When I met Karen and Michael, I knew immediately they were my kind of people. Karen was typically British with her polite reserved nature and pronounced Scottish accent. Michael was everything that embodied Aussie – his build, his wit and his vision of what he wanted captured for this Australian wedding. Meticulously organized, he went through potential landscapes that would make a great Aussie backdrop for the photographs such as those with Gum trees, rustic venues and spots with Melbourne City skylines. Sitting beside him, Karen would occasionally chirp in saying “And if we could get some kangaroos, that would be perfect”.
I giggled a little thinking of my British friends and their obsession with kangaroos and “Neighbours”…
.. but seriously Kangaroos?
The thought of being clobbered by a wild Kangaroo trying to get “the shot” frightened me beyond belief. I was devastated to find out she wasn’t a Neighbours fan – I had hoped for the safety of Ramsay Street.
The day finally came and it’s like Melbourne knew to be on its best behaviour for this couple who was soon to relocate to Glasgow. Amongst the cold dreary winter, came a Saturday beaming with sunshine for the celebrations.
We started off at the groom’s. Our knocking went unanswered for a while and I had a vague feeling all that drumming was coming from within – little did I know what a musical family this was. A very dashing looking Michael finally greeted us at the door and we had the pleasure of meeting this family. We soon got to realise what made Michael, Michael. The constant humour, the boyish gags and loudly dished out commands of:
“Tim smile! Michael, be serious! Boys look into the camera!”,
gave us a snapshot of how hectic family life must have been for his parents. Amongst the mischief however, was a lot of love and emotion in this beautiful family, who’s first child was about to fly the coop.
In true Michael style, everything was organised and timing went perfectly. We even got to photograph the boys practising the surprise piece they were playing at the reception. While he smiled, joked and was generally calm, there were just the slightest hint of nerves and emotion as I asked him when exactly he would be doing the dedication:
“I don’t know, I think maybe after my speech as I think I may get very emotional during my speech”. He then gave me a present to pass on to Karen, his wife-to-be.
We got to the Karen’s apartment and things couldn’t be more different. Perched up high, the light filled apartment had a beautiful view over the North of Melbourne. Things were running behind schedule and we walked into an air of polite frenzy – or was that just me? One look at the sea of makeup and curling irons that surrounded us and I knew Michael’s clear instruction of “leave at noon” would have to be grossly ignored.
Regardless, the girls looked beautiful in their teal gowns. Karen looked radiant in just her matching dressing gown, let alone her final wedding dress. Amongst all the hustle, was the sweet moment when Karen opened Michael’s present: a Welsh Lovespoon, to honour Karen’s maternal heritage, with personal engravings, including their two wedding dates. Accompanied by a hand written card, this loving moment was incredibly sweet to witness and was a taste of what was to come.
Karen made her (very) fashionably late entrance into a packed hall at the Northern Community Church of Christ. From the tears in Michael’s eyes as he saw Karen walking down the aisle, to the honest vows they made to each other, right through to the devoted ceremony and the beautifully made wedding cake by Michael’s sister, everything was personal and reflective of them as a couple.
The reception afterwards went off without a hitch. Multi-talented Jacqui (Michael’s sister), cake maker and MC extraordinaire, had the night going at a beautiful pace with games, speeches and several rounds of Scottish Ceilidh. Speeches didn’t disappoint either, with the full extent of Michael’s mischievous character revealed in his (brother and) best man’s speech. After the source of much hilarity, he still managed to get up and woo his wife with a heartfelt speech and song dedication. He truly did set the bar high for many a grooms out there.
The day was full of highlights but I’m sure if you were to ask Karen, her eyes would light up like a kid in a candy store and she’ll tell you THE HIGHLIGHT: getting a picture with a wild Joey. The beautiful Woodlands Historic Park in Greenvale provided the perfect backdrop for our photos with its Aussie Windmill, acres of gum trees and yes – wild kangaroos. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d get close to the animals, let alone manage a photo with the iconic creatures under time pressure. But we did and the exhilaration of making Karen’s dream come true is hard to put into words, but I believe HER exact words were:
“Chamilka, I really don’t care what the rest of your photos look like if you managed to get that one” 🙂
Suddenly I found myself very, very thankful Karen was not a fan of Neighbours and we hadn’t settled for Ramsay Street.
Karen and Michael, thank you for having Mara and myself as part of your special day. To be among your nearest and dearest and witness the sanctity of the love between you was indeed a privilege. Wherever you may be in the world – Glasgow, Melbourne or anywhere in between – you have my fondest wishes and prayers for a life filled with happiness, love and many more exhilarating moments together.
Thank you indeed for the perfect day,
Florist: Lillypad Flowers
Bride’s Makeup: Miss Aimmey
Bridesmaid’s makeup: Corrine Hair and Make Up Design
Cake Designer: Jaqui Ratcliffe (sister of groom! Wasn’t it divine ?!?)
Ceremony Venue: Northern Community Church of Christ
Reception Venue: Normanby House
Photo Venue: Woodlands National Park