the night before because I was up late planning. I’d been to visit her parents to get their blessing, I visited my grandmother to borrow her engagement ring (since the day Suzie and I had started going out she’s been putting the ring on her insisting I ask her hand in marriage. I thought it’d be nice to do it for real with her help), called past my parents’ to get a car battery and then home to unsuspiciously meet with Suzie. Had a lovely evening with Suzie but was glad when she left just before my little brothers and one of their girlfriends, Monique, came around for a short meeting about the little bit of setup I was getting them to do the next day.
After cleaning myself up and taking in all the wonderful pieces we had a relaxing walk and sit in the park. Relaxing before our six-course vegetarian degustation at Maha; delicious and so special. At the end of the meal, I said, ‘we have one more spot to go tonight…I thought we could go down to St Kilda’. Suzie later told me she thought, ‘At this point, I thought for sure something would happen’. We hopped on a tram and sat politely next to each other. At Luna Park, we disembarked and started the walk we’d done along the beach on our first date. It was special to be back and strolling the same paths and, as the rain held off for us, we enjoyed the time being nervous and in love again. As we got closer to the Point Ormond marker, we were discussing heading up when Suzie noticed there were lights and people up there. She was a little disappointed but the people ran off and I suggested we see how close we can get and maybe get a selfie nearby at least. As we got close some music could be heard. Suzie realised what was going on when she heard ‘Little Secrets’ playing. Up under the marker was a lovely picnic, surrounded by fairy lights and with photos from our adventures together (set up by my little crew). I got down on one knee and asked her to be my wife. She said yes.”
The groom and groomsmen found their dapper looks at Jack London.
These shoes? The groom went above and beyond to make sure these Melissa by Vivian Westwood beauties landed on his bride’s feet. Ready for the epic tale? Over to Matt: “Suzie was looking high and low for shoes for a while in the lead-up to the wedding. She had an absolute favourite dream pair that she wasn’t able to get her hands on anywhere in Australia. Suzie found an online store that had them and appeared to be able to ship them to us with a couple of days to spare so we put the order in. When they hadn’t appeared by the Thursday before the wedding we got a little worried. When they didn’t arrive on Friday it was a huge disappointment. We emailed around and tried to find answers and it had been a Bank Holiday in the UK that week and the shoes hadn’t been sent ’til the Wednesday and were somewhere in transit!
Suzie went out shoe shopping with her sisters on Saturday whilst I was doing some last minute work on the backdrop. I couldn’t sit by after having called all sorts of people in all sorts of countries to try and track the exact whereabouts of the shoes with no success (they could have been on a flight that arrived yesterday). My last hope was that there might be a chance that someone was at the CouriersPlease depot. The chances were slim – but my AusPost job left me thinking maybe – and became slimmer again when I arrived and it was very shut. There was a car in the carpark so I decided to wait a bit whilst I thought about my options. I signed up for a LinkedIn Premium account and was writing a last-ditch email to the delivery manager when the gate started to open.
The first car out told me to try talking to the next driver. This guy listened to my, ‘a groom trying to help his bride’ pitch and headed back into the office to check on the parcel for me. ‘No parcel there but it’s on its way through customs’ was not the news I’d hoped for but it was amazing when he said he’d have his guy in customs keep an eye out for it and call me if it appeared. Back in the car, I noticed the man I’d been about to message on LinkedIn was the one who’d appeared and helped me. I left feeling very lucky and with a little hope.
Nothing came of it until the next morning. The morning of our wedding! The shoes had been located and were just through the customs at a depot near the airport. My wonderful soon-to-be brother-in-law offered to go on the quest to a random depot looking for a particular gentleman. After a few more phone calls and a few confused factory workers, Andy got his hand on the parcel! They were rushed back to my family house where they were presented to Suzie’s mum Anita who was over getting her makeup done with my mother. Almost ruined the makeup, but well worth it. The shoes went back with Anita to Suzie. The girls had been taking a turn walking around in the second string shoes trying to wear them into being even close to comfortable. The Melissa x Vivienne Westwood dream shoes had arrived, fit perfectly and looked incredible!”
Suzie found her beautiful ballgown at Suzanne Harward telling, “The dress was like nothing else I had tried on after having very limited luck at other shops! The second I put it on I immediately felt like myself. So comfortable! I loved the full French silk skirt…oh. and it had pockets!
It was a sample suggested to me by the sales assistant, something I wouldn’t have naturally picked up!
My whole family happened to be there when I tried it on (as my dad was picking up my mum from the shop).”
Suzie and Matt chose the beautiful Abbotsford Convent By Bursaria for their day, sharing, “It was a great all-inclusive venue. Very easy to navigate and with a historic, grand atmosphere which remains welcoming and fun. Suzie and I have been to the Abbotsford Convent and Collingwood Children’s Farm on many dates and it was a thrill to get married somewhere where we had already shared such great memories as well as somewhere uniquely Melbourne. We got married in the Heritage Gardens making the most of the beautiful surroundings of the nature amphitheatre. Food and drinks were supplied to guests in the Rosina Courtyard before the big banquet table dinner in the stunning Rosina Room.
Suzie and Matt married in front of a golden sunrise, constructed by the groom, who explains, “The sunrise is full of warmth and promise. Suzie is my sun. She’s brought so much love and light into my life and the sun will never set on our love.”
The bride walked down the aisle with her parents to ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac performed by dear friends The Shimmies. “Suzie worked with Richelle at a cafe and it meant a lot to have this beautiful couple play as Suzie walked down the aisle because of the friendship,” explains the groom.
Suzie and Matt chose Kaye Reid to officiate their ceremony, sharing, “The readings read by some of our dearest friends were chosen by our grandparents. We closed with a prayer by Simon Albury who was the young adult’s minister at the church we were involved with when we first met and a mentor to me. He is still a dear friend and a stellar man.
Suzie had both of her parents walk her down the aisle. Suzie is close with both of her parents and it made sense to have them both involved in the wonderful moment. We wanted to honour traditions as best we could but also move them forward where we could towards a more inclusive future.”
Post ceremony brought one of the newlyweds’ favourite memories! “One of our favourite details of the day was ‘Little Secrets’, by Passion Pit, playing after the ceremony. Everything felt like it just exploded! This song means a lot to us. It was the song of the summer of love when we began our relationship and is filled with the love and excitement we were full of then and immediately after the ceremony.”
Suzie and Matt could shout from the rooftops about their photographer. “Stina, from Gold and Grit Photography, is a photographer sent from heaven! We adored Stina’s documentary style wedding photography and, when we met for our catch up (with fresh berries and bubbles!), we knew that we wanted to work with her.
She captured the feeling of the day and we barely even noticed her, like a ninja!
And when we got the photos back (including a sneak peek sent the night of the wedding), there was not one forced smile or emotion. They are just gorgeous.”
Suzie and Matt chose floral designer Good Grace & Humour to bring their autumnal vision to life, noting, “Megs was a dream to work with. We spoke a couple of times over Skype because of the distance from one side of Melbourne to the other. But we immediately felt like we were coming to a shared vision. Suzie and I are fans of colours and wanted also to reflect the season. Suzie works passionately at promoting seasonal food through her work at the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and it felt right to include the season in our celebration as well as some edibles. There are flowers, foliage and edibles! Persimmons will always represent love and joy to us with the warm, happy and charming autumn colours.”
In true personal style, the couple gave a special nod to Matt’s profession, “We had a mailbox wishing well which was a big hit. Matt works as a postie with Australia Post, and it’s been a very helpful job to us and a bit of fun championed by Suzie’s mother.”
In case it wasn’t obvious, this wedding was about Suzie and Matt but equally about their very favourite people. “So much of this wedding came together and was made great thanks to the help of our friends. It was special to have the vast majority of tasks done by people we know so well and who we know love us. For example, our good friend, Miz, made little postcards for our guests with maps of the Convent so they knew all the fun things they could do in the short gap between the ceremony and reception.”
The newlyweds invited the bride’s cousin Jesse to say grace, continuing on with involving things and people that mean the most to them. “We got married after a five-month engagement, which meant that we had to make quick decisions from 2/3 very good options. We delegated research and made the final decision together. Working with friends and family on the project made it nice to do at pace because we knew them well. All our friends and family offered support and help throughout and for that I’m incredibly thankful and it made it all so special It also helped that every vendor we met was friendly, helpful and excited for us. Working together and being surrounded by those who were happy for us was good!”
Much to the joy of their guests, Suzie and Matt kicked off the dance floor with a swing dance, thanks to dance lessons at 1929 Studios. “Our first dance was a swing dance performed to ‘Hallajulah I Love Her So’ by Ray Charles. We have been learning swing dancing together for a few years and had a routine put together by two of the absolute best dancers and teachers we know, Joel Kohn and Tina Rizza. It was my first time performing a dance routine and was lovely to impress a lot of my friends and family with my moves. Swing dancing and the lovely community has been important to our relationship, we go to class every week! The song, ‘Hallajulah I Love Her So’, is fun, joyful and full of unabashed warmth and love.
“It was amazing to work on the dance that was such a lovely representation of our relationship,” remembers Matt, “I enjoyed making my dance debut and I know Suzie enjoyed me making my dance debut too! Surrounded by our friends and family who were cheering and encouraging us… it was beautiful!”
And the dance floor continued in earnest thanks to the band Like This Corporate. “Our band, Like This (who Stina recommended haha!), they absolutely rocked and will be playing at my sister’s wedding this May. The soul train on the dance floor was amazing but then the lead singer and saxophonist from Like This went down the middle too! It was a lifelong dream come true!” explains Suzie.
A big congratulations to you both Suzie and Matt! Thank you for sharing your gorgeous autumnal wedding day with us. Thank you also to Gold and Grit Photography for today’s beautiful image captures.