Shenyaya and Matt first met when they attended the same high school. “Matt was three years above me” she explains. “He came back to work at the school as a chaplain and in my final year of school we went on the same medical mission group to the Philippines. That’s where we became properly acquainted, then by the end of the trip we considered each other a friend.”
The pair celebrated their story with a romantic Byron Bay wedding. The hinterland countryside playing host to beautifully sentimental and chic details. From the bride’s choice of gown that it turns out she made, when she was a tiny tot!) to the reception welcome. This is a story that weaves both who Shenaya and Matt are, with everything they give to their family and friends.
All captured – both in still and on film, by the Wander & Follow Images (in keeping with the theme of this day? The bride even grew up with the photography team!).
It seems the bride’s long-sleeve lace gown, designed by Grace Loves Lace, was set in stone long before she had even met her future husband. “When I was a young girl I saw a picture of a woman in an all-white French-lace dress with a high neck and low back, and once I love something that’s all I wanted. When Matt and I got together I remember he told me that he loved his sister’s long lace sleeved wedding dress and I thought well lucky you because so do I. The lace compliments my body shape as I am short but with big features i.e butt and bust. I wanted to showcase my feature but without being in everyone’s face so I thought the lace was perfect. The experience was unlike anything I’d experienced before, I was nervous but excited, happy yet because I hate the attention was thinking don’t be awkward!”
Shenaya and Matt chose The Farm Byron Bay for their wedding. “I’d always wanted to be outside with nature, a big fig tree or something, so when I saw the orchard I was in love” recalls the bride. And those beautiful blooms? The work of Ivy and Bleu. “I wanted a wild mixture of flowers, basically I found an image I wanted and sent it to my friend who happens to be in the business and she made the most incredible bouquet – my bridesmaids and I loved them so much we’ve dried them all to save them.”
Shenaya walked down the aisle to “Marry Me” by Train.
The ceremony was officiated by Ps Guy Ormerod. “We were just overjoyed at our ceremony, ” remembers Shenaya. “Matt literally cried our entire ceremony and I got teary when we were reading our vows. My grandmother readout Proverbs 19:14 & Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 and Matt’s cousin read out Proverbs 18:22.”
Handmade details? Oh, these two had plenty! “We did, I wanted natural confetti so my mother, myself and her friends all “heart hole-punched” thousands of leaves for the ceremony. My mum and her friends also made our table garlands themselves and intertwined lights throughout them. My aunty crocheted my garter and also made our wedding cake. And my best friend/bridesmaid designed all our wedding invitations, menu’s, order of ceremony, name cards and stickers for our envelopes as well as our bonbonnieres which were personalised chocolates for our guests.”
The couple’s choice of photographer was an easy one. “I (Shenaya), was actually fortunate enough to grow up with 2/3 of the photographers so when it came to the hunt I knew who I wanted and lucky they were available. Joel and his team were amazing – if you had a thought of an image you wanted you’d look around to see where they were and they’d be taking that shot that you just thought of. I could not have asked for better images or a video.”
Matt and his groomsmen wore suits from Bruno’s Suits, while Shenaya’s bridesmaids wore beige-pink dresses from Evolution Bridesmaids. “Matt wore the classic black suit and tie with a white top. Funny enough he wasn’t happy he didn’t get to see my dress, so he didn’t let me know what he was wearing until I saw him at the aisle.”
“My favourite part was picking out everything as I began to see it all come to life,” admits Shenaya, “but my most favourite was seeing it all on the day and it being over.”
“We asked my Nonno to carry on the tradition his father started where the man of the family welcomes everyone to the wedding, with “blessed the coming together of family’s” in Italian.”
The couple made sure to include everyone they loved, past, present and not-so-present. Explains Shenaya “My sister-in-law who couldn’t make it to the wedding as she lived in Melbourne pre-recorded a video for us to watch during our reception which made both of us bawl our eyes out. We also had a “not here but forever in our hearts table as Matt and I both lost our grandmothers, a close uncle and other family so it was nice for our family to feel they were still there.”
Advice from this bride to you? “Once you’ve finally sat down at your reception, then just take 30 seconds to sit back and look around at everyone and everything and absorb it all can because the day goes by so fast. Also, I found from my wedding day – everyone wants to chat with you but no one wants to bother you (because if they’re married they know how it goes) so make sure you chat with your close ones and get pictures with your mum/dad because otherwise it all goes in a flash and you can never get the day back.”
“We loved our first dance” remembers Shenaya “It was different to others we wanted to use a song from our favourite band and a song that was upbeat so we chose “If you’re too shy (let me know)” by The 1975 and it’s funny ’cause when guests were dancing they couldn’t tell what the lyrics were haha.”
A big congratulations to you both Shenaya and Matt! What a joy it was to share your day, thank you also to Wander & Follow Images for sharing today’s photographs and film!