Annika and Tom – The Celebration

I love the feel of today’s wedding, it’s relaxed and intimate with a beautiful sense of style!

Annika and Tom started their ceremony at 5pm as the sunset over the beautiful Swan River.

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Annika and Tom created some fun touches for their guests. “We DIY-ed our reception booklets and printed word jumbles, fill in the blanks and quizzes about Tom and I on the other side so guests had something to do and a talking point before the ceremony. I loved that the next day, we were able to go through and see all of our friends humour, creativity, sincerity and intelligence in their various responses.

We loved our stationery and its probably worth a sing-out for budget conscious brides. When we started planning, I was amazed at the cost of wedding stationary but wasn’t sure if we would have the time or skill to make our own. We used Vista Print which was incredibly cheap and, I feared before the day, could be nasty. When the invites arrived, I was over the moon because they were so much nicer than I thought they would be. I particularly loved our RSVPs which offered our guests the option of ‘excitedly accepting’, ‘regretfully declining’, ‘disappointedly accepting’, ‘happily declining’ or ‘failing to respond but ultimately attending’!”

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Annika’s mother planted pots of blue salvia which lined the aisle, they also used the pots at the reception.

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Annika says “We walked down the aisle to Newton Faulkner, If This Is It. It was one of the easiest decisions we made in the wedding planning.

A few months before the wedding, I had actually compiled a long list of potential songs for the aisle walk and was putting a playlist together to test out on Tom. Then I heard Newton Faulkner play this song live on the radio one afternoon, rushed home to download it from iTunes. I played it to Tom and he loved it too.

We asked our wonderful acoustic guitarist, Prita Greely, to learn the song for the day and as she sang, I started walking towards Tom to the words: “If I had one chance to freeze time, to stand still and soak in everything, I’d choose right now.” It is wonderful to have a song symbolise that moment as we can revisit that day every time we hear it. On the weekend just passed, we attended our best friends’ wedding and the last song they played at the reception was If This Is It– it made us remember our own vows all over again.”


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Friends and family were very involved in the wedding day according to Annika. “We used the ceremony as an opportunity to involve those people who meant a lot to us. We had one friend give a reading immediately after I had walked down the aisle and before the celebrant spoke. It was called ‘Union’ and it meant so much to us to set the tone of the ceremony and to open the ceremony with a loved one’s voice. It is a reading about how a marriage is not made by a wedding ceremony but in the unspoken promises you make to each other in the years leading to that day. It really struck a chord with Tom and I and was the theme of our entire ceremony.

We also had a friend who is a writer, compose and deliver a short and original reading about the nature of love and finding the right time to grasp your happiness. Finally, we asked a friend to finish up the ceremony with a humorous song. We had never heard him sing on his own and he was so nervous that his hands were shaking but he was completely brilliant. He sang, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now” by Tim Minchin (his cousin) which is a touching song that finishes with the line “and nothing can stop us now… except terminal illness and sudden accidental death.’”

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Annika and Tom married in the grounds of the University of Western Australia at Prescott Court. Annika says, We wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests and not have any break between the ceremony and the reception. It meant that we needed the locations to be really close to each other to allow our guests to walk between the two.

We chose our ceremony venue by simply walking around the reception area until we found a secluded park at the University of Western Australia. It had beautiful tall gums that created a kind of structure around us and filtered the setting sunlight so guests wouldn’t get too hot.

We hired furniture to fit it out and our neighbours volunteered to come down and set up the entire ceremony and then pack it away. Another amazing friend volunteered to make sure the ceremony looked exactly like we planned and then manned the bar next to the ceremony so that as we walked back down the aisle, we could join all our guests for champagne to celebrate.”

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Annika says “We wrote our own wedding ceremony as we wanted it to reflect who we were. We tried to make it funny, genuine and heartfelt. I love that there are so many photos during the ceremony showing people laughing and enjoying themselves. My mother particularly loves some of the photos of us immediately after we were pronounced as man and wife as we looked so happy to be married. We had seen so many ceremonies that are formal and reserved- that isn’t who we are so we were pleased that the ceremony reflected us.”

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The reception was across the road from the ceremony at Matilda Bay Restaurant. Annika says “Matilda Bay was perfect for our reception. Whilst it had a large function room upstairs, we saw it had a much smaller room downstairs that didn’t have that formal, function room feel and it was surrounded by glass on two sides and had gorgeous views of the river and the Perth skyline. The room opened up onto an area outside which was extremely important as we are outdoorsy people.

We wanted a cocktail type reception so that everyone had a chance to speak to as many people as possible and not be tied down by schedules or seating plans. That meant we had to outfit the outside space which was like a blank canvas. To make it feel comfortable and stylish (seats are very important for cocktail type parties), Tom and I got artistic and resourceful. We hired low line couches, cushions, stools and coffee tables so that everyone could sit outside. We then set out ottomans on the foreshore where guests were visited by a pod of dolphins at dusk. We also lit the entire area with paper lanterns and candles so that as the sun set, the reception took on a beautiful ambient feel.” Annika and Tom hired their furniture from Villa Kula.

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Annika and Tom chose to decorate their reception with lots of greenery. ” Outside of our reception venue we had lots of coffee tables and each had a succulent centrepiece. My mother and I bought square white ceramic planters from Bunnings ($4.99 each) and then a few months before the wedding, we snipped bits of succulents from friends, family and neighbours and planted them.  In the end, we had beautiful centrepieces that weren’t fussy, but were organic and natural. We can also recycle them after the wedding.  My mother, who has a green thumb, also planted blue salvia in pots that lined the aisle and were also outside at the reception venue.”

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Annika and Tom provided things (flip-flops) for their guests “In keeping with the relaxed feel of the day (and to help me get my broken foot out of some impressive heels), we organised a basket of white thongs at the ceremony with little notes inviting our guests to ‘rest their tootsies’ or to ‘put on their dancing shoes’. I could not believe how popular they were! When I walked into the reception, I saw my bridesmaids had already kicked off their heels and I quickly followed. The basket was empty within the first half hour and our guests were mingling in cocktail dresses and thongs”

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Of their first dance, Annika says “Tom and I chose not to have a first dance as we rarely dance and I had a broken foot leading up to the wedding. Whilst vanity meant the cast came off about a week earlier, the break still evident on x-ray and dancing was a no-no.  However, right before we left our reception, we asked all our family and guests to join us to dance ‘Zorba the Greek’ as a nod to my Greek background. I started the circle holding a vintage handkerchief that one of Tom’s friends had made and gifted to us before the wedding as our ‘something old.’ Almost everyone at the reception joined us to spin around. It was great that our last image of the reception was to see everyone’s smiling and breathless faces as they danced around us…. and I didn’t feel my broken foot at all!”

But the celebration didn’t stop there “Finally, we organised an ‘afters party’ at Tom’s parents’ home, right around the corner. We had been to many weddings where some of the guests were falling asleep by the end of the night- our motto was to party hard and then party at home! So we organised to leave the reception at 10:30, and allow some of the older guests to head home. Then almost everyone else headed back to the afters party where we ordered gourmet pizzas, had eskies full of drinks, cranked up the music and basically partied until the wee hours of the morning.”

Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day and thoughts behind your choices Annika and Tom! Congratulations on your marriage! Thank you also to Angela Higgins for sharing the photographs with us today!

Photos by Angela Higgins.