It’s so easy to get lost in the world of wedding planning and forget why you even started. For Ali and Max, they decided to plan their entire wedding around their why. What was their why? The chance to bring their friends and family together and celebrate with everyone. Filled with colourful styling, a nod to their Irish heritage and famous love letters, they planned the perfect summer wedding. With the whole day beautifully captured by Pip Takes a Picture, there’s so much colour to love from this couple.
Max and Ali ran in similar social circles, so they were bound to meet sooner or later. “We have many mutual friends and started running into each other at the same parties and pubs. A fairly simple story, but the special part is Max’s cousin is one of my good friends.”
Their proposal story is charming and simple, perfectly matching how they met. “Max proposed at Binalong Bay in Tasmania. Where we live in regional NSW is not far from a little town called Binalong, which we love, so it was a cute crossover. We went down to the beach for a bit of a picnic, and he got it out of the way pretty quickly. It was a special setting for a special moment. We got some strangers walking past to take our photo, which was funny sharing our big news with people we didn’t know, but they were so genuinely happy for us.”
Sticking with one venue for the day, Ali and Max chose Mayfield Vineyard for their wedding venue. Wedshed manages the weddings here, so they had Jordana as their day coordinator. “She is so easy to deal with, and just made sure everything went to plan behind the scenes, coordinating the vendors on the day.”
In his wedding party, Max had five groomsmen – his two brothers and three of his closest friends. According to Ali, their friends were already deep into wedding season, so all the groomsmen already owned an MJ Bale suit to wear. They perfected matched Max’s black MJ Bale suit, and with the addition of a black bowtie and some Irish themed socks (we’ll come back to these further on!), they were ready to go.
With friends and family living across NSW, a venue in Orange felt central for everyone. It was especially perfect, with plenty of accommodation for guests to make a weekend out of the trip. “We loved Mayfield as a venue because our immediate family and bridal party could all stay on site for a few nights with us in the homestead and cottages,” explained Ali. “It’s a beautiful property, and it felt like home for the few days we were there. We got married in the garden at the homestead, which is full of big beautiful shady trees, and then moved up to a marquee overlooking the vineyards for the reception.”
Ali wore a gorgeous Karen Willis Holmes gown featuring a corset with boning, voluminous puff sleeves and a thigh split. “I quite enjoyed the wedding dress shopping experience… I had started out wanting to do something a bit non-conventional but ended up in the big white gown and loved it,” she shared. “My dress was comfortable and fuss-free to wear. It was so beautifully made and a very easy experience. I wore some pearl earrings my mum got as a present from her father-in-law (my grandfather).”
Her wedding party was made up of her sister and five close friends. These stunning colourful dresses were custom-made and had a 50s style inspiration. “This was such a fun project with my mum & sister (who are so creative with sewing and design). I took inspiration from a Danish designer I found on Instagram who specialises in 50s styles, and Mum and a dressmaker in Wagga created the dress pattern. We chose six colours in silk dupion from Saigon Fabrics in Sydney, and my friend Belle helped match each bridesmaid to the colour that would suit them (the photos speak for themselves – they all look so beautiful!).”
“You’re All I Need To Get By” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell played as Ali walked down the aisle with her mum and dad on either side. They wanted a relaxed ceremony that was true to who they were, so it was filled with the ones who knew them best.
Max’s Aunty Ali was the celebrant and guided the couple through their vows, poems and love letters. “It was comforting and special to have someone who knew us officiating. Max’s Grandmother Noreen did a biblical reading she chose. We didn’t write our own vows (our celebrant gave us some great template options from which we chose), but we did include a little extra reading for each other, borrowing the words of some famous love letters to express how we felt. Max read a love letter from Johnny Cash to June Carter, and I read one written by Marilyn Monroe to Joe DiMaggio.”
They even had a special reading from Ali’s Aunty Flis: “She read a poem my Grandmother wrote about her and my Grandfather’s Ruby Wedding Anniversary (she was a very talented poet!). They have both passed away, so to have them part of the ceremony in some way was important to me.”
Ali wore her Gran’s wedding ring on her wedding day and is still wearing it to this day! “It is a simple gold band and really suits my engagement ring, so I’m happy with how that turned out!”
After the ceremony, it was time for some garden canapés in the sun. They even served Tom Collins cocktails, courtesy of Josephine’s bar, including wedding photos of their parents and grandparents alongside the bar. “Georgia helps guide you with your drinks order and menu to make sure you’ve got the right mix and quantity, and her team of bar staff work tirelessly all day and night to make sure the drinks service runs smoothly. They also have such a beautiful bar set up; it looked lovely in our garden setting.”
Continuing with the colourful summer vibes, Ali enlisted the help of her friend Eloise to create the bouquets and table flowers. “I got a lot of help with flowers as I’m not very good with this sort of stuff! Eloise also sourced a range of colourful flowers for my mother-in-law Lu, who did the flower arrangements at the ceremony with the help of Max’s aunties and grandma, which were so beautiful (and picked up the colours of the bridesmaid dresses).”
While their guests enjoyed the afternoon sun, the wedding party headed off with photographer Pip for some portraits. “Pip Danielletto is an absolute legend. She was a couple of years ahead of me at school, and again (like with our celebrant), it was just so comforting and nice to have someone we knew on the day taking our photos. I think her style of photography really suited our wedding, and she really understood the brief. We asked for an emphasis on photos of our guests and the candid shots.”
The styling was all done by Ali and Max’s friends and family – with her sister taking charge of the colourful, creative elements. One thing that made their day so special was the ability to bring their friends and family together to share the celebrations. “We are both from big families and our friends are so important to us, so that meant a big wedding, which was a sometimes stressful undertaking! But remembering why we were doing it helped get us through.”
One of Ali’s favourite parts of the planning – and how quickly they got in done! “I think my favourite part was planning for the three days in total and what that would all look like, rather than just focusing on the big day. The night before and the recovery day were just as special, giving us extra time to hang out with our people. I also loved planning all the food for these days with my mum and mother-in-law. They are both great cooks and put on such a good feast.”
We’re finally looping back to the Irish socks now! Ali and Max both have an Irish heritage and visited Ireland in 2022 with some friends, so they wanted to incorporate it into their wedding. “We made our bridal party learn an Irish dance for the first dance,” Ali explained. “We loved our time in Ireland and ended up doing an Irish dance lesson, which got me thinking. We danced to Galway Girl (the High Kings version). Given how much Max & I don’t like the spotlight, it seems strange to have gone down the choreographed dance route, but it was a lot of fun!”
Ali and Max – WOW! You two created the perfect balance of bright colours, summery vibes and a celebration of your love, so we only have one thing to say: congratulations! And a huge thanks to Pip for capturing the beauty of this amazing couple!