Joanne & Michael

The Hunter Valley always seems like the ultimate Australian location for romance, so it makes the most wonderful location for a wedding! Joanne’s romantic pink ballgown paired with the couple’s own sense of fun and romance makes today’s wedding a beautiful tale to tell.

Joanne tells the story of how she and Michael met. “I met Mike on my first night in Sydney. I was traveling after finishing uni in 2005 and met two of Mike’s friends in Fiji. When I landed in Sydney I went to meet up with them at the pub and Mike was there. My first impressions were he was very cute and talked nonsense – his pick up chatter is not impressive! Despite that, we both tried our hardest to be wherever the other one was throughout my time in Sydney. When I left I honestly didn’t know whether I would ever see him again but we kept in contact throughout the rest of my travels. He used to call me on the pay phone outside of his uni in between lectures! After I returned to London we still kept in contact through texts, emails and a regular weekly phone call. I even came back to meet him for Christmas. After 2 years of long distance and spending a total of 8 weeks together, Mike finally moved over to London to spend 6 months with me and we both knew that if that worked it would be the start of something big. It obviously did and here we are!”

Photographs today are by Pictures & Hearts who always captures such a sense of glamour and elegance with her photographs.

Martha of D’Makeup Station  styled the bride and her bridesmaid’s hair and makeup. Joanne recalls, “My makeup artist Martha Mok was a miracle worker. I wanted to look the best I’d ever looked and I felt she definitely achieved that! The women is like the fairy god mother on fast forward and was able to glam up 9 women with the flick of her magic brush!” Joanne wore a wedding gown by Designs By Melanie Ford .

Joanne and Michael married at the Hunter Valley Gardens. Joanne explaining why. “Our first official ‘date’ when I came back to Australia was at the Gardens and I have very fond memories of us running around like little kids in the Story Book Garden. So the decision on ceremony venue was easy!”

Joanne recalls, “I walked down the aisle to one of Mike’s best friends from his school days playing ‘Still the One’ on his guitar. It was the song that came on the radio in the car after Mike confirmed he’d booked his tickets to come to the UK for 6 months. The first verse totally summed us up.”

Wed By Kez performed the ceremony.

Of their photographer, Joanne says, “Our photographer was Amelia Soegijono of Pictures and Hearts Photography. I was very picky when it came to the photographer as I didn’t want the usual wedding photos, I wanted something that reflected our relationship – bright, colourful and full of fun. Amelia’s pictures captured that perfectly and I really felt she was telling our story. I also needed someone that I could feel comfortable spending our wedding day with (you spend a lot of time with your photographer). While we hadn’t met before we started speaking to her about shooting our wedding, I would now consider her a friend for life.”

The reception was held at Tempus Two, Joanne explaining, “We chose Tempus Two for the reception to fulfill my Harry Potter fantasy of long Hogwarts style tables in a grand dining room! Mike would say that we DIY’d everything! Traditional weddings are lovely, but I really wanted to put our stamp on the wedding, and do something really personal that reflected exactly how we wanted our day to be. It made things a bit more hectic, particularly in the last week before the wedding, but I was incredibly happy with how beautiful the day turned out. I can’t take full credit though, I had so much help from all my very talented family and friends and I can’t thank them enough!”

Joanne made sure to put her own touch on the day! She recalls “I really wanted something different as a centrepieces for the tables, rather than the traditional floral bouquets, so I went with terrariums filled with succulents! It turned out to be a great way for people to contribute to the wedding. A lot of people donated succulents from their garden, or donated jars and tins for the succulents to go in. Mike’s Mum, Fiona, put the terrariums together for us (both of us are indoor plant killers). She spent months on them – her house looked more like the garden section of Bunnings! She thought nothing of diving out into the freezing rain in the middle of the night to make sure the terrariums didn’t get waterlogged. She was also the talent behind the string decorated jars, and the paper cones for the flower petals. I wanted to have some elements of the wedding reflect my Asian heritage so the cones, and the paper cranes used to hold the name cards, were made of Japanese washi paper. I made the name cards myself, cutting the edges with a corner cutter.”

“Of course, in the end I decided I needed some flowers to add some colour, but wanted them to look less formal, so bought the flowers wholesale rather than as bouquets. Mike’s aunt Elizabeth arranged them in jars and tins the day before, and they looked so amazing I am sure she has missed her true calling! The seating chart, Menu and our ‘guest book’ were all planks of pine bought at Bunnings. Mike blow torched the big items on the boards and then I wrote the details in. Finally my friend Sarah surprised me on the day with decorations for the signing table – a vertical garden and bride and groom cacti! Set up the day before took all day, and needed the help of 8 family members, but I couldn’t have been happier with the results. While planning the wedding I remember looking at pictures of other people’s weddings on the internet and hoping ours could be nearly as beautiful. Because every single detail of our wedding reminds me of all our loved ones efforts in putting it together, for me no wedding will ever be as beautiful.”

For their first dance? Joanne notes, “It’s embarrassing, our friends were making bets that we would have a cheesy, choreographed first dance – and they weren’t wrong! We did a half ballroom, half salsa, all cheese routine to ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ (the Glee version). The dance was taught to us by Mike’s ever patient, ever understanding sister and her boyfriend – they managed to put together something fun and entertaining despite our very limited dancing skills!”

Congratulations Joanne and Michael! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Pictures & Hearts for sharing today’s wedding photos with us!