If there was one word we could use, as we tell the story of Melanie and Patrick’s wedding, it would “them” and it’s purely because these two thought through every decision, every choice to make sure it was theirs and only theirs. “Remember the day is about your commitment to each other, so it should reflect who you are as a couple” says Melanie. “Pretty much everything we chose was thoughtfully and carefully selected to reflect our personalities, interests and style. The whole day was super special because it was just us, from the venue to the music, to our vows, even to the little things like our two cocktail choices – our personal favourites.  Don’t feel like you have to do things just because of tradition. If it’s not you and it won’t make you happy, why do it?”

And Melanie and Patrick’s wedding? It looks like beautiful autumnal colours by the sea. It looks like incredible florals. It looks like sentimental details like the bride getting ready in her mum’s wedding gown, a first dance song that was truly “theirs” and a ceremony that spoke to who they are. And it looks like beautiful photography by Matt Elliott to tell the story.

It’s been a long time coming for these two, who met over nine years ago at a friends wedding. “We met some 9 years ago at my cousin Alex’s wedding to Emma, who happened to be one of Pat’s good friends. The wedding was a daytime/lunch affair, which was followed by an after-party, and this is where I first met Pat. I remember when Pat came over at the after-party and introduced himself, striking up a conversation. He had this warm energy about him, gentle confidence that resonated with me. He also looked quite dashing in his suit, with his bright blue eyes and infectious smile.

I made a passing comment to my sister that he seemed like a nice guy (I later found out that Pat had also approached my sister to ask about me), and as the night went on and the ciders went down, we found ourselves dancing the night away together, even ending the night sharing a sneaky little kiss.”

Patrick proposed with his late mother’s engagement ring. “Pat surprised me with a weekend away in Daylesford for my 30th birthday. Knowing we enjoy hiking together, he planned a mountain walk with the promise of a beautiful view (apparently it had some great reviews on google). But, we were soon underwhelmed as we discovered it was more of a shanty town campsite, with the only view being a large mound that was the alleged picturesque mountain. We wanted to walk a bit further, so Pat convinced me to try a different lookout walk along with one of the springs trails. After initially missing the turn-off and having to backtrack a bit, we finally made it to a metal lookout tower. It looked a little rickety to me, and not being great with heights, I wasn’t too excited about going up.

When we made it to the top, I was feeling a bit hot and flustered so I took a moment just to take in the view. As I was taking a picture, Pat was trying to attract my attention, but I was a bit single-minded in the focus. When I finally turned around he seemed a bit weird and the next thing I know he was proposing! My first response was something like…. You’re doing it now?! haha, closely followed by “Yes!!!” He was holding his late mother’s ring. For my ring, We used the diamond from the ring in my engagement ring design, and Pat used the gold from the band to form the outer rim of his wedding ring.”

Patrick donned a suit from MJ Bale with accessories from Peggy & Finn. Says Melanie “Pat wore black chinos, a textured shirt and a linen jacket from MJ Bale. We wanted a relaxed look as opposed to a formal suit but still wanted it to be classy. I had some inspo pictures that I shared with Pat, but we were also guided a lot by our amazing stylist Kahlie from Pop Up With Style. She helped us to get the colours right with the bridesmaid dresses (which were all different autumn tones) as well as with our overall theme.

Pat’s tie and pocket square were from a local business in Torquay called Peggy and Finn, whom I have been following for ages as I love their prints. I reached out to them on Instagram and after sharing our style & some photos of the bridal party’s attire, they helped us to select the perfect print to match.
Oh, and who can forget about the shoes! Pat went for style & comfort by choosing shoes from Bared Footwear. I also surprised him with some socks that had our fur baby’s face printed on them from My Face Socks (he was always joking about having her in our wedding)”

The white outfit Melanie got ready in? Not just any white gown. “I wore my mother’s wedding dress as a gown when I was getting ready in the morning (I only changed the slip that she wore underneath).”

Melanie purchased not one but two gowns for the wedding, settling on the “Rose” gown by Chosen By Kyha.  “It was simple but elegant, and I adored it. It was the second dress I purchased in the lead up to our wedding. The original dress I ordered was a bit of a covid stress buy; I had tried it on a few months prior and wasn’t 100% sure about it, but I decided to purchase it when everything went into lockdown. When it arrived and I tried it on, it was lovely but I just didn’t feel comfortable in it. After we postponed our wedding a few months, I began to look again; mostly at second-hand dresses or stores that could do rush orders.

That’s when I found Chosen By Kyha. I booked an appointment, fell in love with the Rose gown and ordered it that week. I had a wonderful experience with Chosen By Kyha. The stylist we had, Kristen, was super helpful with suggesting styles that would suit me (not just what I liked in pictures) and how I could accessorise to complete the look. The dress was perfect for me and my style. It was simple but had a touch of elegance with the soft shimmering fabric that crossed over the bodice and draped over the arms.”

She finished her look with pieces from Amelie George, Francesca and Charlotte Mills (from The White Collection). “I decided on a pearl veil from Amelie George to complement the look. For jewellery, I wore classic pearl drop earrings from Francesca for the ceremony & photos. I then changed up the earrings later in the reception to something a bit more glamorous – the willow hoop earrings also from Amelie George.

I had a hard time finding the right shoes, as I have flat feet and my ankles roll in so I needed something cute, comfortable and supportive. I splurged a little on the Meg Pearl heels by Charlotte Mills – they ticked all the boxes.”

“I walked down the aisle with my dad to an acoustic version of Ocean Eyes by Billie Eilish, which was performed by the talented Bails from Hey Jack Entertainment” tells the bride.”We chose Ocean Eyes because of how we were both drawn to each other’s eyes when we first met; my eyes are also green & Pat’s are blue.”

“A beautiful little moment happened after my dad placed my hand in Pat’s after he had walked me down the aisle, they both leant down and kissed me on the cheek at the same moment.

Melanie and Patrick put a lot of thought into getting their ceremony just right, something they undertook with help of their celebrant Lisa-Anne. Says Melanie “We wanted a relaxed ceremony with heartfelt moments, but also laughter. The outdoor billabong setting had a strong connection to nature and the water, two things that are very important to us. We chose one reading (The Corinthians 13:4-8, Love is patient, Love is kind…) and an exert from “Union” by Robert Fulghum.

We had a truly amazing celebrant, Lisa-Anne, who is a local to Phillip Island and came highly recommended by our venue. She told our story so perfectly, it was completely us and it made the whole ceremony such a memorable and meaningful day. My mum and dad even commented that they felt like she had summed up our whole journey together so perfectly, they had to edit back what they had planned for their wedding speech! Lisa-Anne was also a huge help when it came to writing our vows. She used our responses to her questionnaire and gave us a draft of our vows, and honestly, she captured what we both wanted to say in the most perfect way we only needed to make a few tweaks to make them our own – we couldn’t have done it without her. She also added a few little quotes from our favourite books into the ceremony, they weren’t obvious to anyone but were so special to us. Write your vows. Yes, it feels overwhelming and stressful to do, but it is so, so worth it.”

The couple credit much of the success of their day to the wedding planner and stylist they hired, Pop Up With Style. “Consider hiring a planner or a stylist” advises Melanie. “Especially if you are like us and feel unclear about the overall vision, and are overwhelmed with all the choices and the decisions. The only regret I have is not bringing in our stylist sooner. Choosing a stylist was also one of the best things we did, it took a heap of pressure off and helped with the decision making!”

The beautiful floral details for the day were styled by Morrie and Maisie. “A true standout for us was our florist, Corrie from Morrie and Maisie” remarks the bride. “I am usually the type of person who has to research and carefully consider multiple options before making any big decisions, but after our first conversation with Corrie I went against my norm and decided I wanted to work with her straight away – no more researching or even speaking to other florists!

I trusted her ideas and her passion completely, and I was super excited to work with her and see what she created! Being local to the island & also familiar with our venue, Corrie had some great ideas about where to feature our florals to highlight the beauty of the venue even more. She also worked with the venue’s limitations and collaborated with our stylist to come up with an amazing idea to install floral “trees” stretching up & along the staircase and one of the large posts on the upper level of the shearing shed. They were a beautiful feature and all our guests commented about how amazing our florals were!

But not only did she do a standout job on our florals, but she also went above and beyond in other ways, like offering her screens to us when our initial plan to hire a green wall to cover the stage area fell through. She even re-painted them herself to match our colours too! Or, when she collaborated with Elaine’s Cakes and they both contacted us about trying out their design for our wedding cake – they were both so enthusiastic about their creative vision, there was no way we wouldn’t have agreed!”

Melanie’s bridesmaids each wore a different gown in a tone of coral orange, the bridesmaids dressing in pieces from Chancery the Label, and Forever New. “I had my sister, Amanda, and my two besties, Jess & Alissa. Each bridesmaid wore a different style dress in slightly different autumn tones. It was a bit of a challenge finding three dresses that would suit each bridesmaid, especially for my beautiful pregnant bridesmaid, Alissa (finding something flattering and not in standard blush/maroon/navy/black was a real nightmare), so we ended up having hers made. Luckily, we were able to get our hands on the last ream of ‘rust’ colour satin we could find in Victoria and a dressmaker who pulled something spectacular together just in time. My sister’s dress was Chancery & Jess’ dress was from Forever New.”

Melanie and Patrick held their wedding at The Shearing Shed. “After looking around Geelong, we couldn’t find a venue that felt right. I came across the Shearing Shed on Instagram, and it seemed to tick all the boxes so we booked a visit. It didn’t take long to realise we had found our perfect venue and we booked it straight away. We fell in love with the rustic charm, billabong and outdoor area, not to mention all the inclusions (i.e food, drinks, amazing venue managers etc.). There was a relaxed charm, and we went with a cocktail wedding to utilise the different areas inside. The weather meant we got to utilise outdoor areas on the day with an acoustic singer, which made for a fun but relaxed party atmosphere. The venue was also only a short drive to pyramid rock, where we later visited for sunset photos.”

The couple worked with Danger & Moon to create signage to guide guests through the day.

We’re already fans of photographer Matt Elliott around Polka Dot Wedding, so we were thrilled to hear that Melanie and Patrick also give him all their gold stars. Especially for their sunset portrait session overlooking the sea!  “We were so blessed to have Matt Elliot as our photographer. He was able to help us feel at ease with the day both in knowing he had all things covered and helping us to feel a bit less awkward in front of the camera! He was super chill, joked with us, gave us guidance when it was needed and also didn’t seem to need much time at all the get the perfect shot.

Some of our favourite pictures and memories from our day never would have happened if it wasn’t for Matt & our videographer Jamie (from Directors Edge) suggesting the morning of our wedding that we change our initial plan of beach photos after the ceremony to clifftop snaps at sunset. Trust you, vendors!”

The couple spent a lot of time making sure the first dance song they chose, like everything for their wedding, was truly “theirs”. “We chose the Triple J like a version cover by Chvrches of Kendrick Lamar’s song ‘Love’. This was a tough decision but we chose something that we felt was meaningful to us and unique. It was a perfect choice, as we never got sick of it and the tempo was perfect for our dance – we took the time to have lessons & a dance choreographed, and it was so worth it! We were quite proud of ourselves for being able to learn and perform an entire dance!” The couple a little more pro than your average civilian in their moves thanks to dancing lessons at Geelong School of Dance. “One of our favourite parts of wedding planning was dance rehearsals and choosing a song that was important to both of us.”

The couple chose with Directors Edge to capture this stunning film of their day. The decision something these two highly recommend. “Hire a videographer!!” exclaims Melanie. “The day goes by so quickly, and it all becomes a bit of a blur quicker than you think (especially the ceremony, which is hard to fully appreciate at the time). Nothing brought us more joy after our wedding than watching our video and getting to re-live the whole day again, this time appreciating it from a slightly different point of view.”

Congratulations to you both Melanie and Patrick! We loved sharing every moment of your day. Thank you also to Matt Elliott for sharing today’s beauty of this celebration with us.