Belinda and Thomas

Hello, friends. I have something very special to share with you tonight. A word of warning in advance – it involves a bit of bragging, for it would seem I’m quite the matchmaker.

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On a Friday night in November 2009, I caught up with one of my best friends, Belinda, for drinks at a Prahran bar. We laughed and chatted and laughed some more as we made our way through a bottle or two of wine (and a rather excellent cheese platter) before reaching the decision that what we really needed to do next was dance.

We made our way to that salubrious Chapel St institution, Bridie O’Reilly’s, where we knew there’d be a cover band playing enough 80s hits to indulge our dancing desire. Also influencing our decision was the fact that my now-husband, Dave, was having drinks there with his mates. As it so happens, one of those mates was a tall, handsome fellow by the name of Thomas.

You can guess what happened next, can’t you?

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Almost four years after that first, fateful meeting, I had the sincere privilege of marrying my dear friends.

They married in sophisticated style at the Dome at 333 Collins Street. There was a distinct air of excitement as guests embraced Thomas enthusiastically, but no one could match the beaming grin he wore as he anticipated Belinda’s arrival.

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Belinda was, quite simply, breathtaking.  She made her way down the aisle to the theme from The Princess Bride (one of their favourite films) and Thomas couldn’t tear his eyes away as she approached on the arm of her rightfully proud Dad.

After their parents gave an emphatic blessing to their marriage, I spoke of the night Belinda and Thomas met. Having been there, I could do this with some authority, and more than a few laughs were shared as I recalled the somewhat cheesy moves Belinda and I pulled on the dance floor, none of which – thankfully – seemed to discourage Thomas’ interest in our bride.

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I spoke of how quickly each of them realised that they wanted to grow old together, and their pride in the strong and loving relationship they have created.  I then shared some of their most treasured memories, including Thomas’ romantic London proposal last year, and highlighted some of the (many) things they love about each other, resulting in many laughs when an affection for Neil Diamond was revealed!

Being huge movie buffs, Belinda and Thomas chose to forgo traditional readings and instead looked to the silver screen for inspiration. Friends shared carefully selected quotes on love from some of Thomas and Belinda’s favourite films.

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I love that after I spend a day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
When Harry Met Sally

In my opinion the best thing you can you do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out of your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.
Juno

We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet….. I mean, what does any one life mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things….. all of it, all the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.
Shall We Dance?

Belinda and Thomas kept their self-penned vows secret until the day. They were heartfelt and emotional, Belinda stopping to compose herself as she was afflicted first with giggles, then tears!

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I cannot adequately describe the joy I felt in pronouncing my dear friends husband and wife. The thunderous applause that followed suggested that everyone in the room felt that same joy.

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Congratulations to two of my favourite people in the world. To say a couple is meant for each other is often a cliche, but in your case it’s merely an accurate description. It has been a delight to watch your relationship grow from that very first night and Dave and I could not be happier for you. May your life together forever be as you wish, my dear friends. xx Koren

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Belinda and Thomas, 21 September 2013
Venue: The Dome at 333 Collins Street, Melbourne
Photos: Tatiana at Red Butterfly Photography. I get so excited when couples tell me they have booked Red Butterfly. They’re super talented and super lovely, plus they get the shots without getting in the way and never, ever do cheese.
Celebrant: Koren Harvey

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The case for videographers

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During planning meetings, I ask my couples for the names of their wedding suppliers. This includes the photographer and videographer and it surprises me how few couples opt to have their wedding recorded. Recently, a bride asked me during one of these meetings if a videographer was really a worthwhile investment. After all, she said, they’d already booked a photographer – surely a videographer wouldn’t be necessary too?

My answer? They are not only worthwhile, they are a must-have.

_PX_7232When planning our recent wedding, I told my husband that hiring C2 Video was a non-negotiable.  I had worked with them on several weddings and I always ended up crying whenever I watched one of their reels, even when it was of people I didn’t know.

Dave accepted my decision, but he did say at the time that he never considered a wedding video as something we’d need.  When we told my parents that we had hired a videographer, they were initially sceptical – wasn’t it an unnecessary expense? I told them they’d soon see it wasn’t, but I know they took my advice with a pinch of salt.

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In the lead up to your wedding, everyone tells you the day will fly. That’s because it does. One minute you’re having your hair done and sipping on champagne, the next you’re climbing into bed, exhausted, beside your new husband.

This day that you have spent so long planning and saving for and dreaming about is no different to any other day – it is over in a matter of hours.

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In those few hours, so much happens.

You get ready, bubbling with excitement and anticipation.

You share memorable moments with parents and siblings as you prepare to step into the next stage of your relationship.

You walk down that aisle and go through the most significant ceremony of your life.

You are congratulated, heartily, by the people who love you.

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You hear thoughtful, emotional (and often hilarious) speeches that your friends and family have sweated over for weeks.

You enjoy the most expensive meal you’ll ever pay for.

You tear up the dance floor.

And it is in those moments, and all the moments in between, that the magic happens.

Wedding coffee

The day after our wedding, C2 Video uploaded a highlight reel of the day (scroll to the bottom of this post to see it). It was but a small snapshot of everything that happened, yet still enough to bring back the raft of emotions we felt that day (not to mention a few tears).  In just a few short minutes, Marcus  captured not just how it looked, but the way our day felt.

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We spent several days on our honeymoon talking about the wedding, nominating our favourite moments as we recounted everything we’d seen, done and heard. We realised that while we clearly remembered how the speeches made us feel,  we couldn’t remember the words used in them. We each wanted to know how the other had spent the morning before the wedding, and what had happened on either side of the chapel doors in those moments before they opened and I walked down the aisle.

When we got home all the uncut footage was waiting for us. We spent two evenings glued to our tv as we relived our wedding day through Marcus’ artistry. Not only did we get to see all those things we’d talked about while we were sinking poolside cocktails, Marcus had also captured so many little moments that had either gone unnoticed or been forgotten.

_PX_9585_PX_9934My parents, in particular, couldn’t wait to see the footage. Mum told me that the day was as much of a blur to her as it was to us, and through that video, they were able to take it all in once more.

Dad took a copy with him when he went to visit my 96-year-old Nan in Brisbane a few weeks after the wedding. She too had been there on the day, but wanted to see it all again. Friends and family around the world have been able to take part in our wedding through the work of Marcus and his team, and I love that we will one day be able to share our wedding ceremony with our children.

As a result, my parents have gone from being wedding film sceptics to complete advocates. Funnily enough, my Mum now asks me every weekend if the couple I’m marrying has hired a videographer. She’s a walking advertisement for C2 Video!

Are these not the best dressed crew you've ever seen? Dave and I with Marcus from C2 Video and John from Warren Photography

Are these not the best dressed crew you’ve ever seen? Dave and I with Marcus from C2 Video and John from Warren Photography

If your budget can stretch to a videographer, I implore you to GET ONE*.

To put it simply, I have never met a couple who have regretted hiring a videographer, but I’ve met plenty who have regretted not hiring one – and then, it’s too late.

*It goes without saying that not all videographers are made equal. Do your research and find someone you connect with, who will listen to you and who understands what you want. Make sure they can work with your photographer, and won’t disrupt proceedings for your guests. You’ll spend a lot of time with them on the day and you need to get along with them!  As you may have gathered, I can’t speak highly enough of C2 Video. They are talented, sensitive and professional, and always manage to get the memories without getting in the way.

All images in this post by Warren Photography, video by C2 Video.
Gown by Suzanne Harward.

What a difference a day makes

A year ago today, this happened.

IMG_0385 IMG_0433 Much to my surprise, I have been very laid-back in my approach to our wedding. Having worked on and gone to so many weddings, both Dave and I were pretty certain about what we wanted for our own celebration. We had the date picked and the big four – celebrant, venue, photographer and videographer – booked within a month of announcing our engagement. We then sat back and waited for the 11 months to pass until the big day. It seemed like it would never arrive.

Now, 10 of those months have passed. The wedding is less than four weeks away and we are moving through all the final details on our to-do list. On Friday night, we took our parents to our reception venue to help us choose the wedding menu. It started out like a regular family dinner, but over the course of the evening we all realised that the day is coming.

We realised that in a matter of weeks, my Dad will walk me down the aisle towards the man he already considers a son.

That in a matter of weeks, Dave and I will stand in front of all the people we respect most to declare our love and commitment to one another.

That all the people we love will be in one room. (That there will also be champagne and cake in the room is a bonus).

That our two families will be joined and together, we will start a new family.

That in a matter of weeks, I will marry my best friend.

I am SO EXCITED.

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All photos copyright Koren Harvey.

Amanda and Cameron

Photo by Kirralee

When I think of old Hollywood, I think of evening cocktails, of champagne in coupé glasses, of glittering candlelight. I think of effortlessly stunning women, draped in gowns so beautiful they defy imagination. Of handsome men in well-cut suits, leaning on marble bars as they sip on a martini.

All of these images and more were brought to mind at Amanda and Cameron’s stylish Melbourne Town Hall wedding.

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Everything about their wedding hinted at old Hollywood glamour, from the timing and the setting of their ceremony to their perfectly attired bridal party. Beautifully dressed guests mingled on the balcony at Melbourne Town Hall, their excitement only growing when they saw Amanda and her bridesmaids cross Collins Street. Cameron, keen to keep an air of mystery, refused to look and stood facing his groomsmen until he knew that Amanda had entered the building.

Amanda’s bridesmaids were beautiful in their floor-length blue gowns, providing a sharp contrast to the ivory silk of Amanda’s stunning Shane McConnell couture gown. She stepped on to the balcony with her very proud Dad to the sound of Rachael Leahcar’s La Vie En Rose and Cameron, a man not otherwise given to displaying his emotions, was visibly undone at the sight of her.

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Amanda and Cameron chose to face towards the street for much of the ceremony, giving guests ample opportunity to appreciate Amanda’s beautiful veil and train. Amanda and Cameron were conscious that their marriage was about joining two families together, so rather than having a ‘giving away’, Amanda’s Dad stood and lovingly welcomed Cameron into his family – as a son, a brother and the man who will love and cherish Amanda for the rest of his life.

We recounted the history of their long and happy relationship, sharing stories of treasured trips overseas, the life they have created together and the home they share with their beloved dog, Angel. We also spoke of Cameron’s ability to surprise Amanda, which was shown off when he proposed on Acland Street, St Kilda, one of Amanda’s favourite places.

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Amanda and Cameron then made their heartfelt and emotional vows.

‘I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.

I promise to respect you as a person with your own interests, desires and needs, and to realise that these are sometimes different, but no less important than my own.

I promise to keep myself open to you and to share my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams.

I promise to grow along with you, to be willing to face change as we both change in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting.

And finally, I promise to love you in good times and in the bad, with all I have to give.’

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Amanda and Cameron then exchanged rings, holding hands and looking lovingly into one another’s eyes.

‘This ring I give to you as a token of my love and devotion. I pledge to you all that I am and all that I will ever be. With this ring, I gladly marry you and join my life and dreams to yours.’

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I then had the great honour of pronouncing them husband and wife. As Amanda and Cameron shared their first married kiss, a huge cheer went up from Swanston Street below. Unbeknown to us, a crowd had gathered across the street to watch the ceremony unfold and their spontaneous applause only added to the joy up on the balcony.

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Congratulations, Mr and Mrs F. It was such a joy to work with and to get to know you both and I felt privileged to share in your happiness. May the years ahead be filled with many more moments as special as these. xx Koren

Amanda and Cameron, 10 November 2012
Venue: The Balcony, Melbourne Town Hall
Bride’s gown: Shane McConnell
Photos: Kirralee
Celebrant: Koren Harvey

 

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Amy and Brenden

If I was to select one photo to represent Amy and Brenden’s wedding day, it would be this one.

Red Butterfly Photography

Red Butterfly Photography

Moments after this photo was taken, Brenden turned and tenderly kissed the top of Amy’s head. You could tell just by looking at him that it was an instinctive gesture rather than a considered one.

He didn’t kiss Amy because it was his wedding day and everyone was waiting for romance. In fact, I don’t know that Brenden even registered the presence of their guests. In this moment, there was only Brenden and Amy. He kissed her because when Amy is in his arms, that’s what feels most natural.

Red Butterfly Photography

Red Butterfly Photography

Their wedding took place at the magnificent 333 Collins St. The mosaic floor, domed ceiling and long, long aisle make it one of the most impressive indoor venues Melbourne has to offer. Amy made the most of that beautiful long passageway by entering from Flinders Lane.

Brenden really wanted to be able to look into Amy’s eyes when he first saw her so he chose not to turn around until Amy entered the main hall. I can still hear him urging me to tell him how far away she was as she made her approach. The grins that broke out across both of their faces as they saw each other for the first time were contagious.

Red Butterfly Photography

Red Butterfly Photography

As Amy and Brenden had spent several years living and travelling together in the UK, a traditional giving away didn’t feel quite right. Amy and Brenden wanted to focus on the fact that their wedding was the bringing together of two families, so we instead asked both sets of parents for their blessing of the marriage.

When Amy and Brenden’s parents stood, I don’t think you could have found four prouder people anywhere in the world. I asked them if they welcomed each other’s child into their families as a daughter, a son and the person who would love their own child for the rest of their lives, resulting in four emotional, happy and very firm ‘yes’ answers from the front row!

Red Butterfly Photography

Red Butterfly Photography

Amy and Brenden first met two years before they became a couple, becoming very good friends before each started to realise their feelings for one another may be more than just platonic. In an acknowledgement of the deep and abiding friendship they have always shared, one of their readings was the appropriately titled Friendship.

Friendship – Judy Bielicki

It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel. True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life – it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic.

True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential.

Amy and Brenden came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and most importantly, the fun of true friendship.

Red Butterfly Photography

Red Butterfly Photography

Before they said their vows, we also shared some of the things they love about one another. These were kept secret so that both Amy and Brenden heard the other’s answers for the first time on their wedding day and their reactions to these were touching to witness.

There were tears from Amy when Brenden revealed that his favourite part of each day is coming home, cooking together then sharing a kiss before sitting down to eat. There were also a lot of laughs when it emerged that both Amy and Brenden have nominated each other as having the world’s greatest smile!

Red Butterfly Photography

Red Butterfly Photography

After exchanging heartfelt vows, Brenden and Amy were pronounced husband and wife to rapturous applause, sealed with a swoon-worthy kiss! They then made their way back down that long, lovely aisle, high-fiving those that love them before kicking on to an elegant reception at Treasury.

Red Butterfly Photography

Red Butterfly Photography

Congratulations to two of the warmest, most generous people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Every step of this journey with you was such a delight and I still treasure the memories of our relaxed catch-ups. May there be much more travel, many more adventures and so many reasons to keep flashing those smiles in the years ahead Mr and Mrs V. xx Koren

Amy and Brenden, 13 October 2012
Venue: 333 Collins Street, Melbourne
Photos: Red Butterfly Photography
Amy’s gown: Bernadette Pimenta Couture
Celebrant: Koren Harvey