On this quiet day in early Autumn, surrounded by lucky reds and plenty of personal touches, this couple tied the knot. With their laidback attitude and bucket loads of creativity, Josh and Gwen celebrated their marriage on their stomping ground in Brunswick. They even designed custom temporary tattoos that matched their own designs for guests to wear on the day! Their fusion wedding was captured by the talented team over at Redbook Studios.

Gwen and Josh met ten years ago on Tinder. They say, “There was just a sense of familiarity even though we couldn’t be any more different from one another.”

Their laidback engagement happened during one of the infamous Melbourne COVID lockdowns in 2020. On their 6th anniversary, Gwen wasn’t expecting any celebrations since they couldn’t go anywhere, so when Josh went down to get mail while she was working, she didn’t think twice. “He knocked on the door when he came back, and I thought he must’ve forgotten his keys. I opened the door to find him holding a bouquet and thought it was for our anniversary; it even came with a card, so as I was reading it in the living room, he walked into the bedroom casually. The message on the card ended with “and one more thing…” and I looked up at him on his knees with the ring. I obviously bawled and said “yes” right away. My brother, who lived with us, was there to capture it all, and the cutest part is both our fur babies were in the shots with us, curious about the commotion. It was really intimate and cute.”

Gwen was never a little girl dreaming of her fairytale wedding, so it came as no surprise when she wanted a non-traditional wedding outfit. “I just have always imagined myself eloping or having a courthouse wedding type of gal. So I just really wanted the chance to buy myself a nice white dress that I could wear again. I found my dress maybe two months before the wedding and ordered it online. It was an asymmetric lace shirt dress from Comme Des Garcons, something I could easily see myself wearing again.”

To finish her outfit, Gwen paired her mini dress with these gorgeous sparkly red heels, a tulle pearl-detailed veil she got off Etsy and adorable frilly socks. “I also had a really cute gold lucky cat earring Josh gifted me for the wedding that I wore on the day.”

In his wedding party, Josh had his dad, Paul, and his friend Eddie. They didn’t have to wear any particular suits, but Josh had bought them matching maroon ties from OTAA to match his jacket.

Josh wore this stunning maroon velvet tux jacket from MJ Bale, perfectly suiting his maximalist style. He finished off the look with a Calvin Klein white shirt, black Jack London pants, a Louis Vuitton tie, a Moschino pocket square, and his Jordan 1 Low Travis Scott Black Phantoms. Gwen also gifted him an Alexander McQueen ring as a pre-wedding treat.

Their venue for the day was a local spot – Brunswick Mess Hall (now known as The Hall at Welcome to Brunswick. “They sold us with their beautiful interior and the fact they had multiple rooms to facilitate the tea ceremony and also a quick change room. They were so flexible with our requests and oozed this laidback vibe that really resonated with us; we didn’t feel pressured to do anything we didn’t want to, which was the best. Because it was local, logistically, it was easy to plan. Josh and his party walked from our place while mine caught the tram down from my brother’s, also in Brunswick!”

As guests entered the ceremony space, they were greeted by a temporary tattoo station designed by Gwen herself! The two designs were inspired by one of Josh’s tattoos and the matching tattoo they both share.

Being from Malaysia and her father’s only daughter, Gwen knew she wanted to walk down the aisle with him on her arm. So, as the tune to “Baby I’m Yours” by the Arctic Monkeys began, they walked. “He has never done this before, and neither have I, so we walked down really awkwardly, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Gwen’s wedding party included her sister-in-law Andreia and her friend Meagan. “Like the groomsmen, I told the girls to wear whatever they wanted but gave them a pink colour code. The girls honestly tried on more dresses than I did, which I thought was hilarious. I just wanted them to dress up and have fun, but make sure to be comfortable.”

Like many aspects of their wedding, the flowers were another DIY item. Gwen didn’t want to spend money on flowers; it wasn’t something she prioritised – so they hired this beautiful faux floral arch from Oriental Luxe Weddings. “Josh also bought a bouquet of white roses for our signing table to signify his beloved grandmother’s presence at our wedding.”

Surrounded by lucky reds, their laidback ceremony went off without a hitch (except for the couple getting hitched, of course!). Their electric celebrant, Jono from Shredding Weddings, led guests through the chill proceedings and pronounced the couple married. “I suppose the both of us didn’t like anything too serious since we’re both goofballs, so we felt slightly awkward with so many eyes on us, watching us profess our love to one another, but it honestly felt at times there was no one else around but us. It was something we wanted to do for our families, but we both also understood the importance of the vows we made to each other.”

One of Gwen’s favourite photos is from the end of the ceremony when she and Josh are announced as husband and wife. “Josh immediately grabbed me, and it was a picture of me laughing and him grabbing onto me. That photo is pretty much our life on a daily basis. He is always making me giggle and laugh while being a complete goofball.”

After the main ceremony, the couple and their guests moved into one of the other rooms to have their tea ceremony. For this, Gwen wore her second outfit, a traditional Chinese Qun Kwa. “Many people don’t know this as they would think it’s a one-piece, but the Qun Kwa is a two-piece traditional wedding gown, so the top I knew I could double up as a jacket for reception,” she explained. “He also got to wear the men’s traditional Chinese wedding Tang suit. The matching Vans was something we’ve had for years, and it just matched the suit so well.”

The tea ceremony was something both Gwen and Josh wanted to include in the wedding, and Gwen was especially excited for Josh’s family to experience Chinese wedding culture and for them to see the significance of the union. “We decorated one of the rooms at The Hall, which was already a lush garden with red and gold streamers, traditional Chinese wedding decoration items like pillows, wedding tea pots and fans. My childhood girlfriends, who flew all the way from Malaysia, helped with the ceremony. It was such a lovely ceremony, and we were both so happy all our friends and family from different backgrounds got to witness and experience this together.”

Once the tea ceremony wrapped up, Josh and Gwen walked around Brunswick with their photographers to capture their portraits. “I took off the long and heavy Qun Kwa skirt and kept the top as a jacket and changed to another pair of sneakers to match back to our colour theme. I was so comfortable the whole time and felt like myself the entire day.”

They had found Cristian and Kat from Redbook Studios on Instagram, and Gwen was smitten with the fact that they were a working couple of high school sweethearts. “The bit that sold us was that they offered a free pre-wedding engagement shoot. Being quite camera shy, we thought this would be the perfect icebreaker before we get followed around at the wedding. We invited them over to our house for the engagement shoot and got to know each other on a personal level. Their style of capturing us in our natural environment sealed the deal.”

During their portrait session, they stumbled across Chooka’s, a local cafe, where the owner brought his cat out to meet the happy couple. “The cat was a black tuxedo cat and the owner excited made the remark that the cat’s been dressed and waiting for this day to come, it was so cute!”

To help coordinate the day, Gwen enlisted the help of her family and friends. “My brothers were the true MVPs – we had five hours before the wedding to decorate the venue, so the night before, I briefed everyone with a schedule with my brothers and Josh’s party would head over in the morning while me and the girls got our make up done. My brothers put up the lanterns, the streamers, and my girlfriends set up the tables. I designed everything myself and printed things I needed printed at Officeworks.”

One of their favourite parts of the wedding was seeing all the little details that represented their relationship and life sprinkled throughout the day. “The colours for the wedding, which were mostly red, black, white and gold, are our favourite colour combinations. We wanted to make sure our cats were there with us somehow, so we brought the Lucky Cats to use as decor in the Tea Ceremony room and also in the Temporary Tattoo design.”

To kick off the reception, Josh and Gwen had a big surprise for their guests! “We had a Lion Dance – something we didn’t tell anyone except my SIL/bridesmaid, who had to help us coordinate the entrance. We came back from our photography session and walked back into our reception, followed by a troupe of Lion Dance – a great symbol for luck and prosperity in the Chinese culture and something Josh’s family had never experienced before. That was such an exciting moment for everyone!”

Their first dance song was something they went back and forth on for months until, one day, Josh came home from work with the answer. “He said, “I got it – I heard it at work, and the whole time I thought of you, this is it”. The lyrics were so sweet, and so was the melody, but we’re slightly ticked that it went on to become probably the most famous wedding song of 2023 – it was Stephen Sanchez’s Until I Found You. It was still super cute – when we were dancing, unrehearsed and just four left feet under a spotlight, the only thing that we saw was each other’s eyes and smiles.”

The advice Gwen and Josh want to leave for future married couples is this, “Do what feels true to you and not because of trend, societal pressure or, dare I say it, family pressure. It really should just be about you and your partner and no one else.”

Congratulations Gwen and Josh! Your laidback (and lucky!) wedding was an incredible display of your creativity and love for one another. And thanks to Redbook Studios for capturing and submitting!