JENNA + JOEL by Light & Type

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…

Although we are from opposite ends of the country, we met in Melbourne during early 2014 after we both relocated there around 10 years ago.

Joel spent his formative years in sunny Queensland, while I grew up in chilly Tasmania. We couldn’t be more opposite in our career paths but we are equally as dedicated and passionate about our craft. Joel is currently a Tradesman in construction and landscaping, and I am working remotely as a Graphic Designer. We have a shared love for impromptu nights out, cosy nights in, entertaining, fine dining and slowing down to enjoy the simple things in life. Joel and I are the best of friends and soulmates in every sense of the word, being each other’s sounding board and go-to person for everything. Because we are quite opposite in character, we work better together as we balance each other out. Joel is cruisy, optimistic and throws himself into every new opportunity, whilst I am a little more cautious, emotionally driven and rational.

Like a lot of other couples in the modern dating world, we first connected through a dating app! Our lives were incredibly busy at the time, as they usually are in your mid 20s. Joel was forging a successful career in landscaping, playing football, cricket and of course had a busy social life. I was in my final year of uni completing Honours, working in a busy city studio, staying active and also had a full on social life. We had both recently come out of long-term relationships, me especially, so I had quite a fresh fear of heartache – as Joel will painfully recall! But we had developed the most insane connection and hilarious banter I knew I just had to meet him – even if things weren’t to go any further than friends, he was definitely someone I wanted to have in my life. No more than a month later we caught up for a drink and the rest is history. Joel swept me off my feet with his energy and charm, meeting on the same level with so many important things in life.

One thing I’ll never forget about dating Joel early on was how incredibly romantic he was in his pursuit. He constantly showed me how easily and effortlessly our lives could intertwine, and how perfect we were for one another. I secretly knew the entire time that we were a sure thing, but looking back I was in denial because it all seemed too easy and too good to be true. Thankfully I realised how genuine he was and that he was the real deal!

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…

Our romantic day was on the 21st of March 2020 in the quiet coastal town of Geelong, an hour out of Melbourne. It all kicked off with a late-afternoon ceremony at the lush and leafy botanic gardens. Celebrations followed at The Warehouse, a restored vintage factory with exposed timber, brick and high ceilings – the perfect contrast to the gardens.

We tied the knot no more than 24 hours before COVID-19 restrictions reduced weddings to a total of 5 people consisting of the bride, groom, celebrant and two witnesses. It was a relief beyond comprehension as we had been planning the day for 15 months and had guests from three different states attend. Although a lot of guests cancelled last minute due to the virus, the feeling of the day ended up being quite intimate and low key which made it even more special. It was as if the love and support for us had heightened and there was the most beautiful sense of togetherness. Joel and I were definitely one of the lucky couples, as we can sympathise that so many had to postpone their special day.

From the moment we started planning we aimed to create a celebration that felt emotive and personal, not only for Joel and I but also for the guests. We wanted our loved ones to feel like they were at a classic house party hosted by us, only leveled up! The style of the ceremony was minimal and modern, leading into a reception that had an upper New-York loft vibe with a slight retro twist. We managed to weave our personalities through everything from the music, food, styling, stationery and vows. Reflecting back now, I’m so glad that we planned every single detail ourselves because the way it all came together felt very true to us.

We worked closely with a stylist to help bring our visual ideas to life. The look we created for both the ceremony and reception was pared-back and romantic, decorating with mostly candlelight and greenery. But I would have to say that my favourite part of the styling was the gorgeous photo spot we created. Using plinths, the alter rug and floral arrangements from the ceremony, the stylist and florist repurposed these into a space where guests could take their own photos, all anchored by a retro-vibe neon light that said ‘Til Death. It made the perfect backdrop against the towering timber wall in The Warehouse.

And because I am a designer, I couldn’t help but assign myself the huge task of creating all of the stationary and signage! I made the invites, address labels, wedding website, stickers, welcome signs and all of the other little signs that featured at the reception. Considering the endless possibilities you have as a designer, I ended up making quick and consistent decisions with the stationery and I was so happy with the final product.

Tell us about your main outfits:

I wore the amazing Dawson gown by Tara Lauren, chosen by my Mum. My dress journey started 15 months before the wedding and I had tried on almost 30 dresses before I settled on the ‘one’. Hanging on the rack it looked simple and sophisticated with features that I was looking for like French crepe and a sexy silhouette. The dress fit the shape of my body perfectly, highlighted my waist and décolletage and was an amalgamation of all the things I had been searching for in my dream gown. I particularly loved the plunging neckline and matching back, as well as sweet little cut-outs on the sides and modest train. For a short time I considered buying another outfit for the reception, something fun and covered in sequins. But I am so glad I didn’t follow through with the idea and spent the entire time in my gown because it really was the most perfect dress, I felt so comfortable and glamorous I didn’t want to take it off! I completed the look by adding a 3 meter long veil for the ceremony to add length and drama and wore simple strappy white heels from Mi Piaci. My bridesmaids looked gorgeous in their champagne silk slip dresses from Forever New. The soft, neutral shade softened the look of the bridal party, breaking up the black suits and complimenting the muted floral arrangements.

My handsome groom wore a suave black suit from Tarocash, featuring silky lapels on the jacket and a slim-style suit pant. He paired the suit with patent leather shoes which tied back to the silky lapels and finished it off with a black bow tie. The look was super classic and refined. The groomsmen all wore the same suit as Joel, but swapped out the bow tie for black ties for a point of difference.

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

There were so many amazing moments throughout the day and night, but my favourite part would have to be seeing my husband waiting for me at the altar. I was fighting back tears the entire walk up there but as soon as we stood hand-in-hand it eased all the nerves and felt nothing but pure joy. It was so magical, we locked eyes for the whole ceremony and couldn’t stop smiling at one another. To be honest I can’t remember a lot of what was happening around us, all I could see was him. It was also super beautiful when Joel read his vows through happy tears, it was so genuine and sweet. There’s nothing quite like expressing how you feel about your significant other in front of your nearest and dearest – You feel so proud to gush about all the things you love about them and it gives you a chance to say super special things you don’t normally on a daily basis.

Another amazing moment was our first dance. Joel’s sister is a dance teacher so she was able to choreograph the most gorgeous routine for us. It was simple and beautiful with a few surprise lifts in thrown in! It definitely took the guests by surprise and they were pretty pumped by the performance, especially for them to see Joel dance.

When it was time for Joel and I to leave the reception, it was so nice to have a quiet moment to let the enormity of day sink in. So we sat up for a while and listened to some music while we drank french champagne and had a tray of dessert delivered to us!  

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

Firstly, congratulations! There is no greater feeling than you and your soulmate committing to a lifetime of love and adventure together.

If you are planning on getting married during a global pandemic or are at the start of your wedding journey, please jump in and continue to book with your suppliers. Communicate with them about dates, terms and flexibility as they need you just as much as you need them for your day to come together. For our suppliers, we were the last wedding of the foreseeable future, a lot of them then faced cancellation after cancellation and some had even lost their main source of income. The wedding industry needs to be supported through this pandemic and there is so much skill, talent, knowledge and creativity that is waiting for you. 

I would give anything to live through the day again so cherish every moment – from the second you get engaged, all the ups and downs of planning, through to the incredible moment you become married. Never wish it away and on the big day ensure you take little pockets of time just for the two of you, away from the craziness of the celebrations.

Finally, sometimes you cannot control when you meet the right person in life. If they are there in front of you, trust your gut instinct and go for it! Your future self will thank you for being brave and choosing love.

Ceremony location: Geelong Australia | Reception location: The Warehouse Geelong | Videographer: Clare O’Donnell | Photographer:  Light & Type | Celebrant: Celebrant with Wings | Entertainment: Social Disco | Styling: Styled Sealed Delivered | Hire: Custom Neon | Flora: Ivy Meets Rose | Catering: Daily Food Co | Bride’s Dress: Dawson Gown by Tara Lauren | Groom & Groomsmen Suit: Taro Cash | Engagement Ring: The Diamond Guys | Wedding Bands: Mackays Leading Edge Jewellers | Bride’s Shoes: Mi Piaci | Groom’s Shoes: Julius Marlow | Bride’s Earrings: Twelve South Bridal | Makeup & Hair: Blondie | Bride’s Fragrance: Daisy by Marc Jacobs | Groom’s Fragrance: Artisan Pure by John Varvatos | Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever New