For Steph and Tom, COVID might have changed their initial plans, but it turned their wedding into something, bigger and no doubt for them, much better.

The pair finding their dream venue, and then, with the help of their floral designer, Oh Hello Petal, madly scrambling to find another!  “With all the COVID density restrictions, we had to find a larger venue to go ahead with the reception” explains Steph. “My sister and my florist Ione (who is my cousin Amy’s best friend and who we’ve basically grown up with) frantically searched for venues a few weeks before the wedding when we found out we could have all of our guests.” The result? These two got to celebrate their marriage twice! Making a weekend of it with an intimate winery wedding and celebratory luncheon, before their guests joined them the very next day for a celebration. We’ve got both bright and beautiful days to share with you, thanks to Fern and Stone Photography.

It was a classic “fall in love at a music festival” meeting for Steph and Tom, who first met at the Falls Festival in 2012. Steph recalling  “We met through a mutual friend who organised for a group of us to go to Falls Music Festival in Lorne over NYE 2011/12. Steph really wanted the first kiss to be at midnight but Tom jumped the gun and kissed her at 10 pm (this is how Steph knows that Tom made the first move although he claims otherwise). We went on a few dates once back from Falls and then Tom went to South East Asia for a month but we emailed back and forth every day that he was away and he got back on Valentines Day when we got to see each other again.”

The proposal was a beautiful surprise for this bride to be. “Tom organised a surprise weekend away to Halls Gap, where Steph goes every year with her family and is her favourite place in the world. He doesn’t usually organise holidays (Steph is usually the planner) so to throw her off the scent he booked for us to stay at the Grampians Eco YHA on the first night! The next morning we hiked up Chatauqua Peak and he proposed at the top, and then that night we had a beautiful dinner and stayed at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld.”

The gentlemen wore custom suits by Classique Fashion by Rajiv. The bride noting “Tom is quite tall so usually gets his suits for work made by a tailor called Rajiv who has a boutique called Classique Fashion in Bangkok and comes out to Melbourne twice a year. So he got his suit and his groomsmen’s suits made by Rajiv although because of COVID lockdowns his childhood friend Anne had to take the measurements and send them across to be made remotely!”

The days preceding the big day were just as special for Steph, who reminisces “The fact that so many of our family and friends were able to attend was an absolute delight as we had thought it was going to be impossible for so many months leading up to it due to COVID. Being able to have a group of my friends over to stay the night beforehand and help me get ready before the ceremony was so much fun – we watched The Holiday on Netflix and had pizza and Bailey’s and it was the perfect final night before getting married being able to spend it with my closest girlfriends! Being able to have our one surviving grandparent there at the reception, my maternal grandmother Sheela, was amazing and we were so grateful that the COVID situation had become safe enough that she could come.”

Steph chose a gown by designer Karen Willis Holmes. “My big sister Lisa (who was my Maid of Honour and basically our wedding planner) scouted out a few different dress shops, and then I went to the different stores with mum, bridesmaids and Tom’s mum. I was expecting it to be a horrible experience because I usually hate dress shopping but the assistants made it fun and it ended up being enjoyable, especially when I found the dress and knew it was the one!”

Special touches, honouring family members were included throughout the day, recalls Steph “I wore diamond earrings that had belonged to my maternal great-grandmother (which our jeweller Jasmine Fraser re-plated in rhodium for me), and a diamond necklace that had belonged to my paternal grandmother. We used a tripod for the live stream that had belonged to my maternal grandfather who had loved photography. Dad also wore a special fire brigade tie on the day that used to belong to his father.”

The official part of the wedding, which included a sit-down luncheon for Steph and Tom’s nearest and dearest, was held at Mount Macedon Winery. Says the bride “We knew we wanted to get married in the country but close enough to Melbourne for guests to get home on the night if they needed to. It was the last venue we checked out and we absolutely fell in love with it.”

Steph walked down the aisle with her dad to Tangled’s “I See The Light”.

The couple chose Elisa Western to officiate their ceremony, Steph noting  “Our ceremony was short and sweet. We wanted it to be reasonably casual but with a few traditional touches. We live-streamed the ceremony for overseas and interstate guests, although the audio didn’t work on the day which was really disappointing! We didn’t have any readings but we wrote our own short vows to share with everyone.” The pair exchanged rings from Jasmine Fraser.

How bright and gorgeous are the blooms on the day? Steph and Tom worked with Oh Hello Petal for both of their celebrations.  “Ione our florist we have known since primary school due to being my cousin’s best friend, so we knew we had to have her for the wedding because not only are we childhood friends but also she’s an amazing florist. We went with bright and colourful flowers with lots of variety and texture as we wanted it to be cheerful and summery. My mum is Indian and even though we decided on a western ceremony and dress, I wanted to channel that colourful energy that you get at Indian weddings.”

The newlyweds dined with their intimate guest list, enjoying a celebratory sit-down feast together.

Of their chosen photographer, these two have all the props to give. “Jess from Fern and Stone was absolutely amazing! She was pregnant at the time but still whipped around getting photos of everything and did an amazing job, She was just so calm, got everything moving as planned but never pushy, never made us feel awkward and the photos were everything we could have hoped for. I would highly recommend her to everyone!”

Advises the bride “They say something will always go wrong on your wedding day and it’s true – it’s easy to get caught up in it but as long as you don’t expect total perfection and remember to focus on the big picture important things like the fact that you get to marry your love, then it will all be ok! Also, remember to take the hair tie off your wrist before the ceremony!”

Steph and Tom held their reception at The Wool Mill. Explains Steph “We had to find a larger venue to go ahead with the reception and so Lisa and my florist Ione (who is my cousin Amy’s best friend and who we’ve basically grown up with) frantically searched for venues a few weeks before the wedding when we found out we could have all of our guests and found The Wool Mill in Brunswick which I fell in love with due to its bright light airy spaces.”

The pair made plenty of adjustments to make sure that guests far away would feel included in their day, explains Steph “We were glad to be able to include overseas and interstate guests via Zoom. We also had Tom’s twin sister Kate do her speech via video as she was unfortunately stuck in London and unable to attend in person. My German host family from the exchange that I did back in year 10, who was meant to come for the wedding but weren’t able to due to COVID, also sent a surprise video speech that was played on the day of the reception which was a lovely surprise. We also had beautiful custom made coasters made with our guests names on them which we sent out with the wedding invitations because we initially thought no one would be able to come on-site due to COVID, so the overseas and interstate guests were able to have a drink on their personalised coasters while watching the live stream.”

Friends and family all pitched in to make this dream day happen, remarks the bride. “Our stationery was all designed for us by my childhood friend Alex who is a graphic designer, so it was absolutely perfect. She sent us the designs and we printed all of the signage and place cards and food and drink menus ourselves through Officeworks. I also borrowed the veil from my brother in law’s best friend’s wife Anna, and my sister will wear the same veil on her wedding day in March this year.”

“Honestly all of our vendors were absolutely fantastic” raves Steph. “They were all so responsive throughout the stresses of COVID, happy to adapt across the two days at the last minute, and all so supportive and joyful and lovely to have around on the days. We could not have asked for a better crew of people to create our wedding and feel so incredibly lucky and grateful to have had such a good experience.”

And then, it was time for the newlyweds to take to the dance floor! “Our first dance song was chosen the week before the wedding when we found out we could have a dance floor! We chose “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates because it was upbeat and fun, and danced together just for a few seconds before everyone joined us as we hadn’t had any time to learn a dance routine!”

There to capture Steph and Tom’s beautiful celebrations on film was the talented team at Valley & Peak.

A big congratulations to you both Steph and Tom! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day(s) with us and to Fern and Stone Photography for sharing today’s celebration!