Real Wedding – Matthew & Mariia, Sydney CBD
Matt and Mariia’s sophisticated celebrations give stylish city sleek meets dreamy, gentle romance. From the open skies of a glasshouse ceremony to an intimate wine bar to a frosted-white reception space accented with spring pastels, this day has it all.
Capturing the essence of their theme, intimate love story + epic party, is Mariia’s sweetly stunning gown by our friend Georgia Young Couture. Gently shimmering layers of soft fabric gather to give the perfect silhouette, while an off-shoulder draped bodice sets off the fresh modern tone.
For these two sweet souls, it was important to weave their personalities and who they are as a couple into their day. Meaningful integrations of Russian language and English across the day are a beautiful touch, as are the incorporation of traditional Slavic elements into the ceremony. Every personal moment was captured in artful detail by photographer Emotions and Math.
As music legends Baker Boys Band shifted gears into an epic dance party, Mariia did the same, choosing a sweet tulle-skirted number as her second outfit, giving ballerina cross It-girl in the best way to finish a dream day.
We met eight years ago at the University of Sydney. Mariia studied visual arts and Matthew finance, and we both lived on campus. One night, coming back from a party, Mariia introduced herself to a group of boys watching late-night soccer. After meeting Matt, she accidentally fell asleep, but the knight in shining armour took her home and bought her a pack of Tim Tams.
Matt recalls realising that she was the one when they attended their first wedding together. It was a cousin’s wedding and the first time Mariia met his family. Matt’s relatives loved Mariia and immediately got along. It was a wonderful day of dancing and celebrating!
After being together for seven years without the ring, Mariia decided to take matters into her own hands. After giving multiple hints and sharing her favourite ring designs on Instagram, she called Matt’s mum and asked her to convince Matt to pop the question. In the meantime, Matt was already planning a proposal and was designing a ring. Just before their next holiday to Barossa Valley, Matt received an unexpected call from a jeweller – the ring was ready. He decided to do it then but couldn’t find the right moment and put it off until the last day. In the morning, he suggested going for a walk through the vineyards. He put on a big jacket, which Mariia thought was strange because it was a very warm day. As they were walking, he suddenly dropped to one knee. It was the most perfect moment!
We originally planned to have the wedding in rural NSW. We looked at Southern Highlands, Hunter Valley and South Coast but decided to stay in the city to make it easier for our guests. Besides, Mariia is very much a city girl (she is not friends with nature) and having it in the city made it very much all about us, plus our guests could go out afterwards.
We wanted the wedding to be about bringing friends and family together in an intimate setting while also keeping the party vibe. They had to match two personalities: Matt’s preference for a small, intimate and personal wedding and Mariia’s love for a party. The most important thing for us was introducing Mariia’s Slavic traditions. We wanted to have a few cultural elements to celebrate her heritage and mark the beginning of new traditions in our married life.
Our ceremony was perfect because it captured our personalities and reflected who we are as a couple. We were able to integrate the Russian language for our guests and also translated some of the traditions into English. During the ceremony, we stood on a traditional Slavic cloth, ‘Rushnyk’, which symbolises ancestral connection and blesses the ritual, and at the exit, our mums carried a big round bread, ‘Karavai’, that was our first humble food together as a married couple. It was very beautiful to be able to weave our traditions together and share them with our loved ones.
For Mariia, it was important to focus on Australian designers only. Ironically, she came across Georgie Young first but only tried them very last after four other designers. She immediately knew they were the designer for her; then, when she tried on the Lemon gown, she knew it was it. She wanted something that was light yet textural and not too formal yet mesmerising. The Lemon is full of movement, shimmers in the light and is incredibly statuesque.
Mariia wasn’t planning to have a second dress, but it found her. Before the wedding, she had to visit family in Russia, and her mum suggested they visit a wedding dress shop to help her find a mother-of-the-bride dress. They saw this short and sparkly dress on a manikin; Mum suggested Mariia try it on. It was perfect for Mariia, who never says no to a party and a glass of champagne.
Matt decided to get his suit from InStitchu after hearing a lot of positive feedback from his friends. He was looking for a black tuxedo but saw a white tuxedo in the shop’s lookbook. He decided to give it a try and loved it. He is so glad now that he had a second jacket – it was a huge success on the night. Everyone loved it!
The whole day was incredible, but the best moment was walking down the aisle. In that moment, time stopped. None of us paid attention to the surroundings, other people, or music. It felt like our minds left our bodies, and we were floating in the air together. The only thing that mattered in that moment was each other.
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage means choosing a partner and exposing every part of yourself to them. Marriage means opening up to the other person and sharing your whole life with them, all its pleasures and sorrows. It means being comfortable in silence and always looking forward to each other’s company, even if you see each other 24/7.
You are my best friend by Queen
Funny stories or near disasters.
We were super lucky and didn’t have any issues! Our only hiccup was that a celebrant cancelled on us a month before the wedding. Now, looking back, we are very glad it happened because it made us rethink some of the elements of our ceremony. In the end, we found another celebrant, Lia, who was fantastic and was able to help us with our goal of merging traditions together.
We were surprised at how much we enjoyed it! It became our project on Sundays – every week, we dedicated some time to doing research or planning. We decided on everything together and shared with each other the reasons why each element was important to us. Although Mariia was ready to plan everything herself, she was surprised at how much Matt was involved from the start! Doing everything together made the whole process seamless and smooth.
Words of wisdom.
Make sure to plan everything very carefully, but don’t panic if things don’t go to plan. We put a lot of effort into outlining details for our wedding, but on the day, we just had to let it go and hope that everything worked out.
Mariia’s bridesmaids look stunning in their sky-blue gowns, but sometimes finding the perfect fit for your besties can be tricky. We’ve pulled together some of our top tips for creating the ultimate style moment in your wedding party (and keeping everyone smiling as well!) .
MARIIA & MATT’S VENDORS
Ceremony venue: Botanic Gardens Sydney, Palm House
Reception venue: Beta Events, Sydney. We found our reception venue first and immediately loved it! We then searched for a ceremony location nearby to be within walking distance. We hated the idea of a long gap between the ceremony and reception and wanted to make sure there was enough for our guests to do in between. We chose Beta events because of the venue and their amazing food – big, shared plates with bold flavours is how we eat and entertain at home.
Celebrant: Lia Krutik
Photography: Emotions & Math. We originally loved the name – it is exactly what our relationship combines: Mariia’s emotions and Matt’s math and logic. Mariia found Isla and Eric through Instagram and loved their dreamy style. Their photos captured authentic emotions and intimate details. We didn’t want our wedding photography to be staged, and these guys fit our approach.
Videography: we decided not to hire one. We received so many videos from friends and family and some collaged short films for us. Having multiple perspectives and angles made our album very special in the end – it was full of personal recollections from all of our guests. To help our guests upload their content, we bought a GUESTPIX site, which was a great addition.
Styling: we styled the wedding ourselves and with the help of family on the day.
Florist: Mariia’s best friend’s family are florists and did wedding flowers for the reception. Worn Out Wares in Hunter Valley. For the ceremony, we decided to go with fake flowers. Faux Florals did a fantastic job with our hanging installations!
Hair & make-up: Juliet Lynch Hair and Makeup
The dress: Georgia Young Couture
Veil: JJ’s House
Shoes: Billini Shoes
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec + Bridge
Stationery / Signage: Peppermint Press
Entertainment: Baker Boy Band
Transport: London Cab Company
Honeymoon: Greek Islands and Turkey