Simon & Hazeley

We work hard around these parts to find weddings, that are quite simply “feel good”, and for today’s grooms, we couldn’t describe it any better, because, for a day that was about love, it was also about fun about personality, personal details, cake, bubbles and plenty of absolute joy. None of this was without careful planning, in fact, groom Simon tells “Hazeley and I worked hard to create a wedding that felt intimate and personal. We took advantage of it being the same-sex wedding to set aside old traditions and select unique little touches and a quirky style that neatly matched with who we are. We didn’t want anything over the top or complicated, just a fun and relaxed atmosphere that enabled us to celebrate our love for each other with our family and friends.”

And when you couple that careful thought, with beautiful imagery by Gold & Grit, well you have a story that we can’t wait to dive into!

Let’s set the scene though, with the tale of how these two came to be, Simon shares “We met online in 2012 in the UK (where we are both from). Initially, I kept ignoring his messages (!) but thankfully Hazeley was persistent and eventually, I gave in and we started to chat. Our first date was in a park by the river in Cambridge on a beautiful sunny day. We planned to just grab an ice cream but it turned into a whole afternoon chatting in the sun. It was clear straightaway he was truly amazing and we quickly arranged a second date a few days later. We met when I was planning a move to Australia and six months later I left him behind in the UK. We continued things long distance and wrote and texted constantly. On the anniversary of our first date, he even learnt to play the ukulele and recorded me a cute video of him singing “You Are My Sunshine” with lyrics he re-wrote for me.”

Simon and Hazeley dressed for the wedding together, each wearing their own tailored suit in coordinating colour tones with colourful sneakers from Bucketfeet. Simon explaining “We were keen to avoid being an identical pair or go too formal, so we paired a smart jacket with trousers, each in a different colour combination, and a white shirt. We both love wearing a bowtie and Hazeley found some great self-tie versions online – Haze’s had dinosaurs on and mine had sharks. The outfits were finished off with a beautiful pocket square from Rob Ryan (one of our favourite artists), a dinosaur pin badge each and brightly coloured, artist-designed sneakers from Bucketfeet. Although Damon, our celebrant, felt that we should have turned up to our own wedding wearing something smarter on our feet!”

It was Hazeley who popped the question, so we’re handing over to him to tell the tale. “We became engaged when Simon was travelling around Australia and I flew out to visit him to celebrate both of our birthdays and for him to show me why he loved Australia so much. We had an amazing time travelling around and driving around New Zealand spending time together after being apart for nearly 7 months. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder and I decided that I was going to ask Simon to marry me after a lovely stroll along the beach in Apollo Bay. Walking down the deserted beach and holding hands made me realise just how much I loved him and that I knew I was ready to ask him to spend the rest of his life with me. We were having dinner at a restaurant in South Yarra and I just blurted it out… and he said YES!”

The couple chose Flos Botanical to create beautiful floral arrangements, noting “The natural beauty of the surrounding Gardens did a lot of the hard work for us but we organised for a small number of arrangements to decorate the inside of the Pavilion. Vivien from Flōs Botanic Studio in Abbotsford put together two charming buttonholes and a set of beautiful arrangements for the signing table and to line the aisle, using a red, blue and purple colour scheme that complimented the colours of our outfits. The flowers were a mix of succulents, gerbera, roses and natives.”

Making the most of beautiful Melbourne, Simon and Hazeley chose the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne for their ceremony (complete with cake!). Simon tells  “We are originally from the UK and moved to Australia nearly 4 years ago. We were excited to be able to get married over here and chose venues that provided both urban Melbourne as well as a sense of nature. The ceremony was in the Rose Pavilion in the middle of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It provided plenty of character and charm and was the perfect size to host our family and close friends.” 

The grooms walked down the aisle to live music from  Jonathan Skovron. “Our entrance music was “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, sung by our fantastic musician Jonathan Skovron. He performed “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie as we signed the register and at the end of the ceremony, we exited the Pavilion to “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” by KISS. Jonathan was great and incredibly accommodating to our song requests, beautifully playing a set of our favourite songs during our post-ceremony drinks.”

“The ceremony was incredibly special and an experience we will both treasure for the rest of our lives. We were determined to ensure it reflected our personalities and who we are as a couple, to be fun and emotional” tells Simon, the couple choosing their friend Sarah to read “The Lovely Love Story”, a cute little story by Edward Monkton.”  Damon Hughes made it official, performing a ceremony Simon describes as “magnificent! “From the very first time we met him, he put us at ease and worked hard to fulfill our wishes. He learnt as much as he could about us and wove that research into a way of sharing our story as a couple perfectly. He ensured that it went beyond a mere set of formalities and made it a joyous celebration of our love for each other.”

“I am so glad we chose to write our own vows and not share what we were going to say with each other in advance. I loved reminding Hazeley how special he is and how happy he makes me, with our family and friends watching on. And I will always treasure the beauty and poetry of his vows.”

Of their photographer, Simon raves “Stina from Gold and Grit Photography was incredible and the pictures she took are stunning! They make us tear up a little every time we look through them. She’s a photographic ‘ninja’ genius and was an incredibly calm presence throughout. She thought through every little detail so we didn’t have to, and captured the most gorgeous representation of our special day. When we first looked through the pictures we realised she had taken the time to capture at least one candid pic of each of the guests. We were thrilled.

She also uncovered some great locations for our wedding portraits. We wanted the pictures to reflect various aspects of Melbourne life: a bit of neon, some graffiti, as well as the natural beauty of the gardens. I don’t think we will ever forget having our pictures taken in a random laneway while Stina’s assistant fired off confetti cannons over our heads. It was so much fun!”

And then? It was time to party! The newlyweds extended the invitation for all of their friends to join them at Welcome To Thornbury for a feast of food truck favourites, doughnuts and fun. Simon shares “We had a party for a larger group of friends at Welcome To Thornbury. We reserved the Container Bar, which meant we had our own private bar amongst the ready-made atmosphere of a busy Friday night at the food truck park.”

The reception? Completely filled with special touches, Simon remembering “Our friends organised some fantastic touches to surprise us on the day! Jenny and Steph secretly organised miniature versions of the two of us (with each of us pinching the others bottom!) as a topper for the giant cupcake we cut after the ceremony. Continuing a theme, our friends Sarah and Jacob crafted the two of us in “comic” puppet form and another friend Dan turned us into a fun illustration. We definitely have some very talented friends!”

The personalised touches continued, tells Simon. “Haze did some magnificent work designing our “save the date” notices, invitations to the day itself and signage for our guests at Welcome To Thornbury. Our friend Gaylene also organised for her sister Monica to bake cookies iced with an H and an S to hand out to all of our guests. One of them mentioned that it was the best-branded wedding they had ever been to!”

A big congratulations to you both Simon and Hazeley! Thank you for sharing the stories of your day with us. Thank you also to Gold & Grit for sharing today’s beautiful wedding!