How did you meet your partner? We met at a Friday night young adults church event in July of 2014. Initially, I met him in a circle of ‘new people’ as he had just moved here from Atlanta Georgia. After that I didn’t see him for 8 weeks when we bumped into each other at a Sunday night church service, then our friend groups began to merge and then one thing led to another and on 10 November of 2014 we started dating and we’ve been together ever since!
How long have you been together? We have been together for 2 years and 5 months. Two years of dating, 5 Months of marriage!
Do you have a proposal story? Ryan and I got engaged on 11 March 2016. Throughout dating, on the 10th of every month we would celebrate a ‘monthaversary’ (well let's be honest I made it up because I am super sooky and sentimental). On 11 March 2016 which was a Friday night, Ryan was taking me out for dinner to celebrate our 16-month anniversary. He told me we were going to The Bar at the End of the Wharf (where we ended up having our wedding reception – it was planned). He picked me up from work, took me back to my house, I got changed and drove us into the city. He pulled off at Barangaroo Reserve and said that we were going to walk over to the restaurant. At this point I was getting ‘hangry’ as I had just worked a 9 hour day, traffic was intense and I was honestly just tired so I initially put up a fight about walking because if you know me, physical activity isn’t my vibe. Reluctantly I obliged, still at this point very clueless as to what was about to happen.
We walked along the walkway around the harbour at Barangaroo and he stopped us at this little point of the walk to take ‘photos’ I was enjoying the scenery and turned around and Ryan pulled me close to hug me, pushed me out just a little bit still holding tight onto my arms and said “Beth Victoria Ryan, I love you with my whole heart” then he got down on one knee (I began crying immediately and freaking out) and then he said “Will you marry me?” I said yes before he could even finish or before I could properly see the ring and we hugged and kissed and just dwelled in pure bliss. Unto my knowledge, Ryan had actually organised one of our friends to take photos of the whole thing so I have the whole proposal documented which is so special. After a couple of minutes of freaking out of excitement, I said to him “we’re not really going out for dinner, are we? I want to see my mum” to which he replied, “of course not, we’re going home for pizza and champagne with your family”. It was all planned. It was all perfect. After we finished face timing family back in the States we headed home to celebrate!
The ring was beyond perfect and it was my dream ring that I had wanted my entire life. The simple tiffany setting, 0.74 carat. Stunning. It was the most perfect evening.
Another amazing thing that happened that night was that Ryan had actually already booked our reception venue in advance. So not only did he propose but he also took the stress of finding a reception venue out of the equation. We had loved/wanted the Bar at the end of the Wharf in Walsh Bay (which was right around the corner from where we got engaged) to be our reception venue so when he went and asked my parents to marry me, he told them about it, they all went and saw it and put a deposit down. He had serious confidence that I was going to say yes, and I’m so grateful for that. I am also the eldest of the kids in my family. It's me and then my three younger brothers. Ryan actually took them all out and asked them if he could marry me too which I just find to be so sweet and intentional, just like him. It was all perfect and I am so grateful.
What was your wedding date? 27 November 2016, it was a Sunday.
Location?All Saints Anglican Church, Woollahra.
What made you choose there? My dad is an Anglican Minister so it made it easy for us to be able to secure any church on a Sunday (if it fit with that church’s schedule). I had been to many weddings prior to my own where there were hours or long distances between the ceremony and the reception and I found it to be really difficult and hard for the guest so from the outset I wanted to make it so easy for my guests to not have to wait around for hours between both. So from the start, we were looking for churches in the Sydney CBD or Eastern suburbs that were beautiful, available and close to the reception venue.
How did you find it? My dad just contacted other ministers in the area to see if they were available on a Sunday and we went and looked at it, within three seconds of looking at Woollahra Anglican I knew that’s where I wanted to get married.
Location? The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf, Walsh Bay
What made you choose there? Ryan and I love the ocean and being by the ocean, I have also always loved Sydney Harbour so we always dreamed/wanted to find a place that was representative of us and what we like to do and this venue did that and so much more! Plus Ryan is from the USA so it was a semi-novelty to have our reception venue in Sydney Harbour.
How did you find it? I found it through Instagram honestly. I saw so many people going there for cocktails and dinners and loved the wharfs around it so actually in the January of 2016 Ryan and I went to check it out to see if it was a possibility and we immediately fell in love.
How was the weather on the day? The weather was perfect. The morning was cool and overcast but by the afternoon, we got married at 3 pm and the reception began at 5 pm for our guests with cocktails and canapés then we arrived at 6 pm. It was the perfect summers day (without all the humidity) clear skies. It was beautiful.
Was there a reason you decided to get married on this date? Because Ryan was from the USA, we needed to find a weekend where his family was able to come out. So we planned for it to be the same week of thanksgiving in the States because most people can easily get school and work off on those days! That let everyone come out the week before the wedding, get over jetlag and have a week of family hangs!
The Theatre Bar at the end of the Wharf is only available on a Sunday as they use it throughout the week for after shows. Apparently when Ryan enquired the weekend that we wanted was 26/27 of November because that was the weekend after thanksgiving in the USA so that meant that it allowed his family to be here and hang out and celebrate the week before so we got time with them before the wedding. When Ryan enquired there was only one available date for the rest of the year, 27 November 2016. Some would say it was meant to be. So he put the deposit down and everything else fell into place.
The Wedding Details
Theme? My attitude towards everything when it came to decorations or ideas for the wedding was ‘simple but elegant’
I really wanted it to reflect us. I also love turquoise and peonies. I really just wanted everything to fit together and flow and it did which was a dream come true, all because of my Mumma. She was the most incredible support through everything and my parents really just made every dream/idea/wish of mine come true. I am so grateful for them.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? Some inspiration was from social media and such (Pinterest is a dream), but I really didn’t have massive plans of what it needed to be. I wanted it to reflect summer, reflect us, and to feel elegant but still comfortable. I had a pretty clear idea of the theme and allowed my suppliers to really worry about the small details of making everything flow together. To be honest I think it turned out perfect.
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so, What? No, not really. Except we did write our own vows which meant so much to the both of us. Being able to commit our lives together in our own words was so so beautiful.
Actually, the wedding invitation/order of service sign is my design. The beautiful Rachel from Hunting Louise who did all my invitations and stationary brought it to life!
Bridesmaids – who/relationship? All my bridesmaids are my nearest and dearest. Each of them has been involved in my life in so many different ways, are my biggest supporters, encouragers and just the loveliest women I know. I am super grateful to have friends like them.
Bryony Macdonald – She is my best friend and was my maid of honour. She currently lives in New York City but flew in for a week for my wedding. Best. Friend. Ever.
Laura Collins – another one of my best friends. Laura and I met in 2015 and I believe instantly became best friends. She is the sweetest and was my honorary maid of honour as Bry wasn’t able to organise as much as she would have liked because of the distance.
Thomasin Powell – Thomi is my cousin and another great friend. We have walked a lot of life together and our parents have been friends since forever.
Groomsmen – who/relationship?
Jared Miller – Ryan’s brother. He's a great guy, but maybe not the best person to have do a wedding speech haha. All in all, though it was so amazing to have him next to us on our day.
Sang Yun Han – Ryan’s exchange student/brother from Korea who moved in with his family when Ryan was in high school and just never left. He’s the greatest. Seriously never a dull moment with Sang.
Harrison Ryan – My oldest brother. A genuine bloke. And would give Sang a good run for his money as being the fun, loving, life of the party. He and Ryan clicked from the start and I know he considered it such an honour to have my brother in the wedding party!
Family really matters to Ryan, and I know he wanted people around him on our wedding day that would still be around us in the years to come.
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes?
I had seen KWH on social media and just knew whenever it was my turn to get married I wanted a gown from them. Initially, I couldn’t get an appointment for a couple of weeks after I got engaged and mum and I went to some other bridal stores in Sydney and honestly didn’t have the greatest experience. One Thursday afternoon mum and I had just left a bridal store in Paddington and we walked past KWH and we thought let’s take a gamble, sometimes they take walk in appointments. That day they had a cancellation so it turned out to be just me in the store for the whole afternoon. The girls were beyond lovely and literally let me try on every gown I thought I could possibly want in order to work out which one I wanted. The first gown I tried on was my wedding dress but I believe I tried on 9 other dresses before I finally confirmed the first dress was my dress.
It was the best most stress-free experience and I bought my dress that day. It was part of the BESPOKE range so I just ordered it & the veil. Perfect.
Not only did KWH have my dream dress, but I will always recommend future brides to them as they make the experience of picking out a dress something stress-free and truly special.
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? On social media and Laura one of my bridesmaids, her sister actually got married in April of 2016 and it was and she wore a KWH gown.
How many gowns did you try? 9. But I ended up going with the first gown I tried on!
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? KWH Paddington.
What did you especially like about your gown? I loved that I was able to make it my own, I changed some of the design, I lowered the back and had buttons rather than ribbon.
I mostly loved that when I tried it on I felt like a bride and it was everything that I could have wanted. It wasn’t what I thought my wedding dress would be but I’m so glad that it was.
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Zimmerman. My favourite colour is turquoise and when I saw these dresses in Zimmerman in the ‘winter grey’ which is basically turquoise, I just knew they were the dresses.
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? Jack London
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I am very plain when it comes to jewellery, I don’t often mix it up, I usually wear the same pieces. My mum was really sweet and got some of the jewellery that my nanny left to me after she passed away made into a necklace and earrings. I am very understated when it comes to jewellery and to me, less is more, so she changed my nanny’s diamond ring into a diamond pendant necklace and got her old aquamarine stud earring dipped in sterling silver to give them a fresher look. It was so special and meant a lot to me.
The morning of my wedding, Ryan actually organised and surprised me with a single white rose, croissants, and coffee for all as well as a beautiful Tiffany bag. Inside was a beautiful simple bracelet that I also wore on my wedding day. (can you tell I love Tiffany?) I bought my bridesmaid's pearl earrings to wear.
Where did you get your shoes from? Shoes of Prey, David Jones.
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? I wore a cathedral veil which I bought it from KWH.
What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? Chill out and don’t worry about what anyone else wants. It's your day so make it yours. Ryan was really good about bringing me down to earth a lot of the time. I really did just want to create a day of celebration that was about Ryan and I, so we just kept that in mind. What works for me doesn’t have to work for someone else and that’s so okay!
I would also say don’t stress about having a long engagement just to give yourself time to plan the wedding, I did most of it all in the space of 2 months!
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Don’t take too many people it’s so overwhelming with lots of opinions. I would say take people who are really close to you and whose opinion you really value. I only took my mum and she was amazing and actually was so conscious and didn’t say anything until she could see what I actually wanted. When I tried on the dress that became my wedding dress we both burst into tears so we both knew.
It is an overwhelming experience so take a breath and a moment and if you find yourself getting stressed out or frustrated it's okay, you don’t need to make a decision in that moment but let it happen organically because that’s the best.
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day?
Something Old? My Nanny’s Diamond from her wedding ring made into a necklace
Something New? My bracelet from Ryan.
Something Borrowed? Nothing
Something Blue? My Nanny’s Aquamarine Earrings
Photographer – Jordann Wood. Jordann is a great friend of mine that I have known for a couple of years now and she is an incredible photographer and an even lovelier person. I actually met up with Jordann a couple of weeks before I got engaged because I was suspecting it was going to happen so I wanted to book her in asap! Jordann is the person you want around you always, she is fun and kind, sweet as ever, so talented and she really brings a calmness when she's around and she does that on the day too. She was perfect to have on my wedding day because she just gets it, she knows the shots you want to have when you look through your photos and she makes them happen. Especially capturing the atmosphere of what it actually looked like. Plus the photos turned out to be incredible!
Music – We had a live band for our ceremony of a wonderful group of people from our church.
First Dance – Coming Home by Leon Bridges
MC – Hemant Raval. I grew up next door to the Ravals in Sydney and my parents have been friends with them for as long as I can remember. Hemant and Ryan really clicked when we started dating and so we wanted someone who was fun and that knew me my whole life. They’re a wonderful family and I am grateful they’re in my world.
Celebrant – David Crafts and Ross Ryan. As my dad is an Anglican Minister I always wanted my dad to marry me because I have always seen it as such a privilege that I could have that! But I was also conscious that I wanted my dad to enjoy being the father of the bride and all that comes with that so we got David Crafts who is a pastor at our church who did our marriage counselling and knows Ryan and I personally as well to lead the service through to the vows and then my dad took over. It was so special.
Stationery – Hunting Louise – Rachel was so sweet. She is an amazing designer and I saw some of her work and really wanted to work with her. I had a design that I wanted to come to life and she made it happen. She was very professional and helpful along the way. We were so happy with the outcome of all our stationary from the wedding and its now all sitting on our fridge as a beautiful reminder!
Menu – The Bar at the End of the Wharf is catered by Fresh Catering. We were able to choose a menu package and to do a wedding tasting so we could pick our menu and the food was incredible. A lot of our guests on the day raved about the food.
Cake – The cake was from Paper and Poppies in Caringbah. I had seen some of their cakes on social media and again sent them what I was after and they made it happen! It was so beautifully done. We had a semi-naked cake which was chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Delicious.
Bombonieres - We had candles for every guest. A beautiful lady and her husband from my parent's church started a candle company called Dux located in Circular Quay and we got them to make little candles for our guest. Each candle had our wedding design on a sticker and a bible verse. It was perfect. They are the sweetest most generous individuals I know, so professional and their candles are divine! Such a treasured memory.
Make up & Hair – Both hair and make up was done by Lauren Goth. I found her through facebook as she had done another friends’ sisters wedding. Lauren is so professional and lovely. I did my trial at her house and she just knows what she is doing. I was able to talk to Lauren about what I wanted, which was to be really natural and elegant. I didn’t want anything over the top or crazy and she really listened. She is so talented and such a joy to work with. On the actual wedding day, she was a dream and it was lovely to share it with her! I was thrilled with how my hair and makeup was. It was exactly what I wanted.
Wedding Bands – Tiffany and Co. My favourite.