Little Black Wedding Dress And A BIG White Veil

Written by Melissa Woods, Images by Damien Milan


YES, that's right! A little black wedding dress and a cathedral length veil. Why have we not seen this before?

As soon as I clapped eyes on Adrienne's modern bride style, I knew I had to find out more about this real-life un-wedding in Puglia, Italy.

''Part of me really wanted a show stopping white wedding dress, but when I put them on… they just weren’t me. I felt swamped, or silly... I just didn’t feel like myself. ''

Adrienne chose a classic, black 3/4 cocktail dress by Alex Perry as her 'wedding dress', perfect for teaming with a leather jacket in case she got cold... and the shoes? Just an old pair of Clarks that she knew would look great and be comfortable! Sorted.

Now, back to start...

... Adrienne met Dave using 'one of those dodgy dating apps'... or not so dodgy as the story unfolds. In this day and age, I am ALL FOR online dating as I've seen it go right, so many times.

''When we swapped numbers and talked on the phone, I'll never forget how much I liked the sound of his voice. We chatted for hours - just like teenagers! I recall hanging up from him and thinking I was in trouble! I just had a gut feeling that he was going to be special.''

Dave decided to pop the question In a proposal to end all proposals, on Adrienne's birthday whilst on holiday in Hawaii...

... It gets better...

... After planning a surprise helicopter flight over Kauai, Dave's voice suddenly came over the headphones...

''I don’t really recall what he said other than that he loves me, but he was pointing down to a massive sign on the beach beneath us that read “Will you marry me? At first i thought the sign was for someone else, that Dave had noticed it and decided to pop the question upon seeing it.  I thought to myself 'wow! what are the chances?!?!' ''

Dave had planned to qualify the whole thing with a ring, but was too scared to reach into his pocket for fear of dropping it into the ocean.

Back on land 15 minutes later, feeling sufficiently airsick/lovesick, Dave got down on one knee....

... It gets better...

... The ring was merely a placeholder ring as he had arranged for Adrienne to design her own engagement ring with her favourite jeweller*... Guys, take note!

*Adrienne opted for an Australian 'Parti Sapphire' (a multicoloured stone that occurs from a change in the environment whilst the sapphire is growing) She wanted her wedding band to be unique too and not overly matching so she designed the band of round and baguette cut diamonds, with a slight knife edge and chevron cuts, that you can see above.

Later, the couple were picked up in a limo and driven to a romantic seaside restaurant where all the staff congratulated them on their engagement. Dave had orchestrated the whole day from the moment Adrienne woke up!

So, why Puglia? I asked Adrienne...

''A wedding in Australia was never even really on the cards. We LOVE travelling and wanted another excuse to get overseas!... Particularly with our families. 

We loved the idea that eloping would just make the whole thing feel more unique. We're in our 30's.. so we've been to a few (a LOT of) weddings - and after a while... well - as much as there's always a lot of love, and everyone enjoys their own wedding day.. we just knew we didn't want to replicate all of that.

... The BIG dress... the cake cutting... bridesmaids and groomsmen... the first dance...  not staying together the night before... fathers giving away their daughters... MASSIVE obligatory guest lists... bad speeches... cheap wine and boring djs, all crammed into 8 hours..... it all just feels like spending money on 'stuff' that's over and done with in the blink of an eye!''

Italy was high on the list for both Adrienne and Dave. They found a wedding planner who presented then with a list of regions. Puglia came out on top on account of the warm weather, proximity to the ocean and unique landscape. Having never been before, there was no expectation, making it even more of an adventure! 

Finding the Masseria Alchima sealed the deal. The house was so striking with it's Scandinavian/minimal interior and there was enough room for almost all the guests to stay and enjoy each others company on the run up to the wedding.

Little Black Wedding Dress And A BIG White Veil

Keeping the usual wedding traditions to a minimum, the couple opted for 2 short symbolic rituals on the day.

The Red String of Fate, an old Eastern Asian practice that connects destined lovers by binding them together, and a ring warming ceremony where the rings are passed amongst all the guests to infuse with their love before vows are exchanged. 

''I loved the few minutes it took to do, Dave and I were able to turn around, take a breath and look at all of our gathered guests. It was quite surreal. ''

I wanted to know what advice Adrienne would give to other un-convetional couples. Needless to say, she had TONS! 

''Stay together the night before... invite less people and spend that money on nicer wine or cocktails... don't accept anyone's first price on anything... don't have a first dance if you usually prefer to dance in the privacy of your kitchen... don't have cake if you don't like cake... don't worry about what your bridesmaids are going to wear (they've been able to dress themselves all this time without you)... don't get a fake tan... don't spend hundreds of dollars on a makeup artist... arrive to the wedding together... wear a black dress... make your own veil!!!!

Stay true to your individuality. Don’t let wedding tradition or what your friends have done before you influence you. Try to listen to yourself, and do what makes the two of you happy. Ignore anything that doesn’t feel right.''

Pssst... wanna know a secret?...

... The couple actually got married in totally privacy the week before the wedding. 

''We were 100% ‘there’, ‘in the moment’ during our vows. there were no distractions. It was so pure. We heard and felt every single word that we said to each other. And then straight after the ceremony, we didn’t have to speak to anyone else except us! It was great! We had a beautiful long lunch together, and spend the night at a stunning private villa in a winery. We kept giggling over how special and private it was. I really can’t recommend this little trick enough. It was the best day of our lives.''

Photographer Bio - Damien Milan, Wedding Photography with Vision, Heart and a sense of Adventure

Damien is a Belgian-Australian photographer who was born and raised in Brussels and moved to Sydney in 2007. A love of travel and a fascination with the light on the southern continent inspires his work. This constant awareness of available light allows him to create dramatic and rich imagery. Damien’s approach is instinctive and he chooses to tell stories by capturing spontaneous and honest moments.

He works alongside life partner Anastasia, a designer and photographer with an excellent eye for detail. She photographs with this in mind and brings a different and complimentary approach to our work – you will often find her photographing a tiny detail on the back of your dress. She moved to Sydney from Odessa, Ukraine when she was young so loves to learn about new cultures and people.

Venue - Masseria Alchimia

Bride's Dress - Alex Perry

Earrings - Samantha Wills

Bride's Shoes - Clarks

Wedding Rings - Studio Ingot

Hair and Make Up - Bride did her own

Event and Design Production - Sara Pietrelli fromChic Weddings In Italy

Videographer - Story Of Eve

Flower Decor - Flower Addicted


Feeling inspired by Adrienne's little black wedding dress? GO FOR IT! It's your wedding, you can do what you want!

Love Forever