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Dani + Matt

As the owner of Geelong Wedding Guide, I thought it was about time I shared my own wedding journey with you all. Matt and I got engaged on Good Friday 2016 at our favorite winery in Ararat, Montara Wines. It was a beautiful sunny day and I had no idea it was going to happen. We always had the same routine at Montara - do a tasting, order a cheese platter and sit down to wait until the cheese platter arrived. While we walked over to the deck, I put my bag down, turned around and Matt was on one knee. I couldn't believe it! I asked "what the hell are you doing" haha. It was a beautiful cushion cut halo engagement ring, designed by Matt himself with local jeweller Body & Soul. I absolutely adore it and still do to this day.

Then came our engagement party and all of the well wishes from our incredible friends and family. I made sure to call all of our closest friends and family or tell them in person about our engagement as this was really important to us. Matt had also asked my fathers permission which was so not necessary but I appreciated it so much. Our engagement party was a relaxed affair at a hall close to our home - Murgheboluc Hall. It is a gorgeous bluestone hall, about 20 minutes from Geelong that you can literally do what you want. We had a very no fuss DIY spit roast and cakes from the cheesecake shop. With flowers from Geelong Flower Farm and some 'engaged' balloons from eBay. It was a great night that was exactly what we wanted.

Once the engagement was over, the wedding planning was in full swing. One piece of advice is, remember that your wedding is about yourself and your partner - no one else! You will get every piece of advice, judgement and eye rolls (particularly from family) about how you want to have your special day - keyword it's YOUR special day. Now, if I had known what I know now about the wedding industry there are a few things I'd change about what we did. For example,

1. I would not sweat the small stuff. Little things like your table settings, seating chart, bonbonniere's (literally no one cares about these!), what your bridesmaids/groomsmen are wearing, what shoes you're wearing (99% of the time, no one sees them) & various random decorations that no ones notices.

2. I would not try to DIY everything. Because a) no one notices & b) it takes a bloody long time! I had this bright idea about recycling wine bottles and making them into candles and candle holders - boy did that take me a million years and lot of blood (literally), sweat, tears & oodles of youtubing morons so I didn't kill myself with exploding glass in the process. On the day, no one noticed them and I quite frankly hated them by the end because it cost me so much time making them! Another bright idea was to build our own tables *face palm. We got ourselves an absolute bargain @ $5 each for these massive round cable reels. But by the time we figured out that they needed legs, a buttload of sanding and varnish they ended up costing at least $100 each. Not to mention the time it took Matt to sand them, varnish them and lift these heavy things!

3. Amongst all of that, we also built a caravan bar haha. Well, that was a mission and a half and almost needs it's own page.  2 weeks out from our wedding it hadn't even been painted and didn't have benches. What the heck were we thinking?! This one isn't exactly a regret because we wouldn't be where we are today with Boutique Event Co however we should have started wayyyy earlier and done a lot more research first.

4. I would have hired some help. I now know of the amazing Lou from One Day P.A who is worth her weight in gold on your wedding day. I've seen Lou and her team in action at weddings and they literally take care of everything. All of those little annoying things that you usually ask family members or friends to take care of - the team at One Day P.A does even better!

5. I would have had my ceremony earlier than 3pm or had photos before my ceremony. The only part of my day that was stressful was photo time - time actually travels faster than the speed of bloody light on your wedding day (believe past brides when they say this!).

6. I wouldn't have had a sit down dinner. This was one of those pieces of advice that we had from family that were worried that they wouldn't get enough food or have a seat available. It would have saved us HEAPS of money and stress to avoid a sit down meal because we could have cut out tables, some chairs, table settings, seating charts & the biggest expense - a massive marquee. We would have still had a marquee for inclement weather however we wouldn't have needed one that was so big.

There are obviously heaps of things I wouldn't change about our day or the planning in the lead up. 

1. Obviously the Caravan Bar

2. I do not regret the choice of getting married at home. I loved every minute of our day and as much as there were little stresses beforehand (what wedding doesn't?), I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

3. My dress was a second hand Rachel Gilbert dress for $500. This saved me around $700 rather than buying brand new.

4. DIY'ing my flowers, this took A LOT of work however I had some very creative bridesmaids and friends that helped me the day before to have them looking incredible. We also had family that was able to forage all of the greenery from a friends property which saved us $100's.

5. Our laid back celebrant, Wed By Ned was hilarious and super down to earth.

6. Our cake, made by a friend of ours was 100% us to a tee. South Park themed characters of the two of us and our cats George & Fran.

7. Purchasing all of our alcohol ourselves - this saved us a bucketload.

8. Choosing a caterer that can fit into your budget and also your requirements. We had the amazing Ange from Simple Catering Solutions. Ange met with us, spoke about our budget and what she could do within those constraints. She was honest and better yet - the food was delicious! I can't recommend Ange and her team enough.

9. Having an amazing honeymoon to cruise into straight after the wedding.

Ok, so now to the day itself. My bride tribe and I stayed in a luxurious Airbnb in central Geelong. It was a beautiful, light filled loft style apartment that felt like we were in the heart of NYC - not G-town! We cooked brekky in the morning while we had our hair and makeup done and had champagne and strawberries because well, why the hell not!? The boys got ready at our house, played video games and setup any last minute decorations before guests arrived.

I remember the ride to the ceremony being really relaxing for me because ultimately I was going home to marry Matt - what is there to stress about when you know you've found your other half and you're going to marry him in front of your nearest and dearest? As I got out of the car, I was excited, a little nervous to be centre of attention and also a little sad for a moment that my brother who passed 2 years beforehand couldn't be there. But, I pulled myself together with my parents who both walked me down the aisle to marry Matt. Our ceremony was very much us. No fuss, funny at times and short (no one wants to stand there for longer than 30 minutes!). We then walked back down the aisle and then got stuck into photo time. We were both dying to get back to our reception so we could join the party and get some food. *Note, pack some food for photo time - you'll be starving and need some energy at this point.

Our reception was my favorite part of the day. This was where we could have a drink, mingle with our guests and dance the night away. We entered the room with 'Be Faithful, by Fatman Scoop' and our first dance was 'Praise You, by Fatboy Slim'. We're fairly non-traditional and we're certainly not professional dancers so we kept it light and fun. Our speeches were not too long, we asked our speakers to keep it short and sweet. The highlight speech for us was Matt's groomsman Tristan. The last time we'd caught up with Tristan we watched Old School. The awkward drunk speech that Mitch gave in the movie always made us laugh so we joked with Tristan about making it a part of his speech. It was hilarious and the images below of us laughing during this speech and my absolute favorites from our wedding. Once speeches were finished we got straight to the d-floor and carved it up until about 2am when we finally finished up. This was the main reason we wanted to get married at home - no curfews!

All in all, we loved our day! Every couple has little things they'd change to either save time, stress & money. However, it's the important things like remembering not to forget why you're getting married in the first place - because you love one another and want to declare that in front of all your loved ones.

The vendors that helped make it happen

Venue: Private Property (our home)

Photography: Family friend

Celebrant: Wed by Ned

Gown: Rachel Gilbert

Suits: Ed Harry

Rings: Body & Soul, McGills Jewellers & Duffs Jewellers

Hair: Larissa Sopronick

Makeup: Tobi Em Makeup Artist

Florist: DIY with flowers from The Geelong Flower Farm

Entertainment: Bishop Audio, playlist by us

Stationary: Lovely Ink Co

Catering: Simple Catering Solutions

Cake: Lauren Wiggins

Honeymoon Destination: Japan & U.S.A

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