With one cancellation under their belts and a reduced guest list, by the time Tali and Jesse got to celebrate their marriage, the desire amongst them and their guests to well and truly celebrate was high. The couple opting for an urban wedding “Our wedding we like to describe as a chilled, summer, rustic, wedding. Nothing flashy, but rather simple, natural and peaceful” to honour their Jewish culture, and of course, plenty, of dancing, as is necessary!

With Joshua Mikhaiel behind the camera (a decision these two recommend, read on for their review) this summer day would turn out to be truly unforgettable for a couple who were definitely in the mood to shake off the stress of COVID and a postponement, and dance the night away.

Both heavily involved in the Jewish community, it remains a mystery as to why Tali and Jesse’s paths took so long to cross, the pair finally meeting while working on a school camp, remembers Tali. “We both grew up in the Jewish community, a beautiful and tight community in Sydney. Usually in communities like these everybody knows everybody. Jesse and I never crossed paths. We were not even in each other’s acquaintances.

In 2015 we were both volunteering to help run a school holiday camp for young children. The camp was taking place in Bathurst, a 4-hour drive from where we live. Naturally, people were carpooling to the campsite. I received a message from a random man named Jesse who asked if anyone had space in their car – to which I said, yes I do. A 5-hour car ride later Jesse and I knew we were made for each other.

We spent every night of this school holiday camp staying up till 4:00 am talking, chatting, getting to know every single thing about each other. The school holiday camp was 5 days. On the last day of camp, l remember calling my best friend and telling her I was in a serious relationship. Jesse (little did I know) had called his best friend and said the same thing. We came home and introduced each other to our families. Everyone thought we were crazy – we had only known each other for 5 days… 5.5 years later we proved them all wrong!”

Jesse completely swept Tali off her feet with the proposal, thanks to throwing her off the scent! She tells “I was keen to get engaged years before Jesse proposed. Every time we went on holiday I thought it would happen. Finally, I decided to stop expecting it and just let life happen. But I always knew Jesse understood the importance of timing… Oh, how I was wrong.

It was a Wednesday afternoon. I had taken time off from my full-time job to complete an internship for my Masters of Primary Teaching. I was working at a school that I didn’t know many people and was the ‘intern person’ for 8 weeks. One day my best friend Bec, who is a phenomenal baker and founder of Sweet Chick (check her out!) asked me to attend a food event with her – to which I said of course! I remember telling my internship that I had to leave a little early as I was attending this event. I came home and started getting ready. Bec joined me and was taking particular interest in what I was wearing. While we were getting ready my sister-in-law called me and asked me to go past her place to make sure the garage and balcony doors were closed as it was windy and she thinks she may have left them open. I asked Bec if we had time to stop by – to which she said, “for sure!”.

We drive to the house and I run inside while Bec is waiting in the car, to close all the windows. As I am running up the stairs there are leaves and photos of me and Jesse. I had no idea I was being recorded and I said, “I f**** knew it!” (I had no idea…) I followed the leaves and photos which lead to the roof where Jesse was standing. I remember screaming (while crying and laughing). “This is so random, I have my internship tomorrow! It’s a bloody Wednesday! I don’t know anyone at my internship!.”

Jesse proceeded to make the moment magical. This followed by telling me that my brothers (who are extremely close to me) were on a flight from Melbourne as we speak and were landing in an hour for a surprise celebration. Bec ran in, my family ran in and we were all screaming and crying and I had to awkwardly message my internship that I would be a bit late the next day as I… had just gotten engaged.”

“In Judaism, it is customary for the week before the wedding to not see or speak to each other to enhance the magical moment of seeing each other for the first time. Jesse and I did this and I will never forget everyone singing and screaming as he walked towards me to veil the bride before the ceremony. It was a spectacular and overwhelming moment. We purposefully planned that my brother and family-friend would sing a peaceful Jewish song as Jesse walked towards me to make the moment extra special. It was so memorable and I remember it so clearly.”

Adds Jesse “As you heard, before the Chuppah Ceremony there is a Bedeken where the groom veils the bride and sees her for the first time after 7 days of not speaking or seeing each other. This was a moment we wanted to be perfect. However, I remember waiting in a room with a few guests wondering, “Where the hell are my groomsmen?” It was just me and some guests waiting to enter the Bedeken. Little did I know the groomsmen were running extremely late waiting in a van outside the house Tali was getting ready at, waiting for the bridesmaids to enter the van. Tali was running late getting her flower crown perfected, which delayed the big reveal of walking down the stairs with her bridesmaids and brothers and my groomsmen were waiting outside in the van until everyone was ready to roll! Finally they arrived and it was perfect!”

The beautiful blooms for the day, including the floral details on the chuppah were left to Wilder recalls Tali.  “I am not a flower person. I like simple dried flowers that are subtle in colour. Our amazing wedding planner Claudia (CM Events) worked with Wilder Flowers to put together my dream. My bouquet was made from dried flowers in beige and nudes and white tones with different textures and designs, that complimented my flower crown. The flowers from my bouquet were scattered in little vases across the wedding tables and were up for grabs when the wedding ended! A lot of our friend’s homes are filled with our dried flowers now!

Our chuppah (the Jewish canopy) under which we got married was very simple and covered in my favourite flower Babies Breath. Nothing else.”

The couple kept the processional traditional. “Jesse, myself and all our bridesmaids and groomsmen walked down the aisle. We walked down the aisle to my brother and family friend singing us down. Jesse and I walked down to different songs. Jesse walked down the aisle to a Hebrew song called “Mitachat Lashamayim” which means from underneath the sky. The song is all about two people in love who become one unit and fall in love. I walked down the aisle to a song called “Ahava” translated as Love, which is about falling in love as bride and groom and welcoming the bride to the groom. It was a dream of ours to have my brother sing us down the aisle – which almost didn’t happen because of the Victorian border closures!”

“Our ceremony was extremely important to us. A peaceful, spiritual and down to earth energy where people could feel the love, magic and energy of the room was invaluable to us. Every song choice was carefully thought out and every blessing we endeavoured to add more meaning. In Judaism, the Chuppah is traditionally run by the Rabbi. We have a strong connection to our Rabbi and he is very much a part of our lives as a form of guidance and meaning. in Judaism, it is customary to say 7 blessings under the Chuppah. We decided to do these in Hebrew and English by means and women to enhance the meaning of the prayer as well as being able to have those close to us be involved in the ceremony.

At the end of the Chuppah, in Judaism you sing a song called “I’m Eshkachech – If I forget”, the song is sung before the groom breaks the glass. The breaking of the glass traditionally reminds us of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Israel. However, to modernise our ceremony we used this time to remember those whose lives are filled with struggles, to remember that a lot of people feel broken and have lost those close to them and that even in our happiest times (like a wedding day) we cannot forget those who feel alone, who have lost, who are broken and who need love and support.

Throughout our ceremony, the bridal party was singing extremely loudly traditional wedding songs which added to the energy – in Judaism we called it – Ruach.”

One of Tali’s favourite moments of the day was right after the couple were married. “A distinct memory I had was after the Chuppah ceremony we went into a room to sign all the marriage documents it was just me and Jesse. Josh (our photographer) came in and my nephew Elijah did as well. We all paused for a moment and started digging into the food that was left there for us to snack on. It is such a real and raw moment of just chilling and taking a moment from the craziness to just eat, relax and have a moment to breathe – and I love that Josh was there for that!”

Tali had a distinct vision in mind for her wedding gown. “My attire was Byron Bay, relaxed, summer ethereal” she explains, finding her beautiful Harriette Gordon gown at Hope x Page the second time she visited!   “I really struggled to find a dress. I never wanted a dress that was BIG BOLD AND REALLY BRIDE-LIKE. I wanted something more subtle and relaxed. I searched high and low! Every wedding dress shop in Sydney – I have been there. I even flew to Melbourne to check out a store! I always imagined I would have the experience that the world tells you of putting on your dress and just KNOWING it was right for you and crying – my story didn’t happen like that. It was a little more real and down to earth – kind of how I like to describe my wedding.

I found my dress shop – Hope & Page – on Instagram and went there it was an hour away from where I lived… I found nothing. My wedding was postponed due to Covid so I put the wedding dress search on hold hoping that I would eventually find the right thing. When we had a new date I decided to go back to as I had seen on their Instagram page a dress that I thought ticked a lot of the boxes I wanted for a dress. Detailed but simple and unique. Square neckline, tight around the waist but flowy. I found a beautiful lace, relaxed dress by a designer called Harriet Gordon.

The dress originally had a pink undertone but I always knew I wanted to wear a white dress with a flower crown to emulate a beach-like summer wedding. The dress also had these beautiful huge puffy sleeves which I loved but matching my dress to the venue and the style of wedding I wanted I knew I needed to change the sleeves. When my dress arrived (a week before the wedding) it was only then that I thought “this feels right”. Tali’s bridesmaids wore lightly hued frocks of their choice. “I wanted a summer wedding so the brief was cream, beige or white and to wear things that made everyone feel comfortable in their bodies, feel beautiful, and ultimately were party proof!”

And Jesse? Jesse went for an easygoing style, with thanks to a two-piece look from MJ Bale says Tali. “Jesse is a laid back relaxed guy. Neither of us are over the top extravagant people who are into labels and brands. We got his whole outfit from MJ Bale – simple, affordable, relaxed, comfortable and stylish clothing! That fit the brief of our chilled summer wedding.  We had a family friend working there at the time who whipped the whole outfit together within 20 minutes. Navy linen trousers, a simple white shirt and a funky grey jacket with a subtle pattern and brown loafers. The whole experience was quick! In and out. After the wild dancing at our Jewish wedding, we are surprised the loafers survived the Horras.

At a Jewish wedding, it is customary for the man to wear a Kippa (a skull cap on the head). We had ordered ours custom made from Israel by a popular kippa making man! Due to covid and the deliveries, the kippot never arrived on time. Jesse ended up borrowing one from my brother! That pretty much sums him up – CHILLED!” Jesse chose his four brothers and six best friends as groomsmen, their outfit brief was simple. “The brief was beige chinos (any brand), a white shirt and white sneakers – we gave them all brown belts. The dance floor got messy to by the end of the night the white shoes were black and the white shirts were see-through with sweat!”

The photos of Jesse and Tali’s wedding speak for themselves, but all credit goes to the couple’s chosen photographer, how is this for their rave review from Tali? “I have no words for this man. It was all meant to be. Our photographer had to cancel last minute due to the borders interstate and strongly suggested we use Josh. I remember discussing with my planner that I didn’t care who we had as long as they had fun and good energy – that’s all I wanted around me on my day. I couldn’t have asked for anything better with Josh.

I remember the moment he walked in and came straight away to sit and chat with me and we just relaxed and spoke about random things. He instantly made me and everyone else feel so comfortable. He is such a down to earth and friendly man. I remember when we were putting on my flower crown (we were running late at this point!) and I wasn’t sure if I loved the exact spot where the flower crown was placed, even though it had been glued down with hair spray already! Everyone was saying, “It’s fine it’s fine it’s perfect!” Josh looked at me and said, “Move it to where you want it.” I LOVED THAT! He was just so a part of everything in such a fun charismatic way.

He captured the hidden MOMENTS and made Jesse and I feel so comfortable throughout the day. He was so involved in making sure each photo was perfect and different and at one point he even grabbed my veil and said, “we need shots without this!” He wrapped my veil around his neck and we continued to photograph on the streets!”

“Your wedding is just one day. It is a day to celebrate love, share love and experience love. That is all that matters. The rest is fluff. Having a real, down to earth, wedding that allows people to feel free and celebrate is what matters. It should be about bringing you and your partner closer together, not worrying and stressing over superficial and surfaced level issues. Treasure the togetherness of the day.”

Talia and Jesse chose  Three Blue Ducks for their wedding, telling “We got married at Three Blue Ducks, Rosebury. It is a custom in Judaism not to see or speak to each other the week before the wedding and have the moment you see each other for the first time at the Bedeken. I got ready at my brother’s home, we had music, the makeup and hair team, delicious food and a general relaxed energy with all the bridesmaids. Jesse got ready the morning of the wedding at our apartment. Same vibe. Relaxed music, good food and just hanging around.

Three Blue Ducks is where all the magic took place. The bedeken, the chuppah and the wedding party. We loved the multiple areas available to diversify each part of the wedding. Each had the same tone of a summer, rustic, simple energy with wooden and dried flower decor.”

With wedding planner Claudia of CM Events to bring their day to life, these two could not rave more about the decision to hand off the stress of the day. Tali raves, “The perfection of our wedding day is because of her. Go and check her out on Instagram now @c.m.events. Claudia is not only the kindest and charismatic person to work with. She leaves no stone unturned, understands your vision and puts it together even more perfect than you can ever dream. She is relaxed and calm and does not let any wedding stress impact you and the process. She is the connector, manager and organiser of every single detail from food to decor to vendors to band to music to everything!

Dancing is a huge part of a Jewish wedding, you’ll often see photos of people being swung into the air on chairs! Claudia even organised for us SPECIFIC HORRAH CHAIRS to be lifted on so we could fly through the sky freely!

She ensured everything was timed perfectly but with enough time to truly value every single moment, and made everything that much more fun and enjoyable all along the way. No ask is too big and no task is ever too difficult.”

Alongside Three Blue Ducks, Tali and Jesse hired Felicia’s Catering. The two teams worked alongside one another to prepare a delicious kosher feast.

“The dancing was one of our favourite parts of the day” remembers Tali. “The unjudged, wildness, sweatiness and ruthlessness of the dance floor. That was everything to us. The cancellation and postponement of our wedding caused a lot of stress. All we wanted was a party to celebrate! I will never for that first Horrah when we ran into the venue with all our friends and family dancing ON TOP of us! One huge mosh pit of everyone just celebrating, partying, screaming, dancing, loving and sharing powerful energy! I remember being in the centre of this and looking at Jesse and saying – we made it and we are PARTYING!”

Wanting to keep the mod relaxed and light, the couple even had a bit of fun with their first dance, tells the bride “Jesse and I planned to do the first dance to the song, “Jesse’s girl.” Something light-hearted and fun to match us and the wedding! Slow, romantic dances were not our thing. We even had dance classes! A few weeks before the wedding I injured my foot extremely badly and I couldn’t walk, or exercise let alone dance properly!

Wearing shoes caused my foot to be even sorer so practising was impossible. We had to call off the dance. On the day of my wedding, I had to wear (after the photos) these unideal platform shoes to ensure my foot didn’t flare-up. We attempted to do bits of the dance to make our friend’s smile but it did not go to plan…”

“Aside from the decor and the food, for us, it was all about the energy of the day” says Tali. “The relaxed, down to earth, beautiful summer’s day with everyone singing and dancing. Our wedding was right as covid restrictions lifted slightly so everyone was extremely excited to celebrate the love! And boy did we feel it.”

That party energy continued well into the night, the bride remembering “When the wedding ended our friends and family carried us on chairs to the car, singing and dancing! When they placed us in the car they danced around the car and danced us out of the wedding! It just highlighted the energy, love and magic of the day.”

The couple chose C2 Films to capture a film of their day unfolding.  I think you’ll agree it captures every single bit of joy of this story.

Congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing so much of your day with us. Thank you also to Joshua Mikhaiel for sharing all the fun!