Freya & Bryte’s Africa Inspired Wedding By The Bay

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Freya & Bryte

It was a beautiful blend of cultures that dictated part of the theme for Freya and Bryte’s waterside wedding at Saltwater Restaurant Fingal Bay. Their family and friends gathered as they exchanged vows before enjoying a bit of rock climbing to ‘get the perfect shot’ at sunset! In a day that celebrated both their heritages, there were subtle hints to each in many of the finer details. It’s this that we truly love to see, when a wedding is a personal reflection of the couple and uncomplicated by outside noise! Florent Vidal spun magic as he captured the day, the special moments and the loved up couple. Today, the Bride Freya details their wedding and all the moments that made it perfect! 

Freya and Bryte were set up by their mutual friends (who are still very pleased with themselves 6 years later), out of all places, at a Medieval fair trudging through mud! After a few years of being together, Bryte’s proposal happened at the peak of Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko.

“It was a really snowy walk and such a beautiful day when we got to the top. Afterwards we slid down the mountain on a tarp which was much easier than what walking up in the snow had been.”

Bryte explains, there wasn’t nearly as much deliberation and planning with my suit as there was for, say, Freya’s dress. My main concern was I wanted grey, but Freya doesn’t like dark greys such as charcoal, as they don’t complement my skin tone. We also had to work around Tiffany—my “best man”—and her suit, as she had to have her suit custom made because the men’s rental suits would not have complemented her figure.

Her suit was made by the tailor Joe Button in Sydney. She was very happy with the quality of the suit, and we chose rental suits for the rest of the grooms’ party to match the style and colour (mostly colour) of Tiffany’s. The distinguishing features of my attire compared to the rest of my party were the colours of our ties and pocket squares. My pair was ivory coloured to match Freya’s dress, while everybody else’s was sea/forrest green to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. Freya’s father also wore the same green tie, and Freya’s brother coincidentally also wore the same tie as us, but in a vibrant red.

Towards the end of the night, I switched from my suit into a traditional, Ghanaian kente cloth. This was a gift from my father and my sister, who organised to have the cloth made and brought it along from Ghana. The cloth is arduously hand-woven, comes in various colours and patterns, and each of the colours symbolise a different meaning, although admittedly we chose the colours based on personal taste rather than any deeper meaning. You can find meanings here.

Since the cloth is hand-woven, it is quite expensive. This prohibitively meant that, in the past, the cloth was worn by royalty. In more modern times, the cloth is now worn on special occasions—such as weddings. The wearing of the cloth symbolises that “for today, you are the King and Queen”.

My dress hunting was a little different to most bride’s experiences. Because my mum and bridesmaids live in different cities, I went by myself to find the dress and actually loved one of the first dresses I tried on. I kept looking but just found myself comparing to the original one, so it was an easy choice! It was also a very calm experience, and I think that was partly due to the shop owner I bought the dress from (Affordable Bridal in Canberra). Again, it was a relaxed decision!

My dad gave me some excellent advice for choosing the dress, that was ‘there are probably 100 dresses that will be wonderful if you choose them, because if you wear it on your wedding day it will be special no matter what. There might be 100 others that you won’t like, but you have 100 excellent choices which will be wonderful, so you aren’t looking for the perfect 1 choice, just the first you feel happy in’. Good old dad!

Brides traditionally wear ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.’ But what is less well known is that the rhyme ends ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. My friends also gave me a sixpence for my shoe tradition! My bridesmaids and I all wore rose gold sneakers to match my ring while allowing for practical running and jumping activities!

The couple chose ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by the Beatles. Freya’s dad walked her down the aisle on crutches as he’d torn his Achilles tendon at Bryte’s bucks party the weekend before! “I was worried he would get his crutches stuck in my dress, so it was a bit more of a wobbly walk down the aisle than I had imagined growing up,” recalls Freya. “Luckily my dad had raised me to be a strong independent woman so that I could walk HIM down the aisle!”

Our wedding felt really relaxed, it had a variety of nature including beach, rocks and trees which made it really feel like us. Because we’ve moved around a lot, we had friends and family from lots of different places and it was the only time we’d had all our favourite people in one place. This made our wedding day feel like coming home.

We wanted our ceremony to be the central focus for our wedding. Instead of a quick ceremony to tick a box, we had a beautifully tailored and very personalised ceremony from Jacie Whitfield of I Do Bespoke Ceremonies. It was an open and honest story of ourselves and our closest friends and family, and talked about our relationship and the journey we have been on and will continue to be on now that we are married.

To choose our favourite photo from the day is hard!! There are so many beautiful photos that we absolutely love. However, choosing just one, our favourite is probably the one of Bryte picking me up after we were married walking back down the aisle!

Our Bridal party was made up of Laura, Katy, Sarah and Grace as our bridesmaids and Tiffany, Tom, Aron and Ken as our groomsmen. We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends in our lives and a part of our wedding day. We never picked our bridal party based on skills and just had our best friends, however it turns out our best friends have a fantastic variety of skills, which made everything work smoothly on the day!

We were lucky enough to have an amazing celebrant who wrote a ceremony which included our bridal party in a big way. We were able to thank them all for being in our lives and they all wrote things to be revealed to us in our ceremony, it was just beautiful!

My flowers were a variety of natives from Canberra (which is where we live) and the local Port Stephens area. There are some particular gum leaves I brought to Port Stephens in buckets and the rest were from my Nana’s garden, Auntie’s garden or from their neighbours gardens!
My mum and 92 year old Nana spent hours watching YouTube for floristry tips and then put them together into bouquets for us. My Nana seemed to enjoy her introduction to YouTube! Having the flowers done in the family meant they were just so personal and meaningful.

Some of our favourite moments and details of the day were our vows to each other and the speeches, as well as changing into our kente made our wedding so special. We also had a lot of fun rock hopping for photos at dusk! Bryte and I are both rock climbers so we really enjoyed it! Climbing rocks in a wedding dress was just like a new challenge!

Our photographer, Florent Vidal was just amazing. He was recommended to us from our venue and a very easy decision to make once we’d seen some of his photos online. I think the thing that really drew us to him, was his easy going nature and quiet confidence. Florent was really wonderful to work with on the day, because he just went with whatever was happening and got photos from that, guiding us without directing us.

Freya & Bryte chose Saltwater Restaurant in Fingal Bay, Port Stephens for their wedding day. Thanks to Freya’s 92 year old Nana that they had found their perfect wedding venue! “We checked out the venue and it just had such relaxed vibes overlooking the ocean. The owners were very friendly and calm and we easily clicked. Maybe more people should ask their Nana for venue recommendations!”

We really enjoyed the first part of the planning – choosing the venue, photographer and celebrant. They were probably the most important decisions but the ones that made our wedding what it was. We really tried to choose people who were relaxed and down to earth, and we were really happy with the choices we made! Another thing we really enjoyed was having dancing lessons.

For our first dance, we danced to Genghis Khan by Mike Snow. Probably not a very popular wedding dance song, but we both have always liked the song and it made it silly and fun! We had swing dance lessons from Tim at Danzon Dance Studio. Tim was really fun and we got just enough confidence to allow us to enjoy our dance without worrying about it!

Freya & Bryte blended Australian and African symbols into their wedding decor as a nod to their backgrounds. “We had kente, a traditional wedding fabric from Ghana, which Bryte’s dad and sister brought back for us. My mum and Nana sowed the bright fabric into table runners and we also draped some over the arbour. We had Australian natives out of my Nana’s garden in small jars on the tables. It was very simple but very personal, and we think it worked really well. As Saltwater has such fantastic views and a beautiful open space with plants hanging from the ceilings, we didn’t need to do too much to decorate!”

We really wanted to include Bryte’s Ghanaian background and we did this by changing into kente outfits halfway through our reception. In Ghana the royals wear kente and so on your wedding day, as you are the king and Queen for the day, you are allowed to wear kente.

Our tips for couples marrying in the future would be to aim to plan a day which yourselves and family and friends enjoy, to choose your priorities and stick with them, and acknowledge when something isn’t a priority for your wedding. There is always more that can be planned for but at the end of the day, a simple wedding which is very personal will be remembered for all the right reasons.

Ms Zebra says: What an amazing wedding! Such an incredible way to include special heritage pieces and we send both Freya and Bryte the biggest congratulations and all the best for their successful marriage ahead!

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