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Jen & Theo’s Urban Botanic Gardens Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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Jen & Theo 

I love the modern feel to Jen and Teho’s urban botanic gardens wedding. What started in the botanic gardens, led to an inner city restaurant before drinks at a rooftop bar. So very Jen and Theo and so very Melbourne. Jen and Theo chose Aparat Photography to photograph their wedding.

Jen kicks us off with the story of how she and Theo met. “Theo and I met at a party at the Mockingbird Wine Bar in St Kilda in 2011. Theo was the host and I was the designated driver for a mutual friend. I remember thinking two things simultaneously when we first met. Firstly, that he was incredibly handsome, particularly when he smiled, and secondly, that there were an outrageous number of buttons undone on his shirt – almost to his belly button! We were inseparable throughout the night and eventually Theo worked up the courage to ask me out to dinner. The rest is history.”

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Mae Taylor and Janice Wu styled the bride and bridesmaid’s makeup and hair.

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Jen chose Anaessia to make her wedding gown, remarking, “Initially, I wanted to wear a second hand vintage style dress purchased online, but this was met with no success. My venture into the in-store experience was far more successful, given that I found my dress on day two of the official search. My dress was from Anaessia on Little Lonsdale.

The dress was made of two parts: A tight fitting slip, with a sweet heart neckline and low back, and a vintage lace overlay, with a high neck, no sleeves, moderately low back, lace fringe at the bottom, belted at the waist and beadwork across the chest. Anaessia designs the most beautiful dresses and to me seemed to be ‘ballet’ inspired. I fell in love with this dress instantly. Nick, the owner who runs the Melbourne store, is a fantastic, quirky and unique individual. The dress came together in approximately 8 weeks and the journey/experience was wonderful!”

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The groom chose a suit from Hugo Boss with his groomsmen dressed in MJ Bale.

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Jen and Theo chose Gardens House for their ceremony, explaining “Gardens House is a secluded garden nestled within the Royal Botanic Gardens. The house was built in 1856 as an office and residence for William Guilfoyle, who designed the Royal Botanic Gardens. Theo and I chose Gardens House because we wanted the privacy it afforded and because we knew the garden at the rear of the house (where we had the ceremony) always came to life in Spring.”

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For the walk down the aisle, Jen remembers, “We went traditional with Pachebel’s ‘Canon in D’ played by a live string quartet (Ruby Strings).”

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“Theo and I were wed by Phil Haar, my sister’s father-in-law. We both wanted to be married outside amongst the sights, sounds and smells of nature. And more importantly, we wanted to be married by a friend. Phil’s speech was witty, humorous and very humbling. Phil was both a great orator and story teller. We chose to include a reading from 1 Corinthians 13:1-10, 13.”

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“We incorporated a number of elements from a traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony into our outdoor ceremony to honour both Theo and his family’s heritage and traditions, including the Crowning.”

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Of their photographers, Jen says, “Zosia and Jakub were (insert the best word you could possibly think of here)! Some suggestions of mine would include words like AWESOME (not the use of capitals), incredibly talented, amazing, kind, friendly, creative, gifted, funny, relaxed, easy-going, generous, supportive, adventurous and willing to try anything!

Reflecting on our wedding in October 2014, I think the most important attributes my husband, Theo, and I needed in our photographer/s was someone who shared a similar taste in photographic style (candid nature), someone who we could call a friend who had a grounding/relaxing influence to combat the epic madness of the day and someone who could capture/document every moment – we were exceptionally lucky to find all these qualities and many more in both Zosia and Jakub. Thank you both so much for helping Theo and I create wonderful and lasting memories of our wedding day.”

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The newlyweds chose inner city restaurant Cumulus Up to celebrate, noting “Cumulus Up is a wine bar upstairs from Cumulus Inc. Chef and owner of Cumulus Up, Andrew McConnell, has been named chef of the year not once, but twice. The menu is seasonal, but the signature dish remains the duck waffle with foie gras and prune. Theo and I chose to host the reception at Cumulus Up because we are both foodies and it remains one of our favourite restaurants!”

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There was a touch of the handmade, Jen telling, “With the help of our sweatshop team (my family) Theo and I made all the stationery, including the wedding invitations, ceremony programs, menus, signage and guest favour tags. We made the decor, including hessian and calico bunting. We made the guest favours, including home-grown and home-made kumquat jam, strawberry jam, tea in test tubes and potted succulents. In place of a guest book, we made a wooden wedding board that people could sign using white textas.”

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“Theo and I felt very fortunate to have chosen such a wonderful team of suppliers to work with in the lead up to and on the day of our wedding. Everything, and I mean everything was perfect! ”

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The stories of the day are plentiful and memorable for the couple. “Catherine’s hand massage. Advice from John the driver. Seeing Theo. Phil’s speech. Theo’s speech. Sharing a cheeky burger at the end of the day. Breakfast with the groomsmen at the Olsen Hotel. Crowd rolling in, in anticipation. Spring sunshine on our faces. Gardens in full bloom. Surrounded by friends and family. Intimate ceremony. Theatre of food being made from scratch in an open-plan kitchen. Trash the Dress and husband forgot his shirt!”

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Of the first dance, Jen remembers, “Our first dance was to Dire Straits ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The first time I ever heard the song was the cover performed by The Killers. Theo and I were in the car en route to Wilsons Promontory. Theo was giving me an education on The Killers and I was giving him an education on camping (it was his first time). We played the song over and over again while we traveled the long winding road leading to Tidal River.”

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“Theo and I both love Melbourne. In all our worldly travels Melbourne remains our favourite metropolis to call home. It was important to us to have some photographs taken in Melbourne’s iconic laneways, particularly in Hosier Lane in front of the original MoVida (our favourite restaurant!).”

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Congratulations Jen and Theo! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Aparat Photography for sharing today’s gorgeous day!

Photographer: Aparat Photography / Bride’s Dress: Anaessia / Bride’s Shoes: Innovare / Bride’s Jewelry: Swarovski / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Groom’s Shoes: Calibre / Groomsmen Attire: MJ Bale / Bridesmaid Dresses: Zimmermann / Hairstylist: Mae Taylor / Makeup Artist: Janice Wu / Flowers: First Impression Flowers / Invitations & Stationery: The bride / Ceremony Venue: Gardens House / Ceremony Officiant: Phil Haar / Ceremony Musicians: Ruby Strings / Reception Venue: Cumulus Up / Cake Baker: Mother of the groom / Wedding Rings: Norayr Gochian
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Toni & Tom’s Country Dam Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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Toni & Tom

The charm of Toni and Tom’s country dam wedding weaves it’s way through every element. From the simple backdrop, chosen for it’s natural, untouched beauty, to the country hall turned celebration central complete with jumping castle, the couple wanted a day that was relaxed, but most of all fun. They chose Florido Weddings to capture their day.

Toni tells the story of how she met Tom. “We met at a mutual friend’s 18th Birthday but left the party without swapping numbers. Luckily we ran into each other at uni two days later. We ended up chatting for hours in the uni bar and then he walked me to my next lecture. He gave me a quick little kiss before I went in and I knew he was someone special.”

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Made With Love created Toni’s wedding gown, she remembers. “I hate shopping. I absolutely loath it. So when it came to dress shopping I did hours and hours of online research until I settled on a dress by the lovely Gold Coast girls from Made With Love. I took one of my bridesmaids along and before the buttons had even been done up I knew I had picked the right one. It just looked perfect and the fact my bestie began to cry just cemented that it was the one.”

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“My Aunty, who lives in Victoria, was unable to attend the wedding and sent me a nice card to apologise for her absence. In the card was a bunch of handkerchiefs that various family members had worn on their wedding day. I picked one of the handkerchiefs and stitched it onto the inside of my dress. I am the fifth generation bride who has now worn that hankie on their wedding day.”

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Toni and Tom married at Braeside Farm, Toni recounting, “The lady who was managing Coronation Hall gave us the number of the lady who owns Braeside Farm and we were able to set up a viewing the following weekend. Braeside Farm is a beautiful private property which backs onto Somerset Dam. We were married in a large open field with the dam as a backdrop. You will notice our ceremony location is lacking in decorations; we decided the view was so beautiful it didn’t need anything at all to perfect it.”

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Toni remembers, “I walked down the aisle to “Hey Ya” by Outcast. However It was an acoustic and slowed-down version. We are massive fans of the TV show ‘Scrubs’ and when one of the characters gets married that is the song that is played. My husband made up his own lyrics to the song and has been signing his version to me for years. It is a bit silly but the song is really special to us now.”

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Sue Brodie officiated the ceremony, the bride remembering, “We just wanted a really natural chilled ceremony. Tom and I share a special friend, Lucy, who actually photographed the proposal. She got up at 3:30am to hide in the bushes at sunrise to get the perfect picture for us. We asked her to do a reading and Tom actually picked the reading, “On Your Wedding Day” by an unknown author and sent it to her without my knowing. It was a lovely surprise for me on the day.”

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“I DIYed EVERYTHING. I made the bouquets (which have been featured on Polka Dot Made before), the bunting, men’s bow ties, button holes, table decorations, swing, jenga set…. EVERYTHING.”

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Of their photographer, Toni notes, “Callie’s photography is spectacular. I knew we wanted to hire her when I saw the album on display back in October. We had about $500 in our bank account at the time (as Tom had just graduated uni and we were waiting for his new job to start) and we used it all to put a deposit on her services. Photography was always going to be our priority when it came to the wedding. I love looking at photos and have them all around our house. I just love her style and I’m so happy with how they have turned out. My favourite picture is probably the bridal party on the jumping castle.”

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“Tom proposed at sunrise and so we have a special love for the sun rising and setting. I absolutely love the photos at sunset and can’t wait to see the time-lapse our videographers captured.”

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Toni and Tom chose the gorgeous Coronation Hall for their reception, explaining, “The reception was in an old hall in the middle of nowhere which definitely gave it that rustic feel so popular nowadays. But, we wanted a really relaxed atmosphere where the emphasis was on fun, so we made sure we had lots of games, an extensive open bar and of course, a jumping castle.

I first saw Coronation Hall in a photograph Flordio Weddings had on display at a wedding expo, long before we were actually engaged. I knew from looking at just a few photos that I had found my photographer and my venue. We visited Coronation Hall a week later and fell in love with the size and rustic feel.”

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Toni remembers, “We danced to Adele’s version of Make you Feel My love. This was the one part of the night I would happily forget. We cannot dance to save ourselves and when we messed up the first twirl everyone laughed. Luckily our friends and family all jumped up quickly and joined in.

As everyone was eating dinner, Tom took me onto the dance floor and we just held each other for a few moments. I knew there were people around us and could feel their camera lights flashing, but at that moment I felt like the only people in the room were us two.”

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As the finishing touch of the day, Twelve 08 Studios captured Toni and Tom’s wedding on film

Congratulations Toni and Tom! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Florido Weddings for sharing today’s wedding!

Photographer: Florido Weddings / Cinematographer: Twelve 08 Studios / Bride’s Dress: Made With Love / Bride’s Shoes: JJShouse / Bride’s Jewelry: Mum's pearl necklace and earrings / Groom’s Attire: Tailor in Thailand / Groomsmen Attire: YD / Bridesmaid Dresses: Paper Scissors Frock / Hairstylist: Barberette 13 / Makeup Artist: Scarlett / Flowers: Flowers bought from IKEA / Invitations & Stationery: Handmade / Ceremony Venue: Braeside Farm / Ceremony Officiant: Sue Brodie / Reception Venue: Coronation Hall, Somerset Dam / Reception Hire Items: Brisbane Valley Hire / Catering: Fire n' Dough / Cake Baker: #KerryCooks / Engagement Ring: A family friend / Wedding Ring (Toni): Michael Hill / Wedding Ring (Tom): Showcase Jewellers / Wedding Registry: Flight Centre Honeymoon Fund

Tracy & Phil’s Outdoor Country Wedding

by | Australia - New South Wales, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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Tracy & Phil

I have loved Tracy’s spirit as I read her words about her outdoor country wedding with  Phil. A couple who are trying to live off grid and minimize their environmental impact as much as possible, a couple who are consciously trying every day to live a life authentic to who they are – every part of their wedding spoke of this and their commitment. They chose Keepsake Photo to capture their day.

Tracy tells their story. “Phil and I met in Byron Bay in 2011. We were both cruising through life and living the Byron dream of sun, beach, good friends and lots of good times! It was Phil’s dog Sal who made the first move, she used to pop over to my apartment to say hello and when I would take her back home Phil and I would have a little chat and laugh about nothing and everything. It took Phil a few months before he had the courage to ask me out and even then his mates crashed the party just to make him look good!

We were inseparable and about 6 months after being together Phil was offered an unbelievable job in a tiny little village called Gundaroo being a property manager on a farm. Before we met we were just two people going through the paces but together we are an amazing team and we are so proud of the life we have created for each other and for our children.”

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Tracy and Paul had their two daughters as bridesmaids (along with their two dogs who wore flower collars). Tracy remembers, “We both loved the fact it was very casual with no time schedule or things we ‘had’ to do. It let everyone relax and just enjoy being there together.”

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Tracy wore a dress from Eileen Kirby. “I wanted something lace and comfortable! And I found the most beautiful Eileen Kirby proposition lace dress from Momento Dezigns in Canberra. It was the first and only dress I tried on and I bought it almost a year before the wedding!!  I loved the little sleeves and the slip underneath which finished above the knee and really showed off the lace bottom. My shoes were my next favourite, also the first and only pair I tried on from Hispanitas called ‘savage cactus’ from a boutique shoe shop in Manuka called Escala Shoes and I cannot wait to wear them again and again!”

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Lilygrace Flowers created a stunning flower belt for the bride to match her flower crown.

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The couple held their wedding on a friend’s farm, noting, “We wanted a small country wedding with family and a few friends to celebrate our special day. Thankfully we were lucky enough to use Phil’s bosse’s property out in the bush which set the scene for everything. We didn’t want anything over the top, just simple and country and definitely not traditional. A bit like us really!”

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Tess from Style My Aisle  styled the wedding, the bride remarking, “How can you not recognise the talent of Tess from Style my Aisle? I mean, wow. She just captured the simplicity of the bush and created a simply beautiful ceremony and reception. There were so many details that she tucked around that really made it feel special. And to have people come all the way out to the bush to set up a wedding… I was in awe and so were all out guests. I want to have another party just so I can have her style the whole thing!

I didn’t really have many thoughts about what it would actually look like but Tess just nailed it. I couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect ceremony set up and I think all the photos just speak for themselves.”

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Tracey remembers “I loved being able to walk down the aisle with my fiancé, our two beautiful daughters and our two dogs.”

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Antoinette Braeder officiated the ceremony, Tracy telling, “Our wedding celebrant Antoinette was real find – she truly believes in love and bringing couples together in marriage and she helped us created a beautiful and heartfelt ceremony.”

Our ceremony was short and sweet. Phil and I are not the type who like to be centre of attention so this was the most daunting part for us! Thankfully we had an amazing wedding celebrant who asked me to write an introduction which set the mood of the ceremony beautifully and explained to everyone why we were getting married, what life we were going to make together and what we wanted for the future together and for our daughters.”

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The newlyweds purchased their rings from Aharoni Jewellery, telling “I cannot say enough about Eytan Aharoni.  Phil has a stunning handcrafted and one-of-a-kind Mokume Gane ring. Mokume Gane is and old Japanese technique of fusion of metals, which incorporates various combinations of metals. Phil’s ring has layers of 18 karat white gold, Shakudo (which is a combination of 5% of 24 karat pure gold and 95% Copper), and sterling silver (925). These three metals are fused together and forged, creating unusual patterns in the band. These patterns go right through the band, thus making it solid fusion. If you haven’t seen this technique you should definitely check it out!

My engagement ring is a certified round brilliant cut white diamond half-bezel set in 18 karat white gold setting. The diamond is held only from both edges “hugged” by the curved band. The diamond weighs 1.01 carats and is amazing! My first wedding band is 18 karat white gold band made to follow the shape of my engagement ring. Three round brilliant cut black diamond are hammer set into the band. My second wedding band follows the other curve of my engagement ring. It is a Mokume Gane band made with layers of Palladium and sterling silver (925). I know I should say something really deep and meaningful about our rings and what they symbolise… but I know (and I can speak for Phil on this matter too…) that we just look at our rings and say “Wow! My our rings are freakin Awesome”.”

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Of their photographers, Tracy tells, “Thank goodness for Daniel and Maria right? How amazing are our photos? I mean OMG they are like something out of a magazine and completely blew my mind. And we were originally going to get a relative take the photos… phew thankfully that never happened and we came across Keepsake Photo.

I think what I was most surprised about was how much wedding photographers cost and because I have zero experience with any of this stuff I was definitely on the fence about using one, but when I saw Daniel and Maria’s website I just fell in love with the feel of the photos and how natural everyone was in them. You wouldn’t know that I hate having my picture taken because they made me feel so relaxed and happy and most of the time I didn’t even know the camera was clicking.”

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Piccolo & Fox created the wedding cake, the bride remarking, “The next standout and biggest surprise was our wedding cake from Piccolo & Fox, a local gal from Cooma who makes cakes and cupcakes etc. She had a great website with lots of different creations but if I’m honest, I didn’t really have high expectations. I know it sounds harsh, but it is Cooma and well, you just can’t be sure if what you want is what you’ll get. This was the only thing that I was specific about – I wanted a nude cake, it had to be gluten free chocolate cake with lots of berries and flowers… sounds easy but you never know, right?

We were all watching Haylee set up the cake while getting our hair and make-up done and Wow. Just Wow!! You know when you have something in your head, and it gets taken to that next level you never imagined? It was like that. I don’t think anyone had seen a wedding cake look so mouthwatering, so photogenic and so sexy before! Plus, it tasted just as good as it looked.”

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Tracy notes, “Phil and I organised the food for the wedding. Sticking to our simple style we had a barbeque (much to my dismay because we are vegetarians!) and my family made salads, antipasto platters, quiches and finger foods. Even though it wasn’t over the top extravagant – everyone raved to us how tasty all the vegetarian food was! In fact, Phil and I missed out on almost all the vegetarian food because everyone devoured it while we were having photos taken!! We had all our own alcohol and a drinks table (set up by Style My Aisle) with stuff for the kids and non-drinkers as well.”

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The end of the night was as relaxed as the rest of the day, Tracy remembering, “We played our own music and Phil built a massive fire pit where everyone congregated to in the evening when it got a little cooler. With chilled beats playing, fire crackling and lots of laughter… it was the best way to wind down (or for some of us… wind up!) the end of a beautiful day.”

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Congratulations Tracy and Phil! Thank you for sharing the stories of your wedding with us! Thank you also to Keepsake Photo for sharing today’s wedding with us!

Photographer: Daniel and Maria from Keepsake Photo / Wedding Stylist: Tess from Style my Aisle / Bride’s Dress: Eileen Kirby / Bridal Salon: Momento Dezigns / Bride’s Shoes: Savage Cactus by Hispanitas from Escala Shoes / Groom’s Attire: Hackett London Tweed Vest / Groom’s Attire: Rodd & Gunn shirt and pants / Groom’s Shoes: Rodd & Gun / Flowergirl Dress: Sophia by Minihaha / Flowergirl Dress: Bebe by Minihaha / Hairstylist: Jess from Mynk / Dreadlocks: Stefan from Organic Dreadlocks / Makeup Artist: Clare Sassel from Mynk / Bridal Party Flowers: Lilygrace Flowers / Ceremony & Reception Flowers: Tess at Style my Aisle / Ceremony Officiant: Antoinette Braeder / Cake Baker: Haylee Lee from Piccolo & Fox / Engaement & Wedding Ring (Bride): Eytan Aharoni from Aharoni Jewellery / Wedding Ring (Groom): Mokume Gane from Aharoni Jewellery

Bridal Inspiration At Glasshaus Nursery

by | Bridal Fashion, Bride, Inspiration Shoot,


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There is something so elegant and beautiful about this bridal inspiration at Glasshaus Nursery shoot from Free the Bird Photography. Inspired to create something classic, the shoot centred around a beautiful vintage restored gown, the stunning nursery backdrop with dramatic and beautiful plants and rough, industrial style walls and floors (makes a perfect venue doesn’t it? Luckily it’s just opened up for wedding celebrations!).

Teaming up with vintage wedding lovers Maggie May Bridal, Glasshaus Nursery (who also styled the bouquet) model Ellen Louise Ryan, Jai of Free the Bird Photography wanted to experiment and try something completely new. Shooting on film (which was later processed by Richard Photo Lab) Jai notes, “Film has a special romance with how you create each image. It has a different quality and the shooting and developing process is completely different to shooting digital. The result of film is far less photos but more whimsical, romantic and timeless. Every image is unique and it feels special shooting with a camera that is 70 years old. The defects, the colours and tones that can’t be reproduced by modern technology. And why would you want to recreate something when you can still use this medium today?”

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Photographer: Free the Bird Photography / Bride’s Dress: Maggie May Bridal / Venue: Glasshaus / Flowers: Glasshaus / Model: Ellen Louise Ryan / Hair & Makeup: Ellen Louise Ryan / Film Development & Processing: Richard Photo Lab
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