I don’t believe in playing favourites, but I am hands-down an avid Autumn lover, and so the autumnal hues of Johanna and Josh’s cosy and autumnal Melbourne wedding? Oh, it makes me want to curl up with a blanket, and a glass of Champagne and crash this beautiful day.
Luckily, the beautiful images today by Sarah Godenzi Photography are just as good as being there. Johanna and Josh chose the unique venue Collingwood Children’s Farm and The Farm Cafe for a day that embraced every bit of charm of the season. And every bit of charm of their story together (right down to the tequila shots!).
The couple’s paths first crossed when they were set up by mutual friends. “Josh went to high school with Tamara, and Johanna went to university with Tamara (Xavier was the best man). In April 2015, (now single) Johanna spotted a photo of Josh on Tamara’s Facebook page. Johanna thought he looked cute and when she and Tamara next met up she asked about him. This then prompted Tamara and Xavier to set us up. To Josh’s disappointment, Johanna bailed on the first setup, however, in June 2015, we finally met for a group outing at the Duke of York Hotel in Adelaide.
Before Johanna arrived at the pub, Josh had already been there for 45 minutes with Tamara and Xavier and had consumed a few drinks out of nervousness. When Johanna arrived, Josh felt quite tipsy and noticed he was starting to slur his words. Not wanting Johanna to notice and think badly of him, he opted not to say too much. Unbeknownst to him, this worked out quite well for Johanna, who when first seeing Josh, realised he was gorgeous and was definitely on the cards, was worried he would say something ignorant that might break the spell of his allure. However, once everyone had a few drinks conversation started flowing (Josh kept apologising for being awkward), and it turned out to be a fun night. We moved next door to another bar where Josh proceeded to ruin tequila for Johanna for the rest of her life (as he has for many others). We exchanged numbers and planned to meet up for coffee the following weekend.
The proposal got a little waylaid, thanks to COVID, but Josh managed to pull off an epic surprise regardless! The couple telling “Johanna was adamant she would guess when it was going to happen, so Josh wanted to make sure he would surprise her. Ideally, when we were going to go away for our yearly anniversary trip (where Johanna would assume Josh would propose), Josh intended to propose the night before they went away when Johanna least expected it, and spend the weekend not only celebrating the anniversary, but also the engagement.
Covid restrictions meant the trip was likely cancelled, so Josh decided not to go ahead with the plan. Much to his dismay, two weeks before the anniversary, covid restrictions eased and Johanna planned the getaway. Josh did not have a ring. He hastily purchased the ring through the online store and hoped it would arrive in time. It did not. It arrived the day after we got back from the trip, and luckily it also came with a necklace, so Josh made an excuse about it being a birthday gift and hid the ring under a bunch of stuff in a shoebox in a closet that had never been cleaned out (and there were no verbal plans to clean it out).
Josh decided he would propose the day before they left for Adelaide for our usual Christmas holiday. As we were both working from home it was much harder to set up a fancy engagement room without Johanna’s knowledge, so Josh had to get creative. To prepare for the proposal, Josh purchased a bottle of fancy sparkling wine, a large number of roses, and a box of Roses chocolates to use as a decoy. He stuffed the cold bottle of sparking into the couch cushion and wrapped the rose petals in a blanket on the couch.
The lounge room had been the safe space Johanna and Josh had spent much of the lockdown bonding and relaxing in, so this is the place Josh decided to propose. He got her to close her eyes, then held out the box of Roses chocolates with the ring box “hidden” underneath it. Once she grabbed the box in disappointment to reveal the ring, Josh dropped down to one knee, spent a few minutes talking about how much he loved her and requested that Johanna give him the honour of agreeing to become his wife. Once she squeaked out a yes, Josh flipped the blanket next to her to make rose petals rain everywhere, then pulled out the cold bottle of bubbles from the couch also next to her.
Johanna lasted about 20 seconds before revealing she had found the ring in the shoebox a couple of months ago while she was cleaning out the cupboard to procrastinate… We then spent the night calling family to tell them the news while we drank our bubbles. The Christmas trip that year was then one of celebration for the engagement.”
Johanna and Josh chose Little Cinema to capture a film of their day “Get the videographer. It’s worth the cost!”
Josh had his suit custom-made by InStitchu. He opted for a royal blue suit with a white cotton shirt.
Johanna’s beautiful lace wedding gown? The “Rosa” by Grace Loves Lace. She tells “I chose this dress because as soon as I put it on I felt comfortable and beautiful! The Grace Loves Lace experience is amazing – the team are so supportive and patient and it really feels like they are taking the time to make sure you are happy and feel amazing. The dress itself was super comfortable – stretchy lace meant that I never felt restricted!”
The flowers embraced the season, the beauty styled by North Street Botanical. “I wanted bright, fun, exciting, autumnal flowers” explained Johanna. “North St Botanical provided the most amazing flowers. I could not have predicted how amazing they would look. We had two flower stands for during the ceremony (which were later moved to the reception to add colour there) and a runner of native leaves on the tables at the reception with vases containing flowers for a pop of colour.”
The couple opted for a first look, with photograph Sarah, to maximise their time with their guests. “Sarah was the most amazing photographer! She was calm and patient and allowed us to feel comfortable. We never felt awkward and it was ultimately really fun taking photos!
Doing a first look before the ceremony takes nothing away from the walk down the aisle experience. It’s still a beautiful, emotional moment. I was a bit nervous and it felt so much better once we’d seen each other and could continue the rest of the day as a team.”
The couple chose Collingwood Children’s Farm and The Farm Cafe for their country meets city setting. “Collingwood Children’s Farm was the perfect venue for us. Johanna wanted to get married and celebrate within nature, but Josh didn’t want to be too far out of the city because so many guests were travelling from interstate. As such, Collingwood Children’s Farm was the perfect place. It’s only ten minutes from the city, but inside you are surrounded by nature the city feels so far away.”
Johanna walked down the aisle with her mum by her side to “How good it is” by Morningsiders.
“Nat, our celebrant was amazing” rave the newlyweds of their officiant Nat Sproal, “Nat’s approach to writing a ceremony is really unique, allowing the ceremony to feel really personal. Nat doesn’t lecture about marriage or do any clichés; she just tells your story! After the ceremony, so many people asked us if she knew us personally! She is also great at hyping up the crowd and making sure the guests and wedding party are included We cannot recommend her enough!”
“Our ceremony was intimate, cozy and fun! We wanted our story to be told and our guests to feel included. Johanna’s friend Kellie gave a reading called “You Are Bubbles” by Rachel Bright.”
Cake! Their favourite part of planning, the couple deciding on this beauty by Creme de la Cakes. “I very much enjoyed searching for the perfect cake and getting to try different bakers and cakes. I have a big sweet tooth. There may have been a spreadsheet with tasting notes!” Johanna added “I think the cake tasting was probably the most relaxed element of wedding planning, and for that reason, it’s probably also my favourite. Plus, Josh is so happy when he has cake, and it’s hard not to enjoy the joy he is experiencing!”
Best way to kick off a wedding? According to these two, it’s tequila shots! “As our origin story involved copious amounts of tequila, we decided to get everyone eligible at the reception to do a group tequila shot before the cake cutting and just before we opened the dance floor. It was really fun! We were pleasantly surprised by how many guests went with it (including our parents!).”
Even the first dance was a sentimental choice! Johanna and Josh chose Redbone’s ‘Come and get your Love’. “We’re both huge Marvel fans, and we decided we wanted to use one of the opening songs to Guardians of the galaxy. We decided not to do a classic choreographed dance, opting instead for a short one-minute dance we created in our kitchen. After some spins, twirls and a dip at the end, Josh pointed to one of his groomsmen who did the worm across the open dancefloor. Once he had finished the dance move he hopped up, and the other members of the wedding party pulled others from the reception onto the dancefloor to begin the dancing part of the night.”
Congratulations to you both Johanna and Josh! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us. Thank you also go to Sarah Godenzi Photography for sharing this beauty with us!