It was a mutual friend’s 21st birthday party that set the stage for the meeting of Michelle and Jackson. “It was denim themed, so we were both looking real fresh… ” laughs Michelle. “We were sitting in a group and Jackson says he knew everyone, but me, so walked up and introduced himself and sat down. He stayed there for the rest of the night. We were official five weeks later!”
The pair saying their “I do’s” in a stunningly modern black tie wedding in the heart of Sydney city. This was a day that was minimal, but beautiful in styling, just as the happy couple dreamed of. “We wanted something classic and modern. A contradiction in terms; I know, but that’s really what we wanted.” The pair were set on making the day easy on family and friends. “We didn’t want any family or friends to have to set up or pack down anything, so they could enjoy the day and not have to worry about those things. We wanted the day to be more about the people than the ‘things’”
And I think you’ll agree, that really, it is the people, the story that does all the talking today, thanks in part to the beautiful imagery by The Loved Ones. Simplicity and love are at the core of Michelle and Jackson’s big day and we’re all about it!
Of the groom’s attire for the day, Michelle notes “Jackson wanted a traditional tuxedo looking suit and custom RM Williams which was cool – I think the Bride gets a lot more freedom in these things but guys can have fun with it too!”
When it comes to the style of the couple’s wedding day, Michelle notes “I wouldn’t go so far as to say we had a theme, but as for the style; we wanted something classic and modern. A contradiction in terms; I know, but that’s really what we wanted. One main thing was that we didn’t want any family or friends to have to set up or pack down anything, so they could enjoy the day and not have to worry about those things.
We wanted the day to be more about the people than the ‘things’ and the venues themselves are so beautiful, they didn’t really need any adorning. As for the atmosphere, it was just happy. We were blessed to have spectacular weather, sunny but overcast, not too hot, no cold winds (which was very concerning as the 3 days before the wedding were blowing a gale!).”
Michelle found her elegant Prea James gown at The Bridal Atelier. “Somehow, I went to a lot of weddings growing up and then started taking photos of them. So, in a lot of ways, I felt like I’d seen it all. I didn’t have grand plans for my dress, I just wanted something simple and most importantly comfortable. I’ve seen a lot of brides over the years just really struggle through the day in their dresses and shoes. That was something I actively wanted to avoid. I had in my mind silk and sleeves but wasn’t sure on anything and knew walking into a bridal store that I needed to have an open mind.
My mum was going to be overseas for a few months soon after we got engaged so we squeezed in a visit to a store in Sydney, just to get some ideas and physically try on dresses. It was a bit odd in some respects, just a very traditional store – the lady helping me in and out of the dresses even went so far as to say, “oh no, a bride must wear her hair up!”
While mum was overseas, I went to The Bridal Atelier in Double Bay after seeing that one of the designers I had an eye on (Prea James) would be in the store that day. I took a surrogate aunty, a no bull sort of lady who has known me since I was born. It basically came down to two dresses, one of which was Prea’s. It was a pretty easy decision at that point, I got along with Prea really well and I wanted to give her my money!”
Foxglove Flora styled the modern blooms for the day. “I just wanted white and green. I love floral arrangements and over the last 5 or so years that industry has exploded with the help of some creative geniuses but again, I just wanted something simple.”
Michelle and Jackson were married at The Garrison Church. “For the ceremony, we chose The Garrison Church in Millers Point, Sydney. Before we got engaged, my now-husband and I had a few conversations about weddings/marriage. One of the first things he said was that he loved city weddings, more specifically, weddings in big ol’ churches like the Garrison. It was a pretty easy decision after that.”
“We had given instructions to the lady opening the doors at the ceremony because there were two doors it felt silly to me to have to open two doors like it should be the big doors open and I start walking down the aisle, but she was a little old and didn’t quite get it. We had music cues of when to walk in as well and I wasn’t going to let a little misunderstanding ruin the timing, so when my dad and I walked in, I just looked at him and said: “that’s our cue” and opened the second door myself. Apparently, it made Brett, our officiant laugh his head off, but I didn’t see. I had my eyes on Jackson the whole time!”
Let’s talk music, for the professional Michelle and Jackson chose ” ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ acoustic arrangement by some friends, based on the cover by Joseph Vincent. For the recessional, we used ‘Sh-boom’ by The Chords.”
“We are Christians so the ceremony was super important to us” notes the bride. “We wanted it to be something that, at the end of the day wasn’t about us. We wanted everyone to see our love, sure, but more so the why and how of it. We wanted everything to point back to God. The reading was Matthew 7:24-29. This is a short passage about a story Jesus told. It basically talks about building your house on solid rock and not sand. We wanted this for our marriage and so it felt perfect for us. The Bible is full of lots of lovey-dovey verses, but we wanted something real and applicable.”
Says Michelle “Our friend Brett married us, and when we arrived at the church and he came out to chat to us before getting things started, he was a bit teary and I told him to pull it together, to which he made a joke at the intro to the ceremony but his mic wasn’t on and it was just a nice moment between us.”
If you are anything like me, you want to know all about Michelle’s amazing polka dot veil. It was actually made by her mum! “My mum made my veil from her own. She hand cut hundreds of small circles of silk and then sewed them onto her own veil with a pearl bead. It was very special to me.
She also did the favours which were Jordan Almonds and the little bag they were in she made from material that was my Yaya’s. Apparently, they’re big in Greek culture (my dad is Greek but Aussie born) – there’s to be 5 of them and they represent health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity. Which my parents worked into their speech.”
There was no one else these two would have chosen as their wedding day photographer, says Michelle “I’ve known Matt for years. He actually shot my brother’s wedding five years prior and I have second shot for him a few times over the years. He has this amazing ability to be just the right amount of stealth during the day, plus you know, the bonus of creating beautiful photographs.”
Never underestimate the power of a rave review on your wedding day! “When we were doing wedding party photos – we walked up some stairs on Argyle street and this group of ladies were walking down and they started applauding me and just throwing out compliments like you wouldn’t believe! “OMG, stunning, gorgeous, what a vision!” just a few I remember. You can see the confidence in my and my bridesmaid’s faces right after below!”
Urban venue Beta Events, was just the vibe these two wanted for their celebration, says Michelle “The reception was at Beta Bar. I must admit, the reception decision was quite stressful. It took 8+ weeks to lock one in. Not for lack of trying, either. My Husband even stepped in at many times to call on our behalf to get some answers from busy venues. And then we met Alice at Beta and everything just fell into place. She was so lovely and much kinder and more attentive than anyone we had been in contact with prior.
Before planning started, one of my sisters-in-law gave me advice regarding the wedding. She said, choose 3 things that you want your wedding to be, or have – stick to those and be willing to sacrifice other things. One of those things we wanted was good food. Beta’s traditional/modern take on Greek cuisine was perfect. I have a Greek background for starters and my Husband loves Greek food and if it weren’t perfect enough, we then had the tasting. Seriously, so good! And a fun fact, the building Beta is in used to be the Hellenic Club which means when my grandparents first came to Australia, they would’ve hung out there quite a bit!”
Michelle has so much incredible advice for those of you still planning your wedding. She shares
“• Talk to your partner and choose three things you both most want for the day, this can be as broad as ‘celebrating love’ or as specific as ‘no family has to lift a finger’ but decide on the things that are important to you and then keep coming back to those things when making decisions.
• We had quite a traditional wedding, but that’s because we’re traditional people. The only thing that NEEDS to happen on your wedding day is the official vows and paperwork. Besides that, do what you want!
• Leave room for error in the run sheet and KNOW that one thing will go wrong. It may be big, it may be small, but something will go wrong. There is power in knowing in the moment and being able to deal with it and there’s a bonus of these things becoming fun stories.
• Ask your photographer for advice. As a photographer, I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’m not biassed, and I don’t want more money out of you (like say a venue or another vendor might)
• Remember that it is just one day, literally less than 24 hours of your entire life. I think we all have moments of wanting to be rich and famous in life (really only because we’re exposed to it on tv and social media) but most of us aren’t and that’s an okay thing.
• You will have the best day ever, regardless of anything. Afterwards, not a lot matters, you just have the photos/videos, the memories and each other.
The newlywed’s debut on the dance floor, was actually behind one of Michelle’s favourite pre-wedding moments “We danced to ‘In case you didn’t know’ by Brett Young” she remembers. “One of my favourite memories of the wedding is actually the day before… We hadn’t chosen the first dance song yet, so we just excused ourselves from our family and wedding party and went to another hotel room (we had a few in the same place) we finalised the dancefloor songs and then Jackson suggested this song, which was funny because I had been thinking the same thing but because Brett is a country artist it felt odd, but Jackson does love country music, so it made sense. He put it on, and we just danced there by ourselves. It was equally as magical as our actual first dance.”
Michelle and Jackson, how we loved sharing your wedding! Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. Also sending a big thank you to The Loved Ones for sharing today’s images with us!