How did you meet your (now) husband?
My husband and I first met late at night on an impromptu camping trip with mutual friends. Samuel talked the night away around the campfire telling stories and jokes and I left the next day thinking he was definitely the funniest person I had ever met. I wasn’t until a year later, after several failed ‘dating’ attempts, that we actually started dating!
How long have you been together? We have been together for a year and a half.
Do you have a proposal story? On of my our many ‘hangs’ (just as friends) Samuel told my best friend and I a story about pineapples. He explained that it takes five years for a pineapple plant to mature and produce fruit. Somehow, he related this to my best friend’s (and also my own!) plight of whether or not date a younger man. Perhaps we would need to invest in a maturing man and be patient for him to produce the fruits that we were searching for…
Six months later, in the Dole Pineapple Plantation maze in Hawaii, Samuel demonstrated just this and asked me to marry him!
What was your wedding date? October 5th, 2014
Location (Ceremony and Reception)
1. Where? St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Newtown and Alpha Restaurant (Sydney CBD)
2. What made you choose there? We attend St Stephen’s in Newtown weekly so we naturally wanted to get married in such a beautiful church, which was so familiar to us. We chose Alpha Restaurant because we both love the food there. We liked the idea of sharing a feast with our friends and family in a slightly more casual way than the typical 3 course menu. Alpha not only had the quality of food we were after, but it is an exceptionally beautiful restaurant which made our task of decorating extremely simple!
3. How did you find it? I went to dinner with a couple of friends shortly after Alpha had opened and just loved it. I said to my friends that night that I would love to have my wedding reception there. Not long after, Samuel and I came back for dinner and I shared my idea with him. He was surprisingly keen, considering we weren’t even engaged yet!
How was the weather on the day? Our wedding day was beautifully sunny and warm, the perfect October day.
What made you decide to get married on this particular date? When we booked Alpha they only allowed events to be held on Sun, Mon or Tues. We decided that the October long weekend would work perfectly so that our guests didn’t have to show up to work the morning after our wedding.
The Wedding Details
Theme (if any – colours, features, etc.)?
I wanted our wedding to be very classic. In everyday life I always steer towards clothes and design that are navy, black, white, or grey. It seemed obvious that our wedding would be just the same! My beautiful engagement ring is a deep navy sapphire, so that also helped to set the tone. Alpha, being a Greek restaurant, fit really nicely with the navy/white theme so our invites also had hints of classic Greek design.
Decorations at the reception were very minimal. Each guest has a white tulip at their place setting tied to the serviette with twine. After our tasting at Alpha we decided that the table was going to be way too full with all of the share food and glasses to have space for other table flowers.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from?
I have a strong belief that you shouldn’t choose anything in your wedding that you wouldn’t choose on any other given day. So, we choose dresses that I knew the girls would love to re-wear; flowers that I would love to have in my home every week; and shoes that I could re-use (and I have!). My wedding dress really followed this idea as well, I chose a style and lines that I would wear in everyday clothing. I was tempted by lace and sequins, but when I reflected I realized I didn’t own a single item of lace or sequined clothing, so I decided to not stray from the things I knew suited me!
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What?
I’m currently undertaking my PhD at the University of Sydney and also working part time as a lecturer, so I decided at the outset that we didn’t have time for D.I.Y. I have been a part of so many weddings with lovely D.I.Y personal touches but we knew we could still have a very personal wedding without actually making things ourselves. Instead, we got our personal touches made for us e.g. personalized handcuffs designed by my husband for himself and all of his groomsmen and infinity rings made by my jeweler (who also designed my ring) for myself and my bridesmaids.
1. Bridesmaids – who/relationship? Anita (maid of honour)- best friend of 11 years, Jessica- school (and beyond) friend, Alyce- school (and beyond) friend, Becki- University friend, previous housemate and work colleague, Emily- previous church friend (and my ex-boyfriend’s brother’s wife- yikes.), Sarah- my older sister, Deborah- my younger sister.
SEVEN, I know. I just love my friends and my sisters and I didn’t want to cut girls out because it made photos look weird etc. It was just perfect having them all with me for the whole day!
2. Groomsmen – who/relationship? Tristan (co-best man)- previous housemate, Dave (co-best man)- previous housemate and church friend, Lachlan- previous housemate and church friend, Alasdair- previous housemate and gym buddy, Dane- previous housemate and church friend, Brien- older brother.
3. Flower girls/Page boys – who/relationship? Pippa- my beautiful one year old niece.
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes?
I was in Paddington in December 2013 with a couple friends in search of a headpiece for one of their weddings from Johanna Johnston. When we arrived JJ hadn’t yet opened for the day so we went for a wander. As we approached KWH the girls suggested we duck in for me to try on some wedding dresses. As I wasn’t yet engaged I said no initially. Without much more coercing I agreed (engagement was imminent and we exchanged rings so I looked engaged)! We went in and I selected five beautiful gowns to try on, all were very different styles and fabrics so that we could get a good idea of what type of dress suited me. All of the gowns were absolutely beautiful but the Kelly gown with peplum belt really caught my eye and the girls both agreed it was the favourite! After a trip to visit family in the USA and our engagement in Hawaii I returned to KWH a couple of times with friends and my mum just to confirm that the Kelly was the one!
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before?
I had only known of KAREN WILLIS HOLMES from searching online for previous weddings I was involved in and seeing gowns in bridal magazines. I hadn’t started looking for my own yet, so I hadn’t set in my mind brands to search out.
How many gowns did you try? Five. I didn’t step foot in another bridal shop!
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? KAREN WILLIS HOLMES Paddington
What did you especially like about your gown? I loved the simplicity of my gown. It perfectly highlighted the great qualities about my body and gave me a beautiful shape. The lines, fabric and fit were the standout instead of embellishments.
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Zimmermann
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? M.J. Bale at Birkenhead Point. Samuel chose his navy velvet blazer very shortly into our engagement. He tried on a couple of navy suits and then tried a velvet blazer with black pants and said he felt like “it had more pizazz which suited his personality”. I definitely agreed!
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? Just the KAREN WILLIS HOLMES peplum belt. I borrowed pearl earrings from my MOH, Anita, but didn’t add anything else. The girls chose their own black shoes and earrings and wore rings designed by Meg Maskell Fine Jewelry.
Where did you get your shoes from? Gorman
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? I wore a beautiful cathedral length veil (by Mira Mandic) which my wonderful bridesmaid Jess leant to me, she had worn it for her wedding which I was a part of, so it was very special.
What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding?
I would certainly suggest that brides sit down with their fiancé at the very start of the process and discuss what is important to them. Usually there are a few things that you really think they wouldn’t care about, which they do! At that point you need to discuss your budget and decide what aspect of the wedding day are most important to the two of you and how you want to prioritize your spending. Once you do this, stick to it! Lot’s of brides start the ‘crazy spend’ in the last couple of months where they feel like they just might as well grab a few extra things. That’s when you tend to lose sight of your vision- and your budget! I think it’s important to be clear and transparent with your partner and to stay committed to the aspects of the wedding that you both decide are your priorities.
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown?
It’s so important to choose a style that is flattering, regardless of whether it is the in vogue thing to do. Going with an extremely clear picture of what you want can be disappointing and often blinds you to actually considering what looks and feels best on. I would also suggest that once you choose your gown, STOP LOOKING. There will always be other dresses that could have looked great, but have confidence that you chose your dress for a reason.
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day.
Something Old? My friend Jess’s Mira Mandic veil which was such a special part of her wedding day over 3 years ago.
Something New? My fun, comfortable and practical Gorman shoes and my beautiful lace high-waisted underwear by Huit from Myer (that’s right, you don’t actually have to wear beige nanna undies).
Something Borrowed? Classic pearl earring studs from my MOH, Anita.
Something Blue? Conveniently, I got to wear my beautiful blue sapphire engagement ring!
Florist – Jessica Grace Flowers: Jessica is a friend of mine from school. She is kind and energetic and has a great eye for flowers. She had just recently become a florist and is already doing great things. She understood exactly what I wanted and did a wonderful job!
Photographer – Michelle Dellis Photography: Michelle is a friend from church who is a young photographer. I had seen lots of her photos and was really confident that she had the skills needed and knew she would be a pleasure to work with. Choosing Michelle was one of the greatest wedding-related decisions we made. She did an exceptional job with our photos and perfectly captured the joy and beauty of our wedding day. I would certainly recommend her and am sure she has a very bright future ahead of her!
Music – Samuel’s best man, Dave, dapples in DJ-ing so they made a mix for the wedding together.
First Dance – Northern Wind by City and Colour
MC – Our dear friend Daniel Levett who was a school friend of mine.
Celebrant – Our minister, Roger Fitzhardinge
Stationery – Made by a beautiful friend, Janina Burgoyne.
Menu – Yia Yia’s table at Alpha Restaurant
Cake – None- we enjoyed Greek Doughnuts instead!
Bombonieres – None!
Hair – Cleveland’s on Cleveland. Bride’s hair by Patrick Casey of Cleveland’s.
Make up – Doreen Yon: Doreen was my bridesmaid Jess’s makeup artist for her wedding and she was so calm and kind that I had always wanted her as my own makeup artist. She works in training for Bobbi Brown so doesn’t do much private work anymore but she was generous enough to do some of our makeup for our wedding!
Makeup Artistry by Yvette Lambourne: Yvette is very affordable and does beautiful natural makeup which perfectly suited each of the girls. She had been the makeup artist for two different friends of mine and came very highly recommended.
Wedding Bands – Meg Maskell Jewellry (Bride). Meg is a young jeweler from the central coast. She helped my husband and I design my engagement ring and source the perfect sapphire. She made me the most beautiful ring I have ever seen! To go along with my statement sapphire, I decided to have an ultra-fine plain white gold band. It sits perfectly under my ring and doesn’t detract from the engagement ring, but also looks cool worn on its own!
Extra features – Personalised cuff links for the groomsmen by tiesncuffs.com.au. Sam chose this supplier because they were local and affordable! The staff were easy to work with and he was able to design exactly what he wanted!