Raffaele Ciuca real bride Bec wears Maggie Sottero Milka gown in garden wedding, Melbourne Australia

“Shopping through Raffaele Ciuca was a lovely experience. From the moment my bridal party and I met Jo, she helped to find the perfect dress, that I not only adored, but suited our wedding and venue.”


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RC – How did you and your husband meet?
I first met Grant through my sister and her husband several years ago. Our love story started with many stolen glances and some innocent flirting until one night out, Grant acted on his feelings. From the night we shared our first kiss to our first date, everything flowed so seamlessly. There was no need for playing hard to get or childish dating games, as a future together was clear for both of us.

RC – The proposal?
On our 5 year anniversary Grant decided to take me on a weekend away to his special childhood holiday destination – the McAlister River. A lovely and fantastic idea – except being a teacher it was in the middle of report writing time! It was here, mid-way through writing reports and enjoying a wine that I noticed Grant kneeling to my left, silly smile on his face, ring in hand, as he popped the question. We are sure the whole countryside heard my gleeful” yes”, and it was the start of our next chapter together.

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RC – Is there a particular reason as to why you chose your venue?
Grant and I said ‘I do’ at a family owned winery (Yarra Ranges Estate) in Monbulk, Victoria. One of our favourite weekend activities is to visit the Yarra Valley and surrounding areas, wine tasting and taking in the magnificent scenery, so there was little debate in choosing a winery location for our wedding. From the moment we saw Yarra Ranges Estate, the exposed beams and sweeping vineyards we knew we wanted to celebrate our marriage with our family and friends here.

RC – Your favourite part of the wedding?
‘Don’t blink or you will miss it’ was some advice I was given before our big day, and this was so true. I loved even minute of our celebrations that I find it difficult to choose just one! I loved planning our wedding. Pinterest was my best friend throughout the planning process, and being quite creative, I loved taking on the challenge of styling and making many things ourselves. From the stationary, jewellery (which took 7 long months to achieve perfection!!), timber decorations and table arrangement sign; we did A LOT!! Many times throughout the celebrations, we were complemented on our attention to detail, even down to cutting thin slabs of timber the girls could stand on during the ceremony so they did not sink into the soft lawn! I loved walking down the aisle with my dad. Sharing that special moment right before seeing my husband to be, brought a tear to my eye and is something I will never forget. I loved seeing my husband’s face as I walked down the aisle. Everything and everyone else became a blur and the pure joy and happiness shown was simply lovely to see. I could not wait to reach the end of the isle to get to him! I loved making a promise to love each other forever and sharing our love for each other with our closest family and friends.

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RC – How the dress made you feel?
In one word; elegant. I wanted to steer away from a traditional ivory dress, so when I came across a soft blush I fell in love instantly. I had tried on a few other dresses, all very similar in style, but with the blush lining and tuelle, ivory lace, deep sweetheart neckline and slight beaded sparkle, I knew this was the one! I paired my dress with a handmade beaded necklace which complemented the soft tones of my dress. I loved my dress so much, that I did not want to take it off at the end of the night. My husband and I enjoyed a champagne on the balcony at our accommodation in our wedding attire reflecting on what an amazing night we had!

RC –  Your bridal shopping experience?
Shopping through Raffaele Ciuca was a lovely experience. From the moment my bridal party and I met Jo, she helped to find the perfect dress, that I not only adored, but suited our wedding and venue. I had a clear idea of what I was looking for and Jo respected this, but was also encouraging to try on other styles I had not yet considered. I came across a hitch when ordering my dress after finding out that the soft blush I loved had been discontinued and a stronger blush colour had replaced it. Jo was so understanding that I though the new blush was too ‘pink’ and assisted in every way she could, which saw me ending up with the original blush that I adored! I loved every minute of my bridal shopping experience and would not change a thing!

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RC – Tips for brides-to-be!
Ask your venue to organise a ‘food to go’ pack for you at the end of the reception. Our venue organised canapes, desserts and champagne to be sent home with us. Such a thoughtful idea as you don’t realise how hungry you are until it’s all over!

Share the organisation of the day with your bridal party. I gave my bridal party a notebook with all timelines, contact numbers, things to do, vows, readings etc so that I did not have to worry about all those little details!

Take tissue with you down the isle in your bouquet, or a little box on the signing table. I was surprise how well I help in my tears, but you always need to blot away the stray one or two without messing up your beautifully applied makeup!

Look at your husband’s reaction when you are walking down the isle – not looking at everyone else. It’s such a beautiful moment seeing each other for the first time, and not one that you will do again!

Finalise detail with your vendors at least a week before the day. This way you know they are organised and you can relax in the last week, enjoying your time with your husband to be instead of meeting vendors or sitting in front of the computer emailing them.

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Milka Maggie Sottero

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