Finding a car park at Manly Beach on a Saturday lunchtime is always going to be a challenge, especially when you definitely have to be somewhere on time. I sniffed out a tight spot between a world famous Manly pine tree and a bunch of trendy motor scooters with plenty of time to meet Aaron and the guys making preparations for today’s wedding.
It’s always very cool for a wedding photographer to turn up and be greeted by familiar faces and that’s exactly how it was when Aaron’s brother Trent greeted me with an outstretched hand, his big smile and a solid, “how are ya mate, good to see ya.”
I photographed Trent and Lauren’s wedding a few years ago at the gorgeous golf course location, Magenta Shores and now it was his brother’s big day. Today was going to be different. It was going to be a Central Coast Wedding with spectacular Sydney Harbour Views and the weather was perfect.
Instead of me relaying every aspect of the day, I asked Amy to share her experience and wedding advice for future brides-to be.
How did you and Aaron meet?
Aaron and I went to school together and were best friends. In senior school I found out he wanted to be more than best friends, but I was scared of something going wrong. Despite my reluctance, Az never gave up and kept chasing Me.
We went to the same uni and in the first year of uni, I finally realised that we definitely should be together no matter what.
A year later we were living together in Sydney.
Can you tell me about the proposal?
I almost wondered if it would ever come. Az and I have been together for a long, long time.
When he proposed to me it had been 10 years and we finally married after 12 years together. After so long I guess he didn’t know how to ask so had to wait for something really unique. We were traveling Central and South America for 4 months when he asked.
He had already bought the ring months before (when travelling in Europe, which is a whole other story) and kept it in a hiding spot in our house.
When we left for our trip we left behind everything of value, except unbeknown to me, a priceless engagement ring. He was going to ask me underwater whilst we scuba dived in Belize, but the day before he did, we were on a boat and someone beat him to it – he was most annoyed at how romantic I thought that was.
About a month later we were on top of an ancient Mayan temple in Tikal, Guatemala (temple 4 to be exact ;)). Az wanted it to be a private moment, so had arranged with a local guide to take us round to a closed off area of the temple where we could climb to the very top. The guide took us away from the other people at the top, around to a rope hanging from the side of some bamboo scaffolding and instructed us to climb the algae covered rick wall.
Az went to try first, while I watched him slip and grunt his way up the wall. It was probably about when I was saying that I was going to fall 500m to my death that Az decided this might not be such a great idea. He climbed down and instead the guide took us round back of the temple lookout.
It was pre-dawn, and above the jungle canopy we could see mist everywhere and hear howler monkeys calling to each other. It was otherworldly and so beautiful.
Az completely caught me by surprise when he went to one knee and asked me to marry him, slipping my beautiful diamond ring on my finger. My answer was “of course!”
I wore my ring the rest of the morning, before (for security) I had to hide it in my backpack – where I worried over it the rest of the trip – Az was glad to pass it on to me. I would pull it out at night from time to time to wear.
I still remember popping it back on my finger on the plane on the way home. Since then it hasn’t left my hand.
Where was your wedding ceremony ?
We had an outdoor ceremony, because we both love nature and the water. We said “I do” at Bradley’s Head amphitheatre, a beautiful spot in national park with sweeping views over Sydney harbour. We happened across this place by accident one day when out exploring and have had numerous romantic picnics there since.
When the time came to plan, we knew there was no else for us, even changing our date 3 times to ensure we could have the ceremony there.
Where was your wedding reception?
Our reception was at Athol Hall. We had walked the bush track from the amphitheatre to Athol Hall before and had a delicious lunch. We loved that people would be able to walk to the venue from the ceremony and the menu looked fantastic (very important for us)!
We met with several possible venues, but when we met the organisers at Athol Hall we were decided. Lovely people, lovely food, lovely view!
Were you going for a certain theme?
No theme as such, but tried to achieve simple and elegant.
The colour purple was to run through the day and Singapore orchids as the centrepiece, in memory of my nan who passed away before the big day – her favourite flower was purple singapore orchids.
Was there a journey in finding your dress?
It was a short and easy journey. I had intended on going to Sydney to all the bridal shops with my mum and bridesmaids.
One day I was visiting mum on the coast and she said “why don’t we go check out the 2 bridal shops in Erina, just to get some ideas?” The first shop was Brides to Be, and the very first dress I tried on was the one I loved and the one I bought.
As soon as I looked in the mirror I said “yep, this is the one!”
My mum loved it too but couldn’t believe I could decide so quickly, so still encouraged me to try on a few more and visit the other shop. When I still liked the first one best, we brought my bridesmaids and my future mother in law to see the gown and help with the final decision. When they all started crying when they saw me in it, I figured I’d chosen well and bought it on the spot.
Where did you find your bridal shoes?
I searched all round the city for shoes. The bridal shops had beautiful shoes but very expensive, so I went around to the fashion shoe stores and finally found what I was after at a reasonable price in Wanted.
Who supplied your jewellery and accessories?
My jewellery and my bridesmaids, all came from Baku.
What were the instructions to your hair stylist?
I was recommended to my hair and makeup artist by a friend. Her name is Michelle Mae – Mae You Be– and I told her I wanted it up with lots of braids worked through. I took some pictures I had found of hairstyles I liked.
We had a trial before the day and worked out the style.
What were your make up instructions?
I had a trial for my makeup with Michelle too. I had originally said I wanted natural, but then realised it was not really what I wanted.
The next trial I asked for something more dramatic around the eyes, with a smokey look and some subtle colour in the eyes.
I loved my look on the day! Michelle was great.
Did the guys hire or buy their suits?
My husband bought his suit because he wanted a higher quality material for himself than you could get from the hire shop. He went for a 100% wool suit and because it would be too expensive to buy them all he hired the groomsmen’s suits from Spurling. They were very helpful there.
What about the flowers you chose for your wedding?
I did all the flowers myself. I had a practice go. Then a few days before the wedding I went to the flower market (my mum and sister helped) and bought a HEAP of flowers and made the bouquets. It was fun!
Can you tell me about your wedding cake?
The wedding cake was delicious. It was 3 tier (chocolate mud, caramel mud, and red velvet) with a butter cream icing. Quite simple in design with plain icing and Singapore orchids cascading down the side.
It was made by Sugar Princess at Dee Why. Really friendly and professional.
Did you have a bomboniere?
Our gift to guests was personalised rock candy. We found the candy shop online and pre ordered our design. Purple, strawberry flavour, with Amy and Aaron on. We then sourced the glass jars from another online store and a few days before the wedding, filled the jars and tied on the gift tags.
What’s one memorable moment from the day?
It’s very hard to pinpoint one moment… It was all so great. I’ll never forget standing at the top of the stairs with my dad, about to walk down, seeing all my guests, my fiancé and bridal party waiting for me.
Our little godson bringing the rings was great too.
I also remember vividly walking into the reception hall being announced as husband and wife with everyone cheering. So many moments!
Where did you honeymoon?
We honeymooned in Koh Samui Thailand at the Sunset Resort and Spa. It was great!
Tropical paradise and complete relaxation. We didn’t have long there because of Az’s work commitments, but loved it. We have now booked our dream honeymoon to Paris and Italy. We head there for 3 weeks in July!
One important piece of advice to share with brides to be?
Make sure you are organised in advance, don’t leave things til the last minute, or you’ll feel stressed.
Don’t stress over tiny details, in the end you don’t even notice on the day.
Did you enjoy the photography part of the day?
The bridal party photos were great fun. I thought posing for photos would be awkward for me, but it felt really natural. And it was fun having some quiet time with just us and the bridal party.
The only thing I’d change is to make the photo time a bit longer so we could have done more of it!
Want to find out more about our wedding photography? Head to the Impact Images website to see exactly what we can offer you. Alternatively, check out one of my favourite and very classy Central Coast weddings photographed at The Bells at Killcare.