Christina & Roy

Christina and Roy’s wedding day was a result of years of stories. Stories of love that never gave up, of standing by each other during the downright awful times, of reconnecting after years apart, of never giving up. So as much as today’s wedding, captured beautifully by  Jonathan David is filled with everything that sums up a sweet Montrose country wedding, the stories that have brought them both to this day, are worth your attention.

Roy and Christina share their (very epic!) story “We met when we were teenagers. Both our families had newly come into a church where we still go today. I (Roy) remember being a 17-year-old (with the maturity of a 14-year-old) praying a prayer to find the one that I could do life with and serve God with. And it wasn’t long before my eyes were caught by Christina – she found people who were lonely and she would sit and befriend them. A week later we volunteered at a fundraiser together and just as kids we had fun. I think my heart was sold then and I knew I wanted to marry her.

I (Christina) remember praying as a 14-year-old for a love that was worth fighting for and soon enough began to see the heart in Roy and his love for people and I think that’s where it all began. We never dated, we never talked, we never held hands or made much eye contact but we loved each other. We were just kids but it was the time where a look or a smile would make your heart burn for a month. We became high school sweethearts from a distance but growing up with conservative parents and conflicting cultures meant that our infatuations couldn’t really take flight over 2 years.

Unfortunately, my (Roy) parents struggled to see a future with Christina, but growing up on romantic ideals of being set apart for ‘the one’ mixed with the fuel of disapproval meant our fire, despite being secret and separate, still grew stronger. I (Roy) seeing the toll that this took on Christina, while I felt different, thought it would be best for us both to drop whatever we had (which wasn’t much at the time but felt like the world) and communicated and resolved to let it all go and we entered the dark years – a time where we knew it was best to not open up to each other but wanting to do so at the same time.

A while after, I left for a year for a placement in Lismore with med school and managed to move on, never got friendly with any other girls  but in that time I settled it in myself that when I got back to Sydney and felt any hint of attraction for Christina that I’d be all in. Fast forward a year – we’re both independent, have moved on and are plodding along in life. I start running into Christina here and there and she was hotter than ever! The way she held herself and the way she talked and the way she respected herself had changed and was super attractive and I wanted in. We had the luck of being able to talk for the first time without all the pressures of teenage angst and they became some landmark conversations which just sealed the deal and gave me the resolve do whatever it took to get this girl. I knew it was going to take consistent and unrelenting signals to build trust because of what had happened.

It took me two months to get a yes out of her, and it was only after her Dad, noticing what was going down, sat Christina down and convinced her to give me a chance. I’ll never forget the day, it was my birthday and we had the warmest conversation over blueberry pancakes and ended up walking the rocks at Coogee while having the girl of my dreams say yes to me for the first time. Two and a half years later and a little more convincing she said yes to marrying me.”

The bride purchased her gown second hand by  Allure Bridal on a classified website, noting “Since I was 16, I knew I wanted a dress that featured a low back and buttons running down and for the whole dress to be lace. I never actually went bridal dress shopping I only researched dresses and prices online and to be honest the online process was disheartening in itself. We had a tight budget for the dress and I knew the design and style I wanted would exponentially exceed our budget. So I turned to alternate methods. And there it was a lace, lower back dress with buttons and a train in my size for only $500. The dress already came dry cleaned so all I had to was make some alterations. Wearing a pre-loved dress didn’t dampen the bridal experience but rather I was quite proud of myself for snapping up such a bargain that was guilt free. At the end of the day, I wanted to wear the dress and not let the dress wear me, I believe this simple elegant dress helped me accomplish that.”

The bride walked down the aisle with her father to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus.

Roy and Christina chose a church ceremony at St John’s Anglican Church Camden, noting “Our main aim was to find a church that would cater for a large number of people, and for us, this was around 200 people and also for us to be able to bring our own minister. We’d both grown up with our pastors playing a large role in our lives so having them marry us was non-negotiable. We were also looking for a church that was halfway between Western Sydney and Sutton Forrest where we were set on having our reception. We loved the church. It had a traditional feel, was well lit, had a beautiful ceiling and stained glass windows. The guys at St. John’s Anglican were incredible! Their wedding coordinator, Christene was so helpful and we had the added wonder of Liam, their organist and the sound tech who played the 150-year-old pipe organ for the processional and recessional, and coordinated any music on the day, as well as church bells ringing as we exited the church as husband and wife. The weather turned up for us on the day despite a rainy forecast so we were able to serve morning tea outside the church, and the grounds and shade from the trees catered perfectly for this.”

“For both of us, the wedding ceremony was a huge part of the day and it was a deeply significant and spiritual moment. We both felt that without God we wouldn’t be standing at the altar together so we wanted to honour that fact and also honour the family and community that had supported us up until that point. It had been an incredibly difficult year – my (Roy) Dad had passed away tragically from complications during open heart surgery. He was loved by all so it was a massive and unexpected loss for us. Our story is one of overcoming barriers and adversity and working through pain but regardless we wanted it to feel like a timeless celebration like a victory had been won. We wanted to look back on the day and hold a dear memory and have a moment we could stand on for our marriage. Our reading was from Song of Solomons chapter 2 verse 10-13 which we thought tied into our story really well.”

“We felt it was important to involve our family and friends in as many aspects as we could since we owe it to so many people for helping us to be where we are. So with each section or detail we tried to include people and honour them, and we found that a lot of people were so glad to be a part of the day. We put a lot of focus in the ceremony and some of the special parts of this included songs led by a couple of our friends, a special tribute to Roy’s Dad and a minute’s silence for him, and a time for communion and prayer.”

There were plenty of cultural elements present in the day – including cake! “Part of Sri Lankan culture meant that it was important for us to involve a red sari – which meant a presentation and a dress change and plenty of colour. Roy’s grandmother also prepared a traditional Sri Lankan wedding ‘rich’ cake as favours for the guests so that was pretty special too.”

The couple chose Montrose House for their reception. “This would have been the last venue on our list for the Southern Highlands that we were happy to go ahead with. We already looked at something like 20 places prior to seeing Montrose, and we’d seen photos, but the moment we walked in, we fell in love with the place. It was hidden away, out of the hustle and bustle of Sydney and was full of green, with open lawns and these aged trees that overlooked the property. The barn and the cottage were nestled away in great locations and it was the place where my (Christina) ideas could come to life. Bruce and Fiona again were amazing, they were helpful and encouraging and we got the pleasure of experiencing Fiona’s mean berry pies, with berries from the property. We couldn’t have asked for more from a venue as we had the Friday to set up, the Saturday to party and the Sunday to clean up, so for a largely DIY wedding, this was perfect! We had some family stay on the property at the cottage which was a nice treat for everyone. The barn where we had reception seated 120 easily, and then because of the feel of the property, we kept the doors open throughout so people were flowing in and out as they pleased. The grounds were incredible for photos and our photographer surprised us by taking us to some locations which we hadn’t seen before on the property, for couple shots. All in all, we’re huge fans of Montrose, and we’re so happy that we can go back and stay at the cottage and relive some precious memories.”

Of their photographer, the bride remembers “After being to a few weddings, we started thinking about what kind of a photographer we would like to have on our day. One thing we really didn’t want was having to cater for the photographer, we didn’t want to chase people to take group photos or communicate what the photographer is saying to family members and friends. As you can see from our photos, it had culture, colour and many different dynamics at play so we simply wanted someone that understood all these aspects and alleviated the stress of juggling all of it on a wedding day. After searching and searching, we stumbled upon Jonathan David Photography and I simply loved his profile of gentle and beautiful sunset photos. His photos are just classic, elegant and each couple’s photos were unique. When we contacted him, we just sensed a warmth and we went with our gut feeling and though our budget was tight, we knew that this was an investment we wanted to make and we’ve never looked back.”

“There’s this amazing photo of the both of us holding hands and running! It’s a beautiful and playful photo, that I think shows our personalities and relationship.”

Guests enjoyed a feast by Chef In Your Kitchen, the newlyweds remembering “Kelly and ‘Chef’ were absolute lifesavers. Kelly has a wealth of knowledge and was amazing from start to finish. She was patient with us as we were trying to wrap our heads around so many details and she would always respond and answer any inquiries we had. We forgot 40L of juice on the day and she sorted it on the spot and did a great job decorating my wedding cake on the day last minute and I’m sure did a million other things that I’m blissfully unaware of.”

“Roy’s uncle from France, who came down for the wedding bought us a 1.5L bottle of champagne from the city of Champagne in France. He was opening the bar so we thought we might make a spectacle of opening the bottle and so in front of everyone he was about to open the bottle and for some reason he shook the bottle a bit too hard, and it slipped and fell and the bottle smashed immediately. And that’s the story of how 120 people never got to taste champagne from Champagne. The waiters loved it though and thought it was hilarious and they were pretty good about cleaning the mess up.”

“There were a few seating areas but my favourite was right outside the barn – we hired two French provincial chairs an old trunk that was stationed outside the reception barn. I thought it really worked with the backdrop of the trees and the barn, and I was happy to see the guests enjoy it throughout the night too.”

The bride’s favourite part of planning was styling it all! She remarks “It was definitely all things styling – I can be a stubborn creative so this where I have to give a big shout out to my amazing and supportive husband. I hadn’t been dreaming about the details all my life so it was genuinely fun and exciting to make my Pinterest boards and mix and play and have a brief and work within the budget and produce something beautiful and memorable.”

The bride worked with Floreale on the floral arrangements for the day, remembering “The flowers I chose for the day were white lisianthus, white roses, white wax flowers and greenery to fill. The bouquet was made by the florist and I was going for something that was natural and earthy but still was elegant and ethereal and she was on point. At the reception, I draped ivy from the ceiling’s fairy lights and hung assorted greenery from rose gold features.”

The romantic first dance was a lot slower, than the fun of a choreographed bridal party entrance,  the bride remembering “We shared our first dance to ‘Angel of Mine’ by Monica. We’d both grown up on slow jams and this was one of the songs that helped tell our story so we couldn’t go past it. We kept it pretty simple but that was us.”

Congratulations on your marriage Christina and Roy! Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories with us! Thank you also to Jonathan David for sharing today’s beautiful day.