Real Wedding: Juliana & Luke – Photography by Mitch Pohl Photography
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
We are Australians both working in Advertising and living the dream in New York City. We both love to travel discovering new and exotic places like Cuba and most recently honeymooning in Sri Lanka. We like to think we are big foodies despite Luke’s hatred of waiting 2 hours for a table sometimes and love watching live comedy. There’s really no better place in the world to do both of these things.
We really are ying and yang in our relationship. It’s amazing how much we support and encourage each other’s goals professionally and personally. We try not to take life too seriously and enjoy laughing with and at each other every day. Every day is an adventure when we are together. Whether it’s travelling somewhere new or simply taking a walk around the block.
How/where/when did you meet?
We met at work in Sydney seven years ago (2011) but only got together at Juliana’s farewell party as she was leaving to move to New York – literally four days before she left! We spent the last four days together and decided to give the relationship a shot over Skype just a few weeks later.
What’s special about your relationship? What do you love most about each other?
Juliana: Luke is optimistic about everything, from making an impossible last-minute flight to fitting absolutely everything in on a lazy Sunday. He always makes me laugh and one of the funniest people I have ever met. Luke makes me laugh in the strangest ways such as writing songs about how long I take to get ready while he strums on the guitar.
I love Luke’s ability to find something interesting about even the most boring person in a room; it’s hard to find someone that Luke won’t get along with. He always makes an effort to get to know somebody whereas I need more time to warm up and trust people.
Luke: I love Jules’ dedication, when she puts her mind toward something, nothing can stop her. She’ll work her butt off until she’s achieved it. Prime examples of this are selling everything and moving to New York, proposing to me and planning our wedding.
I love her sense of humour. We spend a lot of time laughing together and taking the mickey out of each other.
Lastly her sense of adventure. When she sets her mind on something or envisions something she wants in her/our lives, she’s not afraid to take a plunge to make it a reality.
Have you faced any challenges you want to share with readers?
Our relationship began via Skype while we were doing long distance between Sydney and New York. A long distance relationship most of time can mean impending doom for the future but as we were already friends from work it allowed us to get to know each other on a much deeper level than if we were living in the same city. We would never recommend doing this for more than an year and it’s always best to have your next trip booked so you both have something to look forward to and it’s not as difficult to say goodbye.
It was really challenging for us to plan our wedding from the other side of the world. With the time difference many vendors just didn’t treat our emails with urgency so we ended up having many face time calls instead and decided on which vendors we would work with that way.
We had both just started new jobs in New York and trying to build our social and professional network whilst planning for the biggest day of our lives was an added pressure.
Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…
My grandmother asked me one Christmas morning “Do you love Luke” and I said “Of course” and she then asked me “Well what’s the problem then? What are you waiting for?”. Keep in mind that my grandparents met and survived war-torn 1920’s Germany writing love letters to each other every day until they could be married.
I think we can all agree that today’s world and attitudes towards living together and relationships is now very different. There is so much pressure regardless of what stage the relationship is in. If you are single you are always asked who you are currently dating, when you are in a relationship, when you will be married and when you are married when you are going to have a baby. You can’t win!
I was raised by a mother who instilled in you the idea that you can do anything you set your mind to. So once I knew that Luke was definitely the man for me and that we were planning to move to New York together I thought that this would be the right time to make our relationship official.
After debating the archaic traditions of marriage with my grandmother I googled that there was, in fact, an Irish tradition of a woman proposing to a man on a leap year. I was shocked to find out that we also just so happened to be in a leap year (2016).
As a big believer in fate and ‘everything happens for a reason’ I translated this as a major sign. I had disclosed my decision with very few friends and family to keep this a big surprise for Luke.
I decided to ask Luke’s mother for her blessing for my proposal and also had a custom-made ring to propose to him with at one of the most beautiful spots on the Bondi coastal walk; Marks Park overlooking the water at Mackenzie’s Bay. This ended up being the very same spot where we had our ceremony.
We had packed a picnic and as the sun was rapidly setting I had the courage to bend down on my knees and ask him to marry me. Mentally prepared for his every possible answer, I was over the moon that he said yes and today the luckiest woman in the world to call Luke my husband.
What went to plan and what didn’t?
The weather on our wedding day was absolutely magical. We were so, so lucky!
We had organised a guitarist to play music as our guests were arriving at the ceremony, however didn’t count on the outlet being too far away at the ceremony location for the cables to reach so unfortunately he was unable to play at all and just worked with our celebrant’s speakers to play the songs for walking down and exiting the aisle.
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 just wanted our friends and family to have fun on the day! Delicious food, endless drinks, and good tunes were the priorities so that our guests could really say that our wedding was the best wedding that they ever attended.
It was important to us that the ceremony and reception locations were not only beautiful but meaningful. We could have chosen many other beautiful and unique venues but nothing was going to beat a ceremony where I had proposed to Luke and the reception at The Blue Room above the Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club where Luke had been a volunteer lifesaver for many years.
We have never been a fan of the corporate, cookie cutter style weddings with stark white tablecloths. Therefore the overall theme and style was to compliment the natural surroundings of Bondi Beach. Seasonal flowers with lush green foliage and textural elements. The colour palette was soft pastels for the ceremony with lush tropical greens and fresh crisp white for the reception to deliver a relaxed, elegant and coastal look and feel.
A dear very talented and highly recognised family friend Mikarla Bauer of Wilderness Flowers was able to create the most beautiful floral altar for our ceremony at Marks Park, Tamarama. We were absolutely speechless at how she managed to create this from just a few Pinterest links as well as transforming parts of it for our food stations and entrance table at the reception. We were so lucky to have her create the florals at our wedding as well as enjoy the day as our guest.
Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?
It was actually very difficult shopping for a summer wedding dress during winter in New York. I really didn’t like the big pavlova looking dresses and was searching for something that would not only complement my body type but also be breathable during the peak of summer in Bondi.
While my mum and cousin were helping me dress shop my mum came across a dress that I hadn’t picked out and asked if I would just put it on quickly for her to see. In the most cliché way possible I ended up saying ‘yes to the (Katie May) dress’ and learnt that mums do truly know best.
The look and feel for Luke’s suit was completely surrounded by the Bondi weather we know and love. Keeping with that summer theme we were lucky enough to have the Aussie P Johnson Tailors showroom right in our neighbourhood. We had a custom made 100% cotton suit in a sand/khaki colour with a light blue shirt and dark navy tie to bring out Luke’s eyes. It was paired with chocolate brown Belgian shoe loafers to complete the summer vibe.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
It was so special to have our ceremony at Marks Park at the exact same spot where I had proposed to Luke. No one has ever been married there which made it even more unique and memorable for us.
Luke and I are big lovers of public speaking so we were so impressed when all of the speakers on the night had put so much thought and effort into what they were going to say and some had the whole room in absolute hysterics.
Our first dance to David Bowie’s heroes was definitely one of the most memorable moments from the day. We had organised private dance lessons in New York to impress our friends and family and had practiced a few times right up to the day before. The dance lessons turned out to be such a nice way to connect with each other during the stress of wedding planning.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Start having the hard conversations now! We would highly recommend Dr. John and Julie Gottman’s ‘The Art and Science of Love’ intensive weekend workshop. It’s grounded on what actually works in relationships that are happy and stable, not idealistic notions or anecdotal evidence of what marriage ought to be.
It really helped us answer some of those hard questions about the future.
Planning a wedding from overseas can be very stressful working with vendors through time differences, facetime and emails. It’s important to take some time off from wedding planning by scheduling particular evenings or even weekends to distance yourselves from the chaos and just do something that has nothing to do with your big day.
What does being married or being in a union mean to you? And what is married life like so far?
Juliana: Marriage is always a work in progress. It’s about two people on a constant journey to discover new things about each other but to also work on compromises and negotiate particular aspects as both people change. It’s not always pretty, it’s not always perfect, but learning more about the other person and working on differences you may have will always make it exciting and interesting.
Married life so far has been great! Before we were married even though we had been living together for five years we would still focus on our own futures often in isolation, and then bridge them together, whereas now everything we plan is together.
Luke: There’s something really powerful about deciding to take the next step in your relationship. You know that no matter what happens you are in this together and will find a way to work through challenges and grow to the next level, together. When we became engaged I was able to picture our future together with more and more clarity because of this decision we’d made. Aside from having children I see it as the biggest decision of my life. I have two parents who I love and that love me to bits, but that couldn’t make it work after 19 years of being happily married, so I’m not underestimating the challenge.
It’s difficult to describe but there’s something very powerful about a commitment like this. Having yourself totally invested leads to the best in whatever that is, including your relationship. It focuses your mind on the future with that person, on the life you want to design together.
Photographer: Mitch Pohl | Ceremony location: Marks Park | Reception location and catering: The Blue Room, Grand Pacific Group | Celebrant: In Light Ceremonies | Entertainment: The Vintage Stylus | Special song: “Heroes” by David Bowie | Styling: George & Smee | Seating chart and place cards: Lacey Lou Designs | Menus: Minted | Wedding coordinator: Jason Kates | Flora: Wilderness Flowers | Cake: Groom’s mother | Gift registry: Zola | Hair: Judena Hair | Makeup: Monique Jones | Spray tan: Mobile Spray Tanning Australia | Facial: Face Plus Medi Spa | Eyelash extensions: Amy Jean Eyelash Couture | Nails: The Parlor Clovelly | Wedding dress: Katie May Collection | Veil: David’s Bridal | Shoes: Nine West | Custom denim jacket: Wild Rose Shop NY | Groom’s attire: PJT | Tie and pocketchief: Brent Wilson | Shirt: Hardy Amies | Shoes: Belgian Shoes | Rings: What Women Want Jewellers, Gold Crest Signet Rings UK | Watch: Uniform Wares | Custom groomsmen’s underwear: Calvin Klein