One of the blessings we have living in Australia is the amazing natural beauty we have in our country side. Alyssa + Hayden styled their wedding as a rustic Australian Bush homage. We fell in love with their photos by the giant gumtrees, rusting tin sheds and raw wood beams. Alyssa told us the story of how she had a crush on Hayden back when she was a young teenage girl that turned into something more which has lead to a commitment of a lifetime to one another.
#RCREALBRIDE Alyssa wore the Darian by Pronovias. Chiffon and tulle create this sensual, bohemian dress with a flared skirt in very flowing fabrics that add lots of lightness and movement. The guipure on the strapped bodice forms a high neckline that seduces with sheer effects that provide a glimpse of the skin. A very feminine wedding dress that stands out for its romanticism.
Photography: Mardy Bridges
THE FIRST SIGHT
I first met Hayden in high school – he is 4 years older than me and happened to be my best friend’s cousin! At that time, that just made him an ‘acquaintance.’ Once Hayden left school he was still involved in the school community and church, so eventually acquaintances became friends and being a typical teenage girl I fast developed a crush on him! After a while to my surprise it turned out he was interested in me too! We dated long distance while we were both studying and often wrote letters to each other (which I thought was so special and old fashioned!). Fast forward to 5 and a half years later at our wedding, my Dad claimed in his speech that he and Mum knew before we even knew that we were meant to be together – when I finally told them I had a boyfriend all those years ago, they just replied with “we know!”.
We live in a rural area of Victoria that really becomes beautiful in spring. Many of the paddocks turn into these gorgeous seas of bright yellow canola, and for weeks I had been wanting us to hike up a mountain just outside of town to see the incredible view at this time of year. Hayden agreed to do it with me one weekend, so we packed books, lunch and a picnic blanket for when we got to the top. After we ate lunch Hayden said he’d written me a letter like we used to. This time though he read the letter out loud to me. Half way through, I interrupted him saying “I think this is my favourite letter yet” and he thought “Just you wait!” It really was my favourite letter, because just before the last line he shifted onto one knee, then read “Will you marry me?” and pulled out a ring! I was in so much shock and was so happy that he had to check that I actually would marry him because I hadn’t even said the word ‘yes’ before I jumped on him.
We instantly knew where we wanted to have our wedding! It was so special to have the ceremony in our church and to have all our family and friends there with us. Now every week it makes me so happy to sit there and remember when we got married right up there.
Later we headed to The Woolshed @ Emerald Bank. Being the middle of winter, we wanted a venue for the reception that was super cosy, and we’d always wanted to have a day time wedding to make the most of the whole day.
In the lead up, Cam and Ang at The Woolshed were always so excited for our marriage, they made it feel like we were always organising our wedding with good friends. And the food was absolutely amazing – the dessert table they created was the talk of the event. They always went above and beyond for us – they lit all of the candles before our guests arrived on the day, and even the day before when we set the room up, they brought out drinks and freshly baked scones for us as a surprise for all the hard work!
When we walked into the reception, the room looked beyond incredible and really added to the magic of the day. We loved that the room looked how we were feeling! We also wanted some relaxed acoustic music for the day rather than a big rock band, but to still be able to have a good dance later, and The White Tree really made that happen for us. It was a bit of a gamble as we’d never heard them play and usually they don’t play only acoustic music for the whole day, but when I told them what we’d like, they created the perfect mood for the room. The best part of the day for us was that all these elements we’d planned like the music, decorations, food and everything came together and somehow worked! It took a village as they say, but the genuine happiness of the day made us feel like the luckiest couple in the world.
I felt like my dress reflected me so much! I always thought that I wanted traditional lace and long sleeves, but when I found the Darian dress I instantly knew it was for me. I felt like the style was so beautifully understated and unique with the modern lace and airy skirt but still really timeless. It was super comfortable for the whole day and I got so many compliments that the dress was so ‘me.’ I think it really made all the difference that the dress helped me feel confident (I was dreading having to be the centre of attention!) and allowed me to have more fun not having to worry about anything! I wish I had an excuse to wear it for more than just one day!
FINDING THE ONE
To find my dress, my Mum and I took a trip to Melbourne, and the first place we went was Raffaele Ciuca in Brunswick. It was by far the most organised, elegant and nicest experience I had shopping for a wedding dress. By the end of the appointment I had a tough decision to make between two ballroom type dresses that I loved so the lovely ladies at RC suggested I come back later that afternoon to decide. So, we came back at the end of the day and the ladies graciously let me try the dresses on again to make up my mind. On the way through I saw a dress out of the corner of my eye that was so different and had a really unique lace design that I loved, so I asked if I could also try it on. Lucky, I did because when I put it on I couldn’t stop smiling! I hadn’t had this kind of reaction to any other dress – Mum knew instantly that this dress was the one! If it hadn’t had been for the huge range RC had I don’t think I would have found my perfect dress in just one day.
ADVICE FOR OTHER BRIDES
My biggest tip for brides planning a wedding would definitely be to don’t rush it and take it all in! Cliché I know, but it really all does go so fast and this time of life is so unique and special. Everywhere I would go people were so happy for us, or even people who didn’t know us, when they heard that what I was buying was for a wedding they would get so excited… so I definitely think part of the joy is sharing it with other people. Also, some advice that we were given was to schedule into your big day 15 minutes of “bridal party chill out time” somewhere private so you get to just have a quiet drink, look at each other and take it all in! We had this time after photos before joining our guests for the reception, and it was well worth it!
The most important thing was that at the end of day we were husband and wife! So, I would say to other couples, make sure that the start to your marriage reflects you guys and you take every opportunity to make it all the more special for your significant other. If you make it your mission to make them happy and do what’s best for them, and if they do the same for you, then you’ll find the best happiness of all.
Dress: Raffaele Ciuca Bridal
Photographer: Mardy Bridges / @allmywednesdays
Venue: The Woolshed @ Emerald Bank / @thewoolshed.emeraldbank
Church: St Brendan’s Catholic Church
Flowers: Kathy Rullo (friend)
Cake: Goulburn Valley Cakes / @goulburnvalleycakes
Hair: Allie @ Sheer Symmetry / @sheersymmetry.hairstudio
Makeup: Kat Giuliani / @makeupdesignbydee
Shoes: Georgies Bridal Shoes / @georgiesbridalshoes
Invites: Paper for James / @paperforjames
Suits: Mensland Shepparton
Band: The White Tree / @thewhitetree
Bridesmaid Dresses: Young Designers Gallery / @youngdesignersgallery
Bonbonerie: Eliana & Co. / @elianaco_
Table Centrepieces: (Bride)
Rings: Purdey’s Jewellers