Eight years ago, on a packed dancefloor at CQ Nightclub, Emily and Abera first laid eyes on one another. Both from opposite sides of the city, they’ve been inseparable since, so inseparable in fact,  today we have the honour of sharing how they planned and celebrated their marriage with a classic, rustic winery wedding day.

Captured beautifully by Love & Other Photography (in both film and stills!) Emily and Abera wanted their wedding to be as casual as possible. They ditched the idea of a wedding party, they included their favourite four-legged VIP and even the last-minute venue change could not sway their focus on making sure their day honoured not just their story, but their history and traditions. This one? It’s a special one.

Six years after they first met, Abera asked Emily to marry him while in Bali for a friend’s wedding. Emily tells their story “After six years together, we went on a trip to Bali for our friend’s wedding. I secretly had hoped that this might be the trip when Abera popped the big question! However, he left it until the VERY last night of our trip to ask and after countless romantic sunset walks and dinners out I had almost given up that this would be the trip it happened on!

We went to a rooftop bar in Seminyak – a place we had both been before as our last hurrah in Bali. We were in a private sunken booth surrounded by the water overlooking the gorgeous sunset. Abera organised the waitress to ‘take our photo’ however she was filming as he got down on one knee with a beautiful ring and asked if I would marry him. It took me long enough to reply as I was too busy crying saying ‘are you serious?’ On repeat! Eventually, he got his answer of YES- the entire restaurant gave us a roaring round of applause. It was perfect.”

Not only did Emily and Abera choose Love & Other Photography for their photography but this team also captured a film for the newlyweds.

Emily wore a beautiful beaded gown, named the “Ryder” from Made With Love. “I went into the wedding dress shopping hoping to pick up something second-hand. However, I visited the MWL boutique with my Mum and best friend, tried on Ryder and have never felt more beautiful in a dress. She hugged all my curves in the right places and made me feel confident and special. The rest was history!”

Spy the VIP? That’s Archie! Emily telling “Our dog Archie was the VIP of our day. Dressed in his black bow tie. He was sure to steal all of the attention and give ALL of the kisses to anyone that would take them.”

Emily and Abera worked with Basia Puchalski Floral Design to bring their flower dreams to life. Emily sharing “I carried a simple and elegant blush and ivory rose bouquet. We also had a gorgeous flower arch of silver dollar gum, blush and ivory roses with baby’s breath.”

Abera’s favourite part of the day? Watching Emily walk down the aisle. “I remember how happy I was that day had finally arrived. I was never one for public displays of affection but was really excited to make my best friend my wife. The build-up to seeing her smiling face walking down the aisle- it was like all my nerves disappeared and we were starting our lives as forever as husband and wife.” Emily was walked down the aisle by her father and stepfather, to an acoustic version of Sam Smith’s “Latch”.

The couple tied the knot at Wandin Park Estate in what turned out to be a last-minute decision, says Emily “We originally planned to get married at my sister’s private property in Macclesfield VIC. However, weeks before the big day the COVID restrictions meant that we could only have 10 people on our day. The hunt to find a venue to transfer all 17 of our pre-booked vendors to was on. That’s where Wandin Park Estate came in, they had a cancellation on our exact date the day before I contacted them- it was truly fate!”

Emily and Abera paid homage to both of their family cultures on their day- including both Ethiopian and Polish traditions on their day. “As part of our ceremony, we had a Polish tradition. Customarily, the father of the bride or groom presents the couple with two glasses – one of vodka, and one of water. They are offered first to the bride, who must make her selection without knowing which is which. Tradition says that whoever ends up with the glass of vodka will be the partner that ‘wears the pants’ in the relationship so to speak! FYI Abera’s face made it clear that he definitely got the vodka shot!”

The couple was married by Sophie Claire Celebrant. “I know it sounds corny to say all of our vendors were all amazing, but they honestly were” laughs Emily. “Sophie Vapp from Sophie Claire Celebrant- was one of the most lovely humans we have ever met and we were lucky to have her gentle, kind and calming presence as part of our day.

Our ceremony was intimate and emotional. Personal. About us. We shared personal vows with one another. We talked of family members that couldn’t be with us for the day due to COVID restrictions. Family members that had passed on. We mentioned our special fur baby Archie.”

Emily passes on her words of wisdom if you’re yet to tie the knot. “Remember that the day is about the love you share for each other and sharing that with others. It’s your day to celebrate what makes you as a couple special – don’t forget that!”

The newlyweds have nothing but praise for their photographers. “The team was so amazing, they made the day fun, stress-free and definitely made us feel like unofficial models behind the camera. They made having our photos taken feel natural and easy and managed to capture the candid free-flowing type of photos we wanted.”

This was a day full of plenty of handmade details says Emily. “The day was originally going to be on our family’s private property so there was lots of DIY! We moved to Wandin Park Estate – their DIY space allowed us to move most of our original bookings/plans to the new venue. We had silver dollar gum leaves hanging installation from the family’s farm,  cheesecloth table runners in ivory, blush linen napkins ironed by hand!!  Over 300 mixed jars up-cycled into vases/candle holders, All welcome/seating/unplugged ceremony signs were created online & printed at Officeworks and for our favours we had honey from my family’s local bee hives.”

The traditions continued, guests were welcomed to the reception with the Polish tradition of vodka shots by Emily’s father. Remembers Emily “We wanted our formalities out of the way early in the night so we could relax and enjoy the night. We had our entrance, cut our cake and went straight to our first dance. It was beautiful and the emotions were palpable in the air. We just looked at each other and it felt like we were alone in the room. We danced to “Can I be him” (acoustic live version By James Arthur).”

Congratulations on your marriage Emily and Abera! How lucky we feel to be able to have told your story today. Thank you both and thank you to Love & Other Photography for sharing today’s beautiful celebration with us.