Pauline & Charlie’s Modern & Elegant NGV Wedding, in keeping with our Minimalist Issue, marries striking elegance and simple styling absolutely beautifully. It was the first held at the National Gallery of Victoria after a lockdown in 2021, and while there were a few restrictions to work around, the whole day turned out brilliantly and was captured by the amazing Oli Sansom (Brairs Atlas). Pauline tells us about their love story and wedding planning journey!
Charlie and I met at a work function held at Crown. We were put at the same table, and for a split second, I thought to myself “Yeah! He’s a bit alright!”, but we actually didn’t speak until the after-party, then kept talking at the after-after party, and we didn’t stop talking until 5 am!
We were holidaying in Boracay, Philippines when I was 6 months pregnant. He managed to smuggle the ring from Melbourne to the islands and had several covert panic attacks trying to keep it safe and a secret. He proposed at this beautiful hilltop restaurant at the Shangrila Resort, which overlooks the ocean – we had the place to ourselves at sunset. It was very extra but so beautiful and private. It was totally unexpected and surreal and just perfect.
We had to plan the wedding throughout a series of lockdowns and navigate life with our first child – so needless to say it was a challenge! We had set the date far away enough for us to get our act together, hoping Covid would be over by then! Wishful thinking! From the get-go, I wanted a wedding that was chic and elegant, but intimate. I think the entire wedding revolved around the wedding invites that I designed, following a sort of brutalist, minimal, and restrained style.
The wedding was a black tie event so Charlie always knew he was going to wear a black tuxedo. He chose a pair of beautiful Italian patent shoes for a bit of edge.
I knew straight away – given the restrictions – that I wanted a Rachel Gilbert dress. It was off the rack, and needed minimal alterations. I only tried on 4-5 dresses one afternoon with my best friend/man of honour Dean, and as soon as I put it on, we knew it was the one. I think we got it done in 2 hours. Efficient!
We kept the ceremony quite traditional and had the organist recommend the music. I walked down to “Pachelbel Canon”. A bit too Royal Wedding for my liking, but surprisingly it suited the beauty of the church and didn’t feel OTT. It’s not a tradition but I walked down the aisle with my mother. That was a beautiful and very important element to me.
The ceremony was held at St Johns Toorak which is where Charlie and his father were baptised. It is such a stunning and intimate church.
We wanted the ceremony to be intimate, and comfortable. It was the first public event since all the lockdowns for most of our guests, so after the protocols at the start (Vax passport declarations and check-ins, etc) we wanted the ceremony to be relaxed and easy. Charlie’s sisters did a reading from the Bible, and a good friend read “The Invitation” by Oriah which is a beautiful piece of poetry.
I have two favourite photos from the day! The one of Charlie and I giving our daughter Sofia a hug after the ceremony (I hadn’t seen her all day!) and she leant down and gave me a kiss on my lips which she’d never done before. And the one of Charlie and I at the NGV – he’s laughing probably over something stupid I said!
Fresh out of our last lockdown, when a lot of restrictions were still in place, our reception was held in the Great Hall, at the National Gallery of Victoria.
I will always remember the feeling of standing before the NGV doors before our entrance. We could hear the band playing, and the wedding party was being introduced and I remember standing there with Charlie just bursting with excitement. I was literally giddy. I couldn’t wait to see how the room looked, and just knowing all our most favourite people were on the other side of the door. It was magic!
Oli Sansom (Briars Atlas) is an absolute legend. He’s shot for Vogue and Martha Stewart and has this awesome way with light and black and white photography. I thought his style was perfect for the day.
Photography was always at the top of my list. I was lucky enough to secure Oli (Briars Atlas) as I’ve always loved his style and his attitude. I wanted amazing images of our little family, as it’s important for me to have moments captured for my daughter Sofia to have when she’s older.
Sam King of Studio Kaiser curated our flowers. I left it all to him with a simple brief of sticking to colour tones of ivory and blush pink. I also didn’t want fully structured arrangements and wanted different size vases for varying heights and textures. He sourced the most stunning white Tibet roses and peonies and did an amazing job.
I designed the Save The Dates, invitations, Seating Chart and Placecards and had a friend and old colleague do all the printing.
Planning a wedding during Covid meant there were a few things that we couldn’t have. A dance floor, for example, which was a huge disappointment for me. But I loved looking out during the reception and seeing people dancing in different corners of the room, or giving it all they had 1.5 meters from each other. It made something strange and annoying seem almost comedic and unique.
Our first dance was to “Just The Two of Us” by Grover Washington & Bill Withers. Whilst our beautiful 21-month-old was in every way part of our big day, we also wanted the reminder that just the two of us still exist.
All our vendors were amazing, considering our wedding was the first after many months of restrictions. Our band Garth Ploog was brilliant on the night, and despite the ‘no dance floor’ rule, had people breaking out dancing in all areas of the room. NGV was also incredibly accommodating and supportive during a super tricky time.
Planning a wedding during Covid is a different ballgame. It’s hard not to stress about the changing restrictions, and circumstances can change so quickly, sometimes with little warning. My advice is to try and bend with the situation as best you can, and just focus on the one thing that truly matters – which is making a commitment to one other person. When it comes to the big day, let it go. You have zero control over what happens from here on in, so just enjoy the ride!
The couple’s wedding was filmed by the wonderful team at The New Old Wedding Stories!
Thank you to Pauline & Charlie for sharing your stunning day with us! And to Oli Sansom for the gorgeous images.