Meet the couple
Micah is from Hickory, North Carolina, while Paije is a born and bred Melbournian (with the coffee snobbery to go with it). Micah dables in airbnb arbitrage in his spare time, while his day job as a US Navy Pilot is what landed him in Singapore, the weekend they met. Paije, who was living in Indonesia at the time, travelled to Singapore with a friend to catch up with her brother (also in the US Navy), and met Micah on the last night. Sparks flew, and they both just knew this was it for them! They spent the next few months of Micah’s deployment emailing, and really getting to know one another before Paije made the leap to move over to the states.
Micah (hubby) proposed on 13th Feb 2019, our pre-valentines date night. He had everything planned out to the tee, with romantic candlelit rooftop, our favourite love songs and the challenge of making homemade ravioli, now one of our favourite date night activities!
Why did you choose the Yarra Valley/Dandenong Ranges as your wedding location?
We were looking for something a little more regional and Australian feeling, than the more modern venues throughout melbourne. The Dande Ranges is one of Paije’s favourite areas, which we had planned to take our guests too anyway, to check out the 1000 steps, and the infamous pie in the sky.
Why did you choose to get married on New Years Eve?
We were arranging an international wedding, trying to coordinate schedules of 5 US military personnel and American family was hard enough, but we also had interstate guests to manage and both of Paije’s parents work in Melbourne’s school systems. Collectively, this meant we had about a 2 week window of time across the Christmas holiday period that have the highest chance of success for our guests!
We were delighted when we found that Marybrooke Manor not only had availability for the wedding day, but could accommodate our international guests for about a 5 day window of time around the big day!
Finally, when faced with a few date options in the desired timeframe, we picked New Years Eve because it was absolutely the biggest bang for our buck. NYE in 2019 was a Tuesday, and technically not a public holiday until midnight, so that was really great. In addition, it just made so much sense to have a party with all our favourite on new years as our reception, rather than trying to add in the stress of planning another event in the week. Oh, and what guest doesn’t love attending a free event with unlimited alcohol for NYE and accommodation right upstairs?
How did you choose your ceremony and reception venue?
The biggest things we were looking for were an all in one location, as we had elderly and international guests for which travel between venues would have been challenging. Secondly, we really needed somewhere that could accommodate the majority of guests on NYE, but in addition would facilitate the international cohort throughout the whole ‘wedding week’ that we had planned around the wedding.
What was your wedding theme?
In terms of colour/style, it was really a merger of a Christmas/NYE Vibe with Burgundy + Gold Sparkles. The other theme to our wedding was how we created spaces/events, and that was all about our international family bonding and really getting to know one another over the course of a week together.
What made your wedding unique?
We actually planned a whole wedding week! International guests and immediate family were the main attendees, but we had different wedding guests show up at various events throughout as their schedules permitted. The primary goal for us was to not only give the US folks a taste of Australia and Melbourne, but to really spend time bonding and integrating with the Aussies.
We hit up a number of places around Melbourne including 1000 steps, pie in the skye, Moonlit Sanctuary (the roo’s were a real hit), a few wineries, Puffing Billy and of course indulged in good old fish n chips on the beach.
What were the highlights?
Paije has had a lifelong dream that her dad, who is a minister of the Uniting Church of Australia, would marry her to her husband. And he did! The wedding was always going to be special, but being walked down the isle by both Mum and Dad, and having the ceremony performed by her dad really topped the cake.
Is there a story behind your dress?
The dress hunt was SO hard! I had been dress shopping 4 separate times, in both Australia and America, with girlfriends, bridesmaids and parents, before we finally settled on a dress. There were just so many options, but none of them were perfect. We had almost decided to look into getting something made as I had a number of key criteria that I wanted to see in the dress, but before doing so, decided to call around to a few of the shops we had already been to in Melbourne, just in case we had missed seeing any dresses that had the right features. Low and behold, a trunk show for Mon Cherri had just come into Always & Forever Bridal and had a dress that was almost exactly what I wanted! The team there was just wonderful, and were willing to work with me on some unique fitting dates right before the Christmas Break to ensure we got everything done in time.
Tell us about the groomswear, who chose the colour?
Micah picked out his outfit, ordered online from Suitopia which was tailor made and custom-fit for him, without having to go into a tailor.
What type of entertainment did you have?
We invited some violinists from a local school for the ceremony, and utilized the venue DJ for the reception – easy and great!
What was your wedding menu for the day?
Did you have any special drinks for your guests? We went with a 3 course sitdown menu, and 1 hr canapes & drinks before the reception.
Was there any wedding vendor that particularly stood out on the day? If so, why?
Amber Williams, our photographer was just wonderful. She blended in really well, kept us laughing and things natural, but then blended into the background quickly in group settings.
Deborah from Marybrooke was also just wonderful; we really felt like she cared about us to the point where she event grabbed us a bottle of champagne and ice to enjoy in our room after the wedding, and helped me undo my wedding dress so poor Micah didn’t have to figure out all those buttons!
Advice for couples thinking of getting married in the Yarra Valley/Dandenong Ranges?
Beware of fire season! This is not something typically found on the checklists of things to contingency plan for (like rain), but is a real thing in this region. We were really lucky that we didn’t get ‘smoked out’ or impacted by any of the fires that ravaged the region just a few days later in early January 2020.
What makes your marriage amazing?
Transparent & regular communication and partnership – I think we were really blessed to have their first few months of our relationship limited to verbal/written communication, because it really instilled in us a desire to communicate clearly, transparently and regularly. To this day we continue that spirit in our relationship which ensures that we’re always on the same page, and working together as a team towards shared goals and dreams.
What’s your best advice for planning the perfect wedding?
Micah says: marry a planner!
Paije says: make sure that you’re both a part of the dreaming and planning of the wedding. There were specific things that Micah cared about, that I would have never known to consider if he hadn’t been involved, and vice versa. I’d also say, start with a dream and visualise what you want to achieve/what you want people to feel and remember about your wedding before you plan a single thing – use that dream as your guiding blueprint for all the decisions thereafter.
Photographer: Amber Williams Photography
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Marybrooke Manor
Food: Monroe’s Burgers (hens/bucks), Marybrooke Manor (reception)
Celebrant: Rev. Steve Terrell
Engagement ring: Angara
Babysitting agency: Event Nannies
Groom team: Suitopia