Being wedding photographers, many people have asked us how we celebrated our special day. Sam and I poured our hearts and souls into planning our perfect dream day over the course of two years. I hope this will inspire you in your own wedding planning journey!
We started by asking ourselves the big question, what are we both passionate about as a couple? We brainstormed and came up with three main ideas we wanted to incorporate into our wedding.
Firstly, we are passionate about art, one of our most memorable dates was when we visited the National Gallery of Victoria in 2013 to see Monet’s exhibition. We were deeply intrigued and inspired by his dreamy waterlily paintings and we wanted all our wedding stationery to reflect the same kind of soft, vibrant and impressionist effect as Monet’s work.
Secondly, we both enjoy nature. We’ve traveled to UNESCO World Heritage Listed Sites around the world to admire the beautiful landscapes that God has created. Sam proposed to me atop a glacial rock at Cradle Mountain, among our many other adventures hiking through treacherous terrain.
Thirdly, we wanted our day to be for our guests to have lots of fun, so for the reception the guests played with lawn games and we had a group dance class. We also chose a catering company that offered gourmet finger food and another that created an amazing dessert buffet so our guests could enjoy good food. As they say, when you have good food and good company, then you’ll have a good time.
As a wedding photographer, I know the best time to take photographs is during the day under natural daylight, so we had an outdoor wedding during the day. We decided to run both the ceremony and the reception at the same garden, so our guests wouldn’t need to drive between locations, especially considering we had friends with young children and there were older people who could not stay for too long. We also wanted to have our bridal portraits photographed during the golden hour, right before sunset, so we planned to finish our reception an hour and a half before sunset. It gave us a chance to unwind, relax and reflect on our day with our bridal party before we departed ways. We picked the month with the one of the lowest average rainfalls of the year and we prayed hard for good weather, as the day would not have been nearly as lovely if we didn’t have clear skies!
Being a designer and having designed wedding invitations for my friends in the past (I was trained as an Architect and Landscape Architect), I decided to create my own wedding invitations from scratch. I collected lots of images from Pinterest and created inspiration palettes, then injected our own personalities using our inspiration board to create the final product. I created all the paintings using watercolours. I also purchased my own watercolour paper from the local art store, and took it to the local print shop to get them printed and cut to size. I sourced wedding envelopes from a local supplier too and had the names and addresses of my guests printed on them.
I took the photos of our wedding invitation on the morning after our wedding, so I could style them with our flowers and ribbons. It had to be taken after our wedding, because I wanted to pick the flowers apart and scatter the petals around, taking my time to frame the image artfully.
We had boutonnières made for the boys in our bridal party, as well as for our immediate family members including corsages for the ladies, since they have been a big part of our lives too.
I prepared a gift box for Sam with a pair of cufflinks, happy socks and a black bow tie. I also had the personalised clothes hanger custom made with matching font to all our other stationery.
We had our rings laser engraved on the inside with a Bible verse, to serve as a continual reminder to us to love one another and that even when the going gets tough, God will help us overcome the challenges we face if we choose to love each other above ourselves.
We prepared these wooden gift boxes filled with goodies to give to our bridal party as a show of our appreciation to them for all their love and support.
I found a cute card titled “reasons I want to marry you” from Kikki K and I thought it would be meaningful to send Sam a love letter in the morning, before meeting each other at the altar! Talking to him about it afterwards, I realised we were both feeling nervous and excited in the morning of our big day!
I woke up before dawn and took these pictures of my wedding dress and shoes, so I could capture it against the beautiful soft morning light and the lovely French doors as the backdrop. Since I’m already quite tall, I decided against wearing heels that could poke into the ground, and I wore these comfy lace ballet flats instead. Wearing a floor length dress also meant the shoes weren’t really visible most of the time anyway. My feet thanked me for it and I could jump and dance in them all day long and not feel tired or sore!
As a wedding photographer, detail shots are very important to me. I love photographing macro shots of the sparkly engagement ring on top of the bouquet, because I feel the flowers chosen are a very special part of the wedding and help to tell the story. I actually brought my camera kit with me to the hotel so I could photograph my ring and earrings with my bouquet. Our bouquets featured my favourite flower, the David Austin rose in peach colour. Peach roses are known to symbolise appreciation, sincerity and gratitude, which are all qualities I strive to embody. My earrings are leafy branches with clear water drop crystals to match our botanical themed wedding.
Pheny did an amazing job with my hair and make up, it felt very natural and I barely felt like I had any make up on at all. I’ve worked with her on my previous wedding photography jobs before, and every single time she is able to make her client’s natural beauty shine. I’ve analysed a lot of make up artists’ work before, and Pheny’s blending skills are prime. Suki, another hair and make up artist did a wonderful job with my two gorgeous bridesmaids.
First things first – we clinked glasses with a glass of sweet rose moscato and felt a buzz of excitement to mark the beginning of our special day!
For my wedding scent, I chose Oscar de la Renta’s “Live in Love” perfume. The feminine and floral fragrance was a perfect fit for our botanical themed garden wedding.
Jie and Diana my two lovely friends were an amazing help and provided plenty of encouragement throughout our entire wedding planning process and on the day itself!
[left image] I painted the Bible verse using watercolours and set it up on the artist’s easel to go with our botanical watercolour theme. Mina’s florals looked amazing on it too!
This gorgeous dessert buffet had all our guests raving about it! The table was hired from One Big Day, the cake was made by La Vanille, the desserts were created by Raspberry Flamingo and Mina’s Florals added the stunning floral details. It was truly an amazing team effort!
I hand painted our fingerprint tree trunk and on the day our guests imprinted their mark on the tree, so we have a lovely memorabilia of all our guests to keep from our wedding.
We wrote thank you notes to all our guests and we asked them to take a picture of themselves and to pin it up in the same place as their note.
I created our ceremony booklet with an illustration of us on the front and a timeline of the events on the back.
Since Sam and I both love art, we commissioned Watercolour Artist Sarah McKenzie to paint our wedding in the impressionist style. She did an amazing job!
I am utterly obsessed with arbours and trellises as I believe they are the epitome of love and romance! It was a dream come true to be able to walk under a trellis on the day of our wedding!
The balloons added a magical touch to our special day.
The lawn games were a hit with all our guests. They had a go at playing Connect Four, Flamingo Toss, Quoits and Jenga.
For our little friends, we set up a teepee play area so they could play with the toys and be shaded from the sun.
When Sam and I first started seeing each other back in 2010, we went on a date at a salsa class at the Salsa Foundation. We asked Jai and Diane to run a dance class so our guests could have fun while learning how to dance too! They were so sweet and despite being busy running a dance school and having a baby to look after, Jai, Diana and Anthony taught us over four lessons just three weeks before our wedding and we managed to pull off some pretty decent moves!
Meet our amazing salsa dance instructors, Jai and Diane!
Sam wrote a “short speech” on a long scroll!
Diana my bridesmaid caught the bouquet and her boyfriend Michael caught the boutonniere. Sure enough they were next in line to be married!
Finally it was the end of an amazing day and it was time to say good bye to everyone. They formed a guard of arms and some people tried to stop us from leaving! But we got out in the end! 🙂
For our location photo shoot, we visited the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden where there is a gorgeous waterlily pond. There is a tragically funny back story to this. We originally booked our wedding at this garden, and then two months before our wedding day, we called our Venue Manager at the Council offices and they said they had accidentally double booked us! What ensued was panic, calling around and re-organising all the vendors. Thankfully it all worked out in the end! On hindsight, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, the Burnley Gardens was more spacious and accessible to all our guests and vendors.
What better way to end the day than to go for a relaxing punt tour on the lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Since our venue was an open garden, we needed to organise all the furniture ourselves. Having practiced as a Landscape Architect I am experienced with drawing up plans, so I thought I’d put my AutoCAD skills to good use, and drew up a Masterplan of our wedding site, as well as the details of the dessert table, welcome table and signing table, because they required a bit more co-ordination than some of the other simpler items.