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Dave and Koren

The Victoria Police Academy Chapel is such a beautiful space, and its natural light, warmth and grandeur made it just perfect for our elegant black tie wedding in wintery Melbourne. Dave greeted guests outside the chapel before my arrival and the images Warren Photography captured of this time are some of my favourites. They’re filled with such excitement and emotion.

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Having conducted countless weddings where a bride doesn’t see any faces on her way down the aisle for all the iPhones pointed at her, we asked our guests in advance to switch off their phones and cameras for the duration of the ceremony. It made such a difference to have everyone engage completely with the ceremony and we love that in each and every photo John took you can see faces, not phones.

Dave, his groomsmen and Alex all wore dinner suits we had custom made overseas. Dave was very particular about their black tie look and spent several weeks looking for braces and real bow ties. At the end of the evening, with their jackets off and ties undone, they looked like long lost members of the Rat Pack.

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Our flowergirl and pageboy entered the chapel to ‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys, followed by Alex and Mum. The girls, Dad and I walked down the aisle to ‘I’ll Cover You (Reprise)’ from the musical Rent. I told Dave not long after we met that he would have to quickly develop an appreciation of musicals if we were to have a future together and Rent is one we both love. This song has such a joyous, triumphant sound and its lyrics speak about enduring love.

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Our celebrant, Amanda Matler, has been a friend and mentor to me for several years and it felt so natural to share our ceremony with her. She was engaging and inclusive and the ceremony was a celebration of the life and love we share, as well as the love shared with our family and friends. My sister’s partner, Tom, and Dave’s Aunty Janelle delivered readings by Victor Hugo and Bob Marley.

We asked six friends with marriages we admire to share a piece of advice, a wish or blessing for our future together. These were kept secret from us until the day and were given with such love and grace. Our friend Phil chose to quote the Beatles, leading to an impromptu singalong. The sound of 150 people singing ‘All You Need Is Love’ is not something we’ll forget soon! It was such a gleefully happy moment.

It meant so much to us our three surviving grandparents were able to attend. I was particularly thrilled that my Nan flew down from Brisbane – no mean feat when you consider that she’s 96. Given my profession, it probably isn’t surprising to learn that there were no fewer than 6 celebrants in attendance – 7 if you count the bride.

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Many of our guests came from interstate so we wanted to give them a truly Melbourne experience while warming them up at the same time. We booked Karine and Jason from Harts Coffee Cart to provide everyone with coffee after the ceremony. The coffee was a huge hit (and delicious – Jason is one skilled barista), as was the shortbread my Mum and sister spent several days making to go with them.

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Mum turned her kitchen into a workshop in the lead up to the wedding, first making 200 shortbread biscuits to serve immediately after the ceremony, then peanut butter and cherry chocolate truffles for reception favours. Anyone who happened to drop by during that stage was co-opted into stirring or rolling or shaping.

The weather on our wedding day was true to Melbourne’s wintry reputation – cold and wet! We hadn’t checked the forecast at all in the lead up to the day as we knew we couldn’t change it, so why bother worrying? The rain only made everything feel cosier, and the photos taken as we danced in the rain are some of my favourites.

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Our reception was a formal, sit-down affair at the extremely elegant Church St Enoteca. It is our favourite restaurant for so many reasons – its warm ambience, the wonderful staff, the incredible food and the impressive wine list. Conversation flowed as guests sat at long tables lit by tealight candles and decorated with white flowers.

Favour boxes filled with Mum’s chocolate truffles doubled as name cards and Dave’s Aunty Dianne Zipf made our delicious three-tiered cake. Dianne is a professional cake baker from the Gold Coast and we couldn’t believe our luck when she offered to make it for us.

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The speeches were memorable for all the right reasons – they were funny, touching and honest. My sister had the entire room in hysterics when she congratulated me on a being a very calm bride, admitting that she thought she might have been stuck with a bridezilla!

We had a vintage-inspired poster custom made by Alexander and Co to display above the dance floor. It was a talking point amongst our guests and now lives on our bedroom wall.

We danced to ‘Dance Me To The End of Love’ by Leonard Cohen. The first concert we ever went to together was Leonard Cohen at a Day on the Green, where we waltzed around on the grass to this very song. We had five lessons leading up to the day and got it right for the first time on the day.

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Rutherford Entertainment provided our music and were so, so good at getting everyone up and dancing. They asked all the right questions to determine the mood we were trying to create, playing jazz standards during dinner and retro classics to fill the dance floor. They even played The Horses for this Daryl Braithwaite tragic.

The day after our wedding, Marcus from C2 Video posted a highlight reel. It brought me to tears then and still does now. In those few minutes, he captured how the day felt.

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One of my strongest memories is of standing hand in hand with Dave, just before we made our speech, looking out over a room full of the people we love. They were all smiling and it was truly humbling to realise they were all smiling because they were happy for us. That’s a high you never come down from.

Images by Warren Photography

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Ms Gingham says: What a beautiful day you had Koren. We’re so happy for you and wish you and Dave all the very best luck!

Koren Harvey says: “I love standing with a groom waiting for his bride to arrive and watching the emotions well up in his eyes. I love seeing the joy on a bride’s face when she catches sight of her husband-to-be. I love what I do. Being a celebrant is the best job in the world.”