Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship:
We are two people from opposite ends of the world, who met unexpectedly in the middle.
James is British and one of the few people who actually grew up in London. I am Australian and originally from Melbourne. We met in Los Angeles, which we now call home.
Our love story was slow and unpolished. At the time, James was living in New York, building the U.S. arm of the business which he founded a decade prior. I had recently moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco to set up a new innovation lab for an American firm. One night, when James was visiting LA for work, he was staying at a hotel not far from my apartment and we both swiped right on Tinder.
The first year was such an adventure for us…back and forth travel between the two cities, stealing a long weekend away together when we could. After 12 months, James decided to move to LA and in our third year, we bought a home together.
James’ company has continued to thrive in LA, he oversees a portfolio of businesses in production, advertising, digital immersive events, and casting. I am a General Manager at BCG Digital Ventures, Boston Consulting Group’s digital innovation, business build, and venture capital group.
Whilst we are complete opposites in many of our strengths and character traits, our relationship is based on kindness, curiosity, and a love of adventure and we weave those principles into our travel together, how we spend our weekends and how we show up for our family and friends.
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:
Well…we actually had three weddings. Our legal wedding was at City Hall in Los Angeles. Followed by a wedding in London and we concluded with the wedding in Melbourne. From the beginning, our intention for the weddings was to feel intimate, almost like a dinner party. Hosting two wedding celebrations across two cities, allowed us to keep the guest list small. We wanted the wedding to reflect three key elements:
- Our spirituality: we held the ceremony in the round, with all guests holding hands, creating a circle of love and support. Our ceremony was facilitated by our dear friend, Rachel Gallon, who was able to tap into her deep wisdom as part of celebrating our union. Rachel introduced ivy into the ceremony as part of binding our hands together and weaving the collective. We had an abundance of rose quartz crystals (heart stone) in the ceremony and delicately placed on the tables for the celebration dinner.
- Our love of adventure: we chose Glasshaus Inside in Cremorne, Melbourne, as it reminded us of escaping into an enchanted forest. In the day, it operates as an indoor nursery, but in the evening it transforms into an exquisite green oasis, with the walls and ceiling covered in lush greenery of the season. For our day, when the sun went down, the entire venue was lit with hundreds of candles and it created a golden aura within the space.
- Growing the collective friendship circle: We adore our friends and family and wanted as many of them to meet each other as possible. Holding hands in the ceremony, allowed folks to get to know people standing by their side. We seated guests carefully knowing great connections were going to be made. Being in ceremony with friends and family is also about feasting together, so we brought in Ed Dixon to design a menu full of deliciousness and joy.
Tell us about your main outfits:
From the beginning we wanted to be in classic black tie. We loved the tradition of black tie and knew it would be a beautiful contrast to the venue which was originally an old mechanic space and add a delicious layer of glamor. There were elements that we wanted to have in our black tie:
- Large, thick bow tie
- Classic peak lapel with one button
- Tuxedo shirt, with wide spread collar and black buttons on white pique placket
James found the perfect suit when he visited the Paul Smith store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. He was proud to wear a British designer to our wedding.
I had mine custom made at Suit Supply. Suit Supply is a Scandinavian based retailer who specializes in classic menswear with modern twists/updates. They were able to build a slim fitting tuxedo, with all the details that I love (french cuff, monogramming, tapered trousers etc).
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
We wanted to reimagine what a ceremony could “be” based on some of the spiritual practices (meditation etc) James and I enjoy. Guests formed a circle around us and held hands whilst we exchanged our vows. My niece and nephew scattered rose petals to hold the circle. Our celebrant, Rachel Gallon, blended ancient wisdoms with modern philosophy to create a true bonding experience for us and our guests. Our fathers, both of whom have passed, were very much part of the ceremony, with pictures on our altar and blessings provided by my sisters. My mother read out a moving poem and welcomed James to the family. It truly was a special experience, to stand in the middle of a tight friendship and family circle, we felt nourished and supported by the collective love that was flowing.
At the celebration dinner we hired a singer who spontaneously burst into the space and got the whole room to sing “I say a little prayer for you,” followed by a rousing rendition of “Your love keeps lifting me higher and higher.” The candles were lit, the room was humming, it was such a beautiful experience to bring everyone together before speeches.
We had four close friends who made speeches that evening who brilliantly took guests on a journey through our respective pasts and the special stories that we are weaving together today. Combined, their speeches were humorous and cheeky and most importantly made everyone feel included in our story.
Finally, the space was an amazing container to hold all the wedding activity, all the love, all the beautiful moments and connections, it was truly exquisite. This venue became an enchanted forest, lit by candles, full of friends and family in gorgeous black tie, celebrating our union, our paths to finding each other and our life together.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Communication is key and acknowledge that you communicate in many different ways: listening, talking, touching as well as energetically, physically and emotionally. Be sure to setup moments for deep communication work. We call it work, because it is, it doesn’t have to be hard or easy work, but it requires practice and a regular cadence to peel the onion and get to the juicy, soul bonding stuff.
Acknowledge and respect each other’s strengths and voice your gratitude for them as a friend, as a lover, as a partner, as a mother/father, as a son/daughter. We are all trying to do our best in this life, mistakes will be made and miscommunications will be shared. The key is to ground yourself in your individual strengths, your combined strengths, and express gratitude for how each of you are showing up in this relationship.
Life is a work in progress and this relationship is no different. By the end of your lifetimes, your vows will be torn up and taped back together again – and that’s how it should be, an evolving commitment by two evolving individuals. Honouring that progress and allowing space for that change in each other is key to your growth as humans and as partners.
Finally, a simple daily reminder that your partner is lovable and loved goes a long way. Creating a life together is more than just homes, kids, ups and downs. It is also creating a space to belong. At the end of a long, hard day, when perhaps you weren’t your best self, getting a reminder that you are lovable and loved can improve the well-being of your relationship and life.
Venue, Styling & Flora: Glasshaus | Photographer: Bek Smith | Celebrant: Rachel Gallon | Entertainment: Rutherford Entertainment | Styling, Hire, Planner & Catering: Ed Dixon Food Design | Event Support: Silk and Cedar Events | James’ Suit: Paul Smith | Louis’ Suit: Suit Supply | Rings: Cartier | Shoes: Paul Smith | Fragrance: Superstitions by Albert Elbaz for Fredric Malle