“We love Melbourne and most of our guests were travelling from interstate and overseas, so we wanted to make our wedding a snapshot of what we would consider a pretty glorious day exploring Melbourne – a perfect date but with 50 other people.” The wedding of SJ and Dan? One might consider today’s wedding, a love story to dear Melbourne. The couple roaming the streets of their neighbourhood, stopping for bubbles at a favourite bar, and riding on trams – even dining at their favourite city restaurant- it celebrated their life together, in a truly personal way. Shares the bride “We wanted it to be elegant, joyful and imbued with the lifestyle we love in Melbourne…I think we pulled it off.”
Inviting Alex of Motta Weddings along for the ride (and those aforementioned 50 of their closest family and friends!) the pair made sure to not just include their favourite Melbourne landmarks, but also plenty of colour. Think zesty orange, hot pink, beautiful apple green- it was modern, it was beautiful and it was a celebration of SJ and Dan in the most apt of ways.
It makes sense that this wedding included the couple’s favourite tipple spots because they met at a favourite pub! SJ fills us in “We met at one of our favourite hometown pubs. I was there to meet a girlfriend to commiserate how crap our dating lives had recently been, basically at a point of declaring life was just all about friendships and scheming boys could scheme elsewhere…and then a mutual friend was there with Dan.
I knew pretty much at an instant but refused to make any gesture that I was interested in (given my recent vows against dating!) which my tipsy girlfriend could barely stand – loud whispering across the table “give him your number!” I was definitely blushing like a beetroot trying to play it cool. I didn’t give him my number – I figured if he wanted to continue the conversation, we had enough mutual friends to find these things out…and he did ask a friend for my number less than a week later and the rest is history.
SJ and Dan completely did their day their way, beginning with a first look! Explains the bride “Given this wedding was all about our neighbourhood it had a few locations. The wedding party started at our home in Fitzroy and walked along Gertrude Street while having photos. We stopped at Marion for some Champagne before continuing to Carlton Gardens to meet our families for brief family snaps and then a bit of a canter over to the Melbourne Museum for the ceremony.”
The bride chose a stunning gown designed by Stella McCartney, which she had altered by SeamWorks. “The dress was a silk crepe gown from Stella McCartney’s “Made with Love” collection. The fact that Stella has a sustainable and ethical production focus, and her designs are simple, elegant and comfortable (read no awkward bras or suffocating Spanks!) ticked all my boxes. I’m also 6’2” so I needed the proportions to be right.
I bought online via My Theresa because I’m a bit terrified of bridal stores (they are my idea of hell!) and found a great dressmaker – Sandra Flechas, at Seamworks – who perfected it for me, along with my afterparty dress by Marchesa.”
And Dan? He worked with Oscar Hunt on his navy suit. “It is the best, most comfortable wardrobe favour you can do for yourselves fellas!” laughs SJ as she explained how Dan had his suit custom-tailored. “Dan is REALLY particular about suits and their accessories, so he knew exactly what he wanted and what was appropriate. I didn’t have to worry he’d show up in tails and a daffy duck waistcoat.”
Let’s talk flowers, SJ and Dan worked with Good Grace & Humour on the beautiful blooms for the day, says SJ “I can’t shout the praises of Megs and the team from Good Grace and Humour more. I wasn’t particularly rigid in what I was looking for. After looking through the Good Grace and Humour portfolio I knew that I could trust Megs to bring together some statement pieces to elevate the venue spaces and bring atmosphere.
Megs used locally grown flowers that were looking at their best in-season – dahlias and hydrangea paniculata, along with dried elements.
She felt like my floristry soulmate! From the grand palm tree pod arrangement at the ceremony to the lapel pins, it was all stunning. Megs also works hard towards sustainable practice, removing single-use plastic and foam use wherever possible, so you’ve gotta get behind that.”
“He was excellent” raves SJ of the couple’s choice of photographer. “Alex made us feel completely at ease despite how awkward we are being the centre of the photographic attention. Alex really keyed into our brief and made the photography candid where possible. He’s also super personable, professional and efficient. We loved working with Alex and the outcome speaks for itself.”
The bride’ favourite photo? “There’s one of Dan & I with the Marion winebar laneway wall behind us. Dan just told a really dry joke about a song that Nicole’s singing and dancing to out of shot and I’ve thrown my head back laughing.”
SJ walked down the aisle with her parents to The Flaming Lips “Do You Realize?”. “I loved having mum and dad walk me down the aisle. I didn’t want that to be a “father handing daughter over to husband” thing and had thought about just walking myself down the aisle. My parents are really cute and sentimental though, so I wanted to include them both and I think they were as chuffed as I was to meet the day as a family.”
That stunning, modern ceremony venue? It’s Kalaya, part of the beautiful Melbourne Museum. SJ explains “Great support staff. Intimate cathedral-like room with a perimeter of tree trunk columns looking out onto the Indigenous gardens of the Museum. Kalaya is a Wamba Wamba word meaning ‘to ask questions’, so it seemed appropriate!”
SJ and Dan were married by Sharon The Celebrant. “The Kalaya space really set the tone which is partly why we chose it – intimate and uplifting space. We also chose our absolute ham of a celebrant Sharon to get everyone grinning…if not crying with laughter while retelling the story of SJ & Dan. We didn’t want it to be staid or feel like it was just running through the motions of us getting the paperwork done. We wanted it to set the tone for the evening and be fun and authentic.”
As dusk settled, the newlyweds joined their guests for dinner at Collins street venue Trattoria Emilia. Shares SJ “We love Italy and we love food. With a number of our guests coming from Italy we knew we needed to impress with the menu, so there was really no better place than Emilia. You will never leave this place hungry or underwhelmed.
Trattoria Emilia is the whole package – the beautiful old commercial bakery space Emilia sits in is a stunning venue, the staff are impeccable (big thanks to Van & Matteo) and the food is the best you’ll see outside of Modena (bravo Luca & Francesco). I love this place to bits!”
“We loved having several of Dan’s family from Italy make to trip over…just before the whole world locked down too! We spent days leading up to the wedding making sure they got to see as much of Melbourne and experience Australia before they went home.”
While the newlyweds said no to a first dance, they did make sure to curate the music for their day, one of the bride’s favourite wedding planning memories. “Curating the playlists for every stage of the day with our favourite songs and those suggested by our guests on their RSVPs was a weekend hobby for over a year. Music is a big part of our lives and it is so lovely to have those playlists in the collection now to rekindle memories of the day.”
“I feel really blessed that all our vendors were exceptional, but I guess as foodies, working with the team Trattoria Emilia to bring together the menu was probably our favourite and one of the most delicious things. They’re so helpful, from arranging non-alcoholic beverages for our pregnant and non-drinking guests to tailoring the menu so we could fit in a suckling pig…which was a theatrical showstopper on the night, coming out of the kitchen looking fit for a medieval feast!”
“We loved being able to spend a fabulous day enjoying all our favourite Melburnian things with a close group of family and friends. Even if you didn’t want to get married on paper, I have to say having a big fat love celebration in a place you love with all your nearest and dearest is worth it.”
The biggest congratulations to you both SJ and Dan! What a stunning day to be able to share. Thank you also to Motta Weddings for today’s beautiful images!