Tiffany & Reuben
Today’s wedding is utter sunshine, the urban Melbourne farm playing host to a couple who most certainly made sure they did their day their way. “We are both pretty introverted people so it was a given that we would have a small, relaxed wedding without too many of the formalities. We wanted a “no fuss, or as little as possible fuss” kind of vibe.”
With Half Light behind the camera, these two (or as Tiffany admits, Reuben left it mostly up to her!) planned a day that truly was no fuss. From getting ready together and travelling to their venue in an Uber to ditching the first dance and dancing their hearts out instead. They even celebrated with a stand-up cocktail celebration (apt, of course for The Cocktail Issue) where guests could feast and drink and relax in merriment.
It was actually Reuben’s sister that led these two together, explains Tiffany. “I moved to Melbourne from Sydney in 2011, and met Priscilla, who is Reuben’s sister.
Priscilla and I hung out intermittently throughout that year but spent a lot more time together and I met her crew of friends (who also included her two brothers) in the summer of that year. I knew who Reuben was, but never spent much one on one time with him, he’d sometimes be there when we were out for a night or at a festival but we never really spoke to each other very much.
In early 2012, I moved into a new house and had invited Priscilla over for dinner. I vaguely remember that it was because she had cooked for me previously, or maybe shouted me dinner, so I was returning the favour. She ended up inviting Reuben along too, as she owed HIM dinner, and I guess my dinner served as a two birds/one stone kind of arrangement for her.
After that, Reuben and I chatted a bit more, mostly via messages. My birthday was a few days later, and he gifted my bike lights, as I’d just acquired a bike and he worked casually at a bike shop. A few weeks later I had a birthday and housewarming party, Reuben came and literally never left. He ended up staying the entire weekend and then unofficially moved in over the next few months. It’s funny as we never had The Conversation about becoming “official”, it was like he came over to a party, we hung out and then never stopped hanging out, it felt very organic.”
The proposal was a surprise, although not entirely unexpected admits the bride. “We’d talked about getting married many times, and it was definitely on the cards but had never really talked about when, so the proposal came as a surprise.
We travelled around Germany for three weeks in late December 2017. We were in Bamberg, a beautiful German town with loads of timber-framed buildings which I’d become obsessed with during our previous visit to Germany the year prior. We had been walking around the Old Town during the day, taking loads of photos of all the cute buildings, and had stopped for a long time on the footbridge that overlooked the Altes Rathaus which is built into the Regnitz River. Later that night we had dinner nearby and then went for a walk afterwards, and again Reuben wanted to go see the Altes Rathaus, and I assumed he just wanted to get some photos of it at night. A little peculiar but nothing outlandish enough to raise suspicion.
Again, we were there for a long time, and it was getting pretty cold but I went with it. While I was looking at the building, he called out “Hey hun”, and I turned around and he was holding the ring. Just the ring, not in its box, standing on an old footbridge over fast moving water. My reaction was genuine shock, and I responded by asking “Where did you get that?!” I think I was just mostly shocked that he was holding this diamond ring in his finger and worried he’d drop it into the river! It turns out we were there for quite a while because he was waiting for other pedestrians to clear the footbridge so there wouldn’t be a bunch of people around when he proposed. I’d previously talked about how I hated things like flashmob proposals.”
Tiffany and Reuben opted to get ready together, to have their portraits taken before they tied the knot, a wise decision says the bride. “Get photos done BEFORE the ceremony! Your hair, makeup, dress, everything is still “fresh”, and it means you have all the time in the world to mingle with guests after the ceremony, instead of being squirrelled away for photos.”
The pair are thankful they chose the photographer they did. “Courtney photographed Reuben’s brother’s wedding, and florist Kirsty’s wedding a few years back – we’d seen the beautiful photos and it was a given. She and her partner were really lovely, and captured the relaxed vibes of the day really well.”
Flowers by Dolly styled the flowers for the day. “Our friend, Kirsty Owens of Flowers by Dolly is a super talented florist, and I have asked her to put together bouquets for special occasions in the past, so it was always a given that she would do our flowers. I had really hoped that peonies would be blooming by the time our wedding rolled around, but alas it was not meant to be. I love natives, so they featured heavily. I know very little about flowers but had sent Kirsty a few pictures of bouquets with natives and generally a soft pastel colouring with a couple of brighter flowers to make it pop. She did the rest – the Waratah was a beautiful touch.”
“In keeping with the small and simple theme, we kept the wedding party to one groomsman and bridesmaid. Reuben’s older brother, Justin was the best man/groomsman and he wore the suit he got married in two years earlier. Priscilla, Reuben’s older sister, was my maid of honour/bridesmaid. She wore a really cute yellow Mister Zimi Jumpsuit and Kuwaii sandals. Priscilla was a great sport with the bridesmaid dress situation, she had tried on several different types before we settled on the Mister Zimi. The colour looks amazing on her, and the flowiness kind of matched what was going on with my dress.”
“By keeping things pretty simple and casual, and not adhering to typical wedding prep expectations, I felt we remained true to us, and helped us stay relaxed throughout the whole process of planning and on the day. I don’t recall any stressful moments at all.”
Tiffany was lucky enough to have her mother make her wedding gown. I always loved the look of very simple bridal gowns, kind of figure-hugging around the torso and hips, with a bit of a flare towards the train, with clean simple lines. I kept going back between a simple silk gown and one with some beading or sparkle and found myself tossing up between a few from Australian designers.
I knew I wanted something that had an open back and was tossing up between having sleeves or no sleeves. I tried on a few gowns, where my mum was and then back here in Melbourne with Priscilla, who ended up being maid of honour.
I ended up asking my mum, who is a seamstress to make it for me. She had some contacts who were career bridal gown seamstresses so that was really helpful. Being in two different cities made fittings a bit trickier, there were many FaceTimes, me measuring then texting the numbers to my mum. She made the practice piece all remotely based on the measurements I sent her. About two months before the wedding, I went for a fitting with the practice gown. I never actually tried on the final dress until the day of the wedding! However, it was perfect, the fabric was so beautiful and flowy, which is exactly what it needed to be, as it was such a simple dress. My brother was to bring it with him when he flew up for the wedding – but FORGOT! Luckily my parents were flying down a few days after him, so they were able to pick it up on the way to the airport.
I left accessories very simple on the day, I bought a pair of sparkly tassel earrings off Etsy and I wore a diamond necklace which my parents gifted me as a wedding present on the day. I wore a pair of sparkly heels that I’d purchased from The Hunter Store. I originally wanted to go with the blue pair but they’d sold out in my size, so settled for the gold pair. They ended up matching with the sparkles on my earrings.”
Collingwood Children’s Farm and the onsite Farm Cafe were just the all in one venue these two were looking for, says the bride. “The Collingwood Children’s Farm was the first and only place we looked at. I had browsed a few other venues around inner Melbourne, but I knew I wanted something that could facilitate in and outdoors and had a country/bush vibe without having to travel out of Melbourne. This part was important as there would be family from both sides (but mostly mine) who would be travelling interstate or overseas to attend the wedding.
We didn’t want to have to worry about transportation and accommodation for guests. I had seen some photos of weddings at CCF and thought they were beautiful, so as soon as we got home from our Christmas trip I booked a tour of the farm. We chose the Farm Cafe for the reception, as it was the perfect size for the party we wanted to hold. We were married under the Oak Tree by Reuben’s father, Paul, who is an Anglican vicar.”
The bride walked down the aisle with her dad. “My dad walked me down the aisle to Beach House’s Zebra. The day before the wedding, we had practised the walk, as we had to walk downhill on a bike path to get to the tree, and I wanted to make sure I could do so in my heels, but also so we could time the music. On the day, Priscilla was to text my brother (the MC) when we were ready to walk, and when we heard the music start we would walk down. However, on the day we couldn’t hear the music from down the hill so was waiting there for a good minute before Priscilla checked her phone, and my brother had messaged “The music is going, where are you?!” My dad was super nervous, he held on super tight, I had to remind him to relax a bit.”
The couple were married by Reuben’s father, in their one nod to tradition, admits the bride. “The ceremony was by far the most formal part of our wedding. It was an opportunity to show our respect to both our parents. We asked Reuben’s father, Paul to marry us, so followed some religious traditions, such as readings from the Bible. My favourite part was the sermon that Paul gave – he told some touching stories from both of our childhoods, and he is such an emphatic and emotional speaker that he really captivated the guests with our story.
Following the exchanging of the vows, I also had a tea ceremony in keeping with Chinese traditions. There were a few funny moments out of the ceremony. I accidentally said “I do” before Paul had finished saying his part – I blame it on his long pause between sentences and my own nervousness. During the tea ceremony, Paul said “mm yum” as he sipped the tea, and wanted more. When the ceremony was all over, Reuben and I walked back down the aisle together to “Baby I Love Your Way”.”
Tiffany and Reuben did make sure to include the traditions they were important to them. “The Chinese tea ceremony was probably the most traditional thing we did apart from the ceremony, and even that was pretty casual.”
“It’s hard to pick one defining moment, for me,” notes Tiffany, “I remember certain snippets of the day very clearly, although much of it felt like a blur! I think for me it was all about the preparations and then seeing all of our families and close friends in the one space. I am so appreciative that our families from overseas made it out for us, and friends had also travelled interstate. I loved that Reuben and I just got ready at home, as though we were just attending another party, and then caught an Uber together (with Priscilla) to the venue.”
“Don’t be afraid to do away with old traditions that don’t make sense to you, or that don’t feel right, or that you know will make you feel super awkward because you will probably look super awkward. Go with what feels right for you and your partner” shares the bride.
The reception continued at the Farm Cafe, where guests enjoyed a cocktail style feast. Catering By The Farm Cafe serving up a grazing harvest table of local delights (like house-made pickles and Mount Zero Olives) and a roving dinner of favourites like kingfish ceviche, Warialda beef sausage rolls and buttermilk fried Milawa free-range chicken.
“We didn’t do very much major DIY for aesthetics. We tried to enlist family, friends, or friends of friends for most things – photography, flowers, attire, DJ, invitations. The venue allowed us to BYO, we chose the music, we bought Instax for photos, we borrowed decorations where we could!”
Speeches were an important part of the day for Tiffany and Reuben. “We needed to have some form of acknowledgement of our family, in particular our parents. It was the reason why we asked Paul to marry us, why we did the tea ceremony, why we had our siblings be part of the wedding party. My dad’s speech was particularly special (he had a bit of help, I think from my brother), he was super nervous and later confessed that he had hoped everyone had forgotten about speeches and that he didn’t have to do it! It was very special and touching.”
The newlyweds opted out of a first dance, because like the other traditions, it just wasn’t “them!” Tiffany explaining “We didn’t have one! Neither of us was interested in having that amount of attention on us, and it seemed too formal and didn’t suit us at all – it would’ve just felt and looked super awkward. We went for an “all-in” approach, it was more important to us that everyone else felt comfortable getting on the dancefloor for the whole night. We wanted the reception to feel like a casual party with all of our closest friends and family with a few formalities. My favourite song of the night had to be Dario G’s Sunchyme. I think we may have ended the night on it.”
After dark, the bride and her bridesmaid added a little touch of sparkle. “On the wedding day, Priscilla and I wore our sparkly tinsel jackets which had been made by Reuben’s sister-in-law, Evie, who had originally made them our combined bucks/hens weekend celebrations. They are spectacular in every way imaginable – the colours and movement of the tassels, and the “shhk shhk shhk” sound they made when you shimmy vigorously.”
A big congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you both so much for sharing your day with us. Thank you additionally to Half Light for sharing this beauty with us!
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