Shannon & Peter
Shannon and Peter’s entire wedding day was steeped in Jewish tradition, from the ceremony, to the structure of the day and the Jewish dancing – which saw everyone in their immediate families hoisted on chairs, spun around and thrown through the air. The couple say a sense of love and family and friends was so important to them, and the fun, party vibe was incredibly special. There to capture the atmosphere and all the beautiful moments was The White Tree and Movement Productions. Shannon and Peter’s day also featured lots of little details that were unique to them as a couple. Below, Shannon takes us through the significance of these details and how her and Peter’s dream day came to be.
I met Peter in Year Three when I moved to Melbourne, Australia. He and I were eight and seven years old respectively. We were in the same class for six months before I moved to Sydney and, although neither of us remembers this, I still have a letter from him that says he will “miss me when [I] move to Sydney forever”. Peter and I met again eight years later at summer camp and remained friends for years across states, fortified by our shared love of football, before we finally realised we wanted to be together and started dating long distance.
The bridal party were given special gifts throughout the engagement and on the wedding day. The groomsmen received face socks bearing the groom’s face to wear!
The groom chose a classic black dinner suit with silk lapels, worn with cufflinks passed down from his late grandfather. This suited the aesthetic of the event and the bride in its dual elegance and simplicity.
At our engagement party, I said a speech about what football cards – of all things – meant to our relationship, and how they represented our shared love of football and Peter’s romantic side. Before we were even together, and then for the many years we were long distance, Peter would buy me football cards to leave around the house, in my bag and in various places for me to find when we were apart. My sister-in-law Sammi, who is a designer, had the idea to create our invitations from this concept, and we delivered playful packs of football cards as invites that gave the wedding details, our “couple stats” and insight into our relationship. We then converted these cards into a signing book on the day, and mailed personalised ‘bonus collector cards’ as thank you notes. It was a meaningful and unique facet of our wedding.
A vendor that stands out to is my makeup artist and cousin Ashleigh Gaitz. Ashleigh is extraordinarily talented and has been doing my makeup since we were both young. She knew exactly what I wanted and executed it to perfection, and it was amazing to share that special moment between us as well.
My bridesmaids were gifted custom robes, makeup bags and hand-written cards.
I went to several stores in Melbourne and Sydney looking for my perfect dress and had decided on Pronovias as my brand of choice for their luxury, beautiful designs. I had almost chosen another dress when I decided to try out one more store and tried on the brand’s Elenco dress. I loved it so much I bought it on the spot. It offered the simplicity, regal aesthetic and exquisite detail I had been looking for, with intricate lace, heavy fabric, a ball gown silhouette and a long train with buttons down the entire dress. I paired the dress with a three-metre veil with complementary lace.
A special moment was my dress reveal for my family and the intimate family moment just between the four of us we were able to share. I know Peter and his family had a similar moment between them before the ceremony and how much it meant to all of us.
The aesthetic of the wedding was created around themes of simplicity and elegance, with both classic features and original details that showcased our personality as a couple. With the lakeside venue, the colour palette of the wedding was built on these natural hues, from the anchoring navy blues in the groomsmen ties to the bridesmaid dresses, which were collectively worn in a gradient of colours from blue to forest green.
The wedding took place on December 8, 2019, at Carousel in Albert Park, against the setting of the park, lake and city skyline. We were very lucky with a day of perfect weather, and we were married lakeside under ideal blue skies.
Carousel was the ideal venue for both the ceremony and reception, allowing for beautiful photos to be captured with ease and against a range of backdrops, whether in front of the venue’s green canopies, by the lake or in the park.
Peter and the groomsmen walked down the aisle to another special song to us as played by the band – ‘Angels Brought Me Here’ by Guy Sebastian.
The song that I, the bridesmaids and the flower girls and pageboys walked down the aisle to was ‘Feels Like Home’ by Randy Newman, played live and acoustically with guitar, piano and vocals. This song has always embodied our relationship and the sense of ease, comfort, safety and home we have always found in each other.
The floral features, including bouquets, centrepieces, ceremony decorations and a roof installation over the dance floor, were built around white roses, light blue delphiniums and silver dusty miller, matching the venue surroundings in their use of blue, silver and green tones.
The flower girls were given specialised flower crowns to complement their white, princess dresses.
The ceremony was a traditional Jewish ceremony conducted by Rabbi Daniel Rabin. This began with Peter and I seeing each other for the first time after a week apart, situated under a canopy of leaves as welcomed by our 250 guests, and a moving ceremony under the ‘chuppah’ by the lake. The rabbi touchingly spoke about the power of the home, of family and of the wedding itself in bringing together those we love, and even those we’ve lost, to bear witness to the new family that forms on the wedding day.
We had a very large bridal party, with seven groomsmen, nine bridesmaids, two pageboys and two flower girls. The bridal party consisted of siblings and an array of dear, longstanding friends, while the flower girls and pageboys were beloved and adorable cousins. This legendary bridal party gave the event all their love and energy to set the incredible tone felt from all the guests throughout the day.
Matthew from The White Tree was our photographer. His sense of calm ensured not only productive photo sessions, but daytime and sunset sessions that were some of our favourite moments of the day.
The reception followed immediately after the ceremony at the same venue, with an entrée buffet for guests during couple, family and bridal party photos before a sit-down dinner and dancing.
The Baker Boys Band provided the music. They were talented, versatile and happy to accommodate any request for both the party vibe of the reception and the moving ceremony music.
A wonderfully unique feature was our personalised cake topper. Made by That Little Nook, the cake topper was created exactly to our likeness, with our wedding outfits correct to every detail, worn with our dual football scarves to show more of our relationship personality.
Personal thought was given to every aspect of the event, from the important music choices and playlist, which I worked with the band to ensure included all our classic and modern favourites, to the menu, which offered absolute favourite foods of mine and Peter – including gnocchi, pavlova and chocolate mousse.
The theme and atmosphere of the wedding was one united by our love for each other and our love of family and friends, prevalent in every moment of the day. One hundred of our 250 guests had travelled from interstate or overseas, for which we were so grateful. From the traditional Jewish dances – known as ‘horas’ – and dancing on the deck under the stars, a loving, party atmosphere also pervaded the event.
Our first dance showcased unique aspects of our relationship. The mash up of songs was comprised of ‘As Long As You Love Me’ by The Backstreet Boys, which we had always loved since dancing to it in the car on one of many airport trips early on in our relationship and which we always wanted in our first dance. The second song was ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’ from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a song that we sing each other on hard or stressful days. Our choreographer and dance teacher Rebecca Abelman fused these fun and meaningful songs to us into a dance that personified our relationship and sparked an even greater party atmosphere at the wedding.
Looking back on the day, I thought I had planned and even over-planned for every eventuality, but some things will still go differently to how you expect, and it will still be the best day ever. Don’t be tied to the perfection you’ve planned in your mind because then you’ll lose sight of the fact that the day itself, even with a modicum of unpredictability, is perfect.
Wade Gardiner at Movement Productions was our cinematographer on the day. We had seen the skill and artistry Wade uses in his videos and knew we had to have him for the wedding, even though it meant him travelling from Adelaide for the occasion. His professionalism and talent made that decision easy and worthwhile.