Melissa & Phil
“It was us, we did it our way,” says Melissa, and this should be the motto of all weddings ever! Melissa and Phil created the perfect wedding for themselves, their family and their friends. Filled with surprises for young and old, as well as fairy floss, face painting, a Prosecco wall, a tarot reader and Event Nannies to look after and entertain the kids, Melissa and Phil’s day unfolded and its own pace with a focus on fun. There to capture the festivities and merriment was Sigrid Petersen Photography. Below, Melissa details all the hard work that went in to this magical event.
We married on March 7, 2020 at Gilwell Park in Gembrook (a scout camp). We wanted a venue that had accommodation on site so guests could stay over for the evening. I was raised in Adelaide and my family still live there so there were interstate guests and we wanted somewhere the kids could sleep while the adults continued partying. I had attended a scout camp wedding as a nanny and thought it would be a good option for us. I went for a site visit to Gilwell Park and fell in love. It wasn’t too far from our home in the Dandenongs and it was perfect for a festival.
The style we wanted was vintage boho vibe with lots of pops of colour. It was Family Friendly Festival Wedding. We wanted our wedding to be more of a party than a traditional wedding. Before we had kids we loved going to festivals so wanted to create a mini one for our friends and family. We wanted the kids to have just as much fun as everyone else. We hired nannies and provided entertainment for them so that the adults could also enjoy themselves. The nannies meant that the parents for relax a little.
I DIY’ed all of it! I op shopped for a year to collect vases, furniture and lace table clothes. The rest of the furniture we hired from the High Tea Mistress. I had vintage frames scattered with love quotes from some of our favourite songs. The florist created some bunches of flowers the rest we placed in vases in the morning. I created all the children’s activities and bags.
Myself and my coordinator (Kiri from Tiger Lily Weddings & Events) went to the venue the day before the wedding to start setting up. It rained all day so a lot couldn’t be completed ’til the wedding morning. I was up at 5am setting up and Phil arrived earlier than planned to do final bits and pieces. There were a few things bits that were forgotten and little details that I didn’t have time to do but no one knew. DIY is definitely the harder option. I hired Kiri and Emma from the High Tea Mistress to help on the day and I am so glad I did. I honestly don’t know how I would have done it without them.
Making the wedding as eco-friendly as possible was important to me. We hired what we could and sourced a lot from op shops. We hired a keg bar from Boss Bar Hire to reduce waste with cans and used glasses. I limited signage and used cricket bats for our directional signage with stick on vinyls that can be reused. Phil is a huge cricket fan and I wanted to incorporate touches of him in the wedding! ! We also used a cricket bat for our guest signing and autograph bats for our smash cake.
The fairy floss cart was an exciting treat for everyone when they arrived and help set the tone of the day. We also hired a Prosecco wall.
Phil wore a navy suit with grey waist coat with a Peggy and Finn bow tie and pocket chief. Our boys had a navy suit and cute little bow tie to match.
I ended up with two different dresses. We decided to have our family photos before everyone arrived, this was so our children would be more cooperative. We also wanted to see one another before the ceremony to calm the nerves a little.
I went to a few bridal stores but neither had what I was looking for. I wanted something slimline and I was always pushed into something else that was nothing like I was searching for. I know my body shape and I didn’t feel heard. I searched online for the style dress I wanted and found Bariano had exactly what I had pictured. Due to the affordable price I was able to have two! Dressmaking and Such did some alterations and added sleeves to the white dress for extra coverage.
Phil always wanted ‘All I Want Is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar (the song from Juno) as the song his bride walked down the aisle to. A lot of people knew this and it made a few of his friends quite teary.
We had a non-traditional ceremony. Our ceremony was 90 minutes after people arrived, we greeted everyone, had some photos and then I snuck off to get changed. The ceremony took place in the centre of the naked tipi, everyone stood around us in a circle.
I surprised Phil and arranged for Formal Dogs to chaperone them to the wedding just for the ceremony.
Julia (of Julia’s Celebrant Agency) conducted a legal-only ceremony and we made five promises that we each had to promise to agree to. We had three serious and two funny ones to add humour to the ceremony.
We decided to do our first dance straight after the ceremony and signing to get the party started. We chose ‘You’ve Got the Love’ by Florence and the Machine, sung by Brendan and Sabrina.
Our wedding photographer was Sigrid Petersen. Sigrid is a mum local to me, she was our family photographer for my youngest newborn and maternity photos. We love her natural relaxed style and had a relationship with her so she was naturally our first pick.
For my bouquet, Allie from Classic Bouquets was amazing. She created exactly what I had envisioned. I asked for colourful wild flowers, whatever was available and in season. I gave her full creativity. She also created the garland around the tipi, which looked beautiful.
Having time as a family on the white jumping castle with our boys was very special, they absolutely loved having that moment with us. Hirestyle offered to create one for us and it was perfect.
Our cake was a little out of the box. We had a smash cake by Smash Cake Melbourne. This cake was made entirely out of chocolate filled with lollies. No one knew, people thought we were smashing a real cake. After the kids realised what had happened they swarmed us.
Wandering Events (who arranged our tipis) were great to deal with. We needed to have a weighted system and they are the only company in Melbourne who offer this. They were extremely helpful and created just what we wanted.
The face painter and tarot reader attended after formalities. Both were extremely popular with the guests and they didn’t have time to get through everyone. We regretted not having them from the start of the day!
All our vendors were amazing. My nanny was also worth every cent. I believe more in the Event Nannies services now more than ever! Parents were also commenting on how great the team where with their children and keeping them entertained.
My advice for soon to be newlyweds? Do it your way. If you are DIY’ing, I recommend having a coordinator. You need someone to help on the day. Parents who are getting married, hire a nanny. You won’t regret it! If I didn’t have a nanny my day would have been very different.