Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…

Sam is the menswear buyer for Nike stores in Australia, Emily is a project manager for Vic Roads. Sam gate-crashed Emily’s 22nd birthday and for Emily, it was love at first sight because she thought Sam looked like the spitting image of Jude Law (her ultimate celebrity crush).

We actually connected properly a month or two later at a mutual friend’s birthday party at the Belgium Beer Gardens. We were having such great conversation that we stayed until closing time (our friends had left already without us noticing). It was about 2am and Sam didn’t want to leave me alone at the tram stop, so we walked from tram stop to tram stop all the way from St Kilda to North Carlton without realising. From that night on we were inseparable.

We went to Italy in June last year, and stayed in an old monastery on an olive farm in Tuscany. We went for a walk to feed some chickens one morning, and all of a sudden I looked behind me and Sam was on one knee. I genuinely thought for the first few seconds that he had fallen over, it was such a surprise! Sam gave me a ring that he designed with a sapphire from our travels to Sri Lanka years before, it was absolutely lovely!

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…

We spent about nine months just enjoying being engaged, with absolutely no wedding plans… and then realised one night that both my best friend (who lives in London) and Sam’s brother (who lives in Amsterdam) were both going to be back in Melbourne on the same weekend which was eight weeks away! We decided right then that it was fate, and planned the entire thing in two months.

As soon as we saw the ceiling of the Fitzroy Reading Room we both instantly thought about our travels to Cuba! The old world glamour was totally our inspiration, and so we decided to hire a six-piece salsa band and salsa dancing teachers so everyone could enjoy the latin american va-va-voom that we had experienced on our travels! There is something about Cuban music that makes people go wild, and we thought it would make a perfect wedding theme for a small wedding to get everyone up and on the d-floor!

We love DIY, we finished renovating our house a year ago and were excited to have projects to work on once we started dreaming up the wedding! We designed our wedding invitations, and printed them through Canva; it was an amazing experience and we would highly recommend them. We wrote the details for the wedding in a poem, and our friends loved the terrible rhyming and relaxed nature of the invites. No RSVPs, no addresses (couldn’t find a rhyming word to George Street that fit the bill), but luckily everyone turned up!

We both love to be creative, so made tiny, unusual shaped vases for the reception, glazed them at Northcote Pottery, filled them with garden roses, and invited our guests to take them home at the end of the night as thank-you gifts!

Sam owns a dog accessory business on the side, and sells lots of beautiful dog tags, so we engraved solid brass tags for all of our guests with their name and our favorite quote “I am because you are” as take-home gifts and place cards. Me and my sisters made five desserts the day before the wedding, which was absolutely hilarious and a lovely way to work up to the event. Sam made the cake stands for the dessert grazing table out of American Walnut, and sealed them with beeswax, so they smelled absolutely divine!

We both love R&B and rap music, so couldn’t help but choose “So Into You” by Childish Gambino, which was a Triple J Like A Version cover of an original by Tamia. It is a love song with so much soul, there wasn’t a dry eye in the church! We were married in the same church as my parents, and even though Sam is not religious at all it was a highlight for both of us. We didn’t plan it but the sunset coming through the church windows was absolutely spectacular and although lots of our guests had never been in a church before, they were absolutely gobsmacked by the beauty!

Tell us about your main outfits:

I went dress shopping straight away with my maid-of-honor and fell in love with a One Day Bridal gown, although they thought I was joking when I said the wedding was in May 2018, rather than May 2019! They were worried that the dress wouldn’t be ready in time, and so I searched around and found a lovely lady in St Kilda who had the exact same dress, and was selling it at Still White! I bought it straight away, got it altered by an incredibly sweet lady in Brunswick and it has been one of my favourite parts of our wedding!

Sam and the groomsmen had matching black suits from Prinzi Collections in Carlton, and chose a satin lapel to suit the glamorous theme. The groomsmen were all brothers, and chose to wear hand-crafted brass swallow cuff links as a reference to their late father’s hand tattoos.

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

Absolutely hand down the best memory is when Eric, the Cuban Master came and taught us how to boogie salsa style. It was so hilarious seeing everyone getting involved and people were smiling from ear-to-ear for the rest of the night trying to replicate his dance moves.

Honestly the funniest bit was when we were leaving. We had a van outside the venue to pack everything away at the end of the night which we were going to leave there until the next morning, but I realised with all the crazy dancing and socialising that I hadn’t drunk the whole night…so ended up driving us both home. Sam was in hysterics watching me drive this bloody enormous van down Brunswick Street in my dress and veil… everyone on the street thought it was absolutely hilarious!

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

Honestly, it was just a big party for our family and friends. We have been living together as an unmarried ‘married couple’ for the best part of the last decade, so just wanted to have a fun time! I am really glad that we walked around Fitzroy, that was a highlight for me, those streets have always been special to us, and now they have magical memories!

Have someone that knows what’s going on, and tell everyone who that is. My sister really helped us basically sort everything out on the night, without her we would probably still be getting ready haha! Thanks Kaz, love you!

Photographer: Tanya Voltchanskaya | Videographer: James Shadrach, Video Why | Ceremony location: Saint Mark’s Fitzroy | Reception location: Fitzroy Town Hall | Entertainment: Eric Turro, The Conga Band Teachers | Flora: Babylon Flowers | Catering: Kinfolk Cafe | Donuts: Krispy Kreme | Hair: Heading Out | Makeup: Michelle Hernandez | Invitations: Canva | Wedding dress: One Day Bridal | Bridal boutique: Still White | Groom and groomsmen’s attire: Prinzi Collections | Shoes: Seed Heritage | Cuff links: Defy | Bride’s crown: Mimco | Bridesmaids’ dresses: The Iconic