Brooke & Bruno
Brooke and Bruno originally met online, and after six weeks of talking finally met on a Monday night at Tokyo Bird in Sydney. They bonded over Sailor Jerry’s and fresh lime and were instantly in love. Funnily enough, Bruno is from Brazil and had been in Sydney for two years when the couple met, but Brooke had only been in Sydney for three months. Bruno became Brooke’s tour guide over the next few weeks and they moved in with one another after about six weeks. They say it was absolutely meant to be. When it came time to get married, Brooke and Bruno wanted their wedding to be simple, minimalistic and natural. They designed their wedding around their venue, Beach Byron Bay, which echoed their style. On board to capture the beauty of the day? The talented Sarkodie Photography. Below, Brooke (who also happens to be a wedding planner!) details how their wedding unfolded.
We got married in Byron Bay on the 12th of September, 2019. A Thursday wedding! We think this will be all the rage soon. Weekday weddings are the best. We had four big houses booked in a complex about two minutes outside of the town centre that we all stayed in for four nights. It meant the wedding kind of started on the Wednesday night as everyone was arriving in Byron (the dance floor was HOT that night in one of the lounge rooms). We had the wedding on the Thursday, but the celebrations extended well into the weekend with most people not leaving until the Sunday afternoon.
The most important thing to me about my dress was not what I wore, but who I bought it with. With my mum living on the Sunshine Coast and Bruno and I being in Sydney, I could not fathom trying on dresses without my mum. So, the first opportunity we got, Mum and I stopped by a local South Coast wedding dress shop and were ready for a day-long adventure… But I bought the first one I tried on! It was a gorgeous bohemian lace with a champagne lining. The things I loved the most were the train and the back of it.
For flowers, I just wanted to go for something very natural and I was keen on supporting a local Byron business so we chose Poppy & Fern. I had a very natural bouquet with lots of green foliage and gorgeous white flowers. Our arbour was handmade by my mum’s partner, and it was so gorgeous we didn’t want to cover it too much so we just had a very simple extension of my bouquet above our heads on the arbour. Bruno and our fathers each had a little buttonhole made from my bouquet and our table decorations were freshly picked herbs in glass jars I had rescued from a bar closing down. We also had eco-confetti from Blossom Tree Confetti (cornflour blue!)
We chose not to have a wedding party. Our wedding was so small and every single person there was already so important to us, that we didn’t think it was necessary. Both of our parents walked each of us down the aisle and then we had our best friends as our witnesses. It was impossible to single any people out, our whole wedding was our wedding party.
Bruno wore the most beautiful blue suit jacket that we got from M.J. Bale. He wore sand coloured chinos and a beautiful grey vest over a white shirt and the vest even had a blue back. He wanted to feel like ‘The Groom’ but also have an outfit reflective of a Byron Bay wedding. I think he nailed it!
Bruno walked down the aisle to ‘Miracle Love’ by Matt Corby and I walked down to ‘Resolution’ by Matt Corby. I still burst into tears anytime I hear either of those songs!
Our arbour was handmade (and then bought by two friends of our who own Pop Up Gardens in Sydney, so it’s now available for hire!).
Our celebrant (Marry Me Kristy) did the most beautiful job at capturing the emotions of our journey together. We are such deep lovers and have been through such a journey together, it was so important to us to honour our relationship the way it deserved and then consciously step into the new adventure of marriage. When we wrote our vows, we wrote them together and made them as realistic as possible. Kristy was just wonderful and even when we first met her, we all had a turn at crying as we talked about our love story. It’s how we knew she was the perfect fit.
Our ceremony was our favourite part of the day. We are so happy we took the time to actively participate in the creation of our ceremony and to also take the time with one another to do so much intention setting for our marriage. It meant that we had really talked through what it meant to be married so once we were, we felt like we could step into the next stage of our life with a really strong union. But, one of the little things that I did love was that my best friend brought along four gorgeous blue rings for me, my mum, Bruno’s mum and I to wear on the day. That was extremely special.
Our photographer, Joseph Sarkodie of Sarkodie Photography, is the absolute bomb. He was the only vendor we brought with us from Sydney. I was super keen on using local businesses and ensuring that our wedding didn’t feel like ‘work’ for me, but we couldn’t go without Joseph. I had worked with him on another wedding and had watched him interact with the couple and just loved his relaxed style. Both Bruno and I are extremely camera shy so we needed someone who made us feel like they weren’t there.
He was also so supremely adaptable. When he arrived at the houses while we were all getting ready was when I was at the height of my nervousness. I asked if he could just give me another half an hour so he just was like ‘yep’ and just made himself busy and just walked around the houses and captured some amazing shots of all our friends and family. He even put up with my four page long email with photography notes for him because I didn’t want posed family photos, only candid and he captured every single one.
Belinda and the crew at our venue, Beach Byron Bay, were just about my favourite people in the whole process. Belinda was so no-nonsense and given my natural inclination to over-plan and overthink (as every good wedding planner should). She had no problems with my novel length emails but then also knew exactly when to say, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” Planning a destination wedding is never an easy task but she made it seamless. Also, we were super lucky that half of the waitstaff and bartenders on the night were Brazilian, which was perfect because half our guest list were Brazilian!
Both Bruno and I love the scent of fresh herbs, so we opted for bunches of herbs on the tables rather than flowers. It was actually such a joy to put these together on the wedding day – the perfect chore to do to calm my nerves.
We DIY’d every single element. Our napkins were handmade by a beautiful friend of my mothers and embroidered with our names and wedding date. My dad made the most stunning and elaborate ring box (he was always making things for my when I was growing up so it seemed only natural to have one of his creations on the day). Our wedding favour candles were handmade. I made all of the stationery myself (albeit with help of a wonderful graphic designer – Kaz Cooper Creative) but I had them all printed on recycled paper. Our table arrangements were done by me on the day.
We also had a lot of handmade inclusions made by family and family friends which just added to the vibe. We had an extremely small wedding as we really wanted that intimate feeling, not just for us but so that everyone who came could leave our wedding feeling like family too. For me, planning a wedding that was filled with love and fun was the top priority. We were so extremely excited to have guests from all over the world attending, that we made sure we planned a wedding as much for them as it was for us.
As an eco-ethical wedding planner myself, it was important to me that our wedding was as close to zero waste as possible. All the flowers from the day were taken back to the houses we were all staying in. My uncle and aunty owned a florist shop, so they dismantled the florals from our arbour and placed them into the vases we’d had on the tables to go in each of the houses.
I collected all the menus and place cards from the venue the next day and made sure they were shredded and donated to a local community garden with chickens.
Our wedding favours were these gorgeous candles made by The Crackling Candle Co on the Sunshine Coast and I was sure to check that once our guests candles ran out, they could actually send them back and get it refilled with their favourite scents. Anything we can do to lighten the load on our planet.
Wedding planning is never easy. So I just really embraced the challenge of planning my own wedding. Bruno is also amazing at bringing me back down to earth when I was letting the planner in me get the better of me by trying to micro manage every single situation. Embracing that you can’t control everything is certainly the first step to keeping things stress free.
Don’t forget why you are having a wedding. Your wedding day is just an awesome celebration to start the rest of your lives together. Your budget, the details, the colours, seating plan all fall into a blurred background when you are standing there, marrying the love of your life. They are certainly ‘nice to haves’ but it’s not what makes your marriage. Only the two of you, united, can do that.