REAL WEDDING: Nina and James


Nina and James came to me with a brilliant proposition. They wanted a wedding that truly reflected their values and their life together. No patriarchal overtones, no sexist sentiments - just two people declaring their love before their friends and family... with some truly excellent wine on the menu.

This is how they did it...

How did you meet? We met at a mutual friend’s birthday picnic in the Carlton gardens on an unusually sunny October day in Melbourne.

Tell me about the proposal… We didn’t have a proposal, it’s not really our thing. We just had a conversation about our ageing grandparents and the lack of weddings in our families and figured it’s something we wanted to do, so why not now! Then we planned the wedding right away because we’re a bit impatient like that.

What was the first thing you decided on when you were arranging your day? I think it was the venue. We had two that we were seriously looking at, both were cafés that also held night time functions, and then decided on the one that gave us confidence that they truly understood us and knew what they were doing. Cafés that do night time events are a great option for wedding venues if you’re not so keen on a traditional function venue or trekking out to a regional winery or the like. They can be quite a lot cheaper than a traditional wedding venue, but much easier than organising something from scratch in an empty space like a hall or outdoors.

How did you choose your dress? I already knew I wasn’t going to wear a traditional wedding dress, so my best friend and I went into David Jones to try on a bunch of wild designer dresses. They all looked totally horrible on and I was quite deflated that it would be much harder than I anticipated. Then on the way out the door, as we passed by an unassuming rack of dresses I saw the edge of a lacey deep greyish-blue teal dress. I tried it on, it fit perfectly, and I bought it. It was one of the easiest parts!

What was the reason that you chose the venue that you did? Our biggest priorities were great food, great wine and a convenient location. My mum had walked past this café/wine bar in the back streets of Collingwood and saw their gorgeous big event space. We enquired with them and they were so lovely and clearly knew how to prepare gorgeous food and equally beautiful wine.

Did you have a cake? If so what flavour did you chose? Um, nope… we thought about it, but then kind of just forgot about it! But we had really nice deserts so we didn’t really see the point.

What type of vibe / theme were you after? Very casual, fun and loving, but with excellent food and wine. We did very little that was traditional and it was perfect for us. Most traditions didn’t make any sense to us, so we only did what we felt like.

What was the best piece of advice you were given in the lead up? It’s so common, but just that the wedding will be a bit of a blur, so try as much as you can to soak up the special moments when you can. Standing up in front of your family and friends is surprisingly nerve wracking and your mind goes a bit blank!

Has life changed since you got married? Not really because we got married, but since we got married 3 months ago, we have bought a house and are having a baby! (Did I mentioned we are slightly impatient people?)

What’s your best piece of advice for couples that are arranging their wedding? Weddings are actually easy and they don’t take years to plan if you don’t want to. We planned ours very easily in 4 months and it still felt like we had so much time to wait until the day finally arrived. If you cut out all the things that other people expect, and only do the stuff that really matters to you, you’ll be surprised by how fun and stress free it can be. Another bonus to booking a café venue (or non-traditional wedding venue) is that they generally don’t have long waiting lists!   

Also, you face will hurt a lot from smiling in pictures and at your guests, so take a break to go in the bathroom and relax your face!

Who was your favourite, stand out vendor? Most of our ‘vendors’ were our friends (photographer, wedding rings, flowers) so it was really special to have that personal connection with the people helping us to create our wedding. Only our celebrant (Precious) and the venue were not known to us previously, and they couldn’t have impressed us more.

Precious was beyond our expectations and made the day so memorable and special for us and our families. Precious has the perfect combination of meticulous organisation and a genuine and engaging personality that makes her the best celebrant you could hope for.
— Nina


Photographer – Madeline Bishop. Venue & Catering – Project Forty Nine, Collingwood. Invites – Squarespace website. Dress & Suit – from David Jones. Wedding rings – custom made by Tae Schmeisser. Her shoes – Bul. His shoes – Purchased a few years ago. Music – Spotify playlist. Florist – Friend Kit Scott.

Precious Fawcett