When graphic designer Simone agreed to marry partner Christian, their wedding was set to be impeccably styled at the beautiful Stones of the Yarra Valley.
Names: Simone Rodrigues & Christian Taverna
Wedding date: 02.12.2016
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Chapel at Stones of the Yarra Valley & The Barn at Stones of the Yarra Valley
How we met and the marriage proposal: We both agree fate had a lot to do with our meeting. Christian attended my Year 10 Deb with his cousin, but I had decided not to go. Fast forward a few years later and I landed a job at a retail store where Christian worked. We had noticed each other straight away, and this time the timing was perfect. After a few months of workplace chatter, I asked Christian to have lunch and our story started! He proposed 6 years later.
We were in Florence, Italy – halfway through our Italian summer getaway. We made it through 2 weeks of our trip and one late afternoon Christian was awake while I took a nap. As I woke, he was pacing around the room, urged me to get up and go for a walk, asked me to hurry up a few times before we headed out to catch the sunset at Piazza Michelangelo. At this point I knew his behaviour was strange, but engagement was the last thing I was thinking about – it was pouring with rain and I was being asked to climb stairs…a lot of stairs. Through the rain, we trekked up to the piazza to see the view over Florence and he quickly asked me to walk a certain way – which happened to be away from the main view and people and into a random quiet area with a single wooden bench and views over terracotta roofs and treetops. I set my camera up and starting capturing the beautiful landscape, and turned around to find him down on one knee with the ring box popped open. At this moment time stood still. I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I screamed, ‘In Florence?!’ to which he laughingly replied ‘is that a yes?”.
We spent the next many hours on a complete adrenaline high. We found a gorgeous wine bar overlooking Florence’s picturesque Arno River, and sat there for hours drinking wine and sampling meats and cheeses from the Chianti region. Neither of us remember anything other than the elation we felt. We even forgot our umbrella in the restaurant and ran back through the rain together in stitches of laughter!
Since we were abroad the news was just ours for the entire trip. It was really nice to spend the rest of the holiday as just us – not on the phone with our family or best friends, etc. It was like we were in our own little bubble, a bubble on the other side of the world.
About our wedding day: Marriage to us is Forever. Binding ourselves together with love.
Surprisingly the morning of the wedding was the most relaxed I’d felt in the lead up to our day! I made a songlist of acoustic beats which hummed in the background as I sipped on fresh juice and ate croissants. Christian spent the morning with his Best Man playing playstation!
The most important detail for us was making sure the day represented who we are as a couple. We focused on what made us happy and what we liked, not what was trendy or in at the time. Our wedding day was as much about our family and friends as much as ourselves, so food and music were carefully selected to ensure to greatest experience for our guests.
Being a Friday lunchtime wedding, and having everything held at the one property meant guests could relax, and spend the rest of the weekend exploring the Yarra Valley. We had a dinner with our closest family and friends the night before our wedding, then we carried on celebrations post wedding at a local hotel and spent the Saturday enjoying brunch with loved ones. Weddings can run so fast, so this was a nice way of making the most out of having the people you love the most in the world in the one place at the one time!
Our wedding style: Christian is Italian, and I have always had an infinity for Italian elegance and design. When we got engaged in Florence, we knew immediately that our wedding would have a strong connection to this picturesque city. Everything in Florence inspired me, but especially the beauty of the nature, the people, and the food!
Stones of the Yarra Valley was the first and only venue we visited- we booked our wedding in the same day we saw it. Due to the natural beauty of the property we didn’t over complicate styling. Invitations were letterpress printed on a crisp white paper, and wrapped in lengths of hand dyed blush silk. Guests were welcomed by a handwritten sign with gold lettering at the entrance to the Chapel. It was placed on a rustic timber easel, adorned with olive branches. We used florals in the Chapel, made up of peaches, lilacs, whites and green – accented by brass lanterns and tea lights.
The Barn was a green affair, lush garlands made from olive branches and eucalyptus cascaded down tables atop of a soft nude muslin runner. Brass candelabras randomly lined the long tables, leading the eye upwards to a large installation hanging from the rafters filled with an abundance of olive leaves and foliage. We really wanted the dining table to look like an Italian feast laden with candles, wine bottles and foliage. Our guests were treated to alternating bonbonerie of Limoncello and homemade Olive Oil infused with Rosemary, made by my gorgeous Matron of honour and myself. For our place cards a single rosemary sprig sat atop every card. After individually tearing and dipping in grey ink, I hand wrote every guests name in gold on the hand torn paper. The table numbers and signs were also handwritten in gold, and the menus printed with a grey ink – all paper was handmade sourced from India. This choice was a nod to my heritage, with my Father being born in Bangladesh and was something very close to my heart. Our cake was a fresh citrus sponge which suited our Italian theme perfectly, it was adorned with olive branches and the occasional white rose.
Being a Graphic Designer I jumped at the opportunity to style my own wedding – if I didn’t know how to make something, I taught myself! Being in my element saw me share that creative mindset with my fiancée and it was great for him to see what it is I actually do 9-5!
Finding my wedding gown: I decided on a Suzanne Harward couture gown on my first day of gown pursuing! It was more of a feeling than anything – I just knew it was right. As my gown was custom, we spent the next weeks going back and forth with ideas – Carly was always too happy to help which was so refreshing!
My gown was lovingly crafted from the finest lace and most exquisite silk, it was tailored to my body and fit perfectly. I went for a sweetheart neckline, which was hidden underneath a scalloped lace boat neckline. It had romantic long sleeves, and a plunging deep V at the back. My skirt was a dual layered silk crepe de chine, it had movement and blended whimsical and modern effortlessly.
First dance song: We found a local acoustic trio called the Daedels that played the grand piano during our ceremony, an amazing hour unplugged during our cocktail hour and then amped things up a little during lunch. They were a huge hit and kept our family and friends dancing and raving for days!
Our first dance song was “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. We asked the band to learn it a few months before the wedding, and we heard it live the first time on our wedding day and we were blown away. It was an acoustic style which matched the chilled lunchtime theme, it really was the most magical moment. The lyrics are true to us as a couple, it is a song about love projected in a casual, friendly and everyday way.
Advice for future couples: Design your day for you as a couple, that way in the years to come you will have solid reasons for your choices! Be organised, it’s never too early to start your preparations. Don’t stress if things don’t go to plan, at the end of the day whatever happens your wedding day will be perfect because it is a day just for you and the one you love and is all about dedicating your life to one another.
In other words – don’t sweat the small stuff! On your Wedding day, take time to step back as a couple and look at what is happening, your loved ones are there for you both and you will never be in this moment again!
Couture experience at Suzanne Harward: The girls at Suzanne Harward understood my vision from the start. We tried on different gowns and merged elements I loved to create my couture gown. I was given advice and tips where needed, and everything was explained to me so I was heavily involved in the process. The fabrics are other-worldly and the service from the girls is personable and friendly. I would not hesitate to recommend Suzanne Harward to any bride – they have given me memories to last a lifetime!
Gown – Suzanne Harward // Bride’s Accessories – Headpiece Custom designed and made in France by Mignonne Handmade, Earrings Diamond heirloom studs borrowed from my Grandmother // Bride’s Shoes – Loeffler Randall // Bridesmaid’s Attire – Saba // Groom’s Attire – Peter Jackson // Groomsmen’s Attire – Peter Jackson // Make up & Hair – Janice Wu // Photographer – Jonothan Ong // Music – The Daedels // Catering – Stones of the Yarra Valley // Planner & Stylist – The Bride // Cake – Kat’s Cakes // Videographer – Moon & Back Films // Paper Goods & Stationery – The Bride // Florist – Blooming Brides
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