Merinda & Rhys met at Phillip Island in 2005 during the MotoGP, all thanks to Merinda working up the courage to say hello to Rhys. He proposed years on whilst they were driving down the Peninsula on Christmas Eve. He asked her if she wanted her present early to which she said yes and didn’t think much of as she’d given him his earlier that day. Reaching into the console, he then handed her a box with a single diamond inside. She was caught by surprise which is exactly what he wanted. The two, having grown up in the country, dreamt of a relaxed and rustic wedding. Her vision for her wedding was relaxed and laid back wedding with lots of mason jars, flowers, fairy lights and candles were scattered around the venue. And the incredible images from Darin Collision , shows the entire day just as it unfolded.
How many guests? 70
How did you and your partner meet?
We met at Philip Island during the Moto GP 2005. Rhys was down for the race with his dad and extended family and I was there with friends. I had been out one night and when we came back to the house we were sharing for the weekend, there was a cute guy sitting by himself on the couch that we hadn’t met yet. I went over to say hi and then we spent the whole night chatting. Over 10 years later I couldn’t be happier that I had the courage to go over and talk to him!
How did he propose?
We were driving down to the Peninsula on Christmas Eve to a 1 year olds birthday party before continuing onto my family’s place for Christmas. While we were driving along, there was complete silence and I remember thinking how strange that was and how boring we were, as we obviously didn’t have anything to talk about! Suddenly Rhys asked if I wanted one of my presents early, as I had given him his earlier that day. I said yes, thinking once we stopped or got to mum’s place he would give me my present, but instead he reached down into his side console (while driving) and handed me a box. At this stage I was still clueless and got excited asking if it was new earrings. He didn’t say anything and just kept quickly glancing at me while I opened it. Once I looked inside there was just a single diamond in the box and I was wondered where the other one was – still thinking it was earrings! Then it suddenly hit me and Rhys had a big smile on his face and asked if I wanted to get married. I cried, asked if he was sure, and then replied yes – of course! It caught me completely by surprise which is just the way he wanted it!
What’s your most important piece of advice for creating and maintaining a strong relationship?
My biggest advice is to go with the flow, don’t rush things and definitely don’t compare your relationship to other people’s! I have learnt over the years that every relationship is different. I think its good to be content and happy with your partner and what you have together in the moment instead of worrying about the future and what might or might not happen between you.
Tell us about your wedding gown and how you chose it:
I have never been much of a ‘girlie girl’. I knew I wanted something simple and soft without too much glitz and formality. I never wanted to spend a fortune on a dress either so I looked online for inspiration. I came across the website BHLDN, which is based in the US, and I instantly fell in love with the gowns they showcased. After reading lots of reviews, and knowing it was a reputable site, I finally took a leap of faith and ordered a simple strapless gown with a fitted bodice and flowing tulle skirt. Once it arrived I was relieved as it looked like the picture and only needed minor alterations to fit me properly. I added straps to make me feel more comfortable (I didn’t want to potentially be pulling it up all night!) and a diamante embellishment/ belt to give it a bit of sparkle without being over the top! All up the cost was less than $500 and I couldn’t have been happier with the end result.
What sort of style did you envision for your wedding day?
We are both pretty relaxed and layed back and having grown up in the country it was an easy decision to go with rustic décor. The venue we chose had the ability to be very formal and modern or rustic and relaxed – we went with the latter! Lots of mason jars, flowers, fairy lights and candles were scattered around the venue, and the deck was supplied with wine barrels to use as tables where you could stand and watch the sunset over the beach. The staff at True South did a great job setting up the main areas for the reception and I owe the rest of the styling to my girlfriends and family who carried out my vision beautifully!
What was your favorite moment from the day?
The photos we had done down on the beach as the sun was setting. Although by this stage I was in party mode and didn’t want to leave the reception, it was actually lovely to get away and spend a moment together, just the two of us, so we could take a breath, talk and just be with each other. Darin timed this perfectly creating my favorite moment and taking my favorite photos from the day.
Any DIY décor elements?
I really wanted to do as much for the wedding myself as possible. I found a lot of inspiration and tips on Pinterest which inspired me to give the craft side of things a go. So in the end most of the decorations and decor were hand made by myself with plenty of talented friends and family contributing. We managed to turn mason jars into beautiful vases, make a pop-up Polaroid photo corner with props, and the wedding cake (plus every cup-cake) was hand made and decorated by my mum. We were also very fortunate that a very good friend of ours made scented candles to give to our guests as wedding favors, with another friends father making small wooden tags to attach to each one. Our guests absolutely loved them!
If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
Both Rhys and I agree that if we could have a do over we would practice our vows more prior! I was pretty relaxed and happy to just wing that part on the day- as we would just be repeating what was said to us. Looking back now though, we would definitely rehearse that part of the ceremony a lot more. We were both so nervous when that part came around we could have done with a bit more preparation!
I would also make more time to eat the beautiful food we had. I got so caught up with talking with everyone I barely ate a thing, the next day everyone was talking about how amazing the food was and I couldn’t help but kick myself for not having more!
Any tips that you can give to future brides?
Enjoy the day as it goes so quickly! Don’t sweat the small stuff on the day, just enjoy yourself and have fun with the people you love. Also be prepared to feel a bit out of sorts after the wedding. So much planning and preparation goes into the day that it can feel a bit strange getting back to your normal life where all your time isn’t dedicated to crossing things off a list!
Photographer : Darin Collision
Dress : BHLDN
Makeup: Simone from Pink Gloss – Mornington Peninsula
Hair: Simone from Pink Gloss – Mornington Peninsula
Shoes: Jeanette Maree – High ST Armadale
Accessories: Love On Jewellery
Grooms Suit: Formal Red
Wedding Invitations : Adorn Invitations
Menus and Place Cards : BWedding Invitations
Cake: My mother – Mary Smith
Food: True South – Black Rock
Flowers: Friends of the family, who own a native flower farm in Balnarring, picked and arranged by myself
Ceremony Venue: Black Rock House and Gardens
Reception Venue: True South – Black Rock