The 1st of June was not just a special date, because it was Fontaine and Michael’s wedding date, but as it turns out, it’s also the very date that Michael first messaged Fontaine on a dating app.  There is a true sense of intimacy, of personality when it comes to Fontaine and Mike’s wedding. From Fontaine’s vintage green floral gown to the pizza restaurant reception. The bouquet made of blooms Mike had given Fontaine throughout their relationship, and the Fijian mat they said their vows upon. They share “We didn’t set out to have a specific style or theme for the wedding. We knew we wanted it to be intimate, familiar and nostalgic and we knew we wanted to celebrate ourselves and our journey as a couple. Everyone near and far was so incredibly excited for us to finally be getting married that we just wanted it to be about love and friendship.”

Blueton Studio captured the wedding, on a quintessential rainy Melbourne day, the perfect way to kick off married life for these two, who first connected on the dating app, OkCupid while they were in Ottawa. They tell “Fontaine cancelled our first date two times and then the third time was the charm when her friend convinced her not to cancel again.  It was “like at first sight”. It was a really comfortable and easy first date. The second date was the best date Fontaine had been on. Michael had planned for us both to bike out to a beach by the Ottawa river about a 20-minute ride out of the city. The first obstacle was that there was a big sinkhole in the middle of downtown and we had to take multiple detours to get to the shops to buy some wine and cheese for a picnic. When we finally got to the beach and set out our picnic, Michael, knowing that Fontaine liked poetry, got out a notebook and asked Fontaine to write a poem with him, which we did (we read that poem at our wedding reception).

At the end of the date, we got on our bikes to head back to the city when Michael got a flat tire as soon as we took off. It was going to be an hour and a half walk back into town and Michael kept telling Fontaine to go ahead without him, but Fontaine wanted to walk with him and spend more time getting to know him. While Michael was worrying the whole time that he’d blown it and that Fontaine just felt sorry for him, Fontaine was thinking “I think I’m going to love this guy”.

Two weeks later we met each other’s friends, a couple of weeks after that Fontaine met Michael’s parents, 6 months later we moved in together, 6 months after that we began what was meant to be 2 years of long distance, Michael proposed and then Covid added an extra two and a half years of not being able to see each other in person at all. Six months after Michael moved to Australia we got married – 6 years to the day that Michael first messaged Fontaine on OK Cupid.

The proposal? One the couple admit is a little long-winded, but so worth telling! They remember “Our proposal is a fairly long-winded and comical story (that we love telling people) that we won’t go into all the details of. We had been dating for four and a half years – 2 and half of them were long-distance (Fontaine in Australia and Michael in Canada) – when Michael was preparing to finally move to Melbourne to be with Fontaine in June 2020. Though Michael was due to move, they hadn’t seen each other in 8 months, so Fontaine made a surprise visit to Michael in Canada just as Covid was becoming global at the beginning of March 2020. And it was a good thing she did otherwise their next two and a half years of not seeing each other would have been three and a half years and Michael would not have been able to propose…though Zoom proposals may have been a thing? As they started realizing that it might be a bit longer before Michael could travel (though they didn’t know how long), Michael decided not to wait and handmade a ring made up of maple, pine, cedar, and birch trees from around the house he grew up in. The day before Fontaine flew back to Australia, Michael had big plans for a very romantic surprise proposal near Parliament Hill in Ottawa at one of Fontaine’s favourite viewpoints.

As it turned out, it was a very busy afternoon, with interesting people parked at each spot that he tried to propose. Much like the obstacles on their second date, after about three tries to find a good spot and subtly getting Fontaine to take her gloves off (it was very cold and snowy in Ottawa) and then disappointedly telling her to put them back on, he convinced her to climb over a caution gate and down some very icy steps, to the bottom of Parliament Hill beside the frozen Ottawa river.

Fontaine had picked up on what was about to happen because Michael was also rambling at great length about his feelings for her and him getting her to take off only her left glove had also somewhat given it away. He found a bench to sit down on by the river, no one else was around and after a few minutes of Michael’s nervous chatting he got down on one knee in the snow and asked Fontaine to marry him. Fontaine was surprised, cried, and (obviously) said yes. Shortly after, while they were still enjoying the moment, a very sweaty and out-of-breath man stopped his bicycle just a few short feet away to catch his breath for several minutes, of which they were silent, watching and waiting till he left, to celebrate out loud. Fontaine flew back to Australia the next day, the day Australia closed its international borders and began a long two and half years of not seeing each other in person until the end of December 2021.”

Fontaine and Michael were married at the Victorian Marriage Registry in the Margaret Craig Room of the Old Treasury Building. The couple explained “The Old Treasury Building is a beautiful old building in Melbourne’s CBD. We were married in the Margaret Craig room, which was just the right size for our intimate wedding with family and friends. We were also lucky to have family and friends from North America and England join us through a live stream we made of the ceremony.”

Memories of the day? Well, they include a somewhat false start to the ceremony! The couple remembers “Michael had asked Fontaine’s brother to play their chosen song to walk down the aisle to but didn’t give him any cue to follow. Just as the celebrant left to take care of some last-minute business, the doors to the room closed, and Fontaine’s brother took that as the cue to start the song.

Michael and Fontaine were both confused, but Fontaine insisted she had just seen the celebrant go into her office, while Michael thought it was ‘go time’. He peeked his head in, saw everyone staring at him, but also swore to Fontaine that the celebrant was up the front waiting, so asked Fontaine’s brother to start the music (again). Fontaine still thought the celebrant wasn’t there, and sure enough, as they walked up to the front of the room, she was not in the room.

It was a pretty embarrassing, but funny, false start – which they told everyone was a rehearsal as they hurriedly walked back down the aisle and out the doors and waited for the celebrant to be ready. She soon appeared, none the wiser. Fontaine, justifiably, blames Michael.”

The bouquet and boutonniere were not made up of just any flowers, they were put together by Fontaine herself of very sentimental blooms. “Fontaine’s bouquet was made up of portions of the many flower bouquets that Michael had sent her throughout their time spent in long distance, which she had dried and kept. We decided on using these flowers as a reminder of our continued love and commitment to each other, even though we were separated by great distance and time. Fontaine put the bouquet and boutonniere together herself.

Fontaine also prepared mini flower bouquets for each plate setting at our dinner. These were made of Australian native flowers that Fontaine cut and bound together with twine.”

The couple did end up walking down the aisle together. “We decided to walk down the aisle together, to the tune of Kishi Bashi’s cover of the Talking Heads song “This Must Be The Place”. The song is “our song”. We wanted to walk down the aisle together to reflect the equity in our relationship – and the personal choice that we were both making to marry, with the love and support of all our friends and family.”

The couple had a particular vibe in mind for their ceremony. “We wanted our ceremony to be intimate and special with close family and friends in attendance, but also shared virtually with friends and family in North America, Fiji, New Zealand, UK and Europe. Our ceremony was short and sweet with lots of emotion (many happy tears) shared far and wide.

It was so fun and funny to read through group message chains and livestream comments after the ceremony and see everyone that was watching and all the comments and conversations filled with so much love and emotion from friends and family watching around the world. Because of the long distance, our relationship has been an investment not only for us but our friends and family that have also been counting down to the day that we would finally get to be together. I think that’s what we wanted the feeling of our ceremony to be. We had chosen a reading to do together, the joint poem we wrote on our second date, but our celebrant actually forgot about it! We ended up reading it at our reception dinner.”

The couple honoured Fontaine’s Fijian heritage with a special mat. “Because Fontaine is from Fiji, her Mother had Fijian and Tongan woven mats specially made, known as a “butubutu” and these were set down for Michael and Fontaine to stand on during the ceremony. Fontaine’s Mother also had specially made a very large traditional Fijian Tapa cloth with masi printed design and their names on it, that hung in their hotel room during the wedding week.”

“For our ceremony, we kept our rings in a beautiful vintage delicate metal mesh purse, owned by Michael’s great-great-grandmother in New York in the 1920s and gifted to Fontaine by Michael’s mother.”

“Because some of our friends and family in North America, Fiji, New Zealand, the UK and Europe were unable to join us, we made sure to live stream the ceremony. Having the live stream gave us a special connection to all those that couldn’t be there in person, and made the day that much more special.”

Take all the advice from these two! “Be sure to make the day about you as the couple and plan it how you want, not what you think others might want or expect of you. It all goes by in an instant so enjoy yourselves and if anything goes “wrong” treat it as something that will make your day memorable. Also, check where the celebrant is before you decide it is ‘go time’.”

Let’s talk attire, specifically Fontaine’s incredible vintage frock, it’s a story in itself! “Fontaine always knew that she did not want to wear white when she got married. Fontaine loves all things vintage and is an avid op-shopper with an eclectic fashion sense. Fontaine’s favourite colour is also green.

When Fontaine and Michael chose their wedding date, she knew she already had the perfect dress in her wardrobe. A stunning op-shop find was bought for $12 at Vinnies about 4 years ago. The dress is a shimmery green, blue and gold floral print vintage organza dress, which looks to be circa 1960s-70s. The now very faint dress label says it is by “Peterson Maid London” and made in England.  When Fontaine took the dress to be altered, the tailor was so surprised and in awe of the delicate fabric, the beautiful colour and vintage design and the extremely thick and old zip!

As it was winter and ended up being a very cold and rainy day, Fontaine wore a beautiful 1940s vintage coat that was bought at an op-shop and gifted to Fontaine by a good friend a few years ago. It matched perfectly. Fontaine also wore a gold sovereign necklace made from a medal that her great grandfather received in WWI and that was gifted to her by her grandparents on her University Masters’s graduation. Fontaine also wore Peridot and diamond stud earrings gifted to her by Michael’s parents for her birthday 5 years ago, Peridot being her birthstone and favourite gem. We had also chosen Fontaine’s engagement ring together, which of course included Peridot. The Engagement ring is an Antique Suffragette ring from 1910, made with peridot, pearl and amethyst. Fontaine’s wedding band was a vintage gold band with engraved leaf design around it as an ode to the original leaf ring that Michael proposed with.”

Michael’s suit was chosen to coordinate with Fontaine’s outfit. “Michael wore a cobalt blue suit, and bright blue tie, to match the blue in Fontaine’s dress. He also wore a tan vest, and tan belt and shoes. Along with this, he wore a boutonniere made of some of the same dried flowers that Fontaine used to make her bouquet. Michael’s wedding ring was custom made to have a hammered bark texture, which is also intended to reference the leaf engagement ring he made for Fontaine.”

Post ceremony, the newlyweds wandered the city with their photographer. “Sonia (of Blueton Studio in Melbourne) is an excellent photographer and helped capture all of our special moments on the day. We knew of her because she was the photographer for Fontaine’s mother’s wedding, and we liked her and the photos so much that we chose her for our own.

She is incredibly friendly and easy to get along with and is very calm and considerate as a photographer. She has a great eye for capturing the moments, views, and details that had significance for us, without us even having to say – which we found when looking through the photos she shared with us. In setting out for our photos, we didn’t quite know what we wanted and our vision was somewhat thwarted by the heavy rain, but we felt throughout that Sonia understood our “vibe” and the photos turned out better than we could have hoped. Despite the rain and the gloom of the weather she helped us take amazing photos in the gardens where our outfits matched the autumn leaves and the graffiti alleyways that captured a very “Melbourne” feel – despite being soaked (and at times standing in the middle of the road!).

In looking back at the photos, it felt like she was not just capturing different moments, but she was telling “our” story. We couldn’t have been luckier than having Sonia as our photographer!”

The best memories of the day for Fontaine and Michael? “Our family & friends who travelled from overseas and interstate to join us; our family & friends who stayed up late to watch the virtual stream of us getting married from overseas; the sentimental and traditional elements of our wedding; the rainy weather that made the day very memorable; and the closeness of our dinner and drinks late into the night.”

“Right as we were finishing our photos with Sonia, we were hoping to catch a photo with one of the few iconic and classic Melbourne trams still running in the city circle. They don’t run very often, so we weren’t sure we would find it in time, and we were rushing to get out of the rain. Just as we were walking towards The Imperial Bar, the tram showed up, and Sonia got a photo of us right in front of it. The colours of the tram matched Fontaine’s dress perfectly, and even though we were soaked, it was a great moment.”

The relaxed vibes of the post-ceremony drinks, some of the newlywed’s favourites, opting to hire out space ay Imperial Hotel for immediate celebrations. “We reserved some seats at the rooftop bar of the Imperial Hotel, just across the street from the Old Treasury Building, for snacks and refreshments during the afternoon until dinner. The Imperial rooftop bar was a perfect place for our guests to relax, even though it was raining quite heavily.

Fortunately, as our wedding was small and we weren’t looking for a lot of traditional elements, we were able to focus on making the day fun for us and our guests. The best part was that even though we did have to work a few details out to make it easy for everyone to participate (including those with infants) – given we had a few hours gap between ceremony and dinner – it wasn’t overwhelming for us and didn’t bring with it the stress of what we imagine it may be to plan a big wedding.””

The newlyweds celebrated with guests at a restaurant reception at Tazio. “We hired out the top floor. We both love Pizza and knew that we wanted Pizza to be part of our wedding dinner, though a bit more of a fancy version of it, so chose our restaurant for this reason.

Tazio was an amazing place to have our dinner – they played our personal playlist, laid out personalized menus, and had excellent food from canapés to entrees and shareable mains throughout the night. For our dessert, we brought several vintage cake trays, and arranged gourmet doughnuts (from Levain Doughnuts) for our ‘wedding cake’. Tazio accommodated us late into the evening, after which a few of us headed out to check out an amazing speakeasy (Eau De Vie), and ended the night at karaoke.

Besides Sonia’s excellent photography, we were extremely happy with the dinner and experience at Tazio. Though they are not a traditional wedding venue, that was a perfect fit for us, as we weren’t looking for a traditional reception. They were so helpful in preparing for the night and answered our many emails and questions leading up to it since we live out of town. They were also very accommodating, friendly and professional throughout the night and made sure we had everything we needed. The food was amazing and we had such a wonderful experience with music and dancing. The night ran so smoothly and we didn’t have to think about a thing. At the end of our time they also set up a table downstairs so those remaining could continue to enjoy the rest of the night. We’d definitely recommend them to anyone thinking of a city restaurant reception!

The biggest congratulations to you both Fontaine and Michael. Thank you both for sharing your beautiful day with us and thank you to Blueton Studio for sharing today’s beautiful imagery with us.