Julia & James 

Having chosen a spot close to their hearts, high school lovers Julia and James celebrated at the ever-gorgeous Tanglewood Estate in Dromana. Describing the day as jovial and rustic, there were meaningful moments followed by letting loose on the dance floor! Close friend of the couple, Dan Soderstrom, was there to capture the magic.

The couple explain their choice of venue… Dromana is special to us both, it is where we got engaged and have had plenty of happy memories with family and friends. We were set on having our wedding there and also loved the idea of having the ceremony and reception at the one location.

After going to a few bridal boutiques in Melbourne, Julia found the perfect dress at One Day Bridal. It was a modern, fitted dress with a beautiful tulle detail tied at the back. The staff at One Day Bridal were a delight to work with and made the process of choosing the dress very memorable and enjoyable. Initially, I envisaged a very detailed beaded dress, however, throughout the process of trying on many dresses, I ended up with what I believed to be a simple, classic dress with a modern twist. I loved wearing a veil on the day too.

Julia also decided to do the ‘something old, something borrowed’ thing. Her something blue was her mum’s blue sapphire ring. She also borrowed earrings from a friend, which she wore on the day.

It was extra special as one of Julia’s bridesmaids gave her a locket with a photo of her late dad inside, which she attached to her bouquet. Julia’s dad was there in spirit as she walked down the aisle with her mum. It was an incredibly special moment of the day.

From the moment we saw Tanglewood we were not going to look anywhere else. The chapel provided the perfect rustic and relaxed setting with a beautiful outlook over gumtrees. The short walk to the pre-drinks area was convenient and provided the perfect outlook for guests over the lake and bay. Finally, the barn was the perfect location for the evening, it was a big but very warm space. The outlook onto the vineyards was stunning and the long tables were what we wanted for our guests.

James explains… I had no idea what to wear, other than I wanted to stand out and have a contrast to the groomsmen. The guys at P. Johnson were really helpful and came up with some great ideas. They were detailed right down to picking the type of button on my jacket. They were also really helpful in picking out matching suits and styles for the groomsmen.

It was really important to us that our family were included in the day. Our parents and siblings all had big roles throughout the night from speeches, readings and MC’ing the evening. We adore our nephew too who was our page boy in the ceremony. The best part was getting him matching attire to the groom so he was a little mini-me.

The talented team at Poppy Culture did an amazing job. The bouquets, which were a combination of pastel coloured roses and orchids with a pop of yellow florals, set the tone for the ceremony arrangements and reception foliage. The aerial arrangements in the Barn were absolutely stunning. We were blown away with every detail and Poppy Culture went above and beyond to create a beautiful setting that complemented the different locations at Tanglewood.

We were very lucky to have the parish priest at St. Carthage’s, Father Michael Elligate, make the journey down to marry us. We had grown to know Father Elligate throughout our engagement and he was a hoot. He set the tone and made sure the ceremony was fun and filled with many laughs.

We both have a strong connection to music, which we wanted to have a big part in the ceremony and day. Along with Van Morrison, we had picked songs from Pete Murray, Powderfinger, Ziggy Alberts, Queen, Caribou and Future Islands to play at times throughout the ceremony. We chose these songs to give the ceremony a fun and warm vibe.

Julia walked down the aisle to Van Morrison’s ‘Warm Love’. We love Van and felt it perfectly fit the venue and atmosphere.

There was a subtle and little known special family connection with Father Elligate. Father Elligate had been to university with Julia’s dad and was from Yarrawonga where Julia’s mum grew up and knew their family well.

Of their photographer… Dan Soderstrom is an old friend from school, who is now a very talented photographer. He knows exactly what to do and was very professional. He captured the day and night perfectly. He was very discreet, there were times we didn’t know he was there. Dan was also very accommodating when we wanted photos with certain guests, he was a real pleasure to deal with.

Mardy Bridges from All My Wednesdays was our cinematographer. Dan and Mardy worked seamlessly together and perfectly captured our special day.

We were lucky to have so many amazing vendors throughout the planning phase. We weren’t initially going to get a wedding planner but were put onto Pop Up With Style by Poppy Culture. They were amazing. There were so many details we just didn’t think about that they planned and coordinated for us.

It is said often but they really did go above and beyond. They were ferrying the settings to the venue the day before and had staff at the venue all day to make sure everything was perfect. They also took the time to meet with us on many occasions and countless emails back and forth to understand what we liked.

There are so many amazing photos to choose from, that capture different parts of the day. Our favourite though is the photo taken outside the chapel straight after the ceremony with all of our guests. The picture perfectly captures the one time in our lives that we will have all our closest family and friends around us at the one time.

Our bridal parties were both filled with our high school friends. Julia had three girlfriends; Tina, Steph and Chelsey. James had five groomsmen to be controversial; Chris, Jono, Nick, Sam and Paul. We were very grateful to have our lifelong friends by our side leading up to and on the day.

We also hand-selected a number of songs for the ceremony and reception that we had a connection to and created a very happy vibe. Hearing these throughout the evening was really special.

We were lucky enough to also be introduced to Provider through a tasting at Tanglewood soon after we got engaged. Tristan is so approachable and together with his team, they produce amazing spreads. We received many compliments on the wedding but overwhelmingly the guests could not speak more highly about the food. One guest even hid some salmon under the flowers on the table so he could have it later in the night. The cake that they made was a stand out too.

The most special details and moments of the day culminated around the venue, our special guests such as Father Elligate and the music that played throughout. It was so amazing to have our family and close friends there to feature in all aspects – and we think the Friday time slot made for a more relaxed day and everyone was happy to let their hair down!

We were given this advice from many people and it was the best advice we received. During the night make sure you walk away and look back on the reception together for a few moments to take it in. It was so special to see all of your loved ones and family and best friends in one place, let alone that they are all there for the two of you.

Ms Zebra Says: What a gorgeous spring day to celebrate all of your love! From all the team at Polka Dot Wedding, we wish you both a lifetime of happiness. Thank you for sharing your very special day with us.