Esther & Asher by Briar Atlas

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship … We were friends from the start of our university days and had been dating for six years before we got married.

We are both doctors and Asher is still busy doctoring while I’ve moved into public health. We both love great conversation over good food and having a good laugh.

Asher grew up in Malaysia and I grew up in Germany, England, Singapore and Melbourne which meant we were very lucky to have friends and family flying in from all over for our wedding! As a couple, we have also moved around a lot together to Johannesburg, Bendigo, and most recently we were living in Oxford until the start of this year. As a result, we’ve become pretty accomplished at packing boxes and suitcases in record time and feel qualified to pronounce Melbourne as best place to get your coffee fix.

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…

While we were living in England we managed to book the venue and our photographer. Everything else we did in the two months before the wedding! It became a bit of a test for us when booking vendors – did they look at us accusingly for having left it so late or did they jump on board and roll with it!

We had the most wonderful and enthusiastic wedding party so I put them all to work and between them they did our wedding cake (delicious!) our stationary and signage (perfect!) our table flowers (beautiful!) and kept us well fed in all the lead up events.

If we were going to go with a theme or style, I would have called our wedding Wes Anderson meets Peranakan which is exactly what I told our florist and let her get on with it – which resulted in the most stunning bouquets which was a real highlight for me. I did the rest of the styling and planning myself and had the culinary genius of Cassie of Firecracker Events do sharing style dinner which was a real hit. Sharing dishes allows guests who might not know each other so well to have something to connect and chat over, and everyone gets to eat just exactly what they feel like. We had admired our photographer Oli’s work for a long time and loved having him there to capture it – he was so stealthy we hardly noticed the photos being taken!

Tell us about your main outfits:

We both got our outfits while we were still living in England. Asher got his three piece suit from T.M. Lewin in Oxford, and I got my dress from Halfpenny London.

My sister, who was my maid of honour, also lives in London so I decided to try on some wedding dresses with her for fun before moving back to Melbourne. She and I had such a fun afternoon in the one and only bridal designer store we went to, and about five dresses in I fell in love with this dress. I think the lovely ladies at the boutique were a bit amazed that I came in, chose a dress and ordered it all within one visit!

It was the most wonderful dress with a skirt made for dancing and pockets! I wasn’t really sure about us going the route of such formalwear for the wedding but I’m so glad we did. It’s not every day you get to glam up and see your husband looking so handsome too.

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

We had decided to have the reception in the church hall so that nobody had to travel anywhere after the ceremony. It was great to stroll out of the church and be able to keep celebrating straight away with drinks and canapes. A great surprise was one of our groomsmen who was our emcee, who had only been given a brief of ‘tell people when to sit down and where the toilets are’ had prepared all of these stories and had everyone laughing all night. A real highlight was the speeches by my mum and Asher’s dad, and our maid of honour and best man. The speeches were very heartfelt, surprising, entertaining, and authentic and one of our friends who it an absolute wedding attending veteran told us they were the best speeches they’d seen at a wedding.

All of the wonderful celebrating we got to do on the day continued for the next two weeks as we hopped on a plane with some of our family and friends to Kuala Lumpur for a second wedding there with Asher’s family and friends. Two weddings in two countries in two weeks was quite ambitious but also so joyous with memories that will last us the rest of our lives.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

Hah! We don’t know! Ask us again in twenty or thirty years! We did do pre-marriage counselling which might seem strange but it’s about laying the right foundations. We found it really useful. If you want to become a great athlete or musician you need to plan and train and put in the hours – why shouldn’t a great marriage get the same attention?

Venue: St John’s Anglican Church Toorak + Buxton Memorial Hall | Photographer: Briars Atlas | Celebrant: Revd Dr Peter French | Planner: Laura Stanley | Hire: One Big Day | Flora: North St | Catering + Beverages: Firecracker Event | Bride’s Dress:  Halfpenny London | Groom’s Suit: T.M. Lewin | Makeup & Hair: Stella Tu | Bridesmaid + Groomsmen attire: Their own