Melinda & Alex’s Vintage Glamour Wedding

Melinda & Alex met three years ago when Melinda was working as a high school art teacher and Alex was finishing his engineering degree not far from her school.  A coffee shop date chatting about life and love turned into dinner and drinks.  They were quick to discover that they shared many similar interests.  “We both loved food, fine dining, travel and film and these things brought us together and are things that we have thoroughly enjoyed together ever since.”

It was Melinda & Alex’s first “real date” which lead Melinda to realise that Alex was “the one”. “It was the Sunday after we’d met and Alex drove up to the Blue Mountains to see me and take me out on a picnic date. He knocked on the door of my mountains cottage and when I opened it he was standing there dressed up in a navy blazer and collared shirt with a huge bunch of flowers in his hands. When I got into his car the back seat was packed full with lovely things that he’d got for our picnic lunch, an Esky full of food, champagne, strawberries and a tartan picnic rug. We drove from my house in Glenbrook up to Leura where we had a picnic lunch at the beautiful Everglades gardens, the place we chose to get married at three years later!”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

On a romantic weekend away to a luxurious guest house overlooking the Hawkesbury River near Wisemans Ferry Alex proposed to Melinda. “When we arrived at the house late on the Friday night I knew something was going on. The house he had rent for the weekend was amazing with its own pool, spa, about 20 rooms and its own jetty on the Hawkesbury River. On the Saturday morning Alex cooked up a big breakfast and as I was sitting on the wrap-around verandah looking out at the view Alex came out of the kitchen with a long stemmed rose in his mouth. Bending down on one knee before me he produced a small black box and shakily opened it to reveal the most divine sapphire and diamond engagement ring. I was overwhelmed with love for this man and with tears streaming down my face said ‘Yes’ straight away. I think I was more shocked that Alex had designed such a beautiful vintage-inspired ring himself than the fact he had got up the courage to ask me.”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

As an art teacher and a bit of a control freak Melinda knew that she wanted to plan and organise her own wedding so that she could get every detail right. Having grown up in the Blue Mountains Melinda always knew she wanted to get married there. As they shared their first date at Everglades Garden in Leura this was an easy choice for their ceremony.  The search for the perfect reception venue wasn’t quite as easy as they were wanting 70 guests and were finding many of the guest houses and restaurants could only cater for around 50 or 60. “Stepping into the Grand Dining Room at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba, mum and I looked at each other and knew that this was the place. With a lot of financial assistance from our parents, (thanks mums and dads), we secured our reception venue.”

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“For the groom and groomsmen I knew I wanted a dashing dandy style look. We were lucky enough to come across a striking navy suit and vest for Alex when we were in Melbourne and then found three navy suits with satin collars for the boys in David Jones. My mum is an expert sewer and she made the boy’s ties and pocket squares. I ordered their bronze paisley cufflinks from Flaming Galah on Etsy and their peacock feather boutonnieres from Etsy’s The Headband Shoppe.”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

“Our florist Diana Berner was amazing and was able to create the most beautiful vintage-inspired flower arrangements for our reception which exceeded everyone’s expectations. She delivered the flowers to the Carrington herself and helped set up the flowers in vases and place them around the dining room. The large floral arrangements she created to sit behind the bridal table on wooden pillars in front of the mantelpiece were absolutely stunning. Made up of Calla lilies, white roses, ferns, trailing Singapore orchids and fronds these arrangements sat in two crystal vases and were reminiscent of flowers from the Great Gatsby or a Hollywood movie. My trail bouquet was also crafted in the most beautiful way. Each flower was individually wired to gracefully fall in a cascade of lilies, white Singapore orchids and peacock feathers. The bridesmaid’s bouquets were a combination of cream roses, purple and blue Singapore Orchids wrapped in purple satin. She also created a mini bouquet and basket of rose petals for my flower girls to carry.”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

“Originally, I wanted a 1950’s inspired dress as that is the style I usually wear but knowing that Everglades was built in the 1930’s and the Carrington in the 1890’s I decided to try and find a more art deco style dress inspired by the decadent glamorous fashions of the 1920’s and 30’s. I was lucky to find my dress in one of the first shops I went to, Jean Fox Parramatta. A long cream satin gown with low back and delicate silver beading the dress stood out on the rack as the only art deco vintage dress in the shop. When I slipped it on it was perfect, and I knew that this was the dress I was meant to get married in.”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

“Once I had my dress I wanted to find a unique headpiece to go with it. Luckily, one of my friends, Tanith Rowan, is a talented milliner who lives in the mountains and sells her vintage hats in craft stores there. I showed her my dress and she designed a custom hat with birdcage veil to go with it. The hat was art deco in style, made from cream vintage satin and embroidered with silver beading like my dress. It matched perfectly and really made the whole outfit look complete.”

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“The most memorable moments on the day would be walking down the aisle with my dad. We had chosen to hold our ceremony on the renowned Cherry Blossom Terrace at Everglades and fate had it that the cherry blossoms, that only bloom for 10 days a year, were in full bloom, lining the aisle in fluffy pink bunches. The afternoon sun was streaming down through the trees and the whole garden was ablaze in colour, reminiscent of a Monet painting. As I approached the top of the aisle I looked up at my handsome groom standing there with the biggest smile on his face and I knew this was meant to be. The day was perfect, about 20 degrees, full sunshine and clear blue skies. The guests were amazed at how beautiful the gardens were and couldn’t stop taking photos in front of the cherry blossoms.”

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“As an art and photography teacher I knew I didn’t want any old photographer to photograph our wedding. To make sure the photographer was highly qualified I searched the Australian Professional Photographers Institute (AIPP) and found several registered photographers on the northern beaches. Searching their websites I was very impressed with the photographs of Creek Street Photography in Avalon. Their wedding photographs were absolutely beautiful with a unique artistic and vintage touch. The photographer at Creek Street Ronny Berg shared a cute little photography studio in Avalon with his wife Anna who photographs pregnancy and families. After meeting Ronny in his studio and looking through his stunning wedding albums we hired him for our wedding and also to do a retro-inspired beach engagement shoot for us. Ronny was an amazing, highly professional wedding photographer who managed to capture every single moment of the day and every little detail. Our wedding photos are so beautiful and we will treasure them forever.”

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“Another vintage touch we wanted was for all the girls to have vintage furs to wear. One of the bridesmaids already had a grey coloured fur so I scouted op shops around the northern beaches and the Blue Mountains and found three other brown and chestnut fur shawls, which we wore on the day to keep us warm.”

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“For the table settings we wanted a Great Gatsby/peacock theme with lots of decadence and glamour. We hired the 5 globe crystal candelabras for the centrepieces from Elegant Functions in Penrith, scattered below these were cream rose petals. The peacock place cards which sat on the edge of the guests wineglasses were ordered and custom made from Etsy. My mum ordered locally made rocky road from North Katoomba’s Whisk and Pin for the bonboniere and made up brown paper boxes decorated with cream roses she crocheted and wrapped with my great grandma’s vintage lace. Each table also had a fun vintage looking disposable camera so guests could capture their own memories of the night.”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

“Mum and I are avid collectors of all things vintage so we had quite a large collection of vintage objects that we could use as props and decorations for the reception including old suitcases, art deco lamps, crystal cut vases, a vintage telephone and old family photographs and frames. “

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“Other memorable moments I recall from the day were stepping onto the dance floor to perform our first dance, to the vintage classic Unchained Melody. We had learnt a waltz with a dance teacher for six weeks and on the night I remember whispering every move to Alex so he would get it right. The highlight of the dance was when Alex picked me up and spun around with me three times, the dress draping across the floor in a beautiful cream swirl.”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

“One detail that stood out to everyone was the wishing well which mum and I made from an old vintage suitcase collaged with music paper, old books and wrapping paper. Around the wishing well, on the table, we placed the framed photographs of our parents and grandparents weddings. It was important to us that we keep our family traditions alive and one of these was the Russian bread and vodka ceremony that we performed at the ceremony. Alex’s mum’s family is of Russian heritage and her cousin in Russia hand embroidered a table runner with black and red patterns of grapes and birds for our ceremony. She sent the runner from Russia and we used it as the key prop in our bread and vodka ceremony and also laid it across the bridal table at the reception.”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel KatoombaVintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

“Our wedding was romantic, glamorous, classic and timeless where every little detail came together to make the day everything I’d hoped for and more. The photographs of the day are testament to the stunning scenery of the Blue Mountains and the classic vintage architecture of Everglades and The Carrington Hotel. The Blue Mountains was the ideal location for our vintage nuptials and glamorous 1920’s wedding. Two days after the wedding we flew to New Zealand for a two week honeymoon in the beautiful Bay of Islands and a road trip around the South Island.”

Vintage Glamour Wedding at The Carrington Hotel Katoomba

Photography: Creek Street Photography 
Bride’s Dress: Only You by Jean Fox Parramatta
Bride’s Headpiece:  Tanith Rowan Designs
Bride’s Jewellery: Poetry Designs
Bride’s Shoes: Touch Ups by Benjamin Walk
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Mr K 
Bridesmaids’ Jewellery: Lovisa 
Bridesmaids’ Hairpieces: Etsy  – The Headband Shoppe 
Groom’s Suit & Tie: Rhodes and Beckett 
Groom’s Shirt: Boston Brothers
Groom’s Shoes: Mountfords 
Groomsmen’s Suits: West End by Simon Carter David Jones 
Groomsmen’s Tie/Pocketsquare: The bride’s mum
Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Cufflinks: Etsy – The Flaming Galah
Flowergirl Outfits: Blue Sky Kids Land Penrith 
Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Rosie, the bride’s sister and maid of honour
Bridesmaid’s Hair & Makeup: Allure Hair Designs Leura
Rings: Ronald Crisp 
Bouquets/Flowers: Diana Berner 
Invitations: Hand made by the bride
Cake Homemade by family friend
Cake Topper: Found in antique shop by the bride
Place Cards: Etsy – Timeless Paper 
Centrepieces: Elegant Functions Penrith 
Bonbonierre: Rocky road from Whisk and Pin
Celebrant: Julie Ferguson 
Harpist Ceremony: Dawn Egan 
Band: Breakfast at Tiffany’s 
Photobooth: Flash Me Photobooth Penrith 
Cars: Wedding Cars of Distinction 
Ceremoney Venue: Everglades Historic House and Gardens Leura 
Reception Venue: The Carrington Hotel Katoomba