Every wedding is unique. But as for Joanna and George's wedding, it was doubly unique, as the bride and groom designed, styled, and created every detail of their day themselves. We talked about all the stages of planning with Joanna, as well as the story of her meeting George and the creation of their common business - Studio Jo-rge.
How did you meet?
It was the winter of 2013, the start of the university semester. Just two young architecture students with an assignment to tackle. And who else was to be assigned my partner? George and I were instantly drawn to one another, we felt like we had known each other for a lifetime. It didn’t take long before we became the best of friends, 5 years that is. Followed by 2 years as a couple, 1 year engaged, and now officially married!
What do you do for a living and for fun?
Interestingly, it is through what we do for a living that initially drew us to each other; aspiring architects turned into construction managers, and finally into wedding brand designers focusing on creating contemporary wedding stationery. We are both creatives at heart and mind, and since we had both moved on in our careers outside of where we first met within the walls of architecture, we kept our creative spark alight through our wedding stationery business, which forms the crux of our work and personal lifestyle.
What was the concept behind your wedding and how did you find your inspiration?
The concept behind our wedding was driven from within ourselves. We wanted to create a vision for a raw, ethereal romance through a lens that was unique in the representation of who we are. With this, we wanted the style to evoke us so that our family and friends felt like they were coming to dinner at our home (perhaps just a little fancier). We designed, styled, and created each and every detail of the day ourselves; from as little as sourcing all our tablespace elements from all over the world, to as large as mapping out the draping and lighting installations, arranging our own composition for our entry song, and (of course) design and hand creating all the stationery! For us it was about creating a brand for our wedding, we wanted to enhance the stationery through our own styling. We enjoy the creative process so much there was no way we were going to miss an opportunity to do it for ourselves; forming the vision, creating mood boards, designing the look and feel – and then mapping out how it was all going to be achieved. There were endless nights of planning, designing (and re-designing), sourcing, and selecting, making it feel as though we were building our dream home, only that we would have to complete it in a 5-hour bump in, whilst we were tied up elsewhere - getting married.
Creating the tablescape was probably one of my favorite elements to style and we looked all around the world for the most perfect touches. We sourced paper from India for the place cards and Germany for the guest menus, our cutlery came from Asia, and placemats from the UK, with special creators from around Australia too who helped us curate some really beautiful custom elements – one of my faves were our beautiful custom tourmaline and concrete candles we used on the bridal table from incredible The Escape Co. But it was well worth the time and effort, and more than anything else it was all so much fun because we got to do it together. We both distinctly remember walking into our reception for the first time that evening, it was like one of those room reveals except we were revealing it to ourselves - and we knew each and every little detail of what was behind that curtain – but it was so magical. To finally see everything come together for the first time in real life was really special and so fulfilling. From the whimsical floating drapes hanging from the ceiling to the lighting waves mapped over the king's tables. The sea of candles lit from one end of the room to the other with bursts of sculptured florals, to all of our guests dressed in black and white, we made it! As fast as the day went, time stood still at this moment.
Where was your wedding? Why did you choose this venue?
Our wedding was held in The Linseed House at The Grounds of Alexandria. We instantly knew this was the venue for us. Simply put, it had character. The heritage nature intrinsic to the architecture, the raw internal exposed brickwork which engulfed the space and the high ceiling void which exposed the trusswork were all part of the foundation for the beautiful blank canvas which allowed us to create our own aesthetic so naturally. We also needed something big enough to fit all our family and friends, and this was perfect.
How many guests did you have?
We had 237 guests to be exact! Believe it or not, this was an intimate wedding for our cultures with only our very close family and most special friends.
Tell us about your outfits.
The brief was timeless - but modern, for both of us. For the wedding dress, I always knew I wanted something with the ability to transcend time, a dress I could look back on years and years later and fall in love with all over again for the same reasons I loved it the day I first wore it. Leah Da Gloria allowed this vision to come to life in the most seamless way possible. The first time I saw Leah I went in with sketches, posted notes, and about 300 photos to describe all my ideas - and she so calmly listened and brought all my visions to life in one single sketch, and then we just ran with it. The silhouette of the dress was structured on tradition. We chose a classic scooped neckline that ran to the tip of my shoulder blades and then effortlessly fell away, with an embellished sheer lace sleeve extending down and over my hands just caressing my fingers. I had always known I wanted a sleeve, so having my wedding during the hottest month of the year wasn’t a force that was going to stop me. The gown snugged my waist and then fell away to the floor in a soft structured manner. The fabric selection was very meticulous. I wanted vintage detailing with raw textures which exuded a sense of romance. We chose a delicate French lace as the base layer of fabric which draped the entire dress. Leah then created a custom 3D embroidery pattern made from layers of woven threads, chiffon, soft iridescent beads, and classic pearls, which she poetically mapped out over the top of the base layer of lace. The detailing was clustered around the bodice and cascaded organically down the silhouette of the dress. My veil was purely a soft tulle, gathered at the back and finished with a small piece of the 3D embroidery which Leah positioned around my head - almost like a regal bonnet. My shoes were classic ivory points with a single strap of encrusted crystals - just for that extra bit of sparkle we all love. For jewelry, I kept it simple with only my engagement ring, wedding band, and a pair of small pearl drop earrings to finish the look.
For the groom’s suit, it simply came down to the creation of a timeless contemporary tuxedo. From the selection of the hand-woven materials and textures to the design of the exuberated lapels, bowtie and cumber band, completed with all the finer details as witnessed through the hand-stitching of my initials, it really was the perfect black-tie dinner suit. Tailors personified, by John Pierre at Tailor & Co; bravo.
What was your first dance song?
We had our very talented live cellist Hanna Oblikov play Amber Leigh Irish’s “Falling Like The Stars” – it was as magical as the title's elude.
What flowers did you choose for the bride's bouquet and why?
I wanted something romantic and graceful to compliment my look. My dress was very detailed and so my bouquet needed to be simple and delicate. I had complete trust in our incredible floral designers and got them to create their own little bit of magic – they chose dried lunaria branches to give a vintage spin to modernity, amaranthus for romance, coupled with phalaenopsis orchids for elegance, all held together with my Yiayia’s rosary beads so that she could be with me all day like we promised each other.
What was your wedding cake like? And where did you order it?
I’m not sure you can call it a cake; I like to refer to what we had as a piece of art! The incredible Gigi from By Gigi is a Visionaire to say the least. We wanted something raw, textural, organic yet still sculptural – and then I found Gigi! The first time I spoke to her over the phone I could tell she was a perfectionist – there was no doubt in my mind she was the one! She carefully curated every minute detail to absolute perfection, from the layering of textures and techniques, and the selection of the soft ivory color palette, right down to the size and shapes used to evoke the overall feel. Let’s not forget about the flavor, referred to as Gigi’s Cammafeu, or otherwise described as a soft nutty sponge with caramelized walnuts and vanilla buttercream ganache – quite literally a melt-in-your-mouth moment.
Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?
George and I said to each other from the very beginning before we started any planning that we wanted vendors that loved what they do, embodied us and our sense of style but most importantly that made us feel at home and comfortable with them. Weddings are a coming together of everything and everyone you love - to celebrate love, so it was so important to us that our vendors who were helping us create this special day were also people we loved.
It all started with our ever so incredible Photography and Videography team, who we are now lucky enough to call our beautiful friends, Anemotion Weddings - George and I knew they were the ones quite instantly. There are not enough kind words in the English language to describe how much this team means to us. On the day these guys just felt like lifelong friends who were an extension of our bridal party. I think that’s so important and really what allowed George and I to just be ourselves – we didn’t feel at all there were any cameras on us. They ever so effortlessly were able to capture every raw emotion of the day for us to hold onto and relive every day hereafter. They will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
The incredible girls at The Hunted Yard were the key to our proposal story – so there was never any question about having them as part of our wedding day. They designed and created all our beautiful flowers from the morning right through to the evening and helped us bring to life all the styling elements.
Jade The MC; not just our MC but our right-hand man and master of everything. Jade allowed us to feel so comfortable and at ease that day, he took all our planning and ran it from end to end - we weren’t stressed or worried about one little thing, Jade had it all under control!
The lovely Bella from Bella Mia Events was our eyes and ears on the ground during the setup when we couldn’t be there. She made sure everything was executed ever so flawlessly!
We spent a lot of time with our Peter duo creating a very special custom ceiling installation. Lighting specialist Peter, from Chandelier’s to Die For, and Peter, the Drapeologist, worked effortlessly in the lead-up and on the day to achieve the most ethereal atmosphere.
What’s a big Lebanese, Greek, Italian Wedding without BIG live entertainment? Zaffet Lebnen, Hanna Oblikov, Rami El Mir, Perry Tsepetzis, and Tommy Tsonis were all part of making sure our day and night were exciting and enjoyable not just for us but for all our family and friends – and they couldn’t have done more impeccable job!
Dodie from Dodie Jay Hair and Tania Chiha; the personification of beauty – these two women not only made me look my best because of how incredible they are at what they do, but they are the most beautiful kindhearted souls and so more importantly were able to make me feel my absolute best. I put my complete trust in them both and rightly so, they kept me calm and my girl crew and I had the most incredibly fun morning with them!
Reception venue @thegroundsevents
Photographer & Videographer @anemotionweddings
Planner, Stylist & Stationery @studio.jorge
Floral Designer & Styling @thehuntedyard
Dress & Veil @leahdagloria
Groom's Attire @tailorandco