Elise + Reuben by Maegan Brown Moments

Elise & Reuben's modern wedding captured by Maegan Brown Moments.

In terms of when I knew he was “the one” – for me, it was a series of little moments. The ease of getting to know each other and every milestone. Learning to communicate really well and prioritising each other. I feel more supported and loved every day, and I can see the work that Reuben puts into that.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

EEM: I work in Multicultural Communications and Campaigns for a social purpose agency called CultureVerse (a Think HQ company) and serve as a Board Observer and Volunteer for ICAN Australia (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons). Being coastal born but proudly Naarm/Melbourne-based, I tend to live in contrasts – revelling in the culture and diversity of the city and then soaking up the South Gippsland beaches whenever we can. Thankfully, this balance seems to suit Reuben to a tee as well.

REM: I’m a Project Manager for Longview Landscapes – we design and build residential gardens and outdoor areas across Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula. To unwind, you’ll find me cooking with a negroni in hand or butchering Tim Rogers songs on the guitar.

We both share a love of fitness, reading, podcasting, visits to the classic cinema on our street and planning future mid-century style renovations with money we don’t have. The highlight of our week is coffee in bed on a slow Sunday morning, ideally followed by a beach dip in Inverloch.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

EEM: Like many relationships of our time, we met on the dating app Hinge. I was intrigued by this very cool but sweet looking guy. I was drawn by his style, great travel pictures and a comment that the hallmark of a good relationship is gyming together before picking up a pizza and bottle of wine. A lifestyle that I thought would fit like a glove.

After a bit of Hinge app chit chat, during which Reuben asked me about my holiday, I suggested I tell him over a drink. A few lockdown delays later, we met for wine in the St Kilda Botanical Gardens one day in July. It was fresh but the conversation flowed. Reuben proved to be the cool, calm guy he presented as and I’m sure I was my overly chatty, pretty high energy self. But we seemed to find a rhythm that felt instantly fun and comfortable. Even after failing a test of accepting the return of his loaned coat, I knew I really liked him.

Wines turned into walking margaritas, which turned into dinner, and chats into the night.

From the moment we met until now, we’ve not gone more than a couple of hours without speaking. Each date got better and better, until I mentally accepted that this, and he, was the real deal.

REM: In terms of what I can add, we were both late which is now pretty typical fashion for us and it was freezing. Back at Elise’s place we talked well into the night discovering that we actually had a stack of mutual friends. I still find it hard to believe that we never crossed paths previously. What I got from that first date was how incredibly relaxed Elise made me feel when I was around her. This was evident by the fact I felt comfortable sitting on her couch with her, watching movies until about 2pm the next day when she “just remembered she was meant to meet Hannah for a walk on the beach” and she was late and I’d have to leave. She has such a positive attitude and makes you feel special when you talk to her.

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

EEM: I remember being seriously wooed by Reuben. For our second date, he planned Sunday drinks and live jazz. For our third, he was up at 6am preparing homemade gluten free gnocchi and making caramel slice for me. Cooking and dancing to jazz music in my kitchen is a moment I’ll never forget and just the joy that came from those locked down months that fast-tracked our relationship and love in such an open and healthy way. We really got to enjoy getting to know each other and once friends and family were met, it was as verbally official as it had felt since the beginning.

In terms of when I knew he was “the one” – for me, it was a series of little moments. The ease of getting to know each other and every milestone. Learning to communicate really well and prioritising each other. I feel more supported and loved every day, and I can see the work that Reuben puts into that. Sometimes I’m still in shock that he wants to invest so much in me, but I never take it for granted.

REM: It just sort of crept up on me. There was a moment one night when we’d had some friends over and everyone had gone to bed, but we stayed up talking on the couch and it just dawned on me that I was completely in love with her. It had become a bit of a pattern that after being out with friends we felt like we needed some time with just the two of us to feel that connection between us that we’d missed throughout the night. We’d often just lay on the floor and debrief the night and see how we were both feeling, and I realized that was the best part of the night and I’d never felt that way with someone before. She had become my best friend and the person I wanted to spend every minute I could with.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

REM: Elise and I talked about our future together from an early stage, so I’d gone out and bought a diamond for the engagement ring, knowing what shape Elise liked (pear). It was hard to act nonchalant when we then went to look at ring designs together on High Street and act like it would be something happening in the distant future. I wanted it to be as much of a surprise as possible given that we both spoke about our future as a married couple so naturally. A month later the ring was ready to go, and I had plans to pop the question down in Inverloch over the Christmas break. Knowing how much of a detective Elise is was making me nervous that she had worked it out and I didn’t help things when she discovered some extra bottles of champagne in the esky we took down. On Boxing Day morning, I was struggling to contain my excitement for going on a walk we’ve done 100 times, but I think I pulled it off. Walking up the track to the old gum tree we’ve spent so much time together under, I was no doubt weirdly silent as I recited my lines in my head. I asked, “should we get a photo?” and set my camera up to video and proceeded to completely freeze up as we stood in front of this camera for an awkward amount of time. Eventually I got on one knee and managed the words “will you marry me?”
“Of course!” Elise said and we moved to a bench seat looking over the water and I eventually got the rest of my words out. Then we went to IGA to buy a red onion for her mum, Deb, for Boxing Day lunch.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…

EEM: Connected, romantic, vibey and easy. It’s cliché, but we just wanted everyone to have fun and feel the love! We simplified things by having the ceremony and reception in the same venue and our beautiful and talented friend Alex was our celebrant. Post nuptials, soul-duo Belle Bangard and Co set the mood with a mix of classics and covers, and instead of traditional family photos, we gathered around a table filled with cocktails, oysters and grazing platters. Kind of like a happier version of the last supper, I guess! For the rest of the night, formalities were few and far between – outside of speeches the focus was on the feasting table (the tiramisu was in high demand) and of course the dancefloor.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

REM: After seeing Maegan’s photography and chatting to her in our first meeting, absolutely the photography. She really captured the moment and we loved our portrait time, taking it all in.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

EEM: Following our 7 day pre-wedding day run sheet brought about mixed emotions, however, it was incredibly satisfying. Many-a-high-five was shared between us. And on the day, things ran behind schedule but good things come to those that wait, right?

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

EEM: Turns out that the time pressure is on when you go dress shopping six months out from the wedding, but that suited me perfectly. It sped up the process of elimination and I landed on a dress that felt true to my minimalist style. I wanted to create a classic look with a bit of edge, so I paired the corset style dress back with an oversized white blazer and tried to bring in some materiality through crystal accessories. To be honest, I became pretty veil centric – opting for a gorgeous, long, lace piece for the ceremony and a shorter sixties glam number for the party.

LOCATION, CATERING & BEVERAGES Half Acre, @halfacre_melbourne / PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER Maegan Brown Moments, @maeganbrownmoments / CELEBRANT For The Love Celebrancy, @forthelovecelebrancy / ENTERTAINMENT Belle Bangard, @bellebanga / FLORA Azalea Flowers, @azalea__flowers / BRIDE’S ATTIRE Kyha Studios, @kyhastudios / GROOM’S ATTIRE P. Johnson, @pjohnsontailors / RINGS Diamond Rings Internationale, @diamondringsinternationale / SHOES & HANDBAG Tony Bianco, @tonybianco / EARRINGS & PARTY VEIL Kyha Studios, @chosenbykyha / BRACELET & NECKLACE Saint Valentine Jewellery, @saint_valentine_jewellery / CEREMONY VEIL Grace Loves Lace, @grace_loves_lace / BLAZER Henne, @henne_ / SOMETHING BORROWED AND BLUE RING The white gold and sapphire promise ring my dad gave my mum back in the 70s / MAKEUP & HAIR Tonic Agency, @tonic.makeup.hair; Mae Taylor, @maetaylor_makeupartist / FRAGRANCE Byredo, @officialbyredo (Bride: Eleventh Hour, Groom: Oud Immortal)