Brianna & Louis
With the leaves falling and creating a stunning dappled light, this gorgeous couple tied the knot with family and friends surrounding them in the Blue Mountains. James Simmons Photography was there to capture their smiling faces as they start their new chapter together as husband and wife! The Bride, Brianna tells the story of their divine day in May.
There is something about Autumn that has always made me inexplicably happy. I love driving down tree-lined streets and the dappled golden light that flickers through a canopy of leaves. It almost feels as though you’re warm and safe within a happy memory.
That’s how it feels to drive along The Avenue in Mount Wilson and arrive at the iron gates of Breenhold Gardens, a grand private estate at the top of the Blue Mountains. Within the grounds, along the garden path and through the archways we found Socrates Garden. There, on a chilly autumn day in May, we vowed to love each other, “in all circumstances and through all the seasons of our lives”.
I fell in love with a picture of ‘The Dress‘ online and immediately wrote to designer Sonia Cappellazzo, fearing it was likely to break my limited budget. She confirmed this gown was indeed quite special. The delicate Swiss lace was incredibly unique and she had only enough left to make one more dress. I tried to find something else, but when the dress started literally entering my dreams, I flew to Melbourne to meet Sonia.
Making the stakes even higher, the dress would be made from scratch and would require at least three trips from Sydney to Melbourne for fittings. No small task for a bride-to-be with a fear of flying. Focus on the destination is the advice frequently given to fearful flyers, so I spent each trip with white knuckles gripping a photograph of the dress and imagining seeing my groom’s face when he saw me in it.
But as with anything that has been held too tightly and for too long, when I eventually went to pick up my dress, I could only see flaws. I had fixated on an image – a picture of a model wearing a dress. But this was a different dress, one made just for me. I was struck by overwhelming self doubt. All too accustomed to neurotic brides two weeks out from their wedding, Sonia assured me it was beautiful and I should stop worrying.
But the night before I was due to fly back to Sydney, I stayed up late staring at an embroidered flower I was convinced was one millimetre from where it should be. I went back to the store the following morning and between anxious gasps asked if there was anything they could do. Sonia simply smiled and carried the dress carefully away. “Everything will be fine“. One tiny stitch of reassurance for an anxious bride and all was well.
The bridal preparations took place at a weatherboard house in Blackheath called Heatherton. I slept a total of three hours the night before, like a small child before Christmas, so everything was softened by a blur of sleepiness.
I wanted bridesmaids, Anastasia and Candi, to have slightly different styles of dresses to reflect their personalities. We had them made almost a year in advance by a woman based in Tel Aviv and somehow they both fit beautifully (even with Anastasia bringing a bonus flower girl along for the ride).
Have I mentioned the Groom yet? His name is Louis and he’s pretty wonderful!
We met on a dance floor at a jazz bar in Marrickville. A man wearing a hat danced up to me with sparkly eyes and a big smile on his face. He kept picking me up and spinning me around, while I chastised him to unhand me. He told me he was an artist but I didn’t believe him. “You’re just a man with a hat!” I exclaimed, and we parted ways that night without exchanging numbers.
Unbeknownst to me, he had managed to slip a business card into my handbag – straight into one of those pockets you never check. It took me at least two months to find it, but in the meantime, I had used my journalistic skills to track him down. We met to dance another day and we’ve been dancing ever since.
When our wedding photographer James Simmons Photography suggested we scale a cliff in blistering winds on our wedding day, I got the impression he was trying to construct a metaphor for the inevitable challenges we would face over the course of marriage and our lives. How would we cope in the face of adversity? Would we hold on to each other and help each other persevere?
A gust of wind picked up my veil and almost blew it off the mountain, and my quick-thinking groom grabbed it – a good sign.
We are lucky to have talented friends and family, who provided the musical soundtrack for our day. For our first dance, my Dad played piano and sang the Grace Kelly/Bing Crosby classic True Love. At the ceremony, we had beautiful renditions of La Vie en Rose, La Barcarolle and Cheek to Cheek.
The morning after the wedding, following the adrenaline of the day, I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. I had the sudden urge to see photographs of the wedding. Unfortunately, by my own directive, our guests had not been allowed to take photos during the ceremony. The idea was that people could be present and in the moment.
One thing nobody tells you about being in the moment on your wedding day, is that it’s actually impossible. In the lead up, you’re planning this one important day in the future and you focus on every detail as though you’re omniscient, seeing everything from above. On the day, you can only see parts, and you miss out on seeing arguably the most identifiable feature of any wedding – the bride! It’s like going to Paris and getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower and wondering why it doesn’t look like Paris anymore, because you’re smack bang in the middle of it.
You can’t see the Eiffel Tower because you’re in it. Sometimes too, ‘the moment’ feels far too significant and overwhelming to experience while you’re in it. But somewhere between imagination and memory, what happens is a series of beautiful moments, like brightly coloured leaves cascading from an autumn tree.
With special thanks to our friends and family who made our day possible by volunteering their time and talents. In loving memory of our beloved Bob, who made it his last mission on earth to be there.
Ms Zebra Says: Congratulations to these two smiling lovebirds! What an incredible place to say ‘I do’ and begin the next chapter of your lives together.