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Mariah and Chris’s oceanside wedding was as movie-esque as their love story. This wedding encompasses the natural beauty of the the Sorrento coast with a little help from some delicate floral colors, special little details and a whole lot of smiles from everyone in attendance. By the time you’re done scrolling through the photos, you’ll find yourself wishing you were one of their guests!

How did you meet?

Chris and I met in New York City 4 years ago at an event. We were both living there at the time and sat next to each other at an event in the East Village. When it was over, we casually started chatting, but it wasn’t long before my Uber came and I had to leave! We didn’t exchange details or anything that night because it was a bit rushed from me having to leave so abruptly (thanks, Uber!), then we thought in a place like New York, it would be highly unlikely to see each other again! A few weeks later while I was home visiting family in another state, I noticed he was in one of my best friend’s Instagram posts from a brunch get together after church, and Chris was in the photo! We connected and starting hanging out when I got back to New York and our friendship eventually turned into a relationship! Then, about 3 months in, we were surprised to find out Chris had to come back to Australia for business and would be leaving New York. We decided we weren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, and gave long distance a shot! A year later, I packed up everything in New York and moved to Australia for a year to see how life was down under! 3 years later and I’m still here.

What is your proposal story?

This is one of my favorite days <3. Chris surprised me on the morning of my 25th Birthday (my golden birthday), by waking me up at 5 am, handing me a backpack and telling me I had 45 minutes to pack my bags because we were going to Sydney for the day! Most people thought this would make me suss, but we actually take short trips to Sydney quite a bit because Chris often plays the drums at one of our friend’s church in Sydney, and he had primed me that we might go that weekend. Also, I was absolutely convinced that he wouldn’t propose on my birthday. So I quickly packed my bag and we headed off to the airport to catch a morning flight! We got to the airport and unfortunately, our flight was delayed by an hour. Chris told me that we were meeting up with our friends for lunch when we landed and he was back and forth with them on the phone, little did I know, he was troubleshooting for the lost time!

When we finally landed, we snatched the closest Uber and headed to Lavender Bay, where I thought we were meeting our friends for lunch. We pulled up to a little boathouse, and there, on the water was a beautiful little Italian speedboat waiting there for us, with champagne, a cheese platter and red roses. We jumped on the boat and were taken all around the Sydney Harbour and beautiful coastal neighborhoods. We eventually dropped anchor in a private little bay and popped the champagne and snacked on the platter. After awhile, Chris asked the captain if he would take a photo for us, and he asked me to stand up on the front of the boat with him. Then he somehow managed to get down on one knee, even on the rocky boat, and pulled out a stunning ring and proposed! At this point, I was basically trying not to pass out and fall in the ocean. It was picture-perfect, with the opera house and harbor bridge in the background, and he really went above and beyond to make every detail special!

When we got back to the dock, our friend (who I thought we were going there to see) was there with his camera and did a quick impromptu engagement shoot and really captured the day perfectly. After we had a late lunch with them, we hopped back on a plane (yes, short trip) and got home to a house full of family and champagne and engagement cake. It honestly was the most perfect day and birthday a girl could ask for!

Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).

When we started to think about our wedding, we always envisioned it being coastal, with stunning scenery being the main feature. When you have a stunning coastal venue, it doesn’t take much extra in decorating to make it more beautiful, because nature has already done the work for you! That’s why we went with All Smiles in Sorrento, VIC. The scenery is breathtaking, it’s just far enough away that people had the option to either make a weekend stay of it, or head back home that night if necessary, and the venue itself was set up in a way that meant the reception would have to be cocktail-style versus sit down, and we liked the idea of people all mingling with each other more.

All Smiles’ amazing event coordinator, Kat, was an incredible asset to have on the day, as she was so in control of every single detail and I knew that nothing would go wrong with her in charge. I knew I wanted a light, soft color palette from the start. Soft pinks, blushes, and cream colors mixed with native greenery. Looking back, I think this palette was perfect to contrast the rich blues and greens of the ocean scenery in Sorrento. For styling, I wanted to keep it relatively simple, soft, and elegant and not completely blow the budget out of the water which can happen very quickly with weddings. So we went with floral arrangements scattered throughout with a main feature for the arbor, large lanterns with candles around, tealights and small candles inside once the sun went down, and all with native greenery sprinkled throughout.

Tell us about your attire choices.

My dress was an absolute dream creation by Brides of Armadale. I chose to customize my own gown and it could not have been any more perfect on the day! I had always envisioned a mermaid gown, with beautiful intricate beading, along with a full and lengthy train. The whole experience with the ladies at the BOA was fun, laid back, and I knew I was in good hands. They can literally do anything, I couldn’t recommend them enough. I wish I could find more excuses to wear it, it’s still my favorite piece of clothing that I own! Chris wanted to have a suit that was a bit different. We found the white jacket, vest, and bowtie at Calibre and fell in love with it instantly. It went so well with the coastal feel of the wedding, and he felt like a million bucks!

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?

The key component of what we wanted was simple–F U N! We wanted to have a day that was so special and full of fun that our closest friends and family could look back on the day and think, “Wow, that was such a fun wedding.”

What were your favorite parts of the day?

I have so many favorite moments from the day, it’s hard to pick just one! I’ll try to settle and share two. I loved the moments where our amazing photographer, Brendan, stole Chris and I away for our photos together. In the blur of the day, it was so nice to have that one on one time together where we could really just take it all in together. Brendan let us just have a moment together, but he was there with his camera and it made for some of the best photos that truly captured the moment in a genuine way. Another special moment from the day was when I was getting ready. My mom sat down on the bed with me and gave me a letter from my Stepdad, who unfortunately couldn’t be at the wedding because of work arrangements back in the US. She sat with me as I read the letter and cried my eyes out because it was the most heartfelt letter and it was a little piece that made it feel like he was there with me. And all in all, I just loved getting to celebrate with all of our friends and family! When you look at the smiles on the faces in the photos, you really can see that everyone had a great time, we love that!

Tell us about your wedding flowers.

Our flowers were from Poppy Culture in the Mornington Peninsula and they were the dreamiest bouquets I’d ever seen! The bouquets were a lovely mixture of beautiful pink/soft purple roses, King Protea, orchids, and beautiful soft greenery. I wish I could’ve enjoyed them for more than just one day!

Tell us about your wedding cake.

Our cake was by Creme De La Cakes and it was not only beautiful, but so delicious. We chose to go with a two-tier, semi-naked cake with fresh matching flowers on it. The first tier was white chocolate, and the second was white chocolate raspberry.

Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.

We put together our own lolly bar which was so tasty and the guests enjoyed it the whole night! Another fun element was that my husband is a musician, so some of his closest mates were our wedding band which made for such a fun night! There were quite a few drum solos from the groom that night.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t let ANYTHING ruin your special day, because it only happens once in your life and you should be able to enjoy it! I can speak from experience, the worst thing could go wrong but you have the power to choose if you’re going to let it ruin the day for you or if you take a deep breath and put a smile on that beautiful face and e n j o y every moment. It’s all about you and your hubby for that day. The afternoon before our wedding, in a fluke accident when packing up the car, I set my engagement ring (in its box because it had been polished) on the bed of the truck to put in with me so it would be safe. I got called away and in the rush, LEFT the box on the back of the truck! (Bridal Brain, honestly) We drove off from our house, and well you can guess the rest.

I didn’t realize until hours later when we were in Sorrento and I had a full-on panic attack/meltdown because I knew that was the last memory I had of it. We had our family who lived in the estate checking the speed bump and road where I suspected it would’ve fallen off, but someone had scooped it up already. I was absolutely devastated. We filed a lost property report with the local police and hoped for the best in humanity. At the rehearsal, my husband was so supportive and encouraging (even though he was freaking out on the inside, I don’t blame him!) and my family helped me realize that as hard as it is, it is replaceable and just a ring–the important thing is, we were HERE and still getting married tomorrow. So I dried my tears, and moved on with the evening and genuinely tried to enjoy our time together before the big day. Little did I know, at the rehearsal dinner, my husband made a call to our jeweler, Diamond Rings Internationale, told him the story, he quickly resized a ring he had on hand that looked similar to mine and had our cousin drive it down to me that night in Sorrento. I was speechless. So, on the day, I had a beautiful ring on loan, that looks close to mine to have for all my photos. The bottom line is, that is probably close to the top of one of the worst things to go wrong for a wedding day, but I had a choice, and those closest to me helped me realize what was important–that Chris and I were getting married and going to be able to spend the rest of our lives together. <3

P.S. A week later, on our honeymoon in the Maldives, I got a text from the police station that someone had FINALLY turned my ring in and I could collect it upon my return. Unbelievably happy ending, and I haven’t taken my ring off since. 🙂

Event Credits

Ceremony VenueAll Smiles Sorrento
Reception VenueAll Smiles Sorrento
Wedding CakeCreme de la Creme
Wedding DressBrides of Armadale
Groom’s AttireCalibre
Bride’s ShoesZimmermann