Jess & Mike 

Jess and Mike can hand-on-their-hearts say that their Royal Botanic Garden Wedding in Sydney was the best day of their lives- and we can see the happiness on their faces! Their wedding was ‘humble and simple.’ It was held at the The Palm House located within the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney in April 2017. Jess writes about their day for us below and the special moments are captured by Photographer Amelia Fullarton

The proposal… Mike threw Jess off the mark by taking her out the week after her birthday. Mike took Jess to get a tattoo as a birthday present, bought her a scrunchie and ice cream, then took her on a ferry ride across Sydney Harbour to Manly. After some drinks on the pier at Manly, they went back to the ferry terminal where Jess bought the tickets to the wrong ferry. Mike had to call their friend who he’d organised to take photos to ditch the ferry she was on and race over to the one Mike and Jess were now on. Mike then had to convince the ferry driver to let them out on the bow of the boat (as the part he wanted to propose in was only on the other ferry) where he took Jess out on and got down on one knee as they sailed into Sydney Harbour. They then went to their favourite restaurant Porteno where Mike had organised their closest friends to celebrate with them.

How did you meet… Mike went out on a crazy limb and decided to open a cafe, with no hospitality experience and decided to hire Jess as a waitress, who also had no hospitality experience. A few months down the track with plenty of hard hours worked and lots of chatting in between, their friendship blossomed into something more.

The playsuit…  My “dress” actually wasn’t a dress. It was a playsuit with a skirt I wore over the top for the ceremony. I had always known I wouldn’t be a “typical” bride but also didn’t want to do something different for difference sake. I ended up trying on a few classic gowns and was totally uncomfortable in them and didn’t feel my best. I was inspired by a Zimmermann dress and worked with a dressmaker as I originally thought I wanted to wear a long pantsuit. We worked on a few different designs and styles and came up with a feminine compromise. My fabric was one of a kind and was the first fabric I picked out in the biggest fabric store I’d ever been too – a beautiful lace interwoven with sparkling threads. And a polka dot skirt to top it all off.

The suit… Mike also got his suit designed by his mate. He wanted something relaxed but classic. The fabric was a linen blend with no shoulder pads. Pants with no belt holes and collarless shirts.

The wedding party… We each had 5 of our best mates in our bridal parties.

The venue… We wanted a place where our guests didn’t have to travel in between ceremony and reception. Originally we wanted a destination wedding but when we found The Palm House we knew we were onto a winner – in the heart of the city, surrounded by gardens in a beautiful old green house.

Les fleurs… I’m SO passionate about wedding flowers, so much so I’ve done flowers for other people’s weddings on a few occasions. I wanted our bouquets to be unique and different from each other – incorporating beautiful Australian tones and natives, and being quite obscure in size and shape. We really wanted wattle to decorate our venue, but unfortunately it didn’t come into season in time.

Here comes the bride… I walked down the aisle to “A Community Service Announcement” by Jonathan Boulet. Our friends Matt & Jarryd played this live while my dad walked me down the aisle. Our ceremony was super relaxed. And intentionally so. We have been to a lot of weddings and didn’t want to do the stuff that made people feel awkward, but also wanted to make the stuff that was super important, super important. We gave our guests beers and cocktails while they waited for the bridal party to contribute to the atmosphere, and our ceremony was actually quite short – about 15mins. Our friend (and pastor) Josh shared over the word of God sharing on What is Love, and the ultimate Love that God showed us in his son Jesus. Mike and I wrote our own vows centred around honouring each other and our commitments to one and other, we sung songs of worship and our closest friends prayed over us.

First dance… We chose “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac. Originally we were’t going to do a first dance because we didn’t want everyone watching us! But the night before we both settled on this song because we have always loved Fleetwood Mac. The song is fun and easy to dance to and the lyrics spoke to us!

The DIY details… The napkins, the arbor, some of the flower elements (my dad and I spent hours chopping down wild grass the day before ceremony).

Honouring Mike’s mum… Instead of giving favours to our guests, we gave a donation to the Cancer Council on their behalf to honour and remember Mike’s mum who passed away from cancer a few years ago, and therefore couldn’t be a part of the day.

Favourite details… EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. It was honestly the best day of my life. We also had an insane dance floor. We incorporated a mix of old school and current hits which one of my best mates, Luke, DJ’d. So dancing out in the middle of the botanic gardens to Backstreet Boys and tossing back Champagne was definitely a highlight.

Traditions… My mum gave me something old and borrowed (her mother’s handkerchief) and new and blue (a turquoise stone bracelet).

Your photographer… Our photographer was Amelia Fullarton. She’s a friend but also a hella amazing photographer. We chose her because she captures moments not just simply photographs. We chose our wedding date based on her availability.

Favourite photos… The photos of Mike and I in a fernery. We snuck into this
fernery and turned the water on so there was all this mist and got some incredible shots together.

A fun crowd… Everyone got so on board with the speeches that when Mike’s dad (aka the cutest Filipino man of all time) got up to do his speech, everyone started chanting “Rey, Rey, Rey” as he walked up the front.

Vendor appreciation… We loved Mary’s – they catered our burgers and fries and brought in the Pavlova (dessert). They did 4 round trips from their venue into the gardens to drop all the food off.

The best bit… Getting to do it all with my best friend.

Five things that your wedding the best day of your life… 

  • Having my closest friends travel from around the world and all be together
  • Mike’s speech – the beautiful words and commitments he made to me
  • My best friend being 100% there for me throughout the day, being so completely selfless and supportive
  • Doing a Body Attack class with my bridesmaids the morning of my wedding
  • Making our commitment to each other before our best friends, family and God

Advice for engaged couples planning their wedding… Lap up every moment of your wedding day because it’s the best day of your life!

About the photographer Amelia Fullarton: I live with my two daughters and partner, on the East Coast of Australia. A country girl at heart i’am most happy close to the sea and surrounded by nature. My work is driven by the love and light.