From First Glance to Forever: Mel & Ben's Dream Wedding at SRB

Here at San Remo Ballroom, we are ever so lucky to get the privilege of hosting many weddings that tugs at our heartstrings in a special way. On the 18th of March 2023, Mel and Ben’s wedding was exactly one of those occasions. With a love story that started with a digital spark, and culminated into a ballroom filled with love, laughter, and happy tears, this Melbourne wedding couple’s celebration is one we won’t soon forget. Mel and Ben’s fairy-tale continued into their romantic European honeymoon, celebrating their love amidst the azure waters of the Greek islands and the scenic beauty of the Italian coastline. 

We recently sat down with them to relive their beautiful journey, sharing with us how they met, their magical engagement and the big wedding day, as well as advice they would give to our future couples. 


SRB: How did your love story begin? What were your first impressions of each other?

Mel: We first met on Tinder, 9 years ago. It was love at our first match! My first impressions? Ben was confident, kind, funny… everything I wanted. After a short break, I made sure we got our “second first date” in 2016. The sparks were still there, and since then, there’s been no looking back!

Ben: I was struck by Mel’s amazing eyes and her sense of humor.

SRB: How did you each know you had found ‘The One’? When and how did you realise this was your forever love?

Mel: I knew Ben was my forever love right from the start. He treated me with respect, showed how much he cared for me, and had a fantastic circle of friends and family that I clicked with instantly. And it’s been that way ever since. It’s true what they say – when you know, you just know.

Ben: For me, I don’t remember the exact moment, it always just felt right with Mel.

SRB: Tell us your proposal story! How, when, where did it happen, how were you each feeling before, during and after? Was it expected or a total surprise?

Mel: In 2021, during lockdown, I had nearly given up on my dream of a big, fancy wedding. Then, in October when the lockdown finally eased, Ben organized a little city getaway for my birthday. On our way back home, Ben suggested we take a walk in Fitzroy Gardens. It was a bit unusual for him, but since we both enjoyed walks, I didn’t think much of it. Ben seemed a bit off, but I was so tired after the weekend that I didn’t question why he was acting a bit strange and why we were on this random walk.

Then, as we turned a corner, I heard Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” playing in the background. Ben took my hand, leading me toward the most beautiful, Pinterest-worthy setup under the gazebo. Candles, rose petals, flowers, and champagne – it was a scene straight out of my dreams.

I probably should have caught on earlier in the day when Ben suggested I get my nails done for “my birthday.” The one time I don’t have my nails done, I get engaged! I ugly cried, and I won’t show you those photos, but the ones below capture the moment perfectly. It was beautiful.

SRB: What was something surprising you found during your wedding planning journey? Was organising your big day easy breezy or more difficult than you thought it would be?

Mel: During our wedding planning journey, my biggest challenge was my own perfectionism. I put a lot of pressure on myself to ensure everything was flawless, which made every choice feel overwhelming and stressful.

Costs added up rapidly, too. I found myself drawn to endless Instagram wedding inspiration, which led to wanting to include more and more elements to make our day extra special. These additions definitely had a way of blowing the budget.

But in the end, despite the stress and the realization that “perfect” is a high bar, it was all worth it. Our wedding day turned out to be a beautiful, perfectly imperfect celebration of our love.

Ben: It was easy for me lol. Mel is an organization queen.

SRB: What were your ‘must haves’ when searching for your wedding venue? What style and feel were you looking for?

Mel: We wanted a venue in or close to Melbourne City, with a spacious dance floor and food so delicious that no one would even think about stopping at Maccas on the way home.

In terms of style, I’d always envisioned a ballroom wedding with a classic, timeless yet modern vibe. SRB was the perfect match for the vision we had in mind.

SRB: What were some of your favourite features of San Remo Ballroom? How did you know SRB was the venue for you?

Mel: We absolutely loved the spacious dance floor, the stunning chandeliers, and the beautifully renovated interior that blended classic and modern vibes. The classic exterior was also a standout, and I had always had a vision of our wedding photos being taken right outside the San Remo Ballroom sign.

It was all about the vibe. The atmosphere was exactly what we had in mind for our wedding, and we instantly knew that this was the place for our wedding reception.

SRB: What were some of your favourite moments and memories from your wedding day?

Mel: Walking down the aisle was a standout moment. It felt like it was just Ben and I in the room, exchanging our vows. The weight of wedding planning was lifted the moment our ceremony began, and it made all the planning and preparation completely worth it.

Our first dance was another highlight. We had been practicing our choreographed first dance for the last 4 weeks before the wedding. I was so nervous that I might trip on my extremely long train and fall, or that Ben would drop me during the lift at the end of the song.  But after all the worrying, we absolutely nailed it, and we had the biggest smiles on our faces the entire time. It was such a beautiful moment to a very special song that we both love, and it truly set the tone for the rest of our reception.

Ben: The reception (obviously), the food at San Remo and how much fun everyone seemed to have on the dance floor.

SRB: Looking back on your wedding planning, would you do anything differently? Any tips for future couples?

Mel: Planning:  Our 18-month timeline felt a bit stretched, and it added some unnecessary stress. You won’t truly relax until you say “I do,” so don’t drag it out!

Vendor Selection: When it comes to booking vendors, don’t feel pressured to rush right after setting your wedding date. Research, meet, and connect with vendors – that’s the key to making choices you won’t regret.

Flower Choices: If you want those white roses to stay white all day, opt for silk or preserved flower bouquets like the ones we chose from Floretta by Grace. Mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets looked stunning from morning until night, and they made a great keepsake to give to my girls after the wedding.

DJ’s Playlist: Don’t forget to give a “must play” and “do not play” list to your DJ. For us (well, more so for Mel), it was a hard no to Uptown Funk and the Macarena, but an absolute YES to Grease Lightening and Dancing Queen.

Dress Comfort: Lastly, make sure your wedding dress not only looks stunning but also feels comfy and ready for the dance floor. While my dress was gorgeous, it did have a bit (a lot) of weight to it. Even with a detachable train, it was a bit too long to handle all night. Remember to ask your dressmaker to add a wrist loop. It’ll make dancing a whole lot easier!

Ben: Save your money. Elope. (Mel says, be quiet Ben 😊)


SRB: How was your experience with us at San Remo Ballroom?

Mel: San Remo Ballroom went above and beyond our expectations. I’d wholeheartedly recommend SRB to anyone looking for a beautiful, classic ballroom wedding.

Laura was exceptional in taking care of us and was always ready to address my questions and concerns, especially in the weeks leading up to the wedding. The on-the-night team also did a fantastic job looking after both Ben and I, as well as our massive bridal party!


Mel and Ben’s journey from a simple swipe on Tinder to their magnificent Ballroom Wedding at San Remo Ballroom is a true modern day fairy tale. Their story is a testament to finding love in the most unexpected places and celebrating it in the grandest of styles.

As they embark on this new chapter, our team at San Remo Ballroom wants to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mel and Ben for choosing us for their special day. We wish this lovely Melbourne wedding couple all the happiness, and may their future be as dreamy as their European honeymoon.

Thank you, Mel and Ben, for sharing your love story with us. Cheers to many more chapters of joy, love, and adventures!


A special shoutout to our friends at T-ONE IMAGE Photography and Videography for capturing these beautiful shots from Melissa and Ben’s special day.