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Hannah & Simon

Hannah and Simon wanted a crazy mix of an Australian bush wedding ceremony, a Parisian style picnic and a celebration in a tipi and with big ideas, come big dreams and big plans and somehow this eclectic mix of plans and ideas formed itself into an incredible outdoor bush wedding that had everything. The scene was set for a wedding extravaganza and Sarkodie Photography was there to capture every moment of the day.

The newlyweds met across the seas in the UK, Hannah remembering, “Simon and I met years ago at a church camp in the UK. We stayed vaguely in touch, but nothing major. We re-met after Simon had being doing mission work in Cambodia, he was having a break in Australia before doing mission work in Africa. We met at a church camp with the theme ‘Real Love’ in Sydney. The theme song was the same song we sung at our wedding.

We started going out and had one week together (including my sister’s wedding) before Simon went to Africa and then England. We began the difficult process of a long distance relationship, but through visits, pixelated Skype conversations, games on Skype (like scrabble, guess the jelly bean flavour, bubble blowing competitions, trivia, monopoly deal etc), candlelit dinners (well candlelit breakfast for Simon!), a book of thoughts and letters, sleepy time difference phone calls, parcels in the post and messages we began to fall in love.”

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Hannah chose a gown from Bridal Reflections.

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Of the mood for the day, Hannah tells, “We wanted it to have elements of us both, our relationship and represent both our countries. Using sites like Pinterest made choosing a wedding theme difficult, as there were so many great ones on offer. Eventually we decided to just combine them all! We planned to have an outdoor white wedding ceremony in the Aussie bush, a vintage Paris picnic in the paddock, and a tipi for our wedding reception. It sounds bizarre but seemed to work out in the end.”  The couple chose Hannah’s parent’s property in Dooralong for the celebrations!

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The all white bush wedding ceremony kicked off with handmade bunting leading the way, Hannah explained, “The venue for our white wedding ceremony was in the bush on my parent’s property. We cleared a winding path, which was lined with white lace bunting made by my mum. Then the bush opened up into a big circle clearing, surrounded by lace bunting. The entrance to the clearing was an antique white door draped in vines. We had bottles hanging with moss and white flowers, logs with white flowers and white bird decorations in the trees. Our aisle was sprinkled with white rose petals and lined with flower-filled tree stumps. Simon and I stood in front of hanging white orchids strung between two tree trunks. It was amazing to be surrounded by trees, in a circle full of your friends and family and to promise to love each other for the rest of our lives.”

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Hannah remembers, “We walked down the aisle to an orchestral version of the Coldplay song ‘ Fix You’ by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.”

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Hannah notes, “The favourite moment of our day was hearing the vows we had written for each other. They were a surprise and deeply personal. It was surprising to hear how similar they were! We promised to love each other for the rest of our lives…it felt amazing.”

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Guests headed to the Parisian inspired picnic after the “I Dos”. Hannah telling, “After the ceremony, we went to the paddock for afternoon tea. Simon and I drove down on our vintage Vespa we had hired for the day. We shared picnic baskets full of awesome slices, cakes, tarts, baguettes, dips, macaroons and more. My aunts and grandma made these for us. It was a real reminiscent Paris meal and setting for Simon and I.

Guests sat around on giant picnic rugs, enjoying the food, swinging on the swings (my brother in law put up) or hammock, going in the fabric cubby houses (we set up), playing Kubb and volleyball, reading our poem walk (poems and stories we had sent back and forth in a long distance book – printed on canvas material and hung up with pegs) and looking at the decorations.”

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“We had old ladders with jars of flowers, doilies, vintage cameras, coloured bunting, suitcases, books, lace kites and more. My Mum made the lace kites and both mothers made the bunting. We had a wooden drink stand (from my cousins) serving drinks in glass bottles with vintage straws. We had an English Tea Stand with lovely vintage cups and saucers. We also had a bug stand with everything from tweezers and tea tree oil to Aeroguard to protect everyone (especially the visiting Brits!) from any bugs that might have been around.”

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Of their photographer, Hannah remarks, “Our photographer was Joseph Sarkodie who was brilliantly artistic, laid back and funny. He made us feel relaxed and comfortable being ourselves. He was able to take fantastic candid and posed shots. On the day, Joseph took all the photos we asked for and more. He managed to capture all the details, moments and flavour of the day. He really added to our day and we were both so excited about how amazing our wedding photos looked! Joseph even turned out to be British as well as our band, so Simon was happy to have the extra support 😉 Simon is a photographer himself, so he can be ultra picky. Being a designer he also wanted something unique and quirky. Joseph met all of Simon’s high expectations and he was as thrilled (as thrilled as it is possible for an Englishman to be!) with the photos.”

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The final part of the day was the reception- held under tipis! Hannah remembers, “When I first began preparing our wedding I was looking for something different for our venue. We were planning to have our outdoor wedding ceremony and a reception on my parent’s property and so I began the painful process of looking for a marquee for the reception. Most were typical, white plastic with windows cut out and draping material offered. I definitely knew that was not what we were looking for.

As I began to search more and Google was offering things like Yurts or giant plastic overthrow sheets…we came across Katalane! I was SO excited when we found them; they were exactly what we were looking for. Something fresh, unique and striking. We knew it would make the perfect addition to our wedding. The tipis looked absolutely beautiful in the bush and suited our wedding theme and decorations perfectly. On our wedding day, we and our guests absolutely loved the tipi. People couldn’t believe it and kept asking where we had hired it. It really made our day special. For the reception, the tipi had a cozy, comfortable and warm atmosphere, which really added to the vibe of the evening. The wooden furniture was perfect and guests loved sitting on the bench seats in the marquee. It was a magical day in a magical venue.”

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“Everyone drank different cordials from vintage glass jars. Inside the tipi we had draped the bamboo poles with green vines and fairy lights. Strings of sheet-music paper cranes and hearts hung around the edges, along with handmade wind catchers and fairy lights. We had a note tree, which was hung with personal notes on a luggage tag for each guest.”

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Hannah says ” Our reception had a fantastic vibe with beautiful smells coming from the giant woks of Spanish and Thai food (catered by SpanThai). It was held in giant tipi-marquees joined together. These were absolutely stunning and had a very unique and warming effect. We had also hired from them, beautiful wooden trestle tables and benches and we covered these with blue, brown and clear bottles filled with flowers. Everyone had a canvas favour (made by my mother in law) with our personal stamp on it (we designed) and inside was a note saying ‘combine the flavours. A sip of Britain and a bite of Australia’ with an Anzac cookie and a silk bag of tea.”

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Musicquarium performed New Orleans style music.

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Hannah tells, “The speeches and items were hilarious and the vibe was very relaxed and joyful. We both loved the best man speeches (both British) which contained a play script on Simon’s life and hilarities like: Luke Buckler: ‘only this morning I ran into a duckbilledfunnelshark and a koala with a knife!’ ‘Simon went to Australia…Nek Minut…it’s not just the animals you need to look out for’ Tom Peel: ‘Act 1, Scene 2…Simon Peel is sat alone’ ‘Act 1, Scene 3, Tom Peel sits surrounded by all his friends at Conference’ (laughter) ‘Well this is going a lot better than I expected!’ and the bridesmaids did a hilarious item to the song ‘wave your flag’ about a fight between Britain and Australia for both of us.”

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“At the end of the night we went down to the dam and let off little wooden well-wishing boats with a candle in them. They looked beautiful floating on the dark water and it was the perfect end to a perfect day. ”

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Congratulations Hannah & Simon! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Thank you also to Sarkodie Photography for sharing today’s story with us!