A Modern Garden Party in Australia
Phoebe Sampson and Matt Keighran were first introduced by mutual friends at Soundwave, a music festival in Melbourne, Australia, on February 29, 2011. They clicked instantlyâ€”"We couldn't believe we had not been introduced sooner," she saysâ€”but they remained just friends. Then, in March of the same year, they became more than that. "I remember I booked a trip to Europe, and when Matt decided to join me for a week in Amsterdam, I knew things were official," she says.
Fast forward six years, to November 24, 2017, when Matt and Phoebe made another official stepâ€”this time, as homeowners! Matt used this as an opportunity to prepare for the next: a proposal in their new living room that night. "He had set up candles, flowers, and champagne inside, and when we opened the door together, I was blown away," she recalls. "I turned around, and he was on one knee!" (Side note: Phoebe admits that when she first walked inside, she thought their real estate agent had set up the whole display as a welcome home!)
For their wedding, the couple knew they wanted it to take place at home in Melbourne. But they only knew where the ceremony would be: a historic 19th-century Italianate mansion owned by a family friend of the bride. As for the reception, they were unsure, so they toured four venues in the surrounding area, ultimately selecting a sleek studio space overlooking Albert Lake. They filled the two different eventsâ€”one, a garden party, and the other, a sleek dinnerâ€”with coordinating decor that felt modern yet whimsical. Keep reading to see more, including the bride's statement Houghton gown, as photographed by Ali Bailey.
Phoebe first hit all the bridal boutiques in Melbourne in search of her dream gown. But after no such luck, she hit the Internet, scoured photos, and found the one on the runway in New York City. "I saw an image of Houghton's 'Miranda' dress and immediately fell in love with it," she says. "I managed to find it at another boutique in Melbourne, tried it on, fell in love, and contacted the Houghton team in New York the next day." Together, they worked back-and-forth between New York and Australia, ultimately creating a long-sleeved, scoop-necked gown with a statement three-tiered skirt that was transparent from the knee down. "I wanted something very different yet magical," she says.
The bride accessorized with Tiffany & Co. earrings, which were a gift from her mother and acted as her "something new." She wore her grandmother's ring as her "something old" and Miu Miu blue heels as her "something blue." "I loved the way you could see the glimpse of my shoes through the transparent dress," she says.
Matt wore a custom three-piece suit by Biggins in Melbourne. He had the inside embroidered with "Matt & Phoebe" and their wedding date.
Phoebe's bridesmaids wore a variety of navy blue dresses, though they tied their looks together with matching bridal bouquets and rose gold heels by Nine West.
Phoebe's three nieces acted as flower girls and wore festive dresses by Tutu De Monde. "The girls felt like Disney princesses," she says. "Seeing them twirl around with those smiles on their faces was priceless."
The bride gave the girls Tiffany & Co. necklaces with their initials engraved in them as a "thank you."
During the ceremony, the bride made her grand entrance on the arm of her mother. "It was only fitting that she took on this special role," she says. "She is my best friend and shining star." After Phoebe's march led Matt to tears, the couple exchanged vows they'd written themselves in front of a circular installation. "We tried to keep these romantic, honest, and fun," explains the bride. "They reflected our relationship to a Tâ€”and there were tears and laughs all around!"
Phoebe and Matt enlisted Imogen Brough, a contestant from The Voice Australia, to sing throughout the ceremony and cocktail hour. She performed "You've Got the Love" by Florence & the Machine for the newlyweds' cheerful exit.
Following the ceremony, the couple truly embraced their garden party theme by having champagne and canapĂ©s in the garden before heading to their lake-side reception locale.
The reception took place at Carousel, where guests enjoyed more small bites before moving inside for a three-course dinner. The couple also served two signature cocktails, a caramelized pineapple mojito and a pear-and-rose gin Moscow mule.
In addition to signing the personalized guest book, Phoebe and Matt asked guests to drop letters and advice inside another customized acrylic box.
Tables were dressed with arrangements of pink and purple flowers, marble coasters, and, for Phoebe, a copper wine glass.
The couple's cake was a semi-naked design with a copper leaf finish. It was, of course, decorated with a another special "Phoebe & Matt" detail in the form of the cake topper.
After the bride's mum performed the epic speech from Father of the Bride, everyone hit the dance floor to party alongside the five-piece band. The couple selected Van Morrison's "Someone Like You" for their first dance.
Looking back on their big day, Phoebe has this planning advice for couples: "Don't sweat the small things and remember the big picture, which is marrying your best friend in a room surrounded by all your favorite people," she says. "It will be the best day of your lives!"