Lynn and Vanessa’s wedding day is such a beautiful example of doing things your own way. The couple’s original wedding date was in March 2020, but as we know the pandemic had other plans. They were forced to cancel a week and half before their big day. Lynn and Vanessa waited for a year then decided they didn’t want to wait any longer – they wanted to be married. They found a date – March 14, 2021 – that suited their photographer and celebrant, then had to find a new venue. They say the vibe of their wedding evolved because of these decisions but ultimately fit them to a tee. And what a gorgeous, relaxed celebration it was, captured perfectly by photographer Tess Follett.

So how did these two meet? In a bar in San Francisco, all the way back in 2012. Lynn, who is American, was in her last week of a job placement there and Vanessa, who was on holiday, still isn’t sure how she found her way to this particular bar! They hit it off, Vanessa liking the girl in the white vest and Lynn loving Vanessa’s Aussie accent. Vanessa flew out of San Francisco the next day and Lynn thought things would fizzle out once Vanessa returned home. They texted and upgraded to FaceTime and it all just became more of a ‘thing.’ “We decided I should visit in order to see what these feelings were,” says Lynn. “After I flew back to the US, Vanessa visited a few months later and finally, eight months after meeting, I moved to Australia.”

For the big proposal, Vanessa secretly bought a ring for Lynn and popped the question in a Ferris wheel! Lynn’s elderly mom from the US was visiting, and the couple knew it would probably be the only time their parents would have the opportunity to meet. So what better time to get engaged?

For their wedding outfits, neither Lynn or Vanessa were into wearing a traditional white dress. “We spent many weekends trying things on, hoping for something ‘ready to wear’,” says Lynn. “Of course, we had to fit into those outfits after a year of off and on lockdowns!”

The couple chose Tess Follett as their photographer, who they describe as simply amazing. Tess took Lynn and Vanessa around their neighbourhood for some fantastic and fun pre-wedding shots, then to a lookout featuring the Melbourne skyline on the way to their venue. “For two people who can barely take a good selfie, she truly made us feel comfortable,” says Lynn.

Lynn and Vanessa’s original venue was a restaurant in the CBD with an urban vibe but was still closed after a year. When they begin replanning their wedding, they ended up visiting a cafe (Studley Grounds) that Vanessa passes on her bike rides. It was available and they booked it! They held their ceremony outside under the trees, and chose to kick things off at 3pm so that Lynn’s mum and other family members in the US could watch via live stream.

Florals on the day were by North St Botanical. “We gave our florist free reign,” says Lynn. “We did give her our preferred colours and after choosing our venue, we knew we wanted a semi-circle of flowers and foliage under the tree. Other than that, I was happy for her vision and for her to use as much as she could that was in season and could be sourced locally.”

Lynn and Vanessa walked down the tree-lined aisle together. Their live duo, India and Nath of Tillee Music, played ‘Latch’ by Sam Smith.

The couple opted for a relaxed civil ceremony. Their celebrant told the story of how they met, their early days and the proposal. They asked their friends to write something about them (or for them) in the present and the future. “Our dear friend composed it and read it near the end of the ceremony, including words that our friends used to describe us and our relationship,” says Lynn.

Tess was on hand to capture the post-ceremony feels and loved-up shots. “Then, the next day while we were still on a high, she sent us a sneak peek,” says Lynn. “A preview with about 10 photos from our big day. We couldn’t believe how beautiful they ended up. I love when people ask because I literally gush over her.”

Their reception was held in the inside event space at Studley Grounds.

Special details included stationery designed by their friend, Mina Tiesi. Lynn and Vanessa were also thrilled with their favours. “We made a donation to a charity that offered us small lapel pins on a card that explained what we had done,” says Lynn. To make sure there was no waste, they placed small takeaway boxes with extra cake inside for their guests to take home. They also let guests take home the the small flower arrangements from the dinner tables.

Lynn and Vanessa’s wedding cake was by Fig and Salt.

Their advice for soon-to-be marrieds? “The wedding is just one day in your lifetime. Enjoy it but don’t sweat it. No one will remember but you, so make it special for you.”