After postponing their wedding, Sean and Francine were so excited to be able to celebrate their marriage surrounded by all of their loved ones. The chic styling of the day was complete with a strong atmosphere of love and gratitude. “We were focused on just ensuring all those we loved, from all parts of the world, were together and celebrating the journey we as a couple as well as both our families have been through to get to this moment.”

Luckily for Sean and Francine, they clicked with all of their vendors – and found people who understood exactly what they were looking for. “When they saw my Pinterest board and inspiration images, they were excited to be a part of our day. The exact energy you want in the wedding process from every corner!”

Their camera dream team consisted of Prue Peters Photography and Tom Nethersole Productions. “They had the special job of capturing our day – and boy, did they nail it. We had the best day – and a lot of our day was spent with Prue and Tom, so a big part of that is credit to them. Constantly telling me how hot I looked may have bumped them to the top spot, haha.”

Before they started dating or speaking, Francine had called Sean the ‘Handsome Scottish Waiter’ to her friends. “Sean was working in a local cafe that I often went to on a Friday with work colleagues for lunch, and my colleagues often joked that I went there for the waiter, not the food. Being the fairly shy girl I am – I would give Sean 0 eye contact and didn’t give off any vibes that I was at all interested. But internally, I would melt in his presence,” she described. “This went on for a few months. And then, one day, I got a Facebook friend request from none other than the handsome Scottish waiter! He asked me out the upcoming Friday night, and from there, we were obsessed!”

Their story began in 2018 when Sean and Francine moved to Scotland. It was a huge change for Francine, who hadn’t even moved out of home at that point in her life, but one she champions as the best thing she’d ever done. “For Christmas 2019 my Mum, Dad and sister were coming to Scotland to spend Christmas with us and Sean’s family (super exciting after being apart for over a year). On Christmas morning, we woke up, and after opening presents, Sean suggested we go for a quick walk to Dunstaffnage Castle, just the 2 of us. Dunstaffnage Castle was the first place Sean took me when we arrived in Scotland, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. A beautiful old castle perched on a green grassy hill right beside the ocean – and all just a 10-minute walk from home,” Francine explained. “So Christmas morning, I put my coat on over my pyjamas, and we strolled 10 minutes down the road headed towards the castle. Just as we did most days. Walking and talking, holding hands and looking forward to the day ahead with both of our families together. As we got right in front of the castle, Sean pulled out a card from his coat and said he had one more present for me. As I opened the card which said ‘Will you marry me,’ Sean dropped down on one knee in front of me. Of course, I said yes, and for the next 10 minutes, I couldn’t see a thing through my eyes streaming with happy tears!”

Wanting to include his Scottish identity, Sean wore a kilt for the wedding. The task of finding kilts in Australia is tricker, but they eventually came across House of Scotland in Balwyn. A business owned and run by an old Scottish man who helped Sean and his groomsmen dress head to toe in their hired kilts. “We selected the tartan’ black watch’, which was a mixture of dark green and blue – tying in perfectly to other elements of the wedding.” A special touch to finish off Sean’s attire was a pin on his kilt that belonged to his papa, brought all the way from Scotland by his Aunt and Uncle.

Sean wasn’t expecting to feel as many emotions as he did throughout the day. “I remember being so overwhelmed with emotions I didn’t expect to have. I struggled to sleep the night before, purely from excitement and nerves about the day to come. We had waited so long for our day – over three years. Having my family here from Scotland was surreal, and I couldn’t believe the time had come. The boys got ready here at our house in the morning. Seeing my mates putting on kilts really struck a chord with me; I was so proud, and I could see they were proud to wear one, too.”

Francine had been planning her dream wedding gown since 2016 – saving an image of a high-neck, long-sleeved dress with a unique half-body tulle train. Nothing she had seen since sparked as much joy as that original gown, so she knew she wanted to design it herself, to bring that dream to life. “After lots of enquiries and quotes well out of my price range – the hope of having a dress made was fading. Then I found Samantha Lentini – a Melbourne designer who did formal/party dresses and had done a couple of wedding dresses. I contacted her and sent through my inspiration images, and she was keen to work together,” she recalled. “From there, the experience was perfect – chilled, fun and easy. Sam was a no-stress kinda girl, and I was a no-stress kind of bride. I trusted her completely, and she literally created the dress I dreamed of right before my eyes. Due to the weather in March, we removed the long sleeves but kept the high neckline and my favourite element – the beautifully unique half-body tulle skirt/train.”

Designing the dress herself, Francine recalls the process of seeing that dream come to life as one of her favourite moments when planning their wedding. “Seeing my dress come to life over four fittings was probably the highlight. What started as a sketch in a few short weeks was a perfect dress which I couldn’t fault. Incredibly skilled work by Samantha Lentini that I am extremely grateful I got the opportunity to wear.”

Her wedding party included her Maid of Honour, Bridgie, her bridesmaids, Rachael, Imogen and Melissa, and her flower girl, Leyla. They each wore a white satin gown from Bec & Bridge, in a cut they individually picked out to suit each one.

The bridal bouquets for the day were made up of simple white roses, matching the quiet elegance of the gowns. The floral table decor was a mixture of white and light blue – including Francine’s favourite dusty blue hydrangeas!

Dipping her toes into the creative elements of the wedding, Francine designed, printed and cut all of the invitations, menus and name place cards. “I loved the idea of DIYing any elements of the wedding I could. I wish I were skilled enough to do more! The signs were also designed by me – but created by professional sign-makers.”

The whole day was held at Olivehouse Event & Function Venue in Kialla, Victoria. “My favourite detail of the day was our venue as a whole. Our outdoor ceremony in the perfectly kept garden was stunning, and our reception inside featured three long tables for guests on stunning timber floors surrounded by stacker windows that opened up onto the deck overlooking the grounds. Our photos from all stages of the day/night were what they were because our venue was perfect. Simple but chic!”

Their outdoor ceremony started once Francine walked down the aisle with her dad, as “Amazing Grace” by John Newton played on the bagpipes by Callum Watson. “The addition of bagpipes was a pretty last-minute decision but one we are so glad we made. Callum came from Melbourne and played as guests arrived at the ceremony while I walked down the aisle and as the ceremony ended. I think the bagpipes have a way of making anyone emotional – regardless of heritage. Guests loved him & we loved him.”

One of Francine’s favourite memories of the day was walking down the aisle. “My favourite memory of the day is walking arm in arm with my dad, headed towards Sean, waiting for me at the alter. I can hear the beautiful bagpipes playing and see so many beautiful faces of family and friends there, giving me the most wholesome smiles as I walk past. As I get to Sean, I see he is choking up with tears falling down his cheeks. My dad hugs him and hugs me, and as I stand there hand in hand with Sean, I say, ‘Got ya’,” she described. “In the lead up to the wedding, Sean swore to me and all those close to us he wouldn’t cry. And it would annoy me because I thought you should bloody cry seeing me. Anyway, he was certain he wouldn’t; he’d be too nervous and too many people staring at him. So when I got to the end of the altar and saw a blubbering mess (aka Sean), I really just loved knowing I was right all along.”

Their ceremony was light-hearted and guided guests through their incredible journey. It was led by their celebrant, Lauren, who perfectly captured their story. “She spoke about us as a couple like she’d known us for years and made all our guests both laugh and cry,” Francine recalled. “Sean and I both wrote our own vows – something that was pretty tricky but well worth doing. We also did a ‘witness lottery’. Where two guests’ names were drawn during the ceremony, and those people were our witnesses. Loved it!”

This wedding was so important to Francine and Sean, not only to celebrate their love; but also to bring together their family and friends who had been isolated across the globe over the past few years. “The most special detail of our day was having our families – from opposite sides of the world – together again. Our wedding was originally planned for March 2022 – which we booked in early 2020. Then COVID took over, and with international travel being basically non-existent, we had to make the call to postpone our wedding to ensure Sean’s family and friends could get to Australia. So when our wedding in March 2023 finally came, it had been over three years since we’d seen our family and friends in Scotland. That reunion will forever live in my mind as a favourite memory.”

Sean described how much the wedding made him feel, not only finally being married to Francine after postponing but also being surrounded by his friends and family. “I remember being at the alter waiting for Francine to arrive and feeling like shit. I could cry already. The bagpipes playing and seeing her walking towards me really sent me, and I know Francine loved seeing me choked up and blubbering. Our day didn’t fly past, but it didn’t drag either. It felt perfect,” he remembered. “We took everything in, and so many times, we stopped and just said, ‘Can you believe this is our day?’. We were surrounded by the best people in our lives, and they ate, drank and danced the night away with us. My speech was successful, and it is the first time I’ve not had Francine being able to help me write something. I couldn’t have asked for a better day and wouldn’t change a thing. I never really understood why people would say their wedding was the best day of their life, but now I am that person.”

The photographer for the day was Prue Peters, a local Shepparton photographer that Francine knew she needed for their big day. “I’d heard she was a total gem – the relaxed vibe and easy peasy to work with. Something that was a priority for Sean & I – we need to be able to have a laugh and take the piss – whilst also getting natural and stunning photos. I would now say from experience this is Prue’s specialty,” she explained. “Prue made us comfortable; she listened to our priorities for the night, blended in amongst guests and partied with us, and was our biggest cheerleader all day and night!”

Adding, “My favourite photo is of Sean & I in front of a beautiful tree in each other’s arms with our noses touching and eyes gazing at each other.”

These gorgeous wedding rings were created by Blizzard Jewellers, who worked with Francine to design the perfect set. “Blizzards Jewellers was an incredible local vendor who worked with me to design and create my engagement ring and wedding band. I know I was incredibly painful to work with – as I knew exactly what I wanted and couldn’t waver from that image at all. But Craig and the team at Blizzards couldn’t have been any more helpful and supportive and made me feel like nothing was any trouble. The result was well worth it, though – my rings are absolutely perfect, and if given the chance to change them ten times over, I wouldn’t accept the offer.”

To entertain the guests for the night, Sean and Francine hired Matty & Jamie Duo, their band for the day. “They sang acoustic music during canapés and then later on in the night got the party started with a DJ set. They had everyone on the dance floor and really tested my promise not to take my heels off!”

After the photos were mostly finished, it was time for the food to start rolling out. “Incredible food and service! The Olivehouse is known for its incredible food – chef Rob really is a genius, and everyone still raves about the meals from the night. The entire Olivehouse team catered to absolutely everyone without issue, and we will speak highly of them and ensure we send anyone we know looking to get married their way! The venue is a make-or-break vendor!”

Francine had a stunning reception dress up her [voluminous] sleeves, letting her dance her heart out on the dance floor. “I absolutely loved my second dress and was so glad I chose to have one – although so many told me not to. I got this dress from Khirzad Femme, which featured a beautiful corset style top, above knee length and exaggerated puffy sleeves. A fun statement to really start the party!”

When asked what advice she would give future couples for their wedding, Francine had this to say. “My advice would be to plan the day you want together. If you love a big poofy dress, wear a big poofy dress. If you want to have gold-plated flowers, have gold-plated flowers. Go as big or as simple as YOU want. But set a budget and stick to it. One day isn’t worth financially suffering for. The ones who know and love you most won’t care if you have spring rolls in a local park – they will just be happy to be there celebrating you.”

The first dance was to “Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran, a song that Sean and Francine had loved since the beginning of their relationship. “We always said, ‘One day when we get married, we will dance to this song,’ so to be there in that moment together dancing to that song, it really was just surreal.”

To finish the night on a high note, everyone joined in and danced to “Loch Lomond”, a traditional Scottish wedding song. “It instantly took me back to weddings/functions we attended whilst living in Scotland (the Scottish throw THE best weddings). Although many of our guests had no idea what it was – everyone joined in, and the atmosphere surrounded by everyone at the end of our night was beyond special.”

Please join us in congratulating Sean and Francine on their incredible, chic wedding and for having the patience to wait to celebrate with ALL of their loved ones. And a huge thanks to Prue Peters Photography for capturing and submitting it for us to share!