Hold onto your hats; Gemma and Rory’s bright backyard fiesta was quite the extravaganza. Following a short’n’sweet five-month engagement, the high school sweethearts tied the knot at Gemma’s family home along the gorgeous Great Ocean Road. A DIYer’s delight, the day was infused with meaningful details built, made, and sewn by their very own loved ones. “Planning a wedding is hard and can be stressful. But if you do it together and with a village of family and friends helping, it’s not just the day that’s memorable; the lead-up and anticipation hold sweet, unforgettable moments as well.” Who’s cutting onions in here?!

Caity and Duncan were the dynamic duo who captured the day on camera and video. It’s seriously impossible to flick through these pics without grinning ear-to-ear. So let’s go, friends. The frolicking and festivities are all below!

THE VENUE “The venue is my parents property in Barwon Heads, Victoria. I had always thought of it as the place I would love to get married, and my brother had used it three years prior for his wedding, so we knew it could work! Unlike my brother, we were having the ceremony and the reception at the house, so we had to find the perfect spot for the ceremony to be held!”

THE VIBE “We wanted it to be an absolute party, not formal or elegant, but a dance all-night party! I wanted to have a bit of a fiesta vibe. We love Mexican food and margaritas, and I love the bright colours, so that was definitely heavily featured!”

DIY “To be honest, most of the wedding was DIY! We are so lucky to have some very handy family and friends who went above and beyond! My dad (Con Patista) was an asset in the shed, building us a platform for the ceremony [as well as] steps up to it (the morning of the wedding!). He also made the salsa bar table, bar table tops to fit around the hired outdoor heaters, the ceremony bench seats, the arbour, the drinks bar and shelves; I feel like I could go on and on. My brother (Jonathon Patista) also worked hard building the drinks bar and putting up the bathroom area. My aunty (Mary Gregouriou) made my veil and, together with her sisters, put our bouquets, buttonholes and arbour flowers together, using flowers we had chosen from The Geelong Flower Farm. I also did all the bridesmaid/groomswomen’s nails, as well as my own!”

LITTLE LOL “[During our portraits] we were hit with an absolute downpour, and there are photos of me just running in my heels up the sand to get to cover. We came back to the reception looking like the happiest drowned rats! We didn’t have a wet weather plan. We had high hopes for good weather and had all eyes on every weather app/website you could find. It went from the big day being 40+ degrees two weeks out to it being 24 degrees with a [predicted] small afternoon shower the day before. Never did we think it would drizzle the entire afternoon! It rained/drizzled practically the entire time, but you couldn’t have kept anyone from that dance floor! It was pumping from 7 pm until the police shut it down!”

WE’RE GLAD WE… “I am really glad we were able to DIY so much of our wedding. I feel it made the day so much more special being able to do it ourselves or having family and friends helping us out using their individual and wide array of skills.”

STANDOUT VENDORS “We must give mention to Caity and Duncan, our videographer and photographer. They were brilliant to work with in the lead-up and on the big day. They made us feel comfortable and at ease, and they captured the day perfectly. We couldn’t be happier with the photos and videos! Another special mention to Perla Tacos. The food, by all accounts, was immaculate. There was plenty of it, and they even staffed our bar, serving Margaritas and Dark and Stormy’s! Our last special mention is to our DJ Nathan Olsen from Status Entertainment – he really did understand the assignment and had our guests dancing in the rain all night long!”

Diggin’ the electric energy behind Gemma and Rory’s photos and film? Say ‘hey’ to our uber-talented friends Caity and Duncan here. Gemma’s dance-floor-ready dress catch your eye? Take a look behind the seams – our interview with designer Grace Loves Lace is over here. Or, if you’re planning your own blank canvas backyard bash, dash over to the Hello May Directory to explore catering and event hire vendors (plus much more!)

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer & Cinematographer Caity and Duncan Event Planner & Stylist Gemma Cockle (Bride) Florist Geelong Flower Farm & Mary Gregoriou, Laura Michael, Anna Saroglou, Denise Procopis (family) Stationery Siobhan Guina (friend) Printer VistaPrint, Officeworks Venue Family Property Catering Perla Tacos Cake Maker Melanie Elderfield Churros Perla Tacos Homemade Hot Sauce Favours Gemma Cockle (Bride) Hire Items Belgrove Hire Lighting Setup Alex G Electrical (family) Signage Gemma Cockle (Bride) via Canva Entertainment & Sound Hire Abe Anderson, Nathan Olson via Status Entertainment  Celebrant Lana Ryder Engagement Ring Melanie Casey Wedding Bands Michael Hill Dried Flower Confetti Sonia Wellness Studio via Etsy THE BRIDE Bridal Gown Designer Grace Loves Lace Veil Mary Gregouriou (Family) Flower Crown Meryn Patista (Family) Getting Ready Tees Cotton On Shoes Kat Maconie Accessories Lovisa, Ian Patterson Jewellers Hair & Makeup Urth Salon Perfume Deep Garden via Zara Bridesmaid Shoes The Iconic THE GROOM Suit, Shirt, & Pants YSG Tailors Bow Tie & Shoes The Iconic Grooming Denise Procopis (Family) Groomsmen Suits YSG Tailors Groomsmen Gifts Discrepancy Records