A campfire proposal leads to marriage vows for long-time locals Caitlin Ciangura and Liam Bainbridge.

Words: Elissa Friday
Pictures: Louisa Jones

Caitlin Ciangura was raised at Lara and Liam Bainbridge had been living in Geelong from his teens. They’ve now resided happily together at Bell Park for the past two years.

“We met through my brother – Liam was friends with my brother,” Caitlin says.
“We’d known each other for a while, Caitlin and Liam went on their first date three years ago.
“We went out for lunch, then to Avalon Beach to check out the boat ramp.”

The couple went camping in the Ottways where Liam proposed by a campfire.
“Liam lit the fire then got down on one knee with the ring in a box and with a bottle of red wine,” Caitlin says.
“I was taken by surprise. There were tears of joy and I said, ‘Yes’.”

Caitlin and Liam married last autumn within a year of their engagement.
“We had a fairly big wedding at Barwon Park Mansion in Winchelsea, with about 130 guests and we had a sit down dinner,” Caitlin says.
Family and friends helped with the planning but the couple handled most of it themselves.

“No, Liam did and I didn’t,” Caitlin laughs.
“He played golf in Geelong and went out for dinner and some drinks.”

Caitlin already had a dress in mind after seeing her ideal dress in bridal magazines.
“I had an Anna Campbell dress. I didn’t want anything too big at the bottom of the dress.
“I also had a white and green bouquet.”

Caitlin had five flower girls and three bridesmaids. Liam had three groomsmen.
“My flowergirls were all our nieces,” Caitlin says.
“One bridesmaid was my sister and two were my sisters-in-law.
“Woodland Weaver made my bouquet and bridesmaids’ flowers.”
Caitlin chose the navy blue of her bridesmaids’ dresses but they chose the design.
“Liam’s three groomsmen were his brother and his two of his best mates,” Caitlin says.

The couple put together their own flowers, which were small arrangements on each table.
“They were white and green, fairly simple,” Caitlin says.
“We got all the flowers two days before the wedding and Liam, me and the family spent the morning the day before the wedding, putting them together.”

The couple married at Manifold Heights’ Holy Spirit Church.
“I was pretty nervous,” Caitlin admits.
“I walked down the aisle to the song Ave Maria by Beyonce.
“It was a lovely ceremony.”
Liam and Ciatlin walked out to Stand By Me.

The couple had professional photos taken by Louisa Jones Photography.
“One photo we had taken in my dad’s garden at home was one of my favourites,” Caitlin says.
Other settings were Avalon Beach and the grounds of Barwon Park Mansion.

Liam chose Caitlin’s engagement ring “all on his own”.
“We had a personal engagement with all our family at mum and dad’s house and had a sit down lunch,” Caitlin says.

Caitlin went for a “simple set-up that was more rustic”.
“Dad made timber planter boxes that we filled with succulents around the outside of the room,” she says.
The couple decorated the room with green and white.

“I say a cheese cake but it was actually wheels of cheese,” Caitlin says.
The couple’s three-tier cake featured wheels of pecorino, maasdam, edam and brie.
Cheese platters and dessert platters were served at the end of the night.
“That was my idea,” Caitlin says.
“We enjoy cheese and wine and wanted to incorporate that.”

“We danced to a John Legend song, Stay With You, for our first dance.
“I was pretty nervous, it was nice,” Caitlin says.
The flower girls joined in at the end of the song.
“It was good fun and they loved it.”

“My dad made them for us and Liam and I helped,” Caitlin says.
“They were mini cheese boards and we had our initials, L&C, with est 2016 branded onto the timber.”
The couple also gave guests a cheese knife with a thank-you card attached.

The newlyweds went to New Zealand for 10 days.
“It was something we had been talking about. Liam wanted to go outside of snow season and I’d never been before,” Caitlin says.
They travelled to the south island, from Christchurch to Queenstown.
“It was great,” Caitlin says.
“It’s a beautiful place and the scenery was great. We did some jet boating, which was lots of fun.”

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