By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant
I absolutely love Yarra Valley weddings. I love cueing up a TED Talk and driving along long and windy roads, passing rows upon rows of grapevines, paddocks of cows and hay bales and arriving at beautiful venues. When Carolyne and Martin’s enquiry arrived in my inbox, the old “Oooo, I hope I’m available for this one” thought most definitely entered my mind.
And that’s because Carolyne and Martin were married at Coombe Yarra Valley - one of my favourite Yarra Valley venues. Bordered by a ten metre high cypress hedge, the estate boasts magnificent oak trees, lush green lawns, stunning architecture old and new, delicious food and wine and, importantly, superb service. It’s no wonder this venue, opera singer Dame Nellie Melba’s former residence, has established itself as one of Victoria’s premier wedding venues. It’s a dream venue for couples and Celebrants alike.
Add to this location a couple as funny, kind and easy going as Carolyne and Martin and a fabulous afternoon is assured.
The moment 100-odd guests made their way from the cellar door to the ceremony space - many with a drink in hand (I love the way they do things at Coombe), I knew Carolyne and Martin’s ceremony would be an interactive one. Without doubt. They were laughing, they were loud and they were keen to play along with my pre ceremony warm up. I absolutely love couples who invite people like this to their ceremony.
Carolyne and Martin were married on Melba’s former tennis court under blue skies. Carolyne and her bestie arrived in a black mustang ten minutes prior to our scheduled start, allowing us ample time to talk through their entrances, admire Carolyne’s stunning Maggie Sottero wedding dress and soak in the pre ceremony excitement away from the gaze of guests.
Lark Music provided the sound track to the processional, nailing John Legend’s Stay With You, and four year old Mila almost stole the show, walking some 50 metres on her own (her pre ceremony run-through with her mother and I while dozens of supportive guests cheered her on must have helped). Carolyne’s bestie Alyssa followed, looking gorgeous in maroon. Her bouquet in hues of pink, red and burgundy was one of many stunning Sugar Bee Flowers arrangements on display that day.
But then it was all eyes on Carolyne as she took her brother’s arm and walked toward Martin.
(Side note: Isn’t it lovely to see a distinct absence of cameras and phones in the processional images below?)
And so began a ceremony that included an emotional processional, a light-hearted reteling of an eight year-long relationship story, a few highly romantic moments and fair smattering of guest interaction. OK, a LOT of guest interaction! I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for this gorgeous pair. It really was a ceremony that had it all.
“Sally, thank you for everything that you did for our wedding. You went above and beyond our expectations and made it a seamless journey for both of us! All of our close family and friends have expressed how fabulous, easy-going and kind you were on the day and how fantastic the ceremony itself was! People have said to us multiple times how lovely and kind you are, so thank you from us and everyone else.”
Carolyne + Martin