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Industrial Opulence

— Peta & Gerard


10 September 2016


122 people


Justin Aaron

Peta & Gerard by Justin Aaron
Peta & Gerard by Justin Aaron

The art of juxtaposition. There's nothing we love more than seeing the wildly beautiful contrast of a raw industrial space with decadence and grandeur.  Peta & Gerard's Sydney celebration was filled with unexpected details, artfully executed with purpose and to perfection by styling genius Lisa Madigan. Instead of centrepieces, dramatic installations of jewel toned blooms lined walls and ran parallel to minimalist tables intentionally void of decor and finished with modern ghost chairs. 

Blending classicism with modernity, Peta chose a chic silhouette by Ellery, accented with sleeves in cascading ruffles, and finished with a sculptural bouquet that played on darkness and light; edge and elegance.

Doing justice to every carefully considered detail was one of our favourite photographers, Justin Aaron.

NAMES: Peta Barclay and Gerard White 

WEDDING DATE: Saturday,10th of September 2016 


HOW WE MET: We met in a bar in Kings Cross in 2012. We were both out with friends. Unbeknown to me, my friend and colleague who I was out with, Sylvia, was an old school friend of Gerard’s. Sylvia introduced us, we chatted briefly, and we went our separate ways. It was fleeting, but fast forward a year and we bumped into each other on the dance floor at the now defunct Spice Cellar. We hit it off, it was as though we’d known each other for ever. We both felt really comfortable together, we had a lot of fun together, we became great mates. Our friendship, respect and adoration of one and another grew and grew.

OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: We began talking about marriage quite early in our relationship, perhaps in jest in the first instance but then the thought of actually getting married felt really good. We loved the idea of it, marrying your best friend. These early discussions lead to a search for a stone. We both wanted a ring that was unique and we both wanted to be involved in the process. Gerard enlisted the help of a friend who was a jeweller, Wade Taranto, who designed all of our rings, and together we found the perfect stone. Once we found a stone, we didn’t discuss it any further but it was being made and six months later Gerard proposed.

Gerard had it all mapped out - when he was going to do it, how it was going to roll out from the food to the champagne and the music, the whole thing. But I had neglected to tell him my work Christmas party was on the same day he was planning to propose. Ever nimble, he regrouped and pushed on. Gerard had a group of my friends get me out of his hair while he set up the house. Gerard had a florist come and deck out the house in a bunch of my favourite florals, lush foliage and peonies. He curated a selection of my favourite snacks, cheeses and meats. He created a playlist of our favourite songs. He had a bottle of Billecart Salmon Rose to toast. He had a my favourite Messina tiramisu cake. He had it all covered. Once the house was set, Gerard picked me up and we headed home. I walked into the house and noticed a few things were off, but it wasn’t until I opened the hallway door to find the dining room fully transformed that I realised something was in the works. I quickly turned around to find Gerard on one knee with a ring box in his hands peering up at me. I had no idea what to do but I did feel awkward for him so I got down on one knee too and said yes. A beautiful moment that we’ll never forget. We drank champagne, ate snacks, listened to music, ate cake and then went for dinner. Perfect. I couldn’t have wished for anything else.

MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: The joining of two people and their lives to create an awesome life together. Truthfully, I don’t think it was a concept we both fully understood until we’d met and until the priest introduced us as husband and wife. It’s pretty special. It’s the ultimate team sport. We can do anything together.

WEDDING LOCATION: We were married at St Patrick's’ College in Strathfield. The decision was an easy one for us. Gerard, his father and uncles all went to St Pat’s. Not only that, Gerard’s parents, Suzanne and Tony, were also married in the chapel 37 years previously. For the reception, we chose The Elston Room at Carriageworks, Eveleigh. We went with Carriageworks for a number of reasons. We lived in Redfern while we were dating and spent countless Saturday mornings at Carriageworks Farmers Markets. And we’d always loved the feel and aesthetic of the space. An urban, industrial blank canvas that we could transform into whatever we wanted. Well, with the help of one creative lady. We also had flexibility around the food and beverage aspect, which was really important to us. The space represented us perfectly.

(Interview contnues beneath gallery)

THEME/STYLE: Well, we had no idea where to start. But we did know exactly what we didn’t want! To ensure we got exactly what we wanted we enlisted the help of the talented Lisa Madigan. Lisa is quite simply a genius. We were so thrilled that Lisa did what she did for us and we’re even luckier to be able to call her a friend. It was about pushing the limits creatively & bringing to life an abundant celebration. Harnessing the urban, weathered & expansive space that is Carriageworks in the Elston Room & manifesting a warm & inviting atmosphere for everyone to gather & celebrate. It had to be edgy, it had to be grand, it had to be welcoming & it had to be next level. (Words from Lisa below.)

As always, for me creating an environment & setting the scene, is a matter of working both factually & intuitively, learning more about the couple & their loves, what they desire & then creating something beyond expectation. The process is always so special & I love the trust that Peta & Gerard gave me. As a creative, freedom allows me to do my best work & as fate would have it, tie in even greater threads of their history too, cotton as a nod to Peta's family & the graffiti'd tablecloths, all created by hand, as an homage, not only to the urban environment but also to Gerards past.

Everything was taken into consideration & absolutely tailored, the lighting design, how the floral installation would play out in the room, the table layout, the bar, the furniture, the black milk crates, the copper lamps, the abundant candles, the ghost chairs adding an ethereal expanse, the big picture & cohesion, all created to enhance the space & people's experience of the night. Detail for me is also just as important as the mega WOW. Ensuring the cutlery was on point, unique, sourcing the perfect eclectic glassware for the tablescape to contrast against the Riedel's & also cup a cracking G&T, beautiful linen napkins by Cultiver, perfect french milk glass plates for Cook & Waiter's food to shine on, menu's tailored with crisp font & images of Carriageworks’ peeling surfaces, each guests name handwritten on the tablecloth ingraining them into the night & including them in the experience.

Each piece brought in was considered & added layer after layer, the space had to have substance & meaning, a reflection of Peta & Gerard's romance, a depth of story & a pure heart thump wow. The florals needed to be abundant & elegantly so, but still with lashings of a wild undertone. Everything was about balance, decadence & restraint, a contemporary, urban romance & a party to rival all parties. It was as much about creating a textural experience for people as a visual one & one that evolved throughout the evening, from the seafood station to the dance floor, to the monolith of love letters that came pouring out onto the wall grid, to the smoke machine for a little edgy mood & extra romance.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Justin Aaron, the best photographer there is. We might be biased but seriously his work is incredible. The way he’s able to capture candid, natural moments with such ease is incredible. We get immense joy pouring over our moments that Justin captured so wonderfully. We will happily do so for many years to come. Gerard has a love of photography so this was one area of the process he had total control over. He wanted to find the best of the best and he did just that. Gerard found Justin on Instagram and as soon as we met with him we knew he was the perfect photographer for us. Justin went above and beyond throughout the planning process and of course on the day too. It was awesome, Justin made us feel very comfortable and not only that we had a lot of fun in the process!

BRIDE’S DRESS: Ellery. I love Ellery, I love the style and I love how her clothes make me feel. It was classic and modern. It had clean lines and billowy sleeves. It was off the shoulder and just above the ankle. It was perfect. And I felt fabulous in it.

BRIDE’S SHOES: Celine. Black calf leather pumps with gold trim. The ultimate in style and comfort. 

BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Ellery. My bridesmaids all wore white Ellery shift dresses, long sleeves and just above the knee. They looked stunning, absolute babes.

BRIDESMAID’S SHOES: Black mules from The Iconic. They were simple and comfortable. I wanted the girls to be comfortable first and foremost but they sure did look super chic.

WEDDING RINGS: Our wedding rings were made by Wade Taranto, a friend of Gerard’s who also made my engagement ring. Wade ensured the vision of what we wanted came to life and so seamlessly so. The service and attention to detail we were shown was second to none and the end result was impeccable. My wedding ring is white gold with diamonds halfway around the band. Timeless, classic. Gerard’s is a plain white gold band. They tie together perfectly. My engagement ring is an emerald cut emerald with a halo of diamonds around the stone and a half band of diamonds, set in white gold. All three rings work together perfectly.

JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: I don’t wear any jewellery besides my engagement ring and now my wedding band. And the fabulous diamond earrings Gerard bought for me as a wedding gift. My bridesmaids wore their own jewellery on the day. We all had burgundy, personalised clutches for the day.

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Gerard’s groomsmen all wore MJ Bale suits and shirts with their own belts and shoes. Gerard has worked in fashion retail for 11 years and he has a very good eye for style and attention to detail. For the first 10 years of his career, he wore a suit day in and day out to work. So he knew that the suit he went with for his wedding day had to be unlike any of the other suits he’d worn before. Gerard enlisted the help of a very good friend, and former colleague, who is a tailor. Josh agreed with Gerard and thought he should go all out on the suit front. The process started with fabric swatches - so many swatches. Gerard finally settled on a wool blend Prince of Wales check, a large check pattern. Josh designed the suit and Stitch by Stitch hand crafted it. The style of the suit was very cosmopolitan with wide lapels, five centimetre cuffs on the pants, slanted ticket pockets, and working button holes among many other details. The craftsmanship was second to none. Gerard finished off his suit with a classic satin evening bow tie by Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani shoes. Gerard was so happy with the end result, it was everything he wanted and he felt awesome in it. And it showed. He looked amazing. I had only seen a sample of the swatch and I hadn’t wanted to see it until the day. I’m so glad I didn’t see it beforehand. He took my breath away!

HAIR: I wore my hair in a tight bun. I wanted simple, no fuss. Jesse Boag, the legend who did my hair, nailed it. Together with my makeup, my hair made me feel fabulous.

MAKEUP: My makeup was minimal but with a bold lip colour. I don’t wear a lot of makeup normally so I didn’t want to go off the deep end, I wanted to keep it simple, refined and natural. A little smokey eye and a bold Chanel lip colour. Perfect. It lasted all day and night. My friend Emmily Banks, natural makeup champion, did my makeup, she’s an absolute top chick and is very good at what she does.

STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: We sent out save the dates out via Paperless Post. The design was minimal and simple with all of the details. Our hard copy invitations were designed by a dear friend of ours and were minimal, utilised a beautiful paper stock and were very us. We had our invitations printed on 600GSM pure cotton white stock, with gold foiling and grey writing. There’s nothing better than thick, textured beautiful stock. We were so happy with our wedding invitations.

FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: We opted to not do favors as, for us, sharing our day with our guests was what it was all about.

FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: The beauty about creating a bridal bouquet, or any personalised blooms is the opportunity to express the personality of the receiver. I was shown some images of those stunning 1920's brides with armfuls of cascading full florals & we went from there, that romance & that abundance, but then bringing it up to now. Working with my stunning dress & a play on the flow of the sleeves, a mix of dark & light for luxury & edge & sophistication. The bridesmaids were a little less white in tone & smaller, glossy, slick, textural & decadent, all hinting at what was to come at Carriageworks too.

PREPARATION: My three bridesmaids and me all stayed at our home the night before. The lead up to the wedding was without question a little hectic at times but when the Friday afternoon before the wedding rolled around so did a sense of calm. We had a small dinner with the bridal party and a group of friends at one of our favourite pubs. It was perfect. Gerard and I went our separate ways and the girls and I headed home. As soon as I got home I opened my gift from Gerard. He did the same. I received an incredible pair of diamond earrings and a beautiful bottle of Amouage, Honour, perfume. My bridesmaids opened their gifts from me, personalised clutches and Chanel lipstick. I bought Gerard a bottle of Japanese Whisky, Riedel glassware and Byredo, Super Cedar, cologne. Gerard’s groomsmen opened their gifts from him, three pack of Four Pillars Gin. It’s safe to say, that Gerard really did out do me. I then had a long bath, a few glasses of wine and then hit the sheets. I had the best night’s sleep I’d had a long time. I woke up in the morning feeling fresh and energised. And the sun was starting to make an appearance. I did what I would normally, headed straight to Bourke Street Bakery for a double espresso and a cheese and spinach turnover. Once we got back home, it all kicked off. Makeup, hair, family, friends, bubbles and photography. It was the perfect preparation.

WEDDING PLANNER/ WEDDING STYLIST: It was a team effort. Lisa took care of the creative front and I managed the planning side of things. I work in events so I know the importance of planning. I had quite an epic run sheet going on. This actually became quite the talking point or running joke leading up to the wedding but it served us well. 

CAKE: We didn’t have a cake, we had cheese and petit fours.

WEDDING SONGS: Selecting the music was quite easy, there was a small amount debate but we were so happy with the songs we landed on. We listened to them a lot leading up to the wedding. It was special, listening to them and imagining how the moment would play out on the day. There were tears. I walked into the chapel to an instrumental version of Sigur Ros’ Hoppipolla. But when I walked into the chapel I honestly couldn’t hear, or see, anything, or anyone, but Gerard. It was a really special moment, the first time I laid eyes on my soon to be husband. We signed our marriage certificate to Jarryd James and Broods 1000x. I do remember hearing this song at the time and it made me tingle. We walked out of the chapel to Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young. We walked, ran, hopped, danced into the reception to Chaka Khan Ain't No Body. Our first dance song was Angels by The XX followed up Flight Facilities’ Sunshine. We walked out to Latch by Disclosure. The best.

ENTERTAINMENT: We had an awesome band. Master Blaster. A fab three piece from Newcastle. We were drawn to Jerome and Co because of the contemporary music they do and do so well. When we first came across them we listened to their cover of Frank Ocean. I must admit, my first thought was well, this is ambitious but it floored us. We knew these guys were the perfect option for us. We considered a DJ for 2.5 seconds but are so glad we went with a band. On the night they played a great mix of a new and old which had everyone, young and old, up and dancing.

FOOD & BEVERAGES: We both love good food and wine. For us, a lot of great moments and experiences either together or with friends are centred around really delicious food and great wine. We love the convivial nature of it. So for us, the food and beverage selection was really important. We wanted our wedding to feel like a big dinner party we would have at home only with way better food than I could cook and in a way more awesome location. Our menu centred around sharing. The night kicked off with prawns and freshly shucked oysters paired with House of Arras sparkling wine, Peroni Reds and Four Pillars Gin and Fever Tree Tonic with Blood Orange. The seafood station was a massive hit. We also had a selection of stand up canapés. We allowed an hour and a half for stand up canapés as we wanted to use this time for guests to interact and so had an opportunity to make our way around and speak with our friends and family. Once seated, we enjoyed a three course meal with matched wines. It was all shared, down the middle of table and we loved it. We ate, we drank a lot, and it was all awesome! The food was pulled together by the exceptional team at Cook and Waiter. David, Brittany and the team do amazing food and they were awesome to deal with. It was exactly what we wanted.

TRANSPORT: My step-dad drove my bridesmaids, a family friend and me to the chapel in our Land cruiser, nothing romantic or over the top there. Gerard and his groomsmen came in a 1963 Corvette Stingray Split Window and a Ford Mustang 1966 289. We left the chapel in the Mustang and our bridal party left in a Audi Q7.

HONEYMOON: We had a minimoon, a week in Tasmania, which was exactly what we needed after the big day. We had a protracted engagement so it was nice to go somewhere awesome and relaxing to soak it all up. We have two weeks in America planned for October and November. Hawaii and New York. We can’t wait!

GIFT REGISTRY: We had a wishing well on the day, and the generosity of our guests really blew us away. 

CELEBRANT: We were married in a Church by Father Jack Evans.

READINGS: We had three readers - my sisters, Krista and Rachielle and Gerard’s sister Kathryn. My sister Rachielle read Corinthians 13, Krista read a reading by Helen Steiner Rice and Kathryn read a responsorial Pslam. Gerard and I wrote our own vows. We took inspiration from a number of sources to create our own. Despite knowing them off by heart they were difficult to read on the day, emotions definitely got the better of us.

ANY OTHER SPECIAL DETAILS: It was all pretty special.

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION: We drew inspiration from a whole bunch of places such as Instagram, The LANE of course and magazines but in the end we ended up going with what felt right for us. And I would give other couples that piece of advice, go with what feels right and represents the two of you best.

A MEMORABLE MOMENT: When we first laid eyes on each other. Gerard - I was overcome with joy and excitement but all I could focus on was Peta. It was as though I had tunnel vision, all I could see was Peta, and the realisation that I was soon to become her husband was starting to sink it. It was the happiest moment of my life. I couldn’t wait to grab her hand and start our lives together.

Peta - the day had finally arrived. I was so excited. I was up at 7am and it felt like a normal Saturday morning. We went out to get a coffee and bakery treat. When we got back to the house, my family started to arrive along with our hair and makeup artists. It was starting to get very real. I left the house and headed for the chapel. I was nervous. We were early, people were late. We were waiting at the chapel door, the music started and away we went. Despite having the timings mapped out and knowing exactly when we to walk the aisle, as soon as I entered the chapel I couldn’t hear or see anything and I basically ran down to Gerard. All I could see was Gerard. It was happening. The day we’d be planning for and looking forward to for close to two years was here and I was about to marry my best mate. The moment when my stepfather took my veil off, shook Gerard’s hand and then put my hand in Gerard’s was so special. These are the moments I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I was squeezing Gerard's hand and Gerard’s leg was shaking. Then the icebreaker moment came. Now, Justin, our photographer, might not appreciate me saying this but I will anyway because it truly was the moment we all needed, to break the tension and relax everyone. We were standing at the altar and Justin went to step beside me and as he did he took my veil with him. It came completely off and safe to say the poor guy was mortified. But honestly, it was the perfect moment. It didn’t bother us at all. We laughed, my mum stuck it back on and away we went!

IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE... We have two pieces of advice. The first, it truly is the best day of your life so go all out. Within reason and budget permitting of course. Make it the day you really want it to be, don’t compromise on the details. It’s too special a day to be left wondering afterwards. And take the time to enjoy it and soak it all up, don’t sweat the small stuff. This is the start of your happily ever after.









MAKEUP: Emmily Banks, Depths of Beauty

FLORIST: Lisa Madigan

CATERING: Cook & Waiter 


WEDDING VENUE: Carriageworks 

HONEYMOON DESTINATION: Tasmania, Hawaii and New York  


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