What you need to know about planning a wedding is that there are no rules. And I have never seen a wedding that embraced this more than the wedding of Helder & Mark because these two, completely, and utterly embraced the day they wanted. They got rid of absolutely every tradition, every expectation and they did every part of the day exactly as they wanted. For Helder and Mark that meant a morning pool party, a waterside ceremony, a tropical celebration on the water complete with drag queen special guest. Tells groom Mark “Our view was, society had not recognised our community nor allowed us to live freely, so why all of a sudden follow social norms and have a traditional wedding.” And if chasing rainbows sound like your idea of a fun day, settle in, because thanks to photographer Mr Wigley, we’re going to share every little moment!

“We often compare our meeting like the movie Sliding doors, living in the same city, going to the same community events but never meeting” explains Mark of how the couple first crossed paths. We asked him to fill us in on their story. “After the death of my father, and being the principal carer of my mum through her successful cancer battle, I took a year break from life and went travelling through Asia, unbeknownst to me Helder had the same idea. Going to the same countries, the same sites and even the same guest houses but never meeting. Till one fine day when stood at immigration queue going into Cambodia I plucked up a conversation with the handsome guy in front, over why we were all being tested for swine flu, this conversation continued into the early hours and before we knew it we began flirting and ‘dating’ whilst wondering the ruins of Angkor Wat. That was 10 years ago, and we have not left each other’s side since.”

The day kicked off at the couple’s home, with their best friends, Mark tells “We had a morning pool party at our place with my best friend and her wife, where we flapped about on inflatables and (drank) champagne,”

With three parties to dress for, there were three “looks” for these grooms. The pair settling for suits by Oscar Hunt for the official part of the day. “We had three outfits, over the top I know. We wanted to be comfortable, fun and we wanted something that we both felt reflected us – which was not a traditional suit. The first outfit was for the morning pool party, followed by the semi-formal beach summer suit, and then we had the tropical shorts and shirt for the after-party”

Mark and Helder kept every moment of their day a surprise for their guests. “Our view was, society had not recognised our community nor allowed us to live freely, so why all of a sudden follow social norms and have a traditional wedding. For this reason we kept the whole thing a secret and, gave everyone a meeting place stating ‘Come meet us as we try to chase unicorns and rainbows across the harbour’ they knew nothing else. No one except us knew about the day, all we told everyone was to meet us at the ferry wharf for a day of chasing unicorns – they really had no clue. As the day unfolded, with surprise after surprise occurring it got funnier and funnier.”

Ripples Chowder Bay played host to the official part of the day. The couple holding both their ceremony and a luncheon reception at the waterside venue.

The grooms danced down the aisle together to Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out”.


“We wanted it to be personal, fun and relatable.” tells Mark of their ceremony, which was performed by friends. “So we decided that our friends would marry us. Our friends from Israel did the actual official ceremony, with friends from the UK providing a mini political/historical statement thanking the LGBTI community who had fought for us to be equal, with another friend providing an extensive speech on how the grooms met, dated, and comedic events of the past 10 years of our relationship We made sure that we recognised all those that had fought for the right for us to be equal. Added to this, we wanted the ceremony to be ours, not religious or unrelated to us”

The flowers had to be bright, the couple chose a mix of Australian natives and bright blooms styled by Petal & Fern.

The surprise element was part of Mark and Helder’s favourite part of the day. “The fact that no-one knew anything, meant that it created a sense of excitement from our friends – absolutely loved how annoyed they were at the lack of details, and the random self-assured statements on where they believed it was going to be.”

The couple snuck away for photos post luncheon, a quiet moment in a day filled with family and friends – who helped with everything, including the cake! Mark shares “All the organising was us, and decorating of the boat, along with ceremony, our friend from Melbourne who is an amazing baker did our wedding cake – no clue how he managed to get it on the plane in one piece, we also did our own music playlist which a friend DJ’ed for us.


Mark and Helder almost didn’t have professional photographs, and the decision to go pro was one they don’t regret! Mark explaining “We had decided to not have a photographer and to do it DIY because everyone seemed staged and mechanical. This was till we met Mr Wigley at a wedding fair, we saw his pictures and knew instantly that he was creative, and would not just apply a cookie-cutter approach to our wedding. He got to know us as people first before he even talking about what we wanted, just so he knew our style. He was brilliant on the day, to be honest, I hardly even knew he was there – a real ninja photographer.”

And then it was time to really party, the grooms hiring Bundeena Boat for an epic cruise. Mark reminiscing “After the ceremony and lunch we surprised everyone with a tropical party boat, everyone was greeted with a drag queen handing out garlands and champagne. As we set off, the drag queen did the first dance, lip-synching to Abba’s “Dancing Queen””.

And a celebration needs music, and dancing, so Mark and Helder hired Coco Jumbo to perform live on the boat. “Watching my mum pole dance with a drag queen is something I never thought I would see” tells Mark. “The drag queen did not want to leave as she was having to much fun, so continued to sing and dance all night – the comedic bit was when she got the entire boat to sing Celine Dion’s ‘My heart will go on’ as she re-enacted the movie, as we went under the harbour bridge – priceless.”

A big congratulations to you both Helder and Mark! What an honour it was to share your amazing day! Thank you also to Mr Wigley for today’s beautiful images!