Hannah & James
There is a beautiful intimacy, a moodiness to the wedding of Hannah and James. The week’s preceding storms gave their day a new location, which led to a ceremony amongst the trees, as the fog and mist wove its way throughout the sculpture garden and what became in turn, a magical day. Hannah and James chose Kelly Tunney to capture their wedding day.
Hannah tells the story of how they came to be. “We met while on a diplomatic assignment in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. It was a harsh living environment – the rugged terrain alone was brutal, but the war raging around us made for tense living and working conditions. We lived there for 12 months and became the best of friends right from the get go – the close quarters meant you got to know the best and worst of people there very quickly, for better and for worse! We didn’t start dating until we were both well and truly back home in Canberra. Because we were colleagues and great friends we were very reluctant to take that next step and after a couple of failed attempts at a formal date I finally agreed to dinner (although I still insisted it wasn’t a ‘date’). It was wonderful and we never looked back!”
Wanting to make her gown shopping experience true to her own sensibilities, Hannah chose a gown from BHLDN , explaining, “I was pretty reluctant to get involved in the hype around being a bride and the thought of having to book appointments with bridal boutiques and carry an entourage of ‘oohing and aaahing’ women along to watch me try on dresses made we want to run for the hills! I ordered the dress online off the rack, had it taken in and up and it was perfect! When the sun went down I wore the most glorious ostrich feather bolero, which kept me warm, looked amazing and made me so happy.”
The couple met before their ceremony, Hannah remembering, “Kelly Tunney was our photographer. We were undecided about getting a photographer at all but fell in love with Kelly and her work the moment we met her. She listened to everything we said and really planned the shoot around what suited us. We had our photos done before the ceremony. This gave us time for just the two of us before the celebration commenced and Kelly made it such a special part of our day. It also meant we didn’t lose quality time with our guests between ceremony and reception. As a special surprise Kelly had us write letters to one another prior to the shoot, which we then read back to one another on the day. This was such a lovely touch and really added to the whole experience.”
Hannah and James chose the Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Australia for their wedding, noting, “We wanted the day to be easy and relaxed for everyone and part of this included holding the ceremony and the reception in the one venue. We planned to hold the ceremony outdoors among the sculptures and then move straight into the reception, a covered venue that opened out onto the garden. A terrible storm had raged during the day and we had to move the ceremony to a more protected area. The last minute change of plans turned out to be a huge blessing – the alternate venue was unimaginably beautiful with the storm clouds overhead and the mist rising through the Sculpture Garden. It was magical – we could never have planned for it to be more atmospheric.”
The couple chose to start their ceremony a different way, Hannah telling, “I didn’t walk down the aisle! We met our guests with champagne as they arrived at the venue. This proved to be a wonderful way to connect with guests even before the ceremony started and to minimise the nerves!”
Tony O’Gorman officiated the ceremony, Hannah telling, “Our celebrant was a very close friend of James’ family and had married 3 of his siblings. He was really able to add a personal quality to the ceremony and this was so special for us. James’ sister read an extract from The Little Prince – a beautiful book that is a long-time favourite of mine and was perfect for the occasion. We wanted to include our mothers in the ceremony so they presented us with our rings. We wanted the ceremony to be short, happy and meaningful and we achieved all of those things despite not a dry eye in the room by the end of it!”
“The theme of the wedding was (inadvertently) Peruvian kitsch. This was on account of the Inca exhibition featuring at the time and we weren’t able to remove the Incan themed installation from the venue. This meant we had a corn cob chandelier and loads of brightly coloured Peruvian art pieces on display. We made the most of this by having brightly coloured rustic flower arrangements and equally bright retro chairs. Because many of our guests had travelled to Canberra for the first time and because this was the town where our relationship blossomed, we really wanted to showcase the town as part of the day’s theme. The venue was held in a quintessential Canberran venue, the alcohol was local and the invitations featured an antique photograph of the capital. Because neither of us are too keen on being the centre of attention, we wanted to create as relaxed and informal atmosphere as possible. We didn’t have a wedding party or a cake and kept the formalities to a bare minimum. This maximised the quality time spent with our guests, which was exactly what we wanted.”
Of their first dance, Hannah remembers, “We danced to Lana Del Ray’s ‘Young and Beautiful’. This is a favourite of James’ from an album that had become a bit of a soundtrack to our relationship.”
Congratulations on your marriage Hannah and James! Thank you for sharing your day with us. Thank you also to Kelly Tunney for sharing today’s celebration.