Surrounded by their amazing family and friends, Laura and Keshya celebrated their marriage and partied the night away. Their relaxed attitude to the day was perfectly contrasted by the party vibes that flowed from moment to moment. Thanks to their photographer Daniella Melfi capturing the day, we now get to share this vibrant wedding with you!

The day Laura and Keshya matched on Tinder was momentous, but not just because they’d found each other. November 15th 2017, was the day the same-sex marriage referendum results were announced! “We didn’t start a conversation until later that evening, though. From there, we spoke over long texts and wanted to establish a good connection before meeting. We eventually met up three weeks later at Cookie in Melbourne for a drink where we talked and laughed the whole night…until we had to leave at midnight because the car park I used was closing.”

Out of the two of them, Laura is the self-proclaimed organiser – so naturally, she assumed she’d be the one to propose. So imagine her surprise (and shock!) when Keshya beat her to it. “I actually had a ring designed for Keshya by Nolan & Vada that I was slowly paying for as we weren’t in a rush to get married. We went away, off the grid, to an Unyoked house in Avoca for the weekend with our dog. She wanted to have a romantic night under the stars to propose, but Keshya forgot that country evenings usually attract wildlife,” explained Laura. “Given that Keshya is scared that Australian animals will kill you, we went inside and played a round of Sushi Go. I won, which was a little odd because I never win, and Keshya said she had a prize for me. She began rummaging around in her handbag and then turned around to have a ring. It was her grandmother’s engagement ring that she asked her grandmother for after we had dated for only six months. She had been hiding it since then, waiting to give it to me one day.”

The wedding party stayed at Oakwood Hotel the whole weekend, so their wedding day started on the 39th floor across a few suites. Keshya is Sri Lankan, so it was important for both her and Laura that her culture was celebrated. The talented family at Rajashree Bridal Studio in South Yarra designed her beautiful Saree for her. “The whole experience with them was amazing, and the final look was stunning. Her saree was made with real gold and had red borders, the traditional colour for celebrations and the colours that her mother and grandmothers wore. Keshya’s shoes were from Reformation, which is a sustainable shoe company.”

In her bridal party, Keshya had her two sisters (titled the Bride’s Ladies) who wore matching olive and gold Sarees.

The language around their wedding parties was important to Keshya and Laura, as they didn’t feel comfortable with the term ‘maid’. “It is so outdated, and we didn’t want our bridal party to feel like they had to work to be a part of our day. We wanted them next to us as they were the five that have been by our side individually since day dot, so we focused on the lead-up and the wedding weekend and making it as special for them as it was for us as a thank you for all their support & love,” Laura explained.

Within Laura’s bridal party, she had her sister (Lady of Honour), her cousin and her best friend (Bridal Ladies). Each Lady wore a matching black dress and heels.

Laura herself wore this beautiful gown from Bianca Spender, with its plunging neckline and gathered detailing. “I’ve always loved her gowns and how they fit, so when I saw one I loved, I went to try it on. It was the last one in my size and the first wedding dress I tried on. I bought it straight away as it was perfect. I had it tailored slightly, and I was super comfortable all day. I wore metallic gold Prada shoes with a kitten heel.”

Instead of traditional bouquets, Keshya and Laura wore matching floral corsages handcrafted by Thrive Flowers and all their other flowers for the day. “I used to work closely with Alyssa and Rosie when they were our chosen supplier for all our weddings & events at a venue I managed about eight years ago,” Laura recalled. “I still remember how great and talented they were at creating beautiful arrangements, so it was a no-brainer to get in contact with them again. They nailed our vision for our wedding day.”

The stylist team that worked on this wedding was a dream for Laura and Keshya. “In particular, Hary May went above and beyond her hair styling duties and stayed behind to keep me calm and help my bridal party get their dresses on and get everything in place.”

They headed downstairs after everyone was ready for the first look on the streets of South Yarra. The anticipation between the group was growing steadily, and the excitement was palpable. Not only were these love birds about to be married, but it was also about to be the first time they had all of their loved ones in one room together. “Everyone arrived in Melbourne at different times, so the wedding day was the actual time they were finally together, and everyone could meet and mingle. We had guests fly in from Europe, America, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and interstate.”

Daniella Melfi Photography captured this couple throughout the day and is one of their close friend’s cousin, who Laura’s known for more than 15 years! “We’ve spent many times together, and Dani is genuinely one of the most fun-loving people you’d know. It’s a bonus that she also happens to be a super-talented photographer with an eye for the perfect shot in the perfect location at the perfect time. She went above & beyond for our wedding day, from scouting the best streets for our first look weeks before to being the last one to leave the venue so she didn’t miss a moment to capture. Dani knows Keshya & I are very camera shy and was amazing at making us feel comfortable, challenging us for a pose when she knew we had it in us but also showing restraint if we felt uncomfortable. The final edits and collection of memories she created for us will be cherished forever. We can’t thank her enough.”

After a quick pitstop at their favourite bakery, Austro Bakery, the couple made their way to their venue – Canvas House. They chose Canvas House as their home base for the day since it was the perfect blank canvas (pun intended) for them to bring their vision to life. “Nash, who owns Canvas House, and her manager, Aaron, are also seasoned hospitality personnel, which was important to us as I’m also in the industry and wanted someone who understood the importance of good hospitality.”

The bridal party walked down the aisle one at a time as their wedding violinist Evangeline played one of Laura’s favourite songs – “Goal of The Century” by Gang of Youths. Once they’d finished, it was time for Keshya and Laura to walk hand-in-hand into their ceremony. They walked as the sweet notes of “Same Love” by Macklemore and Mary Lambert floated in the air. “It was the most fist-pumping, goosebump moment of the whole day and was an incredible feeling. Most of our ceremony was a standing occasion, so it was really special to have our guests create a path for us to enter and then come together again to watch the ceremony. Keshya and I wanted to walk down the aisle together as we wanted to start the entrance into our marriage hand in hand.”

This moment is the one Keshya remembers most, the overwhelming feeling of love pouring out of their guests. “Once the wedding party had walked down the aisle and it was our turn, the doors opened, and everyone saw us for the first time. It was like I was hit by a wall of love! I had to stop making eye contact with everyone because I wouldn’t have been able to control the tears. After that, it was just an amazing and fun night with all our family and friends.”

Their ceremony was relaxed, light-hearted and romantic, sharing their story and reflecting back on their relationship. “Our celebrant, Dee Wild, was such an engaging and genuine person to tell our story. We all laughed and cried the whole time. We each had our close friend be our witness as they were two of the first people to know when we first started dating.”

It’s easy to get lost in the magic of a wedding, but one of Laura and Keshya’s favourite parts of planning theirs was seeing the event they’d planned for years come to life. “Looking back, it really turned out how we imagined it would be when we first started discussing ideas.”

Once the ceremony had wrapped up, the bridal party and brides swapped their heels for matching pairs of pride Chuck Taylors for their reception entrance. “We all agree that it was the best decision of the whole day as we were all so comfy.”

A lot of their event was DIY’d by their expansive list of industry connections. Their menu was a fusion of Sri Lankan, Italian and Melbourne influences. “My sister, Diana & I have been in the hospitality industry for our whole careers, so it was important to us that we organised and executed this event as much as possible. We are so lucky to have amazing and talented people around us who could help us execute it on the day. The food menu was created and cooked by Diana and two of her chef friends, Michael Stolley & Steph Stapleton. Keshya & I wanted it to be a cultural food celebration of Italy and Sri Lanka meeting in Melbourne. It was an epic menu.”

Laura created the beverage list, ensuring it was full of all their favourite drinks. “We had my cousin and Keshya’s sister, who are both graphic designers, create the menu and also coasters for the night. We called upon some front-of-house hospitality friends to service our guests for the night and make sure everything ran smoothly. We were in the venue the day before setting up the event and bumping in everything we needed with the massive help of some great friends.”

Keshya and Laura included a Sri Lankan candle-lighting tradition to open the reception.

One thing that was really important to Keshya and Laura was their vendor. They wanted to ensure they had a focus on vendors that were local, independent and, LGBTQIA+ and/or women. One of those vendors they handpicked was Monique, their cake queen. “She created two masterpieces, one of which took 9 hours of fruit cutting to create the design.”

Their first dance song was “ILYSB” by Lany; a song reminiscent of when they started dating. “Keshya and I were both so nervous about our first dance as we didn’t like being the centre of attention. To our surprise, as soon as we started our dance, a group of our closest friends had coloured streamers in hand and started wrapping us in them as they circled us, binding us together as we danced. It was one of the highlights of the night, as we had no idea this was planned. It was perfect as it completed a role for all our close friends. They were either in the bridal party, our witnesses or on the dance floor with us as we had our first dance. We still can’t watch the videos of this moment without crying.”

This couple wants to leave you with the following advice: “Have fun and make it last as long as possible. Oh, and I also recommend getting a hotel for the wedding weekend. It’s so much better than worrying about the look of the family home or locking up as you’re rushing out to the ceremony!”

Congratulations, Laura and Keshya! This was an incredible celebration of your marriage and all types of love! Thanks to Daniella Melfi Photography for capturing and submitting this beautiful couple.