On a stunning day that Saliya herself describes as “romantic, rustic and relaxed”, a community came together. With moody skies and moody hues of marsala, peach and antique rose, on NSW’s South Coast, photographer Zoe Morley behind the camera Saliya and Shane celebrated with just an intimate guest list. Neither of the couple’s families was able to attend thanks to COVID, which meant the couple embraced their “Aussie family” and embraced every bit of love they were surrounded with. “The atmosphere and feeling of having those we love the most around us to celebrate with us” remembering Shane.

Filled with cocktails, with the most stunning moody toned blooms, with beautiful paper pieces (by ever-talented Danger + Moon) and such a  relaxed vibe that even the bride was out, drinking champagne and chilling out well into the scheduled timeline for dinner. This is a wedding where you’re going to well and truly wish you got an invitation.

A mutual friend introduced these two over 16 years ago in the UK, Saliya reminiscing “Shane had a fancy car (Blue Vauxhall Astra!) and offered me a ride home one evening after a night out and the rest is history.” The pair holidaying on Hamilton Island with Saliya’s family when Shane decided to ask her to marry him. “I had suspicions Shane was going to propose, however the moment he chose took me completely by surprise.

Being the adventurers we are, we hiked to a secret beach on the island for a picnic. Little did I know Shane had a surprise in his bag. On arrival at the beach, we went for a swim and when we came back out of the water Shane had set up a surprise playing our favourite song “True Lovers” by Holy Holy with a bottle of Dom Perignon ready to celebrate the occasion.”

The couple chose beautiful South Coast venue Merribee for their wedding. “Merribee House is a beautiful homestead with the most stunning gardens and converted silo on site. The gardens resemble secret gardens with lots of different areas for creating different looks. Merribee was magical and the owners gave us the freedom to make it our own.”

Shane was dressed by MJ Bale. Saliya sharing “The groom wore MJ Bale suit and RM Williams boots with an Akubra in the evening. The groom’s look was Classic Aussie design. Simple but authentic.”

Saliya got lucky with not one, but two beautiful bespoke wedding gowns. She explains “I chose one bespoke Karen Willis Holmes and one  bespoke Lilli Marcs . The looks were designed to go from day to night, with the second gown (custom silk slip) for the evening along with a custom made a crown from Ashlee Lauren. The two looks were a reflection of the bride’s personality 1) Elegant and classy and 2) Slinky and fun. The experience at both bridal boutiques was incredible.”

With rich, moody tones, the couple chose Pia & Jade to style the blooms for their day. “We wanted deep romantic colours with pops of colour. A mix of Roses, orchids, natives” says Saliya, whose bouquet also had a white orchid, which her mother brought on her last visit to Australia (a bloom which was also a favourite of her late grandmother).

Played live by The Junos, Saliya walked down the aisle to the duo playing “Angels” by The XX acoustically on the guitar.  “Live music made the day!” she notes.

Amy Watson officiated the ceremony, which the couple chose to hold inside in front of an arbour adorned in fresh flowers. Saliya sharing “The ceremony was relaxed and fun. Amy Watson our celebrant put together an incredible summary of our journey. We live-streamed our ceremony to family and friends back in the UK who were not able to attend due to COVID restrictions. There were laughs, tears and many funny stories shared during the ceremony. We wrote our vows which were non-traditional and fun!”

Saliya offers up this advice to you. “Do what is right for you, everyone will have something to say about how or what you should do at the end of the day strip it back to what feels right for you as a couple.”

“Zoe Morley was our photographer and she was amazing” raves the bride. “We found her via an exhibition she was doing of children impacted by AIDS in Zambia. The bride was originally born in Zambia and felt a connection with Zoe and her style straight away.”

Guests were welcomed to the reception festivities with a DIY gin bar.

Explains Saliya, who enlisted Danger + Moon to create and design their invitations, stationery and signage for the day, “The theme incorporated travel and adventure throughout. From the guest place names to the seating plan each of the details was thought out. We had a neon sign behind the sweetheart table which said “Our Greatest Adventure”.

As a nod to the pair’s love of adventure and travel Saliya and Shane had personalised acrylic luggage tags (which doubled as name tags) for each guest as their wedding favours, They also gifted individual bottles of negroni to their guests.

The relaxed vibes continued throughout the night. “The day was so relaxed we were behind schedule (but no one realised). At one point I was enjoying a bottle of champagne back at the homestead and the MC had to come to remind me we were an hour behind schedule and guests needed feeding! No one cared though as everyone was having such a good time.

Garnish Catering was incredible as were Pia & Jade who did the styling and flowers. Our reliable vendors made the day special for us. On the day we left everything in their hands and it was amazing. We loved seeing everything come together on the day. Sampling the food at the food tasting with Garnish was great too as well as picking out the wedding wines from a local winery (Two Figs).”

For their first dance, the newlyweds chose “Stars” by Simply Red to play. “Our first dance was under the myrtle trees outside under the festoon lights. It was very relaxed and fun!”

The Barefoot Bride team captured this beautiful motion picture of the day unfolding. “The video is one of our favourite parts of the wedding, we love having the ability to relive the memories over and over.”

The biggest of congratulations to you both Saliya and Shane! What a joy to be able to share your story. Thank you to you both and thank you to Zoe Morley for sharing this celebration with us.