Real Essense of Australia Bride Carla + Daniel

After a proposal in Fiji, real bride Carla and her fiance Daniel set out to plan a wedding that balanced modern and classic styles. Carla was confident that she wanted an off-the-shoulder wedding dress but finding the perfect gown proved to be difficult. Thankfully, she found Essense of Australia Style D2716, a glamorous pleated ballgown with a banded off-the-shoulder neckline. The gown effortlessly fit into their Catholic church ceremony and impeccably styled reception. Carla and Daniel even got to escape to the beach for some sunset photos. Read on for more details.


Tell us about your proposal…

Dan and I went to Fiji together in January 2020 and stayed in the Marriott Momi Bay Resort in this beautiful lagoon front Bure. On the first day, we had dinner then went back to our room right after sunset. Daniel ordered some cocktails and we sat outside on the deck of our Bure looking out to the lagoon. I could tell he was a bit nervous and quiet for some reason, but he started telling me all the things he admired about me and how much he appreciated having me in his life. Next thing I knew, he leapt off the lounge onto one knee and asked me to marry him, presenting a beautiful teal sapphire yellow gold ring which I had pointed out to him about six months prior online. I started hysterically crying and I’m pretty sure it echoed across the whole lagoon. It was great that he proposed on the first night of our vacation because we were able to celebrate and really enjoy the time we had together before returning to everyday life and starting the planning process.


How did you know that Essense of Australia Style D2716 was the one?

When it came to dress shopping, I really wanted a classic, timeless, elegant and simple dress that wasn’t over the top. I knew from the get-go I loved the off the shoulder neckline and I didn’t want a huge frou frou ball gown. It was actually quite difficult to find dresses with a straight-across off-the-shoulder neckline. I visited about twenty dress shops over five or six weeks, and I was becoming very overwhelmed by the process. Six weeks into searching, I booked an appointment at Accapella Bridal in Wollongong with Connie, and she had three dresses lined up for me that I had pointed out from her website. The moment I put on the second dress, I knew it was it. It just felt right. It was made for me, and I also knew my husband would love it. The neckline was regal and timeless, the pleated ball gown skirt made the dress grand but still understated, the train was a perfect length, and it had these stunning buttons from the top to the end of the train. It was just heaven. I chose to keep it simple, so I didn’t add any belts or embellishments. I wore pearls because the dress is made of Pearl Mikado and had a subtle shine. I also found a beautiful pearl veil online and wore a pearl hair comb my mother had bought in Singapore and wore on her wedding day. It all matched perfectly.


How did you make your wedding personal to your style and love story?

We got married in the Catholic church where my parents got married, where I was raised, and where we had all of our religious family events over the years. The ceremony for us was the most important part of the day, and we chose to have a short but traditional Catholic mass using the church’s vows. For our reception at the botanical garden, the flowers and styling were an absolute highlight. White and gold were the base tones, as we wanted a classic and timeless foundation and the other colours added a modern flair. Our florist added olive tree branches with actual olives to the arrangements on the day and it just perfectly tied in with our Italian heritage and our olive oil bomboniere. Our main priority for our wedding was to have our guests enjoy themselves. We decided to book a few forms of entertainment including a Violin Stunt Duo, a photobooth, a caricaturist, and a live singer for the church ceremony and canape hour. At the end of the night we gave our flowers away in small posies for the guests to take home and enjoy. It was honestly the perfect day and I would 1000x do it again.


What was the most memorable part of your wedding?

So many precious moments! Of course walking down the aisle was so surreal because it is something you think about your whole life and especially in the lead up to the wedding. You always wonder how it’s going to feel, and for me I felt an overwhelming sense of calm, like I was floating on air towards the love of my life, my future. My other favourite moment was right after we arrived at the reception and Daniel and I snuck off to the beach for photos at sunset. I just remember hearing the waves crash behind us, time stood still and it was a moment that felt like it would last forever.


Photography by In A Maze.

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