Men looks: the dapper casual chic style

So you've probably that Mark and I cheekily surprised all our guests with a civil wedding ceremony during our 'engagement' party. Well, the following article contains the whole story along with all the sweet little details of the event, styled by yours truly with the help of some very talented folk.

Just in case you're looking to create a similar style of event in Melbourne, I've also provided a detailed account of where to source all the bits and pieces and have compiled a list of some of the creatives in the industry you should know.

THE DRESS

I wore accompanied by an floral hairpiece and vintage-style pearl white shoes each topped with a cute little rosette.

HAIR AND MAKE-UP

The gorgeous and talented Julie Dammery of did a wonderful job. She created a very soft, natural and beautiful look for me.

THE STYLING

I chose 'simple', 'rustic', 'recycled', 'vintage' and 'casual' as the key themes of our wedding 'picnic'. Wanting to capture a fresh, spring feel I set bright warm reds, oranges, pinks and yellows ablaze against a rustic landscape of wooden furniture, vintage crates, wine barrels, an odd assortment of collected jars and and bottles and bamboo plates and cutlery. Guests were advised a dress code of 'smart casual' to maintain the relaxed and understated tone of the event.

THE SETTING

A series of pop-up pagoda marquees were set up around the edge of one half of a tennis court. In the middle were four large umbrellas. This added an open, outdoor feel while still protecting us from the intermittent drizzle that occurred throughout the day.

THE GUESTS ARRIVE

At 2pm, Mark and I stood under a pretty cream-coloured royal marquee set up at the front of the event, greeting our guests as they arrived.

Because we hosted it in the backyard of my husband's parents place, it created a much more personal and intimate atmosphere and allowed us a few days to set up so that we had time to refine the details.

Upon arriving, a lot of our guests may have thought that there was quite a lot of effort put into what was essentially just supposed to be an 'engagement' party.

THE FOOD

Our caterers were. Their food was delicious and stylishly and creatively presented. They worked well with us to customise the presentation to fit with the theme. Guests raved about their food!

The delicious savouries consisted of simple, rustic fare with a home made feel. Highlights included some handmade chips in boxes made from magazine paper. The presentation of these was a perfect fit for my 'recycled' theme. I sourced the round wooden bread boards used for the vegatable antipasto and cheeses from Market Import.

THE BUFFET

I absolutely love how the buffet turned out visually. It had a rustic and casual feel about it with the overhanging flowers adding a touch of elegance.

THE DESSERTS

The lemon meringues were to-die-for. A clear favourite among guests. The creative little 'textured lollipops' in various colours and flavours had a very light and foamy, marshmallow-like quality and were a delight to taste.

FLORAL STYLING

A creative arrangement of cheerful and warm-toned flowers in hanging glass bottles floated magically above the buffet and was the chief focal point of the event.

Flowers were also casually placed in the vast array of jars and bottles of varying shapes and sizes and arranged haphazardly across picnic benches. Gerberas, roses, strawberry fields, gloriosa, tulips, billy buttons, green tricks, sunflowers and dahlias were among the flower types present.

Flower credits go to Melanie from. Her stunning hanging bottles stole the show. They were gorgeous! She also was a great help with all the other flower arrangements throughout the whole space. The vast majority of bottles scattered throughout the event were hired from but I also added a few from my own collection.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT

At 3pm, Mark grabs everyone's attention and begins his speech, thanking everybody for coming and relating stories about how we met looks and how we were friends for many years before we eventually got our acts together and became a couple. At the conclusion of his speech, he casually lets it slip that we are going to be honouring our commitment to each other in the form of a civil wedding ceremony here today before all our guests.

THE REACTION

The collective gasp, shocked and delighted faces, raised arms and exclamations such as "You sly dog!" were pure gold! I wish I could live in that moment forever!

THE CEREMONY

We spontaneously chose a spot amongst our guests to conduct a relaxed and unrehearsed ceremony. Our celebrant did a fantastic job especially dealing with our tendency to erupt in silliness!

THE KISS

You've probably already seen these beautiful images here of our first kiss as husband and wife.

THE HUGS

These candid shots below of the congratulatory hugs after the ceremony and toast are among my favourites of the day!

THE WEDDING 'CAKE' - SCONES WITH JAM AND CREAM

I'm a sucker for warm scones topped with generous dollops of jam and cream. So simple and homey, these had to be the 'wedding cake'.

Once the toast was given and everyone had a little champagne, the scones were handed out to guests.

I created little paper trays in 'picnic' gingham and lined these with paper napkins in kitschy patterns. The trays were personalised with our names and wedding date. You may recognise the heart design from this. I also asked Atlantic to top them off with a couple of fresh strawberries for an extra splash of colour!

THE LEMONADE

The 'homemade lemonade with elderflower water' by was simply delicious and, in true recycled fashion, provided in jam jars. Manila tags tied to the top of each jar allowed guests to write their names and re-use their jar throughout the afternoon. These were topped off with pinky red and white vintage-style paper straws which I bought online from. The lemonade sat in glass jugs atop wine barrels as part of 'self service' stations set up at various points throughout the event space. The jam jars were hired through. Barrels hired through.

GUEST POSTCARDS

Our guestbook were postcards from depicting various flowers and vegetables. Guests would write us a little message on the back and leave them in this vintage-style wooden luggage.

BITS AND PIECES

Chinese Lanterns from

Faux vintage typewriter from

Wooden Pencils from

The cutest little stools ever, hired through.

Vintage Crates hired through

Assorted flowers from local florists and from

Bamboo sporks with matching round side-plates from, ordered online from.

Apples from the local supermarket!

FURNITURE HIRE

A combination of outdoor picnic benches from and three legged stools and matching round tables, hired through helped create the relaxed, outdoor 'picnic' feel.

THE MUSIC

We treated guests to nostalgic hits from The Beatles, Burt Bacharach, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Doris Day, Dusty Springfield, Elvis, you get the idea....

THE PROCESS

Taking on the role of 'event stylist' for my wedding was initially a challenging one. I knew exactly what I wanted, envisaged the style and all the little details in my head but needed the right contacts and sources to make it happen. At first, I thought creating an event like this was impossible in Melbourne- all I could find were props that were either corporate modern/minimalist or overly 'grand' and traditional. That was until I met Georgie.

Although I didn't necessarily hire Georgie Kaye in an event planning capacity for this event, I would highly recommend her and her company "". Especially if you're not a stylist yourself and are looking for an event management company that provides highly creative, quirky and unique events.

When I inadvertantly discovered her while searching for reasonably priced fake grass hire (something of a rare breed in Melbourne), things magically fell into place. I essentially hired a lot of the rustic furniture and bits and pieces through Georgeous but as far as I was concerned the service went above and beyond 'hired goods'. Georgie also provided tips, advice and ideas, actually physically helped out with some of the setting up (her removalist guy Chris put in such a great effort to get everything in place and was such a perfectionist!) and provided me access to a fantastic floral designer, Her passion, creativity and positive energy were incredibly inspiring and made her a delight to work with.

THE PHOTOGRAPHY

The other major hurdle was finding a suitable photographer. Luckily, on I discovered. With a keen eye for composition and colour and a passion for detail, Jonathan and I spoke the same language and therefore worked really well together. I think it's so important to be able to capture not only the results of all the hard work that went out into creating a beautiful event but also to capture all those special and magical moments that make up the wedding experience. Jonathan did a brilliant job with both of these tasks.

Cheers Jon! Look forward to working with you again in the future!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

I really need to credit the whole family for their valued time and effort in putting this whole event together. My husband and all our parents helped with dealing with vendors, setting up the space, running around to buy odds and ends, floral arrangements, creating the, sourcing the drinks... the list goes on. Fantastic team effort!

Stay tuned, more pics of the photo shoot with Mark and I as a newly married couple to come.

{ All photos by }

XO



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