Joanna & Dean

There’s nothing more ‘feel good’ than when a bride and groom create a beautiful wedding that is true to them as a couple. Together, Joanna and Dean planned their entire day, selecting every last detail, and they noted this process as being very special. After 13 years, the childhood sweethearts married in front of 60 family members and close friends, opting for a more intimate occasion than a large celebration. For their bridal parties, Joanna chose her brother as her man of honour, and the groom had his cousin as his best man. The wedding took place at Montsalvat and was captured by Miranda Stokkel. Below, Joanna shares their story and all the best moments from her wedding day.

Dean and I met through friends at the Yarra Valley Fete in Year 9. We became good friends, then starting dating in November, when we were in Year 10 and 16 years old. We have been lucky enough to grow up together and got married at the age of 29.

We were married on November 29, 2019 at Montsalvat. I wore Anna Campbell separates (top and skirt). I wanted cap sleeves and a low back; my top had intricate beading and the skirt was simple, silk chiffon. I wanted an elegant, classic look.

My brother, Matthew, was my man of honour, and for my flowers, I chose an antique colour palette, which mainly comprised of roses. The colours were coffee, pale pink, ivory and maroon.

Dean wore a black tux from MJ Bale as he wanted a classic look. He completed his look with a black bow tie (MJ Bale), white pocket square (MJ Bale) and black Aquila shoes. His cousin, Nick, was the best man.

I walked down the aisle to ‘Sea of Love’ by Cat Power.

We wanted our ceremony to be quite brief as we both don’t like being centre of attention. We chose not to have any readings. Our celebrant, Lara Williams, began by talking about myself and Dean, which led straight into the ‘I Dos’ and exchanging marriage vows. We wanted an intimate ceremony with our family and close friends.

We had the Law and Order SVU theme song playing as we were announced as husband and wife, and as guests threw petals!

Miranda Stokkel was our photographer and we couldn’t have asked for a better person/photographer to capture our day. A friend had recommended Miranda to me, and after seeing some of her photos I knew I wanted her to be our photographer. Meeting Miranda in person further consolidated this as she was so easy going and friendly! Dean normally doesn’t like having his photo taken but he felt comfortable with Miranda, which allowed him to relax on the day and we both had fun whilst taking our photos. We highly recommend Miranda for many reasons, including her skill, passion for her work and kind nature.

We undertook some DIY, including the stationery (from save the dates, to wedding invitations and menus/name tags), table seating chart, our sister-in-law made our wedding book for guests to sign, we framed wedding photos of our parents, as well as grandparents, which were displayed behind the bridal table (above the fireplace mantel).

We loved Montsalvat from the first time we went to see it. I would describe The Great Hall (reception) as medieval. The Great Hall has so much character that we wanted to keep its natural beauty and not overdo decorations. We utilised Montsalvat’s candelabras, tea light candles, fairy lights and festoon lights for atmosphere, as well as adding flowers (mismatched vases on tables, a larger arrangement on the bridal table and some on the staircase leading up to the cake). We wanted guests to leave our wedding having had delicious food, but also a lot of food. We decided to do a table harvest, which meant we had three rounds of food (e.g. each round had a main, side and salad) so there was more variety of food as well as quantity.

We enjoyed every part of the day, but it was particularly special to look out from the bridal table and see all our loved ones there.

For our first dance, we decided to do the Zorba with all our guests  because we thought it would be fun and we didn’t want the attention of being up there by ourselves.

My advice for future marrieds? Plan your wedding the way you want to. Don’t spend money on unnecessary things and include friends where you can. For example, we chose not to do bonbonniere or have a photo booth. We had friends DJ, MC and drive me to the wedding, which made it more special.

Joanna and Dean’s wedding video by Bluebird Media

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations to Joanna and Dean on such a beautiful wedding that was true to them as a couple. I love that there was such a focus on family and good friends, and that there was a man of honour!