We love a love that stands the test of time – and that’s what these two cuties have, after meeting in uni and working together at the same cafe. “Dom worked in the kitchen and I worked out the front,” shares bride Tracey of their nine-and-a-half-year courtship. “It’s been really special to have seen each other graduate – me from my Visual Arts degree, and him from Law and Arts – and grow in our professional lives. We’ve been on some incredible trips to Europe to visit Dom’s family in Hungary, and up until COVID struck, we’d developed a bit of a yearly ritual of heading over to NZ for a snow holiday with friends.”

Sounds divine! But speaking of COVID, it did its best to stick a last-minute spanner in the wedding works. Just hours before their nuptials were set to take place, Tracey and Dom found themselves scrambling to reschedule following a morning announcement from the government that the state would go into lockdown at 4pm that day. With their wedding set to kick off at 3:15pm, you can see the conundrum, right? But there was no stopping this delightful duo. “We said from the beginning that if it came down to it, we would be getting married on that date no matter what the circumstances were,” shares the bride. “We were prepared to elope in our back garden if it came to it.”

Luckily there was no need for that – all the vendors pulled through to make things happen a few hours earlier than planned and Tracey (looking gorge in Shona Joy and Match Made ) and Dom (giving dapper energy in a velvet M.J. Bale jacket) in a ended up with, frankly, a heckin’ gorgeous day, all caught on camera by the talented Fontaine Photo.

THE PROPOSALDom planned a date night for us at Portside Wharf in Hamilton. There was a giant light installation there for Christmas in the shape of a bauble and people were lining up to take photos under the lights. Dom insisted that we wait to get a photo there also (I was hungry and ready to eat!) and when it was our turn, a guy walking by offered to take our photo, to which Dom eagerly agreed. He took that opportunity to get down on one knee and asked the question, making our engagement official!”

THE VENUEWe’d done the rounds of a few venues, but none of them really spoke to either of us. We still weren’t decided on whether we would have the ceremony and reception in the same place. We managed to book in for a viewing at Smoked Garage straight after a different venue and as soon as we walked in, we knew this would be the place. The function room upstairs is a beautiful open-plan space with lots of natural lighting from the glass roof. With the large area and high ceiling, it manages to give an airy, outdoor vibe despite being indoors (which meant we didn’t have to worry about the weather). We also loved the versatility of the venue and straightaway the creative ideas were flowing. It really ticked all of our boxes (even Dom’s) for both a ceremony and function space. So that was that. We booked it within a couple of days.”

THE VIBEBecause of the crazy times we were in when we were planning, we really wanted our day to be an intimate experience with our closest family and friends. Neither of us was into the ‘tradition’ behind weddings, which gave us room to express ourselves creatively. The concept design was all about the blooms – sunset tones of peach, berry, orange and blush with roses and orchids en masse.”

FAVOURITE DETAILSThe flowers – having worked on other people’s weddings time and again, having the creative freedom to choose blooms I love without restrictions felt incredibly indulgent and special. We also loved the table styling. Christie from Haus of Hera ensured that all the small details along the tablescape created moments of interest and beauty wherever you looked. And our CAKE! – We gave Megan from Hansel and Gretel Cakes complete creative control since we love everything she touches! The swirls of frosting, gold cherub pillars and cherries on top were literally and figuratively the cherry on top of our day!”

THE DRESSShopping for my dress had a couple of twists and turns – the top and skirt I ended up wearing were the second option I bought! The first was a gorgeous crisp white structured satin gown that I loved in the store but later decided that wasn’t quite ‘me’.  I think I bought the first dress a little bit out of frustration with the shopping process as a girl with curves (and not wanting boning or a lace-up back, etc, etc). That’s when I arranged to visit Babushka Ballerina. I’d met Rhianne a couple of times before when working on different styled shoots and knew she would have something for me that was bold, feminine and with a little colour. The collection of gowns at Babushka Ballerina is so incredibly beautiful, but it was the embroidery detail on my skirt that stopped me in my tracks. The style of embroidery reminded me of traditional Hungarian embroidery – a sweet connection to Dom’s family that I thought was really special.”

THE SUIT “Dom was keen on picking a velvet tuxedo jacket to suit the style of the day and building his look around that. There weren’t many jackets on offer that he really liked (he’s picky) until he found one at M.J. Bale. With a subtle paisley pattern and Japanese embroidery on the lapels, it was perfect. He was also adamant about wearing a self-tie bowtie and watching him spend hours in the mirror learning to tie one was both painful and endearing.”

MEMORABLE MOMENTOur first look was a moment that felt like it sent shock waves through the world around us. We had spent the night before our wedding apart – Dom stayed at his parents’ house and I stayed in our suite at the Crystalbrook Vincent with my bridesmaids. After the announcement was made about the 4pm lockdown, and once we had set in motion the new timeline of a 12pm ceremony instead of 3:15pm, time seemed to stand still while everything unfolded around me. Walking up behind Dom and facing each other as bride and groom unleashed all of the emotion I’d been trying to dance away for the last hour or so. I was crying, Dom was crying, our wedding party was crying… it was an incredibly touching moment full of love and a profound understanding that nothing mattered as long as we were together.”

STANDOUT VENDORSJess from Fontaine Photo was just amazing. She was one of the first vendors we booked in! When we got the news about the lockdown and changed all of our plans, Jess didn’t miss a beat falling into step, literally doing a u-turn while getting the news of the updated plans while she was on her way to photograph the boys. She arrived at our hotel as quickly as she could to make sure she could capture me and my bridesmaids getting ready (we all know this is a bigger deal than the guys suiting up!). From there, she was with us the entire way, capturing all of our special moments, even the ones Dom and I don’t remember in our whirlwind of a day. The quality of her work is exceptional and I had a few more cries when we saw the sneak peek photos only a day or two after the wedding, and then again when our full album arrived… and again when our personalised embossed box of prints came in the mail.”

WE’RE GLAD WE…We were both sooo glad we had our first look to get out all of the nervous energy and tears before we headed off to get married! We were also really happy with our decision to walk down the aisle together. After being thrown the ultimate curveball on the morning of our wedding, it felt like we were able to lean on each other as we headed into our ceremony. We were also so grateful that we booked Guido from The New Old Wedding Stories to capture our day with his incredible cinematography! Everyone says that their wedding flies by, that it’s over in the blink of an eye, and we really truly felt that. Our wedding video is such precious documentation of our whirlwind day.”

(Psst – if your groom’s going for a velvet-chic vibe or you’re just looking for some suiting that stands out, may we suggest chatting to the stylish folks at M.J. Bale? Head to their directory listing for more info.)

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Fontaine Photo Cinematographer The New Old Wedding Stories Styling Haus of Hera Florist Black & Bloom Stationery Bride (design) Printer September Creative Ceremony, Reception & Catering Smoked Garage Cake Hansel and Gretel Cakes Other desserts Gerbino’s (cannoli) Hire Items Hire Haus, Queensland Hire (tablecloths) Celebrant Kate Mackie Celebrant Rings Morgans Jeweller Transport Self-Drive Vintage & Classic Car Hire THE BRIDE Top Shona Joy Skirt Match Made via Babushka Ballerina Robes Statement Robes Shoes Chaos & Harmony Accessories Maison Roe (earrings) via Babushka Ballerina Hair & Makeup Blush and Bangs Bridesmaid dresses ASOS, Sheike THE GROOM Jacket M.J. Bale Shirt Ganton Bow tie Hardy Amies Shoes Windsor Smith Barber Jimmy Rods Barbershop Groomsmen suits Peter Jackson