Culture, heritage entwined for Lisa and Shem
A touch of culture and a touch of heritage – that whole feeling of combining two amazing worlds together in one whirlwind wedding day was evident on 2 May 2021 for Lisa and Shem.
Three years ago on the very same date, the couple got engaged in glorious Tasmania, so even before the morning sun had risen, the date was significant in the eyes of them both. Childhood friends who crossed paths years later in the workplace, Lisa and Shem were ready to make things official and declare their commitment to one another at a beautiful modern wedding with a hint of Dutch and Australian indigenous tradition.
Preparations for the bride took place at the couple’s home in Morley, where Lisa and her bridesmaids could easily keep an eye on her young son Gus and the family cat could be a part of the celebrations too.
With the finishing touches of hair and make-up done, it was soon time for the bride to don her stunning gown, place her veil, and slip on her shoes – all the while, also ensuring Gus was looking dapper in his handsome suit. As the bridesmaids made their final checks of the bouquet (handmade by Lisa, and featuring the colour orange to symbolise her Dutch heritage) then getting themselves dressed, it was the perfect moment to take family portraits indoors in the soft light that was coming through the windows.
Shem, along with his groomsmen, got themselves ready at the venue itself – at The Colony in Mandoon Estate, Swan Valley where they could prepare for the big day in style and in comfort. The Colony is an exclusive enclave of rooms overlooking the estate’s 126-year-old Verdelho vineyard and the banks of the Swan River; a most perfect place to spend the day with your closest and dearest, and really sets the tone for a romantic wedding.
The boys got themselves organised, celebrating the coming-up nuptials with beer, cigars, and a gift box for each groomsman. With shoes shined and suits on, it was time to help one another out with ties and pocket kerchiefs – designed in bright orange, with the added touch of artwork done by a Tasmanian Aboriginal artist. It couldn’t have gotten more personal than that.
Once photos were done of Shem and his groomsmen outside The Colony, we made our way to the ceremony venue, set amongst beautifully manicured gardens near the elegantly restored Roe family homestead (circa 1905). With the Swan River on the other side of the location, it was the perfect backdrop, and featured not only native flora and a beautiful horseshoe-like arch for the nuptials, but was the start of a traditional smoking ceremony.
As guests arrived and awaited the arrival of Lisa, the ceremony, a welcome to country, had begun so by the time the bride made her appearance, the cleansing properties were already in full force. On a personal level, I’d never been a part of a traditional smoking ceremony at a wedding, so to witness this beautiful part of Shem’s heritage was a real honour to witness.
Onto the nuptials, and the groom stood at the altar, nerves of steel yet with a smile so wide there was nothing that could break it. Mandoon Estate as a location for weddings is fabulous, allowing me as a photographer to have as much freedom and movement as possible to take the best shots for my bride and groom. So many angles, so many colours, and so many endless approaches to photographic positioning.
With the emotional vows read, rings exchanged, and then sealing it all with a kiss, Lisa and Shem were declared husband and wife, and the crowd revelled in their joy and happiness together all with resounding applause.
Following from congratulations and plenty of hugs from friends and family, I whisked the bridal party away for their bridal shoot, also held on the grounds of Mandoon Estate – speaking of the best location to have everything in one place! We took photos at the front of the homestead (now an art gallery), popping champagne for effect and festivity, before walking over to the fancy old-style limousine and heading into the estate’s vineyards. Being autumn, the leaves had well and truly turned orange and yellow, but the grass still green, and the colours at this time of year are the best for a wedding like Lisa and Shem’s – they just pop! As most of our time was spent here, we managed beautiful images of the newlyweds, with all sorts of portrait styles from a little bit of landscape style to traditional bride and groom shots.
Lisa and Shem hosted a cocktail reception at Mandoon’s function room and featured a live band to entertain their guests. Their native theme continued through here, flowing seamlessly from the outdoors in. As I moved across the room taking photos of everyone, it was soon time for the bride and groom to make their entrance and get the party started!
When it came to the speeches, there was not a dry eye in the house – extremely touching moments between family and friends played out here at the reception, and I felt like I was capturing incredibly intimate moments that would live on in everyone’s memory for a very long time.
After a final toast and the official cake cutting, Lisa and Shem created magic on the dance floor with their first dance, soon inviting everyone to join in, and I stayed for a bit longer to ensure I got photos of the fun everyone was having! I even got to hear Shem play the didgeridoo towards the end of the night, a real honour.
Thank you to the happy couple for allowing me to be a part of your special day and capturing the moments that will be engrained in you both forever. I wish you nothing but the best marriage between a man and a woman, and that your lives are filled with happiness and love.
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