Penny & Gerald
Today’s wedding van only be described as heartfelt (well fun, gorgeous and beautiful fit right in there too I must admit) Penny and Gerald met in the most unusual of ways and have such a story to tell.
Penny recalls how she and Gerald came to be. “We met in Darfur, Sudan, in the middle of what was the words largest displaced persons camp at that time, where we worked for the Red Cross. There was no running water, no food, no shelter, no phones, no shops… nothing. We were hundreds of miles from anything, and felt so isolated and disconnected from the rest of the world. Every day for near 12 months we witnessed people in life threatening hardship. At the time there were only about 20 expatriate humanitarian workers living there… so the chances of meeting someone you wanted to spend the rest of your life with there (in what felt like the end of the earth) had to be miniscule.
But it happened! We went on to live in Pakistan, followed by Jerusalem together, where we largely organised our wedding via the internet and through Lovebird Weddings, Noosa.”
Jonas Peterson captured today’s celebration and I love the story he told through his photos. It’s a magical tale and it deserves beautiful photographs.
Penny wore a gown from Luci Di Bella with Kate Spade shoes and BHLDN jewels and accessories. Penny’s bridesmaid wore a Saja gown and the girls had Evalyn Parsons Hair style their hair while TF Makeup Artist styled their makeup.
Gerald wore a suit from Belgium tailor La Cambre Tailor. Penny says ” Being married in Australia. After years living out of a bag in developing countries it was a real treat to return to Australia… and I felt super proud to bring Gerald and his family here. It was perfect in all ways, and we spent the entire day outdoors. The outdoor reception was absolutely striking… and picturesque. We woke to kookaburras on the day, had kangaroos at the wedding reception, lots of blue skies, and heaps of nice Aussie wines, (ok, Gerald insisted on Belgium beers) and easy, exceptional, happy service from all suppliers. Nothing was an issue.”
Penny and Gerald enlisted Trudy of Lovebird Weddings to plan their wedding day. Penny says “The ceremony was at Hidden Grove, a private little grassy area on Noosa Beach, with a canopy of trees, a back drop of blue water, blue skies and white sand…. and a few bush turkeys.”
Walking down the aisle was one of the very special moments that Penny loved. She recalls “I loved that we were totally into the moment and didn’t lose sight of why we were there. When I first saw Gerald standing there, his grin as huge as life itself, doing back flips, and jumping up and down saying ‘come quick, come quick’ everything else fell away. We lost focus of all the pretty surrounds, and the detail … and were so completely focused and engrossed in each other. I think this allowed us to share our emotion, our genuineness and of course vulnerabilities whilst we gladly told the world why we loved each other, and why we would grow old together.”
The couple were married by Celeste Scott. Penny explains ” Celeste Scott is very talented. She delivered a ceremony that was completely original and completely about us…. She told of how and where we met, why we loved each other, the strengths (and funny traits) that we find in each other. It was like she summarised us, and what we were about and delivered it in a warm casual way. She had also asked Gerald to write a love letter to me, which was read to me for the first time during the ceremony.” Marty Sima provided the ceremony music.
One of the special moments for Penny was the decision and conclusion of getting married, she remarks “Maybe not for Gerald, but certainly for me I had never planned on getting married. It wasn’t on my to do list in life. Hence I had never envisaged details of my wedding (or anyone else’s for that matter). However, Gerald and I share similar tastes, so choices were very easy and quick despite most of them being made from the Afghan Pakistan border and Palestine. The planning was a very joint process.”
The guests made the event for the couple. Penny says “I loved that people travelled the distances they did. Half of our guests travelled internationally, some of which could not get time off work so travelled just for the weekend. You can only imagine how special that makes us feel. I also love that I had someone from each generation of my life there… from my primary school days, through to people I met in Pakistan. It reminded me that as we go through life we can’t help but collect life long friends.”
Another of Penny’s favourite parts of the day? Her wedding dress! She explains “Ok, this may sound a little crazy…. But I love that I wore a dress (explanation needed!)….. For the last 5 years I have lived in places that required me to cover up, or for 12 months even be veiled. It became a habit for me, and I had stopped wearing singlet tops or skirts/shorts/dresses. Gerald could count on one hand the amount of times he had seen me in a dress. I felt very feminine on the day.”
Of their photographer, Penny says “I think I only have to say his name, ‘Jonas Peterson’ and everyone gets me!? No ?? We don’t need to write how brilliant he is, as that appears to be common knowledge these days.
He was very unobtrusive and we both said we hardly saw him (we are sorry about that Jonas), yet he still managed to capture things that I thought I was the only one to see… like the photo ‘when Gerald saw Penny’. If you asked me to describe him in one word, I would say ‘artist.’
The couple used Mondo Floral Designs for their floral arrangements.
Penny says “We wanted to have a wedding that felt like a large back yard party, surrounded by those near and dear to us… and in a country that screams laidback, fun, sun and security… Australia. We don’t like a structured look or a stuffy feel, instead we wanted our 60 guests to feel relaxed and comfortable. I recall saying the more formal detail you have the more you have to worry about.”
Our wedding was three days of celebration, and not necessarily about us, but more about those near and dear to us that travelled from all corners of the earth to celebrate all things sweet and simple in life. We had friends and family travel from every State and Territory in Australia except Tasmania, and from what felt like each corner of the earth…Manilla, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, France, Belgium…
The reception was held outside under the clear blue sky. Penny remarks “The reception was outdoors on the grounds of Lake Weyba Cottages at Peregian Beach, 20 acres of bushy rustic Australian gardens, with lagoons, fresh air, gum trees and kangaroos. Perfect perfect perfect and everything we craved whilst living in developing countries.”
Penny recalls “We had an outdoor reception, under the stars, with relaxed mismatched bits and pieces….. Each detail reflected us in some way. Despite knowing exactly what we wanted to create, we have to hand the credit over to Love bird weddings for pulling it together on the day.” The couple’s wedding invitations were made by Bespoke Letterpress.
The couple used their own vintage VW’s for transport and “We (asked) some random lady we approached in Brisbane to use her beautiful Kharmien Ghia”.
We had a Noosa river cruise and canapés on the Friday night, the wedding on Saturday, followed by a Sunday Brunch. I am adopted, and it was the first time all three sets of my parents were together, in addition to meeting Gerald’s family that had flown from Belgium, so we also had an event Thursday evening for our immediate families to meet.”
The reception was catered by Spoon Fed & bottle fed.
Penny says “Our wedding was very relaxed, personal, intimate, and a reflection of us that just oozed love and happiness…”
Penny remarks “We didn’t do a first dance. There are some traditions that we didn’t understand, this being one of them. Instead we put on Sweet Disposition by the Temper Trap, and everyone got up to dance and celebrate together.”
Congratulations Penny and Gerald! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us, thank you also to Jonas Peterson for sharing the photographs today!