April & Sally

When it comes to our theme issues, we always take our inspiration from you, and for The Australia Issue, we took inspiration from Sally and April. The pair tied the knot in the Australian bush, in a spot they chose and arranged with fallen branches the day before. They wore clothes they would wear again, they served up a homemade meal of sustainable produce, they ate vegan carrot cake for dessert and had an impromptu dance to James Brown. This was a wedding that truly reflected not only April & Sally’s love for one another and Mother Nature, but of a day that honoured so beautifully, the beauty of the Australian bush. Who Shot The Photographer did a marvellous job on capturing it all on camera making the most of the bush setting and those oh so charming wide grins.

It wasn’t the first wedding these two had seen, bride Sally is a wedding celebrant herself and had plenty of ideas about love and romance. She and April met on Tinder, sharing  “Sal, being a wedding celebrant herself, believes deeply in love and romance, so it’s no surprise that these two flames met on the notorious dating app Tinder. April – who to this day, assures us that she was only swiping for mates… thought that Sally would be a safe swipe right, confident that Sal was not her usual type. However, it didn’t take long for Sal’s cackle and lightness to capture April’s deep thinking mind.”

Nature has always been an important part of Sally and April’s life together. “In the early days of their relationship, April confessed to Sal the guilt she felt having sentenced an indoor plant to its death due to overexposure to the sun. Sal considered this empathy towards the plant a little unusual but continued to roll with it. Throughout our relationship, we have spent more and more time with plants. Our love for nature has grown side by side so having their ceremony amongst the trees was a no brainer. The nature reserve we chose was a reflection of us. Not only cheap and easy (haha) but simple, natural and cute.”

Both Sally & April started their looks for the day with pieces from Kuwaii, sharing “We are both quite considered in our fashion choices both for environmental reasons and human rights so wearing something ethical was the most important thing. We weren’t willing to buy anything new that we wouldn’t wear time and time again so with that in mind, we visited several of our favourite Australian designers. Melbourne mob Kuwaii came to the table in meeting April’s love for colours of the Australian bush so that was it. With the autumnal weather not looking great, Sal grabbed a jacket to match from WA’s Salasai and April found a score at an op-shop which she had slightly altered. Apart from that, we  wore old shoes and not so fancy broken in underwear.”

Bride Sally carried a bouquet of Australian native flowers- a total surprise! “Initially Sal had planned to make her bouquet with some bit and bobs from the neighbourhood but on the day, her mum surprised her with a native bouquet from a florist in Manuka.”

Sally walked down the aisle with her parents to “Underground” by Mama Kin.

Sally and April were married at Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve. “We explored Isaac’s Ridge and Wanniassa Hills with James months before our wedding and he helped us decide on the right spot. Which was the area we were hoping for. The day before our wedding, with some family we wandered up and constructed an aisle from fallen branches and weeded ever so slightly to accommodate for the makeshift “aisle”.”

The couple chose Hitched By Hannah to perform the official duties, while Sally’s little brother performed the ceremony, sharing “The couple wanted their wedding to be as intimate as possible, having someone they knew to deliver the ceremony was a big part of that. They had a cute little dinner with their folks the night before to sign the legal documents with Hitched by Hannah who Sally had connected with through her celebrant circles.”

In fact, writing the ceremony remains one of the couple’s favourite memories of wedding planning. “It was composed whilst curled up in their van in a Victorian state forest. Sal’s cackle could be heard by the neighbouring campsites. Naturally, they thought they were hilarious, but…inevitably that was for their guests to decide.”

The couple kept their vows a secret from one another. “Sally having officiated weddings for years, had some serious knowledge about key components and an overall format or flow. It was important that the ceremony was humorous and relaxed but balanced with depth and substance. It was deeply inspired by the natural world with a splash of eastern philosophy, things that inspire how these two women live. Readings were shared by April’s older sister (Thich Nhat Hanh) and Sal’s bro (Bob Marley), they were readings that reflected not just the couple, but their future and their community.”

It was a completely spontaneous but completely perfect proposal for these two. “Sal proposed beneath a giant dead tree. The ones that are naked but seem to hold their form, hauntingly beautiful. They both love finding these trees in remote paddocks, amongst forests and National Parks. Something about them makes them stop and feel a sense of awe. They were passing through Yass and had just bought a rad jacket from a car boot sale at the Showground. Sal spotted the tree and whipped out the ring. It was planned to an extent but she was just waiting for what felt the right time.”

The couple only asked one thing of their guests – to dress comfortably! They share “We wanted people to dress in whatever they wanted, so long as it was appropriate for one of four seasons. Comfortable footwear was a must also as we made people traipse up to the ceremony spot.”

The brides could not have been happier with their choice of a photographer. “James was so fabulous and the lighting was dreamy. James has a unique ability to capture raw emotion and the natural world… We had full trust in his ability. We loved all of our vendors, Steph, for bringing our food dreams to life. James, for catching the intimacy and we cannot forget Hannah of whom we met at the day before, without her, we would not be legally married.”

Once the nuptials were over and the rain had begun, it was time to head home for a delicious sit-down feast. “We loved our entire humble home-made celebration, it’s not one detail but the whole. Everyone that contributed to making it happen would be the overriding feeling…” tell the brides.

Sweet Bones Bakery created a delicious dessert of wedding cake. “We hit up Sweet Bones for their epic carrot cake and assigned the decorating task to April’s mum and older sister. April’s mum delivered. Op shop plates and mugs sat on top of paper, hessian, native foliage and fabulous share plates.”

Alongside a chai station, guests enjoyed a homemade feast filled with sustainable produce, cooked by friend Steph Gorman. Sally and April explaining “All of the food was sourced from farms that April worked on or farmers that we had relationships with. Well farmed food is super important to this couple so having a friend who shared the same food values cook the feast in their home kitchen, was perfect.”

And the celebrations continued with impromptu dancing, tell the newlyweds. “There was no first dance planned, we were put on the spot and chose James Brown’s “Get up offa that thing” having danced to it many times in the van on road trips. In turn, they were able to up the dance floor anti with their loved ones.”

A big congratulations to you both Sally & April, what a joy it was to share your stunning wedding day. Thank you to you both and to Who Shot The Photographer for sharing today’s story.