Meet the couple
We have been together for 11 years and met in our early 20s at a friend’s BBQ. From that moment, we were pretty inseparable and just hit it off. Paula is originally from Scotland and moved to Australia when she was 17 and Mitchell is a local Melbournian, brought up in the leafy suburbs on the outskirts of the Yarra Valley.
We now live locally in Chirnside Park and love getting out and exploring together. Most weekends you’ll find us off camping, fishing or just generally adventuring with our dog, Baxter.
It was Mitchell who proposed in April 2019 whilst on holiday in Fiji. We were celebrating our best friend’s wedding and Mitchell planned to wait a few days after the celebrations to ask the big question. At the wedding, Mitchell was feeling a lot of heat as to why he hadn’t proposed yet (we had been together for 9 years by this stage!). So much so, that the bride eventually managed to squeeze his plans out of him. Wanting to be part of the celebrations, she encouraged Mitchell to fast forward his plans and propose earlier while they were all still there.
On the day, Mitchell was VERY nervous and Paula was completely surprised. The perfect proposal on the beach followed by celebrations with our closest friends.
Why did you choose the Yarra Valley/Dandenong Ranges as your wedding location?
Our original wedding date was in May 2020 and we had planned a destination wedding in Port Douglas, Queensland. Due to a series of unfortunate events (thanks Covid) we had to cancel this and plan something a little closer to home instead. We live on the outskirts of the Yarra Valley so the area is very familiar to us and we knew we would have lots of breathtaking venues to consider. A lot of our guests also live locally so it was a convenient location for most to travel to.
How did you choose your ceremony and reception venue?
We wanted to choose a venue that has the ceremony & reception all in one place with a great wet weather option. Getting married in May in Melbourne was going to be unpredictable weather wise, so we wanted to make sure everything was indoors yet, still had the charm of the Yarra Valley.
When we visited Fergussons Winery and Restaurant, we loved the rustic feel and fell in love with the Barrel Room space. The size was perfect for our small intimate wedding and it ticked all our boxes.
What was your wedding theme?
We didn’t have a specific theme as such but we wanted everything to be simple with a little rustic charm. Nothing over the top, just soft pinks and creams with simple centre-pieces to let the venue really shine.
What made your wedding unique?
The fact that it was our 5th attempt! Like many 2020 couples, our wedding was cancelled and despite trying to reschedule three more times, we eventually lost steam and put the wedding planning on hold. Coupled with some family health issues, we didn’t start planning a new wedding until February 2022.
Our whole wedding was planned in around 12 weeks thanks to some incredible vendors.
What were the highlights?
I think having the bagpipes for our ceremony was a real hit. We wanted to have a Scottish element given a lot of my family couldn’t travel overseas to be part of the day. The piper played as I walked down the aisle and there were lots of tears.
We also got very lucky with the weather and the timing of the vines. It was a beautiful sunny autumnal day and the leaves had just turned shades of orange and brown. A couple of weeks later and we may have missed this with the leaves dropping and the rain set in.
Is there a story behind your dress?
I found the whole dress shopping experience pretty overwhelming. I didn’t have a clear idea in my head as to what style I wanted so ended up trying lots of different dresses and felt pretty deflated. After giving myself a bit of space to think, I ended up choosing a certain style that I liked. When I tried on my dress, it wasn’t exactly my size and I had to use my imagination to picture what it would look like on the day- something I struggled with!
Before my alternations could be made, we went into lockdown and I had to collect my dress from the store. It then sat in my wardrobe for two years, unaltered, before I took it back to finally be finished. I was so worried that I would have change my mind over the two years and not loved it as much, but on the day, it was perfect.
Tell us about the groomswear, who chose the colour?
We only had one groomsman, so it was pretty easy to organise the suits. Mitchell’s Mum was fantastic at helping organise this and we picked up the whole set from Country Road. A super simple and classic navy suit that complemented the pinks of my bridesmaid’s dress and the flowers.
What type of entertainment did you have?
For the ceremony, we had a Scottish bagpiper and then a DJ for the reception. We wanted everyone to get up and dance so made sure to include some of our family and friends’ favourite song requests.
What was your wedding menu for the day? Did you have any special drinks for your guests?
Our wedding menu started with canapes and drinks after the ceremony (the peking duck pancakes were a hit!) Followed by a three course sit down dinner. Everyone raved about the food and definitely didn’t leave hungry. We served our wedding cake as a bit of a late night snack too.
We were also spoilt for choice with the wine selection.
Was there any wedding vendor that particularly stood out on the day? If so, why?
All of our vendors were amazing but the team at Fergussons were incredible. Everything was looked after to the tiniest detail. By the end of the night, I felt like Sara and Elie were friends more than vendors.
Our hair and make up artist, Sophie Knox was also fantastic. She made the morning really fun and relaxing. Plus she did an incredible job.
Advice for couples thinking of getting married in the Yarra Valley/Dandenong Ranges?
Consider the venue’s wet weather option and make sure you are equally happy with this space as the outdoor option. You never know what the weather will do and you don’t want to be disappointed by something that you have no control over.
What makes your marriage amazing?
We are just each other’s best friends. We genuinely love spending time together and always prioritise each other. After being together for over 11 years and facing the ups and downs of life in that time, getting married was the easy part!
What’s your best advice for planning the perfect wedding?
Mitchell says: Just leave it your future wife! Happy wife, happy life.
Paula say: Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one will remember it other than you so it’s not worth getting stressed over. Just focus on what’s important- marrying your fiancé!
Anything else you’d love to share?
Just a big thank you for featuring us. We are really grateful for you to hear our story and love that this is something we can show our future children one day.
Photographer: Love & Other
Florist: My Botancial Life
Bagpipes: Ross Bates
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Fergusson Winery & Restaurant
Catering/ Cake & kind: Cakes&
Hair & Make Up: Makeup By Sophie Knox
Stationery: Created in Canva, Printed at Officeworks.
Celebrant: Leana Celebrancy
Entertainment: Hey Jack
Wedding bands: Anton Jewellry & The Gentleman’s Smith
Transport: Yarra Tours
Suits: Country Road