You want your wedding day to be memorable, of course, but for Garry and Clarissa, their classic black tie wedding will stick in their guest’s minds for more than one reason. “By random coincidence, we happen to have picked one of the hottest days of 2020” Clarissa laughs. “It was a 40-degree day and we were dreading it in the days leading up. But amazingly everyone in the family and our suppliers did an amazing job despite the heat and it ended up not phasing us at all, even while during photos!”
And of course, while the sweltering heat led to a few regrets (including the choice of Garry’s three-piece suit!) nothing could wipe the magic away from this wedding day as evident in every beautiful photo by Russell Stafford. From the bride’s incredible lace wedding gown to the stunning rose floral arrangements, the classic elegance wove its way throughout every single detail of the day.
After meeting at Sydney University while both studying design computing “We hit it off after we did a big project together”. Garry asked Clarissa to marry him on a holiday on Japan’s beautiful Teshima Island. Clarissa tells the tale “We were on holiday in Japan exploring the Japanese art islands. On our last day in the area, we went to Teshima Island, where the Teshima art museum was located. After experiencing one of the most amazing pieces of architecture we’d ever seen, we took a stroll through the grassy fields that surrounded the museum. Once we reached the top of the hill, overlooking the museum and the coastline of the island, Garry popped the question!”
The groom dressed in classic black tie style, with his suit from MJ Bale. Clarissa explaining “Garry wanted a classic modern three-piece suit but in a dark charcoal grey rather than black to keep the look modern. He found his perfect suit at MJ Bale and found a vest that complemented it perfectly. He soon came to regret it because the wedding was on a 40-degree day hahaha.
Garry had two of his best friends as his groomsmen. Garry also likes the concept of how bridesmaids wore different colours to the bride to stand out so he decided to dress his groomsmen in a light grey suit.”
Clarissa’s incredible lace, strapless gown, was a design by Galia Lahav, found at Sydney boutique Eternal Bridal. She tells “I wanted something that flowed and looked romantic. I remember we went to Eternal Bridal in Sydney on one of the worst days where the weather was atrocious – pouring rain and winds! I tried on a few dresses at the boutique and they were lovely but something was missing. Then on a whim, my mum asked if we could take a look at the Galia dresses just because, and the first one I tried on I instantly fell in love. That’s when I learned that the phrase “the dress chooses you” was true.”
Clarissa’s bridesmaids wore white gowns. “I had my sister as my MOH and my cousin as my bridesmaids. Because my wedding dress was a nude colour I dressed them in white dresses which created a nice contrast.”
The classic styling was even echoed in the beautiful rose floral arrangements styled by Fable Studio Co, who the couple also enlisted to plan the day for them. Clarissa sharing “We chose to keep things simple with mainly white and blush pink floral arrangements with lots of greenery.”
The event started with a traditional mass at St Mary’s Parish Concord, “The church is co-located with St Mary’s primary school which was my old primary school and the priest that was there when I was at school was the one that ended up marrying us! It was also Garry’s local parish” explains Clarissa.
Clarissa and her father walked down the aisle, arm in arm to Wagner’s “Wedding March”. The moment also happened to be Garry’s favourite. “I loved seeing Clarissa walking down the aisle and me being so dehydrated that I couldn’t cry.”
This was, a day all about tradition, so Clarissa and Garry opted for a traditional mass ceremony. “We wanted to keep it traditional for our families so we had a Catholic mass. To keep COVID safe, we opted to exclude communion.
One of the readings that was the focus of our ceremony, and which featured on our wedding invitations was Colossians 3:14 “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” We thought it was a nice reflection of what marriage is about.”
Clarissa and Garry are in love with every single one of their wedding photographs. “Russell were more than amazing” remarks Clarissa. “He was one of the most helpful people during our wedding planning and an amazing director when taking photos. All of our photos from the day looked amazing, it was hard picking our most favourite because there were so many good ones!”
With epic views, the couple’s reception at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney was an utter dream. “We chose the MCA because it was one of the places we love in Sydney. Garry and I always take trips into the city since we love the vibe and trying new restaurants and visiting new locations. So it meant a lot to us to be able to celebrate overlooking the city we love.
We adored the view of Sydney harbour with both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge visible from the room and outside terrace. It was such a magical experience being able to have two amazing landmarks in view as we celebrated.”
For wedding favours, Clarissa designed stickers, featuring portraits of the newlyweds, which were attached to potted succulents. Not the only special detail! “We were obsessed with neon lights so we got a custom made neon light with our initials in a heart that hung behind us at our table, and now hangs on the walls in our home.”
Clarissa and Garry’s most favourite photographs of all? The ones they took during golden hour, just the two of them. Another decision they put down to an amazing vendor dream team, says the bride. “All our vendors were equally amazing. We honestly couldn’t have asked for better people to put together our special day.
As stressful and confusing as it was planning a wedding during covid, my favourite part was seeing everything magically come together for one day despite sleepless nights worrying that it wouldn’t because you’ve never planned a wedding before.”
For their first dance, Clarissa and Garry chose a cover of Grease’s “You’re The One That I want” by Xavier Dunn. “We self-choreographed our first dance. It wasn’t anything fancy but cause we both aren’t dancers we tried our best to make it work and it ended up perfect!” remembers the bride.
There was even a birthday serenade! “One of the special things was that our wedding date was on my grandmother’s birthday. I had to ask her if it was ok to do it on that date before booking the venue and she was happy for us to go ahead. We made sure to include her in the celebrations by sharing a small cake with her and playing happy birthday.”
The couple chose Volcano Sunday to capture their day on film.
The biggest of congratulations to the newlyweds. Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day and its story with us. Thank you to Russell Stafford for sharing all of the beautiful moments!