For Ren and Drew, finding the time to be together has always been tough with both working in the humanitarian sectors (both within Australia and internationally). “Being apart has been our normal, and has allowed us some wonderful reunions in different parts of the world. Including staging a proposal in Cyprus,” Ren tells us, and it certainly wasn’t your standard engagement! “I proposed to Drew! We had been apart for three months before reuniting in Cyprus where Drew had rented an incredible villa overlooking the Mediterranean…One late afternoon following an ocean swim, I proposed and he (after recovering from the shock) said yes. There was no engagement ring, but we each chose a stone from the beach where I proposed which were later made into wearable pieces by Robyn Wernicke of Small Space Jewellery, who also made our wedding rings.”

After the proposal the couple were ecstatic to realise their small family was about to grow a little bigger, with the announcement of their pregnancy adding to the celebrations. “An ultrasound confirmed we would be well into our third trimester at the time of the wedding…When we discussed a less than traditional wedding, this wasn’t quite what we expected! We joked about arranging a ‘stand in’ for me on the day in case I went into early labour!” Laughed Ren. “I was unwell for months, there were a lot of unknowns about how we would manage two significant life events within a month. Most people would immediately call their family and friends to announce their news. Our first call was to my dressmaker,” who just so happened to be the incredible Linda Doble. “Linda understood quite early on that I was after something out of the ordinary, and together we came up with the design for my gold sequinned number complete with black lining for the split, which would show off the henna on my legs as I moved.”

When it came to stand out vendors, Ren and Drew agreed they were hard pressed to pick just one. “North St Botanical have been our preferred florist for years and it seemed inconceivable we would consider anyone else for creating an indoor paradise jungle. Holly and the team completely blew us away with their dark moody florals, the installation over the dance floor was spectacular,” whilst the bride mentioned Sophie T Photography went above and beyond for the couple that were a little camera shy to begin with, “Sophie was a relaxed easy going presence and the light hearted banter between Sophie and Stina (of Gold and Grit), her co-photographer on the day helped us relax, forgetting the camera was on us for most of the day. Their experience clearly shone through as they had some excellent strategies for getting our bridal party to feel at ease and natural throughout the day!”

We fell in love with this piece of advice Ren had for future couples hoping to tie the knot, “I strongly encourage pre-wedding day gatherings. Not every hen or bucks gathering needs to be over the top or filled with booze, but there is something to be said for gathering with close friends before your big day that gives rise to a sense of atmosphere and excitement.” Here here!

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Sophie T Photography // Florist North St // Printer Impact Digital // Ceremony Venue Abbotsford Convent, Vic // Catering Bursaria Catering // Outdoor Garden Chairs Harry the Hirer // Signage Kookaburra Printing // Entertainment Mr Boutique // Celebrant Jenny O’Keefe, Joyful Ceremonies // Rings Small Space THE BRIDE Bride and Bridesmaid Dresses Linda Doble // Robes Ivy & Matilda // Lingerie Simone Perele // Shoes Evans // Accessories Small Space // Hair Daseti // Makeup CLB Makeup THE GROOM Suit Antons // Shoes Manfreds Shoe Lounge // Barber Daseti // Groomsmen Suits Travellers Apparel // Flower Girl Outfits Linda Doble // Page Boy Outfits Antons.