If there ever was a COVID wedding success story, the romantic, autumnal wedding of Melissa and Evan might just be it. It was utter perfection. From the sweet, love-filled ceremony that perfectly reflected these two souls, to the beautiful dinner party style reception under the stars (all captured beautifully by Kyra Boyer) this was a day of magic.

If you have been planning your wedding amid COVID make sure you take this sage advice from Melissa herself. “If your wedding has been affected by Covid, try and focus on the positives where you can. We didn’t get the big wedding that we initially planned, but we were lucky to still have an incredible small ceremony that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, and we still (hopefully!) get to have an epic reception in a couple of years so we can party with all our friends and family!”

“It was just such a perfect day, I think it was all special! ” raves Melissa. “Especially when we spent so much time during the pandemic thinking that this day wasn’t going to happen, it was just so incredibly special that we could still put together an amazing day, even though it wasn’t what we originally planned, and we couldn’t have everyone we would have loved to be there.” There is no doubt in our mind, that for Melissa and Evan, we crown them victorious!

Their story started with one of everyone’s favourite app. “As many epic love stories begin, our started with a swipe right on tinder. I had joined as a way to get out of my comfort zone before moving to the UK later that year. Then Ev and I met and safe to say the UK move never happened !”
Evan popped the question in not quite the way he planned, but much like everything with these two – perfect nonetheless! “Evan was initially going to propose on our trip to Tasmania for Dark Mofo. It ended up being an epic weekend for other reasons, with finding out I was pregnant the day we arrived, and then Evan getting food poisoning on the day he was going to propose! He ended up proposing a few months later at home, Burt Reynolds style (I’ll let you use your imagination).”

The dapper groom was dressed by  Pinstripe Tailors, explains Melissa “My husband has always wanted to have a custom suit, so found a local tailor Nick from Pinstripe Tailors to custom make a suit from scratch. They worked together to create a design that was so perfectly Ev, down to every little detail, and perfect for our big day!” Melissa surprised him with a special gift too. “Because Ev’s favourite Whisky is Dalmore, I was so excited to organise the whisky barrel cufflinks for the day for him and the boys.”

“The groomsmen, they were able to wear whatever suit they wanted, and our son and puppy wore bowties that matched Evan vest. The groomsmen, Ev, my dad and Ev’s dad all have matching personalised cufflinks, made out of Dalmore whisky barrels (Evan’s favourite whisky, and the whisky we chose to be our wedding whisky to toast with at the ceremony).”

Melissa counts one of her best decisions as picking glittery gold Kate Spade Keds for the day “By far the comfiest prettiest shoes ever!”.

Melissa made sure to add sentimental family touches to her wedding day look. “My mother gave me a blue handkerchief that her mother had given to her on her wedding day. It was so special to be able to have that piece of history with me while I was getting married.”

“The only brief I gave my bridesmaids was to wear black, but what style and how they wore it was completely up to them. They all have such unique personalities and styles, I wanted to make sure they felt like the best versions of themselves on the day and were comfortable and happy with what they were wearing.”

The beautiful strapless lace gown that Mel wore was a custom gown by Catherine R Couture organised through Moonstruck Bride. She tells “I spent a long time trying to find the perfect dress, and with everything being up in the air in 2020 I didn’t start shopping until very late. I was lucky, however, that I found the most amazing boutique, Moonstruck Bride in Fitzroy North, who were so accommodating and helpful, especially being a plus-sized bride.

When I wasn’t able to get the dress I wanted ordered in time, they organised for an amazing Melbourne designer Catherine R Couture to custom make me a dress in the original style I wanted, but 1000 times better than anything I could have imagined. And all in a very short time frame! I would 100% recommend both Moonstruck Bride and Catherine R Couture to anyone looking for the perfect wedding dress. Moonstruck Bride was so incredible to deal with, such lovely women and I highly recommend everyone go there.”

Melissa and Evan booked Katie Paws to make sure their favourite four-legged friend could attend the day. “Thanks goes to our pet sitter Katie Paws, for looking after our puppy and bringing him from Melbourne to Daylesford so he could be part of the ceremony.”

The beautiful venue that Melissa and Evan chose was a sweet little house of Poets Lodge. It may not have been their first choice, but it was a perfect choice, says Melissa. “As with most weddings this past year, our initial plans did not pan out. We had organised to get married on 17 April 2021 at my parent’s farm in Toolamba VIC and spent much of 2020 waiting to see what would happen and if it could go ahead. We eventually realised that it was too much of a risk to have our big wedding, so decided we would keep the date and have a small or micro wedding, and then have a big reception at my parent’s farm in 2023 (here’s hoping that is far enough in the future that it can still go ahead!). We then stumbled across Poets Lodge (an Air BnB in Daylesford) on a weekend away and instantly fell in love. It all just fell into place from there.

The owners of the Airbnb were super accommodating and organised quite a lot of the day for us, from the food to the wait staff, and lots of small details we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. And the venue was just exactly the vibe we were going for! It was so perfectly us I couldn’t have imagined getting married anywhere else.”

Melissa walked down the aisle to live music by the groom’s sister. She remembers  “We didn’t exactly have an aisle, but I walked out of our accommodation into the courtyard where the ceremony was set up. My dad walked me out which was so special and emotional for me, while Evan’s sister played the guitar and sang “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins (my favourite love song, because who doesn’t love a serious love song that uses the word groovy?) which was beyond perfect and so special to us.”

Melissa and Evan chose Jac the Hitcher to officiate their ceremony, with a specific vision in mind. “I may be biased, but I think our ceremony was the best! We wanted it to be short, simple, sweet, fun and special. Ev and I aren’t super traditional and we knew we wanted people to have fun and be entertained while still making it a little bit sweet and sappy.

As we only had a small number of guests, we didn’t want everyone sitting around really formal, so we had a few small tables set up for our guests that needed to sit and then had everyone else just casually standing around to make it feel a bit less formal.

We had the most incredible celebrant, Jac the Hitcher, who knows how to work a crowd and made everyone laugh, cry, and have an amazing time. She was the perfect fit for our day, and had us and our guests in stitches, which is exactly what we wanted! She even worked in a Princess Bride reference which was so perfect!

“I think it was our son who stole the show, he was about 14 months at the time, and absolutely hilarious, he thought everyone was there for him and was being a cute adorable show-off! I was more than happy to share the spotlight with him!”

“Jac the Hitcher was definitely a standout, I cannot recommend her highly enough, and to this day my guests still talk about how great she was and what a fun ceremony it was!”

Shoutout from Melissa to jeweller Cushla Whiting. “For my INCREDIBLE rings, both my engagement ring and wedding band are from them and they are so perfect. And their customer service is amazing.”

“Once all the vows were done, we cracked open a bottle of Dalmore Cigar Malt, (one of our favourite whisky’s and now our official wedding whisky we will be drinking for many anniversaries to come!) and had everyone toast to celebrate! Was so so perfect.”

The beauty of Autumn wove its way through every part of the day. “The wedding had such a beautiful and relaxed, warm and cosy vibe. The wedding was in autumn, so we just wanted to have those warm rich autumn tones, rustic and nothing too polished. Just fun and relaxed and cosy. We both love vintage as well, so had a lot of vintage or vintage-inspired touches throughout.”

The incredible autumnal bouquets were styled by Fleurs de Lyonville, honouring the couple’s pledge to shop local, says Melissa. “We wanted to use as many local vendors as possible, and our venue recommended a local flower farm, Fleurs de Lyonville to do our flowers. We just gave them the brief that we wanted very autumnal colours, and left the rest up to them, to allow them to give us the best of what flowers they had available at the time. What they delivered was beyond what I was expecting and perfect! Fleurs de Lyonville did such an incredible job with the flowers, they were just stunning.

Melissa and Evan were lucky enough to choose a photographer they adored to capture their wedding. “Kyra was the perfect person to capture our ceremony” tells Melissa. “She is such a lovely and warm person, made the experience super easy, and was so accommodating when our wedding plans changed (thanks Covid!). The photos are so amazing, they are the best mix of classic portraits (that you want but she made sure they weren’t awkward or stuffy) and all the weird and wonderful candid moments (my favourite!).”

That epic emerald green wedding cake was a multi-flavoured beauty designed by Blackbird Cakes. “Blackbird Cakes in Woodend made the most incredible tasting cake, one layer of gingerbread and one layer of chocolate, raspberry and coconut (we picked a layer each because we couldn’t agree, but gingerbread was the clear favourite according to me haha).”

The outdoor reception was filled with treats – including tinned cocktails from Continental Deli. “I can’t pick a favourite detail,” says Melissa. “There were so many great ones! One of my favourite details though was the incredible tinned cocktails from Continental Deli in Sydney. It was a last-minute addition and almost didn’t make it, but they were so perfect I’m glad they did it!”

Guests were seated around a long table in the courtyard for an intimate dinner reception, says Melissa. “Everything just started falling into place after so much back and forth about what we were going to do about the wedding. Once we made the decision to get married anyway and just go small, everything just fell into place. Just being able to marry the guy I love. After a year of uncertainty and chaos, it felt like such a blessing. We loved being able to have a small number of people attend. With covid restrictions we weren’t sure we would be allowed to have anyone, so even being able to have a small number be allowed to attend was so special.”

“It was just such a perfect day, I think it was all special! Especially when we spent so much time during the pandemic thinking that this day wasn’t going to happen, it was just so incredibly special that we could still put together an amazing day, even though it wasn’t what we originally planned, and we couldn’t have everyone we would have loved to be there.”

Melissa and Evan, it has been such an honour and a joy to be able to share your day. Thank you so much for telling your story. Thank you also to Kyra Boyer for sharing this beauty with us!