Greg & Sophia

Sparks flew when Greg and I met at a mutual friend’s 21st birthday in 2005 where we hit it off instantly. Sadly Greg was moving to London a week later. Nonetheless we stayed in touch over the next two years and when Greg moved back to Sydney we finally went out on our first date. A drink turned into dinner, which turned into dessert, and then followed by more drinks as we had such an amazing connection and didn’t want the night to end. We both fell in love quickly but as fate would have it I already had plans to travel Europe with friends and live in London. Within a month of being apart Greg decided the distance was too much to bear, gallantly moving back to London so we could be together. The rest is, as they say, history.

The past five years have been incredible – in 2010 we moved from London to Bali (where my father is from and I grew up) and our love has only deepened since living on this beautiful island. Even though we have known from day one we were each other’s “one”, Greg’s proposal was still a big surprise! He proposed on a romantic anniversary weekend away at the beautiful colonial Hotel Majapahit in a room filled with my favourite flowers after a candlelit dinner. I said yes immediately and soon after we enjoyed a month long engagement holiday in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and China.

As we are from two countries with family and friends strewn across the globe we set about the enormous task of organizing wedding celebrations to accommodate everyone and paying respects to both cultures. We decided on a trio of weddings (which friends continue to tease us about as we are usually a relatively low profile couple). The first was our Balinese Hindu blessings in July.

Our Balinese Blessings

Image by Nick Fogarty

The second was an intimate wedding ceremony by Sydney Harbour followed by a relaxed lunch at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. The third will be our bigger and final reception celebrations in June next year at Taman Bhagawan, Bali.

The Sydney wedding was so that Greg and I could get married with both our elderly Australian grandmothers present (who are unable to travel overseas) who both played influential roles in our upbringings. The wedding was a family affair with just 50 people (and a handful of close friends) – it was a simple, relaxed day with sunshine, great company and delicious food.

We stayed at the Squadron the night prior to the wedding and we enjoyed a few moments of quiet bliss watching the sun rise before getting ready. The talented Amberlie Binks did my hair and make up. My French lace dress from Lover was one of the first dresses I saw and instantly fell in love with it.

Greg’s older brother and my younger sister played the roles of Best Man and Maid of Honour. My sister Nadia wore a pink lace dress from Shakuhachi while the flower girl dress for Natasha was from my label Indigo Kids. The boys both wore suits from M.J. Bale.

I opted to walk down the aisle with both my mother and father. Our celebrant was our close family friend Melissa Halliday, Heart & Soul Celebrations, who helped personalize a ceremony that was us to a T and eased what little wedding nerves we had. It was such an incredible moment becoming husband and wife overlooking the most beautiful spot in Sydney with all our loved ones present.

We were so touched that all our friends pitched in for our big day. The very talented Ed of REEDevelopments built both a beautiful arbour with branches found in Greg’s backyard and aisle decorations out of tree trunks which Greg then lovingly engraved with selected verses from Corinthians.

Our very creative and lovely friend Kate Peters arranged all our pink “ombre” inspired flowers for the day including a petal aisle, decorating the arbour, centre pieces and ceremony bouquets. Kate brought a hint of Bali to the day with tropical flowers strewn through out.

We are a camera shy couple but Lara Hotz Photography was an absolute dream to work with who made the process effortless and fun – we were amazed by the results and how perfectly Lara captured our love and the feeling of the day.

One of our favourite moments of the day is coming back from taking photos in a nearby park and seeing all our guests enjoying canapes and champagne on the front lawn by the water enjoying the sunshine. It was like one big family reunion except that it was so beautiful to see two families very clearly becoming one.

One of the most important elements to the day was designing a menu that would cater to all tastes. It was certainly a challenge but the catering team at the Squadron put together a lunch spread that exceeded all expectations. From  fresh seafood to a delicious roast and lush salads – every guest raved and happily went back for seconds. The dessert spread kept the kids entertained for hours in between playing on the front lawn.

The delicious 3-tiered cake was made by an old school friend Kashaya of Kashaya & Co – it was impossible to choose just one flavour so we decided on a layer each of  Coconut, Citrus and White Chocolate decorated simply with flowers to tie in with our floral arrangements.

In lieu of wedding favours we opted to donate the money we would have spent to Yayasan Senyum (the Smile Foundation) explaining as such to our guests using stationery designed by Greg’s Bali friend Sam Shand.

We were so lucky with the weather, it really was such a glorious sunny day and the sunshine was infectious. My husband and I were having so much fun that we delayed our departure by water taxi by almost two hours. We were literally dragged out by our mothers. But the party carried on with our close friends joining us that evening for drinks at the InterContinental, again overlooking Sydney harbour from their amazing roof top club lounge. It was the perfect end to such an incredible day.

We have delayed our honeymoon plans to Mexico until after our Bali celebrations next year but have organized a few little mini breaks to enjoy being newly weds. We are so excited for the next chapter and are having a lot of fun planning next year’s reception. The venue is incredible as is the team from Cakes & Champagne who are going above and beyond to help make sure the day is worthy of the many miles our friends and family are travelling from around the world to attend. Luckily a holiday in tropical Bali wasn’t such a hard sell!

Images by Lara Hotz Photography

Ms Gingham says: It must be so amazing to be able to stretch out your wedding with 3 such different celebrations! Thanks Sophia for sharing your Sydney wedding! We can’t wait to see the Bali version.

Sophia says: ” I am Australian-Balinese living in Bali with my Australian husband Gregory Butcher. I design, manage and own a children’s wear label Indigo Kids and women’s wear Indigo & Rose with retail stores here in Bali. My husband Greg is a digital marketing consultant, working primarily for clients in Bali and Australia.”