JUAN & ALESSIA
8th May 2021
Planned, Styled and Coordinated by Bronwyn, from Scenic Rim Bride
Photography by Nina Claire
HOW WE MET
We first met in late 2009. Juan had recently arrived from Colombia and was introduced to Alessia by one of his English school friends, but didn’t start dating until March 2010. Together, we have been through everything. Growing together, traveling, and learning each other’s languages (rustily!). We are strongly tied to our cultures and believe in the importance of love, family and good friendships.
Our engagement took place in December 2018, Juan using Alessia’s birthday as an excuse for a surprise trip to Tasmania. Juan got down on one knee and proposed during a breathtaking sunset in Marion Bay. The surprise involved a romantic picnic and a long walk to the picnic location with Alessia wearing a paper bag for the journey for full effect! Hot tip: always prepare a blindfold for a surprise picnic. We chose to have a two year engagement, giving us time to craft the wonderful vision for the wedding we had in mind.
PLANNING A WEDDING
Being from Italian and Colombian backgrounds, we had food, music and colours top of mind for our wedding day. Our wedding planning was a year in the making – we used to joke that it was our second part-time job, because that’s definitely how it feels – but in a fun way! We soon realised, being a DIY venue where almost everything needed to be hired, it made sense to have someone on board to help keep on top of everything. That’s when (to our amazing fortune) we met Bronwyn. From then on, everything was so perfectly organised and executed, we couldn’t possibly have done it without her! Second hot tip: hire a wedding planner/coordinator/stylist extraordinaire, if your budget allows, and make sure that person is Bronwyn from Scenic Rim Bride. Together with Bronwyn we organised and planned everything the way we wanted – we had an idea in our minds for tablescapes, flowers and the general vibe – joyous, beautiful and most of all, filled with our favourite music and people.
We always agreed we wanted the process to be just as fun and enjoyable as the day itself. We had endless to-do lists that seemed to keep growing, but tackled each new section when it felt right and completely organically. It might not work for some, but everything seemed to fall neatly into place one job after another, which we were super grateful for!
Our first thought was having a separate ceremony in the surrounding area of Royston House. We looked at a few churches nearby, hoping to find a quaint country church, but there was nothing that suited.
Therefore, we landed on the idea of having our ceremony and reception in the same area. With the sweeping landscapes of Innisplain as our backdrop, Royston House had plenty of locations to choose from. In order to make the ceremony as special and personal as possible, we asked Alessia’s godmother to be our officiant. She has known both of us for a long time and has seen us grow into the couple we are today.
We also wanted our wedding day to be the official day we got married, so we devised a plan to have our ceremony be both official and personal. Feeling grateful we found Ann Taylor from Ceremona via The Celebrant Society – she understood our vision. Together with Alessia’s godmother, made the perfect ceremony team. Ann performed a “legals only” ceremony, which means she legally married us with our witnesses and paperwork. Then Alessia’s godmother popped in and out of our ceremony to speak to the personal parts.
For our attire, Alessia chose Brad from Darb Bridal Couture to create a custom gown for an idea she had in mind. Darb also supplied her veil. Juan enlisted the help of Black Jacket Suiting for his tuxedo and shoes. Alessia chose a reception dress from L’ETO Bridal in Sydney with a scooped pearl-lined back. She had Brad alter the length for dancing, and wore an Aura Bridal headband and matched it with a Shrimps bag that she sourced from Vestiaire.
We recommend giving yourself as much time as you can – even 6 months longer than you think you need – for your attire, especially if something is being custom made for you! For Hair and Makeup, Alessia went for a subtle, natural glam look, and had her hair pulled back into a low chignon which she then took out for the reception to wear with her headband.
Our Groomsmen suits were from David Jones, and they each wore a bow tie that matched the colour of Juan’s jacket. We wanted a multi-colour bridal party, so Alessia worked with the bridesmaids to choose a colour that suited each of their complexions, and sourced their dresses from multiple online retailers.
Even though we got married in May, the early days of autumn are very spring-like in Queensland, and so that was the seasonal inspiration we used – a beautiful spring day bursting with flowers, sunshine and colour.
We wanted florals as a main feature for the day. To bring this to life, we enlisted the help of Kat from Garden Graffiti. We knew we wanted something pretty special for our arbour and showed her a reference image we’d found on Pinterest, but on the actual wedding morning when we each peaked out the window to see Kat assembling it, it was completely breathtaking. She absolutely delivered on the bursting and colourful brief, there were sprays of colour from every angle. We wanted to keep our centrepieces more toned down and pastel to fit with the rest of the tablescape. Kat made the bouquets unique to each bridesmaid’s dress colour, and Alessia’s bridal bouquet was a fresh arrangement of chamomile daisies to match her dress. She later had her bouquet preserved so we could have it hanging in our living room.
Our table settings reflected the garden wedding party vibe. Alternating coloured glassware with blue and white toile plates, periwinkle napkins and golden candlesticks. All items were sourced by the wonderful Bronwyn at SRB of course! As a nod to Alessia’s heritage, we had limoncello bomboniere from a lady on Etsy in Greece with personalised tags, hand-tied to each bottle. Third
hot tip: if there’s even a slight chance of rain (even though you planned your entire wedding day during one of the most beautiful, temperate months of the year) and your reception is outdoors, just get the damn marquee!
Our food and alcohol was a nod to both our heritages, with influences from both cultures. We opted for 3 canapes and an Italian-style grazing table at cocktail hour, paired with a Paloma cocktail. Jerome from Dalton Catering and his team kept the food and drinks coming all night, with a 2-course meal that we’d chosen and sampled with him beforehand. We had a pasta entree and beef cheek and wine jus for our main. We didn’t want a wedding cake, instead breaking tradition to go for a cannoli tower so that everyone could serve themselves (there were no leftovers to take home!).
Our photographer was Nina from Nina Claire Photography. Nina has a great eye for detail and knows where to be. Her style of capturing emotions and scenery focuses on un-staged, natural moments – the result was a jaw dropping wedding album that we’ll treasure forever.
Laura from Laura Elizabeth Design created all our wedding stationary including our invitations and signage on the day. We had our menus and name cards printed on raw-edge cream paper for a rustic look, and a three-piece wedding invite suite tying together with the overall theme (the inside of our envelopes had lemons!).
Spencer and the incredible Baker Boys Band kept us toe-tapping through our jazzy cocktail hour, and raised the roof during our reception. They provided the ultimate wedding day music feast, complimenting each section of the day perfectly and worked in with our song preferences and (many) requests.
We chose our songs meaningfully – Alessia’s walk down the aisle song was ‘Ti Amo’ by Umberto Tozzi, a romantic Italian ballad that we asked Spencer and Leo from Baker Boys Band to perform live for us, as the original version is a bit synth-heavy! Our walk back out song paid tribute to our love of Queen with ‘You’re My Best Friend’, and our reception entrance song was ‘Day Tripper’ by The Beatles.
For our first dance we chose to twirl to the heavenly, romantic version of ‘Bésame Mucho’ by Cesaría Evora. This was one of our surprises to our guests. We love music and dancing so we choreographed a dance with the help of Kristi Hall from Dance Culture. We wanted to kick-start the party after that, so our hype song to get everyone on the dance floor was ‘Bella Ciao’ by Manu Pilas, a fitting song for the current moment. We danced in a circle and got everyone up to celebrate with us.
Unfortunately Juan’s side of the family couldn’t be there to celebrate with us on our day, the only regret we have from the day (thanks Covid). We always knew we wanted two weddings, even before Covid. One to celebrate our life here in Australia, and one to celebrate Juan’s heritage with all his family.
We’re doing it all again, with our second wedding in Colombia to take place (hopefully!) in 2023 or 2024, and will definitely be enlisting Bronwyn to help us once again.
Love Alessia & Juan