There’s that common quietness to the activity at the start of every wedding day – it’s the lovely behind-the-scenes moments that a few of us witness. It’s the build-up that takes us right up to the point of the ceremony; while hair and make-up being applied, a keyboard is being used to tap-tap-tap out a speech that’s been weeks in thought, cut up fruit is being offered around, maybe Mum making a favourite breakfast food (Liesel had banana on fruit toast), somewhere in the background someone is rustling up a bottle or two of champagne and finding the flutes, sometimes there’s music from a favoured playlist, never loudly played, always soft, sometimes just silence. Later that evening, they would hold a Dunbar House wedding reception filled with laughter, dancing and conversation with their family and friends.
Dresses are being steamed and hung just so, there’s a small conversation about which jewellery should actually be worn and which should be left, somewhere someone is jostling with a tie…”Look up YouTube,” is the inevitable answer, then there’s a conversation with the photographer about the buttonholes and which side and direction they should face. Someone else mentions something old, something new and it’s quickly affirmed that this is already done, not happening or that the blue item is missing and there’s a scramble to find that. The clothing of the morning is replaced with the outfits of the afternoon and evening and all of a sudden everything has come together.
At the end of the preparation time, while there are lists being checked, the most amazing thing happens. For those aware of it it’s a noticeable change that runs through the immediate family. There’s an awareness of what this moment is, “…the last time we’re like this as a family…” – eyes are cast over those who are most loved, just as thoughts arrive in a blur.
In the blur are the memories of a lifetime witnessed – all too quickly it’s your wedding day. All these experiences with you seems like only yesterday; birth, holding you while you slept, holding you while you didn’t, the first words you uttered when Mum realised you were saying Dad-da, the first steps you made – just three from the coffee table to the sofa and then you never stopped, thirteen years of school, athletics, the musical instruments you learnt, the dance classes that always used to cause you both to giggle at the teacher’s husband who was clearly and dramatically rhythmically challenged, the fights over nothing, the laughter over everything, freckles that have come and gone, a scar that caused the dash to the hospital, the triumphs of life, the certificates of accomplishment, the setbacks, the lessons learned – some quickly and some slowly, the balance of happiness that out-weighed the darker times, the siblings and friends who have cheered all along the way and stuck through thick and thin, and the most sweet cuddles you gave.
And amidst all this occasionally a tear is shed while another hug is held for moments longer than it ever was before – but this time being careful to not smudge make-up and to not crush that gorgeous dress you’d both shopped for, “…You look so beautiful darling!”
There’s a walk out the door, not forgetting to let the cat out of the bedroom, and then down to the cars en route to a new life with this certain someone who makes life good and has done for the last few years.
I watch all this and marvel at the brilliance of the humane things we get to see and what seems to be tangible love. It’s the privilege of seeing the end of a chapter of life and the immediate start of a new family beginning, celebrating with their Dunbar House wedding reception.
And in years to come, as significant as it is today, this will be the day that is spoken of by people who aren’t even born yet; the day when Mum and Dad were married, the day when a favourite Aunt or Uncle wed, the day when our Grandparents declared their love. A small voice will pipe up with how beautiful Grandma looked in the photographs. And in with great sincerity an older, deeper voice will respond, “She did didn’t she. And she’s become more and more beautiful every day since.”
And one more time the story will be told of when Toby married Liesel at Watsons Bay, Sydney.
Toby and Liesel were married at the beautiful church Our Lady Star of the Sea, and held their reception at the magnificent Dunbar House on the shores of Watsons bay. Liesel wore a Rosalynn Win haute couture gown, her hair was by Rhiane Schroder and she carried flowers by Francis Floristy. The delicious looking cake was from Unbirthday.
If you’ve found the one, the love of your life, and you are now planning your Dunbar House wedding or at another amazing venue on Sydney Harbour and want beautiful photography to remember this special day then it’s time to talk to Sarah or myself. We take compelling, elegant and timeless stills. We capture the most valuable images in the world. Yours.