Vanessa & Samuel

When it comes to The Sparkle Issue, what could be hands down more sparkly than a wedding gown adorned with sequin stars?

Motta Weddings joined today’s happy newlyweds, Vanessa and Samuel for their stunning modern Mornington Peninsula day. “Our theme was Moody Modern Romance but really all I wanted was for people to have amazing food, amazing drinks in an incredible venue” says Vanessa, who admits that she and Samuel were lucky to squeeze in their nuptials in March 2020, right before the country went into lockdown. “We were meant to have additional celebrations in Asia but we had to make the call in January to postpone to a later date. We were also not only lucky to have been able to have our celebration as we imagined it, as restrictions in Australia kicked in a week after that but our friends and family could leave Australia and return home right before borders around the world shut. We definitely used up all of our luck for the year!”

It seems it was a long time before these two realised they were actually meant to be, eight years in fact! Vanessa fills us in on how they came to be. “We don’t really have a cute love story but we were acquaintances for a long time with lots of mutual friends but were in relationships with other people. Then eight years ago, on a very fateful Friday night, we found ourselves very single and outside one of our favourite Korean bars in Melbourne, Joomak. Each on our respective Friday night drinks with friends, our groups literally collided and we reconnected over some soju bombs. Might have been those drinks but right from that moment, we bumped into each other. I felt a sense of familiarity, and like I had finally found my way home.”

Samuel decided the couple’s worldwide trip was just the chance he needed to propose. “We went to L.A. to attend the wedding of one of my close friends and we took the opportunity to do a massive trip. We first went to Hong Kong for Lunar New Year, dropped by London and even New York to visit friends along the way. I was sure something was going to happen during this trip. Flash forward to the flight home to Melbourne where Sam reached over and offered to high five me for a great trip around the world. No bloody way I was going to high five him. LOL.

Sam surprised me while I was at work that week we got home with a staycation in the city. I was picked up from work and we had a beautiful dinner at our favourite Japanese restaurant, Komeyui, where we had some of our first dates. Sam then brought me to Melbourne Central’s rooftop for a unique glamping experience. He had pre-decorated our tent with roses (the first time he ever bought anyone flowers), photos of us and on the bed was a big poster with a collage of photos of food I had cooked for him over the years. I was overwhelmed.

I turned around and Sam was on one knee. I immediately said yes but definitely regretted not doing my nails!”

The groom chose P Johnson Tailors to outfit him for the day. Vanessa noting  “Sam has always had a great sense of style so when it came to his suit, he had a very clear idea/vision. He wore a navy suit with peaked lapels by local P. Johnson tailors. He didn’t want it to be too formal with Tuxedo and didn’kt feel like the style fit our personality and theme
Some may feel navy is more suited for the office but he wanted to move away from traditional groom in black so chose to instead have the groom stand out with a bit of colour from the groomsmen who were dressed in black suits in the background. The groom and groomsmen had matching bow ties.”

Vanessa and Samuel chose the beautiful Port Phillip Estate for the wedding, even choosing to stay onsite. Vanessa shares “We both fell in love with Port Phillip Estate the moment we walked into the winery. The views, the restaurant and the interior design really spoke to us and I loved the idea of getting married on the outdoor deck. We wanted to provide a unique experience for our guests, many international, and Port Phillip Estate just ticked all the boxes.

Rachel, Graham and the team were incredible leading up and on the day itself. No question was ever too silly. They were super well organised and reliable which made planning so much easier.”

Vanessa’s first look, for the games and tea ceremony, was a beautiful red and navy cheongsam by

Ong Shunmugam. She says “My tea ceremony dress was a gorgeous modern cheongsam (traditional chinese dress) in an Orchid print from Singaporean label, Ong Shunmugam. I grew up in Singapore so I was thrilled I was able to celebrate my culture while including a bit of Singapore.”


The true festivities kicked off with traditional games, says the bride “Gate crashing games are usually played at Asians’ weddings as an ice breaker to the day and also as a “test” to prove the groom is worthy to take the bride’s hand in marriage. It’s all a bit of fun and the boys had to ensure some hilarious and tough games.”

It was incredibly important to Vanessa and Samuel that they honour tradition with a tea ceremony. “The most important one being the Tea Ceremony. In Asian weddings, the tea ceremony is often more important and more significant to the family than the legal ceremony. Through the Tea Ceremony, we are both officially welcomed into each others’ families and receive well wishes from our elders. Sam and I also ensured our late grandmas were with us in spirit by wearing their jewellery.”

Once the tea ceremony was complete, Vanessa changed into her wedding gown, a starry Willowby by Watters beauty found at  Always and Forever Bridal. “When it came to my ceremony dress, I went to several bridal shops and tried on lots of different styles but didn’t feel that feeling people say you are meant to have. All the white dresses blended into one.

Then on Instagram, I came across a picture of my dress and knew it was the one. It was definitely not traditional but I knew I had to have it. I tracked it down to Always and Forever on Collins Street which is right near my office and dragged one of my close friends from work with me to try it on.

The ladies at Always and Forever got me to try on some other dresses first but I definitely knew what I went there for. After a quick FaceTime with my family and bridesmaids overseas, I got the dress, we toasted with champagne. My friend and I then went to a bar close by to continuing celebrating!”

The couple wed in front of a stunning floral installation styled by Poppy Culture. who did all the fresh flowers for the day. Says Vanessa  “I fell in love with Poppy Culture’s work, provided a couple of pictures of what I loved from their Insta and Pinterest then just really trusted them to bring my vision to life. All I requested was some roses to go with the modern romance vibe & phalaenopsis orchids in my bouquet because they are so pretty! I also had some blue in the flowers to reference Sam’s suit.

Not gonna lie, when I saw the flowers on the day, I was completely overwhelmed and totally started tearing up while I was walking down the aisle! I tried to smile, I promise!”

Samuel and Vanessa truly personalised their choices of music for the day. “We had some alternative ceremony songs to add to the vibe; we had Dashboard Confessional’s Stolen (performed by Jimmy & Niki) for our aisle song, Anberlin’s Inevitable and Miley Cyrus’ Malibu while we were doing the official bits and American Authors’ Best Day of My Life for our recessional song!”

“We really wanted something a little different than the traditional wedding ceremony” tells Vanessa of her and Samuel’s decision to hire Dee Brinsmead – The Wedding Anarchist to officiate their wedding. She continues “We wanted a ceremony with lots of personality, humour and most of all, fun! I came across Dee (The Wedding Anarchist) on Instagram and really dug her vibe. From the initial meeting, she was so full of ideas and was such a ball of fun, we knew that she was the one to tell our story!”

“We did two readings – the first was read by our niece, a classic Winnie The Pooh one, Us Two by AA Milne. And my sister chose two quotes from Timothy Keller which contained practical advice for marriage.”

“Go with your gut and your heart” advises Vanessa. “Many people say don’t sweat the small stuff but if it matters to you, it matters to you. Learn to let go the day before the wedding and just let things flow, time will fly past but don’t forget to breath! Also try not to cry walking down the aisle lol.”

Every detail of this day was beautifully considered to be memorable. Vanessa sharing “We really wanted to celebrate our families coming together, the love & support from them and our friends so we included framed wedding day photos from our siblings and parents along with featuring a collage book filled with wedding invitations, menus, photobooth photos from all of our friends’ weddings we have attended over the years.

We really didn’t want boring “congratulations” messages in our guestbook so I created little cards with hints from different categories ranging from Recommendations, Advice, Memories and some Wildcard ones. It definitely made for some fun reading the day after!”

Vanessa and Samuel worked with Good Day Club to create their stationery for the day. The bride telling “We had custom graphic design done with Good Day Club and Stevie did such an incredible job. She featured our favourite meal, hot pot, in our welcome sign, drew all the different fish species for our table numbers along with our dog, Kimmi and all the various whisky bottles! Is she talented or what?”

And then it was time to celebrate! “The team from Port Phillip Estate was so accommodating and amazing on the day. The food was spectacular and wine were of course, divine” says the bride.

Each table name honoured Sam’s love of fishing. “Sam loves fishing and it has become a regular activity for us both. Instead of table numbers, we had each table named after a type of fish we had caught together.”

Hello beautiful wedding cake! This stunner made by Torte By Mirjana. “The favourite was definitely our cake from Torte by Mirjana. Similar to Poppy Culture, I fell in love with her work on Instagram, provided her with a SUPER vague idea of what I wanted and she created magic! Everyone raved about her cake that night and we got our top tier frozen in our freezer ready to be eaten on our first anniversary!”

Vanessa and Samuel never second guessed their choice of wedding photographer. “Alex’s photos are so so stunning and I keep finding new ones to love. I constantly change my phone’s wallpaper hehe. If I had to choose a favourite, it’d be the one where Alex captured our little high five after getting married. We are both go to F45 together so it’s a bit of an inside joke.

Alex was the second vendor we booked right after locking in our date with Port Phillip Estate. He could have been the first but he very wisely told me to book my venue first. Haha! I have admired his work for a long time now and loved his style of shooting weddings. From our very first meeting, we were very comfortable with him and were able to quickly build rapport.”

And there was one last tradition these two made sure they included. “The yam seng, which is a series of three toasts and done at the end of dinner. Led by our emcee and friend, Sarah Benjamin, who got everyone to jump up, raise their glasses high and shout “yam seng”. The key here is to stretch out the yam as long as possible so it looks more like yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam until you run out of breath and followed by seng. Then repeat that three times. The first toast is for a blissful marriage, the second for eternal love between the couple and lastly for children. The longer and louder you are, the more blessings and better the couple’s life will be.”

And let’s not forget that whiskey bar! “We also really enjoy whisky and have done classes on whisky and wine tasting so for our whisky bar, we only featured whiskies we both often drink and love.”

And when it was time to dance? Vanessa made her third outfit change for the night! “My final dress was a white dress from Bec and Bridge which I found on sale! I only brought the dress as a back up but highly recommend a dancing dress so people don’t step all over your gorgeous ceremony dress!”

We can’t finish this story, without sharing the finishing touch – a beautiful wedding day film captured by

Bottlebrush Films. Vanessa noting “I really had the luxury of time and took this time to really build an amazing team for the day. I highly recommend all of my vendors and count my lucky stars I was able to secure all my faves! Andrew & Grace from Bottlebrush Films felt more like friends than vendors.”

The biggest of congratulations to you both Vanessa & Samuel! Thank you for sharing your stunning day with us. And thank you to Motta Weddings for sharing today’s imagery!