Melbourne’s historic Abbotsford Convent provided the perfect venue for Ciara and Jim’s wedding. Centrally located, with a “country winery” atmosphere that Ciara loves, the Convent is “just down the road” from Jim’s home at the time they began dating three years earlier.
Jim had noticed Ciara at a mutual friend’s birthday party but their first “real” meeting was at dinner and a concert with a group of friends.
Ciara confides: “I like my men tall and skinny and Jim certainly fit the bill!”
Jim remembers thinking that Ciara was “a girl with strong and freely voiced opinions”.
Their intriguing first impressions of each other drew them into a relationship where love, admiration, and appreciation shine brightly.
Ciara loves Jim for being “incredibly kind and funny. He’s patient, caring and generous. He makes an effort to put everyone he meets at ease. He loves his Mum and Nana deeply and has a wide, wide circle of friends. He’s well-read and great with numbers; he’s the smartest person I know. He makes me feel more confident about myself. He’s my best friend.”
Jim loves Ciara for being “funny and forthright and generous. She brings great energy to everything she does, and she makes me laugh at the most unexpected times. Being with her makes me walk a foot taller.”
Ciara loves surprises and Jim’s proposal was rich in those – a surprise long weekend away in a beautiful B&B, dinner at a fancy restaurant, a diamond solitaire ring and a proposal in the golden afternoon sun of the tranquil Chinese Gardens at Beechworth.
So surprised was Ciara at seeing Jim on bended knee in the pagoda that her first reaction was “unprintable!”
For one long minute she kept him waiting for the magic word, “Yes!” (the longest minute of Jim’s life!)
On the day of the wedding, Ciara, calm and relaxed, woke early, but the seemingly long hours passed quickly as she bonded with her bridesmaids over make-up, nails, food and finery.
Jim, in contrast, was nervous “from the get-go!”
In her elegant wedding gown of flowery Guipure lace over a perfectly fitted bodice, cap sleeves and a row of pretty lace-covered buttons at the back, Ciara glowed radiantly with joy.
A long, fine, scallop-edged veil secured at the nape of the neck, floated down gently to rest on a soft, rippling train.
Silver glitter, peep-toe shoes, a delicate waist-defining belt with a silver, jewelled, ornate buckle, a silver bracelet, (“something new”) and a silver clasp in her softly upswept hair, added sparkle and glamour.
“Something old and borrowed”, (pinned inside her glittery clutch bag), was a vintage brooch that originally belonged to her bridesmaid’s Grandmother. “Something blue” was a 21st birthday Sapphire ring from her parents.
The colour theme of delicate pinks and greens, Ciara’s favourite colours, was highlighted by soft grey and candy pink in the wedding party’s outfits and bouquets.
In the illuminating afternoon sun, the bride, her proud Father and her attendants paused on the cobblestones before entering the grand gateway of the Convent grounds.
As Ciara carefully navigated the descent to the Ceremony Tree, she saw Jim smiling lovingly at her and they both knew everything would go well.
“Big moments don’t feel daunting when I am with her.”
Jim’s precious memory of this moment, beholding his beautiful bride, is one that will last forever.
Under the protective, dappled, fresh green umbrella of an ancient oak tree adorned with boughs of pale pink blossom, and surrounded by family and friends, Ciara and Jim became husband and wife.
Relaxed and smiling happily, the newlyweds strolled through the lush gardens and sheltered courtyards of the Convent, posing naturally for precious portraits.
Ciara’s special moment was having some private time alone with Jim to debrief after the ceremony and share some “bubbles” and canapés.
“At one point my brother, his girlfriend and my six week old nephew joined us for a wedding-dress-clad cuddle!”
Guests mingled under pastel paper lanterns in the courtyard and then enjoyed a lavish Reception with fine food, dancing and speeches.
Ciara had added a personal touch by sewing Hessian table runners and beautiful liberty print cushions for the outdoor furniture.
Each guest received a bonbonniere – Haighs’ chocolate hearts in a calico bag stamped with Ciara and Jim’s initials (also a tribute to Adelaide, South Australia, Ciara’s birthplace.)
Reflecting on their wonderful wedding, Ciara and Jim both loved being surrounded by family and friends, seeing them have a good time, being able to thank them and have “great conversations” throughout the evening – a perfect day in every way!
Ciara and Jim’s Wedding Team:
- Celebrant: Jane Clifton
- Ceremony and Reception: Abbotsford Convent Wedding
- Florist: Emily Bradbury from North St Botanical
- Brides dress: Marina Hardwick
- Bridesmaids dresses: Ted Baker and BHLDN
- Grooms Suit: Joe Black
- Groomsmen suits: Joe Black
- DJ: Ivory Junction