This modernized art deco affair at Dunbar House has it all: a renovated historic venue on the water plus one seriously stylish bride and bridal party all dressed in white. There is truly one dreamy dress designer who always fits the bill for an updated Great Gatsby inspired gala: Jenny Packham. Joy Lai and John Dennis Photography shot every superb sparkly white fluffy spec from the Best Buds bouquets to the Czech crystal chandeliers to the bride’s stunning beaded sleeves. Brace yourself for all the drop-dead details because they are right here in the full gallery!
From the Bride… Dane and I met over seven years ago and have been together ever since. We both met in our hometown which is in country NSW in Australia. We met on New Year’s Eve and were both were moving to Sydney a month or so later (me for university and Dane for work). I was 17 when I met Dane so we have certainly grown a lot and learned a lot about each other and from each other in the process. Dane proposed in July 2011 in Sydney despite just having been on a trip to all the clichéd places where one might propose, New York, London, Paris, etc… Dane thought proposing overseas might be too tacky so it was a much more low key and relaxed affair,which is certainly his style.
As soon as we started planning the wedding we both knew we wanted to get married in Sydney. We had a fairly distinct idea of what we wanted our day to be like and the style the venue would need to be. We chose the recently refurbished Dunbar House in Watson’s Bay in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Built in the 1830s and one of Australia’s oldest standing buildings, Dunbar House has a Great Gatsby feel and ticked the box of being an historic building on the water with beautiful harbour views. We had access to the whole building and even our own private bridal bar downstairs. We were able to get married under the beautiful old fig tree in Robertson Park, which is directly in front of the venue. While we were getting our pictures taken down by the water after the ceremony, guests were able to enjoy champagne and canapés on the upper level veranda while watching the beautiful sunset. I loved all the details of the venue — the hand-crafted crystal chandeliers from the Czech Republic, custom made furniture, Missoni stools, Catherine Martin carpets and an antique full-marble fire place. Having the ceremony and venue in one place was really important to us as we didn’t like the idea of guests needing to be transported between venues—that way we felt the evening just flowed.
We also wanted the evening to feel like a beautiful dinner party and decided to forgo many of the traditional elements, such as cutting the cake (we had cheese!), tossing the bouquet and the first dance. In fact instead of the first dance, I had secretly arranged an amazing singer to perform five Oasis songs acoustically (Dane’s all-time favorite band) and this got everyone up on the dance floor! We also had a photo booth and a great Polaroid camera to encourage interactivity and get the guests mingling. We also decided to name the tables after the nicknames of our bridal party to make it more personable and a conversation starter so guests could find out the story behind the nickname. We were just thrilled with the day and loved that everyone seemed to have a genuinely good time! Getting song requests from guests beforehand ensured there was a song suited to everyone as well! We were really happy with the candid nature of the photographs and also deliberately chose photographers who didn’t specialize in weddings so we could avoid any clichéd shots. We were also incredibly blessed with a beautiful sunny autumn day after five days of heavy rain in the lead up! It was truly the best day of our life and we wouldn’t change a thing about the event!
Wedding Photography: Joy Lai + John Dennis Photography / Ceremony: Robertson Park in Watsons Bay, New South Wales / Reception: Dunbar House in Watsons Bay Sydney, New South Wales / Floral Design: Best Buds / Event Design + Planning: The Bride / Cheese Tower: Ocello / Wedding Invitations: The Messenger Group (The Bride’s Workplace) / Photo Booth: Flashback Photobooths / Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham / Bride’s Shoes: Miu Miu / Hair: Sue Carroll / Makeup: Christina Cleary / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Johanna Johnson / Groomsmen’s Suits: Calibre