Meet two of the sweetest lovebirds in Melbourne, Dan & Sarah.
One splendid year ago, in front of 60 of their nearest and dearest, they said “hell-yes-I-do!” And this week marks their first wedding anniversary.
Theirs was an inner city melbourne affair, with a laid-back rustic, vintage, indie vibe. As music lovers, they wanted a live band to make their wedding swing.
And we were lucky enough to be their band of choice!
Usually wedding stories are written and shared straight after the wedding, in a flurry of emotions. But we really wanted to know how weddings look with a bit of distance – what stands out, what was worthwhile, what really mattered.
Sar & Dan kindly agreed to share some of their insights, memories and advice for soon-to-be brides & grooms with the benefit of a whole year’s hindsight.
Introducing Sar + Dan
We first met Dan & Sar over a bottle of wine in inner-north Melbourne. They are gorgeous people, and a solid partnership.
One year later, on their anniversary, they returned to their wedding venue and took some time to share their story with us all.
Over a few laughs and happy tears, these were their interview responses:
Hey dudes, introduce yourselves! Tell our readers a little about you.
Dan: I am 29 and work as a web developer for a startup in Collingwood. We are like the exact same person, but of the opposite sex. We actually did a personality test and confirmed it. We both absolutely love music and don’t think life could exist without it.
Sar: I am 28 and work as a company accountant, but I am also retraining to become a florist. I would describe us as makers. Together we love to make everything possible from scratch. We make beer, bread, jam, pickles, cultured butter, bacon and anything we can think of.
We first met back in 2010, because Dan advertised for a female singer for an acoustic duo, and I answered the ad. Music is a big part of the foundation of our friendship and our relationship, and this meant that music was a really important component of our wedding.
What’s your music taste like?
Dan: Luckily we share a lot of the same tastes in music. Folk, rock, jazz, and blues, especially the blues. We love listening to music, playing music and seeing live music together.
Sar: To name a small selection of artists we love; Darren Hanlon, Christopher Paul Stelling, Son House, Fleet Foxes, City and Colour and Something For Kate. We’re always on the look out for new tunes.
Tell us about your wedding plans.. what styles/themes/feel did you incorporate?
Dan/Sar: We didn’t really have any particular theme in mind that we were trying to achieve. We chose a really cool venue that didn’t need too much dressing up. Krimper offered a beautifully rustic and vintage vibe. As a cafe down a laneway in the heart of Melbourne, we felt it truly captured us, our style and what we wanted for our wedding day. We didn’t want a formal wedding, and the venue and setup we chose reflected that.
Any wedding traditions / formalities you intentionally left out, and why?
Sar: We took this as an opportunity not to plan a “wedding”, but rather to throw an awesome party. Some of the traditional wedding formalities that I wanted to leave out included a sit down dinner, a veil and garter, a suit and tie, matching bridesmaids and heaps of long speeches. Why? Because I don’t like being told what to do.
Dan: Coming from a guests perspective, I know that some traditional weddings leave you uninterested, tired and waiting for the bar to open. To make our day super fun for all involved, I wanted to chuck out the long, uninteresting ceremony, and there was no way we were leaving all the guests and going for photos after the ceremony for like 3 hours.
Tell us about your ceremony! What was it like, walking down the aisle, seeing each other, with your special song All These Things being performed live?
Sar: A couple of days after we started ‘dating’, Darren Hanlon was playing at the Gallipoli, a little club in Newcastle that feels like you’re stepping into the 1960s, the decor hasn’t changed.
I had planned to go along to the gig with my sister Carli.
It was kind of a tradition to see Daz whenever he came to town. So I invited Dan along as a 3rd wheel. Carli later realised that she was actually the 3rd wheel when she saw us secretly holding hands in the crowd.
This was the first time we went to a live show together, Darren was touring for his recently released album, “I will love you at all” and he played All These Things with Shelly Short.
Whenever I hear All These Things play, it takes me back to that time at the Gallipoli Club. So it was kind of surreal to have it playing as I walked down the aisle, as I was about to marry my best friend.
Legends that you are, you chose a singalong song instead of a traditional ceremony reading. Can you explain it a bit for other soon-to-be newlyweds?
Sar: Best decision ever! Wedding ceremonies can be so boring, but when we were planning ours we wanted to make that this wasn’t the case. When we met with our celebrant, she recommended that we introduce a sing-a-long in place of a reading. So basically, instead of the guests yawning through another reading and watching their clocks for the bar to open, everyone sung along with us at the top of their lungs. We printed lyric cards for the guests so everyone could follow along.
Dan: We felt that during the ceremony when everyone was singing along, it really brought our friends and family together in support of us. The feedback that we got was overwhelming that the ceremony was refreshingly fun and engaging, unlike a traditional ceremony. The best part was, later in the night, when everyone was up dancing, we had another crack at our sing-a-long and everyone was WAY into it.
Any other unconventional choices you made that made your wedding totally ‘you’?
Dan: One choice we made that was unconventional, was to have the ceremony and then kick the party off straight away. To accomplish this we took our photos in the afternoon, with the ceremony and reception kicking off in the evening. To set the mood straight away, guests were greeted with mulled wine and mulled cider on arrival.
Sar: We tried to plan our wedding for our guests to enjoy, rather than it just being all about us. We felt like it was easier for guests to mingle with a cocktail dinner, rather than a formal sit-down meal. It also makes it easier to jump straight onto the dancefloor and keeps the atmosphere celebratory. One purely selfish thing we did do, was to have the wedding in the depth of the Melbourne winter, which is considered unconventional. We just simply hate the heat!
You had an awesome group of family and friends, and they seemed to really enjoy dancing during the reception. What feedback did you get from your guests?
Sar: We had more than one person say that it was the best wedding they had ever been to. We had a breakfast the next morning, and instead of complaining about sore heads, the guest were all complaining about sore feet. Everybody at the wedding got up and shredded the dancefloor, and that’s a testament to how good of an atmosphere Fidel and Sarah set on the night.
Dan: We had many guests tell us that the band was so cool, and the music selection awesome. The setlist that Fidel and Sarah played had such breadth that they were able to cater to everyone’s taste. Some favourites that were mentioned included Johnny Cash, The Ramones, White Stripes, and the Robin Hood song 😉
Looking back on your wedding a year later, what memories stand out the most?
Sar: Walking down the aisle towards Dan, it was almost as if no one else was in the room (a little bit surreal), committing myself to my best friend for life, having a blast with our friends and family and wearing a sweet-ass dress.
Dan: Exchanging wedding vows that we had poured our hearts into (on the morning of the wedding (this doesn’t cheapen it, it’s just how we roll)), our first dance, cheek to cheek, as husband and wife and playing songs on stage with my Dad’s band.
Some couples think they won’t care much for a first dance. What do you think?
Sar: With all of the chaos that weddings can bring; from having your picture taken a million times, getting around all of the guests, and feeling like you’re coordinating everything that is going on, sometimes you look around and realise that you haven’t seen your new husband for a while, and this day was meant to be about the two of you… It was so nice to have our first dance as husband and wife because, for a small moment we just got to be together, just the two of us, no interruptions. I think about it often and the photos that we got of us dancing are some of the best because they aren’t posed at all, we are just having a really great time together.
Dan: We didn’t really plan or rehearse too much, we only really started thinking about it a couple of weeks before the big day. We moved our dining table to the side of the room so we had a bit of a dance floor in our apartment and practiced at night, after work, which was really fun. Any moves that we thought we had went out the window on the night and we ended up just doing a few shuffles and twirls, which actually, was perfect.
How did you pick your wedding songs?
Dan: When we were choosing music for the wedding we weren’t really sure how to achieve exactly what we wanted. We were referred to Fidel and Sarah by our celebrant, Dee, and after meeting them we knew they were such a perfect match for our tastes and couldn’t settle for anything less. Sar and I chose songs for the ceremony that were important to us, and then let Fidel and Sarah choose the set list based on the vibe we were going for. We knew almost all the songs in their repertoire and felt confident to let them set the atmosphere, couldn’t of been happier!
Could you imagine not having a live band at your wedding?
Dan: The atmosphere would have been totally different, and I don’t think we, or our guests, would have had such an amazing night.
Sar: It would have been a completely different party. Dan and I are from different hometowns, so most of our guests had never met before. The casual vibe that we aimed for with the cocktail dinner and rustic venue was really harmonised with the acoustic-folky music that Fidel and Sarah played; it really set the mood for the night.
What advice would you give to other couples considering live music?
Sar: It is easy to place so much emphasis on planning the details of the wedding; decorations, place cards, outfits, shoes, hair, entrees etc. But once you get there, the most important thing is the atmosphere and for you and your guests to have an awesome time. In our experience live music is the best way to make your wedding the best party of your life!
What makes your partner the awesomest?
Dan: Sar is super supportive, kind, loving, funny and smart. She is an awesome travel buddy, and just all round damn fun to spend time with. Being a terrible morning person, I know that Sar is always there to take care of me in the morning. Coffee and breakfast are usually ready for me when I finally drag myself out of bed. Without her I don’t know how I’d survive. Most of all she appreciates me for all my weird idiosyncrasies, and believe me, there are a lot!
Sar: Dan is my very best friend, we are pretty much joined at the hip. He is a massive nerd, and sometimes he can be a big dork, just like me. He has all of the best qualities I could imagine, mashed into one person. He is so supportive that he told me to chuck in my office job and pursue my dream of becoming a florist! It’s so hard to describe why he is the best, I think it’s all of the little things he does to cheer me up, like buying me a new pair of identical jeans because I ripped mine when I fell off my bike, or taking care of me when I am sick. He is just the greatest and I love him to bits, I don’t know what I would do without him.
Which vendors / services really made your day special?
Dan/Sar: We were really happy with all of our vendors, their professionalism and execution exceeded our expectations. To mention a few; Marry Me Dee, our celebrant, was amazing and really brought our ceremony to life. She set the tone for the night from the get go, with her blue velvet dress and rock-star attitude. Maddy from Mad About Cakes was an absolute pleasure to work with and the desserts were incredible. She even hand painted cookies to match our invitations. The staff at our venue Krimper ensured that the celebrations went smoothly and that all of our guests were taken care of. They even went above and beyond, and organised a last minute whisky for the bridal party, right before showtime.
Our wedding would have been completely different it if weren’t for Fidel and Sarah. They really set a great atmosphere, interacted with the crowd, and sent everyone into a dance frenzy.
Dan: We also had a number of unofficial vendors helping us out along the way. Sar’s sisters, Nicky and Carli, designed, printed and posted our save-the-dates and invitations. Sar’s friend Theresa generously offered her time to do makeup for the bridal party.
Sar: Rather than having ten pieces of paper in the invitation pack, Dan built a website, with graphics designed by Carli. Our venue, Krimper, operates as a cafe during the day, trading until 4pm. We had a heap of helpers rushing around to set the venue up for guests to arrive at 5:30. The night wouldn’t have turned out so well if we hadn’t have had this help along the way.
A year on, any other wisdom, advice, comments or thoughts you want to add?
Dan: It wasn’t until a few days later that I realised I hadn’t given Fidel and Sarah their copy of the run sheet. Nevertheless, they were super organised on the night, helpful, professional but fun, and fit with the guests like they were family. If you’re looking for live music for your wedding don’t look anywhere else!
Sar: Don’t overthink it! If you see something that you like and you want it for your wedding, go for it. Sometimes there isn’t any benefit to shopping around, or the extra time spent wasn’t really worth it. Make sure you spend some time with your partner on the day of the wedding. The morning of our wedding, we got up and had coffee and pastries together before going our separate ways to get ready with our families.