Monika and John

I am a sucker for the tradition and beauty of a classic, black tie wedding. The bride walking down the aisle to the strains of string musicians, the beautiful tiered wedding cake, the sense of formality and occasion. Monika and John’s wedding was a beauty – black tie, in one of Sydney’s most beautiful cathedrals and a beautiful story to match.

Monika tells their story. “On the 4th of August 2007, only two days after my 18th birthday, John and I were introduced by a mutual friend. It seemed a coincidence that nearly every weekend after our initial meeting, John happened to be turning up at the same bar, restaurant or social outing as me. Little did I know, that he was in contact with our mutual friend on a regular basis trying to figure out where we would be on the weekend and to make sure that I was there. Week by week, we slowly became better friends, and by that Christmas I was introducing John to my family as my boyfriend. The rest is history…”

Photographs today are by John Benavente Photography who captures weddings with such a depth and magic. What an eye he has!

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John wore a custom made suit from Herringbone Couture. Monika remarks, “The most precious touch for me on the wedding day was a special treat from my late grandfather. My late grandfather in Croatia made the grappa that the groomsmen drank and toasted with in the morning. It meant the world to me to feel as though a little part of him was celebrating with us.”

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Special guests? There were plenty, says the bride. “My grandmother flew down from Croatia just to be here for my wedding.”

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Monika wore a gown by Rhonda Hemmingway Bridal Couture.

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St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney was chosen as the couple’s ceremony venue.

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Monika walked down the aisle to a seven piece string band ( Opus 4 String Band) playing Canon in D by Pachelbel. One of Monika’s most treasured memories is, “My dad walking me down the aisle in the same suit and bowtie that he got married in. That moment and what I felt at the time, I will never forget.”

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Monika remarks, “The 17th of November 2012 can only be described as the happiest, most romantic, emotional and most memorable day of our lives as we committed ourselves to one another in front of the people we love and care about the most.”

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White roses, arranged by Sweet Art were a theme throughout the day, from the bouquets to the reception. Monika tells “I absolutely loved how our reception was decorated! It was more perfect than I had pictured. The main flowers used in my bouquet and on the centrepieces were white roses. White roses are very sentimental to me as they remind of some special people in my life and bring back some fondest memories. Thus, for every special occasion John gives me a bunch of white roses. Looking at those roses reminded me of special times with my husband and of my precious family who could not be there.”

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Of their photographer, Monika says, “You know you have a good photographer when you barely notice that someone is there, then you see your photos and they leave you speechless. John and his team captured the most special moments of our day that reveal every emotion that were felt at that moment. Even when it was time for some posed photos with our bridal party, everyone mentioned how comfortable and casual it all felt. John is a genuine and great person to work with, and the sheer genius of his talent is exemplified in his photos.”

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For their reception, Monika tells, “We used Doltone House at Jones Bay Wharf. The staff were extremely professional and evidently highly experienced in their areas of expertise. The entire process of planning the wedding with them was a pleasure and completely smooth. On the night, the food and service was exquisite! From the bridal room provided where we would safely leave our things, to every request and question being answered with such ease and friendliness. What a wonderful experience!”

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Not only did Sweet Art make the wedding cake, decorated with a trailing cascade of sugar flowers, but  Sweet Art also planned, styled and themed the entire wedding.

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Guests received alternating favors of piccolos of Moet champagne and Designer Chocolates from Chocolate Works.

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Monika remembers, “A special detail for my husband organised by my father in law was a box of Muirheads silver seal single malt scotch whisky distilled in 1987, the year of my husband’s birth. My husband was so proud and excited about this; it was a very sentimental detail.”

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“Each and every speech that was given touched our hearts deeply. John and I were blown away and humbled by the effort our dads, best man and maid of honour went to, to make their speeches so personal, touching and perfectly humorous. My beautiful husband, his speech deserves a special mention. I may be biased, but it left me speechless and it was absolutely perfect. – I finally got to marry my best friend.”

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For their first dance, Monika recalls, “Our gym trainer who was a former dance teacher taught us our first dance. John and I are a relaxed and fun couple, and that’s just how we wanted our first dance to be. We didn’t just want to do a traditional serious waltz; we wanted it to be something with a fun flare that we both enjoyed doing. With that in mind, we chose Frank Sinatra’s ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, which was an obvious choice from the moment we heard it – it was also a song featured on the first CD music mix I made John. We thought we may feel nervous doing the dance, but both of have never had more fun or felt more relaxed. It was perfect.”

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Monika tells one last story. “This is a humorous memory I enjoy telling from the day. My husband, his best friend Theo and I have an ongoing joke about how I am the third wheel when the three of us are together, and that Theo is the son we never had. To say the least, Theo had one too many drinks on the night and was very keen to be part of every moment. The night was nearly over and John was removing my garter, when I notice Theo coming directly behind John and starting to dance on him. There is one photo that captures the moment perfectly as I’m telling Theo to stop, and all you can see is his torso down to his feet midway dancing. We find this photo and moment hilarious, especially considering the context of our friendship! On a slightly more serious note, the main story to tell is that I have never seen all of our closest friends and family laughing and dancing as much as we did, whether it were to Greek music or Rhianna, every single person there made our night. And from what we heard, they had as memorable a night as we did.”

Congratulations Monika and John! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you to John Benavente Photography for sharing today’s wedding with us!