Despite a change in wedding plans (thanks 2020!), Samra and Simon were able to pull off a romantic and intimate celebration with their nearest and dearest in a sentimental place. Their wedding was filled with love and colour, from Samra’s gorgeous gown to the stunning signage proudly displayed at the reception venue – Simon’s family home! There to capture all the joy and beautiful details? Photographer Claire Searle, plus Moose Creative on video. Below, Samra takes us behind the scenes of the day, proving that although tricky to coordinate, 2020 weddings are incredibly special in their own right.

We first met at college at UNSW in Sydney back in 2010 but didn’t really get to know each other until we ran into each other at a bar in Coffs Harbour. I was the dog-sitter for Simon’s mum for a while before we got together.

Our wedding was on November 7, 2020. Due to COVID, we had to relocate our wedding and downsize. We have spent a lot of time together in Sapphire Beach (and Simon grew up there), so it was quite special for us to get married on the headland there. It was such a family affair! The reception was at Simon’s family home in Sapphire Beach. Simon’s best man’s mum was the celebrant, drinks and canapés were served in the front garden with a guitarist (Austin) providing music, and sit-down dinner followed in the backyard. The Ronnie Darlings performed out of the cabana, and Simon’s step-dad had filled in the pool to create a COVID-safe dance floor!

We had a garden cocktail style ceremony and reception, and our main aim was to have a straight-to-the-point ceremony, with a reception filled with fun and laughter with our closest friends and family.

The whole day was amazing – it was an intimate wedding with only 58 guests and that made it more special to be able to spend time with everyone. (We had originally planned for 160 people). Whilst it might not have been the wedding we had originally planned, and not everyone we wanted was there, most of our close family and friends could make it, and it turned out to be the best day, and it was so nice to have something wonderful in 2020!

Simon had previously used GM Hanna when he was a groomsman for a friend and loved their design and style. Given we were having an outdoor event, we opted for a paler blue. He looked dashing.

I had come across my dress from Lost In Paris Bridal, my friend was actually trying it on before I was engaged and I fell in love with it, so didn’t ever try on any other dress! She’s a designer in Sydney who sources vintage material and turns them into one of a kind dresses. Mine was made from a silk piano shawl from Spain – I loved it! I also was keen to wear something bright.

I walked down the aisle to ‘10,000 Emerald Pools’ by Børns. We wanted a short and sweet ceremony, that was straight to the point and allowed for the party to start. Our amazing celebrant, Wendy Haynes, had asked us to do love letters to each other, and then she used them to create our vows, so we didn’t stress about them on the day. We didn’t have any readings.

The closeness of the Coffs Harbour community meant we knew everyone who was providing a service to us, which was really special. Simon had known Wendy, our celebrant since he was three, and her daughter was our florist. We’d eaten at Fiasco for years so knew the food was going to be good.

Claire got a lot of good photos, but we can’t get past the ceremony photos with the amazing background (and Simon starting to cry hahaha).

The family dog, Louie, had a wash and blow-dry that morning and showed up in his favourite silver tie.

The bridesmaids were my two sisters (Rahima and Amina), my best friend from university (Mel), and my best friend from high school (Antonia). Our groomsmen included Simon’s childhood friend (Chahaya – the celebrant’s son, and the florist’s brother), high school friend (Jack), and two friends from university (Benji and Aman). The border had just opened to Queensland so Aman was able to sneak through!

The talented Naomi from Paper Leaf Press (Chahaya’s sister) made the beautiful bouquets and decorating flowers. I had sent her a picture of my dress, so she was inspired by that!

As for the table flowers – Simon’s step-brother knew of a lovely local lady outside of Coffs Harbour who grew flowers in her garden. We headed out there a few days before the wedding, and she very kindly arranged 20 bunches of flowers for the tables for us. Such a quick turn around.

Our photographer Claire Searle was absolutely amazing! She basically did everything that we wanted. We didn’t want lots of photos of people staring at the camera, so she did lots of candid. We also didn’t want to be gone for too long, so she was very efficient with her time. Couldn’t have asked for a better photographer and highly recommend!

We, fortunately, had One Day Weddings & Events event planner Mikhayla Carey, who was absolutely amazing and prompted us to do anything that we forgot.

Simon’s aunt, Josephine Duffy, is a very talented artist and she designed our invitations and did the signage. It was so perfect.

We set up everything the day before – the furniture was delivered on the Friday, so we made sure all the tables fit in the backyard just before the dress rehearsal. We put up a lot of fairy lights the week before. Simon’s mother, Gaye, had made the garden look absolutely amazing – there were flowers everywhere. We loved sitting in the greenery.

We had hesitated all week about putting up a cover for the dance floor (it was going to be white), but you couldn’t see the night sky! We checked the weather and decided against it. Later in the night, it started pouring, but it didn’t really matter because we danced in the rain and that was really special!!

We also got our MCs, Hannah and Henry, COVID vests (as a joke), and individual hand sanitisers for the guests.

Our caterers Fiasco Ristorante & Bar were amazing – the food was absolutely delicious and the staff were so helpful and friendly.

Mikhayla from One Day Weddings was so organised and made the whole process completely stress-free.

For our first dance, we chose ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ by King Harvest, and the band (The Ronnie Darlings) learnt it to play for us! We both have such good memories of that song. Neither of us tripped during the dance, which was a surprise and a huge bonus.

We had such amazing weather and being able to dance in the rain at the end of the night to The Ronnie Darlings! It was their first gig since COVID hit, so the enthusiasm was high.

Samra and Simon’s wedding video by Moose Creative

Ms Floral Says: Congratulations on your marriage and such a beautiful day. We admire your strength and flexibility in planning (and re-planning) a wedding in the middle of a pandemic. Wishing you all the very best in your new chapter as husband and wife!