As we round out our weddings of the year we could not help but fall utterly in love with the glittering urban winery wedding of Caitlin and Shane.

Firstly, anyone who marries in sequins is always someone we want to be best buds with, but for Caitlin and Shane, the glitter of their day, captured by Chris Cooper went well beyond the sequins. It was details like the couple’s toddler daughter being present, the “best man” competition, the impromptu celebratory post-ceremony after party, the first look filled with so much emotion. And really, if nothing else, what we need to remember 2020 by, is the couples who did their wedding their way, in the midst of the turmoil that is life.

The couple met somewhat unexpectedly at Caitlin’s 21st birthday, the bride filling us in. “We met one night when brother invited Shane to gatecrash my 21st birthday. At the end of the party, most of the guests called it quits so my brother suggested I tag along with his mates to their usual Saturday night punk nightclub to kick on. My brother hadn’t given me a birthday present at that point in time so offered Shane up like a sacrificial lamb for a birthday pash. I definitely didn’t think it would go anywhere, but over ten years later and here we are – married, one wonderful daughter and too many cars!”

Shane decided that a holiday to Japan was just the place to ask Caitlin to marry him. “Shane and I went travelling around Japan in December 2015. It just so happened to be an absolutely miserable day weatherwise and I’d woken up to find that my travel card had been skimmed on the morning of a big shopping day ahead so I was in a shocking mood.

After a day of moping around and thinking about all of the things I couldn’t buy because of those damn skimmers, Shane suggested we have a night out in Shibuya checking out the dive bars and vending machine ramen. With full bellies and in a much better mood, we went to Shibuya Crossing to do some people watching. We were standing on one of the busiest corners in the world and as I was setting ourselves up for a ‘selfie’, Shane reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box and popped the question. He didn’t get down on one knee (out of fear of being trampled by the crossing traffic) but there was still plenty of tears, shock, giggling and locals applauding us.”

Caitlin was lucky enough to have her getting ready shots captured by Matthew Slade.”Our other photographer was our brother-in-law, Matthew Slade, who gave up his time to document us girls getting ready at our apartment in the city. Matt is family so just naturally fit in with the group and captured some really special moments for us to look back on.”

We know you want to know all about Caitlin’s incredible gown. She worked with Linda Jane Doble to customise a  JIBRI gown. She explains. “My dress was designed by the label JIBRI; an American designer (Jasmine Elder) who has a particular focus on creating garments for fashion-conscious curvy women. I wore a beautiful full-length gunmetal sequin gown that I had customised by Linda Jane Doble here in Melbourne.

As a plus-size woman, wedding dress shopping in the traditional sense is my idea of a nightmare. I knew I didn’t want a white dress and my theory was that it is hard enough to find just everyday clothing that suited my style in retail stores, let alone walking into a bridal store and expecting to see anything available for me to try on in my size and anything other than a shade of white. I did some digging online and came across the bridal section of JIBRI, landed on this particular dress and knew that I had to have it. It was my size, not white, made of sequins and… had pockets! It was possibly the most comfortable dress I’ve worn and catered for me wearing sneakers since I dislike wearing heels so much!”

The couple made sure to include their daughter in the day, which resulted in some of Caitlin’s favourite photos. “We really cherish the photos that we managed to get with our daughter after the ceremony even if she looks really grumpy after deciding to skip her nap for the day (the first and only time, might I add) but my favourite photo of the entire day would have to be of Shane and I when we were getting some wedding party shots in a nearby alleyway. Shane always mentions not knowing what to do with his hands in photos and the awkwardness of it makes me laugh every single time. Coops captured the moment perfectly and it really is a great visual description of us as a couple.”

Beautiful vintage cars are a part of Caitlin and Shane’s life, so of course, they were a big part of the day. “Shane and I both own old cars and they play a big role in our life so whilst we didn’t need to travel between multiple venues, we still made sure we had a reason to drive our cars on the day. Shane drove himself and the other groomsmen to the first look in his 1961 Ford Starliner and my Dad drove myself and my bridesmaids in my 1963 Ford Thunderbird. We were lucky enough to be able to throw our keys to two of the guys from Shane’s car club to take the cars off our hands.”

The couple met before the ceremony for a first look. “I second-guessed having a first look but I am so glad we went ahead with it” remarks the bride. “It was the perfect way to calm our nerves and have some time together without being overwhelmed by all of the guests being around.”

The groom wore pieces from Tarocash says Caitlin “Shane, being a creature of habit, had said for *months* that he would just wear his usual go-to Blues Brothers-esque get up of a black suit, white shirt and black tie. But I was so pleasantly surprised to arrive at our first look and see him wearing this beautiful burgundy tuxedo jacket. This was paired with black pants and shoes to give him just a really classic, but cool vibe.”

Urban winery Noisy Ritual hosted both the ceremony and reception. Caitlin sharing “We were adamant that we wanted the ceremony and reception in the same location to minimise the logistics for both ourselves and our guests. We were also very keen to make sure the venue was central and easy to access for the majority of our guests.
We had discussed how we didn’t want a traditional style wedding and were aiming for a big party (that we just happened to get married at) so we were looking for a big space, flexible catering options, a bar that we didn’t have to run and minimal fuss. Noisy Ritual was all of these things plus so much more. We met with Kate to ask her some questions and find out what restrictions they had on events – the answer was very few. Noisy Ritual makes the most amazing wine so their only condition was that they were to run the bar on the night and everything else was fair game. Kate had a really relaxing demeanour about her, and it carried throughout the planning process which really hit home to us that we made the right decision from the start. The staff on the night were incredible and made sure we were always topped up with a glass of pinot gris or a beer at all times – service at its best!”

The bride chose “Sea Of Love” by Cat Power for her walk down the aisle. “My wonderful Dad, Fred, walked me down the aisle and we were equally as nervous as each other! I’m glad he was there to hold me up.”

Caitlin and Shane chose Jac the Hitcher to officiate their ceremony, which resulted in their favourite moments of the day, says the bride “Shane and I are not romantic people in the slightest! We favour laughing over all else so the aim was for our ceremony to be funny with an undertone of love. We didn’t have any readings but we did have one kick-ass celebrant (Jac The Hitcher) who incorporated so many stories and gave a healthy dose of personality to the ceremony. Shane and I wrote our own vows independently of each other and funnily enough, they ended up being very similar. I would describe them more like a light roast then wedding vows which is our relationship to a T!”

“Our ceremony was my favourite part of the day. It was funny, loving, unique and full of a good time. I’ll never forget the moment that Jac The Hitcher made Shane admit that I’m the funnier one in the relationship and I’ll also never forgive her for making me agree to turn a blind eye to Shane purchasing yet another car for the collection every 12 months. I also really enjoyed that our wedding didn’t end at midnight.

Our guests decided to organise a spontaneous after-party at a nearby pub and it was so great to just kick back, have some drinks with our friends, get some dancing in and enjoy ourselves without having to worry about organising anything.”

Of the couple’s main photographer for the day, the bride shares “Shane and I are very lucky to be friends with some super talented people and as a result, we had two different photographers on the day. My old housemate, Chris ‘Coops’ Cooper, just so happens to be the most amazing documentary-style photographer and was the main shooter of the day. From the first time I laid eyes on Chris’ work, I told him ‘you WILL be our wedding photographer whether you like it or not’ and that promise held. Shane is very camera shy and I know that Coops is the only person who can capture him in the wild. He didn’t disappoint and we are so thrilled with the photos that we have from our day.”

“I really wanted to make sure that the girls wore something no fuss, preferably already from their wardrobe, and if not, then something that they would be happy to wear again. We went with a black colour palate as we really wanted the flowers to ‘pop’ in the photos.
The groomsmen were Shane’s two best friends from high school days – Dean and Alex. These legends both wore black suits with white shirts – again, we wanted to make sure that the guys could get some future wear out of their outfits.”

Tells the bride “Whilst it was a frustrating process at times, I really appreciate that wedding planning allowed me to meet and work with new people that I now consider my friends. The planning also highlighted to us how wonderful our friends and family are, especially with all of the offers of help that were thrown our way. Also, the festivities (hens/bucks) leading up to the day were just awesome – it really got us hyped for the big day and made all of the wedding planning stress worth the effort.”

Love those flowers as much as us? They’re by Wildflower + Twig. Caitlin noting “Flowers were a very important element to the day but as with everything else, I was looking for a non-traditional style to go with the theme we had picked for the day. Instagram saved the day once again when I stumbled across Paula at Wildflower + Twig. She had that ‘wild’ and creative touch about her arrangements was incredibly responsive and importantly, she was very eco-friendly with her designs and would source mainly from local growers.
We organised a meeting, discovered a few degrees of separation, I reiterated to her that I wasn’t a huge fan of white and I instantly trusted her vision from then on. Paula designed some beautiful pieces using dark tones of velvety red, deep burgundy and purples, with just small pops of blush. She delivered the bouquets to our accommodation and I even shocked myself with the enormous squeal of excitement that came out when I laid my eyes on the finished product. The designs used in the venue were stunning and the guests couldn’t stop raving about them. The intention was always to let the guests take Paula’s amazing designs home but I did get some enjoyment out of watching people try to be sneaky about hauling them away at the end of the night!”

“Don’t bite off more than you can chew!” advises Caitlin. “If family and friends offer to help, take them up on the offer. Also, it’s 2020 so there is no longer a wedding rule book you have to follow (except for COVID rules) – inject as much of your personality as you can to the day no matter how quirky it may be. And make sure you eat…it definitely makes for a better night!”

The groom’s choice of best man? Even that was offbeat, says Caitlin “Shane felt as though he couldn’t split hairs and pick a ‘best man’ so with the help of our awesome celebrant, Jac The Hitcher, Shane set up a three-part competition to decide ‘The Best Best Man’. Of course, we didn’t tell them they were participating in a competition until we were halfway through the ceremony. The boys were going to be judged based on who could keep Shane’s drink best topped up, who gave the best speech and we eventually came down to the tiebreaker – the dance-off.

It was a close competition until Dean blew everyone away with a very passionate beer toss and started to undress. After a vote that was too close to call from the audience, Dean’s dedication to public nudity in front of 130+ people couldn’t be overlooked and he was declared the winner and presented with the exclusive ‘Best Man’ pin. It was a super entertaining part of the night and we’re so glad the boys got onboard (but like they had a choice!)”

“At one point during our reception, I managed to get a hold of Shane and stand to one side of the room with him” remembers the bride. “I felt it was important to just step back and take in what was happening and that’s exactly what we did. It was great to watch all of the hard work pay off and see all of our favourite people in the one place having a good time.”

A big congratulations to you both Caitlin and Shane! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us. Thank you to Chris Cooper and  Matthew Slade for today’s beautiful images.