After six years of living overseas, (and two years of not being able to come home at all) Eliza and Nick wanted to celebrate their marriage, in their hometown, and honour not just their own story and that of their family and friends, but of their love for Melbourne itself.  “After six years overseas the atmosphere of our wedding was centred around celebrating with friends and family” explains Eliza. “We wanted a ‘family feel’ to be at the core of the day. Our design theme was mostly to emphasise the natural beauty of our very Melbourne venues. We wanted a timeless wedding aesthetic – we asked our guests to wear black tie, and we kept our wedding décor rather simplistic.”

The classic colour palette of black and white, the classic Melbourne venues, and the black tie dress code all created a day that was every bit as timeless and as elegant and as ‘Melbourne’ as Eliza and Nick dreamt of. The perfect way to tell their story? Through beautiful imagery, today captured by Ryal Sormaz.

Eliza, in keeping with the style of the day, wanted a very classic wedding gown, choosing dressmaker Lesley Symons to make it happen. She shares “I  wore a custom-made gown, using vintage off-white silk satin. I designed the dress with the dressmaker, creating an elegant and timeless gown that accounted for the ever-unpredictable Melbourne climate.

It was important to me to be comfortable on the day, be able to move around easily and dance, as well as preserve the elegance of a classic wedding gown. The sleeves were the first element to be designed and became a feature of the gown. I really loved the neckline and the low back of the dress. We decided rather late to add piping to the waist and neckline to finish it off. It was a new and exciting experience to design a dress, especially for such a special occasion. I’m happy with the decisions that we made, and was comfortable all day long.”

The flowers on the day? Also paying homage to that theme of classic elegance and the work of Basia Puchalski Floral Design. Says Eliza “For the ceremony, we chose seasonal white flowers with greenery. We wanted a timeless floral design to match the classic style of the bridal gown and the boys’ tuxedos. We also wanted the flowers to compliment the natural colours of the gardens.

At the reception, we used seasonal native Australian flowers as the table centrepieces. These were easy decisions for us, given our Melbourne theme. We were surrounded by nature throughout the day, and the colours of the native flowers provided a nice pop of colour at the reception. We used smaller versions of the native bouquets as cake decorations as well!”

The couple met before their ceremony for a first look, tells Eliza “This was perfect for us because it gave us some time with our families and bridal parties to celebrate and share in the excitement before getting swept up in the formalities. It gave everyone a great opportunity to have a laugh and take some beautiful photographs. It helped us to extend the fun even more!”

Eliza and Nick wanted to embrace nature, holding their wedding ceremony at  Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. Eliza noting “We wanted an outdoor focus for our wedding. There is no outdoor space more iconic than the Royal Botanic Gardens. The design and layout of our wedding were quite minimalistic; the arbour was a wood hexagon with white flowers, and all the chairs were white. We wanted to emphasise the natural beauty of the surroundings and maintain a simple and streamlined colour scheme. We provided seating for around 50 people – the natural slope of the ceremony location meant that we could see all our gorgeous guest’s faces and they could see us easily.”

Music was an enormous part of this wedding, the couple booked Four Seasons String Quartet for their live music. “We had a wonderful string quartet play during our ceremony and reception drinks” explains Eliza. “Four Seasons String Quartet were amazing. They were so easy to work with and had a huge repertoire of music to choose from.  It was so wonderful to be able to have live music at our wedding. The song list was also a mixture of modern and older music, which was a fun and playful addition.”

Musically, Eliza and Nick chose classics from The Beatles, sharing “The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to ‘All You Need Is Love – The Beatles. Eliza walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles. The string quartet played these two songs that are instantly recognisable and bring a smile to everyone’s faces. It only seemed right to use these two iconic songs to announce the bride’s arrival.”

“We wrote our vows. It was such a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our relationship and verbalise, in front of our most loved ones, all that we strive for in our future together. We both included quotes and phrases from our favourite movies and TV shows which brought an element of humour to a typically serious moment.

Both of us included quotes in our vows from movies and shows we have watched together. Putting these personal touches on the day brought our day-to-day traditions into our special day as well.”

“I love the photo of us and Lucy immediately after the ceremony” notes Nick, “It’s the first photo of us all as a family. Ryal captured our excitement perfectly. The large tree and beaming sun in the background express a glow around us that we were feeling inside.”

Says Eliza “My favourite photograph was taken after the ceremony, in a laneway near the Botanic Gardens. Nick is holding the bouquet and I have my hand on his shoulder. It’s such a perfect depiction of us and our love. We were relaxed and so excited to be together throughout the day, and this photograph truly captures that. The gorgeous autumn leaves in the background and the bluestone alleyway created the perfect Melbourne backdrop.”

The reception festivities continue the nature vibes (with that view!) at Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club. “The reception was at Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club (RSYLTC) in Toorak. They have multiple function rooms and outdoor event spaces. Both venues have played a role in our pre-wedding life together; picnics, walks and many tennis matches followed by dinner and drinks. Eliza and her family have played tennis at the tennis club for many years, and their in-house events planner made planning a wedding so much easier.

The theme at the reception was warm and relaxed – we had a large terrace where we had lounge chairs and high tables overlooking the city. Inside we had round tables and a large dance floor.  The reception venue was able to coordinate all the different vendors, and made the day run smoothly. They had a range of wedding package options that were customisable, so we were able to choose food and drink options that suited us and our preferences.”

The stress of the day? Minimal, thanks to the hiring of Event Management By Alex. Says Eliza “Our wedding planner Alex Morosan was a true champion. She helped us to organise the ceremony portion of the day. Her knowledge of vendors and event planning helped us to create the perfect day just the way that we wanted.”

The couple did minimal DIY, instead opting to support local independent businesses, so what they did do? A DIY photo booth! “We created our photobooth station – we provided two polaroid cameras and plenty of film. We asked our guests to take photos and stick them into a scrapbook. It was such a lovely collection of photos and messages to look back on and a fun way for guests to get creative.”

Ditching tradition, Eliza and Nick entered their reception very early! Explaining “We loved being ‘introduced’ during the pre-reception canapés to “All-Star” – Smash Mouth. We didn’t want to miss out on a single moment of our celebration with friends and family. So we decided to make our entrance nice and early so we could soak in as much of the day as possible. Before being introduced we took some time together to share a toast and reflect on the ceremony and morning.”

Eliza and Nick note photographer Ryal as a perfect addition to the day. “He has an amazing energy that brings excitement and an element of fun to any situation. He worked so hard throughout the day to capture so many special moments. His sense of humour was so well received and so many of our loved ones commented on how great he was to have there. The photographs that he captured are the perfect representation of our magical day.”

“Have a clear understanding of what is going to be important to you on the day. For example, our focus was to have as many of our loved ones in the same place at the same time, relaxing and letting their hair down. Some things will be out of your control, and so it helps to have a ‘take it as it comes’ approach to some things. A relaxed attitude with the important elements at the centre of your day will help to make planning and decision-making that much easier. An example would be that we wanted to have a lot of input into the music during the reception, but we weren’t too fussed about the specific flowers that we used, so long as they were seasonal. This meant we could spend more time curating a playlist, and we trusted the florist to make decisions about the flowers.

The day flies by (I know everyone says this, but I’ve realised it’s true), so it’s important to soak it all in and enjoy as much as you can.

We recommend taking a moment during the reception to stand back and soak it all in. Proactively capturing that moment and feeling helped us to slow down and appreciate everything that we had in front of us.”

The classic beauty of the day even extended to the couple’s first dance – a classic favourite! The newlyweds making their dance floor debut to ‘This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)’ by Natalie Cole. “It is a song that we adore and felt described our love for one another. It’s an upbeat song that most people have heard before – we hoped it would get our guests onto the dance floor. And it worked!!!”

Oh, and there was no early night for these two! “We chose to extend the length of our reception. Typically, the receptions at our venue end at 11 pm. We knew that we wanted to have a longer evening, giving us more time to catch up with friends and have a dance. Ultimately this worked for us, and our reception ended at midnight. We were able to soak in so much more of our reception with that extra hour. We were the last ones to leave, which allowed us to close out the evening together and see the day from start to finish.”

And the romance and celebration did not stop there, because Nick had something special in mind, remembers Eliza. “The reception venue provided our accommodation for the wedding night. Nick had brought flowers from our garden to decorate the apartment. He had also lovingly packed champagne and our favourite coffee and chocolates for us to enjoy on our first morning as newlyweds. It was such a thoughtful touch to an already special occasion. Our morning routine is so important to us, and Nick wanted to ensure that we continued our tradition even in a new location.”

Congratulations to you both Eliza and Nick! Thank you both for sharing the stories of your day with us. Thank you also to Ryal Sormaz for sharing today’s beautiful images.