Could there be a more iconic Australian setting for a wedding than with the Sydney Harbour Bridge as your backdrop? In the midst of Sydney’s lockdowns, Mary and Ivan (who met through Mary’s cousin, who also happened to be Ivan’s workmate) couldn’t wait. With multiple date changes thanks to lockdown extensions, they finally walked down the aisle in sunny September.

And the sparkling waters of the harbour as their backdrop, pastel blooms aplenty and CJ Picture behind the camera making sure every moment was captured, they pledged their love and commitment to each other before celebrating with photos at Sydney’s other icon – the Opera House.  And the best part for these two? With no guests, their friends and family didn’t suspect a thing. Says Mary “We had no guests, no planning, it was stress-free!”

Ivan decided to pop the question at the same time the pair celebrated another life milestone – moving in together! Mary remembered “We were always both kind of thinking about getting married, he’s my first boyfriend and I’m his first girlfriend, we both know it’s fast for us to decide, it’s the most spontaneous thing we did in our life but we know that we belong together.

He proposed to me with a ring on my lunch break from work, it’s funny because technically he proposed 3 times just because I didn’t like the first 2 rings, I know we can’t afford a fancy ring at that time but still, I wanted an affordable but nice looking one. He went back to the store 3 times to change the ring. Until the manager said that it was the last time they would allow him to exchange it.”

Mary donned a white pantsuit for the day, dying her veil with teabags to ensure a perfect match. “I love that outfit because it’s modern and comfortable, and at that time Sydney was on lockdown, so we didn’t plan it too much. I just bought an affordable but beautiful white pantsuit, and veil online.

I wore my old shoes, and did my hair and make-up. Our wedding affair is just the two of us, we want it very intimate, we didn’t invite anyone. Just 2 witnesses and the photographer knew that we got married that day. It’s all because we want to have a proper wedding with both of our families in my country – the Philippines, when we have enough budget.”

The ceremony was officiated by Simple Ceremonies at Blues Point Road, McMahons Point. Tells Mary “The ceremony was very simple and intimate. Just the two of us, sharing our wedding vows, with Ange, our wedding officiant, a very nice and lovely woman. My Spanish friend who said yes to my invitation to be an official witness the day before the wedding and our amazing photographer who’s also our official witness during the ceremony.

Under our simple white arch, on the park with the great view, it was a very vibrant afternoon. It was supposed to rain that day; we were ready with transparent wedding umbrellas but the rain didn’t come. It was a beautiful day. Everything was calm and peaceful, mixed with little tears of joy reciting our wedding vows.”

Ivan wore a black suit he found right before the wedding. Remembers Mary, “It’s funny because the day before our wedding we tried to fit the clothes, but they won’t fit anymore because he gained so much weight from the lockdown. So he had to urgently buy a new (suit) one day before our wedding. All the barbershops is also closed at that time, so on our wedding day, I had to give him a haircut by myself which was a very memorable experience for us.”

And then, naturally, the newlyweds headed to another icon – the Sydney Opera House, for their photos. “The after-ceremony photoshoot was so fun. We went to take photos at the Opera House, it’s one of our special places. And due to COVID there are not many people over there so it was perfect; the very few people that were there walking around, were also congratulating us for getting married even though we didn’t know them.”


Mary carried a beautiful bouquet of blooms styled by If The Florist. “My flower was a combination of different flowers and pastel colours. It’s white, pink, purple, blue, yellow and green. I am not a fan of traditional one-colour/white wedding bouquets.”

“Jeff was amazing, he was so friendly and he made us comfortable in front of the camera”,  raves Mary of the couple’s chosen photographer CJ Picture. “We usually look awkward when people take our photos but with Jeff, it’s comfortable and fun. He’s professional, and we love our wedding photos, during our anniversary celebration, we also asked him to photograph us. If only I can bring him to the Philippines for our second wedding, we would.”


And after the photos? “We just went home, because well, everything was closed due to COVID” laughS Mary. “We ordered lots of pizza and watch a movie, and opened a bottle of our favourite Moscato. We’re not champagne people.”

Says Mary “We don’t know that much about marriage, we’re still learning, but one thing my husband says ‘Always give your wife a good massage after a full day of work’. Well, actually it’s true. One thing I love about him is no matter how tired he is, at the end of the day, he would still give me a great massage on my back and feet. Which makes me feel so loved and cared for.”

Congratulations to you both Mary and Ivan! What a delight to be able to share your story. Thank you also to CJ Picture for sharing today’s story with us!