Chloe & Steen
I love the way Chloe and Steen were married exactly where they met. The couple chose a day that although modern in every way, was very much personal to them – there was no sit down dinner, instead waiters roamed amongst the guests and chefs cooked from tailored stations, a friend officiating the ceremony and of course – plenty of cake smashing! Chloe and Steen chose Lara Hotz Photography and Light Noise Films to capture their wedding.
Chloe tells the endearing story of how the couple came to be. “We met as first-year students at Sydney University in 2006. I spotted Steen from across a packed lecture theatre and couldn’t stop staring at him. In the weeks that followed, I coincidentally “showed up” to a few places I knew Steen would be at before eventually asking my friend Mike to befriend him so he could introduce us. I now realise this is known as “stalking”. Anyway, the introduction went well and we have been together ever since. Thanks Mike, I owe you!”
Chloe found her wedding gown at Marry Me Bridal choosing a gown by designer Pronovias . She remembers, “In the initial search for dresses in wedding magazines, I continually found myself drawn to Pronovias gowns. I thought they were beautiful and not overly fussy or covered in “bling”. I tried on quite a few dresses at various places, but ultimately came back to the first one I had tried on which was Pronovias from Marry Me Bridal in Mosman. I loved the peplum and the beautiful applique. Knowing that we had quite a big party planned, I also decided that I “needed” a second dress to change into later, so chose a short Pronovias dress as well. Being a bride really brings out your inner Mariah Carey.”
Chloe and Steen chose University of Sydney for their wedding, noting, “We chose to have our ceremony in the sandstone quadrangle at Sydney Uni, which aside from being a breathtaking space, had a great deal of significance to us as we spent many years studying together there.”
The processional was very personal. “Our wonderful friend Mike Stewart wrote us an original song called which he sang in our ceremony. It was beautiful. Thankfully he sent a recording of it to us a few weeks before the wedding so I could get all my sobbing out of the way. It was a very touching song and such a generous gift to us.”
Friend Nicholas Kraegan officiated the ceremony, the newlyweds telling, “The most important thing for us was that the ceremony felt personal. We didn’t want a celebrant who didn’t know us, so our friend Nick Kraegen kindly officiated the ceremony and did a fantastic job. Our friend Mike Stewart sang and played the guitar, and we had two of our friends Alex and Mike do readings, “Love” by Roy Croft and “I Love You Means…” by Jonathan Safran Foer. The readings were so beautiful and it made us so happy having our friends read them. We wrote our own vows and made a point of referencing our disappointment at the Marriage Act which prohibits so many of our friends from being able to get married and share in the happiness that has been so easily afforded to us.”
“Steen and I have been together for 10 years and have been through so much in that time. Being able to create such a wonderful memory surrounded by our loved ones is something I will always be grateful for. When all the excitement of the wedding is over, being married to your best friend is the best part.”
Of their photographers and cinematographers, Chloe notes, “I think you would be hard-pressed to find a better photographer than Lara Hotz. We didn’t even consider using anyone else. Not only are Lara’s photos incredible, she is so brilliant to work with and made our day so enjoyable. She was effectively a director as well as a photographer, taking charge and guiding us through the day. After spending months being involved in every detail of the wedding, it was such a wonderful relief to be able to relax and enjoy the day knowing we were in the capable hands of such an expert. We couldn’t be happier with how the photos turned out, they were even better than we could have hoped.
I’d also like to mention Light Noise Films, our videographers. Bree and Brooke were so wonderful on the day and have worked with Lara many times, so the entire image-capturing team were all on the same page which made things easy. I can’t recommend Light Noise enough, they were fantastic and the video they made for us is mind-blowing. They made us look much cooler than we are!”
“Sometimes the best moments are the ones you don’t plan. We were taking some photos outside the reception room when a lovely guy from Carriageworks approached us to see if we wanted to take pictures inside their huge airport hangar-sized room (Bays 22-24), which you would usually have to hire. Lara’s eyes lit up as it is a truly photogenic space. Once we were inside, the same guy offered us the use of the cherry-picker! So that’s how we ended up with some very cool aerial photos, something we never could have expected. Those are probably our favourite photos of the day, so thank you to the lovely guy whose name I didn’t catch – he made our day!”
The blank canvas of Carriageworks was such a beautiful choice for this modern celebration, the newlyweds remembering, “As for the reception, we were quite particular about what we wanted. Having been to many, many weddings held at function centres, we decided that we didn’t want ours to be at a traditional venue where you feel as though it could be anyone’s wedding. I believe the way Steen phrased it was “no rooms with loud patterned carpet and timber dancefloors.” This proved to be a tricky task with our numbers (160 people) as most non-traditional venues in Sydney only accommodate up to 120.
We settled on the Elston Room at Carriageworks, as it was walking distance from the ceremony location and provided a very cool blank canvas which we would set up however we wanted. However, it wasn’t easy. There is no kitchen, lights, speakers, furniture, crockery, glassware or air conditioning. If it was gymnastics, Carriageworks would have a difficulty score of 9.2. We enlisted the help of a fantastic caterer and stylist Gallivant Events who created a unique menu, built a kitchen from scratch, organised the furniture hire and styled the venue. Thank goodness they were amazing because all our bomboniere were in their basket, so to speak.”
“I am not skilled in the world of DIY, however I did put some signage together. Our wonderful friend Simon Greiner designed a beautiful chalkboard template which matched the invitation he designed for us, upon which I put some totally cheesy puns to frame and scatter around the venue. Some of my favourites included “aw, shucks” at the oyster station and “scoop, there it is!” on the ice cream cart. They helped add some fun and made it feel quite personal.”
Food was an important consideration for Chloe and Steen who worked with Gallivant Events to cater their celebrations. Chloe tells, “Food is very important to us and we couldn’t be happier that Gallivant totally understood our plan to make it as interesting and fun as possible. In every instance we tried to make the food interactive and a potential talking point to encourage our guests to mingle and have fun. Instead of drinks after the ceremony, we had popsicles. Instead of traditional tables, assigned seats and alternative serve dinners, we had market stalls, grazing tables and roaming canapés. Instead of pre-prepared oysters, we had a guy shucking them in front of everyone at what we fondly referred to as a crustacean station or “crustation”. Our guests could choose their own food experience and sit wherever they liked. One of the highlights was the Gelato Messina cart which came out late in the night, our guests were pretty excited about that.”
Chloe’s bridesmaids wore different black lace dresses from Lover, Zimmermann and Rachel Gilbert , Chloe remarking, “I think I hit the jackpot with my bridesmaids, my sister Christie, cousin Rachel and best friend Sophie. They were the best bridesmaids imaginable and made the experience so special for me. They couldn’t have been easier going – we had their dresses sorted in under an hour! On the day they anticipated any need I had and were always three steps ahead. I couldn’t be more grateful for everything they did for me. Oh, and did I mention they looked like total babes? They entered the reception to Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” and stole the show.”
“I lost my mum to cancer five years ago, and anyone who has planned a wedding without a parent will know how difficult it is. It brought a new level of grief and each stage of the journey made me miss my mum terribly, particularly knowing how much she would have wanted to be there. Thankfully we had incredible support from family and friends, particularly my amazing Dad, his partner Bridget and my sister Christie. They helped us make sure that mum was an important part of the day, with references in the ceremony, speeches and signage in the reception.”
“The speeches at our wedding were incredibly emotional and touching. Every person in the room cried. There were also some hysterically funny moments too. It was a total emotional rollercoaster but something we will always cherish.”
The day was very much about love and friendship. “Our favourite part of wedding planning was spending time with loved ones and working with great people to bring a vision to life. All of our vendors were amazing and it was so special to involve so many of our mates. One of my closest friends Georgia had just launched her wedding floristry business Billie & Co. so we were very honoured to be her first ever clients. I’m so excited that her business has since taken off and she now has weddings almost every weekend! Our friend Benny Davis absolutely nailed it as our DJ and our other pal Susie Youssef who is the most hilarious comedian was the best MC we could ask for. She had people in stitches during the reception and we were so grateful to have her be such a big part of the day.”
Of their first dance, Chloe remembers, “We chose my mum’s favourite song “By Your Side” by Sade, which has always been special for us. For several months prior to the wedding I had suggested to Steen that we get dancing lessons, having absolutely no idea how to do anything other than a clumsy shuffle. He wasn’t too keen, so when the moment came we did a couple of side-to-side steps, a few twirls and mostly just chatted to each other. It probably wasn’t very exciting to watch and Steen now admits we should have had lessons!”
“We are both half Greek and we wanted to incorporate some traditions, including Greek dancing and smashing plates, into the day. It was so much fun and really took the party to another level. We loved seeing our non-Greek friends’ reactions to the plates and their excitement trying it for the first time. It also made for some epic photos.”
Congratulations on your marriage Chloe and Steen! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you to Lara Hotz Photography for sharing today’s celebration!