Today’s bride Sophie is much loved around these parts because she is not only a talented, wonderful wedding photographer, but she’s also a Polka Dot Wedding member. So you can imagine how stuck we were to Instagram when her wedding day rolled around. Today, we have the absolute honour of sharing the story of her marriage to her beloved Jason. And if you ever wondered how someone who has seen hundreds of weddings, plans a wedding despite a pandemic? Then let this story be your inspriation!
It was while attending church, that Sophie and Jason first met, Jason, who was working as the youth pastor started saying hello to Sophie, the firsts step in a romance story that quickly blossomed. “It’s a big church with a lot of faces, you can be attending for a long time and still meet new people who’ve also been going there for ages” explains Sophie. “When Jase started saying hello and getting to know me, after realising he was one of the Pastors, I just thought he was doing his job and making her feel welcome.” It wasn’t until Jason went one step further, and messaged Sophie on Facebook inviting her to get a coffee together, that Sophie realised Jason was interested in something more. “There was one night at church that Jase said he wanted to throw himself in the lake after trying to chat to me – I am naturally shy and apparently wasn’t giving him very much back. I am SUPER glad he kept persisting!!!” laughs Sophie.
Having shot hundreds of weddings herself, it was important to Sophie that the day not feel like work, the pair lucky enough to have a dear friend offer up a stunning country property in the Tamborine Mountain region for their big day, Sophie inviting one of her industry friends Lucy Sheedy Photography along to capture the day. It’s not only a special day for us to share Sophie’s wedding. But it turns out it is a special day for photographer Lucy today too. Today is Lucy’s wedding day (and Sophie’s joining the merry band as the photographer) so join us in our virtual cheers to all four newlyweds.
It was on a no good, horrible, very bad day, that Jason decided to ask Sophie to marry him. “I was having a particularly bad day (needless to say, being a wedding photographer during covid pretty horrendous, aside from marrying the love of my life, it was the worst year of my life), so, I’d received some emails that had caused me to have another breakdown, which in hindsight really helped divert my attention from any suspicion that Jase was planning a proposal” laughs Sophie.
“He had organised to finish work early and take me out to celebrate the fact that I didn’t have any editing to do (because, you know, I had lost my job #thankscovid) and to cheer me up – he’s pretty amazing like that, he’s extremely positive in the worst of circumstances and it’s not out of character for him to do something like that, so I didn’t suspect anything. I almost didn’t bother getting dressed up because I was feeling so sick with anxiety and defeated – but, he texted me throughout the day telling me the outfit he was excitedly planning to wear tonight (well played, Jase) because he knew I’d feel obliged to make half an effort, hahaha! I’m SO GLAD he did that because I would’ve been pretty disappointed if our engagement photos featured my “hot mess mid-breakdown” outfit hahaha.
Anyway, we drove up to Tamborine Mountain, it’s where I grew up and I have fond memories of watching the sunset there, so he said he’d like to take me there and watch a sunset with me, and he organised a picnic and a chalkboard and little timber letters so we could play hangman (he said he asked a lady at church what we could do during the picnic that would be fun to cheer me up, and supposedly she suggested this and gave him the supplies – a little white lie that threw me off the scent of this very-well-planned picnic). He made himself turn around when it was my turn to write that dashes on the chalkboard – I said to him “you know you don’t have to turn around, I’m writing dashes, not letters” and he replied “I just want to really get into it!”, so naturally I had to turn around when it was his turn, and he spent that time writing “Will you marry me?” on the chalkboard so that when I turned around I got the surprise of my life!!
He’d also organised my good friend Erin from E.L. Simpson Photography to hide behind a tree and capture it all going down!! That in itself had been a debacle, the original spot he had planned was absolutely PACKED (the town has been absolutely buzzing with tourists since no one can travel overseas) and we diverted last-minute to a lesser-known locals spot, and he had to frantically try and tell her where to go over text messages without me getting suspicious! Poor guy, what an afternoon for him! Hahaha. But it was the most joyful thing in the midst of so much distress, and the fact that he organised to have it photographed by such a good friend was just so incredible, it made it so much more special for me.”
“We themed the whole wedding around Jase’s jacket really” says Sophie. “He’s just a bright, happy personality I just couldn’t imagine him in a standard suit. Early on, we found a textured maroon suit jacket (which looked smashing on him) on a really good sale in David Jones and just committed to it, everything else was picked around that colour, haha.”
Sophie found her dream gown at White Lily Couture, sharing “I chose my wedding dress because it was comfortable to wear and I hadn’t personally photographed it before (being a wedding photographer, you see a lot of dresses! And a lot of the same dresses, too). It felt unique to me, which I liked.”
Beautiful blooms right? They’re the work of Eden The Flower Shop who Sophie and Jason let have free reign. Says Sophie “I just sent Chloe from Eden the Flower Shop a photo of my dress and Jase’s jacket and asked her to do her thing. That’s the best thing about being a wedding vendor myself, you know that if you choose professionals to do a job, you can fully trust them with it and they work best when you tell them to just do what they think would be good and to have fun with it. I did the same thing with our wedding cake by Marina Machado and of course, our flowers and cake were amazing.”
Sophie and Jason were lucky enough to marry on a private property. “The venue was a big one for us. Since we were getting married during Covid and I lost my job overnight (and had a lot of work move into 2021 and beyond which closed the window for us getting married then, too) we really had to commit to getting married in 2020, rain, hail or pandemic. We also didn’t have much money to work with, AND since I work at most of the venues around the place, I wasn’t super keen on having our wedding feel like a job that I was shooting or someone’s else’s day. We were SO lucky to have extremely generous friends with a beautiful property in my hometown who allowed us to roll in and have our wedding there. Words will always fail us when it comes to our gratitude for this gift.”
There is even a special story about the song that played as Sophie walked down the aisle. “I walked down the aisle to a cover of “I believe in a thing called love” by Nina Nisbett. Jase loves the original song and it was always a bit of a joke that it would be the aisle song at his wedding. Then, as chance would have it, the last wedding I photographed before our own, the bride walked down the aisle to a cover of that song and I immediately knew we had to do the same thing. It’s actually really beautiful as a cover and it’s hilarious that the joke came to fruition.”
God is very much the centre of Sophie and Jason’s life, so they made sure their ceremony kept in line with their beliefs. “We wanted it to be enjoyable, happy and God-honouring. Our vows were both a mixture of comedy and beautiful honesty. Our pastor used camera-centric metaphors to describe marriage (so personal!) and even gifted us a beautiful old film camera as part of the ceremony, which he loaded with film and took a photo of us mid-ceremony – very, very cool!!
“There were a few moments where we just paused and looked around us in wonder, saying “this is our wedding day! and it’s really good!” We were so overwhelmed with gratitude for it all, that we had actually made it and so many people we loved had made it too, despite a global pandemic. We really didn’t know what our wedding would look like or who would be able to come until we woke up that morning and checked the latest updates. We’re acutely aware that not everyone was as lucky as we were on our wedding day, which amplifies our gratitude.”
“It’s not really ‘special’, but it is a funny memory. During our ceremony, there was a random helicopter hovering VERY low, RIGHT above Jase & I. We had no idea why it was there (turns out it was looking for an injured hiker and they’re all ok!) but at the time we didn’t know what was going it. It hovered for most of the ceremony, so we made a joke that it was our Livestream cameraman for our interstate guests. After our wedding day, our videographer posted a drone shot of the ceremony site, which meant that people ended up believing that we actually did hire a WHOLE HELICOPTER to live stream our wedding, hahaha!!”
Sophie’s advice? “Do it together, be a team. Write down the top three things that are important to you for your wedding day and focus on those things. There are *so* many things that different people deem important, and honestly, the vast majority of them just aren’t that important, and almost all of them are not remotely crucial to becoming married. Find out what matters most to you, and do that, and do it together.”
To help everything fall into place, Sophie and Jason worked with Our Wedding PA to plan their day. The bride noting “We also think our wedding coordinator Annmaree from ‘Our Wedding PA’ was a standout, she took on the huge challenge of planning a Covid-Safe wedding for us (something completely new!) so that we could have the maximum amount of guests possible and comply with the ever-changing legislation around that. On top of that mountainous task, she also did all the odd jobs throughout the day that we just didn’t have the brainpower to delegate, she had incredible initiative, forethought and attention to detail and really kept the day rolling smoothly for us – she’s worth her weight in gold! ”
If you haven’t been a fan of planning your wedding, take heart, Sophie wasn’t one either. “Planning a wedding in the middle of a global pandemic while also running a covid-affected wedding business was one of the most stressful things I have ever had to do. I am glad we did it and so grateful for the incredible day that we had, but I can’t say that I enjoyed any part of it.
I will say, however, that we felt strongly about the date we had chosen, we prayed about it and felt a peace about continuing for that date even when all the odds were against us – restrictions were coming in thick and heavy, our families were shut out over borderlines and we were losing income every day. We stayed firm in that peace, and at the 11th hour we were able to have 100 guests, our interstate family made it through, the sun shone and we were even allowed to have a dance floor. The entire time we were aware that we may have to bin the whole thing on the day and just elope, but we didn’t, and that was truly an amazing blessing.”
There are rave reviews for photographer Lucy from both Sophie and Jason. “Lucy did the most phenomenal job of documenting the day! There is an image of us entering our reception that I love – it shows the atmosphere of the night and the warmth of love and joy from the day and our guests, as well our fancy outfits, and it really feels like my memory of the night.
Lucy is AMAZING!!! She’s a very good friend of mine too, which made it all the more special. I’ve always adored her work, and she & Jase get along really well, so it was a no-brainer that she would document our wedding day. She went above and beyond for us and did the most amazing job, I am so grateful our photos were in her talented and capable hands.”
“We also think our caterers (VGC Catering) deserve a special mention for their phenomenal food! ” tells the bride. “Months after our wedding, people are still talking about our wedding food!”
Guests took home handmade candles made by the newlyweds. “We made all our guests decent-sized Frankincense candles with timber lids. We chose Frankincense because it was relaxing and we figure after the year that was 2020 everyone deserved a good relax, and on the bottom as a fun little joke for anyone who appreciates “The Office” we stuck “Candles by Jan” stickers, which made for some good laughs when people turned the candles over.”
Sophie and Jason were in for the biggest surprise from their cake designer the cake artist Marina Machado Cakes have free reign with the cake on the day. “Our incredible cake designer (Marina Machado) made the most BEAUTIFUL cake for us, and generously DOUBLED its size as a gift to us – she said she was inspired by my photography in the early days of her business and wanted to say thank you – I was absolutely speechless! I still can’t believe it!
These two really nailed their vibe for the day. “We just wanted a fun celebration with our favourite people and good food (and a good photographer and good lighting – obviously!) and we based everything around that. They were the important things to us and that’s what we focused on, anything else was just a “whatever works” attitude. Covid really screwed with that relaxed plan, but we survived!”
The newlyweds made their dance floor debut, surrounded by their guests waving sparklers. “We danced to Phil Wickham’s medley of songs called “Divine / Sailing / Time / Hymn (Acoustic)” and we did surround by our guests holding one metre long sparklers! (They burn for four minutes!)”
Dan Vonhoff captured Sophie and Jason’s wedding on film. “Special mention goes to Dan Vonhoff (also a photographer) who did the most amazing wedding film for us” raves Sophie.
A big congratulations to you both Sophie and Jason! What an absolute honour to be able to share your day. Thank you both and thank you to Lucy Sheedy Photography for today’s stunning celebration photography!