Claudia & Tomek
The couple share, ”When we became engaged in February, we decided we didn’t want to wait long to get married. We came up with the date: 20th July 2020. We originally were planning to have it in Italy either in Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast. With Covid, that unfortunately became one of the worst spots at the time. We then were deciding on other countries in Europe, and suddenly our borders shut down. So we finally resolved to have it in Melbourne, and go for our honeymoon to Europe (thinking everything would calm down more). We booked for our ceremony and reception venue and paid the deposit and interim payment.
It was now the middle of March, the invitations were ready and we were about to go to print and send them out to our family and friends. The Covid-19 situation was unfolding more and more, and we decided we will wait a few more days with printing the invitations, just in case. The next day, we hear on the news Australia is going into lockdown! After a few weeks the restrictions only became worse, and now with weddings only allowed 5 people.
We didn’t want to put off our wedding to, who knows when?! We knew that, we just wanted to be together. After some consideration, we decided to push the wedding to the 27th May. There was no rush or commitments we made to any vendors so we were very flexible to do whatever we wanted or needed to do.
Luckily for us, the restrictions were relaxed slightly and we were allowed to have 10 guests. We were able to have both our parents (Tomek’s dad is a pastor/celebrant, so that killed 2 birds with one stone), siblings and their partner/spouses and kids. Unfortunately Tomek’s older brother, wife and two children were not able to come, as they live in Europe, but they still joined in on our day through a live zoom session of our ceremony.
We are extremely blessed that we were able to get married when we did, with no fuss or stress, and now more importantly, happy to be stuck in isolation together (but also, still desperately waiting for our honeymoon to Europe or somewhere tropical!).”
Deciding to go dress shopping together, the bride and groom headed to High St, Armadale. Tomek remembers, ”Shop after shop, Claudia couldn’t find anything she liked or anything that represented her style or character. She decided she would draw, design and make it herself. Given that we moved up the wedding, there was too much pressure to make the dress in such a short amount of time herself. As Claudia was driving home that day, by coincidence she found one more place to try and ask. She met with Yana Kran in South Yarra. Yana seemed experienced, confident and knew exactly what to do based on the drawings Claudia provided, and was able to do it in a short amount of time. She even managed to fit in two dress fittings to check for adjustments. Yana did an amazing and professional job, and Claudia was very happy! My suit was from MJ Bale. We were lucky that we went suit ‘window shopping’ just after we were engaged. We both wanted a dark navy suit. Luckily we asked the shop attendant to write down the model and size, so we knew which one it was when we would come back in a few weeks/months to buy it. When we decided to move up the wedding, luckily we had the card with the size and style of the suit written down. We managed to buy it online, and it came within 2 weeks.”
Falling in love began with friendship, as Claudia and Tomek share, ”We met at church in September 2016. The first day we met, (without telling the other) we both intrigued each other. Claudia had just come back from Europe, and Tomek (who moved from Europe at the end of 2014) was excited to hear about her travels. We were friends for over a year, talking on and off to each other. That friendship grew over time, and in March 2018, we decided to become more than friends. We kept it a secret for months (except from our close family who all knew). Months later, when our friends found out, they were more than happy for us!”
Treasury Gardens, East Melbourne was alight with autumnal colour for this intimate wedding, and both bride and groom adored the outdoor setting. They tell, ”A few weeks before we decided where to have the ceremony, we were passing Fitzroy Gardens and noticed across the road the beautiful yellow and orange autumn trees which surrounded a pond with fountains at Treasury Gardens. We remember it was a beautiful sunny day, with the sun highlighting the trees, pond and green grass around, and we said, yes this is the place! Originally we wanted some kind of props or flower installations for our wedding ceremony, but Treasury Gardens and its surrounding colourful grass and trees were so beautiful, we didn’t need anything at all! Before we went to Treasury Gardens, back home when we finished getting ready, our parents gave us a wonderful and personal blessing over the two of us from all of them.”
Being flexible with details and vendors, Claudia had scouted flowers in advance. She shares, ”I wanted a simple and minimal bouquet of long stemmed white roses. I was going to buy the flowers and give them to Tomek’s sister to arrange them. Days before the wedding I saw so many white roses in lots of flower shops, so I thought there would be no problem getting them the day before the wedding, so they were fresh. The day before the wedding, my mother and I went to the flower shop to buy the white roses. There were no white roses! I remember that day my mother and I went to at least five or six flower shops – no one had white roses! After a few shops, we finally found one bunch. We drove to meet with Julia, and she took care of the rest. She did a beautiful job in preparing a bouquet for me and a buttonhole for Tomek. As Covid restrictions were still in place, we were not able to have a small dinner/reception with our family who were at the ceremony. We decided we would have a piece of cake and drink just after the ceremony in the gardens. We thought a wedding cake would be messy and difficult, so we decided to have individual cupcakes. Julia (who is also an amazing cook) was able to bake and make the cupcakes for us. We had a simple vanilla sponge cake with vanilla butter and lemon zest frosting.”
Photographer Anna Selent captured the beauty of this Melbourne wedding, even with restrictions in place. Claudia remembers, ”Originally we had another photographer, but he was not available on the day of our wedding. A few days after we found out he was not available, Anna messaged us out of nowhere, and said if we would like, she would be happy to do photos for our wedding whenever it will be. Anna knew we were engaged, but had no idea that our wedding was going to be in a few weeks. So it was a blessing and a miracle. We have been fortunate to know Anna for many years, so on our day we were very comfortable and put all our trust into her for our special day. It was just like having another friend on our wedding day with us. A week before our wedding, we gave Anna all the locations of where we would like to have our photos taken. She went personally to check each location and get familiar with the surroundings and looking for the best spots to photograph – demonstrating her professionalism as a photographer, as she was getting to know the context of where she will photograph us, rather than being shocked or surprised on the day. We would highly recommend Anna for any upcoming couples who will need a wedding photographer.”
As for the proposal, Tomek had to rework his plan a little! He tells, ”I went to renew my passport in the morning. Claudia and her parents were moving house the next day, so she spent the whole day packing and cleaning. At the end of the day, we caught up at my place. I asked Claudia a few times to go for a walk in our favourite park, but she kept saying no, she’s exhausted from cleaning all day. Claudia then got a call from her parents and said she had to leave and meet up with them. I was then thinking, it’s now or never. So I reminded her that I went to renew my passport that morning. I gave her a little envelope with a card. Inside of the card was written “How would you like to say goodbye to your last name?” I then got on one knee, and said, “Would you like to travel the world with me for the rest of your life?” (we both love to travel!) Claudia said “Finally” and gave me a kiss. I was still confused and confirmed, “Is that a yes?” Claudia: “YES!”
So different from what they’d been planning, and yet with sweet surprises along the way, Claudia and Tomek kept things simple. They share, ”After we decided to move up the wedding and keep it with just our parents and siblings, it was an absolute breeze from there. Our original long ‘To Do’ list was cut to just a few things such as making sure we had a dress and suit. We didn’t have any furniture like seats for the guests or external props or flower installations for the ceremony so it was very easy – just come and go to the ceremony. We were both extremely relaxed about everything. Our parents were the ones worrying and freaking out about everything, and we just kept reassuring them, everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about! We were more excited and focusing on setting up our new apartment which we got a week before the wedding.”
Thank you to our gorgeous bride and groom for sharing your wedding with us, and congratulations! Thank you also to photographer Anna Selent for your beautiful images.