Kristen and Pete were married at Panama Dining Room in Fitzroy, Victoria. Their theme was very much influenced by their venue, and the bride’s love of all things vintage. “The wedding was a goth/ tropical/ Art Deco in black and white mash-up,” began the bride. “Think Flying Down to Rio meets The Addams Family. We also decided we wanted everyone to wear a hat, as Pete is known for always wearing one.”
Having being a collector of vintage fashion for over 30 years, Kristen knew she wouldn’t be able to find what she wanted in a normal bridal shop, so she decided to design her own black wedding dress with the help of her friend Eszter Molnar of EM Originals. “My biggest saving was my dress. I was quoted $3500 by another dressmaker and he kept wanting to make it very ‘bridal’ with 8,305 buttons up the back and a built in corset. I wanted a dress I could chop up and wear again. In the end we did it ourselves for $700. The fabric was $100 and I paid her $600, though I think she deserved way more.”
They also opted not to chose the bridal party outfits, letting them make the decisions. They only gave the loose guideline to include black and gold. Continuing to buck tradition, it was Pete who opted to wear top-to-toe white, in a dashing suit custom made by Anton’s of Melbourne.
“We kept coming back to black and white for the colours because our ideas and tastes are nearly always the exact opposite of each others”, she continued. “Pete is very light and bright and I’m dark and moody. We decided to celebrate our differences. Also, we had this running gag about being ‘black hearts’ before we got together so decided to mix in a bit of the gothy darkness into our art deco tropical theme. We got the black hearts theme involved through our rings, my nails and my jewellery. It also got a mention in the ceremony.”
The ceremony was short (just 15 minutes) but very touching, It also included the bride’s sister who lives in Nashville and couldn’t travel over. “My sister has been fighting cancer so she couldn’t come over so she watched everything on Skype. It was 1am for her, but I could see she dressed up and did her hair. Whenever the celebrant said ‘please stand’ she stood along with everyone too! Afterwards we took the iPad around the room so she could see my parents and aunt and friends and say hi before going to bed.”
As it was second time around for both of them, they pretty much knew what to expect when it came to planning the wedding. “For a first timer, I’d say be prepared for a lot of unsolicited advice and opinions from your friends and family!” she advises. “Oh and many venues are booked out a whole year in advance. I was surprised by that.”
“We went for an all-inclusive type package that included hire of the room all day, all the food and drink and all of the logistical stuff that normally a wedding planner would do. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it not to have to manage it all. The venue was easily able to cater to the myriad dietary requirements our guests had, from coconut oil allergy to gluten-free vegan. There was plenty of food and drink made available and the staff were perfection from start to finish.”
Although saying money wasn’t their biggest priority, they did manage to keep things budget-friendly by picking a venue that didn’t need a lot of extra decor (and getting married on a Sunday instead of a Saturday) and hiring friends as much as possible. One friend made the cake and another was the DJ.
“The best part of the wedding was marrying the most beautiful, generous and kind man I’ve ever met”, Kristen concluded. “I would say to other alternative couples that while it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to please the ‘norms’ in your crowd (Grandmas. parents, that one stuck-up aunt who judges everyone) seriously don’t worry about wearing a ‘weird’ dress, covering your tattoos or picking crowd-pleasing music. It’s best to do what YOU want so you are comfortable and happy. Make it so that when you look back on your day it’s exactly as you wanted it to be. It’s your day and your true loved ones will accept your decisions.”