I’m really sorry everyone. I’m about to share a wedding with you all that will make you want to pack up your bags to move to Australia immediately, just like couple Becs and Dan. Everything about this stylish, intimate wedding day is simply gorgeous and it’s made even better by the fact that as well as a wedding celebration, it was an opportunity for Becs and Dan to show their British friends and family what it is about Sydney they cherish so much.
The whole day has been captured perfectly by Damien Milan, whose work I always love sharing on RMW. Damien travels internationally for weddings and you can see his travel dates over on his Instagram feed. Do get in touch if you’re looking for a photographer with a natural way of shooting and whose edit is all about making the most of the beautiful light he has captured.
But for now, let’s revel in this beauty of a wedding day. It’s making me seriously want to drink cocktails by the pool…but that’s ok, it’s Friday!
Becs the Bride: I’m an Account Director at an advertising and communications agency in Sydney. Dan is an independent Graphic Designer who works for himself.
We have been together for 6.5 years, most of our relationship has been in Sydney, we’re originally from the UK but made the move from Manchester when we’d only been together 18 months. We are now Aussie citizens (2 months prior to the wedding) so we were excited to get married as citizens on Australian soil.
We were engaged for just under 12 months so we were straight into wedding planning as soon as Dan proposed in December 2015. We wanted our closest family to come out for the wedding so we knew we’d need to give them some notice and because I have 5 nieces and nephew’s we decided on Christmastime to maximise on time our family could come out to Australia for a summer holiday.
It was a complete surprise (and I’m not easy to surprise). Dan and I were flying home for Christmas (2015) and the day before our flight it was a gorgeous sunny Sydney day and Dan suggested we go kayaking in the harbour. I didn’t really want to go as I wasn’t feeling so energetic that morning but Dan encouraged me as we were heading home to a cold and drizzly Manchester then next day; so it would be a while until we saw the sun. We hired some kayaks at Rose Bay and decided we’d paddle over to Shark Island. Dan totally bolted off out in front (which was unlike him to leave me behind). By the time I got there, Dan was standing on a deserted beach, out of his kayak and helping me into shore in a very gentlemanly fashion. From here we stood around a bit and looked at the glistening harbour and talked about how lucky we were to I’ve in such a beautiful place. Then Dan started to talk about how much he loved our life together and went on to ask me if I’d marry him. I was completely surprised and blurted out several times my disbelief before saying yes of course! Dan then presented me with a box with an Australian Argyle diamond in it and told me about the ring he picked (which needed to be made to my size). He’d picked an Australian diamond and and Australian designer to make my ring which was so significant and meaningful for us both having made the choice to build our lives together in Sydney.
The Wedding Vibe
No theme, a vibe is definitely a better description. We decided if we were going to spend money on a wedding, it had to be fun. We didn’t want it to feel traditional or formal, we wanted it to feel effortless and relaxed. We knew we wanted to keep our wedding small and intimate as lots of weddings we’d been to had been huge (100+) and that didn’t feel like our style. So we ditched a lot of the traditional elements. No matching groomsman or specific colour theme, no fancy hats, black ties or formal after dinner speeches, we just did what we felt complimented the environment and made sure there was plenty of space for people relax, raise a glass or two and drink in the beautiful harbour views.
I decided to work with Helen English for my dress as everything I found off the rack just seemed too ‘traditional/bridal’ or to ‘modern/statement’ and I wanted something very simple and elegant. Helen English has some beautiful simple dresses but I decided to have something made to measure. Helen was very patient as I wasn’t the most decisive of brides but she worked with me on my ideas to create my perfect simple dress. I found the veil myself on stillwhite.com as I wanted some detail in the veil to offset the simple-ness of the dress. I felt really elegant on the day and it was the perfect dress for our Sydney summer wedding. I can’t imagine being covered in lace on a 36 degree day!
When we met to discuss the wedding flowers I really connected with Sophie, you couldn’t not as she’s such a beautiful person! Sophie totally got what I wanted to achieve and I had absolute confidence in her after the first meeting. She’s so talented I couldn’t recommend her enough.
Damien Milan and Anastasia – again, upon meeting them both I had full confidence that our photos would be in more than safe hands. Damien not only gave us beautiful photos to remember our day with but more than that, he told the story of the day perfectly and in the process captured all of the fun with great care and skill. Damien and Anastasia blended into our day so easily, we never felt like we were being interrupted or chased for photos.
Julia did a fantastic job of my hair on the day, and in the run up to the wedding. She stood strong at every hair appointment when I wanted to cut my hair off and thank goodness she did as I loved my hair on the day!
We wanted to have the ceremony in a park but as soon as we decided on Andrew Boy Charlton for our reception, McKell Park was an obvious choice. We live in Paddington so it was just down the road and a place we used to visit with a picnic blanket to relax on the weekends. In both respects we picked places that we had a connection to and told a story of our lives together in Sydney. Places we just loved spending time together.
We saw a few wedding venues before we decided on ABC. We toyed with a few options in the Hunter Valley however we never felt a real connection with a place. I think if we’d grown up in country Australia it would have been different but we felt we wanted to get married in Sydney as that’s where we lived and we wanted all of our family and friends to understand and experience our home. We felt more connection with a venue that had some meaning to us. We’d spent time at ABC during our 5.5 years living in Sydney and we knew that they could deliver the sort of informal and relaxed day we wanted. We also liked the idea of having our wedding party in a space that had function beyond a wedding venue. We found a lot of places too rigid and cookie cutter but ABC offered us the flexibility we wanted to create our day just how we wanted it…
The DIY Details
I must admit, we didn’t do much DIY apart from the menu printing and Dan designed of all of the identity, invite and stationery. Dan’s dad Steve certainly helped a few days before the wedding trimming down all of the food and drink menu’s we printed ourselves so we can’t even take credit for that!
There are a few things we did differently that turned out really well. Firstly, we surprised our guests with a vintage ferry that took us from Mckell Park to ABC as both have a wharf to pick up/drop off. It was an awesome surprise and a welcome respite on a 36 degree day to get some breeze on the harbour! We stocked the ferry with champagne/beer and my brothers were tasked with pouring drinks.
We also ditched the long after dinner speeches. My feeling was that parties always die if people are made to sit down for too long; especially if there’s a lot of food involved! Instead we broke them up with ‘a few words’ throughout the day. Straight after our ceremony once we were on the ferry, Dan did his speech. He asked the ferry driver to stop near Shark Island where got engaged which was a lovely surprise for me. We were keen he got his speech done first to welcome everyone and then he could really relax and enjoy the party. The rest of the speeches followed one just before dinner and one straight after. We also served a roving entree on the balcony at ABC so people had plenty of time to chat to each other and enjoy the view, again this minimised the amount of time people were sat at tables.
I guess everyone says this with hindsight but it’s really not worth getting worried and caught up in it all. It’s a day in your life (an amazing day) but the marriage is the bit that deserves the hard work. I was worried about messing up saying my vows on the day, I actually thought I’d misread them. I turned around to our guests and laughed saying ‘I think I just messed up my lines’ – I hadn’t. But when I looked around, every face watching me laughed with me and it didn’t matter because every single one of them was either a close friend or a family member. So don’t spend too much time obsessing about ‘if things go wrong’ as it will all be perfect anyway.