Annika & Jessica – A Forest Wedding With Autumnal Colors

We share the love of exploring the world together. Four months into the relationship Anni followed Jess to Canada as she was doing a season of ski instructing in Whistler. Knowing the relationship was too special to let fizzle out, Anni joined her. They have also lived in London for a year, traveling Europe and other places together. This is where Anni proposed in Jan 2020.

Bit cliché, but we love long walks along the beach at sunset with our little dachshund Sasha. We also have a cat named Sally. They are both our furbabies.

Anni & Jess’s favourite thing to do is to pack and take off for the weekend on a little getaway. They are massive foodies, so on this trip, they’ll research the best place to eat in the area and most likely do some wine tasting.

Jess is a skier, and Anni learned how to snowboard for this reason. They both love the snow and can both be adrenaline junkies at times.

Anni is a musician and also works as a special education support teacher. She’s also currently studying Music Therapy. Jess is a manager of a telecommunications store but is now in the process of changing into a different tech role.

How Long Have You Been Together, And How Did You Meet?

We’ve been together for five years. We were actually a Tinder match, but both were getting fed up with the app dating scene. So this was literally both our last attempt at meeting up with someone through tinder.

We exchanged a few messages and happened to be going out to separate events one Saturday night when Jess asked Anni if they wanted to meet for a quick drink beforehand. After meeting up, we both didn’t want to leave the date to go to our separate plans with friends.

Right after Jess had left, Anni wanted to show how keen she was by messaging Jess straight away. Jess was walking to the station and saw this message and started to reply when her phone went flat. This was later a funny story as Anni thought Jess didn’t enjoy the date the whole night because she didn’t respond.

Tell Us About The Proposal.

We were both living in London and discussed getting married in the future. Though Anni always thought she’d propose to Jess once they’re back in Australia. Anni is a bit of a hopeless romantic and realised that Jess would be totally caught off guard if she decided to propose here in London. Jess’ best friend Celine also then booked a trip to come and visit them over Jess’ birthday, and Anni thought she couldn’t lose this opportunity to get some help to plan this surprise.

Anni booked this fantastic breakfast for Jess’ birthday (Jan 2020) in a glass igloo along the River Thames in London. Unfortunately, Anni had told Jess she was heading to work after breakfast, but Celine was meeting them so Jess and her could do some sightseeing in the city. Celine then later led Jess to these gorgeous gardens in Hampstead Heath, North London. Anni hadn’t actually gone to work but was waiting for Jess to arrive and to follow her notes left along the garden path where Anni was waiting.

Everything all went to plan, and Jess was completely surprised.

Jess also had the opportunity to propose back to Anni on their anniversary the same year. She took Anni for a walk leading them to an incredible view in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Anni took a picture of the view and turned to Jess on one knee. Anni also had no idea this was happening.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Theme Of Your Wedding?

The theme of the Autumn colors that we saw when visiting the southern highlands was something we wanted throughout. We really wanted to capture the different shades and textures. It was important that our bridal party felt individually unique, with different outfits and materials from one another. We kept those tones throughout. We imagined a Boho cross-country chic theme, and it all came to life on the day. It looked stunning.

Did You Undertake Any DIY Projects For The Big Day?

We bought all of our reception decors, and Anni’s parents, who are experienced interior designers, set up and decorated the room. Jess’ mum also made a few outfits, altered all bridesmaids dresses, and made the boy’s silk shirts from scratch.

Anni also wrote a song and performed it on the night as a gift for Jess. Our friend designed invites and menus, and Jess made seating charts. We had friends with a printing business to help with the place cards. We also made simple syrups for the cocktails.

Talk To Us About The Wedding Day!

Overall it was a magical weekend with great vibes all around. Everyone stayed in the area, with the bridal party and close friends staying with us in a big Airbnb in Exeter. The night before, the energy was buzzing and exciting. Anni and her bridal party left bright and early the day to get on-site while Jess got ready at the Airbnb.

Did You Incorporate Any Family Or Religious Traditions Into The Day? 

We had plenty of family involved. Anni’s sister and brother were a part of her bridal party. Her younger two brothers also walked down the aisle with the other two. Anni’s stepdad and dad walked her down the aisle. Jess’ dad walked her down too.

Our mums were a part of the tying of the knot and came up to tie the fasting cord around our hands. We incorporated this as we both have an Irish and Scottish background. We came up with the idea to purchase this gorgeous rainbow handfasting cord, as we wanted this also to represent the importance of our LGBTQIA+ community.

A funny incident regarding this happened as we actually forgot to bring the cord to the ceremony. When Rita announced this section within the ceremony, Anni suddenly realized it was still in her bag. So Robbie (Jess’ bridesman) had to run and get it from the cottage that was close by. It was a funny memory, and our fantastic musician did an impromptu song on the spot.

What Does Marriage Mean To You?

Honestly, we don’t feel much different now that we are married. We acted like a married couple and called each other wife beforehand!! But it was important to celebrate our love and show off our love for one another in front of family and friends. It also proved and showed us the amazing support network we have around us, the amount of love was so overwhelming. We had such an unforgettable day.

We also love being able to say Mrs “officially,” and we share the same last name.

Anything You Are Glad You Did? Or Wish You Didn’t Do?

The first look was an excellent idea we decided on along the way. It was nice to see each other, as there were already so many other nerves bouncing around that it felt so comfortable doing the first look. It was also great to see the entire bridal party and take pictures beforehand- don’t let these photos run right up to the ceremony if possible.

We also loved spending the night before together with all of our friends. It was such a great feeling being altogether. Then we separated in the morning, so there was still that element of surprise. We also booked three nights at the Airbnb and stayed there the entire weekend. We loved this!

Make sure to have some flexibility in your run sheet if possible. We had a lot of things to fit in. But it didn’t affect the overall feel. Ensure that nothing clashes with the sunset time for photos if this is important to you. We had to do a mad dash up a hill for sunset, but we got there in the end.

Dancing With Her Recommended Vendor
Photography by Translucent Photography

Dancing With Her Recommended Vendor
Suit Designer Shane Ave

Band | DJ Club Sol
Catering PB Catering
Celebrant Divine Celebrancy
Ceremony Musician Jessica Smallwood
Decor | Styling The Wedding & Event Creators
Dress Boutique Luv Bridal
Dress Designer Madi Lane Bridal
Favours Mrs Oldbucks Pantry
Florist Porter & Hudson
H&MU June Rose Bridal & Hair, Makeup By Anita
MC Sylvia O’Neill
Stationery Knapp Creative Design
Transport Berrima Buslines
Venue Montrose House, Sutton Forest
Videographer Lachlan O’Neill Aerial Photo
Wedding Cake Natasha Lelli Cakes
Wedding Rings Adora Diamonds, Le Vian, Michael Hill

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