Merrily and Chris wanted their wedding day to be a warm gathering of family and friends to celebrate the 10 years they’d already spent together. Their Yarra Valley wedding at Zonzo Estate was all that and more, with every sweet detail captured by Jonathan Ong.
Having started the wedding planning journey on the traditional route, the pair soon realised a relaxed approach was a better fit. Merrily recalls, “We both came to the conclusion that we’d never done anything traditionally in our relationship and nor did we like anything overly formal or complicated, so why should we do it on this day? That decision changed everything.”
After much searching the couple finally found a venue that ticked all the boxes on their wish list – rustic décor, great food, the ability to serve wines of their choosing, and an nonrestrictive curfew. “The moment we sat down with Brianna from Zonzo Estate, we knew it was the place for us,” Merrily reveals. “They were so accommodating, friendly and generous with their time – plus their food was incredible! We’d recommend them to anyone looking to plan their wedding.”
Deciding they needed some help to pull their vision together, they reached out to Georgeous who Merrily admits she had been stalking on social media for some time. Once they had met with the team they knew that they were in great hands. “We couldn’t have done it without them,” she says. “The Georgeous team really managed everything from start to finish and we just had to show up and enjoy ourselves. They were incredible.”
Merrily’s red satin peep-toes had been a gift from her parents when she moved out of home at 17 years old (“They were to act as my “ruby slippers” in case I got homesick.”) Her dusty pink silk tulle gown was lovingly made by her mother, who also made white tulle skirts for the flower girls.
Together with an impressive floral installations by Cecilia Fox, a large “I love you all the time” neon sign provided a focal point for the reception and also held sentimental value for the couple. “This was something that Chris’s Papou used to say to us (and all the family) every time we visited,” Merrily explains. “He was very precious to us and always wanted to see us married.”
Merrily and Chris describe their vows as “very cheeky”, saying that they wanted a casual ceremony which shared their story. As a nod to Chris’ Greek heritage they incorporated a Stephana crown ceremony into the proceedings. “There were lots of laughs and a few tears,” Merrily recounts. “Sarah Dobson our celebrant did a smashing job and had everyone in stitches!”
The couple say they felt extremely lucky to have photographer Jonathan Ong on board to capture their day. “Jon was so special, he has a warm smile and a big heart, you really feel like he is there for you and loving the experience just as much as if it were his own.”