Weddings are events that bring people together from every part of our lives. For Sarah and Luke, their wedding was a platform to celebrate their love for each other and honour their love for the ones they’ve lost. Their rustic winter wedding was filled with memories, DIY decorations, and pure laughter. To immortalise this beautiful event, The team from The Berhardts captured every tender moment and created the perfect gallery for this couple to look back on time and time again.

Sarah and Luke are another Tinder success story, matching just after Luke had moved to Melbourne from the sunny Gold Coast. “We had our first date after work at Hop Heads Brewhouse in Point Cook. Time very quickly got away from us, and before we knew it, it was 9.30 on a school night! (I’m a teacher). Our second date was only two days later, at which time we both knew that the other was something special. After only two weeks together, we booked a 2-week road trip around Tasmania for over the Christmas/New Year period. Everyone told us that we were crazy!!! But the trip was a HUGE success, and we came back knowing that we had found our person,” Sarah explained. “Three months later, I moved in with Luke, and the very next day, we were put into Lockdown!! Talk about a challenge! Before the end of the 2020 lockdown, though, we had welcomed our first fur baby, Albie, and bought our first home. Our first year together was definitely challenging. However, it showed us that if we could make it through all of that, we could make it through anything.”

Fast forward two years, Luke had planned a romantic sunflower farm proposal, intending to pop to question in the bright sunflower fields. Unfortunately, upon arrival, he realised the ground was too muddy, and mud certainly isn’t romantic, so he had to come up with another plan on the fly. “After leaving the farm, we stopped to get lunch, but the cafe we had planned to visit was closed, resulting in a lunch of servo meat pies… On the way home, we went past the Bunjil Lookout in Maude, and Luke suggested pulling in there to check out the view. We were sitting, admiring the view, when Luke started acting all strange – I thought that maybe his pie had been a bit dodgy and he was coming down with food poisoning. Turns out it was all nerves! Before we left the lookout, we stood to look at it from a different angle, where he dropped to one ring, pulled out his mother’s engagement ring and said, “Sarah, will you get rid of your ridiculously long last name and take mine?”. Of course, I answered a million times, Yes!!”

Luke may have moved from the Gold Coast, but his best man didn’t. When they were looking for their suits, Luke had to find somewhere available in both Geelong and the Gold Coast. Luckily for them, Peter Jackson was the perfect fit (in more ways than one!). He chose a dark charcoal-coloured suit with a subtle grey tartan pattern, a white shirt, and an Australian native design tie from Peggy & Finn. His best man wore the same outfit but instead had a different Peggy & Finn tie. “Luke tried on about five different suits before deciding on his suit. The men in Peter Jackson were fantastic in helping us to secure the same suit for the best man at the Robina store.”

Sarah had only recently lost her mum, so to honour her, she wore a necklace with her mum’s fingerprint so she could have a piece of her close to her heart. She completed her look with a blush-coloured A-line gown from Miss Bella Bridal, which was then altered at Bernice Fashions in South Geelong. As a final piece to the look, she wore a cape vale adorned with peals attached to the straps of the dress, also from Bernice Fashions.

She said, “After trying on SO many dresses in both Geelong and Melbourne, I finally walked into Miss Bella Bridal, where the ladies made me feel so welcome (this was not always the case for me as a larger bride). The lovely ladies there listened to what I wanted and provided me with a number of options. Nothing was really jumping out to me, though. Just before I was about to give up and call it a day, the lovely owner showed me this pink dress. It was nothing like what I had been trying on, but I thought, “What the hell! What’s one more dress!”. I put it on, looked in the mirror, and was absolutely gobsmacked! I had found it!”

Her wedding party wore black, with her bridesmaids wearing various dresses they had chosen and the bridesman wearing a black blazer and cropped trousers. The final additions to the party were Luke and Sarah’s dogs, who wore adorable bowties to match each side of the wedding party.

Their ceremony took place at Murgheboluc Hall, where they had initially planned to have their whole wedding outdoors but ultimately decided against it as their wedding was in the dead of winter. “I actually saw photos on Instagram of a girl I went to school with getting married at Murgheboluc Hall It was exactly what we had been looking for! We went to check it out and fell in love!!” she explained.

With an instrumental version of Paramore’s “The Only Exception” playing softly, Sarah walked down the aisle where Luke was waiting for her. “My favourite memory from the day was probably standing at the altar, waiting to see my bride, and then finally getting to see her walk down the aisle.”

Unfortunately, two months before their wedding was planned, Sarah’s mum suffered from a catastrophic brain aneurysm. “As she was an organ donor, she was in the ICU on life support for two days while tests were run. During this time, we called our amazing celebrant, Emily Sclater, and she dropped everything and came to the ICU to legally marry us with my mum by my side. Mum was so excited about anything and everything wedding related so we decided to go ahead with the wedding. This did, however, mean that the wedding would be different from what we had originally planned.”

Since they were already legally married, the ceremony was more than just vowing their love for each other; it also acknowledged what they had lost. The decor was done entirely by Sarah, who had a bush romance theme in mind. Fairy lights were strung around the room; mismatched Persian rugs were used as the aisle, and tree stumps and candles made up the altar. “But the ceremony itself went a bit differently. Prior to my arrival, Emily spoke with our guests about my mum and how we knew that she was there with us. She told them that it was a day for celebrating and that we wanted everyone to feel the joy and love that my mum would have felt. Given that we were already legally married, we chose to keep it short but fun. We said our vows through tears of joy, and then our guests all took a shot to toast us as Mr & Mrs Friend.”

Sarah also DIY-ed the confetti for the post-ceremony walkout, using gum leaves and flowers from her mum’s garden.

Sarah has always loved the look and smell of Australian native flowers, so it was a no-brainer for them to be the main event for their wedding florals. “A friend of mine, Molly Lambert, was a florist, so she came over, and we hatched out exactly what we were after. We ended up just going with a bouquet for each of the girls, button flowers for all the boys, and a larger bouquet for me.”

The photography team on site for the day were Deshani and Stefan from The Berhardts, and they did an incredible job capturing the essence of the day. “Not only was Deshani running around like a boss at 7.5 months pregnant (She really was the real MVP), but they just made us feel so relaxed and like we were just hanging out with our friends. Not once did it feel awkward or like we were being made to pose for our photos.”

Since they couldn’t have their outdoor reception as they originally wanted, Sarah and Luke had to look elsewhere. That’s how they eventually realised their favourite cafe, Industrie 26, was able to hold a wedding! “We had been looking for a reception venue for ages but just couldn’t find something that felt right. Everything was either too fancy or too casual for what we were after. We then found out that one of our favourite cafes also did functions/weddings! We already knew the owners, Trina and Jase, as we were in there all the time with our dogs, Albie & Luna. It was perfect! It was the industrial/warehouse vibe we were after, and we knew the food was great!”

At the reception space, there was a table to honour those they had both lost – Sarah’s mum and dad (who had passed 14 years ago), her nan and Luke’s pop. “It was so special to have a small part of them all there with us.”

They also included another station – a Pimp Your Prosecco table. “When our guests arrived, we had a station at the reception venue with fruits and syrups for them to add to their prosecco glasses. It was such a fun way to kick the party off!”

The decision of their first dance song wasn’t easy, with too many options and nothing to help narrow it down. “Funnily enough, though, we chose “Carry You” by The Tesky Brothers about a month before my mum passed. At the time, we chose it because it represented that we would always be there to carry the other. Still, after the two months we had leading up to the wedding, the song felt even more profound and meaningful as Luke had literally been carrying me through everything.”

As the night went on, guests got increasingly excited until, eventually, it led to an accident when one of the guests split his head open. “Luke and I were talking to some friends by the bar when “Eagle Rock” came on. Luke looked at me and said, “I’ll be back in a minute!”. Next thing I knew, he came running around the corner with his suit jacket gone, shirt untucked and his tie around his head, shouting “CHIDGE SPLIT HIS HEAD OPEN!!!!!”. Turns out that our friend got a little too excited when dacking his pants for “Eagle Rock” and started swinging his belt around. Needless to say, the buckle hit him in the head and left him with a nice, big gouge and blood running down his face.”

Congratulations, Sarah and Luke! You created the perfect rustic winter wedding to celebrate your love and the love you’ve lost. And thanks to The Berhardts for capturing and submitting this beautiful wedding.