Annabelle Chauncy & Marc Sazdanoff
HOW DID YOU MEET
I started a charity called School for Life when I was 21 years old. I build schools for some of the world’s poorest communities in rural Uganda. In 2014, Marc signed up to volunteer as a builder for 3 months. Whilst we didn’t spend any time together in Africa on that trip, there was an instant connection between us and I loved his caring and compassionate nature. We shared the same values from the very beginning, We like to interview each volunteer before they come over to Africa with us to ensure they are in it and coming for the right reasons. when he knocked on the door and I opened my gosh I had to compose myself cause there was this tall dark and handsome hunk of a man and I was like omg compose yourself Annabelle, his coming to work for you. hahah. I guess the rest is history, once we got back we decided to catch up for drinks and had the best night, he says this is our first date, but it also had one of his groomsmen in toe. haha.
YOUR ENGAGEMENT STORY
Marc and I were in New York city for Christmas in 2018. We were at an art gallery and he told me we had to get going, that he’d planned something special and that it would have the best view over the city! We got picked up in a car ( Marc, he must have been so nervous having planned it all out to not only see an amazing view but by helicopter but when the car turned up to pic us up, to see that the car had on the side of it, propsals, he must have been shattered, I choose not to take to much notice, but we did have a good laugh, the car took us to a private heli pad and he proposed mid air over Manhattan! It was incredible.
HAIR & MAKEUP
Natural, dewy make up by @bynormie Normie Gonzalez. I wanted to look like a better version of myself and I’ve worked a lot with Normie so I knew he would get me the look I was after. He made me fresh faced, blue-eyed and not too overdone. I had my hair out and flowing because it worked with the style of the dress. I thickened it up with some clip in extensions.
PREPARATION – COUNTDOWN BEGINS
I got ready at my parents’ house where we chose to have the ceremony with my bridesmaids, Mum and another best friend, Denise. I gave the girls beautiful pearl earrings from Pierre Winter Fine Jewellery and pyjamas from HomeBodii. There were lots of happy tears throughout the morning. it was so nice being there with all the family and being relaxed, and being able to see all the guests arrive through the windows.
Marc and the boys got ready at a friends property that was located only about 5 mins from the reception venue, we chose not to have it captured as we wanted them not to feel to posed.
I was so torn with my dress and as to what I wanted. I originally had chosen another gown which I loved, but after trying it on, and looking at myself, I just was like I don't feel like a bride and who I wanted to on the day, so I decided to swap it out and went with a Karen Willis Holmes ‘Aubrey’ gown. It was perfect, classic and fit my in all the right places. I wanted a long sleeve and a modern, timeless gown that I would never regret. I loved the low back and the statement sleeves. it had just the rough amount of train to it, and it was so easy to dance in.
Billini, white two strap ultra high heels
WEDDING LOCATION/ VENUE
Ceremony: my family farm at ‘Nandi’ Canyonleigh in the Southern Highlands of NSW where I ( Annabelle) grew up.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
POST CEREMONY - As we had a 12pm wedding, we had a glass of champagne for all guests to toast to us while we were singing the register and walked down the aisle as husband and wife. As we also had the wedding on the family property which is a good 40 mins drive from the reception venue we had a large array of freshly made sandwiches that were catered. Marc is also so hands on the opposite to me being very creative ( im all looks and the brains baby ahah) he made a bar which was massive about 2m long and weighed a tone. He spent weeks designing, and sourcing the materials, making and painting it, it was so beautiful. We had staff standing behind it serving beer champagne and fresh punch.
Aniella and Simon played during the ceremony. I wanted an acoustic duo for the ceremony. I found Aniela and Simon through a dear friend of mine, Miriam O'Brien. I really wanted a beautiful acoustic duo to bring some atmosphere before and during the ceremony and after during the champagne/canapes, particularly since it was a garden wedding. They were so professional and even learnt two of our favourite songs for us for the ceremony! They brought a beautiful intimacy to the ceremony which really made it memorable. I highly recommend them!
James Englund from Big Thanks Band put together a 6 piece band including trumpet and saxophone.
THE FLOWERS & BOUQUETS
Jane Lampe from Floreat She worked tirelessly that day – getting all the flowers set up at the ceremony and then transporting the vases across to our reception so that we could re-use them there. I wanted ‘pared back romance’ – dusty pink fluffy roses for my bridesmaids and the groom/groomsmen, and orchids for me - a simple, modern bouquet that wasn’t overpowering.
Black Mercedes van – I wanted the whole bridal party to be able to travel together.
GROOM + GROOMSMEN ATTIRE
Marc: Institchu custom tuxedo with white jacket Shoes: Aquila Groomsmen: hired suits from Peppers, Cremorne
Walking down the aisle – XO – John Mayer
Recessional – Higher Love, Whitney Houston
WHAT MARRIAGE MEANS TO YOU
A commitment to loving each other and working together as a team, through the good times and the bad.
Shona Joy one shoulder white dress with a tie around the waist. I wanted them to not look back on the images and be like oh god what did she put me in, I wanted it to tie in with the overall theme and my dress and be timeless and classic.
WEDDING PLANNER/ WEDDING STYLIST
Rychelle from Love Stoned.
For the ceremony, as we decided to get married on my family farm ( Annabelle) we wanted to keep it simple and not takeaway from the landscape. My brother had also been married on the farm, so we wanted to ensure that it also looked not too similar. I wanted the overall style and theme to be classic, elegant, timeless and not to over the top in colours, but it to just blend in with the property. Rychelle from Lovestoned Styling, also happens to be a good friend and her partner was Marc's groomsmen, so we didn't want them bringing down too much or doing too much on the day. But she was such a great help in giving us guidance in setting up and what to do location wise.
We chose to get married at the end of the orchard. It was so beautiful having guests all sitting and lining down this strip of trees, and then we got married in front of a triangle arch that Marc built ( his so hands on) and we stood on the Ebony rug our of Lovestoned inventory, being that is was blush, it blended in perfectly with the greens and blush florals.
Marc being very creative, he also decided to make our signing table, which matched a bar that he also made for the post ceremony drinks. It was so nice to have that hands on touch that he had out his heart and soul into on the day.
We got Annabelle’s Grandmother and Marc’s Grandfather to give words of wisdom in lieu of vows as we wanted them to be included in the ceremony. We decided to do our own reading.
Annabelle, 6 Years ago, I watched you on TV talking about School For Life, I knew at that moment, that one day, we would be standing here together. Today my heart has never felt so full. I am the happiest, most thankful person on this earth, that our worlds collided into one. Having you by my side, I feel like I can accomplish anything, and embrace any challenge life throws our way. I have admired how you have changed the lives of thousands of people. How you unconditionally love, protect, teach, and laugh with them. How you care deeper than I’ve ever seen anyone, care before. You show this same ferocious care for your family and friends, which I never knew could exist. It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I vow, that I’ll bring that kind of love to you, and to our family. To fiercely dedicate my heart to you, no matter where we are , and no matter what circumstances we are in. I promise to protect and honour your huge heart, and never take your generosity for granted. I promise to always give you the window seat, on long haul flights I promise not to judge you, when you attempt to cook a stir fry with a spatula And I promise not be to the back seat driver, when you are navigating the streets of Uganda in the Hilux. As I grow old with you by my side, at the end of the day, I want us to look back on our lives with no regret You are one of a kind, different, crazy. Thank you for being you. You are my everything, You are my soul mate, And you are my best friend. I love you.
I ask our family and friends here present
To witness that I, Annabelle Katharine Chauncy,
Take you, Marc Nickalos Sazdanoff
To be my lawful wedded husband.
Meeting you changed everything for me, in the best possible way.
I love the fierceness of your loyalty, the strength of your work ethic, how you apply yourself 150% to everything you do. I love how you push me to be the best version of myself everyday.
You are my rock, supporting me unconditionally through the good times, and the bad.
You are my best friend and my soul mate.
I promise to respect and admire you, to grow and evolve with you, to always support your dreams and ambitions.
I promise to try to use the right tools in the kitchen, to always make your birthday week the best week of every year, to not judge you when you eat a whole block of chocolate 10 minutes after dinner.
I promise to build a life full of laughter, family, memories and travel with you.
You are my world, I could get lost in your eyes over and over again. Thank you for choosing me. I promise to love and honour you for infinity.
Sophie Coombes Amazing, she absolutely nailed it. Sophie is so warm and she really got to know Marc and I before the ceremony so that she could customize it to reflect the people that we are. We wanted it to be relaxed, with love and laughter. She was the perfect choice for us, making us feel comfortable and her suggestions were amazing e.g. asking everyone to give a loved one a hug or kiss after we were pronounced husband and wife. I couldn’t recommend Sophie more highly. She is professional, warm and genuinely cares so much about making it the best day of your lives.
We treated all guests to a glass of champagne while we were singing the registry so they could cheers us as we walked down he aisle. Rychelle supplied us with the most lovely range of crystal glassware , and guests used these for drinks for the rest of the post celebrations. We also hired a whole lot of bamboo lounges, cushions, and umbrellas so there were some spaces for the elderly to rest and shade, as we got married on the 29th November and being out on a fam in the middle of a drought it was so hot.
WEDDING RECEPTION LOCATION/ VENUE
Reception: The Stables, Bendooley Estate
We wanted to marry on Annabelle’s farm but have the ease and convenience of a catered venue with staff and not DIY with a marquee and set up of the reception. The Stables at Bendooley has a modern country feel and fabulous food so it suited us and the vibe we wanted to a tee. We were also fixed on having a long lunch as we love day time events and wanted to make the most of the day.
La Belle Creative did the Save the Date and Invitations - We went for a classic timeless look. Bridge Co did the signage on the day, this was organised through our stylist Lovestoned. Bridge and co, supplied our seating chart for guests to find their seats. its was so stunning, being of matte black backing with white writing ( very classic) but her layout and fonts just tied it all in perfectly with the venue.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
RECEPTION - Guests arrived around 2.30 and were treated to a large array of canapés ( we are so all about good food and not going hungry) while we stayed back and got some photos on the property.
we then decided to go with Bendooleys shared meal option, which we had only heard amazing things about and when we did our tasting we were blown away.We also loved the idea of having share platters as it gave guests the option to only eat what they wanted as we have always wanted what the other had when we have been guests at weddings and had alternate drop. Honestly I can't rave on any more how AMAZING the food was, it melted in our mouth, specially the Pumpkin and Ricotta tortellini with burnt sage butter and walnut amaretti crumble, the tortilla was actually the size of my palm.
Free range chicken breast with onion soubise, mixed legumes and sourdoughs crumble.
Slow roast whole lamb shoulder with red wine and rosemary jus
Pumpkin ricotta tortellini with burnt sage butter and walnut amaretti crumble.
Roast chat potatoes with confit garlic, flat parsley and rosemary
Peas, beans and asparagus salad with feta, mint and sumac
Cripsy pumpkin salad, red quinoa, slow roasted tomato and coriander
A selection of tartlets, macaroons, panna cotta and miniature lamingtons
Australian cheese tower served with lavish, quince paste, turffled honey and fresh grapes.
We choose not to have any styling as the venue its self and the property its ones so stunning. We had our florist do some tall arrangements on plinths lining down each table, and we had a seating chart, easel and wishing well supplied by Lovestoned and bridge and co. but otherwise we kept it very Simple.
- My brothers MC’ing and trying to come up with Macedonian wedding traditions which ultimately meant we had to have a tug of war over a bread stick to see who wears the pants.
- My Mum’s speech was a tear jerker – I think most of the room was crying.
- The dance floor! It was just so much fun.
3 wheel cheese tower - we felt so fancy cutting into cheese then a cake, and as we had already chosen to had a desert bar as it was included in the food package, we didn't want a cake to go to waste, so we opted for cheese so then it became a palate cleanser and cheese platter for guest to pick on as they were leaving.
WEDDING SONGS RECEPTION
First Dance – Africa - Toto ( this was the perfect song for us and had major sentimental value. As I am the founder of School for life, a foundation I started 10 years ago when I went travelling to Africa, and just fell in love with the community and children and decided that I wanted to help them so started building schools. Long story short here I am, Running school for life, a not for profit organisation working in rural Uganda, building schools to provide communities with a quality education, including primary and secondary schooling, vocational training and other services – such as employment and healthcare solutions. So what better song than AFRICA.
We did a wishing well for our honeymoon as we were taking a 7 week honeymoon through Central and South America.
I took the longest to pick my photographer because we didn't have the money for a videographer as well so I knew I needed to get it right. I wanted the images to be really candid, but also artistic and beautiful. I spoke to a lot of people and had a great chat with Alex. We got along really quickly and he's got a great sense of humour. I knew straight away he would make my husband comfortable on the day which was really important to me. I love his style.... He is ethereal and arty but also candid at the same time. He is also amazing to work with during the event. He has a great personality and literally did whatever it took to get a good shot. At one stage he was lying on the ground in the dirt near piles of cow poo in 35 degree heat! Alex was there for every moment, and every moment in between but he wasn't intrusive. I don't even remember him being there for a lot of the day but he honestly captured every little moment and emotion. He is truly incredible. I mean it when I say I literally want to frame every image he sent through! Do not hesitate to book him, you will not regret it!
Annabelle: Jacque Fine Jewellery for engagement ring (solitaire diamond with a pave diamond band) and diamond wedding band Marc: Michael Hill Jeweller silver wedding band
JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES
Pierre Winter Fine Jewels earrings Paspaley Pearls bracelet (something borrowed!
YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
There are too many to mention: - Of course walking down the aisle with Mum and Dad and seeing Marc for the first time. Our ceremony was so intimate and small, it was just amazing to be surrounded by the people we love and care about the most.
HONEYMOON TIME BABY!!!
Wow, where to begin. We flew into Mexico – Tulum is amazing. We then went to Cuba, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and sailed the San Blass Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. It was the most incredible experience and we feel so lucky to have been able to take 7 weeks off work and travel to so many places we were desperate to see!
BRIDE'S DRESS: @kwhbridal
BRIDE’S SHOES: @billini
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: @shonajoy
GROOMS FORMAL WEAR @institchu
GROOMSMEN WEAR @institchu
WEDDING RINGS: @jacquefinejewellery
WEDDING VENUE: CEREMONY - Private estate ( family farm)
WEDDING VENUE: RECEPTION @bendooleyestate
WEDDING STYLIST: @lovestonedstyling
ENTERTAINMENT: CEREMONY - @aniella.simon
ENTERTAINMENT: RECEPTION - Big Thanks Band
GIFT REGISTRY: Wishing well by Lovestoned Styling