It may have been the bride’s “excellent grammar” that first hinted there was romance to be had for Nizar. “Sally & I met online. She had excellent grammar, and before we knew it, we found ourselves meeting each other at pubs, galleries, cafes.” He tells “The ‘Philip Glass @ 80’ piano recital on a balmy Sunday, October night at Camelot Lounge in Marrickville was when we both saw the special sparks clearly in one another.”
The pair, planned for a ceremony and cocktail party wedding to celebrate their story with all of their favourite people. Alas, like many other couples in 2020, their plans were thwarted by a certain pandemic. So they started from scratch and rethought the whole thing, says Sally “We decided that rather than leave our wedding party plans at the mercy of ever-changing health restrictions, we would scale back our wedding ceremony to only inviting immediate family wedding part (with all other guests seeing the ceremony on Zoom), followed by a sit-down dinner in a restaurant. This helped us feel confident in continuing to plan for our wedding ceremony and we would postpone the cocktail reception with all our family and friends to later in the year once restrictions were eased.”
And the day? Well, you’re going to agree with us that it was utter perfection. “The day was sultry, with light showers in between sunbeams, spreading light droplets on the warm streets outside” remembers Nizar. “Inside the Old Clare Hotel, both our families and the closest of friends blended comfortably with the circa-1950s timbers and muted florals. Dusty blues, deep maroons, rich browns framed by streamlined Art Deco textures reflected the soft dewy sunbeams from the tall boardroom windows. The only reference to the present was my (Nizar’s) Macbook and attached Canon EOS SLR, streaming our celebration to 100 of our friends online on Zoom.”
With the talented Damien Milan Photography behind the camera, the streets of Sydney as their backdrop and romance in abundance Sally and Nizar made their day happen their way. Today, you’re in for a treat. We have extra special treats for you with this one! As Sally and Nizar shared their wedding with so many of their guests over Zoom, they have graciously shared some of the clips of their day with their story. We’ve included some of our favourites throughout their wedding feature.
Sally chose a beaded long-sleeve gown by Australian designer Karen Willis Holmes “We got engaged on my birthday, 7th February 2020, before anyone really knew how much of an impact COVID would have on our daily lives.” She shares “During the lock-down in March & April, I was browsing some gown websites and came across quite a few dresses that I liked on the Karen Willis Holmes website. I was fortunate enough to stumble across a booking in early May at their Alexandria boutique (before they announced they were opening up for fittings). I went along with my top five styles as a list, tried them all on and chose the second dress ‘Cassie’ and put a deposit on it as they only had the one size 12 left.
The vintage, old-world mood of her choice, just perfect. “I have always loved the Art Deco style and this dress had amazing geometric patterns and the way the light caught the sequins and beads just made me smile. I also loved the sheer beaded sleeves and slightly sexy cut-out back. Slightly vintage yet with a modern twist – I loved it from the moment I saw it. I could have kept shopping around, but I knew I had found ‘the one’, and as I’m a list-maker and list-ticker – I was thinking ‘at least that’s one less thing I have to worry about in the mountain of planning that I knew was ahead of me!”
And while Sally’s gown was her something new, she did indeed wear something old, explaining “I saved the off-cuts from my wedding gown after it was altered and my great Aunty Helen (who is very nifty with the needle and thread, having made two wedding dresses for her daughters), and she made a little drawstring silk bag for me, sewing some of the dress fabric around the bag.
I also attached a pair of diamond earrings on the bag that my paternal grandmother gave me (Doreen passed away in 2014) and my maternal grandmother’s blue butterfly brooch (Irene passed away at only 55 years old, in 1985, so I only just remember her).
My mother also had part of her veil which she had saved from her wedding to my father in 1976, which used to be thrown over my cot when I was a baby to protect me from the mozzies (so not taken care of at all!). We dug this out of the garage, threw it in a bucket of Napisan to clean it up and had it sewn onto a comb which I wore as my veil on the day. It was the perfect colouring to match my champagne-coloured dress. So that covered something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.”
One of the groom’s favourite parts of the day was getting ready with his brothers. “These two are the closest people in my life, and I could not have been happier seeing them there with me, offering their support and a bottle of Balvenie 14YO whiskey. Very helpful.”
When it came to his attire, Nizar knew exactly the look he wanted. And he got it thanks to Hugo Boss. “My suit’s silhouette could only have been created by Hugo Boss: a perfect fit, and a slick outline, without excess or gimmickry. My Farage shirt was also special to me: a simple cut, great fit, comfortable and beautiful luxurious fabric. Again, no extras nor gimmicks. Declic tie and Lloyd shoes completed the suit nicely, adding texture and practical comfort.”
The beautiful wedding day blooms? Styled by The Lillipillian. “Art Deco and vintage theme. Organic, lush and unstructured (and not a single gerbera in sight!). Moody tones in burgundy, ivory, antique, nude, white and pops of navy blue. Flowers included: proteas, flannel flowers (my favourite flower), dahlias, sea holly, hydrangea, local roses as well as other seasonal best. Foliage such camellia and weeping magnolia.”
One of Sally’s favourite memories? “The feeling I had when the entrance music started and I was gripping on to my Dad’s arm as he looked down at his watch and counted down for us for our entrance. He looked at me and said ‘I love you, Sal’ and that’s when the emotion came over me and I started to tear up. As we walked into the room, I’ll never forget seeing Nizar and locking eyes on him and squeezing his hands so tight during the ceremony. Here was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with and I couldn’t wait to be his wife.”
And the song choice? Says Nizar “We wanted a song with a happy and safe feel, like a tune from an insurance advertisement! So we chose Vivaldi, recomposed by Max Richter “The Four Seasons, Spring 1.”
The couple were married by Rick Brewer. “We wanted a fairly relaxed and short & sweet ceremony. We had a bible reading from Corinthians, song lyrics which were read out by Nizar’s brother Walid, and my bridesmaid Augusta read the account of our engagement (written by Nizar).”
The wedding ceremony may have had one hiccup, admits Nizar. “The classic “where are the rings,” skit played out, only for real. You may fill in the celebrant’s preceding words, and the panicked questioning gazes from everyone around me. All I could hear is the loudening ring tone in my ears as I realised that nobody has the rings. It wasn’t on the run sheet. Think, think…. The rings are here, in the hotel. I hid the ring box in the depths of my bag back in the room where we got ready – as a security measure.
Out of sight, out of mind, until now. I can’t recall what instructions I said, my brother sprung off his seat, and out into the hotel halls. It was the longest wait, as my brother got mixed up on different hotel floors, and everyone laughed and laughed. Eventually, the ring box arrived, my brother took his seat, and the mood of the ceremony from then on was just that little bit more joyous and relaxed.” Sally adds “So essentially the missing rings was my fault – as it wasn’t in the run sheet! (You’d think it wouldn’t have to be….)”
Says Sally “I loved our private little ceremony in the C.U.B Suite…it was the perfect venue for an intimate wedding with only 15 of us in attendance. So even though it wasn’t our original plans (thanks COVID), it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
The groom’s favourite detail of the day? “Sally’s dress was surprisingly exquisite. Art Deco beading running along with the figure-hugging soft white fabric, sprinkling light-catching highlights everywhere she stepped.”
Photographer wise, Sally and Nizar know they picked a winner. “Damien Milan is the bomb! ” explains Sally. “He and his wife Nastia Gladushchenko were absolutely lovely to work within the lead up to the big day and during it – we had so much fun. Nizar and I didn’t want the usual posed photos that you usually see at weddings…we wanted something much more casual and candid and that’s exactly what we got.
I love the way Damien and Nastia play with the light-capturing moody and atmospheric moments. As we’ll be having ‘part two’ wedding cocktail reception celebrations on 23rd April, we are ecstatic to be able to work with them again. They were so supportive and flexible in the lead up to the wedding (especially with our last minute ‘let’s break this wedding celebration up into two parts’) and provided invaluable advice about the room setup, run sheet input and were just all-around lovely people. It felt like they were part of the circle of friends and family on our special day. I can’t recommend them highly enough!”
Every single vendor Sally and Nizar chose, was a standout and played right into what they loved about planning the day. Nizar [pretending to be Sally] jokes “I got to conTROL IT ALLLLL!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! Sally works in a theatre company in Philanthropy and manages a gruelling schedule of donor and prospect events during the year, so adding ‘weddings’ to the event schedule list was just like a duck takes to water. Sally had both a full time and part-time after-hours job organising events.”
Sally admitting “I loved working with ALL of our wedding vendors…being an event planner by day (and having some minor ‘perfectionist’ tendencies!), I was very particular about the vendors we chose to be part of our special day. Jen from Solstice Events was fabulous and ‘got’ my level of detail, Tegan at The Lillipillian made the ceremony space and dinner reception feel so elegant with the lush blooms and styling elements, Luigi and the team at The Old Clare were there for all of my requests and made our stay at the hotel such a wonderful experience.
Gemma Nicols and her team of makeup artists and hairstylists (Gladis and Carly) were so easy to work with and made me and my ‘bridal ladies’ feel so comfortable and it was really lovely to spend the day with them getting ready! Damien Milan captured all the moments of our day perfectly. Miriera at Kensington Street was absolutely fabulous in helping coordinate everything with Olio. I can’t wait to work with them all again at our upcoming ‘part 2’ wedding cocktail reception celebrations!”
An intimate dinner by candlelight was held at Olio Kensington St. “After our original wedding venue fell through (late running renovations meant we couldn’t even see the space until mid-December 2020…and the fact that it still didn’t have a roof on it didn’t bring us much comfort of works being completed on time!), we decided to look for a venue near a place that held significance for us, which was around Kensington Street, Chippendale – the place of one of our first dates and subsequent anniversaries.
We ventured to Olio Kensington Street for dinner to celebrate our second anniversary, and I was delighted by how honest, sophisticated, and delectable the Sicilian cuisine prepared there was. Even on our secret trial dinner – unbeknownst to the chef, we enjoyed every dish like we did the first time. And Olio delivered a fabulous feast for our wedding dinner. I cannot wait for our cocktail party reception there.”
Wait until you hear about the special touches these two included thanks to Serendipity Icecream and Poor Toms. Sally shares “We wanted something special for our wedding cake (all major celebrations in my life have involved a Vienetta ice cream cake – so we worked with Serendipity Ice Cream in Enmore to help us create a custom-made Vienetta). We also wanted something a little quirky and memorable (and something that wouldn’t collect dust or end up in landfill!) for our wedding favours for guests so we got in touch with Poor Toms in Marrickville and had some Strawberry Gin specially bottled with custom made labels (with characters of us) for the occasion. Poor Toms was the place of many a date, ‘truth bombs’ and the place we got engaged.”
DIY details? Plenty tells the groom. “The aforementioned seven Spotify playlists did away with any need for a DJ for our intimate group. The dinner table place cards were calligraphically crafted by friends. The Zoom online stream was arranged, tested, and set up pretty much by my good self, being an IT consultant!”
Advice from these two if you are yet to tie the knot? Says Nizar “Don’t do it; much too expensive. Buy an electric car instead.” Sally laughing adding “Ha ha ha – that’s the minimalist in him talking! My advice would be to sit down together and work out what you both want, what is important to you, what your budget is (and then watch that get blown out of the water!) and start tracking everything in Google sheets! Even when things don’t go according to plan (like in our case, with our wedding done in ‘two parts), that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! The most important thing is that you get married – so try to have fun in the process!”
There was indeed a first dance for the happy newlyweds says Nizar. “Our dance was the least organised part. We were so careful in choosing all the other aspects and poured several hours into our 7 Spotify playlists – one playlist for each segment/moment of the wedding. Yet somehow we felt that our dance must be to Jeremy Jordan’s “The Right Kind of Love”. When the right time came, and Jeremy started blaring those famed lyrics, we looked at each other, and just had to laugh. Awkward crane-like movement, classic twirls in slow motion, and bursts of laughter from us and our crowd. Yes, practice makes perfect, and at that moment we defined the antonym of perfection.”
A big congratulations to you both Sally and Nizar! Thank you for sharing your delightful day with us. Thank you also goes to Damien Milan Photography for sharing today’s beautiful day.