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Jen & Theo 

I love the modern feel to Jen and Theo’s urban botanic gardens wedding. What started in the botanic gardens, led to an inner city restaurant before drinks at a rooftop bar. So very Jen and Theo and so very Melbourne. Jen and Theo chose Aparat Photography to photograph their wedding.

Jen kicks us off with the story of how she and Theo met. “Theo and I met at a party at the Mockingbird Wine Bar in St Kilda in 2011. Theo was the host and I was the designated driver for a mutual friend. I remember thinking two things simultaneously when we first met. Firstly, that he was incredibly handsome, particularly when he smiled, and secondly, that there were an outrageous number of buttons undone on his shirt – almost to his belly button! We were inseparable throughout the night and eventually Theo worked up the courage to ask me out to dinner. The rest is history.”

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Mae Taylor and Janice Wu styled the bride and bridesmaid’s makeup and hair.

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Jen chose Anaessia to make her wedding gown, remarking, “Initially, I wanted to wear a second hand vintage style dress purchased online, but this was met with no success. My venture into the in-store experience was far more successful, given that I found my dress on day two of the official search. My dress was from Anaessia on Little Lonsdale.

The dress was made of two parts: A tight fitting slip, with a sweet heart neckline and low back, and a vintage lace overlay, with a high neck, no sleeves, moderately low back, lace fringe at the bottom, belted at the waist and beadwork across the chest. Anaessia designs the most beautiful dresses and to me seemed to be ‘ballet’ inspired. I fell in love with this dress instantly. Nick, the owner who runs the Melbourne store, is a fantastic, quirky and unique individual. The dress came together in approximately 8 weeks and the journey/experience was wonderful!”

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The groom chose a suit from Hugo Boss with his groomsmen dressed in MJ Bale.

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Jen and Theo chose Gardens House for their ceremony, explaining “Gardens House is a secluded garden nestled within the Royal Botanic Gardens. The house was built in 1856 as an office and residence for William Guilfoyle, who designed the Royal Botanic Gardens. Theo and I chose Gardens House because we wanted the privacy it afforded and because we knew the garden at the rear of the house (where we had the ceremony) always came to life in Spring.”

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For the walk down the aisle, Jen remembers, “We went traditional with Pachebel’s ‘Canon in D’ played by a live string quartet (Ruby Strings).”

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“Theo and I were wed by Phil Haar, my sister’s father-in-law. We both wanted to be married outside amongst the sights, sounds and smells of nature. And more importantly, we wanted to be married by a friend. Phil’s speech was witty, humorous and very humbling. Phil was both a great orator and story teller. We chose to include a reading from 1 Corinthians 13:1-10, 13.”

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“We incorporated a number of elements from a traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony into our outdoor ceremony to honour both Theo and his family’s heritage and traditions, including the Crowning.”

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Of their photographers, Jen says, “Zosia and Jakub were (insert the best word you could possibly think of here)! Some suggestions of mine would include words like AWESOME (not the use of capitals), incredibly talented, amazing, kind, friendly, creative, gifted, funny, relaxed, easy-going, generous, supportive, adventurous and willing to try anything!

Reflecting on our wedding in October 2014, I think the most important attributes my husband, Theo, and I needed in our photographer/s was someone who shared a similar taste in photographic style (candid nature), someone who we could call a friend who had a grounding/relaxing influence to combat the epic madness of the day and someone who could capture/document every moment – we were exceptionally lucky to find all these qualities and many more in both Zosia and Jakub. Thank you both so much for helping Theo and I create wonderful and lasting memories of our wedding day.”

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The newlyweds chose inner city restaurant Cumulus Up to celebrate, noting “Cumulus Up is a wine bar upstairs from Cumulus Inc. Chef and owner of Cumulus Up, Andrew McConnell, has been named chef of the year not once, but twice. The menu is seasonal, but the signature dish remains the duck waffle with foie gras and prune. Theo and I chose to host the reception at Cumulus Up because we are both foodies and it remains one of our favourite restaurants!”

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There was a touch of the handmade, Jen telling, “With the help of our sweatshop team (my family) Theo and I made all the stationery, including the wedding invitations, ceremony programs, menus, signage and guest favour tags. We made the decor, including hessian and calico bunting. We made the guest favours, including home-grown and home-made kumquat jam, strawberry jam, tea in test tubes and potted succulents. In place of a guest book, we made a wooden wedding board that people could sign using white textas.”

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“Theo and I felt very fortunate to have chosen such a wonderful team of suppliers to work with in the lead up to and on the day of our wedding. Everything, and I mean everything was perfect! ”

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The stories of the day are plentiful and memorable for the couple. “Catherine’s hand massage. Advice from John the driver. Seeing Theo. Phil’s speech. Theo’s speech. Sharing a cheeky burger at the end of the day. Breakfast with the groomsmen at the Olsen Hotel. Crowd rolling in, in anticipation. Spring sunshine on our faces. Gardens in full bloom. Surrounded by friends and family. Intimate ceremony. Theatre of food being made from scratch in an open-plan kitchen. Trash the Dress and husband forgot his shirt!”

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Of the first dance, Jen remembers, “Our first dance was to Dire Straits ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The first time I ever heard the song was the cover performed by The Killers. Theo and I were in the car en route to Wilsons Promontory. Theo was giving me an education on The Killers and I was giving him an education on camping (it was his first time). We played the song over and over again while we traveled the long winding road leading to Tidal River.”

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“Theo and I both love Melbourne. In all our worldly travels Melbourne remains our favourite metropolis to call home. It was important to us to have some photographs taken in Melbourne’s iconic laneways, particularly in Hosier Lane in front of the original MoVida (our favourite restaurant!).”

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Congratulations Jen and Theo! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Aparat Photography for sharing today’s gorgeous day!