You know we are deeply into straying from the traditional here at Hello May, and if the bride doesn’t want to be the only one in white we say go for it! It’s what Zoe chose for her maids (who she also gifted with gorg Amélie George earrings) when she and James said ‘I do’ at Melbourne’s iconic Panama Dining Room and Bar.

This pair was all about the “guest experience” on their big day, they tell us. “We kept our ceremony short and sweet, did the signing of the marriage certificate during the cocktail hour, had minimal speeches with strict time limits, cocktails, spirits all night and plenty of food – no one wants to leave a wedding hungry!” The Petal Project took care of some epic flowers, Rebel Reflect created the amazing stationery (would you just look at those heart-shaped origami menus!) and Miranda Stokkel was there to snap the whole event. As per, her pics are amazing – just them out below!

THE INSPOFrom a styling and visual perspective, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted from the start – nothing too traditional or boring was my brief, with pops of colour essential. Lots of beautiful roses (white, nude, dark red and a brighter red) with blue hydrangeas and lots of greenery. Everything was centred around this with deep red heart-shaped menus and deep red accents on all of our signage by Rebel Reflect.” 

FAVE DETAILSOur floral window installation by The Petal Project was amazing – it complemented the iconic Panama Dining Room and Bar window perfectly and was the most beautiful backdrop for our ceremony.”

THE DRESSI tried on dresses at a few places and didn’t find anything I loved. I am a size 12 with curves and felt like a stuffed sausage in some of the sample size 8 dresses at the stores! I then saw a dress I loved on Instagram by Con Ilio. So I went and met with Con and fell in love with him instantly. I explained what I wanted and he sketched the design for me. During COVID, I changed my mind on a few elements and Con re-sketched the design and we both fell in love with this version. We didn’t start the process until about six weeks out, but Con is such a pro and just made the process so easy. I absolutely loved the end result as it was unique and different but suited my own personal style and body shape.”

REFERENCESThis all comes down to our incredible wedding planner, Luci from Poni Studio! Even though we hadn’t planned on using a planner, we met her for a wine and connected immediately! It was Luci who made all of our key supplier recommendations when it came to flowers (The Petal Project) and stationary/signage (Rebel Reflect).”

A WORD OF ADVICEDon’t overcomplicate things. Agree together on your non-negotiables and focus on those. We also recommend (if you can) getting a wedding planner/support person to assist, if not in the lead-up then on the day and throughout the event, to take the pressure off you and your wedding party. Everything feels under control and it takes away a lot of anxiety!”

WE’RE GLAD WE…We are so glad we did our photos before the wedding, as it meant we didn’t have to leave our own wedding and guests (and miss out on all the fun!) It was also great having the same location for our ceremony and reception which made it easy for everyone.”

STANDOUT VENDORSWe honestly feel like ALL of our suppliers were standout, which is extremely lucky. Luci from Poni Studios definitely warrants another shoutout as not only is she the most beautiful human ever, she is so good at what she does with razor-sharp attention to detail. She also helped bring together the A-team of suppliers. Our photographer Miranda Stokkel was magical. She made posing for photos so much fun, capturing the candid moments in between. We chose not to have a videographer so we were blown away when we saw the photos she captured from our ceremony and reception – they really brought to life the essence of the whole night!”

Zoe and James had a seriously talented bunch of people help make their day this phenom, and we can also personally rec some of these amazing peeps, who you’ll find on our directory. Hit up the marvellous Miranda Stokkel for pics, The Petal Project for epic floral eye candy and, of course, Amélie George – one of our faves for big-day jewels.

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Miranda Stokkel Event Planner & Stylist Poni Studio Florist The Petal Project Stationery & Signage Rebel Reflect Ceremony, Reception & Catering Panama Dining Room and Bar Entertainment Andrew Loadsman, Unplugged Entertainment Celebrant Damon Hughes Rings Trabert Goldsmiths (bride), Uniform Black (groom) THE BRIDE Gown & Veil Con Ilio Shoes Tom Ford via Harrolds (ceremony & photos), Jimmy Choo via Neiman Marcus (reception) Earrings Sophie Buhai via Matches Fashion (ceremony & photos), Jennifer Behr via My Theresa (reception) Hair & Makeup Eve Gunson Hair and Makeup Bridesmaid dresses Shona Joy, The Iconic Bridesmaid gifts Amélie George (earrings) THE GROOM Suit, Shirt, Bow Tie & Shoes Arthur Galan Groomsmen suits Arthur Galan