Matt + Caitlin by Heirlooms By Gulshah

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

CLW: Pre-COVID it was travel.  We booked flights Europe together only about 12 weeks after we started dating. We also love getting away for a weekend when we can, and taking advantage of work trips to turn them into a holiday as well.

Together we’ve been to Finland, Poland, Germany, South Korea, Hong Kong, Brazil, Argentina and a lot of the east coast of Australia. After that it’s probably food – we’ve had some amazing meals together, at some very nice restaurants and apart from eating them we also are a bit experimental in the kitchen (sometimes with mixed success!).

MLW: Caitlin is a designer, and I’m a software engineer, so we complement each other really well – if something needs creativity and visual flair it’s Caitlin’s thing, whereas if it’s maths and numbers it’s mine (although since knowing each other we’ve both become pretty good at each). Caitlin also introduced me to the wonderful world of travel – I wasn’t as much of a traveller as her when we met but she’s since convinced me! My hobbies are photography (that’s probably my “creative outlet”) and building geeky side projects.

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

CLW: We met online on eHarmony.  It was the end of 2016 when I was trying to get my Honours year thesis finished. His profile was super brief but there was something that he has written that made me think I should reach out (I wish I could remember what it was). I think it took about 4 weeks before I felt like I had enough free time to go on our first date.  He must have thought I was alright to wait that long!

MLW: It was worth the wait! We met on a hot November night at a bar in Northcote, Melbourne and had some nice food and good conversation (when she went to the bathroom I managed to wave down a waiter and pay before she got back – smoothest moment of my life!) then we went across to a bar for drinks. The conversation always flowed really easily between us – a few dates later we were chatting away and before we knew it we’d been talking for 5 or 6 hours and the bar was closing!

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

MLW: I think on about our third date I realised how smart and worldly and (most importantly) nice Caitlin was. There was so much I could learn from her, and I knew that a life with her was a life where I was my best self.

CLW: I think I fell in love so quickly because Matt was all in, we both were.  There was very little time tiptoeing through the intricacies of a new relationship.  We were both extremely honest with each other and shared what we wanted from life very early on.  We have similar family values but are able to challenge each other too.

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

CLW: Our decision to get married was mutual.  I can’t even remember who brought it up first, it just became part of our dialogue.  We decided on a budget for an engagement ring and designed my ring together, which was a beautiful process.  It’s a huge decision to commit to spending your life with one person so I find it insane that some women talk about it being a surprise or that they didn’t see a proposal coming, I think that’s problematic. On the flip side I know so many strong ambitious women who are “still waiting for him to pop the question”, go get what you want!

MLW: I always joke about how nonchalant our proposal ended up being. We were on (an unrelated) holiday on an island in Brazil (Ilha Grande) having dinner on the beach, and I wanted a “proposal story” to tell so I popped the question and her answer was “of course!”. There was no big grand gesture – there wasn’t even a ring, because it wasn’t ready in time! – but it was quiet and pleasant and perfect for us.

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

MLW: Caitlin is famous for her unbridled love of colour, and my main themes are subtlety and restraint – so each of us had to go a long way to meet in the middle! After a bit of scrapbooking and moodboarding we found a theme we both liked with burnt orange, light pink and plum, and modern botanical/floral styles. It somehow managed to be both fun but also refined. We also had the pleasure of having our wedding at the gorgeous Seville Estate which had gardens that complemented our themes as well as stunning views of the Yarra Valley.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

MLW: One of the things I really wanted from the start of our planning was a live band. To me a live band takes songs that everyone knows and loves and infuses them with life and personality. We knew this would be more expensive than a DJ or playlist but it didn’t take too many band demos for us both to realise that it was money well spent. We got a two-piece band for the ceremony and cocktail hour, and then two others from the same crew (Craig Francis Music) joined them to make a four piece for the reception. It was amazing how they brought just the right level of energy to each of the configurations – acoustic and thoughtful for the ceremony, fun and funky for the cocktail hour, and bold and exciting for the reception. They were also fun and interactive as performers, and we could tell they were also really enjoying the night. By the end of the night everyone had had side-splitting amounts of fun, and many people told us afterwards how much they had loved the band.

CLW: For me it was the flowers.  I love having plants and flowers in the house.  I had been following Bloom Boy (Ross) on social media for a while and loved his style, so it made it very easy to choose a florist.  Our brief to Ross was relatively simple as we trusted that he would deliver spectacular arrangements, and boy he did not disappoint.  I’m also a bit of an environmentalist so it was very important to me that the flowers didn’t go to waste during and after the wedding.  We reused the arrangements from the ceremony at the reception and also had the flowers wrapped at the end of the night for our guests to take home.  

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

MLW: I was lukewarm on the idea of a choreographed first dance throughout most of the planning stages, but somehow towards the end Caitlin managed to convince me – although at that point we only had a few weeks left! We somehow managed to learn a waltz to Come Away With Me by Norah Jones in the last few weeks before the wedding, and were confident enough to go ahead with it. On the day though, after the whole whirlwind of the morning and the ceremony, I started to get cold feet – at one point we ducked away to a quiet spot to practice, and our first run through left a lot to be desired. I told Caitlin very soberly and seriously that I think I might have forgotten everything and we might have to quietly call it off. Somehow (still not sure how!) she managed to convince me that I still had it in me and to give it just one more practice, and miraculously it was much better – so we went out and performed it in front of our guests and it went off without a hitch! Definitely a stressful part of the day, but in hindsight I’m happy we went for it – the feeling afterwards was euphoric and the rest of the night was a blast.

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

MLW: I got a custom suit made from InStitchu. I wanted a split colour suit, because I wanted to be a bit more bold and less formal. We didn’t want an overly formal dress code for us and our guests – we’d prefer everyone was happy and comfortable and felt good, and giving everyone (particularly the bridal party) a bit of flexibility allowed them to really be themselves. COVID lockdowns made suit shopping interesting – I was measured by Caitlin while a lovely InStitchu consultant guided us over Zoom! – but luckily for us we were out of lockdown in enough time to visit a showroom and get the suit measured and tailored properly. InStitchu was helpful at every step and I was very happy with their service and how the suit turned out.

CLW: I had saved a range of different outfits and gowns that I loved but I wasn’t able to find anything that I liked off the rack, so I sketched the design I wanted and went to a range of different dressmakers to help me bring the idea to life. Right from our very first meeting Sonia (my dressmaker) was excited about the design I had sketched, and nothing appeared to be too much trouble.  Like Matt mentioned COVID lockdowns made it quite difficult to get to fittings and for my dress to be made but I had weekly fittings as soon as we were able to and it was finally finished just two days before our wedding. On the day I felt amazing, my outfit was everything that I had imagined.  I received so many compliments and that it was “so Caitlin”. The best part was that I was able to take off the skirt and dance the night away.

Ceremony + Reception location: Seville Estate / Photographer: Heirlooms By Gulshah / Videographer: Time Craft Media / Celebrant: Kate Morgan / Entertainment: Craig Francis Music /  Planner: Gillian Polland / Hire: Always Eventive & Pink Ivory / Flora: Bloomboy / Catering + Beverages: Seville Estate / Cake: Fig and Duck / Stationery + Registry: Peter Kin Paper / Jewellery: Culturesse / Bride dress: Sonia Dochoa / Groom suit: Institchu / Bride Ring/s: Cushla Whiting & Kate and Kole / Grooms Ring: Kavalri / Groom Jewellery: Aark Collective & Ted Baker / Bride Shoes: Bared / Groom Shoes: Julius Marlow / Makeup/Hair: Laura Jean HMU / Fragrance: Peony Melbourne