Sophie & Josh

The sun dappled Southern Highlands were on glorious display on this 42 degree summer’s day! As a florist herself, Sophie and her husband Josh planned their wedding to be intimate, minimal, and filled with stunning flowers. With delicate bouquets, foraged foliage installations and beautiful DIY touches, photographer Ella Ottaviano caught every detail.

Telling of Josh’s epic surprise proposal, the bride remembers, ”The day began with a road trip in the very early hours of the morning. We were leaving at 4 am and it was going to be very cold – were the only two hints Josh gave me. All bundled up in the warmest amount of layers, we started our adventure with me 100% sure we were going to the snow. To my confusion, we ended up at the domestic airport, where Josh explained that we were catching the next plane to Hobart! I was very surprised as we boarded the plane, taking an early flight and arriving in Tasmania at 9.30 in the morning. After breakfast in a little Hobart cafe, we spent the day exploring the beautiful countryside of Tasmania. Then at my favourite golden time of day on a quiet riverbank, we set out a little picnic in the grass. There was a church steeple in the distance, early spring blossoms, and then a gorgeous diamond ring (that he had designed!) with the sweetest words spoken to me by my love, asking me to marry him. It was such a dream!”

Adding romance in lace form, Sophie chose an off the shoulder gown from Alex Veil Bridal. She tells, ”I was looking for an elegant design with touches of lace and chose a beautiful gown from Alex Veil bridal. It was a bit nerve-wracking ordering it without trying it on, but the team were so incredible to work with and created a gorgeous design exactly to my measurements. The lace sleeves sat just off the shoulders held in place by sheer material and flowed down into gorgeous details of lace with little embroidered flowers. Then there were six different layers of immaculate material creating a soft flowy dress. I absolutely loved wearing it! On the morning of the wedding, I wore my mum’s beautiful robe that came all the way from Holland. It had been passed down from my great-grandmother to my grandmother, and then to my mum, and it was so very special to wear it as I prepared for our wedding day!” The groom and groomsmen wore charcoal suits from Ferrari Formal, while the bridesmaids wore long, light grey dresses from Model Chic.

Arriving with her bridesmaids, Sophie carried a bouquet in shades of peach and yellow, trailing with carefully chosen silk ribbons. She tells, ”We chose St Judes’ Anglican Church, Bowral for the ceremony, a beautiful church built back in 1867, and also part of the church we attend. My dad walked me down the aisle to the beautiful song ‘Endless Story’ by The Light The Heat. Our ceremony was so special. There were quite a few tears, but mostly SO much joy and it filled the whole service!”

Set in the rolling countryside, south of Sydney, Somerley House and its bright, light rooms were ideal for Sophie and Josh’s reception. They share, ”It’s a stunning venue situated on acres of land, and surrounded by gorgeous established trees and gardens. We had our reception in the Garden Room with doors opening up onto the lawn, where guests mingled before the reception started and after dinner. The venue had beautiful trees, as well as a stunning driveway where a lot of our portrait shots were captured. We chose soft neutral tones to fit an elegant, minimal brief. And we formed long tables in the Garden Room, providing a banquet meal so that there would be a real atmosphere of gathering, with guests chatting together as they passed platters of food over the table.”

Flowers were an important aspect of the day, with Sophie being a talented florist herself. She shares, ”I had to find a fellow florist that I knew would create exactly what I loved, and Alice Beasley did just that! She designed ethereal bouquets and centrepieces filled with cottage garden flowers and gorgeous tones that added a pop of colour to our neutral colour scheme. We loved every arrangement! In the weeks and days before the wedding, I dried hydrangea, foraged an abundance of dried bracken and filled buckets full of silver birch leaves. Then with the help of my fiancé, we created an arch full of foliage for the ceremony and dried installations above the tables at the reception. It was magical!”

Being creatively talented, the bride added delicate design touches throughout the day. She remembers, ”The invitations were one of my favourite DIY’s. I designed the invitation suites with my sister Grace & I pressed so many stems of sweet pea in the months leading up to sending out the invites. I placed belly bands of transparent paper around the invitation suite, tied with some white twine and completed it with a sweet pea in a beautiful wax seal. They looked beautiful! I carried this idea through to the seating chart as well. I painted a piece of MDF with grey chalk paint and glued the table numbers with the guest names to the board. Then I completed the look with some dried hydrangea in a wax seal just above each table number. With the help of my amazing fiancé, mum and sisters, we also styled the reception tables the day before the wedding.”

With every detail so thoughtfully chosen for their elegant wedding day, photographer Ella Ottaviano captured it, along with the tears and joy. The bride tells, ”She did an absolutely incredible job of capturing the emotion, detail and joy of the whole day, as well as editing them in such a beautiful way so as to keep it light-filled, natural and so elegant. We felt like we were just spending special moments alone together, enjoying those first few hours as newlyweds. Ella was enthusiastic, intentional and lovely throughout the whole process. She made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and directed every photo so thoughtfully, with a great eye for detail. We absolutely love the gallery of photos that she gave us! Some of our favourite photos were from the evening. We chased some golden sunset light that was filtering through the trees and stood in the middle of the gorgeous long driveway that led up to Somerley House. Ella captured every image beautifully, and it was so lovely to have a quiet wander up the driveway together before heading back to the reception.”

Following advice from their loved ones, Sophie and Josh were intentional about their time on their wedding day. They share, ”Before the wedding, friends had told us to make sure to step back and take it in, and we really felt like we were able to do that, taking in the big moments of our wedding, but also those special little details which were so lovely. We had all our nearest and dearest to celebrate with us, and there was just so much joy and a real sense of love and support! The atmosphere of gathering at the reception was so wonderful. Candles were lit, jazz music was playing in the background and everyone was catching up and laughing! While we went off for photos, all the guests moved outside to the lawn and mingled in the beautiful evening air, which was such a lovely way to spend the hour. And it was just an all-round incredible day! We were so thrilled to be married and celebrating with our loved ones, and the whole day ran so smoothly, meaning we were really able to enjoy every moment.”

Thank you to our gorgeous bride and groom for sharing your beautiful wedding day with us, and congratulations! Thank you also to Ella Ottaviano for your stunning images!