Real Weddings

Just Married: Melissa + Mark


If you want to test the waters of a new relationship, wait for a natural disaster and see if you still get along after being stranded together. Hey, it worked for Brisbane couple, Melissa and Mark.

The pair meet at a tech lab where they both interned – fast-forward just three months and they were moving into their first home together when the 2011 Brisbane floods hit. “Our workplace was flooded and closed for two weeks, so with no car and nowhere to go, we were pretty much stuck together in our new home,” says Melissa. “We got to know each other very well during this time and got most of the fighting out of the way early on!”

Still smitten with each other as the flood waters receded, the couple went on to date for another five fun-filled years. It was on a romantic trip to their favourite holiday destination – the Sunshine Coast – to celebrate their fifth anniversary that Mark surprised Melissa with a proposal. “We are both board game lovers, and we started to play a new one,” explains Melissa. “When Mark went down on one knee I thought he’d dropped a game piece, but instead he surprised me by pulling out a ring! We ended up walking along the beach for a few hours and we both just couldn’t stop smiling!” Well played, Mark.

With the Sunshine Coast dear to their hearts, Melissa and Mark chose to tie the knot there, one year later. The grounds of Spicers Clovelly Estate in the full bloomof spring was the perfect setting for their incredible wedding weekend, which also included Melissa’s pre-wedding bash with her bridal party the day before. “We all hiked up to the nearby Lake Baroon lookout, enjoyed a delicious dinner, had a few drinks, and chilled out in the outdoor spa at the cottage we were staying in,” says Melissa. “A special memory for me is spending time with my sisters and nieces in the spa, listening and singing to the songs our guests had requested for our wedding reception.”

The unique setting, which during spring is brimming with flowering jacarandas, is whimsical, romantic and exclusive. It also boasts acres of lush lawns and breathtaking gardens, ideal for Melissa and Mark’s garden nuptials.

The special day – 31 October – was full of treats (sorry, couldn’t resist the Halloween pun). “The garden was in bloom and looked amazing,” says Melissa. In fact, it was so beautiful that the bride became a little distracted while walking down the aisle.“I was in a daze – everything came together so nicely. I didn’t know how far to walk past the end of the aisle! Luckily Mark was there by my side to stop me from walking further!”

After exchanging their vows, the newlyweds and their 40 guests soaked up the afternoon sunshine with lawn games and canapés – think pea and bolognese arancini, parmesan gougères and tomato tarts with whipped goat’s curd and olive crumb. The festivities (and food) continued well into the night as the party moved to the Estate’s elegant Library Deck, decorated with hanging florals and a few special touches. “I wanted to keep things simple with a clean look, plus we thought it would be fun to include a few discreet Halloween references,” says Melissa. “We put a little pumpkin icon on the back of the menus and had homemade Halloween-inspired biscuits as our favours.”

Following an unforgettable dinner, speeches and cutting into their impressive lemon-delicious wedding cake and cupcake tower, Melissa and Mark hit the dance floor, showing off some impressive moves, and getting everyone up. “My sisters and I practiced the ‘Nutbush’ the night before and performed it at the reception,” says Melissa. “It got people on the dance floor!” To finish the day off, the couple arranged a romantic bonfire and gourmet sausage rolls for guests to snack on. This late-night snack added to the reception’s casual, relaxed, family-friendly vibe.

Melissa and Mark’s special day was made especially beautiful with the help of loved ones. “Mark’s sister, Sara, made the biscuits that were our wedding favours, and my mum helped me find the perfect wedding dress, the bridesmaids’ dresses and all of the jewellery, accessories and shoes for the whole bridal party,” says Melissa. “Planning a wedding and all of the intricate details involved can be so stressful! I was lucky enough to have the most beautiful, caring and amazing mum on call 24/7.” Bride-tribe goals, right?

The wedding of Melissa and Mark was definitely one to remember. “We loved that our wedding day was shared with our closest family and friends, and that it was on Halloween,” laughs Melissa. “Mark has mentioned that if we have a few little ones in the future, it will be the perfect excuse to send the kids off trick-or-treating with other families while we have a romantic night in. Plus, we won’t forget our anniversary date – it’s easy to remember!”

Bride’s Little Black Book: Photography: All the Love in the World  Photography // Ceremony and reception: Spicers Clovelly Estate, Montville // Wedding dress: Paddington Weddings // Bridesmaids’ dresses: Review // Hair: Coastal Style Mobile Hairdressing // Makeup: Natalie Hunter Makeup Artist // Suits: Black Jacket Suiting // Rings: Anthony’s Fine Jewellery and Men’s Rings Online // Flowers: Flowers by Toni // Cake: Design-a-Cupcake Party

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