It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Erin and Daniele, in fact, these two, who met online, battled much before they finally walked down the aisle and it made that beautiful Spring day all the more sweet. A day, mind you, that they made sure that was both theirs, in every single way. Says Erin “I was really lucky – I had a really involved partner, which I know is unusual. But we sat down and made each major decision together. It made me feel bonded to him. It made me feel like we were walking this life together.” Adding Daniele “If the two of you can plan together, DO IT. It is so nice to plan together and connect over the experience.”

The couple enlisted the help of  Cast in Colour to capture their day, which began with a heartfelt “first touch” and was filled to the brim with beautiful Italian traditions.

Daniele attempted a proposal three times, before he finally pulled it off, explains Erin. “We had been talking about getting engaged for a long time, however with covid, it was delayed for many reasons. Firstly, because Daniele was still on a bridging visa it meant he was not able to get government assistance during lockdown when he was not able to work. He works in hospitality. So we were just living off my wage as a nurse which meant we could not afford a ring or a proposal. Second, due to covid and my work situation, it just did not feel like the right time to get engaged. In June 2021 before another lockdown, we started looking into sourcing a ring. Daniele wanted me to pick out a ring style that he would purchase and then when he was ready, he would propose. We did not realise this process would get delayed again due to another lockdown in 2021. We found a jeweller, and she started searching for the perfect sapphire for us. We finally were able to pick the stone in Nov 2021 (kind of perfect, since we got married 12 months later). I know Daniele picked up the ring just before Christmas and there it sat under our stairs until he proposed at the end of March.

Daniele had tried to convince me to go to the Aquarium a couple of times and on each occasion I had said no, it was too late in the day. If we want to do that sort of thing we should go in the morning and have the whole day. The whole time I was complaining to my friends, he has the ring and why hasn’t he proposed yet. On March 28th, 2022 he finally convinced me to go to the Aquarium with him. We got to the end, where the penguins are right at 5 pm. And everyone was leaving because they were closing. Daniele said ‘I just want to take one more photo of you in front of the penguins’. I love birds. I talk to them and make sure we have bird seed and water out for them in our garden. So I love penguins too. Penguins are also really special to Daniele because his Mum loves them too. We sponsor a penguin at Phillip Island in her name.

He said, “I want you to face the penguins, and when I say turn around slowly turn around because I want to take a picture and a video of you”. I did as he said. When I turned around, he was down on one knee with the box and he asked the question. My response of course was “you silly billy, you are meant to open the box”. He quickly opened the box and asked me again. I responded “Yes “as I tripped over my own feet to kiss him.”

The couple chose Stu Art Video Productions to capture their day on film.

Erin worked with designer Elly Louise to create her beautifully elegant gown.  “I never stepped into a bridal shop.” She remembers “We got engaged in March and then decided late May to get married in November. I looked on Pinterest and found a dress that I loved. The site had the price listed, however, it said because my dress would be a rushed order due to being less than 6 months it would cost extra, plus there would be alterations on top of that. I decided to get quotes from dressmakers to see if it was worth going that route. I found Elly from Elly Louise, who quoted me only 50 dollars more than the original dress price to make. This enabled me to make some changes to the dress also. I knew I wanted something modern and simple. Something elegant, which is exactly what Elly created for me. The process was so simple, I went through it – we discussed design, and what I wanted and did not want. Then I went in for 3 more fittings and picked the dress up 5 days before the wedding. The whole experience was wonderful, it also took a lot of the stress out of being a plus-size bride and going to bridal shops knowing they would not have dresses to try on. I feel like I was pretty brave not trying any dresses on in a bridal shop, it could have gone very wrong. I was extremely lucky.

Once, I knew Daniele’s suit colour I tried to find shoes to match. I wanted something that stood out on my feet. I found the perfect pair of pink heels to match. As Daniele is Italian, I wanted a veil that reminded me of his heritage. The veil I picked from Lola Knight, just reminds me so much of Catholic weddings and Italian lace cathedral length veils. Also because my dress was so simple it just gave it something special. There was no pressure to maintain or lose weight to fit the dress. The dress fit me. Which is what clothing is meant to do. We are not meant to fit clothing. Clothing is met to fit us. So I love that Elly just created a perfect dress for me.”

Urban cafe Little Henri played host to both the couple’s ceremony and reception. Says Erin  “We were looking at a place that could cater to a small group that was cost effective. We had only our close friends and family at the wedding, there was 37 guests in total. There were a few people who were in Italy who would have loved to have been there but could not make it with such short notice. Little Henri ticked those two boxes, but also it had the vibe we were going for. It was modern but had a heritage feel to it. It used to be an old bank and still has the old back safe door leading to an office. The beautiful window doors leading to the courtyard provided the perfect backdrop for the ceremony. The courtyard provides greenery with also the inner city vibe that we were looking for. We also looked at the venue and how it was lit up at night which provided us with an atmosphere that felt intimate (which was what) we desired, plus the food was awesome.”

The pastel blooms were arranged by The Branche. “Our neighbour recommended Suzie.  Daniele and I both agreed we wanted spring-like flowers with peaches and pinks to tie to his suit jacket, plus a splash of blue. We had two hanging baskets of flowers by the altar that provided some colour to the ceremony that tied into the bouquets. We also gave each of our mothers a single rose. The boys wore simple buttonholes in pink and white tones. Suzie also stayed back after set up to help make sure we girls were holding our flowers the right way, and help made sure my veil was in place as I walked down the aisle since the girls were ahead of me. A true professional.”

Instead of a first look, Erin and Daniele did a first touch, their photographer’s decision? One they’re so very happy with. “We had a first touch before the ceremony at the back gate before entering the venue. I could hear Daniele already crying while we held hands. This is the moment it all felt real to me.

Claire and Martin from Cast In Colour were wonderful to deal with. Everything in the lead-up with them was perfect. They were easy to communicate with and listened to our day’s vision. They captured the feelings and the emotions of the day. They loved the colour which seemed appropriate due to the use of colour in our wedding. As well as capturing just the general feel of the day rather than stuffy, formal photos.”

“I want to respect Daniele’s Italian heritage even though it was not a traditional Italian wedding. Even though we were not having a Catholic wedding. The blessing from the Pope was really special even though I am not Catholic. But little things like having a veil that reminded me of Italy. Saying parts of my vows in Italian. We also did the white ribbon cutting. When a bride leaves the house, she cuts a white ribbon that represents her cutting ties with her old life. The ceremony has a white ribbon attached to the door that the bride enters. Daniele and his friend tied the white ribbon to the back gate that I entered. Daniele’s mum walking him down the aisle was also really important as it is something that they do in the area of Italy he is from.

The traditional Italian music was also really important. We picked 3 songs to commence the dancing section which was also fantastic. Having the box and hankie from my grandma that has passed away to hold our rings were also special touches that were important to us.”

Daniele wore a beautiful suit with a watermelon pink jacket by Formal Red Suit Hire. Says Erin “When Daniele, told me he was going to wear a navy suit I was very confused. I knew he would not wear black because he does not wear black in life; it reminds him too much of his job in hospitality. I said “are you sure”; he was sure. I said what if you change your jacket for something crazy for the reception like pink and floral because he loves to wear colour. We finally went to Formal Red where the wonderful George helped us. I said “Daniele doesn’t wear navy, what about pink or another colour? You love colour!” He liked the idea of orange, I wasn’t sold because I felt orange was an autumn colour, not spring. We spent a good hour with George going through fabric books, and picking out colours. Daniele loved this pink colour so we went with it. I knew it would make him happy and he would feel more like himself on the day. I did not get to see Daniele in his suit until the wedding day. It was also nice to think that suit had been made in Europe from European materials, a nod to Daniele’s heritage.

Daniele also wanted suspenders to hold his pants up and at first, was set on a yellow tie. Thankfully I convinced him to change the colour to pale blue which matched our flowers perfectly. I will never forget George running around the store looking through ties to find the perfect one for us; it still to this day brings me so much joy and laughter. He went above and beyond to make Daniele’s outfit perfect for the day. We both had our wedding date sewn into our outfits. Him into the collar of his shirt,  and me into my dress. We used blue thread.”

After Daniele walked down the aisle with his mother, Erin walked with her father, she tells “Daniele walked down the aisle with his mother. In the area, he is from, it is tradition. He thought he was walking to the same song as the girls and me. However, I asked our celebrant to swap it out for “Daniel” by Elton John. Most people know Daniele, by the English version of his name Daniel. Daniele is my star, so Elton John was appropriate. The girls and I walked down the aisle to “Boxes” by The Goo Goo Dolls. We started walking on the line “…cause I’ve got your back, and you’ve got mine…” appropriate right, since we girls have each other’s backs. But the line of the song that stands out the most to me is “…your love’s the one love that I need to know..”, which is so true of the love Dani has given me; I truly need to know it.

The aisle had stairs about 3 quarters of the way along which lead to the second courtyard where the ceremony would take place. When I reached the top of those stairs, I paused. This is when Daniele turned around and we had our first look. I think we both had tears at this moment. Daniele’s face said it all, that all the moments that had led to this point had been worth and every moment going forth we would get through it. After reaching the bottom of the stairs, my father walked me down the rest of the aisle.”

Says Daniele “For a long time, I have been wanting to get married and find someone to share my life with and the moment when we touched each other made me realise that it was finally happening and I was overcome with emotions at this point. Seeing Erin in her dress for the first time it was I finally get to see her walking towards me to become my wife. The first thing that came to my mind was she looked like the Madonna (not the singer), she was just so beautiful and the sun was just shining down on her and giving her this beautiful glow.”

It was really important to these two that their ceremony had a particular vibe, and they chose Olivia Ferraro to help them make it happen explains Erin. “Our celebrant, Liv. OMG, she just created the most perfect fun-filled ceremony that represented us and our lives. We could not thank her enough. The last few years have been hard for us, I work as a nurse and Daniele in hospitality. It was important that for us that ceremony promoted a sense of community and included all the people who we love dearly. Even though marriage is serious business, we wanted to have a fun ceremony. At our house, we entertain regularly and we love to laugh. We wanted the same vibe for the ceremony.

We asked everyone to give their blessing for the wedding rather than just asking my parents to give us away. Daniele was raised Catholic, so his mother organised a blessing from the Pope, for one of our readings we had his sister who still learning English, read it. Rather than having a second reading, we asked our guests to sing with us, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ by Queen. It was wonderful to see everyone singing or dancing along to the music. Before we did our vows, we did rock, paper, and scissors to determine who would go first. The first round was a draw, and the second time I was the clear winner. So I got to do my vows first. My vows were mainly in English. However, I said three lines in Italian. The first two were repeats of what I had said in English. The last was just Italian.”

Adds Daniele “The vows finally make it real – the promise to look after each other and be together. I was so surprised when she spoke Italian to me, it made me so happy that she made the effort to learn that for me. The rings made me feel like we were holding a piece of each other’s heart. The feeling when everyone was singing was good because it felt like everyone was a part of our day. It made me feel so blessed for the people we have in our lives, that all together we make a big family.
Our mums signing the certificate was very touching because it was like they were giving us their blessing and approval for our life together.

Also, mothers tend to watch weddings and not participate in them so much so it was nice to include them. Walking down the aisle with my mum was super special because she was crying, and mum had always wanted to see all her children married and had waited a long time for me to do so. After my father passed away, I know my mum wanted to be around for these moments.”

“The rings were given to us by our good friend Emma, who I wanted to include on our wedding day because she has been such a wonderful friend through the years. She presented the rings to us in a trinket box that my grandma who is no longer with us, gave me as a child. They were sitting on a vintage hankie of hers in the box, so a part of my Grandma was there with us that day. I demonstrated as always, I don’t know my left from right as I attempted to put the ring on the wrong finger of Daniele’s.”

Remembers Erin “I loved the dip as we left the ceremony because we dance in our kitchen daily and he always dipped me. So it was nice that a part of everyday life was present at our wedding.”

“Do not do something because that is what everyone is saying a wedding should be. Yes, our wedding was traditional in a sense but it was a representation of who we are as people and our lives together. I think that the most important part of the day. When planning a wedding, make sure it represents you.”

It should of course be of no surprise to you that the reception was filled with special details – including two special handmade touches by Erin and Daniele themselves. “Our major DIY for the wedding was the mirror sign. I had seen so many of them on Pinterest and wanted one. I wrote it out 20 million times but was never happy with it. In the end, I left Daniele to take control of it and it was imperfectly perfect.
Also instead of wedding favours, we wrote letters to all our guests saying thank you for being there on our wedding day but also why we appreciate their friendship and support.”

The first dance? A classically romantic old-school choice. “We choose Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ for our first dance. Daniele, when he was younger, was meant to see him play live but at the last minute was unable to attend due to circumstances beyond his control. For the first birthday we celebrated together, I organised for his family and me to get him tickets to go to the show. So Elton John was the first concert we went to together. So he and his music have a special place in our heart.

All the music we picked for our wedding day was important to us. We used Italian music songs, while our guests while were arriving. Daniele told me afterwards he remembered watching his mum sing along to one song that was special to him and his family because it reminded him of his uncle. Every song we picked had a lyric or special meaning to us throughout the night. We practised our first dance for weeks in our lounge room with the furniture pushed out of the way with a Youtube video as a prompt. Are we dance pros? Nope. Did we have fun? Yes!”

There was more than one official moment to celebrate! “We got to announce that Daniele finally was no longer on a bridging visa. He had waited 3 years and because of the long wait, he also got to announce that he not only just got a temporary partner’s visa but also got given PR (permanent residency) straight away. It was so fantastic to announce this to all our friends and family and see their faces. It bought so much joy.” Adds Daniele, “trying to share the news about my visa which we only found out a few days before was wonderful. Seeing everyone’s faces filled with joy when we announced it.”

Another nod to Italy? A Croquembouche style tower of zabaglione bigne in lieu of cake.

The pair included family and friends from afar with a special, private moment says Erin. “The details that mattered on the day, were the people; the fact that our family and our friends who make up our extended family were there to celebrate with us, that we included them in the day. The fact that we were able to even include those (in Italy) via video call and video message was really important.

I loved Daniele and I going out for that 10 mins together and watching the video message from his friends was special to both of us. I think overall that is one of my favourite details for the day. Having that private and intimate moment just the two of us. I highly recommended taking a moment out for the two of you during the reception. Watching the video messages from Italy from Daniele’s friends was one of my favourite memories. Every time a new person came onto the screen, his voice exclaimed “oh Fredrica, oh Luca”.”

Adds Daniele “The video Erin made with all my friends from Italy surprised me. I never expected, to have most of my close friends of mine sending me nice words, it made me feel very special. It made me cry a lot and was a very emotional moment. The fact that Erin who speaks no Italian reached out to all those people (who don’t speak English very well) without me knowing and made the video made me feel so happy, it made me feel so loved by her.”

“There was an Italian song playing by Zucherro and Daniele was on the dance floor” remembers Erin. “He looked around to find me and just him and me dancing to this song and he sang it.  Daniele and his mum dancing to Pooh. And them both crying the whole time as it reminded them both of his father who passed away 20-plus years ago.”

Says Daniele “Lastly, I just want to say something about Erin, my beautiful amazing wife who made so much effort to make the day special as well as focusing on the details and including me in the process of planning, which made me feel so loved as much as I love her, make me feel over the moon with joy to have her as my wife, as my future.”

The biggest congratulations to you both Erin & Daniele! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day with us and thank you to Cast in Colour for sharing today’s celebration.