Olivia + Mark by Madeline Kate Photography

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

We are Olivia and Mark, and we got married in March 2020 after six years of being together. We live in Canberra but are originally from Melbourne and northern NSW, and we have two dogs – Esto, a mini long-haired dachshund and Maisie, a golden retriever.

We come from different backgrounds and have different outlooks on life, but we love that about each other. At the moment we’ve been renovating, so the house is full of activity, but we still make time for the important things, like making a nice dinner, putting on a record, or catching up with friends over a game of Settlers of Catan. We also love to get out into the garden – we’re currently building our dream kitchen garden from scratch, and we’re really looking forward to growing our own vegies and building a pizza oven!

We don’t think our relationship is particularly unique – it’s just one that works for us. As time goes on we have learnt more and more about each other – how we work as individuals and also how we work with each other. We’ve navigated several life changes so far – living overseas, raising two dogs, buying a house, etc – and each stage has taught us more about how to live life well with each other.

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:

We started by looking at the traditions around weddings and working out what we wanted to keep and what we didn’t need. At heart, we are simple and fun-loving, and we wanted the wedding to be something to share with friends and family that reflected that.

We both had a fairly realistic and relaxed approach to the day – we didn’t really want to have all the fanfare and traditions, but we did want good food, good music, and a fun time. We wanted it to feel like ‘us’, and we are both really happy with how it turned out.

We had a garden ceremony at the Cosmo in Trentham. Liv’s parents had moved there a few years before, and we love the town. We loved the idea of having a weekend wedding where we could spend as much time with our guests as possible, especially people who travelled a long way or who we hadn’t seen in a long time. For the ceremony, our dogs sat with our guests. Our celebrant Koren was incredible and was instrumental in helping us set the tone we wanted. It was a very chilly afternoon but thankfully the rain held off!

The reception was in the Cosmo’s restored stables – having both parts of the day in the same place made everything so much easier. The rafters and tables were lit up by fairy lights and we really loved the cosy atmosphere. We had several group tables and shared food platters, and we think everyone had a great time! Fiona from the Cosmo was an excellent venue manager from our very first conversation to after the wedding, and thanks to her the day went absolutely smoothly. We were so proud of the music – we decided against a DJ and spent a long time working through our tracks to create a Spotify playlist for each section of the day – the setlist generated more conflict than anything else about the wedding planning! On the day, our hard work paid off with a wonderful mood and a great dance floor energy. 

The next morning, Liv’s parents hosted a recovery brunch at their house down the road from the Cosmo, with delicious home-cooked and locally catered food, and at the end, goodbyes were said for what turned out to be many months – thanks COVID.

Throughout the planning process, we were both really interested in finding quality vendors, and local where possible. One of our favourite vendors was Fleurs de Lyonville, who provided us with florals from their bee-friendly, organic small-scale flower farm in the next town over. We loved discovering local talents and people, and incorporating them into our day. One of our favourite details of the day was our wedding cake – we didn’t want a traditional cake, and we love cheese, so we had a local deli in Daylesford create a four-tier cake made from different wheels of cheese, set among a grazing table for dessert.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Olivia: I wanted a beautiful dress but also wanted to be comfortable. I also wanted a relaxed dress to fit the feel of the day, and Anna Campbell Bridal delivered on all fronts. I love Bared shoes, so I wore a pair of their heels that I already owned.

Mark: It had been a dream of mine to get a bespoke suit tailored, so this was the perfect opportunity. I was recommended P Johnson in Sydney, and got a completely absurd, impractical cream linen suit. P Johnson were fantastic, taking me through colours, cuts and fabrics, and the resulting suit looked amazing when paired with Liv’s dress. I matched the suit with shoes from Meermin, a Spanish brand. The colour of the leather contrasted beautifully with the suit. The only downside was having to be super careful with food – I was petrified I was going to drop dinner down it.  

We couldn’t get married without our dogs present, so they wore a bow tie and a flower collar for the occasion. Thankfully they were extremely well behaved, and loved all the attention they got!

Liv’s brother made all the rings, including Liv’s engagement ring which was refashioned from her grandmother’s engagement ring.

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

Olivia: for me, the most memorable parts were seeing every single person on the dance floor throughout the night – even my mum, who swears she’s not a dancer! To me, those moments really capture the joy we felt throughout the whole weekend.

Mark: I was pretty nervous at the ceremony. There were so many eyes on me – who invited all these people? But then Liv walked in and it was such a bright, fun day.  

For both of us, Maddie’s photos have been so lovely to look back on over the past few months, and they’ll be such happy memories to have for years to come.

Our wedding happened right before COVID impacted everything, and looking back, we feel so lucky to have been able to have all our friends and family in one place for a really great event.

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

For wedding planning: we were in agreement for the majority of the big elements of the wedding, but we are two very different people, with different ideas and aesthetics, so it took some time to work through each other’s concept of the specifics. It’s important to be patient and open to discuss ideas. From all of our discussions, disagreements, compromises, and bright ideas, we were able to arrive at an event that fit us perfectly. Listening to our vendors was also super important – this was the only wedding we’ll have, but our vendors do it all the time, so we relied on their experience.

For life: have the big conversations early and often. Work out what you need to be on the same page about, and what’s negotiable. Have fun! 

Photography: @madelinekatephotography | Ceremony and Reception location: @thecosmopolitanhotel | Celebrant: @korenharveyweddings | Bride’s gown: @annacampbellbridal | Groom’s attire: @pjohnsontailors | Rings: @williamedouardjewellery | Shoes: @baredfootwear & @meerminmallorca | Jewellery: @annacampbellbridal | Hair and Makeup: @fredlemarche | Flora: @fleurs_de_lyonville | Cake: @dosdeli & @winespeake | Brunch: The Heartier Catering | Dog attire: @thedapperdogcollarco