Poetically dancing the line between minimalism and classicism, Maria and Michael’s wedding was the epitome of modern elegance – a heartfelt celebration that fused tradition and sentiment with chic styling details and epicurean splendor.
Amidst the urban surrounds of Sydney’s CBD, a sleek and sophisticated reception unfolded at Hilton’s Glass Brasserie, where cuisine of the finest calibre was served against a backdrop of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the sprawling cityscape beyond.
Artistically capturing each emotive and ephemeral moment of the day was LANE favorite photographer, Matt Godkin.
Names / Maria & Michael
Wedding Date / 13 February, 2021
Guest Numbers / 90
Budget / Undisclosed
How We Met
A chance encounter through friends.
Our Engagement Story
Michael proposed to me at an estate in Bowral.
Things didn’t necessarily go to plan though. For one, the day he planned to propose I had to return to Sydney because of an emergency.
The following day, however, I made my way back to the Southern Highlands for what I thought was a post-lockdown weekend away with friends. Instead, I was met with a beautiful Sapphire ring, big cheesy grins and an intimate celebration with our friends at Harry’s on Green Lane – my favourite little restaurant in the area.
Marriage To Us Means…
The next big chapter.
We held our wedding ceremony at St George Coptic Orthodox Church and reception at The Glass Brasserie in the Hilton Sydney.
With four weeks to plan, we didn’t have the convenience of time on our side and wanted to keep things simple. Food and an intimate, relaxed atmosphere were important to us. So, instead of searching for ‘wedding venues’, we just considered restaurants in the Sydney CBD.
When we came across the Glass Brasserie Restaurant & Winebar, it transported us to New York with its thirteen-metre ceiling, gorgeous city views and mirrors abound. With Luke Mangan at its helm, we knew it would offer a quality menu. So selecting the venue for our wedding was a quick and easy decision.
Michael and I spent the night before our wedding at the Old Clare.
We really felt that being together the night before was a great decision because it gave us time to soak in what was about to happen. Especially after planning everything in such a short space of time.
The day of the wedding, we kept things pretty relaxed. Since we didn’t have an official bridal party, it meant that morning prep was a breeze. The day kicked off with a sleep in and then our close friends and family joined us as we got ready.
Overall Aesthetic / Style
I wanted to achieve something classically beautiful and uncomplicated. This was carried into all aspects of our wedding planning.
We wanted to accent the features we loved about the Glass Brasserie, like its high ceilings and city view, but also create an intimate and romantic atmosphere.
Since Michael and I wanted to sit amongst friends instead of a separate bridal table, we went with long tables for a more relaxed vibe. These were kept light and airy to showcase the setting, and an abundance of candlelight was used to create a sense of romance. It also set a focal point for the large space.
Another thing we did was replace the restaurant’s furniture, which is dark and heavy, with ghost chairs to soften the overall aesthetic.
Keeping to a classic look, colours were kept neutral with white roses and orchids in champagne tones. Our stylist, Belinda, arranged these in varying heights across the table and it looked dreamy.
Michael and I planned our wedding in less than four weeks, courtesy of a pandemic. The lead-up to the wedding was obviously a stressful time, but I think it forced us to make quick decisions and not overthink every minute detail. There was something really nice and liberating in that. We also had an incredible team of vendors who banded together to help bring our day to life, for which we are very grateful.
Belinda from The Curated Life styled both our engagement and wedding. She had little guidance, little time to prep, and had to work with a wedding date [in]conveniently set a day before Valentines. Despite this, she did a remarkable job and really created a beautiful and relaxed atmosphere through her styling.
Matt Godkin photographed our day. We found Matt through The Lane and were instantly drawn to his natural style of photography. He’s an artist behind the lens, and the photos he captured from our wedding day really speak for themselves. We are forever in love with them.
We chose not to go ahead with a videographer. We felt photos taken by Matt would be the perfect format to eternalise our special day. We also had our friends Sevgi and Bec capture some happy snaps on both film and video.
My brief to our photographer, Matt, was “capture the dress”. If that doesn’t tell you how much I love Luna Bea’s ‘La Lune’, I don’t know what will.
I went with a silk A-line wrap gown that has a deep V back and drape that floats beautifully as you walk. One of my favourite things about this dress is that I didn’t have to compromise on comfort. The silk was so incredibly light.
When in search of a dress, I wanted something classic and timeless. Something I’d look back on in 30 years time and still love. ‘La Lune’ was the first dress I tried on, and I remember telling Maggie, the Boutique owner at Your Art Bridal, “This is it”.
Simple heel from Sol Sana, with slender straps and a slingback ankle. I prioritised comfort and wanted to make sure it was a shoe I could wear again.
Michael and I decided to go without a bridal party because my two bridesmaids were unable to get to Sydney in time. Thanks to Covid, they were stuck overseas and interstate. It was disappointing, but it also meant we had one less thing to worry about. Especially since we had limited time to plan the wedding. There’s a silver lining with everything, you see.
Not long before the day, WA borders opened and so my bridesmaid, Sevgi, did end up making it to the wedding. It was such a nice surprise and she went above and beyond to be there for me. The morning of the wedding, she joined as an ‘honorary bridesmaid’ and we got ready together, getting our hair and make-up done. We also had a small group of close friends join us, followed by parents.
There was a funny moment where we realised the girls were all wearing black and so we decided, very last minute, that they’d join us down the aisle. We paired the girls with Michael’s brothers. No one suspected a thing. It was unplanned, and kind of random but worked out perfectly in the end.
As far as outfits go, my girlfriend Sevgi wore a black backless dress from Bec and Bridge. She also matched it with gold drop-earrings from Jenny Bird.
I wanted statement earrings to compliment the simplicity of my dress. So, I opted for turquoise chrysocolla and baroque pearl earrings, handcrafted by Christie Nicolaides.
During the ceremony, I also wore a sheer single-tier veil by Tania Maras.
Our rings – both wedding and engagement – were made by Meg Maskell.
My engagement ring is a vivid blue oval-cut Australian sapphire that’s delicately hugged by a fitted diamond wedding band. Michael went for a classic white-gold band, with rolled polished edges.
Michael went for a classic black-tie look, wearing a tailor-made suit from P Johnson. His brothers wore suits from MJ Bale.
My original hairstylist fell through a week before the wedding. I was really lucky to find Dolly Ward in such a short space of time. She completely understood what I was after – a low set updo with soft, natural waves framing the face.
Monique Jones did my make-up on the day, opting for soft, neutral tones since I wanted to keep the overall look quite minimal.
Everyone needs a Monique on their wedding day. She’s a cool, calming presence and talented at what she does. I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else with my face, especially on my wedding day.
Stationery / Invitations
I designed my own wedding stationery.
For invites, I went paperless and also created a website which I think is such a great way to share all the finer details of your wedding.
I originally planned to go without ‘day of’ stationery, but then speedily mocked everything up four days before the wedding! This included welcome signage, seating chart, favour tags and menus. I was very fortunate to have had these printed in time and they really added a tactile element to the styling.
Designing my own stationery was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the wedding planning process. I loved it so much that it inspired my soon-to-launched stationery business, Qalí.
We had guest favours for our parents and their small group of friends since I knew Michael’s mum was a fan of this wedding tradition. For the women, we had miniature Lancome perfumes and for the men, bottles of Jack Daniels.
Flowers & Bouquets
I lost my wedding bouquet the morning of the wedding as I was taking photos. But as luck would have it, there was literally one white long-stem rose nestled amongst a colourful arrangement of flowers that Michael had surprised me with the night before.
I plucked the rose from the bouquet and held onto it for the rest of the day. I always intended for something simple. So, it couldn’t have been more perfect.
Traditional vanilla butter cake, layered with mascarpone and berries from Flour and Stone.
Food & Beverages
This was an important item for us and the main reason we chose the Glass Brasserie as our wedding venue.
The Glass Brasserie is a hatted restaurant with flawless food and service. They were extremely accommodating, allowing us to customise our menu and ensure there was an abundance of food.
We had a three-course, sit down dinner with antipasto to start and additional sides. We also went with a wedding cake from Flour and Stone – our favourite bakery in Sydney.
A highlight for me was being able to serve Georgian wine imported from Kakheti, the region my family is from. Even better, was everyone’s reaction to it – it was a hit. People still bring it up even now.
We had a mini honeymoon in Tasmania.
Entrance – classic Georgian folk tune, since I wanted to incorporate a cultural element.
First dance – ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ by the Mamas and Papas.
We had a vinyl DJ spin classics all night – think old school soul and Motown tunes.
Sources of Inspiration
Pinterest, The Lane, and interestingly, a lot of different Russian wedding pages on Instagram – they seemed to have a lot of content that aligned with the look and feel I was hoping to achieve.
A Memorable Moment
Two moments come to mind. One was in-between the ceremony and reception. We sat with our family and close friends in a private space at Zeta Bar while a revolving door of sashimi, oysters and Japanese plum wine was served. It was the point where we watched my friend and Michael’s brother aggressively flirt. But it was also the point where we all stopped to relax and take everything in – we were finally married!
At the end of the night, we made our way to our hotel room in the Hilton which was just a couple of levels up from the restaurant. I remember (1) struggling to find our room and (2) opening the door to friends just casually chilling in all corners of the room, and they kept flowing in! Was such an entertaining way to end the night.
One Thing I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Wedding Plans…
Wedding planning is a lot more stressful than one might think. Or maybe that was just Covid doing its thing. We’ll never really know.
If I Could Give Brides to be One Piece of Advice…
Invest in a good photographer. Your photos will be the one tangible memory you have to hold onto from your wedding day.
Bride’s Dress / Luna Bea
Bride’s Shoes / Sol Sana
Bridesmaids Dresses / Bec & Bridge
Grooms Formal Wear / P. Johnson
Wedding Rings / Meg Maskell Fine Jewellery
Jewellery & Accessories / Christie Nicolaides & Tania Maras
Hair / Dolly Ward
Makeup / Monique Jones
Cake / Flour and Stone
Catering / Glass Brasserie
Stylist & Florist / Belinda from The Curated Life
Venue / Glass Brasserie
Entertainment / The Vintage Stylus
MC / Alfio Stuto
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