Samantha & Ghadir
The day Ghadir proposed was Anzac Day 2014 and both having the day off we headed into the city for lunch with a plan of relaxing, walking around to some of our old haunts and just spending time together as we had both been very busy and hadn’t had a chance for much couple time.
Noticing all the changes in the city I suggested visiting the University of Melbourne to see what had changed there as that was where we had both studied and where we first met in 2007 during a class together. While walking around near South Lawn, Ghadir let go of my hand, saying “shoe lace” and I walked a few steps ahead before looking back and finding Ghadir on one knee. He was sweating, shaking with a nervous smile and asked me to marry him; when I accepted a crowd of students cheered while we laughed. Ghadir then told me it had been his plan all along to propose at the University and he had been wanting to get me to go there without raising my suspicions so when I suggested it he was over the moon.
After celebrating our engagement we had to get started with the planning and wanted to tick the big things off our list quickly – church, reception venue, photographer and band.
Finding a dress was of course on the list of important things to do. I went to a bridal shop with my aunt and it felt like I tried on hundreds of dresses but none of them felt right on me; they were either too pooffy, itchy, made for someone taller than my five foot self or completely uncomfortable and feeling quite disheartened I went home. A few months passed with everyone asking about this mythical dress of perfection that was out there for me and I continued to look online at wedding dress pictures and wonder if I’d look ok in any of them.
After a long search I finally found a beautiful dress worn by a real bride on a bridal website and excitedly looked for the designer’s name – Anna Campbell; it was everything I wanted, loose, simple yet sparkly and just perfect. I found that Anna had a store in Melbourne, it felt like it was meant to be.
I went to Anna’s boutique with my aunt, sister and best friend and that was when things became difficult; there were so many perfect dresses in the store I felt like it was an impossible choice! With help from the lovely assistant I tried on many of the dresses and was able to pick out all the dress features I liked the most and had them put together to create my perfect dress. Visiting Anna Campbell was a perfect experience, from the dresses to the decor of the store, everything was magical and I fell in love with my dress.
I also found my make up artist through the designer of my dress as Melonie Santos was the make up artist on many of the Anna Campbell photo shoots and I loved the natural, relaxed, make up look that she was able to create. I wanted to make sure that on the day I still looked like me and as I don’t wear a lot of make up normally I didn’t think having full wedding stage make up was a good plan! Melonie was incredible and I couldn’t have asked for more; while getting us ready she was calm, cheerful, and wonderfully reassuring. I’m not sure I would have made it through the chaos of the morning without her!
Ghadir is muslim so we planned to have a Katb elKitab, which is a traditional marriage contract ceremony, with just our family and bridal party. However we also agreed to have our ceremony in a church as this was important for me with religion being a part of my upbringing and I felt that reciting our vows in such a reverent place signified how much they meant to us. It was a search though to find the right minister who was welcoming and willing to marry a muslim with someone from the Presbyterian church and when we met Nick from St. Luke’s Church in South Melbourne we felt he was very accepting, warm and exactly what we were looking for.
We had been to see a few venues, trying to figure out which one suited us and what felt right. We narrowed venues down by deciding that we wanted our venue to be close to the University so we could have our photos taken there.
I’d decided early on that I wasn’t after the traditional wedding venue with chair covers and chandeliers and from there it was really easy to eliminate venues. My sister, Elyse, sent me the details for the Abbotsford Convent after seeing photos of the venue and knew immediately that it was exactly what I was looking for.
Ghadir and I visited the Convent and fell completely in love with the venue and we were both able to imagine celebrating our special day in such a beautiful place. Ghadir was especially excited about the big courtyard space for dancing the dabke, a traditional Arabic circle dance as he loves to dance.
Looking at bridal websites and blogs, I discovered that a wedding was meant to have a theme, but I wasn’t sure what my theme was going to be! Initially I just started looking for things that I liked and complied an album of all the photos I had collected. After a while it really became clear that everything I was liking fitted well with a vintage theme with a few rustic elements. Ghadir and my sister helped me go through all the images I had collected and we agreed that a vintage theme fitted perfectly with our reception venue.
With the big things out of the way I started to think about decorations. I had seen so many beautiful DIY projects that I had to really sit down and decide which ones were most important as otherwise I would have run out of time. It was very important for me to involve my grandmother, Ruth, in the wedding preparations and have her feel that she had contributed to the day. My grandmother and grandfather looked after me and my siblings after my mum passed away in 2000 and are two of my very favourite people.
Grandma has Alzheimer’s disease and I needed to find a task she would be able to manage without feeling overwhelmed. She was a very skilled seamstress for many years and although Grandma doesn’t sew much anymore, I thought with my help she might be able to sew some things for the wedding if they were straightforward. I found some great pictures of bunting as an idea for wedding decorations and after looking at how it was made, I knew bunting would be the perfect project for Grandma and me!
We spent months searching for fabrics, cutting out all the flags, sewing the flags and then putting it all together and our end result was metres and metres of fun, colourful bunting. Grandma usually forgot our project and I had to explain what we were doing many times but on the day she looked up at the bunting hanging beautifully in the courtyard and was able to say “I made all that bunting”.
My family and I made relish and jam for our wedding favours and decorated the jars ourselves. My friend was in charge of calculating how many strawberry punnets we were going to need to make our strawberry jam wedding favours; maths isn’t her strong point and we ended up with double of the amount of punnets that we actually needed and were left with a fridge full of strawberries.
A family friend, Marcus, built our ‘LOVE’ letters with help from Brad and my brother Travis. Entering our venue I was delighted that our ‘Love’ letters had worked out so well and sat centre stage in the courtyard for me to see as soon as we arrived. Everyone seemed to enjoy having photos with the letters and commented on how fantastic they looked. Our male photographer from TOne Image, was very determined to get an aerial shot of the courtyard with the ‘Love’ letters and found the only window for a great shot was from the window in the ladies’ bathroom so he asked everyone to leave the bathroom so he could enter, climb up to the windowsill and get the shot he was after; he was very committed to his job!
Our vendors were absolutely amazing to work with and I can’t recommend them enough. Bianco Latte, our ice cream cart, ended up having to set up inside the Church after some unexpected wind and rain and put up with us even though we were running forty minutes behind schedule! Naomi, our florist, was very relaxed and easy going during the planning stages and after a few discussions she stated “Leave it with me” with a smile and I really did leave it all up to her and what a success that was, we walked into our venue and were completely blown away by the magical setting she had been able to create in a just a few hours.
Our wedding started forty minutes late after our flower girls were delayed in the Formula One traffic! We can laugh about it now but on the day it certainly caused the groom to have some concerns and the bride some stress!
While I’ll never forget the anxiety of walking down the aisle and being terrified that I might fall over, forget what I was meant to do or completely ruin my vows, that wasn’t my favourite memory. There was a moment while we were eating dessert that I looked at my new husband, held his hand and then looked at all of our family and friends in the room and felt completely overwhelmed by all the love in the room and amazed that so many people wanted to come and celebrate with us. Everyone was so happy for us and so very generous and its that moment that I’ll never forget.
Marriage to me is signing up to have adventures with one very special person for all your life.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Samantha & Ghadir; your vintage theme suited your celebrations perfectly; the dancing looked like so much fun!
About Samantha: I grew up with my two siblings who are the very best, was raised by my grandparents who have always been my biggest supports and I have two best friends who I met in primary school who have become my family, I left Melbourne at 18 to travel and see as many things as I could. I fell in love while studying at university in 2007 and we have been together ever since, I have a fur baby named Hamilton and he is the most handsome dog on the planet!