The first conversation I remember us having was about pizza; Jess recommended a great pizza place nearby called Kaprica. Finding excellent pizza has continued to be one of our quests!

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…
Both: We’re both primary school teachers that live in Melbourne with our two cats, Aslan and Oswald. Over the past year we’ve been renovating our house and have had a lot of fun working on the design and choosing furnishings. Sam plays lead guitar in a band called A Man Called Son and Jess can often be found at a pilates or yoga studio. In our free time we love exploring Melbourne’s bar and restaurant scene and travelling. On the weekends we try to head into the countryside for a regional walk.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?
Jess: We met at The University of Melbourne studying our Masters of Teaching degrees in 2013. We were in the same Advanced English Literacies class on a Friday afternoon, and I spotted Sam across the room. I was immediately attracted to him – I thought he was very handsome and had this cool, relaxed vibe about him. I also thought he was a foreigner as his mum is from the UK and he’d been living in Ireland and travelling Europe for a few years prior to studying teaching and he had adopted the accent a little. Little did I know he was actually from Darwin!

Sam: I didn’t speak to Jess in the first couple of weeks of the tutorial because she sat on the opposite side of the room, however she caught my eye from early on. Her beautiful smile was the first thing I noticed. We would sometimes make eye contact across the room. The first conversation I remember us having was about pizza; Jess recommended a great pizza place nearby called Kaprica. Finding excellent pizza has continued to be one of our quests!

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?
Jess: When I heard this Buddhist quote in my friend Bonnie’s vows at her wedding a few years ago: “if you meet someone and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that is not the one. When you meet the one you feel calm. No anxiety. No agitation” – when I heard that it resonated so profoundly with my own experience. When we’re together I feel so lucky and calm and happy.

Sam: I’ve always thought Jess has the most magical smile and in the early days of being together I had this vision of us in the park on a sunny day. In the vision we’re both so happy and Jess is lying on the grass smiling at me. After that, I knew I loved Jess.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…
Sam: I proposed to Jess on Mount Buffalo, in the Victorian high country. I think Jess knew something was going on because she started to feel unwell on the way up the mountain (which I think was nerves). After I proposed, I expected to place the ring on Jess’ finger, however Jess was worried about her hand swelling up due to the hike and took the ring from me and shoved it onto her finger. I took it as a sign of her being very eager to get married! I noted “I think I’m meant to do that?” and we both laughed.

Jess: We got engaged on the day Dan Andrews announced that Victoria was going back into a Stage 4 Lockdown, on July 7, 2020. We didn’t have any phone reception up the mountain so when we drove back down and rang our families to tell them the exciting news they thought we were ringing about the lockdown!

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…
Jess: Our vision for our wedding was an intimate, relaxed garden party with lots of booze and delicious food thrown in. We were originally meant to get married in summer but postponed our wedding due to Covid. We ended up getting married in autumn which was a blessing in disguise because I love the tones of flowers of autumn, it’s my favourite season and Ame at Raven and the Rose nailed our florals.

Sam: We also wanted it to be lively and fun, Jess kept reminding me that we were planning a wedding, not a festival! We had a horn band play live, straight after the ceremony and for the reception we had some friends do 30 minute DJ sets. We also brought along some disco lights and a costume box and our friends got really into it on the dance floor, it was one of the highlights of the day.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?
Jess: The band – we had the Horns of Leroy surprise our guests after the ceremony. They are a New Orleans style seven-piece brass band, which is a style of music we both love. We saw them play at another friends wedding and agreed that we had to have them too. Sam’s a guitar player and a number of wedding guests were musicians so they organised to play All you need is love with The Horns – seeing Sam playing guitar on our wedding day was so special.

Sam: We ended up marching with the band and all of our guests to the local park, via the High St in Trentham. That was so much fun and created an opportunity for some amazing photos. If you hire a seven-piece brass band, you have to have a street parade!

Ceremony + Reception location: The Cosmopolitan Hotel, @thecosmopolitanhotel / Photographer: Smith and Archer, @smithandarcher / Celebrant: Megan Thompson, @meganthompsoncelebrant / Entertainment: Horns of Leroy, @hornsofleroy / Styling + Flora: Raven & the Rose, @ravenandtherose / Hire: Good Day Club, @gooddayclub_au / Marquee + Catering & Beverages: The Cosmopolitan Hotel, @thecosmopolitanhotel / Cake: Blackbird Cakes, @blackbirdcakes / Stationery: WedSites, @wedsites / Registry: The Hint Registry / Jess’ Attire + Jewellery: Georgia Young Couture, @georgiayoungcouture / Sam’s Attire: FormalRed, @formal_red / Ring/s: Kim Victoria Jewels, @kimvictoria / Shoes: Jimmy Choo, @jimmychoo / Makeup + Hair: Tonic Agency, / Groomsmen’s Attire: FormalRed, @formal_red / Bridesmaids’ Attire: Rebecca Vallance, @rebeccavallance; Ted Baker, @tedbaker; Stella McCartney, @stellamccartney