Jessica (Jess) & Michael (MJ) are both former Australian swimmers, but grew up on opposite sides of the country (Perth and Sydney). Despite being the same age they never actually crossed paths during the time they were both swimming and it wasn’t until 2009 that they met through mutual swimming friends. “We began dating a year later and had just celebrated 8 years together the week before our wedding,” says Jessica. Michael proposed in 2017 on a beautiful beach in Samoa with an amazing ring that he chose himself.”
“Our relationship slowly grew for many years (7 until the engagement and 8 until the wedding), but in that time we went through many life experiences together which helped to strengthen our relationship,” says Michael. By the time we were engaged we knew each other inside-out. It was comforting during our engagement that we knew each other so well and we didn’t really feel nervous or worried leading up to the wedding. I had gone and bought the engagement ring before our holiday to Samoa with the intention to propose whilst on holiday. During one of our days out to Samoa’s most famous beach we had a swim and a snorkel before walking down the beach where I got down on one knee and proposed.”
WHAT MAKES US TICK
Jessica: “As a couple we are supportive of one another and like-minded with how we want to live our lives.”
MJ: “As Jessica says, we are both very like-minded; we have a strong work ethic and are always striving to be the best versions of ourselves. Having performed at an elite level as athletes, we have the same mindset to approaching life which helps us support each other when times are tough. We also celebrate our successes like any couple. We like to have fun and enjoy the rewards that come on the back of hard work. We love to travel and enjoy new experiences. I have no doubts that whatever challenges life throws at us, we will be able to overcome them.”
WHAT WE WORE
“Neither of us are especially knowledgeable when it comes to fashion, so that part was really tricky for us, but we had some great people to help us look our best! Michael worked with Ryan at Black Jacket Suiting in Bulimba for his dinner suit. When it came to my dress I really didn’t have any idea what type of dress I was after, so I just tried on a few at two different places and bought a Pronovias (Oreste) gown off the rack after trying it on and loving it at the Bridal Garage, also in Bulimba. In terms of a ‘look’ we knew we wanted the occasion to be quite formal and that is about as far as we got! My preference was for Michael and the Groomsmen to be in black with bow ties and I think it came together well,” says Jessica. “Our hair and makeup team (Lucie and Brittany from Bella Brides) really waved a magic wand on me and completed my look. Both for us can confidently say we felt really great with our wedding day looks!
“I have hardly ever worn a suit in my life. Only on a couple of formal occasions and previous weddings. I was originally against the idea of wearing a bow tie, but after trying the suit on with Ryan at Black Jacket Suiting it looked and felt good. Ryan was really great to work with, very experienced and made me feel very comfortable with the whole process,” says Michael. “We wanted our wedding to be a formal occasion and it doesn’t get more formal for me than a black suit with a bow tie. I’ve never had a suit tailored specifically for me and I do think that made the suit look better on me. I was very happy with my suit and we hired the groomsmen suits (also from Black Jacket Suiting). I personalised my look by buying my favourite shoes (Julius Marlow) for myself and the boys.”
WEDDING STYLING & OUR VENUE
“We wanted our wedding day to be a special occasion for our guests to get dressed up, so we went for a formal dress code and it was gorgeous! We had many ladies come in full length dresses and the men looked so smart in their suits,” says Jessica. “It was very important to us to try to keep things as easy as possible for our guests, so we opted to have the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception in the one place. We also were conscious of not leaving our guests too long while we were doing our photos and I think we managed that quite well. Good food and drink was also very important, which is ultimately why we went with the Summit Restaurant & Bar (Mt Cootha, Brisbane) as we had eaten there many times and always enjoyed it the food and the view.”
“The Summit Restaurant & Bar is lovely, so we knew it did not need a lot of extra decorations. We wanted more of a classic, elegant look, although we didn’t really set a particular ‘theme’ or ‘style’. Captivating Moments styled the venue as part of our package and it was great meeting with them as we were able to work out what we both liked, (e.g. tall centrepieces) and didn’t like (e.g. chair covers). We had a dear friend (Siong Pang, The Flower Grove) do our bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and garland and he did an amazing job!”
“We also wanted our wedding to be fun, so we had a brilliant band (The Nick Trovas Band) perform and that meant the dance floor was pumping all night. Micaela (My sister and Maid of Honour) also recommended an open air photobooth and that was a lot of fun (Ace Photo Booth Hire) and everyone loved the lolly buffet that I Do Crew styled!”
WHAT SURPRISED YOU ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY?
Jessica: “I think I was surprised that the day was so perfect! I knew we would have a great day, but it honestly exceeded my expectations!”
MJ: “Not really surprised, but amazed at how quickly the day went; everything went so quickly, I wish we had more time to celebrate! I was surprised at how awesome the day was; everything we had organised came together perfectly on the day.”
PLANNING A WEDDING
Jessica: “We were both involved in the planning process and made all the big decisions together. I was able to establish that some things that weren’t important to Michael and just go ahead and organise them myself. We also realised that we didn’t want to get too bogged down by believing that everything had to ‘match’ – for us it simply wasn’t important to have everything follow a strict theme. We did however try to be as organised as possible and chipped away at things we needed to do over about a 9-10 month period. Our ultimate goal was to have as little to do as possible in the few weeks before of our wedding and we did quite well with that. I don’t think there is anything that we would change because it was amazing to see that everything we organised came together so brilliantly on the day.”
MJ: “Jess was amazing in the organising and planning process. She was always on top of things and was quite often making sure I was on top of the things I was supposed to be doing! Jess organised the majority of the small things with a quick ‘I’m happy for you to decide’ comment from me. We had very similar tastes on pretty much everything we decided on, which made the process much easier. It was a surprise for me how much actually goes into a wedding. Jess was constantly bringing up new things we had to decide on or organise, that I didn’t even know were a thing! There was also a plethora of items to choose from when making a decision, so one thing we learnt was to pick something we liked and go with it rather than viewing the entire range of products available (which would take forever!) We wouldn’t change a thing.”
WORKING WITH THE I DO CREW
Jess: “For me the thought of planning a wedding was extremely overwhelming and Michael was very understanding with this. Tragically I had lost my sister at the start of 2017 and since then have been suffering with immense grief. I was very anxious about having so much to do on the day that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it as much as I hoped to. Michael and I also live away from our immediate families and we were adamant that we wanted our family members to arrive from interstate and simply enjoy the wedding, and not be tasked with things to do either before-hand, or on the day. I had done some research and came across the I Do Crew and called Christine. Christine was so understanding when I explained how overwhelmed I was. She explained how she could help. I told Michael and he agreed that the I Do Crew would be great for us. It was peace of mind knowing that someone was on top of everything on the day and liaising with our brilliant venue co-ordinators at the Summit and the other vendors. It was wonderful also in the lead up to run things by Christine and know I was on the right track. There were so many things that Christine helped me with, even as I started walking down the aisle I could hear I was dragging a noisy leaf along with my train and Christine was there to fix it!!”
MJ: “I actually met Christine for the first time just before the ceremony, so I didn’t have much to do with the I Do Crew in the lead up. But Jess telling me about all the organisational things that she had discussed with Christine reassured me that everything would be fine on the day. The biggest tell was how I could see the stress disappear from Jess’s face when she mentioned that Christine had been told about this job or that job. Jess had confidence in Christine and it took the weight off her shoulders especially in the last couple of weeks, knowing that we had Christine on top of things.
Jess: “I think try to be as organised as you can and keep plugging away at things! Also I realised that some people really love planning a wedding and then there are brides like me that find it really daunting and not the most enjoyable thing you could do. If you are the latter, it is ok and you aren’t alone! Also find the things that are important to you and have them in your wedding. You don’t have to do everything just because it is ‘tradition’. I walked myself down the aisle, Michael and I delivered a joint speech, we didn’t have a bouquet or garter toss, I didn’t have a Hens’ but Michael had a Bucks’ – just do the things that you want in the lead up and on the day as it is your day!”
MJ: “It’s your day, do it your way. We left out some traditional aspects of the wedding and did what we wanted to do. There is more than I thought to wedding planning so if you can, get some help with it to lighten your workload and let you enjoy the process and the day more. There are so many options when planning a wedding and it is nearly impossible to consider them all; so just go for one you both like and don’t worry about FOMO! Skimp on the small things that aren’t important to you and won’t really make a difference on the day, but don’t skimp on the important things. For us that included ensuring our guests weren’t hungry or thirsty and having good music. Things like a fancy seating chart, or everyone having an individual menu were not essentials for us. The Summit printed a seating plan for us and put a couple of menus on each table as part of our package and it was all we needed.
I Do Crew: “All of your attendants looked great, but a few of us behind the scenes were pretty impressed by your Bridesmaid dresses – they were beautifully made and fitted the girls’ perfectly. Is there a story behind them?
Jess: “Our Maid of Honour (my sister Micaela) and Bridesmaid Laura wore the stunning ‘Anika’ dress from White Runway in dusty pink. I loved that these dresses had a train at the back and I thought they complimented my dress perfectly. There is a story behind them. Micaela found them! Micaela living in Sydney went on her own to scope out dresses and Laura and I Facetimed into her appointment. I knew I would be happy with whatever Micaela liked, as she is a lot more fashionable than me! So Micaela came up with a top two then Laura and I went to the Brisbane store to try the same ones on. After that it was a pretty easy decision! We all loved the Anika dress. It was also wonderful to hear a number of people along the way saying to the girls ‘I can’t believe the bride is letting you wear these dresses’. I thought that was hilarious! Micaela and Laura are beautiful both inside and out and I was so happy to see them looking so glamorous but also truly love their dresses.