‘Hanging on the rack it looked simple and sophisticated with features that I was looking for like French crepe and a sexy silhouette. But I wasn’t all that convinced. I tried it on and as soon as I saw myself in the mirror I thought wow, this is definitely it! I felt like it was made for my figure. The dress fit the shape of my body perfectly, highlighted my waist and décolletage and was an amalgamation of all the things I had been searching for in my dream gown. Looking at myself with the dress fitting me perfectly, I cried happy tears immediately, and I hadn’t cried yet so that was a first! The girls in the salon were with me through the entire journey and were genuinely so exited to see the final product. To this day I am still so obsessed with my stunning Dawson gown, so thank you Tara Lauren for designing such a beautiful dress!’
Names: Jenna & Joel
21.03.2020 (48 hours before the Australian Government reduced weddings to 5 guests – bride, groom, celebrant & 2 witnesses)
57 (90 invited, Covid meant we had quite a few cancellations!)
Ceremony: Geelong Botanic Gardens (Victoria, Australia)
Reception: The Warehouse Geelong (Victoria, Australia)
Photographer: Light and Type
Tell Us Your Love Story How did you meet?
Like a lot of other couples in the modern dating world, we actually met through the dating app Okay Cupid, in early 2014. I was in my final year of uni, had recently come out of a long-term relationship, was working flat out and started making plans for solo travel, so my life was incredibly busy. I told myself I didn’t have the time for a relationship and certainly didn’t have plans to settle down any time soon! But based on Joel’s profile and our insanely good banter I knew I just had to meet him – even if things weren’t to go any further than friends, he was definitely someone I wanted to have in my life. About a month we caught up for a drink and the rest is history. The chemistry was undeniable, unlike any connection I had experienced before and we have been inseparable ever since!
How did he put a ring on it?
Joel popped the question at one of our annual Christmas parties that we hosted in December 2018. It was the first day of summer and incredibly hot, but that didn’t stop me from wearing a fleecy Christmas Pudding outfit all day because I was committed to getting in the spirit! Just after we had done Secret Santa Joel and I thanked everyone for coming, and right before the ‘cheers’ one of our favourite songs started playing. I didn’t even have time to think about what was happening, then he reached into the tree where he had planted the ring earlier (very brave), dropped the knee and asked me to marry him! I was beside myself, totally overcome with emotion and shock but I managed to get out a ‘yes’ in-between all the happy tears. Although we had spoken about getting married for years I never expected it to happen at a party in-front of guests. Which I think made me more emotional, the fact that we got to share in the excitement with some of our best friends. But it was truly the most beautiful moment, everyone was in tears, even the boys. It definitely elevated the celebrations! And looking back at what were were wearing in the photos makes us laugh every time.
Where did you draw inspiration from? Instagram! I am an organised and creative person, so from the minute we were engaged I started hunting down some great accounts for styling, dresses and photographers. I took hundreds of screenshots on my phone and organised them into wedding folders, each with it’s own category like ‘hairstyles, flowers, jewellery, dresses’ etc. I found it so helpful and easy to have a system like this. As I discovered new things and refined my vision for the day I edited the albums and even created some mood boards so I could see how all of the elements would come together. Some of my go-to IG accounts for inspiration were Ivory Tribe, Together Journal and Hello May and Bluebell Bridal.
What made the wedding personal to you? From the start we were very conscious about creating a wedding that felt emotive and personal, not only for us but for our guests. We wanted our personalities and love to show through in everything from the music, food, styling, stationary and vows. Joel and I love to celebrate and entertain, so it was the perfect opportunity to throw a party that just felt like us, down to the finest detail.
There were lots of elements that made the day personal. We wrote our own vows that were completely from the heart, filled with the things we love most about one another and little personal jokes.
Joel’s sister is a dance teacher and she choreographed our first dance! That meant a lot to us that family could be involved in the preparation of the day.
My Uncle and his team of jewellers made our incredible wedding bands. They will become very special heirlooms in our family and we couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.
Being a designer, I couldn’t help but assign myself the monster task of creating all the stationery and signage. I made the invites & envelopes, wedding website, stickers, welcome signs and all of the other signage at the reception. Plus I made gift boxes for the entire bridal party!
What were you most nervous or excited about?
I think I was most nervous about our first dance, we didn’t practise as much as I wanted to but we ended up totally nailing it. The thing I was most excited about seeing my soon-to-be husband at the alter and having that moment together up there. I was bursting with excitement for the ceremony in general and to read Joel my vows. I had put so much thought and care into crafting the perfect words and I wanted more than anything to give him the limelight and just gush about all the things I love about him.
Now, the most important part – the Dress!
Tell us about your dress?
I wore the amazing Dawson gown by Tara Lauren. My dress journey started 15 months before the wedding and I had tried on almost 30 dresses before I settled on the ‘one’. My beautiful Mum chose the Dawson for me to try. Hanging on the rack it looked simple and sophisticated with features that I was looking for like French crepe and a sexy silhouette. But I wasn’t all that convinced. I tried it on and as soon as I saw myself in the mirror I thought wow, this is definitely it! I felt like it was made for my figure. The dress fit the shape of my body perfectly, highlighted my waist and décolletage and was an amalgamation of all the things I had been searching for in my dream gown. Plus there were happy tears from Mum, my Mother-in-Law and my girlfriend, so that helped to seal the deal! Given that I found my dress so quickly (with 12 months til the wedding), I probably should have unfollowed a lot of bridal accounts but I wanted to keep looking just in case. When I went back for alterations 3 months before the wedding I tried the dress back on and there was no doubt that ‘Dawson’ still had my heart and was totally me. I’ll never forget the feeling of trying on my dress for the final time when I picked it up after the alterations. Looking at myself with the dress fitting me perfectly, I cried happy tears immediately, and I hadn’t cried yet so that was a first! The girls in the salon were with me through the entire journey and were genuinely so exited to see the final product. To this day I am still so obsessed with my stunning Dawson gown, so thank you Tara Lauren for designing such a beautiful dress!
What stockist did you get it from? Bluebell Bridal – Melbourne, Victoria
The girls in the salon are so welcoming and bubbly, it was such a fun experience going in for my appointments! They took honest, genuine care in helping me to find my dream dress and made me feel so special throughout the whole process. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
What was your most memorable moment from your day?
The whole day and night was quite an out of body experience for me! But I would have to say the most memorable part was standing with my handsome husband at the alter. We were there hand-in-hand, eyes locked for the entire ceremony. The sparks between us and total elation with what we were doing made me feel so giddy and happy! It was the most extreme version of love-drunk I have ever been. By the end of the night my face was sore from smiling so much, it was just so unreal and I would give anything to live through that day again.
Vendors to credit: Venue & Accommodation: