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7 Australian creatives share their non-traditional weddings

IMAGE VIA @MILLSAVAGE/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY EMILY HOLGATE

“Our flower girls used leaf blowers, our mothers were carried in on thrones by hot, topless and oiled-up mates, and another friend backflipped the whole way down the aisle.”

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like everyone is getting either engaged or married lately. I know a lot of people are playing COVID catch-up and fast-tracking their nuptials after years of being engaged, or perhaps they’re simply so in love they just can’t wait to get hitched. Either way, I’m here for it.

In saying this, the traditional concept of a wedding is somewhat controversial in our modern world. In this day and age, women don’t ‘belong’ to their partners, they don’t need to be given away by their fathers and (for the most part) aren’t of virginal status, despite donning a white dress on their special day.


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Don’t get me wrong – I love a big white wedding and have always considered myself a marriage-inclined girl. I’m a fan of weddings not for the legality of being tied to one person for the rest of your life, but rather because they’re a celebration of love.

But in 2022, there’s no right way to get married. With more couples opting for non-traditional weddings, I was curious to see the left-of-centre ideas that made these ceremonies unique. Below, seven Australian creatives share their non-traditional weddings.

Becca Crawford, photographer


Photography by Bayleigh Vedelago

 

My partner Stacey and I wanted to curate a wedding that included all the things we loved to do. We wanted to feel like us on our extra-special day! We decided against marrying on ‘location’, as we never felt like a winery or rustic farmhouse made sense for us. For me in particular, food and wine were super important in creating a memorable and joyous day, so hosting the wedding in two of our favourite restaurants was the best choice for us.

We’d met and been living in Berlin for the past five years, so are very much city dwellers. In the end, we decided on a sexy city vibe split up over three venues, each with its own style and aesthetic.

The morning ceremony was held in Fitzroy Gardens (lush, feminine, wild), the reception lunch was at Cutler & Co (featuring locally-grown roses and bespoke candle holders by my friend and artist Ben Mazey) and the dinner and dancing went til late (there were a lot of cocktails) at Bar Romantica in Brunswick East. It was ultra-romantic with hundreds of flickering candles, red roses and our incredible DJ Danny Hotep creating all the vibes.

I’m Jewish and Stacey isn’t, so we decided to marry on a Sunday in honour of this tradition. We included a chuppah in our outdoor ceremony for 80 of our closest friends and family. Our decision for a late-March wedding date paid off; it was the most perfect sunny day. Our florist Georgie Boy created an absolute garden of dreams in her iconic and unique style.

We decided to focus on an abundance of one type of flower, rather than the more traditional mixes. I had a man of honour (my brother) and Stacey had a best woman, who wore a suit by the same designer that made his. In terms of my styling, I’ve always felt a bit left of centre and wanted my hair and dress to reflect this. I wanted to feel like myself instead of falling into the trap of strapless princess gowns. Those were never my style.

For the ceremony and reception, I wore a Monique Lhuillier dress, little cream boots by Maison Margiela and a gold crown by Keren Wolf. For the party, I changed into a chiffon Acne dress and sneakers with Simone Rocha socks. My mum, sculptor Carol Crawford, is my style inspiration. She guided me all the way! My braids were inspired by a Simone Rocha runway look and I adored how my stylist Dolly brought it to life.

@beccacrawford

Millie Savage, jeweller and founder of Millie Savage Jewellery

We got married at my dad’s farm in Toolangi just before the pandemic hit. My brother, a friend and I had held a festival at the site a year prior, so we still had the stage and a lot of the lights set up. And we’d already built the bar! I rode in on my horse with dad on my other horse. My husband James rode in on a jet ski in the dam.

Everything we did was built around being silly and fun. The theme was ‘outdress the bride – good luck, you’ll need it’. For inspiration, we encouraged guests to Google the Met Gala. We had 400 people and partied for three days with hot tubs on the dance floor and Milo Eastwood doing the longest set of his life (it went for 13 hours). Anything stupid you could think of, we tried to include.

Our flower girls used leaf blowers, our mothers were carried in on thrones by hot, topless and oiled-up mates, and another friend backflipped the whole way down the aisle. For the actual ceremony, our best friend got his licence to marry us and we planted a tree. We did the entire set-up and flowers ourselves, with everyone pitching in to help (particularly Annie, if you’re reading this). Best party we’ve ever been to!

@milliesavage_

Sarah Norris, Broadsheet’s National Editor


Photography by Kitti Gould

 

I’ve never really been into weddings. I love love, but the whole wedding thing turned me off the idea. In particular, the historical legal rights of women, plus (for many people) weddings are hijacked to please families, rather than being about love. But I found Steve, the love of my life, and I wanted to tell everyone (he felt the same). We decided to throw a big party and make it about love.

We had our ‘Mutually Smitten Soiree’ in April. We invited 40 or so people (not many family members). We had everyone meet at a spot, where a bus met them and brought them to us (a wedding always sees the bride arrive while guests wait around – this was the opposite). We hadn’t told anywhere where they were going, because why the hell not.

We had it at Poor Toms, a gin distillery in the backstreets of industrial Marrickville. We hired a caterer, organised lots of delicious food and drinks, had a DJ and threw a big old party. I wore a gold one-piece playsuit (with shorts, so lots of legs) and a cape, all of which I had custom-made by a fabulous dressmaker. The vibe was fun and fabulous.

We marked the occasion with a short ceremony hosted by an excellent celebrant who understood what we wanted. No documents were signed and the government wasn’t involved – just lots of heart-filled friends.

@lanozza

Wendy Yong, model


Photography by Em Jensen Weddings

 

My partner and I are totally not traditional in any sense. If anything we try to break traditions – ‘break the mould’, so to speak. We’re two weird queers that wanted to get hitched, and it needed to be rad, not drab.

Four friends, some drinks and Fleetwood Mac on record were all we needed. We held it at a small bar in Collingwood and were dressed in black. because we love black. Also, we’re SO not virgins (sorry, not sorry old school). We had a bunch of black and red roses made out of paper by our friends (because… sustainability).

The ceremony was super short and sweet. No vows, just legalities. It was a kiss, unspoken love and some signatures. We made the rings together. Traditions, history, and roots are cool and everything but we’re living in a new world and riding a new wave. People kinda need to get used to that.

@not.so.glamorous

Emma Peel, DJ and PBS Radio host


Photography by James Boddington

 

Danny [my partner] and I are obsessed with vintage clothing and décor (well, vintage everything), so we wanted our wedding to reflect this. We also knew that we didn’t want to get married in a hum-drum wedding venue or an overpriced city space. Instead, we opted for an unassuming country town in the Wimmera, Donald. We hired the art deco-style Memorial Hall for a steal and set about decorating it using op-shop finds, like vintage vases for table centrepieces. My mum and I broke the sewing machine making over 300 metres of bunting.

I wore my mother’s wedding dress from 1976 and surprised everyone (including her) by turning two dresses into one. I wore the original maxi dress for the ceremony, and during our bridal waltz, I whipped it off to reveal a mini dress underneath! There’s a video of it somewhere on the internet – it went viral. Gabi Barton (from Town Bikes, The Huxleys, etc) choreographed it. It wasn’t your average bridal waltz!

My bridesmaids wore ’1970s-style dresses, each in different colours. They looked like a pastel rainbow. We didn’t have to hire a wedding band because half our guests were musicians. There were musical performances peppered across the whole event, concluding with a mate who’s an Elvis impersonator and another mate who impersonates truck noises. We exited the hall while he impersonated a Kenwood truck doing a lap of Bathurst. Romantic, I know.

A large chunk of Melbourne’s musos, artists and vintage kooks made a convoy to the country that weekend and we all had a ball. People still talk about it. We were married in 2014, celebrating with 250 guests.

@djemmapeel

Abby Wiverton, celebrant and founder of The Hitch Sitch


Photography by Em Jensen Weddings and Jesse Morley

 

My wife Rebecca and I tied the knot this year on March 26 at our local pub, The Fitzroy Pinnacle. When we first got together, same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in Australia and we had to suffer through the horrific, national plebiscite. After getting engaged a couple of months before the pandemic, there was a lot of pressure for us to ‘just elope’.

It was so important for us to have a wedding (aka big party), even if we didn’t entirely agree with the outdated, patriarchal constructs. We wanted to celebrate our big, queer love loud and proud, so opted for a [wedding with a] bit of a twist. Our dog Totty walked us down the aisle, and instead of any religious rituals we ‘blended’ our families through a beer-drinking ceremony.

Our celebrant Renee is a part of the queer community. For entertainment, we had a fabulous drag queen, Eliza Lot, who helped us cut the cake and stuck around for a big boogie afterwards. We were so lucky to have incredibly talented friends who helped us transform our inner-Melbourne watering hole into a retro paradise with a random assortment of op shop buys we’d been collecting over our two-year engagement.

@ab_circlepro

Justine Landis-Hanley, Left Right Out podcast host and Senior Producer at Shameless


Photography by Jackson Grant

 

We got married in May in front of 13 of our family and friends at Hideaway Cottage in Apollo Bay, which we found on Airbnb. Planning a wedding was a real exercise in figuring out what we wanted amidst all the noise and pressure telling us what we were supposed to want.

Our dream wedding consisted of a sleepover with our closest friends the night before at the cottage, followed by an intimate ceremony and an Italian dinner party. We hired an incredible local musician, Mukul Jiwnani, to play Angus and Julia Stone’s ‘Wherever You Are’ as I walked down the aisle. Our brilliant celebrant Zena Lythego built the entire ceremony around our love story. My husband Alex and I wrote our own vows and, instead of readings, our family members read short reflections they wrote about our relationship.

I wore a Stella McCartney gown that I nabbed for around $600 on The Outnet. My maid of honour and I baked the wedding cake the night before, and a few of us arranged flowers into vases for the table (I did buy my bouquet, though, from North St Flowers!). One of our guests ran trivia over dinner, and we danced in the kitchen. It truly was the most beautiful day ever and I’m so glad we kept it small because it meant we could spend quality time with every one of our guests.

@justinelandishanley

For more on non-traditional weddings, head here.

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