We always adore a day where friends pitch in and for Ilia and Marie, their day was full of just that, the pair heading to the beautiful Yarra Valley for the weekend, with photographer Tamara Little Photography.  The couple thanks to COVID-19, both had absent parents on the day, live streaming their wedding, so their folks could be a part of it all. Friends pitched in everywhere they could – Marie’s sister styling her hair and makeup, friends helping organise the day, styling and decorating the venue, and putting together the floral arrangements. It was the perfect way to celebrate a rustic winery wedding in a Victorian winter and we can’t wait to share it!

We met in the Philippines in 2011. I did a summer job as an English teacher (ESL), teaching to tourists and Ilia was one of the customers at that time. And from there, that’s how our story began! I did not expect to find the love of his life when he enrolled in English classes in the Philippines. The student/teacher relationship quickly developed into something more. It has not been smooth sailing with a long-distance relationship, break up, heartache, but finally, we were reunited forever! Together, we have many talented friends and many aspects of the wedding were DIY including the bouquets, hair and makeup and welcome signs.

Ilia proposed to me on my birthday in June 2020. It was early in the morning, he did it when we had just woken up. I was very surprised and happy! (Ilia adds) I had been planning to propose to Marie since February 2020, I believed it was the right time, but I just didn’t know when to propose and I figure I want to do it on her birthday so that it will be the most memorable birthday for her.

I always knew I was going to wear a suit. Even though I considered wearing a traditional Filipino formal attire, (which is called ‘Barong Tagalog’), I chose a navy blue suit instead as it would be more comfortable and warm for the winter weather.

I wore a gown from Oleg Cassini. I always wanted a romantic/rustic vibe gown. However, I have never envisioned what my dream wedding dress would look like. Not until I found this long sleeve beaded gown from Oleg Cassini when I knew this was the wedding dress I would want to wear. It was a plus that it was long sleeved because it was perfect for the winter season too.

My favourite part was the night before the wedding day, where we (Marie’s friends) stayed overnight in a nice spacious villa near the venue. And we all did the finishing touches and DIY decors, flowers. It was a very nice bonding experience with my close friends. Our favourite was when we did the first look photos – it was so special for us because we saw each other for the first time and it was only us two.

The venue was in Immerse Yarra Valley. We also stayed overnight in the accommodation rooms provided, which was excellent because everything was all in one place!
We initially chose the chapel for our ceremony, however, due to the COVID restrictions we had to move to the chapel garden. It was as equally amazing and beautiful having the ceremony in the chapel garden.


Our photographer, Tamara Little Photography, where do we start, she has been absolutely amazing! The fact that she went out of her way to come early so that we can start our first look photos on time, she made sure every important (candid or formal) photo was taken. You can see from the photos it was all pure love and joy, everyone was so chill that day. Tamara captured all these emotions and it’s very apparent from the photos.

The fruition of the theme of the flowers was inspired by the winter season. Until I saw the kale flowers and eucalyptus, I knew right away that was going to be the inspiration for my bouquet. Also, without my friends (who are the most creative-minded people I’ve met!) collectively came up with the overall idea of simple but rustic colours, with simple daisies, baby’s breath, native flowers. Lots of green and white flowers from the decorations, rainbow baby’s breath for the entourage bouquet, and boutonnieres.

Ilia: For my entourage, I chose James (friend), Cyril (friend), Kyri (friend).  I was not too particular about what they should wear. I want them to be comfortable with whatever they wear. I gave all my mates socks with their faces printed on it.

As my bridesmaids, I chose Evonne (Sister), Golden (Best friend), Isabelle (niece), Parisian (friend). They all wore different styles of outfits as long as there is a sage green hue or colour. I was very relaxed about what they want to wear because I want them to feel as comfortable as they can during the day. I gave them all earrings (for the girls) and socks (for Parisian).

My brother-in-law walked me down the aisle as my parents were overseas (it was too impossible to bring them here because of my mother’s work and COVID!). I walked down the aisle with the song “This year’s love” by David Gray. It was the perfect song that resonated with our long journey together.

Our ceremony was amazing! It was this solemn feeling being our celebrant was a Catholic priest. It was great to respect my parent’s wishes being a very traditional Filipino family. The ceremony ran for an hour, it was the traditional Catholic wedding ceremony. The Catholic wedding ceremony was a special tradition that we owe to our parents, especially my parents.

Five things that made the day special to us?

1.) Our story – from being an interracial couple, from different backgrounds, a long history with ups and downs, and after all, we still ended up together
2.) Our parents (whilst being overseas), were still able to join the whole event because of technology
3.) The most chill/drama-free bride and groom 😀
4.) A very inclusive wedding party….. and guests!
5.) The venue being all in one.

What else can we say, the reception was the perfect rustic vibe we are after! To top it off, the food was amazing!

There are no rules on how you want your wedding day to be. It is your special day and it is all about you, so make sure you make decisions based on what you want. DIY weddings are becoming the new force of wedding planning now.

If you have enough time on your plate, or you can multi-task amidst your busy lifestyle, DIY does help a lot! And it saves you financially which you can put it for other things (e.g what’s important for you like your dress, or unlimited drinks, honeymoon, or deposit for a house… etc).

Most of all, enjoy the day because it goes so fast so enjoy every bit of it. Breathe a little and enjoy your quick alone moments with your partner when you have the chance.

Because both parents are from overseas, we ensured to make them feel involved during the day so we hired a live streaming service called Turbo 360 and they exceeded our expectations. It was more meaningful and amazing! We loved being able to speak to both our parents (although virtually) and they get to see the whole event live was extra special! Otherwise, every little thing was special on that day! It was full of fun, happiness, and love!

We loved our DJ and photobooth vendor – Shannon from Music With Memories and (also) The Photobooth Girl. He (Shannon) was amazing! He made the entire intimate event a more meaningful one. His MC skills were great getting everyone feeling comfortable, was so easy to request songs, and especially the roving photography which gave more beautiful candid shots of the event.


For our first dance, we chose “By Your Side” by Sade. It was so meaningful for our story and how we made it through the ups and downs of our long relationship history.

Thank you to Ilia and Marie for sharing your wedding day with us!  Thank you also goes to Tamara Little Photography for sharing today’s images with us!