Barry & Mark

When the stars aligned for a surprise ceremony, Barry and Mark went for it! Just after same sex marriage was legalised in Australia, their overseas family happened to be visiting and the couple thought, ‘Why not?’ What followed was a riverside elopement full of joy, sentiment, and some incredible vintage pieces that Mark loves to collect. Below, Barry details their love story and how their special day unfolded.

Once upon a time in Alice Springs, Mark and I refused to meet each other… A mutual friend attempted for a while to us up on a blind date. However, neither of us were looking for a relationship, and didn’t trust our friend’s taste. After a few weeks, our friend was moving away from Alice Springs and invited us to going away drinks. Upon showing up, we realised that outside of our friend’s boyfriend, we were the only two invited.

I’m always keen for more friends, so I made the most of the encounter and tried to make a good impression. Mark on the other hand was so shocked at being set up and was extremely keen to avoid a relationship. So, he avoided eye contact and kept answers to one word, while messaging a friend about how mortified he was at being set up on a “blind double date”.

While we thought it was going to be our last encounter, our friend ensured we exchanged numbers, and we ended up dating shortly thereafter.

With my job in Alice Springs coming to an end, I needed to choose what the next chapter in life would be, and if I should change from my current life plan to involve Mark. So, we decided to put our relationship to the test by putting it in a travel pressure cooker. We took an 18 day cruise from Sydney to Honolulu. After three weeks of sharing every waking hour and living in a 12m square room, we knew our relationship could handle anything.

After nearly three years together, we were on two month holiday touring the US. After attending my best friends’ wedding and introducing Mark to my entire family, I knew Mark was the one I wanted to spend my life with. However, Mark had jokingly said he would only ever say yes if his ring came in a little blue box. While I knew Mark was kidding, I wanted it to be perfect, so I snuck a way to find the perfect ring.

On one of their last nights in the US, I made an excuse to go to a park in my hometown that had a sculpture of the world and all the nations’ flags. Once there, I started talking about our joint passion for travel, and my desire to see the rest of the world by Mark’s side. With that I got down on one knee and asked Mark if he would be my forever travel companion and take my hand in marriage.
With that I pulled out the little blue box, to which Mark said, “No, no… no no no… oh my… Yes, of course, YES!” as tears started to roll down his cheeks.

When it came time to choose wedding outfits, Mark knew he didn’t want ordinary. Endless hours were spent scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, trying to find inspiration. He wanted something that said old Hollywood meets Great Gatsby. Whilst out for lunch in the city, something caught his eye. Shimmering in the front window of Jack London was the jacket of all jackets. A tuxedo jacket covered in black sequins. A mix of glamour with just a dash of “look at me”! He just knew it had to be his. Myself, on the other hand, lover of all things conservative was a little apprehensive of Mark’s new purchase. I convinced Mark that perhaps another jacket would be needed just in case he changed his mind (which in all fairness Mark was renowned for). The “conservative” jacket came in the form of a blue velvet smoker’s jacket. The decision was made that Mark would walk down the aisle in the velvet jacket and eventually change into his little sequin number for pre-dinner cocktails.

I had conflicting ideas in my head for my own attire. I didn’t want the standard black tux, but still wanted to maintain something traditional. I ended up slipping on a jacket that was a perfect fit! It was a deep blue jacket with a subtle pattern by Hugo Boss inspired by 1930s style.

Our ceremony was held at a local heritage listed bed & breakfast built in 1902 overlooking the Swan River, with a cake and champagne reception in the formal dining room.

Initial plans saw a massive 200+ wedding. However, as our original planned wedding date approached, same sex marriages were not yet legal in Australia. So, we made the tough decision to postpone indefinitely. When same sex marriages were legalised late 2017, my parents already had plans to travel from the US to visit us in Australia. At this point we decided we would have a surprise ceremony while all of our parents were in the same city. This meant the wedding consisted of us, Julie (Mark’s mum) and her partner Richard, Mark (Mark’s father) and his wife Survira, and Loretta and Geoff (my mom and dad).

Being a small wedding party we decided to walk down the aisle together to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli.

Both Simone Addison Photography and Andrew Pickering Celebrant paid attention to every detail to set the day up to be a day to remember forever.

We wanted to have our wedding at a place that incorporated Mark’s love of vintage but would also cater to a small wedding party of eight. We came across this venue overlooking the Swan River, only to find out the owners did not allow weddings. However, we were not deterred and told our story, explained how the property was exactly what we were looking for and how small our wedding party was. After we promised to use the house as is, with minimal disturbance, we were lucky enough to secure our dream location.

Then with consultation with Simone (our photographer) we found a few locations to capture some stunning images.

The inspiration for our florals was really quite simple, We had a healthy stockpile of vintage china to draw from. Mark originally wanted to do the arrangements himself, but soon quickly realised this task was not for the faint of heart. Our celebrant Andrew saved the day when he let us know his husband’s  business (Weddings That Pop) would be able to create vintage inspired blooms that would match our vision.

The style of our wedding all started with Mark inheriting his grandparent’s vintage dinner set. He took on the mammoth task of hunting down vintage treasures so that everyone could share the same feeling he experienced when dining off of these very much loved plates. He romanticised the moments these plates have shared over the years; joy, laughter, and even sometimes tears. What he loved most of all is that it brought people together. The vintage floral patterns from the china was really the inspiration for everything that followed. We love the idea of wonderful vintage pieces. We believe each piece has had a unique experience and an amazing story to tell if they could talk.

We cannot say enough about our photographer. Before we had thought about a date, Simone Addison’s work had caught Mark’s eye, and when he showed me, I too loved her style. From our first phone call through to the end of the big day, Simone was there to capture our day without missing a detail. Simone took the extra time to understand us as a couple, as well as understanding why we decided on each detail of our wedding. On the day, Simone captured all the candid moments, as well as capturing some formal photos as well.

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations Barry and Mark on your marriage and for creating such a gorgeous wedding. So delighted that you celebrated your day YOUR way, surrounded by your families. Loving the meaning and story behind the vintage pieces too!