Hannah + Jackson by Damien Millan

Our drink turned into a six-hour date, and the rest is history!

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

While both are originally from Australia (Jackson from Sydney and Hannah from Perth), we now live in San Francisco, California, having recently moved there from London. We both work in technology, like most people in the Bay area, with Jackson working in finance at an investment firm and Hannah as a technology and intellectual property lawyer. We both love exploring our new home in California, going to the beach and watching the sunset while eating fish burritos, or skiing at Lake Tahoe. We love playing at home with their silly cat Olive, who we just adopted last year. Our favourite times as a couple are holidaying with friends, living and visiting new places and spending time with family and friends over good food and (Australian) coffee.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

We met six years ago at a wine bar in Darlinghurst as part of a set-up by a mutual friend of ours. It was a blind date, through a friend at Hannah’s work and Jackson’s university course, that suggested we really had to meet. So we credit the marriage to him! We were very different in personality and temperament, but we hit it off instantly, despite Hannah being suspicious of Jackson’s bold cocktail choices for a first date. Our drink turned into a six-hour date, and the rest is history! While our interests were quite different, we both loved to laugh and knew that we would have a fun time. It wasn’t long before a second date!

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

For both of us, there was no particular moment. It has always just felt very unquestionably fun and right. We both had a similar sense of humour (essential to getting through life), and we had a shared vision for our lives and what we would want in a partnership. We always had that, so there was no particular moment but a series of events that made us both sure that we wanted to be partners for life!

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

In the midst of our busy London life, we found ourselves about to be separated with Jackson taking a job in San Francisco. We went to Paris for the weekend as our last holiday together before long distance, which was also our first trip when we moved to the UK.

Paris had the most beautiful autumn weather, and we spent our first day shopping at the local antique markets and stuffing ourselves with French food. On our very first evening, after a romantic dinner, Jackson proposed as we strolled along the Seine, the French lamps reflecting on the water! It was very private and very romantic, and we were both so happy.

We spent the rest of the weekend drinking champagne, eating and shopping! It was a magical weekend, and Paris will forever be one of our favourite cities in the world.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding.

Crafting our wedding while separated, with one of us in California and the other in the UK, we imagined a celebration that was simplicity and sincerity. Sydney, a city that resonates with us (being the place where we met and where Jackson was from), was chosen as the location for our special day. Our priority was to ensure that our closest family members could be there, making the occasion deeply personal and intimate.

The essence of our wedding was to capture a relaxed yet timeless style, embracing the understated. We sought a ceremony venue that would reflect this and went with beautiful McKell Park. The styling, from the dress and floral arrangements to the make-up, was curated to achieve a feminine and classic look (without being overly “bridal”). Chiswick, where we had our wedding dinner, is also classic and elegant as a venue, with beautiful gardens regardless of the weather.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

From the outset, we were in perfect agreement about one essential element to splurge on: the photographer. We understood that the right photographer could elevate every detail of our special day, so we made sure to look around to find the photographer who really spoke to us! We wanted photographs that exuded a quirky charm, ones that would stand out with an interesting twist.

Traditional, staged snapshots were not for us; we wanted authenticity and images that would capture the essence of our celebration without the stiffness of posed moments. We knew how quickly the day would pass, and we would probably forget to take any photos in the craziness of it all and the emotions so it was really important to us that the little moments were captured in a way that would allow us to relive the day through our photos. Damien was not just a vendor but was so integral to making the day special and capturing it exactly how we wanted (without any instruction!).

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

We were only in Sydney for a few days prior to our wedding, and every day had been sunny and beautiful. Then, of course, on the day itself it was raining on and off all afternoon (torrential rain). We had Hannah’s wonderful hair and makeup stylist suggesting to resort to our indoor plan b, while our photographer encouraged us to risk the rain. Ultimately, we decided to brave the weather, and Hannah came out of the car bare-footed, and we both had umbrellas. It was even more understated than we had planned!

We also got the most hilarious, surprising gift from Jackson’s dad’s partner as a wedding present. We had always admired the taxidermy pheasant perched at her house whenever we visited, and on our wedding day she absolutely surprised us with it wrapped up as a gift and we could not stop laughing with joy and shock – making for some ridiculous photos.

CEREMONY McKell Park, Sydney; Chiswick, Sydney PHOTOGRAPHER Damien Milan; @damienmilan_photography FLORIST Poho Flowers, @pohoflowers
CELEBRANT Allysha Merrett CAKE Black Velvet, @bv_sydney BRIDAL DRESS Reformation, @reformation BRIDE’S SHOE Mach & Mach, @machandmach MAKEUP & HAIR Alex Penton, @alexpentonartistry
BRIDE’S FRAGRANCE Maison Margiela: Whispers in the Library, @maisonmargiela