Number of Guests: 100
Date of wedding: Monday 11 January 2021 (rescheduled from 29/08/2020)
Location: Zonzo Estate
Meet the couple
Harry is a primary school teacher and currently teaches Grade 6. He enjoys 4WD, loves the Melbourne Football Club & playing basketball. Ashlen is a Mental Health nurse for a not-for-profit organisation and is studying to become a yoga teacher. When not working they love walking their beautiful Golden Retriever Max, dancing in the kitchen and spending time with friends and family.
They met 7 years ago at a church in Seaford, but also went to the same university so had seen each other around campus. They eventually started dating and fell madly in love. Funny story; first time Harry’s mum Tracy met Ash she said “Harry - you'll marry her one day.”
Ashlen: Harry proposed on my 25th birthday. I had been to the ballet to see Cinderella with my mum and I came home to a scavenger hunt around the Mornington Peninsula to all the special places that had shaped our relationship. All our family members were involved in the clues to make sure I got to the next destination. I arrived at my final destination, the beach in Mornington where Harry had asked me to be his girlfriend five years prior. He was waiting on the beach and had organised a photographer (who was hiding in the bushes!) to capture the moment. He also planned a dinner with our families to celebrate a perfect birthday and the most magical proposal!
How did you choose your ceremony and reception venue?
We chose Zonzo Estate after much looking around. The architecture of the Capella was love at first sight and we loved that it was inside but had the option to open the doors for an outdoor feel. The combination of beautiful landscapes coupled with amazing food was perfect! We did a tasting in the restaurant and loved the food, and we wanted a wedding where no one went home hungry.
What was your wedding theme?
Elegant and timeless.
What made your wedding unique?
We had a rose ceremony that was a beautiful way of including our mums in the proceedings. The rose ceremony allowed Harry to give my mum a rose and thank her for welcoming him into the family, and I gave Harry's mum the same. We love our families, and we are very close to them so this was a great idea from our celebrant.
We also had black and white wedding photos of our parents and grandparents displayed at the reception as we wanted to capture the love of our families.
Is there a story behind your hanky?
Mum gave me a hanky on the day of the wedding that was hers that her grandmother had given her on her wedding day to soak up the “happy tears”. Harry carried it in his pocket and gave it to me once I made it down the aisle.
I also had a picture of my Opa on my bouquet paired with a wooden carved love heart that Harry had made for me one birthday, so Opa was close to my heart for the day.
Tell us about your wedding bands.
My engagement ring was Harry's Nana’s (Bevie) ring that he had custom made into a beautiful solitaire white gold ring. My matching wedding band also used the diamonds from her ring.
Harry's wedding band was his Pop’s ring (Harry’s pop passed away when he was little) he had re-sized. We made sure to leave the engraving on the inside of the ring that said “Bev & Brian” and their wedding date.
What makes your marriage?
We have lots of laughter, lots of dancing, good conversation and deep love and respect. We are never afraid to communicate and speak our truth – and we always encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves.
What’s your best advice for planning the perfect wedding?
DO IT TOGETHER!! It's YOUR special day so capture what you both want. The tradition that the woman does the planning is gone! We both had a balanced and equal input into the decisions, and it was just as much Harry’s day as it was mine.
For the girls: when choosing your dress, try and focus on the textures and the fabrics that you love and make you feel comfortable. Reflect what is YOU – and you'll feel so comfortable on the day. I ended up altering my dress so I could have a second look for the reception. It went from off-the-shoulder for the ceremony to strapless so I could dance the night away and have fun.
Get planned early: We had lots of spreadsheets and were over-organised but it made for a very smooth wedding day. Try and get organised a week earlier. The week of the wedding my maid of honor organised yoga in the vineyard and a massage as she knew how much I wanted to be relaxed going into the day.
The wedding day: Think about what calms you and grounds you and do that while you're getting ready. My yoga teacher did a class for the bridal party the morning of the wedding via Zoom, and we spent the day dancing, listening to music and chilling out while we got our hair and make up done.
We also stayed at a farm in Yarra Valley that had two houses on the property. It meant the boys could be in one cottage and the girls in the other. The night before the wedding the girls organised a women's circle for me where we shared special intentions before the big day. The night of the wedding the bridal party stayed at the farm and kept the party going which was great!
We had a night away two nights before the wedding – before the chaos and busyness began – to take some time as a couple to connect and remind ourselves what it is all about.
What were the highlights?
We finally got to have our special day after a long wait (#COVID!). We had an original date on 29/8/2020, however, we were in stage 4 lockdown so we had to postpone. Zonzo were PHENOMENAL; they communicated with us the whole way through and reassured us with any changes.
I loved my father-daughter dance; we did a mash up of really fun dances rather than the traditional father-daughter dance (and the practice was THE BEST!).
Harry concluded his speech by announcing he bought me a Melbourne Football Club membership. In my speech I announced that I would finally become a Melbourne member – neither or us knew the others speech (in sync or what!).
Anything else you’d love to share?
Our family from Germany couldn't attend so they sent us special videos to watch the morning of the wedding. Our family were part of our day in every way - Harry's uncles provided us with his vintage cars– two Rolls Royce and a Bentley, and our celebrant and MC was a special family friend. We were also grateful our grandparents could attend.
“We held each other's hand the morning of the wedding around the corner of a hedge at the farm. We took a moment without seeing each other to take a breath, connect and send each other some good vibes.”
Photographer: TIN DRUM
Florist: DEBBIE ONEIL
Ceremony and Reception Venue: ZONZO ESTATE
Cake: CREME DE LE CAKES
Stationery: THE PARKER EFFECT
Celebrant: WARREN MORRISON
Entertainment: THE WHITE TREE
Engagement ring/Wedding band: ANNYS JEWELLER
Transport: McKENZIES (bus transport for all guests staying in the valley)
Bridal gown designer: Raffaele Ciuca
Veil: Raffaele Ciuca
Bridesmaid dresses: Forever new
Groom team: Trunk Tailor