Paul & Sarah

Oh we do love a wedding where the couple is 100% committed to making it completely theirs. For Paul and Sarah, it was so very important for them to share a day that reflected who they are. They planned the entire day together, carefully choosing elements that their friends and family could be involved in- like Sarah’s mother making her wedding gown, to maximise that personal touch. “We wanted to have a rustic, inviting and fun wedding. Less formality and showiness, more inclusiveness and authenticity”, explains Paul. A beautiful double rainbow, a country winery and plenty of coral pink peonies combining for a day that was just as they’d dreamt.

Paul and Sarah wanted a photographer who could connect with them, so they chose Briars Atlas to accompany them and today we get to share every beautiful moment.

The pair hit it off over coffee, remembers the groom. “Sarah & I had our first date over a Sunday morning coffee at Auction Rooms in North Melbourne. Sarah was wearing a tea cosy style beanie which I thought was super cute and after some caffeine, we walked and talked for a few hours.” A mere six months later, Paul was certain Sarah was “The one” popping the question on Valentines Day. He shares the story. “I was pretty sure Sarah was THE ONE for me after 6 months and I’m quite certain she was very keen on taking the next step soon too. So with everything going swimmingly, after 18 months, I decided to propose on Valentine’s Day 2017. I suggested we go out for a nice dinner but rang her on the day to let her know that I wasn’t feeling well and to come straight home after work.

She walked in to find the house lit by about a hundred candles, a 3-course meal waiting for her that I’d prepared from scratch, and over the cake that I’d baked, I kneeled down and told her I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. She said ‘YES’, we jumped up and down and then we shared the news with our close family.”

The groom, who wanted something “simple, yet classy” chose a navy blue pinstripe suit from Pal Zileri. The finishing touch was a polka dot bow tie from OTAA.

Sarah and Paul chose just two members for their wedding party. “We decided early on to keep things simple, so our bridal party consisted of a flower girl and page boy. It worked a treat as my cousin’s young kids are adorable” explains the groom.

Sarah worked with her mother to make her stunning wedding gown – that’s dedication! Paul shares “The bridal gown was completely constructed by Sarah’s mother who doesn’t sew professionally, but when she does, is capable of some exquisite creations. She’s already made a number of wedding dresses and quickly offered to create Sarah’s. They went searching for ideas and fabric together over a number of weekends and then mum got to work. And boy did she work… she not only made Sarah’s dress, but also her own, my grandmothers and the flower girl’s dress.

The experience was wonderful for everyone involved. Sarah and her mother had some great bonding time over fabric and sewing (which they both enjoy) and the end-product was sensational!” Sarah finished her look with her great grandmother’s necklace.

Sarah and Paul chose to have a first look before their ceremony, so they could maximise their portrait time, and time with their guests. Paul notes “Our photographer Briars Atlas (Oli Sansom) is both a wonderful photographer and glorious human. He is such a warm and lovely guy, and it was great to share the day with him. We’ve managed to keep in touch subsequently and have caught up for drinks.

He captured lots of really great ‘moments’ which make us smile every time we look at them. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to anyone that wants something a little different. His photography has a real authenticity and depth which we didn’t feel with any other photographer we looked at.”

A friend recommended Paul and Sarah check out Zonzo Estate and it turns out, the friend was spot on with their recommendation, says Paul. “We’d seen a lot of venues before making a final choice. We were recommended to check-out Zonzo Estate by a friend of mine in slightly bizarre circumstances. I’d bumped into him on the street after a number of months and told him that Sarah & I were engaged. In the same breath, he recommended that we should have a rustic wedding, suggested Zonzo Estate… and then he said ‘bye’ and walked off. Random…

Anyway, as we worked our way through a list of venues we eventually got to Zonzo, which we knew nothing about. We went to see the facilities and loved it from first sight. My mate had nailed it. It was exactly what we wanted. Very rustic, very charming and not showy… tick tick tick.”

The stunning floral arrangements which featured coral pink peonies were styled by the amazing Gillian Pollard. Paul telling “We spoke to a number of florists and then met Gillian Pollard. Deal done! I’m not sure if Gillian would appreciate me saying this, but I think she’s a little bit bonkers… but the most fantastic type of Bonkers there is! While everyone else was formulaic and boring, Gillian was a fountain of flowery energy. I am 110% satisfied with everything she recommended and arranged.

The bridal bouquet was beautiful and elegant (and very Sarah) and her installations in the chapel & reception were just so uplifting, pretty and brought the most out of Zonzo’s dining room. Gillian nailed it! While we work-shopped ideas together over a number of sessions, she took the ‘vibe’ that we wanted and turned it into a wonderful floral form.”

The processional began with Sarah and Paul’s flower girl, then Sarah walking down the aisle with her father to Sally Seltmann’s “Harmony to my heartbeat”.

In honour of their family and their heritage, Paul and Sarah chose a deacon to officiate their ceremony. “I’m of Italian heritage and like 99% of Italian’s, I was raised Catholic. I knew it would be important for my family if at least we had a priest/deacon as the celebrant, so that’s what we went with” explains Paul,  “Zonzo has a lovely little chapel on-site and I was able to beg Sarah to let us go with the chapel over the barn (which is equally lovely).

We went with readings that spoke to the commitment and the union of marriage, rather than Genesis stories of Adam & Eve.”

“I think my wife and I most enjoyed the development from ‘ídeas’ into a plan” tells Paul of his and Sarah’s favourite part of wedding planning.  “We had pretty loose ideas at the start of what we wanted and we spent a lot of time pondering how we could bring all those ideas together into something memorable AND affordable.”

“We woke up the next morning and thought “can we do it again?!” Looking back, it was an unexpected event that’s become most memorable. We had a DOUBLE rainbow, on a warm sunny day, without any rain… that was lucky.”

The first dance? A challenge designed around getting Paul moving! The groom explaining “We had Jake, a close friend of ours, who is a semi-professional dancer choreograph a dance routine for us. He needed something with energy and some funkiness to get ME grooving (Sarah is a naturally graceful dancer and could dance beautifully to anything).

We went through loads of songs that just didn’t work and then we stumbled upon Jamie Lidell’s “little bit of feel good”. I’ve always liked Jamie Lidell (though he isn’t particularly well known) so it had some emotional attachment too.”

This was a day that was, in Sarah and Paul’s words “authentically us”. “We tried to thread the involvement of as many people as possible to make the day special. Mum made Sarah’s dress, Jake helped with the dance and MC’ed the night. Ash (another friend) brought the band and got everyone grooving. We had ceremony readings from our family and Sarah’s close friend Guy designed the wedding invite. It wasn’t just our wedding, but something authentically US, because we had brought our families and friends together to form the celebration.”

A big congratulations to you both Paul and Sarah! Thank you for taking the time to share your beautiful stories with us. Thanks also to Oli of Briars Atlas for sending this wedding our way!