It’s strange that after fifteen years as a photographer to still feel nerves on the way to a wedding. I definitely had a case of the butterflies on the drive down to this wedding. I was questioning (myself) why? I was guessing that is was a big Sydney wedding or that the ceremony and reception were taking place at the exclusive Royal Sydney Golf Club, or the gown was something very special by Rhonda Hemmingway at Double Bay. None of that really made any sense… I’ve done this so many times before.
I later realised, six months later, that I was looking to take my photography in a different direction, to stop shooting what was expected, what I saw, and more of what I felt. I also know now that Rebecca and Morgan were the perfect couple to start that change of direction and it was a pressure on myself that was causing the nerves.
I needn’t have worried. Meeting Morgan, his mates and family on the day was like arriving home for a big family Christmas lunch… smiles, laughter, cajoling, family, friends and lots of love. Sure, it wasn’t my family and friends but it sure felt like it the minute I walked in.
Why so long? Why now to realise and write about why I was feeling the way I was?
I sent a questionnaire to Rebecca about her wedding day for a blog post (this blog post) not long after the wedding. Being busy and facing some big events in their life, Rebecca didn’t have a chance to get her answers to me till now, this week. That email was the catalyst to go back over the photos and see what I captured, what I created.
I see photos with true meaning; candid, fleeting, real moments. Moments that are seeping with emotion, feeling or just plain fun.
Why were Morgan and Rebecca the perfect chance to change direction with my photography?
As a wedding photographer, you’d expect that I see and witness couples in love who love each other most weekends. Sure, I do. Some couples are different though. Some couples create a different impression of love. Like what you might see in a movie, that kind you expect is possible but don’t really get to see often. It’s possible to not only see it, you can feel it. When they’re in the room together you just know they are meant to be. It sounds cliche but it’s true.
Some couples are, I get the feeling, just meant to be. Morgan and Rebecca are this couple.
I want to photograph more couples like this. I want to photograph more couples that ooze love. It’s relationships like these that set my photography free. It’s couples like these that make me feel like I’m doing what I am meant to do.
Enough about me!
Below are the questions I sent Bec and Morgan and their replies. If you’re planning an amazing wedding like theirs, really are in love with your partner, and want a photographer to capture that emotion, tell the story and do more than just take pictures, call me. I’d love to be a part of it.
What’s a little of the story behind the two of you?
We met at university, both studying Medical Science. We must have been in a reproductive anatomy lecture, because I heard a male voice yell something obscene from the back of the room. I remember thinking some withering things about that person, who eventually turned out to be Morgan.
We became very good friends, then fell in love a couple of years later while I was studying in Brisbane and he was studying in Newcastle. We spent a few years flying back & forth to spend time together, but I was able to get a job at Gosford Hospital and we’ve been together since.
Can you tell me about the proposal?
Morgan woke me up early on a Monday after an big weekend of birthday & wedding celebrations. We were planning to do some exercise before work & Morgan wanted to run to a lookout in North Avoca that I’d never seen before.
I was shuffling along, very unfit, when Morgan directed me up along the bush path to the lookout. We came out of the bush onto this rocky crag with a beautiful view out over North Avoca Beach, the sun only just coming up. Morgan gave me a hug, told me he loved me and then got down on one knee.
After I said a sweat, flushed yes, Morgan’s best man jumped out of the bushes with a bottle of Moet & some champagne glasses.
Where was your wedding ceremony and reception and why there?
We held the wedding ceremony and reception at the Royal Sydney Golf Club in Rose Bay. My family have a bit of history with the RSGC. It was where my parents had their wedding reception, as did all of my mother’s siblings, and I also had my 21st there.
Morgan & I didn’t want a church ceremony, so we said our vows in the garden on the grounds of the RSGC. It was nice for me to have our wedding at a place that has been so special to my family.
Were you going for a certain theme or style?
I wasn’t aiming for any particular theme, but I knew I wanted soft colours and fairly simple flower arrangements. Tea lights & fairy lights featured, both favourites of mine.
Can you tell me about your wedding dress and any advice you have for other brides looking for their perfect gown?
My dress was made by Rhonda Hemmingway at Double Bay. I had been looking around for a while before I decided to have the dress made. I had seen a few dresses that I liked parts of, but nothing that I completely loved. Rhonda and I came up with a dress that had all of my favourite bits & pieces.
I had my heart set on long sleeves and a heavy lace.
My advice to other brides would be to try on many different styles to find out what you love. The dress you’ve been imagining in your head might not be the dress you eventually fall in love with.
Where did you find your wedding shoes and jewellery for the day?
I had my shoes made through Peep Toe.
My advice would be not to go too high, it will catch up with you during the reception.
Jewellery and accessories by?
I wore a diamond bracelet that had belonged to my grandmother, her present to me on my 21st birthday.
My pearl & diamond earrings were made by Neil Keown at Gosford Manufacturing Jewellers. The south sea pearls were a graduation present from my parents & were cultured at Cygnet Bay, the oldest operating pearl farm in Australia!
My Dad grew up on on a pearl farm in Port Moresby, so pearls have always been my favourite ‘gem’.
Who did your hair and what led you to the style you chose?
My hair and makeup were done by the amazing husband and wife team, Shay & Ella of Elysium Hair in Lane Cove. My Mum, sister and I have used Shay and Ella on multiple occasions & always love their work.
I was aiming for natural, not-too-heavy makeup & a simple, neat up style.
Where did Morgan find the guys suits?
The boys took advantage of the personal shopping service at David Jones in the CBD. Morgan wanted own his wedding suit and the groomsmen were happy to buy as well.
Can you tell me about your flowers and bouquets?
My flowers were arranged by the Royal Sydney Gold Club florist, Vicki Kerr. I wanted simple bouquets with a mix of neutral coloured roses.
What led you to choose the wedding cake you did?
Our cake was made by my sister’s boyfriend’s sister, the clever Amy Fowler. It was a beautiful three-tiered cake with rough icing & lace edging.
Can you describe the photography part of the day?
After the ceremony we spent about an hour with Andrew and our bridal party, just wandering around some of the beautiful gardens of the RSGC grounds. Andrew was cheerful, pleasant to work with and very easygoing.
What led you to choose Impact Images for your wedding photography?
Andrew had photographed the wedding of my good friend and colleague a year prior. I loved the photos from her wedding so I didn’t really have to look around for a photographer, I just went straight to Andrew!
Can you tell me about your most memorable moment from the day?
It’s all a bit of a happy blur, to be honest. There were many wonderful moments.
Can you tell me a little about your honeymoon?
We spend a week in Samoa, sleeping, lying in the sun & drinking cocktails. It was very relaxing.
What is the most important piece of advice you could share with brides to be?
As much as you can do while organising a wedding, avoid anxiety & stress, it will dampen the joy of your engagement.
If you had the chance to redo the whole thing again, what changes would you make?
Nothing! It was a lovely day, we were surrounded by all the people we love, and there were surprisingly few mishaps on the day.