Saying ‘I do’ at Melbournes iconic Melbourne Zoo has a special ‘wow’ factor that we are sure all of Erika + Ben’s guests would’ve throughly enjoyed. Monkeys chattering in the background and Giraffes lazily grazing behind you as you share one of your first intimate moments as husband and wife had our eyes in love hearts. Enjoy the story of these High School sweethearts and the patience Erika had while Ben gained the courage to finally ask her out on their first date to the cinemas. Congratulations Erika + Ben.
#RCREALBRIDE Erika wore the striking Demetrios 707 gown. This stunning lace adorned sleeveless V-neck Sheath gown with Sweep train and striking low sheer back with lace and buttons exudes vintage glamour.
Photographer: Loco Photography
THE FIRST SIGHT
Ben and I went to high school together. In year 11 we had a joke that in the future we would get married, he would work and I would raise our children. The joke went so far that I invited him to my 18th birthday as ‘Ben – my husband’ however nothing ever happened between us. At my 21st birthday, when Ben tagged along with my cousin to my party, so kindly bought me a necklace – however it wasn’t my style at all, so I asked him for the receipt to return the ‘broken necklace’ for something else. After changing the necklace, I thought I should send him a text to thank him again for the receipt- it’s the least I could do to cover my little white lie. After a few more texts back and forth, Ben finally built up the courage to ask me to go out on a date to Village Gold Class, Doncaster.
Unfortunately for Ben, I was a little obsessed with getting married and had become quite ‘skilled’ at turning any moment into ‘potential proposal’. I remember being outside Myer one day when he dropped down on one knee to tie his shoelace and I almost let out a squeal thinking he was about to propose. We had been dating for close to 6 years before he finally proposed. It was Easter morning, and just like the previous 6 years, we exchanged very standard Easter presents – a Humpty Dumpty for him, and Kinder Surprise for me. Except this year, the Kinder Surprise was wrapped up amongst 100s of mini Easter Eggs and in a box covered with cellophane. As I began to unwrap the gift, Ben encouraged me to dig deeper to find the card he had included which said, ‘Will You Marry Me?’. After a moment of screaming, tears and bouncing around, Ben finally pulled out the ring from the bottom of the hamper, took my hand and asked me to be his wife. I wasn’t totally surprised when my mind started to guess that he was going to propose, but there was definitely a part of me that thought he was just being extra generous with his Easter gift that morning.
We went to visit Encore St Kilda after getting engaged because Ben had attended a work Christmas party there years earlier and had such an incredible night at the venue. We chose Encore because we loved the idea of having our celebration in a venue that was central to the city without being in the middle of the chaos, had a view of the beach which our guests could enjoy on the balmy night and the option of having our ‘bridal table’ in the centre of the room really won us over. The staff at the open day in 2017 were really thorough and made us feel really confident with our decision to choose Encore.
Our list of favourite parts is endless! Putting aside finally being married, two of our highlights include our wedding photos in front of the Giraffes at the Melbourne Zoo and the magician we hired to entertain our guests whilst the dinner was being served. These moments were both beautiful and enjoyable as we were able to share them with our family and friends. A more intimate moment that is at the top of favourites was us having our photos taken whilst the sun was setting on the St Kilda foreshore – it was great for us to just have that time together to take in what a magical day it had been.
My dress was and still is the most beautiful thing I have ever worn, and I truly fell in love as soon as I put it on!
I had always pictured myself in a fishtail, strapless dress so when I went into the store for the first time, I was pretty adamant on trying on only that style. Thankfully I was blessed to have the very kind and patient Teresa who encouraged me to try on various style available. She said that I would ‘know’ when I found the right dress, and she was not wrong. The Demetrios 707 was the perfect combination of ‘fun’ and ‘princess’ that I was looking for. The detachable skirt allowed me to have one look for during the ceremony and our photos and then once it came off, I was able to dance the night away and enjoy the evening.
FINDING THE ONE
I actually visited both the Brunswick and Armadale stores and found a similar service as a whole – kind, helpful and sweet. However, Teresa at the Brunswick stores really was the cherry on the cake when finding my dress. She didn’t rush me or pressure me into making a decision until I knew I was ready. She treated us with such kindness and honesty, as though she was talking to her own family. On the day I went in to pick up my dress from the alteration shop (who were also really lovely!), Teresa even met me over there just to make sure everything was okay. I cannot thank Teresa enough for all of her help.
ADVICE FOR OTHER BRIDES
Once the big day arrives – take it all in! No one can ever explain to you the speed at which your wedding day goes by. Every hour or so, take a 5-minute break with your partner or by yourself before the ceremony. Take a deep breath, admire all the beautiful things you have planned for your big day. Also, bring comfortable shoes for dancing!!
Also, can you give us a tip on how to keep a happy relationship?
A happy relationship is not something that just happens, it takes works that’s for sure, but never go to bed angry at one another and always laugh at one another’s jokes – even when his aren’t very funny!
Photographer: Loco Photography
Gown: Raffaele Ciuca – Demetrios 707
Videographer: Burgess Video
Celebrant: Melissa Fahey
Ceremony: Royal Melbourne Zoo
Reception: Encore, St Kilda
Flowers / Styling: Sam Rizzo
Stationery: Garage Studio Design
Cake: Partytime cakes
Transport: Limo City
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Dollhouse Bridal
Magician: Anthony De masi
DJ & MC: Eddie Rinaldo
Photobooth: Beetle Booth
Hair: Hair by Anita
Makeup: Gabrielle Makeup Artist
Shoes: Nine West
Suits: Wolf Kanant
Rings: Daniel Madia