Sunshine all year round

Dave and I celebrated our third anniversary in June this year. It honestly feels like this boy has been in my life forever and yet like we’ve only just begun, so that we’ve clocked up 3 years almost took me by surprise.  We celebrated with dinner at one of our favourite restaurants and small gifts for each other.

Three years and counting...

In the early days we celebrated each ‘month-iversary’ with small tokens of our affection and special dinners out. Fast-forward to year 3 and occasionally one of us will bring home some chocolate, wine or a book for the other on the 6th of the month, but generally we save our gift-giving for the annual anniversary.

Which is why I was equally thrilled and dismayed when I saw this gorgeous print on Etsy from artist handz in January this year.

By Etsy vendor Handz

The bright colours and bold typeface instantly appealed to me and as Dave and I regularly sing (off-key, naturally) ‘You are my sunshine’ to one another, it seemed a perfect gift. And yet our anniversary was still 6 months away! How could I give it to Dave before then? What to do?

Well, I counted.

And worked out that we were coming up to 1,000 days of dating. Care to guess what Dave received when we hit that milestone?

Sunshine now graces our living room wall.

I also couldn’t help but think that this print would make beautiful engagement party/wedding decor, especially when paired with some of handz’s other retro -styled work. Then there’s the added bonus of being able to display them in your home afterwards!

Perfect as decor or a gift!

Now I just need to find more dates to celebrate – and some extra wall space!

Jazzing it up

Earlier this year, we attended the wedding of our friends Elysha and Wil. They married in a religious ceremony at the picturesque Stones of the Yarra Valley on a crisp autumn morning.

Elysha and Wil

Lysh is my little sister’s best friend and having watched her grow from a gorgeous teenager into a beautiful woman, it was particularly poignant to witness her marriage to the equally beautiful Wil.

Both Lysh and Wil are stylish, creative souls and put their own innovative touches on their wedding day.

The stunning chapel at Stones of the Yarra Valley

The chapel was decorated with red and orange floral arrangements to honour Elysha’s Dutch heritage and her late Mum. Friends read blessings and poetry to the couple and Lysh and Wil’s sisters acted as their witnesses. It was an intimate celebration of love and family.

After Wil and Lysh were pronounced husband and wife and prepared to make their exit, the opening bars of Fly Me to the Moon seemed to float down from above.  Wil had organised a jazz band and hidden them in the choir loft as a surprise for his bride. 

As Wil took his new wife for a dance, signs began to pop up around the chapel.

In another surprise for Elysha, Wil and some of his friends had hand-stencilled signs to hoist aloft as they danced their way into their new life together.  It was a perfect moment and resulted in much delighted laughter.

Other signs included 'W loves E' and 'Congrats!'

The newlyweds then made their way out into the sunshine to the strains of jazz standards, where they posed with their wedding party and perhaps the most appropriate sign of all.

What unique touches will you be incorporating into your wedding day?

Elysha and Wil, 1 May 2011
Venue: Stones of the Yarra Valley
Bridal gown: Collette Dinnigan
Bridesmaid gowns: Ted Baker
Flowers: Blooming Brides

All you need is love

It was with much sadness that I heard that the beautiful Farid lost his courageous battle with cancer last Friday. I married Farid and Lisa in February this year and my heart broke for them and the years together that they had been so cruelly denied.

In the short time that I knew Farid, he taught me that The Beatles had it right. All you need is, in fact, love.

On their wedding day, Farid and Lisa were aware that their time together was limited. Neither knew when it would run out, but they were determined to pack as much love and memories into their lives as possible.  They maintained positive outlooks and had long ago adopted the viewpoint that whatever came their way, they would face it. Together.

Lisa and Farid’s wedding was simple and sincere, just as they wanted it. No processions, no readings, no standing on ceremony – just honest and heartfelt statements that attested to how they feel, and would always feel, about the other. It was so moving to witness and left me thinking about it for days afterwards.

I still think about it now.

Cancer may have taken Farid from us, but it will never take away the love that Lisa and Farid share, or the love that all their family and friends are cocooning them both in now.

Vale Farid, a much loved and loving man.

Lisa and Farid

Lisa is a former colleague of mine who I don’t get to see often enough. It was therefore a lovely surprise to get a phone call from her out of the blue one day.

She wanted to know if I could keep a secret. Despite having had a religious ceremony a few years ago, she and Farid had never been married legally and wanted to do so in front of everyone they held dear. As a surprise. On the tenth anniversary of the day that they met. Would I be interested in marrying them?Would I be interested? You bet!

And so on a bright February Sunday, Dave and I joined Farid, Lisa and their family and friends for a low-key barbecue in the backyard of their beautiful home. I won’t deny that it gave me a buzz to know that aside from just a few of us, no one knew what was coming.

When, during speeches to honour all that they have and those that they love, Lisa announced that they would be marrying, there were tears, cheers and about half an hour’s worth of hugs. Some guests arrived halfway through the ceremony (to be fair, they didn’t know there’d be a wedding!) and seeing their faces change as they worked out what was happening was just beautiful.

Lisa’s smile couldn’t have been any broader!

Best of all though, were the looks on Lisa and Farid’s faces. Every emotion was genuine and their happiness was infectious. When I pronounced them husband and wife, they embraced each other to whoops and claps that seemed to go forever.

Just married!

Then it was time for prawns, champagne and a whole lot of dancing.

I love what I do. Congratulations, my beautiful friends. xx Koren

Lisa and Farid, 13 February 2011
Venue: At home
Celebrant: Koren Harvey

Prue and Nick

From the moment I first met Prue and Nick, I knew I was going to enjoy working with them.

I liked them instantly. They’re best friends as well as partners and have a zest for life that’s infectious. They make each other – and everyone else – laugh and are happiest when outdoors. For their honeymoon, they took off overseas on a snowboarding adventure.

They married on 15 January 2011 at the beautifully rustic Jinks Creek Winery, about an hour east of Melbourne. Nick and Prue chose to spend the night before their wedding at Jinks Creek and get ready together. When we arrived to set up, they were meandering through the vines having their photos taken so that they could spend more time with their guests afterwards.

Surrounded by friends and family, Nick and Prue were married under the shade of a centuries-old oak tree. They shared some of the reasons that they love each other (many laughs were had when the bride revealed that she loves how the groom will often ask people – including colleagues – to ‘hug it out’) and, after a reading from Nick’s sister, made their vows.

When Nick lifted up Prue’s hand and kissed it after placing the ring on her finger, I think almost everyone lost their breath. It was such a spontaneous gesture, yet so full of emotion.

Congratulations Prue and Nick – and thank you for letting me share in your day! xx Koren Prue and Nick, 15 January 2011Venue: Jinks Creek Winery, TonimbukPhotos: Natalie WalkerCelebrant: Koren Harvey