Sionen & Dan’s Royal Botanic Gardens Wedding | Sydney

Two days. Ceremony in Sydney, party down south, at a place called “The Property”. According to Sionen and Dan, The Property is a “500 acre slice of heaven… that we call our ‘happy place’. Now I know why.

Let’s start in Sydney, at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Sionen and Dan are getting married today, officially married, at a ceremony in the Herb Garden. Exclusive to their closest and most immediate family, the ceremony is going to be an intimate affair. It’s raining, we’ve already made the decision to move it under the pagoda, but the mood is calm and carefree. That’s Sionen and Dan. Prepping together at the Pullman Hotel in Circular Quay, it’s smiles, excitement and a few butterflies as the day is about to get underway. Sionen adjusts the flower on Dan’s jacket before the two of them part ways, with the intention to meet again under the overcast sky blanketing the city.

The ceremony is always a main event, but today it feels like the entree as Sionen and Dan have something bigger and more boisterous planned for next week. We spend a fleeting moment taking photos under the umbrellas, getting soaked in the process, before saying goodbye with a look ahead towards what’s to come.

It’s hot, really hot. Tearing through the forest in a Toyota Land Cruiser, branches narrowly miss the the body as Dan throws the wheel left and right with nonchalance. “I’ve done this a million times before”, he says. You can see how, over time, the 4×4 has carved just enough space through the tree trunks to allow it to pass untouched at hairy speeds. Meanwhile, the main theme of Jurassic Park loops through my head while we scan for photo opportunities. We’re at The Property, and it’s a far cry from the dreary setting of a week before. At a wedding there are two things that people usually say to the couple, dependant on the weather: “You know it’s good luck when it rains.” or “You guys got really lucky with the weather, you couldn’t have picked a better day”. It’s win-win for Sionen and Dan.

The set-up was casual. Home-cooked food and leisurely games, with only a small serving of formalities. As day turned to night, a bonfire would be lit and everyone would huddle around with the smell of a BBQ near by. I assume that this is an ordinary day at The Property for Sionen, Dan and family, but for others it was a new experience. It was a backyard BBQ in the king of all backyards. From what I saw it played out exactly how Sionen and Dan had hoped, without an ounce of stress in the air; a great time had by all.

Sionen and Dan were simply a wonderful couple to “work” with. From the engagement shoot and through to the wedding it never felt like work. They come from the same part of the city and have the same sense of humour that I do, so getting along was all too easy. They were never phased by the prospect of something going wrong, as they always had an equally great alternative in place. They both looked amazing; Dan in a classic black tie and Sionen in a beautiful vintage-inspired wedding dress that resonated in the phrase “cool, calm and totally awesome”. I loved how they both wore the same dress/suit combination to The Property as they did to the ceremony a week prior. It was a small detail that really added a sense of continuity to the celebration, and made it look as though we had hightailed it straight out of town after signing the register. If I had played this blog a little differently, that could have been the case.

We had a blast at this wedding. Careening through the woods and creeping down hills near perpendicular to the horizon, all for a few photos, but always for a lot of laughs. Thanks to Sionen and Dan, their families and all of their guests for a great time. Oh, and the jar of Tutti Frutti Jam I took home was brilliant! :)

Extra thanks to Richard Phillips for shooting with me on the day.

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