Renee & Mark

Sometimes little surprises sneak up on you – like today’s bride? I had no idea she ran one of my favourite little wedding businesses The Soda Stand until I read her story. I fell in love with this wedding for it’s simple elegance and I’m even more in love with it knowing it’s Renee’s business story.

Renee kicks it off with the tale of how they met. “I’d like to pretend that there is a more romantic story behind us meeting but it was a pretty simple meeting. We met at a mutual friend’s place (who happened to be Mark’s best man!) Mark loves to tell people that we met at Carmens (a not so hip nightclub where we grew up) but I like to deny that!!”

Photographs today are from Lovedale Photography who captured beautifully clean, elegant photographs.

Renee’s bridesmaids wore gowns from Lisa Ho.

Renee and Mark chose the Rose Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens for their wedding. Of her processional, Renee recalls, “I chose The Wedding Song by Angus and Julia Stone, which was played live by an acoustic duo. Our ceremony was held at the Rose Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens. We wanted something within walking distance to our reception venue with a pretty setting and the Rose Garden is exactly that!”

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“During our ceremony we released 2 large balloons as a symbol of our love. According to an old tale all lovers are represented by red strings – these strings may twist and tangle but they will never come apart! Mark was in charge of tying the strings together – I was too nervous that it I tied them they would come apart and that wouldn’t be a very good start to our marriage!” Robyn Pattison married the couple.

And this? This is where Renee’s business idea was born, the fun post ceremony drinks! She remembers, “After our ceremony had finished we had a self service drinks stand setup which included iced water, iced tea and mini pellegrino bottles for guests to enjoy and fill in the time between the ceremony and the reception. I sourced all of the items for the stand on the day as I couldn’t find anyone that offered this as a complete service. Following our wedding I have since started my own business called The Soda Stand which provides a complete refreshment stand service for weddings and events.”

Of their photographer, Renee says, “My dad is a photographer so deciding who was to take the photos of our big day was a task he gladly looked after! He is a man of high standards so I knew he would make the best choice for us! Our photographer Dave Swift is a true gentleman and a pleasure to be around! We met a couple of times before the big day and got along really well – this definitely made the photos on the day an enjoyable time! Dave has a great knack of putting everyone at ease and knows when you’ve had enough! It definitely shows through our photos which we are so happy with! We can’t speak more highly of Dave – friends of ours who recently married also used him as their photographer.”

Renee wore a stunning gown by Helen English.

Poolside, Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool hosted the reception, Renee remarking, “It was important for us the venue was on the water (we felt that was a good reflection of us as we both love the water). It was also important it had a sense of privacy and served great food!

Stephany the events coordinator at Poolside, Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool was absolutely fabulous! Leading up to our wedding we visited a lot of venues and Stephany herself was one of the biggest factors in deciding to have at wedding at Poolside! Nothing was ever a problem and she instills you with confidence which was very important.”

“We didn’t go overboard with the decorations for our wedding – we felt our venues didn’t need much added to them but we did add a few things here and there that were very ‘us’. Our guest favours were small bags of tea as we are big tea drinkers. I packaged them in Kraft paper bags with some bakers twine and a mini peg along with a label that read ‘Brew with Love’.”

“Mark is a very keen fisherman so it wouldn’t be right if this wasn’t reflected at some point of the night. I got a custom cake topper made through Etsy (A Simple Start) which had us standing on a jetty and Mark had a fishing rod in his hand! Very fitting! I planned on keeping this as a secret from Mark to surprise him on the day but I had to show him when it arrived as it was just too cute! And I’m not very good with secrets!” Mezzapicca created the wedding cake while Sticks & Wicks Floral Design created the reception floral arrangements.

For their first dance, Renee remembers, “This was a hard one for us to choose as we have quite different tastes in music! On our RSVPs we asked guests to dedicate a song to us which would be played at some point during our wedding. This list was very helpful and we ended up choosing our first dance song from here – ‘At Last’ by Etta James. I always wanted a song that was a classic and this was a bit of tongue in cheek as we had been together for 8 years before Mark proposed!!”

“The big decision (and a little controversial) was that our wedding was a cocktail style wedding with no sit down formal meal. We wanted to create a party atmosphere and didn’t want people to be restricted to assigned seats. Luckily it worked out really well! A big concern with serving guests cocktail food was that they could get hungry so we added a few little extra things to our package including an antipasti spread for the guests upon arrival and a large paella which was cooked out on the deck with our guests and was a bit of entertainment also!”

“One of my favourite memories of the day was the end of the night! We hired a water taxi which picked us up from our reception venue and took us to our Hotel- Sebel Pier One in Walsh Bay. Mark and I (finally) got a chance all to ourselves and debriefed on what was the day/night of our lives!”

Congratulations on your marriage Renee and Mark! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you to Lovedale Photographyfor sharing today’s wedding!