Steffi & Zach
Weddings are enchanting, this we know, but when you throw in a story of magic, such as Narnia, you take us on an even bigger journey. For Steffi, a wedding photographer and Zach, who enlisted the help of Briars Atlas to capture their day, it was a chance to express their innermost selves. Shares Steffi “We wanted the wedding to be unique to us and we both love cinema. Our wedding had Narnia as the main inspiration since it has that magical feeling and the soundtrack in that movie was the first piece of music we bonded over.”
With a gorgeous gown, a beautiful garden setting, a reception filled with the most epic of dessert tables (just right for The Feast Issue) entered with, of course, wardrobe doors. But it is important to note, this isn’t a fairytale, because things happened and things did go wrong. And as every fairytale goes, it was still a day that held tight to its magic. It’s important, for us that we share all of Steffi and Zac’s story. “It was a crazy day complete with car smashing, theft, heart attack scares, constant vomiting, hail (in the middle of summer), and very late vendors. Pretty much everything that could go wrong did. I can look back now and just choose to remember the good moments but holy moly it was intense.”
It wasn’t quite a beginning of a friendship for these two, tells Steffi. “We were frenemies for a long time, always pushing each other’s buttons to the max. We teamed up to do a lot of creative things together and slowly got over our borderline hatred for each other until it somehow turned into love haha!”
It makes sense, with Steffi and Zach’s love of mystery, of fantasy and whimsy then, that Zach proposed during a game! “Zac and I both love puzzles and themes so we are avid Escape Room goers. Zac organised for an escape room to be set up for the proposal. Zac managed to sneak off and leave me alone in the third room with walls that were covered in photos of us, each linking to a relationship memory forming a code to unlock things. Eventually, I opened a laptop with a song and music video he had made for me on the Saturdays he’d said he was working. Once it started playing he came back in and proposed, before going onto the 4th room containing our families who had travelled from another city for the surprise. It was very intricate and uniquely done. It’ll always be a very special memory!”
Steffi and Zach may not have a first look, but they did meet before the ceremony “We chose to pray together in the morning before our ceremony. I was still in my pyjamas, but we held hands around the corner and prayed for the day ahead and our marriage. It was a very special moment hearing his voice and holding his hand.”
Who can even believe that the bride’s beautiful gown was found just two weeks before the big day at Brides By Design? Steffi tells the story. “I was having my dress made for me and it, unfortunately, went downhill 2 weeks before the wedding and I was left with no dress! I had to find one very quickly. It took a while and many tears with nothing fitting. Fortunately, though, I found the amazing ladies at Brides by Design who allowed me to buy a dress off the rack and altered it to fit me in 3 days. They added a cape veil and made lots of adjustments to make it extra special. I don’t know what I would have done without them!”
Woodloes Homestead played host to the enchanting garden ceremony, the bride telling “Our ceremony was held at Woodloes Homestead in Cannington. I had photographed a wedding there before and knew it was one of the few places to be kept nice and green in the middle of summer. Sure enough, it was absolutely stunning. We got married under a great big tree and it created the most amazing atmosphere.”
Steffi walked down the aisle with her father to Sia’s “Salted Wounds”. Says the bride “My favourite memory of the day was walking down the aisle, looking around and seeing every person I loved from all areas of life there in one spot. It was honestly the coolest experience to realise that halfway down the aisle, that everyone was there because they cared about us.”
Steffi and Zach made sure that the atmosphere was set from the start, the bride remembering “It was important to us that the whole ceremony flow smoothly with the atmosphere. We had music playing softly in the background of the whole ceremony. During our vows we had Finding Nemo and Josh Garrels playing and it honestly just made our vows so much more emotional. We had written our vows to each other and that was the most important part of the whole day. There weren’t any tears, just grins from ear to ear. The whole ceremony was about not only us together, but also how important God is in our relationship.”
Weaving that sense of whimsy and magic throughout the day was such a mirroring of who Steffi and Zach are. “We are both very creative, dramatic, people lovers. So the magical Narnia inspiration, the focus on making the day fun for our guests, our beautifully written vows, having all of our family there, and the focus on God at the foundation of everything were key things for the day to be special to us.”
“It was a crazy day complete with car smashing, theft, heart attack scares, constant vomiting, hail (in the middle of summer), and very late vendors. Pretty much everything that could go wrong did. I can look back now and just choose to remember the good moments but holy moly it was intense.
The beautiful blooms for the day were styled by Flowers in Love. Steffi sharing “Chantelle from Flowers in Love was 1000% my favourite vendor. She went above and beyond to make the day look so beautiful. She filled my bouquet with the most stunning array of purple and cream flowers, covered our reception from head to toe in true Narnia style, and she made our wedding table look like an absolute Narnia dream. I’m so grateful to have had her be a part of the day. She lifted so much stress and did everything she could to make our day special.”
Steffi, a wedding photographer (check her out over here and her work on Polka Dot Bride here) regards planning a wedding as trickier than photographing one! “Figuring out how to make the wedding a celebration of our unique personalities with everyone we loved was fun, but the rest was so hard! I’d much rather photograph weddings than plan them!”
Of their photographer, Steffi classes the couple’s choice as one of the most important parts of the day, but not for the reason you’d expect, she tells “When I asked Oli about photographing our day I had only ever seen his incredible portrait work but knew I needed that amazing eye to capture my day. Oli was a sneaky ninja capturing our wedding as it happened. I don’t remember seeing him the entire day, yet his photos document memories and moments so well. After having a pretty dramatic day that wasn’t entirely enjoyable, having those photos has been extra important to help me over time only remember the good parts of our day. He captured so many things I never saw and it reminds me how truly epic it was.”
The beautiful Quarry Farm set the scene for the evening reception, tells Steffi. “We were the first wedding to be held there and we are so grateful to have had such a beautiful venue for our reception. The great big wooden interior had an entire wall of windows overlooking a small lake. The sunset light that came through was very grand.”
Guests entered the reception through a “Wardrobe door” Steffi telling “We wanted our wedding to have a magical feel, but we also didn’t want it to be overboard or weird with the Narnia inspiration. So we chose some key things to create a magical feeling.
We set up the venue so that you had to walk through a wardrobe to enter the reception. We hung up fur coats inside, and on the other side of the wardrobe was a smoke machine and trees with lights through them. All of the guests were ecstatic at how fun it was.”
Bringing the Narnia inspiration to life was a handmade labour of love for Steffi and Zach. “We made our ceremony arbour, invitations, seating chart, menus and our tables had names rather than numbers. The corn toss game at the reception was also something we made and the fun of everyone playing that lasted all night! Each table was named after a place in Narnia. The bridal table was named Cair Paravel, while our parents were on Spare ‘oom and the children were on ‘Giant’s Land’.”
Guests received a wedding favour handmade by the couple, with a difference! “We made our plates. Since we were having woodfired pizza, we made wooden boards for each guest with their names engraved in the handle. That was the bomboniere for them to take home. We still get photos from people using them today!”
The first dance? An utterly romantic choice and an ode to a favourite memory. Steffi remembers “We had a dance choreographed for us to ‘Holding You’ by Ginny Blackmore and Stan Walker. It was the first song we ever danced to in the kitchen together.
My dad and I did our dather-daughter dance to a mashup of ‘Getting Jiggy With It’ by Will Smith and ‘Chop Suey’ by System of a Down. It was a crazy mixture of headbanging and dorky dancing while my brother jumped in halfway to join us. Hands down one of the best parts of the whole day! It was very iconic to my family and had the entire wedding in stitches of laughter.”
A dessert table was laden with sweets (Turkish Delight included of course) and a wedding cake by Clares Cakes.
We’re loving the finishing touch of today’s wedding, this beautiful (and so very sweet), film captured by Journey For Kate.
Congratulations Steffi and Zach! It was wonderful to share your stories today. Thanks also to Oli of Briars Atlas for sharing today’s wedding with us!
This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Wedding.
- Sinaed Tarboton
- Invitations & Stationery
- Bride and Groom