It’s that time of year when summer seems like a million months away, so stories like the flower-filled summer garden party for Gemma and Rhys? They are the perfect chicken soup for a grey and wintery day. Describing their day as “a Summer garden party heavy on the party.”

Gemma and Rhys filled their beautiful garden venue (with the help of floral designer Nunu Designs with an abundance of flowers – in tones of lilac and lavender, pinks and magentas, peaches and yellows. It was every bit embracing of the season and every bit a flower lover’s dream. All captured in its summer beauty by Nikki Harris Photography

It was on a local footy field (AFL) that Gemma and Rhys first met. “I was strapping ankles and Rhys was playing” remembers Gemma. “He used to bring me lollies from the canteen while he had his ankles taped. I refused to date him until the season finished!”

And in another Summer season, amid COVID, Rhys asked Gemma to marry him. “In December 2021, we were finally able to travel out of NSW. We went on a trip to Tasmania, which had just been opened to interstate travel, and Rhys proposed on Bruny Island on a clifftop during a hike, with my grandma’s ring.

Two days later we tested positive for Covid before we could come home to celebrate our engagement and Christmas with our families… and got stuck in Tasmania for Christmas and New Year where we spent 10 days with a newly engaged couple, isolating in a media hotel!”

Rhys’ favourite parts of the wedding? “How excited everyone was to be there and celebrate with us and of course how beautiful the bride was!
My brother came from Denmark with his young family and my sister from interstate with hers. It was so great to have all the family together to celebrate with us.”

In keeping with the garden vibes, Rhys had a custom suit made in beautiful green by InStitchu. Tells Gemma  “He chose a green bespoke linen suit, given the mid-summer date. They were so easy to work with and helpful in guiding him towards the perfect suit to make him feel comfortable on the day.  Rhys had our initials and wedding date monogrammed on the inside of his suit.”

Gemma found her dreamy lace gown by Evie Young at Luv Bridal. She tells “I wore Onyx an Evie Young gown from Luv Bridal in Crows Nest, Sydney. Initially, I found dress shopping deflating as a standard size 14AU where most samples are 8-10AU.
Luv Bridal was an absolute game-changer! They have so many inclusive dresses and sizes and made me feel so comfortable. I chose the Onyx for the flattering shape but also loved the lace with native Aussie florals from an Aussie designer.”

The special, sentimental details were abundant, Gemma and Rhys adding them to so many points of their day. “Rhys wore his Pop’s cufflinks. I had my grandmother’s guardian angel pinned to my bouquet and my engagement ring was my grandmother’s.
We also wanted to include hydrangeas in our flowers as both our grandparents had hydrangeas in their front yards. My sister is getting married in Feb 2024 and we purchased a veil together that I wore and she will wear – starting our tradition!”

You know we’re going to swoon over those flowers, and how can we not? What a summer dream! The beauties for the day were all styled by the Nunu Designs team. Tells Gemma “As soon as we got engaged (even before we were engaged) we knew Steph from NuNu was going to do our flowers. She is so bloody talented!

We aren’t a white/blush/nude kind of couple and were set on “tasteful but not tacky colourful flowers” in my words. We met with Steph early and essentially gave her creative freedom with some pointers on things we liked including lots of texture and mismatched bridesmaids bouquets. We wanted it to look like the flowers were an extension of the summer garden we were getting married in and she nailed it! She took our very vague brief and brought it to life. When our bouquets were delivered to the house in the morning I was awestruck.

Steph and Nunu Designs just blew our minds. Every guest we have spoken to since the wedding just repeats “OH MY GOD THE FLOWERS!”. She worked seamlessly with Hazelhurst to bring the already vibrant space our vibe. They set up the ceremony beautifully and moved the arbour to the reception as a great photo location. Can not recommend highly enough!”

The garden party vibes were immediately set in motion once Gemma and Rhys laid eyes on the beautiful venue of Hazelhurst Cafe . “We decided early on that we didn’t want a formal sit-down dinner and were looking for a more relaxed and fun style of cocktail wedding. We were also conscious that we had friends and family travelling from interstate and overseas and wanted to stay local to Sydney.

Hazelhurst Gardens and Cafe are close to us and had exactly what we were looking for – good food, a beautiful space to have both the ceremony and reception and easy-going staff. We loved that we could get married in the gardens, have some quick photos around the gardens while our friends and family had a drink on the deck and then we could roll straight into the party!”

Guests were welcomed with fans to beat the heat, “It was so hot on the day that both the musician and the celebrant’s speakers blew before the ceremony!”

“Rhys’ 3-year-old nephew was our little flower boy and his mum helped him throw the flowers down the aisle. He, very helpfully, picked every petal back up and placed them back in the basket thinking she was making a mess.”

Gemma chose “Strawberries” by Caamp to play as she walked down the aisle with her dad.

“We were lucky enough to have a long-time colleague of mine and friend who is also a celebrant marry us” remembers Gemma. “She explained it’s the one opportunity you have to stand in front of your loved ones and pour your heart out publicly and to make the most of it.

We wrote our vows together while on our pre-wedding honeymoon in New Zealand, and they were tear-jerkers. We also had two poetry readings (My Undeniable Miracle, by John Mark Green and Everything I know about love, by Dolly Alderton”)  by close friends and we chose one sentimental and one lighthearted to match their personalities. At the end of the ceremony, we made our way back down the aisle with our bridal party to an acoustic version of “Wild Thing” by The Troggs.”

Gemma’s five tips for wedding day bliss?

“- Don’t just do what is expected of you when hosting a wedding. Have the celebration that best suits you as a couple!
– Everyone says it, but it comes and goes in the blink of an eye, so try and soak it up.
– It can get overwhelming on the day, make sure you have people around you who know you well and how to help when things get a bit too much.
– Have a schedule and stick to it!
– If you are wearing a long gown, no one can see your shoes anyway. Wear something comfortable!”

“We wanted someone who was very no-fuss like us. We couldn’t bear doing a photoshoot in the middle of the biggest day of our lives” explains Gemma of the couple’s choice to hire photographer Nikki Harris. “We found Nikki online through local socials, we loved her work and had a call with her and we connected. She was accommodating, professional and made us so comfortable. We are also big fans of supporting local women-owned small businesses.”

“Honestly, I didn’t love the admin side” admits Gemma. “Planning and events are neither of our strong suits. What I did enjoy was seeing how excited our family and friends were when discussing wedding plans, having plenty of excuses to get everyone together and chat daily under the premise of planning!”

For their first dance, the newlyweds had their band Red Soda play Coldplay’s “Green Eyes”. “I lived away from home for a while during lockdowns and this song always reminded me of Rhys” explains Gemma. “We also both have Green Eyes… though Rhys is adamant his are hazel not green (but that would ruin the whole thing!).”

A big congratulations Gemma and Rhys! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding with us today. Thank you also to Nunu Designs and Nikki Harris Photography for sharing such a beautiful story with us.