Mitchelton Wines Wedding | Carly and Dylan

A Melbourne winter wedding was perfect at Mitchelton Wines. There are so many beautiful spaces at this picturesque venue on the banks of the Goulburn River. For Carly and Dylan and their 140 guests, the underground cellar proved to be a fabulous place to hold their ceremony after sharing a cheeky first look. The crowd enjoyed pre-ceremony drinks in a friendly and ambient with live music atmosphere. The vibe for the ceremony and celebrations was set early, and I couldn’t wait to get them married!

The bride arrived, and Carly relaxed with her four bridesmaids and the four children (plus a newborn!) involved. With his three groomsmen, Dylan was nervous and excited, rocking a black-and-white theme.

Live music from We Are Paper Hearts began the ceremony as Carly walked down the aisle to the styled alter from Floral Emporium. We were away.

After introducing the wedding party, it was time for all to hear their courtship story. Will, a groomsman, knew Carly and Dylan separately before their meeting and offered to detail and share their Love Story. Lots of reminiscing and laughs were had.

Michelton Wines Wedding

The Love Story

Simply saying that this romance is three and a half years old wouldn’t be doing the McConnell Struck story justice. Like the stubbies in one of Dylan’s Carlton Draught slabs…before the 8-week challenge, there is always more to it.

Like all great fairy tales…our story starts with the…prequel.

The book of Love will tell us that Carly and Dylan met for a date following a successful matching on Hinge in 2020, but they didn’t realise that this was just a re-introduction to each other, having already crossed paths for eight years before that.

Cast your minds back to 2012…if it helps, Gangnam Style was the biggest song in the world.

Michelton Wines Wedding

A bright-eyed Carly McConnell had just accepted a physiotherapy job at the Old Melbournians Football Club and would be looking after the under-19s side. At the football club, Carly would meet Henry, the De Fegley twins, Sam Peacock, Borthy and myself.

Why an 18-year-old girl would want to spend her Saturdays with 30 19-year-old boys is one of life’s great mysteries.

What Carly did not know at the time, was that just about after every game of football…when she packed the physio bag back up and headed back home, the group of us boys from Brighton would head back to Bayside to meet up for dinner and have a beer with…Dylan Struck.

Dylan was retired from the Old Brighton Football Club, so he would spend the day figuring out if he liked AFL before meeting us in the evening.

For nearly six years, our routine looked like…Saturday day with Carly, Saturday night with Dylan.

There were dozens of Saturday night post-footy parties at the Railway Hotel, or at Henry’s Como Street house over the years which followed. You ask Dylan and Carly what they remember about these nights, and it’s almost like they were there together…were any of us clued in to set them up?

Not once…

Michelton Wines Wedding

Fast forward to January 19 2020.

This was the first reported case of COVID-19 in Victoria, and our antagonist within this fairy-tale, Dan Andrews was up to something…

Back to our main characters, it was agreed through a chain of Hinge messages, starting with Carly asking if it was Jim or Tom De Fegely in Dylan’s profile picture, that they should meet for drinks and dinner on February 7.

The uncertainty of the COVID illness and whether we would end up in lockdown didn’t stop Carly and Dylan from heading out on their first date to the Mt Erica Hotel.

Carly remembers Dylan’s awful choice of party shirt on their first date. Dylan remembers how good he looked. Both remember how as the conversation continued through the night, they had forgotten to order dinner and the kitchen had closed.

Once upon a time, this would have broken Dylan, but this wasn’t a regular date.

How quickly they bonded that night and early into their relationship meant that when Dan decided that it was time for the state of Victoria to stop and isolate, these two continued on together. And only drew closer.

Victorians spent 263 days apart during the pandemic, enough for Dylan and Carly to create a lifetime together. If there ever was a silver lining to lockdown, this was it.

This most challenging time proved that this love story was meant to be…although we did worry when Carly’s Richmond defeated Dylan’s Geelong in the 2020 Grand Final, we did not hear from Dylan for the next week.

In October last year, Dylan and Carly headed to Hanging Rock for a weekend getaway- months of Strucky’s plans coming together, their dog Lenny along for the ride.

Asking why he needed to carry a backpack on all their walks, which had never happened before…Dylan would respond to Carly “because I’m a backpack guy!”.

The champagne bottle was getting warmer by the minute, for when she would say yes.

Dylan loves how happy Carly is to see him and Lenny when she walks in the door after a long day at work. Carly is determined and motivated through all aspects of their life together, which is one of the things he admires most.

Above all, she brings a sense of calm and sensibility to his infectious energy…which has also brought the best out in her.

Dylan and Carly

For in Dylan, Carly has found an entertaining, generous person who loves being around friends and family; he is a person who makes everyday fun. Dylan, just being Dylan, makes the ordinary extraordinary.

And together, they are a perfectly balanced team, a fairy tale in every sense of the word.

There’s no ending to this story.

They look forward to being their little family and spending the rest of their lives together with friends and family over bottles of wine or Carlton Draught.

So together, Lenny, Carly and Dylan will all be the perfect family, starting today as husband and wife.

You have the blessing from everyone here today.… we can’t wait for what the future holds for you both!

The Reading

Carly’s ‘Nanna Mary’, who has been married to ‘Poppy Kevin’ for 66 years, was asked to deliver a reading for Carly and Dylan. Mary and Kevin chose this poem as the best reflection of their experience of marriage over this time and symbolise their 66 years of togetherness. And Mary nailed it!

The Gift of Love, by Helen Steiner Rice

Love is more than a tender caress.
And more than bright hours of happiness,
For a lasting love is made up of sharing
Both hours that are ‘joyous’ and also ‘despairing’,
It’s made up of patience and deep understanding
And never of selfish and stubborn demanding,
It’s made up of ‘climbing the steep hills together’
And facing with courage ‘life’s stormiest weather’,
And nothing on earth or in heaven can part
A love that has grown to be part of the heart,
And just like the sun and the stars and the sea
This love will go on through eternity,
For ‘true love’ lives on when earthly things die
For it’s part of the spirit that soars to the sky

Michelton Wines Wedding

The Vows

Dylan’s Vows

Carly, I love your kindness, your loyalty, your passion and the support you have always shown me. You are the first person I want to see in the morning and the last at night. You inspire and motivate me to be the best version of myself, you provide me with direction and keep me organised in my laid-back life. I look forward to loving the smallest moments with you from Friday nights on the couch with a wine, to giving endless amounts of love to our dog Lenny. Carly I can’t promise I will always get it right. I can’t promise you all happiness, all smiles or sunshine (we do live in Ballarat). But I can promise to cherish, respect and care for you. I can promise to comfort and encourage you. I can promise that we will be together whatever life may throw at us, to be your best friend and your husband. I can promise that I will love your for ever and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you.

Carly’s Vows

Dylan, you are the constant in my chaos; my biggest and definitely loudest supporter; my best friend and my home. I’m so lucky to have you bring light and laughter to my life every day, and in the words of Cristina, to have you to make me fun. I love your honesty, your contagious enthusiasm, your generosity and how easy it has always been to be around you. I love you, not only for everything that you are but for everything that I am when I’m with you. I promise to always be on your team, to laugh with you even when your jokes aren’t that funny and to never take our life together for granted. Most importantly, I promise to love you and to choose you every day, all the days of my life.

The ceremony was in a beautiful setting, and after we concluded, everyone headed to the art gallery for canapes, drinks, and live music. To say it was just brilliant would be an understatement. A great couple, venue, and suppliers to work with. Checkout the stunning photos from Now n’ Always.

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