Maria + Michael by Damien Milan

Marie: I’m Georgian and Michael is Egyptian. While our cultures are seemingly different, there are lots of similarities – like the prospect of our families physically combusting if we were to live together before marriage. Oh, the horror! 

It meant two years of long, tiring trips just to be able to spend time together, as Michael and I live about an hour apart. But it’s all been worth it as we now have a deep-seated appreciation for each other’s presence and that’s a beautiful thing. This was especially true during the first Covid-19 lockdown in Sydney, as Michael and I couldn’t see each other except through our computers. 

By July 2020, we’d spent three to four months feeling very much like every other Australian: anxious because of all the uncertainty that came with the pandemic, and hit with the reality that planning a wedding would be difficult. Although we never planned to hold an engagement party, we realised the pandemic could very well disrupt our wedding plans, so we decided to have a ‘back-up wedding’, in case there was another wave of restrictions. We held our celebration at No 92 in Glebe, a stunning wine bar and restaurant that opened earlier in the year. 

The 1874 terrace retains its old charm with textured venetian plaster, limewashed walls, marble fireplaces, and ornate decorative ceilings. It felt like stepping into a European salon. Because of a ‘one person per four square metres rule’, we could only invite eight friends. This was probably the most difficult thing. 

We wouldn’t recommend planning an event during a pandemic! But the restricted capacity meant that only those in our closest circle were there to witness our milestone and there was something really special about that. Belinda from The Curated Life styled the Grand Salon at No 92. She complemented the space’s natural charm with a minimal tablescape, decked with rouge orchids and twirling roses. 

As day turned into night, the room grew romantic under the soft glow of candles. We planned a 10-course Japanese-inspired menu with natural wines and artisan cocktails. I have to admit, I barely had a bite to eat because I was too entrenched in conversation with friends, but our guests raved that the dishes were delicious. I’d always imagined my wedding to be a low-key affair. I’m not the biggest fan of being the centre of attention. 

But our ‘back-up wedding’ meant there was no pressure or need for long-winded speeches and wedding traditions. Instead, it was an evening spent with loved ones, full bellies, flowing drinks and love. It was the low- key but memorable evening we’d dreamed of. If we could go back, we would do it the same all over again — pandemic or no pandemic.

Photographer Damien Milan | bride’s outfit Mango | groom’s jacket M.J. Bale | groom’s chinos Country Road | groom’s shirt Jeff Banks | boots R.M. Williams | ring Meg Maskell | venue & catering No 92 | styling & flora The Curated Life