If you ask me, there’s nothing quite like summer rain to set the mood for an epic wedding day! Rachel & Chris’s rustic & romantic thunderstorm wedding, beautifully captured by Harvard Wang, was just that – epic and seriously stunning! Rachel describes their day as “There was a big thunderstorm on the day and the clouds rolled in and it felt really moody and intimate!” and recounts their love story and perfect wedding day… 

We met in 2010 through mutual friends (Sam and Jason), en route to a music festival. Chris forgot my name and I left my sunnies at his place intentionally so we would have to meet up again afterward!

We got engaged in 2018 and we had just finished our holiday for my parent’s 60th in Vietnam. We headed down to Phu Quoc for an extra week and stayed at this beautiful little family run boutique resort – Peppercorn Beach Resort. We were getting ready for dinner and I remember thinking, “Geez Chris has really made an effort, I can’t believe he’s wearing a full sleeve collared shirt in this 90% humidity!” We got out the door, I was sitting in the front garden and patiently waiting for him to hurry up. He said “I’ll be with you in a second”. Red flag no. 2 as Chris has never in the 8 years of dating every said “I’ll be with you in a second”. I turned around and he was getting down on one knee, he looked nervous, popped the question, I blurted out yes and that was that!

Chris was a suit from MJ Bale, a light navy blue suit with a white shirt, tan shoes which popped against the blue! He rocked suspenders (because he thought they’d be unusual and different – they looked great!!), he had a white pocket square and navy tie.

I had a few items on the dress criteria: must be able to sit, eat and dance in it. I also didn’t want to be too hot so sleeves were cancelled. I went for something with a fairly low back, tonnes of buttons (sorry mum!), and a tasteful amount of lace on the bodice and train. I also picked a cut that was flattering for my body shape rather than what was in fashion.
I had two shopping adventures to find it – the first was just to try a bunch of random dresses on to get a sense of the cut and style (my maid of honour and the mums came). I remember wearing black underwear and deciding that I should probably wear nude next time. I found the dress I ultimately wore on Still White. A girl in Ballarat was selling her brand new dress because she decided she wanted to wear a different one. I LOVED my dress!

We had first look photos just before the ceremony, we’d never heard of these before, but it was hands down the BEST part of our wedding for us. We hadn’t seen each other all day, we were all dolled up and excited to see each other. It was pretty much the only moment we had by ourselves! It was a really special opportunity to take a mindful moment and soak up the day. I was just really excited, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face; Chris on the other hand was really emotional.

Some of our favourite humans were in our bridal party. The girls wore these gorgeous red dresses from Two Sisters and black heels. The groomsmen matched Chris but wore red pocket square to distinguish themselves.

Words can’t describe how insanely grateful we are for meeting Harvard Wang and having him as our photographer at our wedding! He gave us all the secrets to look hot as hell, put us at ease, and captured all of the perfect moments when we didn’t realise he was there.

He’s the sort of person you would invite away camping with your friends – his humour and easy-going nature is infectious to be around. He is every bride’s favourite supplier: communicates well and regularly, spends time getting to know you and quickly builds rapport with you and your guests. Be like Harvard.

AND his photos are STUNNING! The moodiness of the clouds, the candid moments of us and our guests – we’ll never get sick of looking at these.

We got married at Zonzo Estate. We’re total foodies who grew up in the South Eastern suburbs. We love beautiful scenery (and wine) and the rustic vibes – so Zonzo was a no brainer! Chris was keen to get married on the lawn and look at the beautiful vineyards but the weather had other plans for us – we got married in the barn. I was beside myself, I was SO EXCITED to get married in the barn. It was stunning! The staff were AMAZING!! The looked after us the whole time (even when we were meant to get married in May 2020, and again in October, and finally in December). They were really supportive the whole way through.

I walked down the aisle with my dad. I was really clear that he wasn’t giving me away #strongindependentwoman over here! Haha! I walked down to the “XX Intro”. It’s one of few songs that gives us both chills.

Our ceremony was a nice balance of light hearted with a few “awww” moments. It’s like we were the only people in the room. We both loved sharing our vows – if only we could put that moment in a bottle and store it forever.

Our celebrant Marry Me Megan did a beautiful job preparing us for the ceremony. She made us feel so special and was always two steps ahead – we both felt really reassured by her. On the day of our wedding we saw Megan’s superpowers: she always said the right thing at the right time; she put us at ease (even when we didn’t realise we needed it) and she made our love story feel like a beautiful and magical fairy-tale. Pretty certain she even made the rain stop at all the crucial moments. We laughed, we cried and our guests LOVED her, as did we!

I had these beautiful Australian natives by Gillian Pollard for my wedding flowers. She’s an incredible artist, I can’t believe she found me a King Protea for my bouquet! The colours worked beautifully with the bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s suits. I couldn’t bear to throw my bouquet away, so my mum had it watercolour painted so I can keep them forever.

It was so hard to pick a favourite photo from the day!! The photo of us walking down the aisle after the ceremony is a pretty special one. We’re catching glances with each of our guests as we walk by and look like we’re ready to take on the world.

One of our most loved elements of the day was that we had a cake made of cheese! We picked up some wheels at Bill’s Farm at the Queen Vic Market and my brother assembled it on the day. We had cheese for a good 3 weeks after the wedding, and our guests were so excited to take some home. Out of everything we organised for the wedding, the cheese was the most fun and easiest part.

I feel like I need a whole separate segment just to talk about the food at Zonzo. The food was SO GOOD! We were invited to a tasting a few months prior to test out the menu – we took our parents, and they loved being included. They’re really smooth operators at Zonzo. We were so spoilt with the options available (pizzas, lamb shoulder and dessert were the highlights), We’re excited to go back!

We had a DIY photobooth with polaroids which was the best idea ever! We sat it next to the guest book, so people could stick photos alongside their messages. It was so nice to go through the book the day after and read everyone’s lovely messages.

For our second favourite photo – there is this beautiful photo of us standing in the rain while everyone is inside having dessert. It was a really magical moment. We managed to dodge the rain the entire day, and it was nice to let it absolutely pour down on us for a moment at the end of the night.

A friend of ours reminded us regularly to take it all in – it was the best advice ever. You can easily get caught up in the fast pace and excitement. Take moments to be alone with your partner and soak up the vibes together. Oh, and plan for stuff to go wrong, it always does. Plan for it and you won’t be stressed out about it!

Thank you to the lovely Rachel & Chris for sharing their wonderful and moody wedding day! And to Harvard Wang, of course!