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Bride in Lisa Gowing

As we chat with Kahlara about her sweet Watson’s Bay wedding, she reminisced that after all the build-up and planning, your wedding itself is really just the start of your journey together as husband and wife.

“The wedding is just the beginning. Try not to stress over the small details and don’t let the planning cause a rift between you and anyone.”

Wild at Heart Photography

Bride wearing Lisa Gowing

Bride with half up halff down hair style

Silhouette Sydney Wedding photo

Sunset Sydney Wedding

Images by Lina Hayes (Wild at Heart Photography)

Viktoriia and Jason

Jason and I met at work. I had organised a placement at his work in Melbourne (we are both originally from Adelaide) and whilst I was incredibly proud of finding the opportunity I most definitely did not expect to return home – two weeks later – with a boyfriend and a long distance romance.

We did the long distance thing for two years before I made the move to Melbourne, but Jason made me wait another four years before finally conceding to what we had both known since day one – that we were meant to be together forever.

Being lawyers, the decision to get married came to us one night while on holiday in Sri Lanka. Upon returning to Melbourne we went ring shopping right away. I had always loved the classic, elegant look of an emerald diamond so deciding on a ring was not difficult. Jason had expecting ring shopping to take us weeks, maybe even months, but after visiting three jewellers we finally found “the one(s)” at Canturi. We were torn between two very similar designs, but in the end, I asked that Jason make the final decision and surprise me during the proposal (I did want some romantic elements!)

And boy did he deliver on the proposal! We were on one of our group hikes along the Great Ocean Road, when he finally got down on one knee – on the cliff tops overlooking the ocean with an iconic lighthouse in the background – and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I accepted and was pleasantly surprised to see the upswept design with my gorgeous emerald diamond (this design was my favourite of the two).

I started dress shopping a little over a year before our wedding as my parents and sister were planning on moving overseas, and I wanted them involved in the process. I tried on some truly amazing dresses that I would have loved to have worn, but the one I ended up choosing was from Bonita Couture. It was probably the eighth dress I tried on and when my sister and best friend both gasped in delight, I knew it was the one! I Facetimed my mum who confirmed that this was “my dress”.

I had decided I wanted a dress that was classic and elegant, as I am not a fussy person and wanted something that would look timeless. My only condition was that the dress had to be backless or have a low back. My dress was made in natural white silk with Chantilly lace details around the front and back of the dress. When I put my dress on I just knew it was the dress I wanted to marry Jason in. I decided not to wear a veil – as much as l like them on other people they just felt too traditional for me.

In keeping with our classic and elegant theme, our bridal party wore black – with the boys in elegant slim black suits and the girls in black lace dresses with full flowy skirts. The black theme went perfectly with our Autumn/Winter wedding and our Melbourne location. Being the groom, Jason wanted to stand out so he decided to wear one of his favourite velvet smoking jackets. We had purchased a black tuxedo one, but at the last minute he found this plush blue jacket and it was love at first sight!

For my jewellery I ended up wearing the most amazing crystal earrings from Kenneth Jay Lane which I bought online at Shopbop’s wedding boutique – I looked everywhere for the perfect earrings and they didn’t disappoint!

I wanted to keep it simple so I just wore my earrings and also an emerald art deco inspired bracelet which I borrowed from my sister, so it doubled as my ‘something borrowed’.

My wow factor was my something blue which were these gorgeous  Badgley Mischka shoes. I bought these shoes right after I found my dress as I knew they would go perfectly with such a simple and elegant dress – and I really didn’t want white shoes, as I knew that I would never wear white shoes again. TIP: “With such delicate crystals on the shoes, I wish someone had told me to cover them with some clear contact or sticky tape so that they did not catch on the delicate material of the dress.”

I really wanted flowers that were not too feminine and I also wanted to be able to incorporate what Jason liked too. We went with a colour scheme of lush green and deep reds with an emphasis on a lot of greenery. We knew that we wanted some sort of hanging installation as our venue space was so expansive with high ceilings, and we wanted something with a lot of drama to go with the plush velvet curtains.

I follow a lot of florists on Instagram, as I absolutely love flowers so finding a florist that could meet the brief was relatively easy. Kim from Badlands & Co was actually found by Jason, and she was absolutely amazing to work with! She had decorated our venue several times before so we felt confident that she would do an amazing job.

I really wanted peonies, which were actually not in season at the time of our wedding so I chose David Austin roses. However, on the day my florist surprised me by filling our entire venue (not just my bouquet) with deep waxy burgundy peonies! It was so perfect and I couldn’t have been luckier! I fell in love with the lush and organic flower arrangements.

Our hanging installation was wild, lush, organic and exceeded our expectations! We knew it was going to be a big feature at our wedding, but seeing it on the day took our breath away. Kim was amazing – even in the last two or three weeks leading up to the wedding, she accommodated some of my last minute requests for even MORE greenery in the foyer of our venue.

Jason put so much effort into helping me make so many things for our wedding. It was important to personalise it and to make it feel like ‘us’. We made several trips to Bunnings for materials to make our “Drunk in Love” sign and he even helped me make our wedding favours – little hangover kits consisting of Berocca, TicTacs, Bandaids, our favourite T2 tea and Panadol. We spent many hours printing and cutting out menus, name cards, making invitations and even the seating chart.

We decided to plan and organise our wedding ourselves, and did not hire an event co-ordinator, however, a special mention needs to be made to Katie and the team at Create Catering who helped us organise and set up all of our tables, chairs, the bar, the candles, the bathroom soaps, the gift favours and even our hand made sign. Katie put all of the finishing touches on the styling and we completely trusted her decisions; it all came together better than we had ever imagined and we were completely blown away when we walked in.

Dinner was a shared menu so that our guests, seated on three long tables, could feel like they were enjoying a family dinner at our place. We decided to sit in the centre of the middle table and had our family and friends surround us, this way we could easily see and speak to all our guests. Dessert was our wedding cake (a dark chocolate cherry-ripe and dark choc-orange) made by Nikos cakes which our florist also decorated to match our ‘lush and organic’ theme. We served late night poutine (hot chips with gravy and cheese) which our guests loved!

Aside from our venue, one of the first vendors we secured was our photographer Jay Cao from Qlix Photography. He did an amazing job capturing the feel of the night, as it happened and without us feeling like we had to stop for photos.

I know everyone thinks they have the best celebrant but we literally did have the most amazing celebrant. After we got engaged we decided to let our friends know in a unique – and very “us” way- by throwing a party and seeing which one of our friends would spot the ring first.

Some of our friends couldn’t make the party so we visited them one-by-one to give them the exciting news. One of our friends, Gabby Morrison, from Soulful Journeys had previously expressed interest in getting her marriage celebrant’s licence, and as we told her our news we asked if she would marry us! We were so happy when she accepted and I feel so lucky to have had her marry us; she had the most fun-loving vibe and made us feel so relaxed on the day. It was an absolute plus that one of Jason’s closest friends would get to marry us on what would be the best day of our lives! I would recommend her to everyone!

Jason and I really wanted a ‘non-traditional’ wedding. We just wanted it to be a party with our close friends and family that everyone could enjoy.  We actually found our venue before we were officially engaged, and it came about when I was looking into catering options. We knew we wanted something unique and ‘non-wedding-y’ and when we found The Substation we both knew it was the one! The grandness of the space, the industrial feel with the exposed brick and the classic and glamorous floor to ceiling windows – it was more than we could’ve asked for!

As our ceremony was in the evening, we decided to do a first-look and have our photos taken before the ceremony; that way after the ceremony was over we could celebrate with our guests right away! Jason and his groomsmen came to collect us from the house where my parents required him to pay up in order to collect his bride. This fun little tradition was something my parents had at their wedding, and we thought it was a lovely personal gesture to my parents and their heritage. Plus it made for some awesome photos!

It was so lovely to have the ceremony on the landing of the foyer, with our friends and family surrounding us. We had the curtains drawn to keep the reception space upstairs a surprise from our guests. I walked “up” the aisle to “500 Miles” by Sleeping at Last, a reference to the hike were Jason asked me to marry him.

We served two signature cocktails – an espresso martini and “the Watsonova” (a cocktail created by our bartender friends especially for us)- and a selection of canapés following the ceremony, while our guests mingled and explored the gallery at the Substation.

Instead of a father-daughter wedding dance, I asked my Mum, Dad and sister to join me in performing a family dance. Our background is Bulgarian and my dad used to teach Bulgarian folk dancing when we first moved to Australia, so dancing is in our blood. We performed our folk dance and after I snuck off to change out of my wedding dress and prepare for our wedding dance as husband and wife.

Our first dance as husband and wife was one of my favourite moments from our wedding. For months prior to the wedding, we took dance classes with You Can Dance dance studio and practised almost daily to perfect our romantic Argentine Tango. Our instructor Alex was extremely talented and very patient with Jason, who wanted to push the boundaries with lifts, and kicks and dips.

Our guests loved our dance too and were not expecting it at all! It was a great start to the party and helped kicked off the dancing to follow. The following day our guests commented on how much fun they all had dancing the night away with us. It certainly was the best day ever!

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Viktoriia and Jason; your elegant black and white theme was the perfect choice for your chic venue!

Engagement Ring: Canturi / Bridal Salon: Bonita Couture / Bride's Jewellery: Kenneth Jay Lane / Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Flowers & Decor: Badlands & Co / Catering: Create Catering / Wedding Cake: Nikos / Photographer: Qlix Photography / Ceremony Officiant: Soulful Journeys / Venue: The Substation / Dance Lessons: You Can Dance

Bride in Taupe wedding dress

When planning your wedding, it’s important to determine what the important things are – the things that you won’t budge on. From there, everything else falls into place as Sandra remembers as she looks back on her beautiful garden winery wedding.

“Focus on your key elements – good venue, good photographer, good food and plenty of booze!”

Bride in Maggie Sottero Madrid dress

Hunter Valley Wedding PhotoHunter Valley Wedding

Jonathan David Field photo

Landscape Wedding photo in Hunter Valley

Maggie Sottero Madrid Gown

Sunset winery wedding photo

Images by Jonathan David