Weddings have looked a bit different through COVID-19, but if there is one thing we’ve all figured out, it’s that they can be just as perfect, just as special and sometimes even more memorable when differences (like Zoom ceremonies and giving blessings via Facetime) moments come into play.
For Amber and Zac, that is exactly how their day played out. Captured by Liam Jon the couple had a small guest list, and made the most of modern technology, to help guests so far away be a part of it all.
“We had our wedding in spring, and it was nostalgic of the season when we first started dating” shares our beautiful bride, “The day was filled with warm air, cool breezes, light pouring through the tree canopy, fairy-wrens dancing with butterflies, and the smell of jasmine was present to greet our union.”
It was at church, through a haze of jetlag that these two met. “Zac and I met pretty much within a couple of days of me moving from California to Australia. But unfortunately, I do not quite remember the meeting like he does, since I was so jet-lagged! I remember him staring at me while at church one night, turns out he had looked through my Instagram via a mutual friend before I had even flown over and known who I was.”
The proposal was so very much meant to be though. “I am from California and Zac has never had the chance to meet my family due to flights being cancelled because of COVID” explains Amber. “We were planning on flying over together in March, and Zac was hoping to ask my parents for their blessing to marry me. We both ended up staying in Australia, and on July 27th he had a zoom call with my mom, dad, and 2 of my sisters! In which they got to know him and ask him questions about himself and his intentions. Zac was so nervous about this call, but afterwards, he was on top of the world. He asked to come over that night to make me dinner. After dinner, before Zac was about to leave, we were talking about our plans for the morning and he said that before we go on the drive we should get engaged! He pulled out a ring that he had taken from my jewellery box and proposed to me! It was so beautiful and special. He didn’t wake up that morning thinking he was going to propose. It just sort of happened throughout the progression of the day. It was an absolute pleasure saying yes to someone who makes me feel so known!”
That beautiful sweet chapel? It’s St. Barnabas Chapel Yarramalong. The bride tells “We looked at a couple of different places that were beautiful venues, but we actually fell in love with a quaint little chapel. It felt so nostalgic for us and we actually like that it was quite small. It built for an intimate setting that we felt was important to us. We were also infatuated with the drive from our side of the coast to the venue. It captivated us, and we thought our guests would appreciate the beauty of the drive.”
The beautiful blooms were styled by Eden Frances . “Eden Frances is an amazing florist and I was so stoked to have her do my flowers. I wanted a bouquet with earthy tones, negative space, and a natural cascade. Eden is a crazy talented artist and florist and I knew I could trust her with the flowers. I was happy to give her free reign. She asked what my inspiration was and I sent her some photos and she was able to execute it so beautifully! Her excitement in planning and prep made me feel so excited and taken care of on the day!
She used mostly natives and created the sweetest colour palette. She included a bunch of jasmine in the bouquet and arbor which made for a surreal experience. Every time I smell jasmine now, I’m taken back to 2:30pm October 3rd.
“We had a lot of intense discussion leading up to the wedding about what we wanted to include. We ended up being more passionate about these details than we originally thought we would be! But we had our celebrant, who is our pastor, and one of Zac’s best mates preach a sermon about marriage preparing us for the Kingdom of Heaven. We also wanted our guests and live streams audience to partake in a time of prayer for us. Zac and I had a small wedding, and each guest there we are hoping will continue to stand by and champion us on in marriage and so having a time of prayer was really special to us.”
Says Zac “The moment I remember most is when Amber walked through the gate and stood there with the soft afternoon sun, lighting her up from behind and making her look like an angel.”
Zac walked Amber down the aisle. “I walked down the aisle to “Come Thou Fount” by Kings Kaleidoscope. It’s a beautiful song that has a lot of significance to Zac and I, with our faith in God being the most important thing to us both. Since my dad was in California watching the Livestream of the wedding, Zac decided to leave the altar and walk me down the aisle. For us, it was symbolic of Christ pursuing us.”
The couple made sure to include far-away family and friends, remembers the bride. “We FaceTimed my dad in the beginning of the ceremony so that he and my mom could give me away which was special to have that moment to connect with them. Except, I didn’t know how to end the phone call so I awkwardly said, “okay. Bye now!”
“We wanted the ceremony to capture the beauty of the covenant and the joy that we experience together. We opted for small and cosy over grandeur and put a lot of focus on planning for our marriage. We hoped that our guests would be able to partake in the love feast we experience, and so it was important to us to have a sermon preached. Our celebrant read from Revelations which talks about the church as the bride of Christ. We were hoping for the beauty of this relational aspect to shine bright, and we felt it did.”
Tells the bride “Some of the best advice that I got leading up to the wedding was from our pre-marital counselling, in which Dr Adam Ayers encouraged us saying that it’s okay if we feel like we are going crazy! Because in a sense we are. We are being forged into one, and that involves some breaking down and building up. Enjoy the process and have all the hard conversations necessary. It’s so worth it!!”
Surprisingly, it wasn’t actually the wedding prep that most challenged these two explains Amber. “I used to work back in California doing event design, and I thought that was going to be the most pressing thing, but planning for marriage was the most important thing for us. We were able to do our wedding prep with pastors from the States and it was really great learning how to become a wife – not just a bride! We still hold to their advice and are thankful for their prayers.”
The bride was beautifully surprised by her new husband. “Zac surprised me by putting together a compilation video of some of my close friends from the States wishing us well into our marriage. He played the video for me in front of all of our guests after the ceremony. This was actually the first time I cried during the day. It meant so so much to me to see the faces and hear the voices of my special people. And to think that I had a husband that knew me that well and cared for me that much! Man, I am not without when I’m with Zac. Was the cherry on top of a beautiful day of committing our lives to each other.”
“We did not have a first dance since we had no reception, but we walked away to, “To Love Somebody” by Nina Simone!”
If there ever was a wedding filled with handmade details, it was this one, says Amber “I was able to source all of the decorations, except for the chairs and cowhide rug. I collected brass vases and brown apothecary bottles from vintage stores to use for the flowers. I hand made every save the date and invitation. I had some help from our lovely florist, Eden and my husband, which was nice. I got in a little over my head with that endeavour, but we were stoked with the results. My dress was hand made! I did my own hair and makeup. We had a couple of friends bring some food for a happy hour after the ceremony. Zac designed my ring himself! He sourced a couple of opals, designed the ring, and then sent it off to a jeweller to make it.”
Of the groom’s attire, Amber tells “Zac knew right away that he wanted to go classic, and boy am I glad he did. That boy has so much steeze! He wore a black Jack London suit and pant. The suit has a silk peaked lapel, silk black Jack London tie, he wore a teal corduroy shirt and shiny low cut doc martins.”
Amber and Zac’s photographer choice comes with rave reviews. “He is so incredibly friendly, we even had him over for dinner before the wedding! It was great to get to know someone who was going to be playing a huge part in such a special day. Photos were paramount to us because my family would not be present at the ceremony. Having good photos from an amazing photographer was an answer to prayers. Liam was really professional and knew what he wanted when it came to photos. Another thing that was important to us was finding a photographer who had experience shooting diverse clientele. We wanted a photographer who knew how to bring out the best of our interracial marriage. It’s not something you really think about, but it does take skill to be able to shoot contrasting skin tones and Liam was the guy to do it. Zac and I do not live in the most diverse area (compared to SoCal, where I’m from), and I was actually quite nervous because most of the photographers we were looking at did not have experience shooting clients of colour- not for any political reasons I’m sure, it’s just that there aren’t many where we are.
We took our photos after the ceremony and Liam, his second shooter and our amazing videographer Dan Wilson created the most fun environment. I remember at one point turning to Zac and saying, “This feels like the soul care we needed after an emotional day.” Frolicking around in orchards during sunset with talented humans- 10/10 recommend!”
Amber was lucky enough to have her friend Nicole Berlach custom make her gown. Even if it came down to the wire! “Not being from Sydney, I wasn’t as familiar with the bridal ateliers as I was in Los Angeles. It was actually quite daunting to think of going to wedding dress shopping without my mom, sisters, and best friends from California. I had no idea where to begin and we decided to get married with only a two-month engagement!
On top of that, I didn’t quite like the options I had for dresses. I called my dear friend, Nicole, to ask if she would go dress shopping with me, and after hearing my disdain of the process the sweet soul offered to make me a dress. Nicole used to own a bathing suit brand, is a very talented artist and natural history illustrator, and now she can add wedding dress designer to her resume! We met up and she began sketching out my ideas, and then we started sourcing fabrics and patterns.
We settled on a design that included silk fabric, an empire waist, and a skirt cut on the bias. We put a rush on the fabric, but it didn’t come until about less than two weeks before the wedding! Nic is such a legend. She had perfected the pattern using sheets and old silk, by the time the fabric arrived she was able to create the dress in a couple of days!
One day during one of our fittings, it was so hot we decided to go with short sleeves instead of long. She was able to negotiate all the last minute changes this indecisive bride had. And my dress was brought to me the day of the wedding. The dress is definitely my favourite piece of clothing. The shoes I wore were borrowed from Nicole as well. I guess we can say she was my fairy godmother!”
Amber and Zac your day was so utterly delightful to share. Thank you for taking the time to tell your stories. Thank you also to Liam Jon for sharing today’s celebration with us.