Elliott and I actually went to school together – primary and secondary, so we’ve known each other a long time! We first dated in high school (year 11) for a whole 63 days (we know because Elliott kept a diaryfrom the time!). Five years after that, after going on an overseas trip together with another friend, we got back to Australia and gave it another go!

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

ECC – This year is my first year as a Primary School Teacher after finishing my Education Bachelor at the end of 2021. I’ve had a variety of jobs working with kids and have always found it to be something that comes naturally to me. I love basketball, travel, the outdoors – all things that we both share interests in. We both love all kinds of art, but I lean more towards music, whereas Maddie leans more towards fashion and craft, and we both overlap a lot with our interests in visual arts. Maddie’s 9 to 5 is a role as an Executive Assistant for a construction company, but after planning, designing and crafting such an amazing wedding she’s hoping to startusing her talent to help other couples create their dream weddings too.

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

MCC – I think for me, it was about 3 months in. I can’t remember the exact scenario that made me realise it, but I do remember thinking that I should tell him a love him, but I thought it was too soon! In the end Elliott said it first a few weeks later and I was low key annoyed that he beat me to it! After that I think we both just knew, we talked about being married and it was just something that would happen one day.

ECC – Honestly, it was an embarrassingly long time ago. Maddie was that girl from school that I just never really moved on from. I did try, but somehow it always came back to her. We became really good friends after we broke up in high school and I really valued that friendship we shared so I never really pushed for anything or spoke my mind – I didn’t want to risk losing what we did have and I figured, if it was going to happen, it’ll happen eventually, and luckily enough for me – it finally did!

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

MCC – Elliott proposed to me on a trip to Vanuatu in early 2020. We’d been on a big USA trip a few years before and that was when everyone expected he would ask, so this time was a surprise for everyone. We were getting towards the end of the trip and we had planned a bit of a road trip around the island, stopping in at different sights and swimming locations as we went. I think he tried to propose about 3 or 4 times that day but it didn’t quite work out! At our first stop we had lunch before snorkelling off the dock, and he was swimming really slowly so I was constantly telling him to keep up – turns out the ring was in his shorts pocket that he now realised had a hole so he was trying not to lose it the whole time. The second attempt was at a blue hole, we swam around a bit, and as we were going to leave this tiny stray dog ran up and was chasing us – he literally had the ring in his hand and was now trying to hide it under a towel as we tried to escape this little dog. The third attempt was at dinner, we were sat on a by the water under these beautiful lights, no one else in the restaurant –until these two very loud, European guys came and sat at the table right next to us! Finally, after dinner Elliott asked if I’d like to go for a walk along the water, and that’s where it happened. We sat on a bench and he knelt down and held out the ring. Literally didn’t say a word! And then that’s it, we were engaged!

ECC – The entire first week of the trip I was trying to convince her to have a ‘beauty day’ with me so we could get a massage and more importantly, so Maddie could her nails done. I remember she’d said to me years back, “if you’re going to propose, back sure I get my nails done!”. It was very difficult trying to convince her without being too suss! And, as per usual, stubborn Maddie prevailed and she didn’t get her nails done. At least I can say I tried!

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

MCC – It was really important to us that the wedding reflected who we are, we didn’t want to pretend to be anyone else. We wanted the vibe to fun and relaxed, with the style being modern and industrial. We were a bit worried about being the centre of attention so we went with long tables for our guests that we sat at too, as well as having a relatively intimate wedding (55 ish guests). I think these things helped create the more laid back vibe we hoped for. Plus by having less guests we could add more inclusions at the venue. We wanted to host the kind of event we would be excited about attending – so most importantly that meant good food and drinks, but also having something to do (until the dance floor kicked off). That’s where the idea for the paint by number came from. I initially saw someone in the US on TikTok create one and thought that was something I could create too. It was perfect as we are both quite creative, and something we hadn’t seen at a wedding before, butalso the final artwork showed the cliffs at the Lochard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road – where we starteddating.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

MCC – Like many people, photography was something we were happy to spend what we needed as they would be the lasting memories (in saying that we thought Ali’s pricing was reasonable and we loved her work so was a no brainer). Besides that, because the food and drink was so important to us we were happy to spend a bit more.Fortunately our venue is really well priced so we were able to include things like a grazing/cheese platter, oysters, alcoholic icey poles, cocktails etc. The videographer was something we didn’t consider at all until my mum suggested it, even then we didn’t think it was necessary. As a gift my parents booked Kim, and it was one of the best decisions we made. The film she created for us is so stunning and we are so so glad that was something we ended up booking. Honestly I think we were pretty reasonable with our spending, we budgeted for the things that were important to us and had done enough research prior to have a relatively good idea of what we might need to spend.

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

MCC – Our wedding band played ‘I Want It That Way’ by the Backstreet Boys at one point in the night, I mainly know the song from an episode of Brooklyn 99, so usually sing along and add in all the dialog too. When it got up to that part of the song Elliott and I both added in “now number 5!” and nearly died because the band sung it too. Literally was so surprising and so perfect.

We did have an issue where the arbour and sign stands we ordered didn’t arrive on time. So we resorted to spray painting a clothes rack in the alley out the back, and calling our florist at 11am the day of the wedding to let them know the plans had changed. Amazingly they took it in their stride, came up with a new idea on the spotand it all turned out perfectly.

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

MCC – When choosing my gown, I found a style by Prea James that I loved and was so sure it would be the one. I knew that so many women did the same and never ended up going with the one they expected, but I previously worked creating wedding gowns so thought I knew what I was talking about. But no, after putting it on, it wasn’t what I expected and had to keep looking. I ended up trying another Prea James gown that made my mum and sister cry when I put it on, so that pretty much decided it! Having worked in bridal, I was really particular about a few elements, I was 100% set on having real buttons and loops. The places I went to for alterations quotes weren’t too confident on the buttons, so I ended up working with my old mentor and did the alterations myself the week before the wedding. The veil was the same, I knew I could make my own and so I did – sewing pearls and crystals on by hand and finishing it the morning of the wedding.

Ceremony + Reception location: Post Office Hotel, Coburg / Videographer: Kimberely Moore Media / Photographer: Smith & Archer / Celebrant: Megan Thompson / Entertainment: House of Wood / Styling: DIY by bride  / Flora: Niddrie Flowers / Catering + Beverages: Included in Venue / Cake: Friend/ Donuts:  Krispy Kreme  / Wedding website: WithJoy / Email invites:  Bliss & Bone  /  Stationary: DIY by bride Brides Attire: Prea James from Blue Bell Bridal / Veil:  Handmade by bride / GroomsJacket/Shirt/Bow tie: M.J. Bale / Trousers: Bell & Barnett / Engagement ring: The Diamond Guys / Bride wedding bands: Etsy / Groom wedding band: Mazzucchelli’s /  Bride shoes: Harlo , The White Collection  / Groom boots: Target / Makeup: Renee Galati MUA  / Hair: Bespoke Hair & Beauty / Fragrance:Tiffany & Co   / Bridesmaids/Grooms Gal dresses: Shona Joy /  Earrings: The Traveller Series / Groomsmen jackets/shirts/bow ties: M.J. Bale / Trousers: Bell & Barnett