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Tessa & Michael's Elegant Sydney Wedding

Posted on 17 Jan, 2017
Tessa & Michael's Elegant Sydney Wedding


How did you meet your (now) husband? Through my best friend from University.

How long have you been together? 3 years

Do you have a proposal story? Sure do! Michael and I organised a trip to the snow from Mon-Wed, at the time Michael worked Sundays and wouldn’t take the Sunday off which i thought was weird. Then he told me “you will never guess when I’m proposing to you” so naturally i guessed! My mum then invited me for brunch on that Sunday and told me to ‘dress nice’ which confirmed my choice. So on the Saturday night I was very calm and happily asked Michael if he wanted me to cook him lunch for work the next day - he replied yes. Sunday morning I drove him to work, as we waited for the lift in our apartment he ran back in to ‘get his work keys’ at which point I realised I’d completely made up the proposal story in my head and got very embarrassed. On my way to brunch I called my three best girlfriends and recited the whole embarrassing story and how ‘I wasn’t in a rush to get engaged but I was so ashamed that I’d conceited such a convoluted story in my head and now had to go have brunch with my mum”. I arrived at Pyrmont Park for brunch and walked along the water to meet my Mum - when Michael popped out from behind the bushes with flowers and I immediately started crying and said to Michael “I’m not sure if I am crying because I know what’s about to happen or because I don’t have to go to brunch with my Mum”. Michael then took me down to the water and proposed with my favourite view in the background. We then went back to the apartment where he had organised a surprise engagement party - lucky I said yes! Turns out the three girlfriends I had called beforehand were all together at my house waiting for me!

The Wedding

What was your wedding date? 6th February 2016

Location (Ceremony and Reception)

Where? Kincoppal-Rose Bay Chapel, Museum of Contemporary Art Reception

What made you choose there? You can only get married at Kincoppal if you are past alumni or present staff so that was a no brainer! Michael actually booked the MCA before he proposed so lucky I liked it. We love Modern Art and I love the harbour bridge so it was a perfect blend of both - plus we like the idea of being able to go back to the place we married often!

How did you find it? Michael found it with our Mums.

How was the weather on the day? Raining right up until 11am and then absolutely perfect. I didn’t check the weather up until the day because I believe “it is what it is” and there’s no point stressing about rain you can’t change. On the morning I woke up to the rain and said to my Mum “I know I said I wouldn’t be upset if it rained, but I really can’t believe that I’m not upset that it’s raining!”

What made you decide to get married on this particular date? We always knew we wanted a short engagement and Michael’s brother lives in New York with his wife - they were flying out in February for another wedding so decided to do it when they would be out. We were engaged on 8th August 2015 so that was our 6 months!

The Wedding Details

Theme? Black and White - the only colour was our lighting. We are minimalists and also didn’t want photos with ‘that woman in the tacky orange dress in the background’ so decided that a strictly formal black and white theme would suit perfectly,

Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? Ourselves - Michael works in design and I used to work in event management so we had it covered.

Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? DIY bonbonierries, menus, and invitations.

Bridal Party

Bridesmaids – who/relationship?

Kate (sister)

Kate (best friend from uni)

Natalie (best friend from uni)

Lauren (friends from a previous job)

Groomsmen – who/relationship?

Josh (best friend from school)

Jordan (brother)

William (brother)

Zen (friend from school)

Flower girls/Page boys – who/relationship?

Austin and Noah (nephews)

Wedding Gown (the most important part!)

What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? Karen Willis Holmes was on my list of stores I wanted to go to, I thought that the 'Carina' dress was the one for me.

Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? Just on the Karen Willis Holmes website.

How many gowns did you try? The gown I chose was the second dress I tried on. I went to two other stores after and immediately came back to the gown I fell in love with at Karen Willis Holmes.

Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? Paddington, Sydney.

What did you especially like about your gown? I was at the store for the 'Carina' - so excited to try it on. I let my Mum play dress up and choose a few gowns for me. I always knew I would never have a strapless gown, because I get a heat rash when I’m hot and nobody wants that on their wedding day. My mum chose a few strapless gowns including the 'Prea' and the 'Tillie' lace top. I tried 'Prea' on second to ‘get it over with’ for my mother’s sake. When I came out I nearly died because I loved it so much. When Mum ushered the 'Tillie' on I was shocked and fell in love. But still my dream dress the 'Carina' was waiting for me so I tried one more on and then it was time for 'Carina'! I put it on and came outside just looking at the mirror saying nothing. The woman dressing me said “It’s heartbreaking isn’t it” and I replied “No it’s okay it just wasn’t meant to be” - it looked absolutely terrible on me! just not the right shape for my body - and the best advise I’ve given future brides since is “whatever you think is going to be perfect for you probably isn’t, and something you wouldn’t normally want might look a million dollars, so be open minded”. We left, knowing that the 'Prea'/'Tillie' combo was my pick.


Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? They were all a mix that the girls picked themselves - i wanted them to feel a million dollars on the day so they all had something that suited their body. One was Zimmermann, another Sheike and the other two from a bridesmaid store.

Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? Calvin Klein everything for the groom. The Groomsmen wore their own suits and ties from T.M. Lewin.

What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I wore a velvet pink/red belt from Alannah Hill - originally I had dreamed of a pink dress so this was my way of bringing the pink element in. I wore my mother’s pear and diamond earrings with a Hermes Cuff.

Where did you get your shoes from? My shoes were white rocketed Valentinos. Michael had bought me black Rockstuds for my first birthday with him so the design meant something to us as a couple, they were the perfect modern twist for me.

Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? Karen Willis Holmes!


What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding?

  • Make your guest list, cull it, cull it again, and again - keep going back to it and you’ll get it down!
  • We organised photos with select guests outside the church before we went off for photos so that we could enjoy the reception and not have people asking every 2 minutes for a photo
  • At the end of the day it’s you and your groom so make sure he likes the wedding too - we had to push back on relatives a few times to get what was true to us as a couple, the day is about your relationship after all
  • Do what’s best for you at the time with no regrets - you can’t control who you’ll be friends with in the future
  • As a wife I spoke at the reception - as it is a rare chance to praise your partner in front of a room full of your closest friends and family, it was the best thing I did
  • If you can’t change it - don’t worry about it
  • Hard work pays off and shows on the day
  • If something goes wrong do not worry because the only person that knows is you - no one else knows what you planned

What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown?

  • Whatever you think will look on you might not so have an open mind
  • Stay true to your style, you want to look like you on the day 

Something Old? Granny’s bells tied onto my bouquet

Something New? Shoes/Dress

Something Borrowed? Earrings from Mum

Something Blue? Blue ribbon tying the bells on



Florist - Lovely Bridal Blooms

Photographer - Strawberry Fields Photography

First Dance - Feeling Good - Michael Buble

MC - Ben Charlton (friend)

Celebrant - Monsignor Tony Doherty

Stationery - Ourselves - printed with Vista Print

Cake - Cake Atelier

Bombonieres - We hand wrote notes in envelopes as a gift to our guests to tell them something special, give them a bit of love and thank them for being there

Hair & Makeup- Blossom Hair and Makeup

Extra features - Wedding planned by Tessa Gallagher