Number of Guests: 120
Budget: We won a wedding competition!
Date of wedding: 7 December 2019
Location: Projekt 3488, Warburton
“It was a truly unique wedding, from Mark Fenech from Projekt 3488 dreaming up such an awesome and generous prize, to the heart of every amazing and beautiful soul that donated and made it so unforgettable.”
Meet the couple
We first met on Black Friday 13 June 2008. We were both performing as Drag Kings at the Glasshouse, for ‘’King Victoria’’.... at least that's how Jess remembers it, as there may have been a meeting before then, but Clio kept tight lipped until after the "I love yous" months later. Turns out Jess had flown to Melbourne a few months earlier and had gone to the Star Bar on Hoddle St after performing. Clio first met Jess that night, and months later, she was excited to see both their names on a poster promoting the 13 June performance.
Clio proposed on the couple’s 5th anniversary. It was very romantic in hindsight... at the time however it didn't go to plan and is quite the story of flops. Needless to say, Clio said Jess would have to ask her if there was ever to be an engagement.
One week before their bub was due, Jess wrote with white tape on her back window of her car "MARRY ME CLIO?" - knowing they'd be driving back together from a friend’s house. Clio almost blew the plan when she left her purse in McDonald's, but luckily the purse was found, and Jess could speed in front of Clio just before the last few sets of lights home. The honking and light flashes answered “YES!”
How did you choose your ceremony and reception venue?
Our original plan was to have a backyard wedding and have everyone we love share in one big party. And then we heard about a competition run by Projekt 3488 to win the wedding of your dreams by answering “What does inclusion mean to you?” We created a short animation, voiced by our 5-year-old daughter and amazingly we won!
What was your wedding theme?
We chose to have a cocktail-style reception where everyone could mingle. Projekt 3488 is such a phenomenal location we wanted people to move about and enjoy it all. As Clio has Coeliac disease, we were so relieved when Pedros from Ethos Catering and Stephanie from Lazy Sundays could make all our food gluten free. The food was delectable!
What made your wedding unique?
I don’t think you can get past the fact that we won it. How often does that happen?!
An our wedding was unique in many wonderful ways. We had the cream of the crop for suppliers and let them “do their thang”. We had two incredible celebrants who joined to give us the most special service anyone could imagine. We were nervous our wedding ceremony would be the slow part of the day, but it was perfect, and we highly recommend BOTH Bianca and Danielle. Then we had the best Greek food served all evening fresh straight from the eco coals, and the yummiest drinks from around the Yarra Valley. Our guests were gobsmacked by the venue, which was unique because we never left the space for the whole duration of the celebration. The ceremony was in the main hall, where we got smothered in flowers dropped from the floor above on “the Kiss” and where food and drinks awaited, and the first part of the afternoon kicked off on the huge deck overlooking the valley.
Our photographer and videographer whisked us around the grounds for stunning photos all within Projekt 3488. Once the sun set, we moved to the relaxed couches for speeches while the hall was transformed into the most unbelievable dance party. After our rehearsed first dance under the epic chandelier, the dance space was lit up and we danced all night. The firepit and gardens outside at night are something our friends still talk about.
Our spectacular wedding was made even more unique with entertainment by Agent Cleave, or as many of our guests referred to him “the gorgeous bearded lady”, and his wonderful troupe of performers who sang and seduced the guests. We even had a cute little burlesque number, and Agent Cleave got Jess up to sing one of the final songs of the night; Adele’s version of Love Song by The Cure.
And at the end of the night, the best part for many of our guests was being dropped safely back at their Warburton accommodation by the wonderful Yarra Valley A2B. We have lost count of how many people tell us it was not only the best wedding they’d ever been to, but one of the best weekends of their lives. Needless to say, it was the best weekend of ours too!
Is there a story behind your dress(es) and veil/headpieces etc?
Jess: When Clio revealed that she wanted to wear a wedding dress, I was shocked, and then a little upset that suddenly I felt like I didn’t know Clio. She’d not worn a dress EVER in our 11 plus years, and now she wanted to ruin the vision I had of a cute fancy 3-piece suit. Then I was worried about what often happens with two brides… when the two dresses don’t work together. It was made even more worrisome when Clio thought she would buy online. An agreement had to be made that we’d go shopping together for Clio’s dress. I think the real reason I was so worried is because I’m not attracted to girls in dresses. Long story short, the second dress she tried on was a champagne coloured, pearl encrusted vintage, fitted, floor length gown, and it looked amazing.
From that moment I knew what I was working with and I kept my dress a secret from Clio. My dress was hideous on the hanger! It was blush pink, with gold in the lace, and a peach undertone. It was very girly, yet when I put it on it came alive. I knew right away, especially looking at my mum’s face, that I’d found my dress.
We did manage my dream of cute fancy 3-piece antique gold suits for our bridal party–our daughter Adia-Tuesday, plus Anya and Kai (both 10 years old)–paired with sparkly gold Converse sneakers.
We did the borrowed/blue/old/new tradition. The something blue was a strip of blue sequined fabric sewn inside our dresses from the stage performance of Strictly Ballroom–so we had material in our dresses that Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin had handpicked!
Clio wore her mum Christine’s antique necklace as her headpiece and her “something old”, and Jess wore a traditional veil, a last minute gift from her mum Tina at the bridal boutique.
Tell us about your wedding bands/other special elements of your day.
Adah from Shop Fear designed our incredible and unique wedding bands. We went into her studio for the casting of our rings so we could press our fingerprints into each other’s bands! We both have two stacking rings; one silver and one gold, as it’s good luck to always have a little gold on you.
What makes your marriage?
Our marriage is a joining of our 11 plus years together, our friendship and the love we share for each other and Adia-Tuesday. We are a very tight trio–like an odd family egg. Adia-Tuesday is the yolk, she’s the heart of everything we do, Jess is the egg-white, she keeps everything flowing and smothers the yolk, and Clio is the shell, she’s strong and keeps us together. She’s also rolling her eyes right now at the analogy! We are a house full of love and laughter, and we respect and support each other’s dreams and wishes. We sing a song every night to Adia-Tuesday, it’s called The Five Pennies. It says we need five pennies to be wealthy beyond measure; one for wishing on, one for dreaming on, another for dancing, then to laugh on, but the most important penny is to love on, so with these five pennies you’ll be a millionaire. This song was sung to Jess when she was little, and it highlights how fortunate we are. Counting our blessings has always been crucial in keeping us together and happy that we have each other.
What were the highlights?
Projekt 3488 is the dreamiest location, dream wedding planners, dream venue, dream everything. Mark and Sandi are the dreammakers. Ethos Catering made incredible food we’re so happy we can call them friends. The photos by Rick Liston are exquisite. We were lucky to be gifted Oscar’s on the Yarra as our wedding weekend venue. We were so comfortable preparing for our big day with Christine and her family behind the scenes. Our flower arrangements by Holly were amazing. Bianca and Danielle, our celebrants, were hilarious, beautiful and patient, and our MC Agent Cleave and his performance troupe were phenomenal.
Anything else you’d love to share?
Since getting married we’ve been through a lot. We had so much on our plates… from starting a new job two days after the wedding, to having to deal with a heart-breaking family conflict, then making front page of The Age newspaper because we suffered the worst 48 hours of our lives; stuck in the Corryong bushfires and escaping via the convoy in catastrophic conditions.
Needless to say, our vows could have been seriously tested already. But instead, what we originally believed was going to be a great party and a nice piece of paper to protect our rights has been an incredible glue, bonding us even more than our years of relationship.
Getting married has sealed our union. We are more united than ever! Whether it is just a reminder of why we love our chosen partners, or whether there is such a thing as “wedded bliss”, something magical happens when you make promises so openly to the one you love. We recommend The Big Day to any secure and loving relationship out there!
There are not enough words to thank the sponsors. Our undying gratitude lies with Mark, Sandi and Anthony (our fairy godfathers) at Projekt 3488 for dreaming up the Equality Projekt and thank you Projekt 3488 for the dreamy venue for the ceremony and function.
Thank you for creating a feast for both our eyes and our tummies:
- Ethos Catering: the most incredible Authentic Greek-Cypriot food
- Locavore Studio: the wonderful Wedding Cake
- Lazy Sundays Melbourne: the sweet completely gluten free dessert table
Thank you for making sure we don’t miss a moment:
- Rick Liston Photography: wedding day photography
- Suzanne Phoenix: Photography of wedding function & Artist book
- C2 Films: Capturing all the wedding film footage
Thank you for putting a drink in our hand and a twinkle in our eye:
- Four Pillars Gin
- Whispering Hills Vineyard
- Payten & Jones Vineyard
- Six Acres Vineyard
- Steels Gate Vineyard
- Hargreaves Hill Vineyard and Brewery
- St Ronan’s Cider
Thank you for drumming up anticipation, making us beautiful, and for making the venue a space of magic:
- Sonsie Studios: Invitation and graphic design.
- Makeup by Krystal: Makeup.
- Anouk Flowers: Wedding Party & Venue Floristry for the wedding function.
- Yarra Linen: Napkins and tablecloths.
- Agent Cleave & Co: Wedding function hosting & tailored performance floor show.
Thank you for making the whole weekend special:
- Oscar’s on the Yarra: Accommodation for the wedding party, plus lounge areas for the brides to freak out in prior to the function AND the most beautiful big courtyard area to have a stunning pre-wedding soiree. Such a beautiful hotel.
- Warburton Motel: Accommodation for the wedding party.
- Yarra Valley A2B: Wedding party transfers to & from accommodation & Projekt 3488.
Thank you for making us feel special:
- Christopher Boots: Wedding gift of a Christopher Boots – designer lamp.
- Katrina Rhodes: Signed limited edition print of an original Katrina Rhodes painting (cotton rag archival print).
- Alchemy Produx: Home fragrance package.
- Anastasia La Fey: Work from her AGGLOMERATION series, made from Projekt 3488 river rocks.
Thank you for making us married!
- Celebrants: Full celebrant package for the wedding function with celebrants Bianca Paliaga & Danielle Binaisse.
- Adah Kelleher-Roulston: Custom designed wedding rings.
See Jess, Clio and Adia-Tuesday's winning video entry here: