If timeless, elegant weddings covered in soft roses & florals, striking tuxedos & and a breathtaking off-shoulder wedding gown are your thing then you’ve come to the right place. Carla & Daniel’s Stunning & Stylish Black Tie Wedding, captured by In A Maze Photography, has all the makings of an old world glamour affair, complete with lovely family touches, amazing entertainment for their guests & the photos to “ooh and ahh” over! Carla tells us how she and Daniel met, fell in love, and their engagement, followed by their beautiful wedding day…
Dan and I met on Bumble 3 years ago. We had a very brief chat on the app and a week later we met at Frankie’s Pizza. Of course, it was super loud and we couldn’t really hear each other, so not a great start for a first date. After a while, we found a different table and were able to get to know each other better. We flirted, shared our life experiences and plans, and I could feel we had formed a good connection. After a few dates, we were official and meeting each other’s families!
We went to Fiji together in January 2020 and stayed in the Marriott Momi Bay Resort in this beautiful lagoon front Bure. On the first day, we settled, had dinner then went back to our room right after sunset. Daniel organised some cocktails and we sat outside on the deck of our Bure looking out to the lagoon. I could tell he was a bit nervous and quiet for some reason but he started telling me all the things he admired about me and how much he appreciated having me in his life. Next thing I knew he leapt off the lounge, onto one knee and asked me to marry him, presenting a beautiful teal sapphire yellow gold ring which I had pointed out to him about 6 months prior online because we had started having conversations of marriage back then. I started hysterically crying and I’m pretty sure it echoed across the whole lagoon. It was great that he proposed on the first night of our holiday because we were able to celebrate and really enjoy the time we had together before returning to everyday life and starting the planning process.
Daniel is someone that loves fashion and always chooses to dress well. He had come to like Tom Ford over the last couple of years and so to have a Tom Ford suit for his wedding day was Daniel’s dream. He found a really classic, elegant tuxedo online and ordered it from overseas. It was a risk but worth it in the end. He found some pearl studs for his shirt without knowing too much about my dress so I felt our outfits matched perfectly on the day.
When it came to dress shopping, I really wanted a classic, timeless, elegant and simple dress that wasn’t over the top. I knew from the get-go I loved the off the shoulder neckline and I didn’t want a big frou-frou ball gown. It was actually quite difficult to find dresses with a straight-across off-the-shoulder neckline. I visited about twenty dress shops over five or six weeks, and I was becoming very overwhelmed by the process. Six weeks into searching, I booked an appointment at Accapella Bridal in Wollongong with Connie, and she had three dresses lined up for me that I had pointed out from her website. The moment I put on the second dress, an Essense of Australia off-shoulder ballgown, I knew it was the one. It just felt like it was made for me and I knew my husband would love it. The neckline was regal and timeless, the pleated ball gown skirt made the dress grand but still understated, the train was a perfect length, and it had these stunning buttons from the top to the end of the train. It was just heaven. I chose to keep it simple, so I didn’t add any belts or embellishments. I wore pearls because the dress is made of Pearl Mikado silk and had a subtle shine. I also found a beautiful pearl veil online and wore a pearl hair comb my mother had bought in Singapore and wore on her wedding day. It all matched perfectly.
I wanted the styling of our wedding to be modern, with the florals in particular to be luxe, sculptural and soft. The colours we chose were a mix of neutral like white, gold, latte, cream, nudes and blush pink. Our floral selection was mainly roses, phalaenopsis orchids, dahlias and hydrangeas. The orchids were especially important because both of our nonnas grew them in their gardens. Both my stylist Ashdown & Bee (who also happens to be my sister in law) and our florist Clementine Posy were such a pleasure to work with and they worked together to ensure our vision came to life in the most spectacular and elegant way.
When I look back at the day there were so many precious moments! Of course, walking down the aisle was so surreal because it is something you think about your whole life and especially in the lead up to the wedding. You always wonder how it’s going to feel and for me, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm, like I was floating on air towards the love of my life, my future.
I’ve always been a Coldplay fan so I chose to walk down the aisle to a live acoustic version of “Yellow”. Both Daniel and I had heard a similar version of it before and loved it so we knew it was the perfect song to set the ambience of the day. At the end of the ceremony, we exited the church to the song “I Can See Clearly Now” which was really upbeat and funnily enough after weeks of heavy rain, our wedding day was clear skies and sun so it was quite fitting.
We got married at St John Vianney Catholic Church where my parents got married and where I was raised as a Catholic. The ceremony for us was the most important part of the day and we chose to have a short but traditional Catholic mass using the traditional vows. We kept things simple at the church and opted out of any styling except for a welcome sign. Our priest allowed us to have a live musician and we played our favourite songs from Coldplay and Chris Isaak. Our family has so many memories in that church and it felt so special to get married there.
For us, the ceremony was all about tradition. We were both raised traditional Catholic so it was a nod to our families and we wanted to keep that part of the day quite simple. To keep our family involved, I asked my sisters in law and my godmother to do the readings, responsorial psalm and prayers of the faithful. The reading we chose was Corinthians 12:31 – 13:8.
Our special day took place on 27th March 2021 in Wollongong. We luckily chose that date from the get-go and weren’t too affected by restrictions. It was also a perfect time of year to get married as it was nothing but blue skies on the day. Wollongong is my beautiful hometown and with the stunning backdrop of the ocean, I knew it was the perfect setting to get married.
For a personal touch, we added photos of Daniel’s father and nonna as well as my nonna who are no longer with us to the guest signing table at the reception. We also wrote letters to each other and opened them on the morning of the wedding day, so that was a really special moment for us both and was captured in our wedding video.
Our reception followed at the City Beach Function Centre which is located right on City Beach Wollongong. We chose City Beach for a number of reasons: The stunning view, the large space in the room, the wonderful and helpful staff, the value for money (especially with all the inclusions), the central location and the fact that it was pretty much a blank canvas that you could do a lot with styling wise. Our wedding coordinators Michele and Melissa made the whole process so easy and as a nervous bride who was worried about all the small details, I was eased to know that the staff were so helpful, attentive and friendly.
The styling of our wedding was modern, using colours white, gold, latte, cream, nudes and blush pink. White and gold were the base tones, as we wanted a classic and timeless foundation and the other colours added a modern flair. We kept this theme in mind throughout the planning process – how we wanted to keep things traditional and classic whilst also adding something unique and modern. For our reception, the flowers and styling were an absolute highlight (a HUGE thank you to my sister in law from Ashdown & Bee and florist Clementine Posy). A lot of guests complimented us on how beautiful the room looked. Our florist added olive tree branches with actual olives to the arrangements on the day and it just perfectly tied in with our Italian heritage, my personal love for all things olives (literally) and our olive oil bonbonniere.
Our main goal was to ensure the day was memorable for our guests and to keep them well entertained. We hired a Sam the Caricaturist for the night to draw our guests as cartoons and we had a violin stunt duo – Strings on Fire – perform for 20 minutes in between speeches. We also hired a photo booth from Playhard Photobooth for the night and Dan’s best man drummed to the first few dance songs of the evening as he has experience drumming for Lebanese weddings. We made colouring books for the children under 10 at the reception and also gave away small posies of our flowers from the guest tables at the end of the night as something additional for the guests to take home.
One of my favourite moments from the day was when Dan and I went to the beach outside our reception at sunset to have some extra photos and have a moment with just the two of us. I just remember hearing the waves crash behind us, time stood still and it was a moment that felt like it would last forever. It was the best decision and the photos turned out beautifully. I highly recommend to couples on their wedding day to take a minute aside just the two of them to take it all in.
My husband is an old soul and just loves Elvis. We knew it was a common choice but we danced to “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis and the Philharmonic Orchestra. I have a dance background so I choreographed a very simple routine and we practiced every night for about a month leading up to the wedding. Daniel also gave input on some of the steps as we practiced and so it was nice that the dance was something we created together.
In a Maze were our chosen photographers and videographers for the day. They worked so hard and went above and beyond to ensure they captured all the little moments and small details. Eric was our point of contact and he was just such a pleasure to work with. These guys are award-winning and it definitely showed with our final video and photos which were absolutely stunning. In the lead-up to the wedding, we had regular conversations and meetings with them and they were always very helpful and responsive. Our wedding videos and photos are just far beyond our expectations of what they were going to be and everyone has commented how good of a job they have done. It’s a no-brainer to hire these guys for your next event or special day. They are truly talented and won’t disappoint.
Thank you to Carla & Daniel for sharing their perfect day! And to In A Maze for letting us showcase the exquisite images & wedding film!