Whilst ringing in the year 2011, two house parties in Melbourne merged and Ash + Ben first laid eyes on each other. Although this night was clearly fate doing its fateful business, it was not until a few months later, in June 2011, that Ben suggested they catch up for a drink.
Ash + Ben, although two years different in age, share the birthday of September 13th. Therefore, it was under the guise of a shared birthday getaway that Ben planned his proposal. A night at Woodman Estate in Moorooduc on the Mornington Peninsula was the plan, and upon arrival, a picnic was set up on the balcony overlooking the lake. Once a bottle of sparkling had been popped, Ben got up to “change the music”, only to return with his British passport in hand, get down on one knee and propose to Ash with their now identical white gold wedding bands from jeweller Paul Bram.
After the elated couple shared the news of their engagement with family and friends, many people suggested having a March wedding. Given that March is exactly 6 months apart from September, Ash + Ben agreed to a March wedding date to allow them to split their celebrations of engagement and wedding equally across all the year, and years to come.
With only 6 months to plan a wedding, Ash + Ben managed to make their arrangements without too many hiccups. Give that Ben is a British Citizen they chose to have a legal ceremony at the British Consulate followed by a family dinner on a Friday, and then a civil ceremony followed by a reception with family and friends at the Middle Brighton Baths on Saturday the 12th of March 2016.
For their legal ceremony at the Consulate, Ash + Ben took not only their close family of 20 people with them, but also their photographer Daniel Brannan. Dan was on hand to capture not only every moment of the ceremony, but also of the adventures through the Melbourne laneways that followed. In an attempt to push away from the more “typical” wedding photos, Ash + Ben had gotten together with Dan prior to the ceremony date to scout out a few locations for shots, and following the civil ceremony they ventured through Melbourne’s CBD, capturing the incredible images you now see here, in some of Melbourne’s iconic alleyways and arcades.
Although they didn’t need a celebrant for their legal ceremony, they did for their civil ceremony and they chose a Sharon Palmieri, who Ash already knew, and who Ben bonded with instantly upon meeting. Sharon was, in the words of the couple, “the perfect mix of serious and fun.”
The choice of the Middle Brighton Baths as a civil ceremony and reception venue was an easy one. Once Ash + Ben had walked into the Baths, there were no other options to them. The beauty of the view had them sold. The ceremony was held indoors due to classic Melbourne weather conditions, but the backdrop was still the picturesque Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne City skyline.
Ash + Ben knew they wanted to keep their ceremony romantic, but they also wanted it to be fun and interactive. During the ceremony, our guests were asked to raise their hands and promise to enjoy themselves and to meet new people. Then, as Ash + Ben had already been legally married at the consulate the day before, Sharon was able to announce that they were officially (well, at least on UK soil) husbands.
On the day, Ash + Ben wanted to match, without being too “matchy matchy”, and so they chose 3-piece suits from Joe Black - purchased at David Jones - in two different shades of navy. Ben wore a traditional navy blue, while Ash wore a darker shade of navy. The choice of the 3-piece meant they were also able to strip off their jackets in the warn March weather but still look fabulous and stylish in their waistcoats. On their feet, Ben went for something more formal in Pasquale by Windsor Smith while Ash wore the more casual style of a Georges Dress Boot by Bull Boxer.
The stunning suits and shoes were accessorised with matching belts and ties from David Jones. And for the final touch – and given that they were legally married under English and Welsh law after all - Ash + Ben also asked relatives in the UK to help with a tribute to the UK by sourcing some union jack socks and handkerchiefs from Charles Tyrwhitt in London.
With a guest list of 103, the reception was a vision of exactly what Ash + Ben wanted. The guests were treated to minimalistic romantic yet masculine styling by the couple, as well as simple and romantic but not too traditionally feminine table arrangements by Elwood Flowers that included green flowers and foliage. The food was catered by the venue, and consisted of canapes served directly after the ceremony, followed by a three-course sit down dinner and roving desserts to ensure that even the dance floor fanatics didn’t miss out!
During dinner and throughout the night, the guests were entertained by Rosie Kalber from Sensation Entertainment. Rosie was the only person Ash + Ben met during their hunt for entertainment that they felt instantly understood their vision, and they were able to collaborate with her on the different moods that we wanted to achieve throughout the ceremony and reception. Ash + Ben truly feel that Rosie truly made an impact in ensuring that that the music was mild while people were eating, but upbeat when the dance floor was open for business.
Finally, to top it all off, the cake was a chocolate cake with raspberry chocolate buttercream designed and baked by their sister-in-law Sheridan, and gifts were given to guests of long lasting succulents from Plant a Gift.
Overall, Ash + Ben really did achieve the whole package, and they were so grateful to be able to share it all with their family and friends. Not only over the two days of celebrations shared here, but also with family who travelled from far and wide to congregate in a house hired in Brighton over the course of the whole week surrounding their celebration days.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL BRANNAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Proposal Location - Woodman Estate // Rings - Paul Bram // Groom's Suit - Joe Black // Groom's Shoes – Windsor Smith & Merchant // Hair - Cuts by Brent Bennett of Mars & Venus Hair // Flora - Elwood Flowers // Venue - Middle Brighton Baths // Thank You Gifts - Plant a Gift // Celebrant - Sharon Palmieri // Entertainment – Sensation Entertainment
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