I am SOOOO SO SO excited to finally be writing this blog. See, it’s not just 6 months since the wedding I’ve been waiting… It’s kind of been 7 years in the making!
I met Mel at her Sister, Chrissy’s wedding back in 2012. I had just started shooting weddings and Chrissy invited me to hang out with her and her family for the day. She had her 4 sisters as her Bridesmaids, and Mel was one of them (Along with the beautiful Deb, Ange + Lisa as well) – Mel and I hit it off straight away. She was the most beautiful soul (all the Hunter’s are, actually) and she told me not long after, when she gets married she wants me to photograph it (I think she was about 20 then, and in the infancy of her relationship with Ben, but hey. The girl had a plan!)
I then shot their Sister, Ange’s wedding in 2013 and we got to reconnect again. We chatted on social media for years and years, and then I FINALLY got the text! “Leah, what dates do you have free? I’m getting MARRIED!!”
Although I can count the times we’ve hung out on two hands, I feel like I’ve known Mel forever and ever. She is a beautiful friend, and her new Hubby, Ben is equally as awesome. So, it brings me great pride to share this day with you!
Both Ben + Mel decided to get ready in seperate rooms at The Geelong Club. The beautiful, historic venue where the ceremony was to take place.
I headed upstairs to the boys who were drinking champagne in an old Lounge area. They had all the snacks, and all the drinks sorted. Everything laid out ready to go, so incredibly organised!
This building is just so amazing. Everywhere you look, there is a perfect spot for photos. The moody lighting making my photographic brain go wild!
Ben had chosen a Burgundy, double-breasted, custom made suit for his outfit of choice. He had sail boats inserted in the lining, along with the wedding date stitched into the breast pocket. Nicest suit EVERRRR. Well chosen Mr. King. Well chosen.
The boys were pretty relaxed, and looking suave. Ben’s Groomsmen, Scott and Hayden were at his side for anything he needed, and Hayden had his camera out shooting video to make sure nothing was missed (we later found out Hayden and Cass had compiled a beautiful wedding video, including amazing drone footage and surprised the couple!)
The Geelong Club has a rich history, as well as so many awesome photo opportunities, so we decided to go exploring and see what we could find.
We found the pool hall, and then snuck down to the cellar for a quick look too.
After our little exploration, it was time for me to head downstairs to the girls and let the boys chill out for awhile.
I walked into the front Lounge to find Mel’s dress (Holy moly, THIS dress!!) hanging up on the mantle. Mel’s Bridesmaids Katie and Cass had gone to town with all the details, so all I had to do was walk in and capture them.
I walked in to Mel and the girls in their matching PJ sets, and was greeted by the biggest hug from Mel, the kind that made me feel like I was part of the family (and the whole Hunter fam have an amazing knack of making me feel like this) and I feel just… so privileged to be there.
Before I left the boys upstairs, Ben gave me a little card to give to his soon-to-be-Wifey so I pulled her up a seat, gave it to her and capture her reaction. I have about 20 photos of her face while reading this card, you can’t beat raw feels like that.
While Mel dried her tears, her girls made jokes and shook the nerves right out of her. She had a quick visit from her other good friends, Libby and Kiara. I always knew Mel was literally the nicest human. But when you get someone among their closest friends, it all kind of makes sense as to exactly HOW nice they are. Mel speaks so highly of her girlfriends, and I can see why. But I can also see why they are friends. Because, kindness attracts kindness. You are a lucky group of gals!
And with that… it was time to get Mel into her dress.
While the girls were getting the final details done, Mel’s Parent’s (Noel + Kathy) entered the room. I could see a little tear sitting pretty in Noel’s eye, although I’m sure he’ll hate me for sharing that! And Kathy, with the biggest smile you have probably ever seen. Only eyes for her Daughter, Mel.
A quick visit from Ben’s Mum, Sherree too. As you can probably tell, Mel is already a Daughter to her too, and she too shed some tears when she laid eyes on the beautiful Bride.
With the clock hitting 4pm, and all the guests and Ben waiting outside in the beautiful gardens. It was time for Mel to go get her Hubby!
Mel held on to her Dad’s arm tight as can be, and used his shoulder to comfort herself as the overwhelm hit hard as she walked out the doors and into her wedding.
As soon as she saw Ben though, it turned into the biggest smile. I could literally see all the nerves wash away as she laid eyes on him. And Ben equally couldn’t take his eyes of Mel.
The ceremony was beautiful, and super special as the celebrant was Mel’s Aunt Gillian. The couple stared at each other with the biggest grins. We heard readings from family and friends. And everyone cheered as they said ‘I Do’.
With the marriage certificate signed, a kiss placed on each others lips it was Hello Mr + Mrs King!
The couple were met with so much love, it was so beautiful to watch. Both families genuinely integrated with each other. It was one big family.
With all the love and hugs to be given (I’m sure there will be more later!) it was time for me to steal the Bridal Party away for a teeny moment to create some magic.
And while the Geelong Waterfront was the main request for photos (because, WOW). It would be absolutely rude not to take advantage of The Geelong Club before we head off for some couples photos.
The lighting in this place is IN.SANE!!
With every inch of The Geelong Club used by us (Ha!) it was time to head down to the Geelong Waterfront. As the sun was lowering, Ben + Mel drove out in Mel’s Dad’s beautiful vintage car that came out of retirement specifically for this day.
The weather was PERFECTION. As was the Groom and Bride. And the Bridal Party. And the families. Just everyone and everything was awesome OK!
With the reception due to start, we made our way back to The Pier, the most beautiful venue everrrrrr. Sitting pretty at the end of Cunningham Pier right in the heart of the waterfront.
Mel had her heart on one particular shot, and that was to climb the tower above this beautiful venue (Little did she realise how hard it would be in heels and a massive gown! But she did, and it was SO worth it)
We nailed the shot, and so it was time to officially start the party!
The venue was set up so beautifully. And totally surrounded by glass, so as the sun set we were treated to the most magnificent view. It was like art. Perfection.
All the guests were seated now, and ready to hang out with the two people they came here too celebrate, so it was time to introduce the newlyweds!
As the couple walked in, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sunset behind them. And I had brought some smoke bombs specifically to create some magic – So quickly while the Entree’s were being served, we snuck out to create THESE!
My favourite wedding photo I’ve ever taken right here. Right place. Right time. Right couple. LOVE!
Now back to the party, where it was time to hear from the couples nearest and dearest.
So many laughs, and so many tears!
Time for the cake cut…
And the first dance!
These two danced to Ziggy Alberts and couldn’t take their eyes off one another. It was like there was no-one else in the room for that few minutes.
As Ziggy sung his last notes, it was now time to REALLY get the party started, so everyone was invited onto the dance floor and everyone GOT DOWN!
The dance floor was full literally all night. The band was sensational, the vibe was even better! It felt like the whole day just flew, and I’m sure Mel + Ben felt it even more! The clock struck 11:30pm and it was time for them to leave… and honestly? What better way to leave than with a sparkler exit!
Literally, BEST DAY EVER.
And it wasn’t even my wedding. Ben + Mel, thank you SO much for choosing me (Well, I don’t think you ever had a choice Ben, ha!) and thank you to both of your gorgeous families for always making me feel so welcome.
This wedding will always be one of my favourites of all time. Getting to capture these memories for you gives me all the feels and I am just so thankful for your friendship.
Big Love, Leah
~ xoxo ~
Photography: Meeeee! (Click here to see more rad weddings!)
Ceremony: The Geelong Club
Reception: The Pier Geelong
Celebrant: Wimmera Celebrant (Gillian)
Dress: Jack Sullivan
Hair: Ashton Styling
Makeup: Olive Torrence
Bouquets: Love of Flora
Band: Mark Nunis Music
Cake: Sweet Designs by Claire
© 2023 Leah Ladson Photography & Design. All Rights Reserved.