How did you meet?
It was my 29th birthday and I decided to have an Oktoberfest birthday bash at our local German Club. It was a family-friendly venue and I was there with 29 of my nearest and dearest, all dressed up in costume for a fun night. Then much to my surprise, a handsome young man walked in with his parents who were visiting from interstate to enjoy a schnitzel. They were seated behind us and thought because we were all in costume that we must have been German and there to celebrate the Oktoberfest festivities. We smiled at each other across the room and we couldn’t keep our eyes off each other for the rest of the night. Now the rest is history.

Tell us about the proposal
It was a Wednesday afternoon in November and it had been raining like crazy. I was on my way home from work when Ben called to ask if I could pick him up from Bulimba as he was having car troubles. I thought nothing of it and asked him where he was and headed down to pick him up. Much to my surprise, when I pulled up next to him he stepped out of the car in a suit and tie with two dozen roses and then he got down on one knee, told me how much I changed his life and that he loved and adored me, and asked me to marry him. Now, I bet you are thinking in a car park – really? The romantic part of this is it’s the first place we ever kissed. After one of our very first dates Ben walked me to my car to say goodnight – it’s a memory that he has always cherished. After all the gushy stuff and of course me saying yes, we relived that first date and of course the kiss.


Why did you choose Verona for your wedding?
A week after we met, Ben was headed off for an Italian holiday and at that time I was planning my own Italian trip to take place a few months later. When Ben returned he told me that he had visited Verona and if I get the opportunity on my trip I should visit. A few months later I visited Verona and posted a letter to the Secretaries of Juliet in Juliet’s Garden. Once I returned the secretaries not only sent a letter to Ben but one also to myself. Verona and Juliet’s Garden was a magical place that we both loved and the letter’s we both received had resonated with us as a sentimental and romantic gesture. We had seen some friends have big stressful weddings and as a joke we said let’s go to Italy and get married in Verona. After a little bit of research we soon discovered that this joke was actually an option which we could achieve, so we decided to go for it.

What did you do for your hens and bucks?
Neither of us wanted a crazy hens or bucks night so we had a really casual joint celebration of burgers, beers and bowling. We kept everything close by with burgers and beers at Grill’d in the Wintergarden (Brisbane) and then Strike Bowling afterwards with dancing, karaoke and drinks. It was a fabulous night, really casual and relaxed and everyone had a good time.


DIY details
I decided I wanted to do my own hair for the wedding. I’ve been taught some tricks over the years so it wasn’t too hard. I just needed to decide what I wanted and make sure I could do it quickly enough on the day. This took some practice and trials at home which more poor husband was driven a little crazy with, but in the end it was a great decision and worked out really well.

What was your key styling inspiration?
I absolutely love Galia Lahav’s dresses and styling, and that’s where I found inspiration for my dress. However, I wanted an elegant yet slightly sexy style which is why I went for the cut-out back. I had an
up-do that was 50s/60s inspired with simple, elegant jewellery that I hoped wouldn’t detract from the lace detailing on the dress.

As we were having a European wedding we wanted Ben’s suit to look sharp so we went with an MJ Bale suit in a vibrant navy blue colour, European-cut with a red tie and pocket square. Simple but striking – he looked really handsome.


Where did you splurge and where did you save on your wedding?
The splurge was definitely my shoes, beautiful white silk Manolo’s with Swarovski details that I absolutely love, but I didn’t expect them to get anywhere near as dirty as they did.

What was the funniest moment of the day?
Everyone dancing to ‘I’m too sexy’ like they were on a catwalk. I saw some of the funniest moves and poses I’ve ever seen.


What was the most special memory from the day?
I would say there was definitely more than one special moment but something that stuck with both of us was the hospitality of the Italian people who all wanted to congratulate us on our marriage and wish us well. We were applauded, hugged and kissed by the locals as we walked the streets of Verona getting photos after the wedding. One lady came up to us and gave us a one cent Euro, telling us that 20 years ago her and her husband married in Italy and were back celebrating. On their wedding day a young girl went up to them and gave them a one cent Euro and told them it would bring them luck for their marriage… then there they were celebrating it 20 years later! She said that she wanted to return the favour and wish us luck for our marriage. It was a small but very meaningful gesture from a total stranger and we still have the one cent Euro to remind us of that moment.

What did you do for your honeymoon?

After our beautiful wedding in Verona, we travelled around Italy where we explored beautiful Lake Garda, soaked up the canals in Venice on a gondola ride and got lost in the maze of alleyways. We watched the sun set over Florence at Piazzala Michelangelo, explored the ancient sites of Rome and soaked up the sun and lifestyle in Sorrento and Capri.


Special thanks to…
… my wonderful husband for not only wanting to marry me but for helping me organise our beautiful wedding on the other side of the world. My fabulous friend Tex Houston who was there for both of us and also helped me with my dress design and getting ready on the day. Helena Karkovic from Helena Couture Designs for helping me turn my wedding dress ideas into reality. Not only did she make my beautiful wedding dress she was a dream to work with and a beautiful person.

Also a huge thank you to all of our guests for joining us across the world for our wedding. We know it was a long trip and we can’t thank them enough for coming.

What advice would you give other brides-to-be?
Your wedding is about you and your partner and the adventure of the future you are both about to embark on. For your wedding, just do whatever it is that makes the two of you happy, not anyone else.

Also, if you’re thinking about travelling abroad for your wedding I would highly recommended it. Just make sure you have a good company in place that can help with the details. I can guarantee it will be less stressful than having a wedding at home. Plus, the holiday afterwardsis a fabulous way to spend time with friends and family, as well as having your own private time to honeymoon afterwards.

Let us take a moment to appreciate the fact that this stunning bride did her own hair – incredible! Elleina and Ben’s destination wedding in Verona, Italy looks absolutely perfect – full of sentimental touches and plenty of happy memories to cherish.

To learn more about getting married in Verona, check out http://www.romeoandjuliet-weddings.com/verona/wedding-planner/civil-wedding-in-verona.

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