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

We met through a dating app in January 2016… It was Sarah’s first online date and she was very nervous. She is a nervous talker and Will couldn’t get a word in edgeways.

She likes to say she has 100% success rate! It was Sarah’s eyes and her smile that got Will’s attention, followed by her warmth, her expressiveness, and the fact that she was clearly no pushover. Will says Sarah’s defining quality is that she leaves things better than she found them. Whether it’s her family, her friends, arranging a plate of hors d’oeuvres, or campaigning for social change, she can’t help but try to make things better everywhere she goes. Sarah describes Will as loyal, devoted and loving. What first attracted Sarah to Will was his self-assuredness and calmness. He made her feel at ease and terrified all at the same time. Sarah loves how hardworking Will is driven but not in a self-serving way. He wants to be the best he can for his family and for the people he loves. She loves that he is passionate and curious about the world. Sarah admires that Will chooses to see the best in everything and is an eternal optimist. Will gets her, he pushes her, he builds her up and empowers her. For that, Sarah absolutely loves doing with life with Will.

In the past three and a half years between them, they’ve had four addresses, three jobs each, pregnancy, parenthood, an engagement and a wedding. It’s been pretty full-on, to say the least. Our relationship is so strong because we have walked through the fire of so much change together in such a short period of time. We have learned to be extremely self aware and to understand each other… Open, frank communication, selflessness, and always believing the best of each other- is key. The other big thing is encouraging the other to remember self care! Will is a corporate strategist who left energy and banking to work at a railway. Sarah is a lawyer turned management consultant. We live in a lovely bungalow surrounded by greenery, daisies, daffodils, and a flowering gum. We have a 2-year old son, George, and a ginger moggy named Banjo. Our perfect evening is looking for the ‘mun’ (moon) with our son George, reading bed time stories all together on the single bed, saying nigh nigh to George, then collapsing onto the couch together to watch trashy TV with a burger and a cold beer.

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 wanted a venue which was relaxed and unpretentious, but still beautiful and not compromising on facilities. It turns out, it’s extremely hard to find!

We built the whole wedding around that vibe- relaxed, fun, beautiful, but trying to keep it tasteful. We loved the idea of it being outdoors. We just wanted it to be fun- great food, great music, great company, beautiful locations, and chatting by a fire under the stars. That’s exactly what we managed to achieve and it was brilliant.

The other thing we were really keen on was making a weekend of it. We had been to a few ‘weekend weddings’ and loved the vibe. It takes more time out of the guests’ schedule, but it means everyone is relaxed, everybody gets to know each other a bit better, and nobody is running to the ceremony 15 minutes late while fixing their tie or heels. When they’re on site, it’s easy to be on time! It also meant people were able to stay back late and really get into the vibe.

Around 90 guests out of 115 stayed on site. It was awesome on Friday afternoon as people began to roll in- everyone was so excited to be going on this adventure/holiday/celebration together. Some had driven from Sydney after leaving work at lunch. Some had driven from country Victoria. One guy had flown in from Kyiv that morning, rented a campervan, and used that at his accommodation. It was great- we had people in cabins, people in cottages, people in caravans, people in their ute trays. Everyone stoked to arrive and meet people and explore their new home for the weekend!

We kicked off with a big dinner at The Robertson Inn on Friday night. It was great- everyone mingling over a drink and dinner. On Saturday morning, everyone went off to explore the Southern Highlands and have breakfast etc. Some stayed on site and went swimming, went for bushwalks, played tennis… By the time the ceremony rolled around, everyone was relaxed and ready to party! No mad dash to find parking or anything here.

Sarah was in charge of the ‘vision’ and as usual, she did a sensational job. Lots of blush and natural colours through the flowers, the menus, the bridesmaids’ dresses, and the flowers. We had 80 metres of bunting which our friends and family had cut and sewn by hand in a series of working long lunches in the months beforehand. It looked sensational and really gave it a personal touch. Great for everyone to see their handiwork and feel like they were really part of the day!

Tell us about your main outfits:

Sarah – For the ceremony I wore a custom-made bridal gown and veil from Christie Nicole. I wanted to wear something that made me feel like me. I never had an exact image of what I wanted the dress to be, and so I loved the creative process of working with Christie. We created a dress which evolved at every fitting. The pleated tulle sleeve and the bodice are my favourite details. The dress was soft but dramatic, romantic but modern and it felt 100% me. Due to the bush location and because tulle and boots are a winning combo, I paired the dress with boots and for when it got cooler in the evening the most amazing gold quilted jacket. The jacket came from a boutique I worked at while at university. It was extra special for me to wear something from some where that has played such a big part in developing my personal style. I finished the outfit with some amazing pearl hoops.

After the speeches I changed into my party dress. It was a beautiful Zimmermann, with a high neck and ruffled detailing. I found it only a week before my wedding. It was in the window of the store and I fell in love with it instantly. It was the perfect dress for our first dance and for the full on dancing that came afterwards!

Will – I’ve always been of the view that one should never be attention seeking with one’s outfit, but once you have someone’s attention, you should retain it. I’ve always loved a really well made suit, but typically I stick with dark navies and charcoals. This time I went the whole nine yards with a fully tailored outfit from P Johnson. Sarah picked out a beautiful oatmeal cloth for the jacket and an ever-so-slightly paler bone for the trousers. It looked sensational, and really worked well with the rest of the wedding’s colour palette. We had the wedding date stitched into the underside of the jacket collar, and our initials inlaid in the lining. And the shirt! Nothing better than a perfectly cut white shirt. Heaven. The groomsmen’s jackets were a shade darker again than mine, and worked perfectly with their Dr Denim navy chinos.

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

Our ceremony – the amazing voice of Shaun Wessel, our personalised vows, individual messages from people close to us about love, the sun shower before the I Dos- it was truly magical!

For Will, one of the clearest moments was when silence fell across the forest glade of the ceremony as Sarah arrived. We stood there waiting- heart at a million miles an hour- when Shaun opened up with Sarah’s aisle song (‘To Build A Home’ by the Cinematic Orchestra). Shaun’s voice is HUGE- I almost laughed at how big his sound was, and it totally cut the tension. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get on with the ceremony after that.

For Sarah, the vibe – there was just such a relaxed happiness about the whole day. People were rocking on the dance floor with the band between courses and continued dancing well after the band played their last song. For one brief moment we were by ourselves, looking over a sea of everyone we knew and loved in the same place, at the same time, laughing and singing and dancing without a care in the world. That’s what life is all about! How lucky are we? We will carry that with us forever. The best day of our lives!

Also for Sarah, getting ready with my best mates, sister and sister in law and the mums! I decided pretty early on that I didn’t want to do the classic bridesmaid thing, with matching dresses and a procession down the aisle (we just had parents and siblings walk the aisle), but I did want to have a bunch of my girlfriends together with me on the day getting ready and hanging out like we used to do before parties. While they didn’t wear matching outfits, I styled them in get ups that were unique to them in a similar colourway. No one wore the same thing and they all choose what they were wearing. We all got dolled up together in the most beautiful cottage, shared champagne and just had a fun time. I hope they can wear their pieces again and it reminds them that they were so important to one of the best days of my life. It was made extra special when one of my good friends showed up as a surprise. She lives in New York City and originally couldn’t make it due to work commitments, but flew out the day before the wedding and surprised me while we were getting ready. I screamed when she walked in. I was so grateful to her and to one of my “bridesmaids” who had flown from San Francisco for the wedding… It was so special!

Somewhat less romantically- in a subtle nod to the ceremony date coinciding with International Star Wars Day, our welcome sign read “Welcome to the wedding of Will and Sarah- we’re thrilled you are here to join us. May the Fourth be with you”. I don’t think anyone noticed in the end, but it was part of the fun!

Finally, the personal touches like the epic 80 metre bunting made by our friends and family, strung up by the same friends and our three delicious wedding cakes (three different flavours, transported from Sydney) made by our friend as a wedding gift. The awesome work of our MCs my bestie and sister, the hilarious and heartfelt speeches from our nearest and dearest. These sorts of things make the day even more special and unforgettable.

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

Be brave and just be open with each other. Full transparency. If that means you need to better understand yourself and the way you tick, do it. Marriage is not a two dimensional romantic whirlwind. It’s a frank acknowledgment that generally things are awesome, sometimes they can be really tough, and whatever happens, you will have each others’ back. Neither are of you are perfect- there’s no point in pretending otherwise. Love each other for your whole person, including the flaws, and try to be the best you can. Finally, life is short so declare your love for each other every day no matter what your mood, find fun and joy in every day life and each other.

Photography: Jason Corroto | Ceremony and Reception location: Weddings in the Wilde | Celebrant: Jacqueline Majer | Bride’s gown: Christie Nicole | Dancing dress: Zimmermann | Groom’s suit: P Johnson | Rings: Bride- Natalie Marie, Groom- Fathers wedding ring | Earrings: Meadowlark | Bridal boots: Maryam Nassir Zadeh | Groom’s boots: Aquila | Makeup: Teneille Sorgiovanni | Hair: Byron Turnbull | Fragrance: Bride- Maison Francis Kurkdjian, L’eau A La Rose, Groom- Tom Ford, Ombre Leather | Bridesmaid’s gowns: Dion Lee, Bec & Bridge, Viktoria and Woods | Groomsmen: P Johnson (jackets, pocket squares) | Dr Denim – chinos | Entertainment: Ceremony/ afternoon drinks – Shaun Wessel, Reception and dancing – Baker Boys | Styling: Be Designed | Hire: South Coast Party Hire and Be Designed | Flora: Ensaison | Catering and Beverages: Violets & Vinegar | Cake: Danielle Kunzle | Wedding Nanny: South Coast Nannies

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