Crystal and Steve

I think a wedding amongst giraffes and zebras sounds like the most splendid way to tie the knot and it seems today’s couple Crystal and Steve got to live out my fantasy- saying their vows amongst the elephants, zebras, giraffes and ostriches at Melbourne Zoo.

Crystal and Steve have a lovely story of how they came to be. “Steve and I are complete opposites but somehow it still works. We don’t like the same music, we find it terribly challenging to agree on a movie and the perfect Saturday night for Steve would be to have a quiet evening in front of the telly whereas I am known to be the first at a party and the last to leave. Even though on paper we are not the perfect match I could not imagine spending my days with anybody else. For me he is perfect. Steve and I went to the same high school, grew up in the same neighbourhood and even knew some of the same people but it wasn’t until high school was well and truly over that we first met at the Caulfield Cup.

My first impression of Steve was not a very good one although it changed quickly enough. We were there with the same group of people and as you can expect on a hot day at the races we were sufficiently boozed. The boozy day turned into a boozy night and we found ourselves at a hippie themed house party and although I was questioning if this fella had ever come across a hippie I was curiously amused. As with all great love stories there was a bit of drama involved. After the day/night at the races our social circles were drifting closer together leading to more boozy evenings and a weekend at the beach. It was there that people started talking about Steve and I. As it goes the others had noticed a spark between us before we even did. It took people a while to start talking about us because I had a very casual fling with one of the other boys in the group and he was very open about his disapproval of Steve and I. We still think today that we might not have ended up happily ever after if it wasn’t for people insisting on telling us that we had a ‘connection’. Sometime later after lots of gossip and drama we decided to see if this hype was substantiated.

We got to our date and even before we had entered a restaurant we had a chat and decided that we didn’t want to hurt anyone so we should just let it go. Unfortunately by this stage I had realised that I was in fact head over heels. On a somewhat awkward and sober drive home as fate would have it we hit every red light. During one of these moments Steve and I caught each other’s glance and if my face looked anything like his we both felt as though we were making the noble but wrong choice. So then and there we decided to give it a shot. We didn’t want to upset anyone but we both knew that we were in it for the long haul.

Three years later and barely a moment apart Steve got down on one knee and asked me to be his bride. As a sort of homage to the day we first met I had consumed too much champagne and instead of the expected squeal hyperventilation and sobbing tears I blurted out a solid NO. After a moment to gather my wits it dawned on me that my mouth had just said no in disbelief but had also said no to the million dollar question! In a tone 5 octave higher than my usual voice I shrieked out a clear YES! I will never forget the relief on my now husbands face as I unattractively spat my corrected reply at him.

He then stood up, wiped the sweat off his brow and enveloped me into his arms. And then came the tears.”

Photos today are by Stewart Leishman. I love Stewart’s beautiful, gentle captures and his incredible way of making use of light. Beautiful! Crystal and Steve chose Wheelhouse Studios to film their wedding day.

Paying homage to the zoo and yellow aspects of the day, the couple’s friend Tim of  TMAction (website coming soon) designed bold and modern invitations. Crystal says “Tim , did all of our stationary, including the invites, place names, table names and thank you cards. We have had so many great comments on them all!”

Crystal wore a gown she purchased at Brides of Armadale and paired it with glittery Jimmy Choo heels. Crystal and her bridesmaids had their hair styled by Hair by Lauren Mackellar and their makeup done by The Beauty Room By Fiona ( 0412 034 420 ). The couple exchanged love letters before the ceremony “Before the ceremony when we were getting ready at our separate locations Steve and I read a letter to one another saying 11 things I love about you along with a gift. “

Crystal’s jewels held great meaning. She explains, “Sadly my grandfather passed away a few months before our wedding and before he passed he asked me to wear this necklace on my wedding day. He bought the necklace for my grandmother when they married in India. I was very close to my grandpa so it was a nice way to have him close to my heart on the day. I wore the gold studs that my grandmother wears every day.”

The groom and groomsman wore suits from Roger David with Converse shoes.

Crystal and Steve married at the Melbourne Zoo. ” We found that the location really suited the relaxed fun and exotic style that we were going for and made for some great pictures!”. The floral arrangements were styled by Mr Lincoln. Crystal notes “Sarah the owner is a friend of ours and I would recommend her to anyone!I asked my florist to make me up a second posy of flowers to toss so that I could place the bunch I walked down the aisle with, on my grandfather’s grave. ”

A special table was set up at the entrance to the ceremony location. Crystal explains “My grandmother and I scoured op shops and markets for vintage black buttons and red fabric to make into poppies for our guests in honor of remembrance day (our wedding date). These were placed on our remembrance table as guests arrived at the ceremony along with photos of our loved ones that could not be with us on the day. This was very important to me as I had three family deaths in the six months leading up to the wedding.”

The bride and her bridesmaids arrived in a Kombi van from Classic Kombi. Crystal admits ” I have never been on time to anything in  my life but surprisingly I was on time to my wedding! the bridesmaids were in one Kombi and my dad, my mum my little sister and I were in another. We had to wait to be let into a side gate so that the cars could drive us straight up to the ceremony site. There was another wedding on that day so the gate wasn’t able to be opened until 30 minutes after we were supposed to start. I wasn’t very nervous for the time leading up to the ceremony but I started getting a little antzy in the car. ”

Crystal walked down the aisle to a favourite song. “I always wanted to walk down the aisle to Kate Miller-Heidke ´Space the cannot touch´ so that is what we planned. Steve is not a fan of the song so as a surprise I changed the song to Israel Kamakiwole´ole´s version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ – a song we both adore. ” With her mother and bridesmaids, she went barefoot, her feet only painted in henna.

The couple were married by celebrant Matt Derrick (0412 139 074).

There was special music provided by a family member. Crystal explains “Steve’s aunt, Anna Daniel, and her trio played on the lawn before the ceremony started and when we walked back down the aisle as man and wife.”

Of Stewart Leishman, Crystal says, ” Our photographer was simply amazing. I did a bit of research before meeting with Stewart and when we met him we knew he was the one. We even cancelled our appointments to see other photographers. He made us feel very relaxed on both our engagement session and on our wedding day. ”

Crystal remarks ” My favourite memory of the day is of my wonderful bridesmaids and I dancing barefoot on the road to the stereo blasting with lots of passers by watching and taking pictures! ”

Crystal’s bridesmaids were asked to wear a beautiful yellow frock. Crystal explains “I told my bridesmaids they could wear whatever they liked in the colour yellow. Neither I or any of the other girls had seen each other’s dresses before they day but they all looked fabulous together! No one had seen each others shoes and coincidentally all five girls chose the same colour!”

The couple continued their reception at one of the Zoo’s function rooms. There were plenty of personal touches, including table names. Crystal explains “When I was in high school my mum had a year of the rat (my birth year) symbol blessed for me by the Dalai Lama. Every time I go overseas I take this with me for luck and safety. I pinned the symbol to the inside of my wedding dress on the day.

In going with the theme of the zoo we named all of our tables after animals. Each table corresponded with an animal that either of us has shared a connection to with the guests on that table.”

Sugar Blue performed tunes to keep guests on the dance floor (including Crystal’s two year old sister!) but the couple had another surprise in store. Crystal explains, “As a surprise to our guests we organised two Bollywood dancers to perform at our reception. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the girls and it got everyone up mingling. What topped it off was my 2 year old sister deciding to join the girls in the dance floor and copy their movements. She got upset when they finished their performance so my bridesmaids had to get up and dance with her to keep her happy.”

Congratulations Crystal and Steve! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Stewart Leishman for sharing today’s images with us!