REAL WEDDING: Jena-Lee and Max
Professional Dancer and Dance Teacher Jena-Lee and her husband Max talk to me about how they found life, love and a wedding through dance.
How did you meet? Max - I decided to find a hobby that was the polar opposite to my job, and decided upon dancing (literally a snap decision based upon what was on TV at the time!). After doing a quick google search I found a studio that was in walking distance to my home – Forever Dance, which Jena both manages and teaches at. Feeling like I was about to jump out of an aeroplane, I nervously made the call. To this day I still believe that this was truly fate, as the man who answered the call (Greg – my best man) and the teacher I was paired with (Anna) are Jena’s two closest friends. In my journey through dance with these two amazing people, Jena was always there – full of energy and with a sense of life that one can’t help but to fall in love with. Although finding opportunities to talk with her was easy – finding ways to express my feelings to her was more difficult. Again, fate stepped in and I found myself with a client that happened to be in her home town of Echuca, and I believe our story really began over a bottle of locally produced soft drink!!
Jena - as above!! I had an crush on Max for 6months before I told my bosses about how I felt. As he was a student at my studio, I just thought it would pass. However I have never had feelings for anyone at the studio and thought it was strange and weirdly intense, I wanted to be sure before pursuing anything. I ending up allowing my feelings to manifest for a whole year, before I allowed my feelings to be known. Lucky for me he felt the same.
Tell me about the proposal… Max - As mentioned our story revolved around the wonderful family and community that is Forever Dance. When it came to proposing I knew that there was only one place it could occur…in front of this family. I was able to work with the owners to ensure an opportunity at the end of one of their largest annual events. We were able to keep all of our plans a secret under the guise that I would be helping out with the photography which gave me the opportunity to be included in each training session, all the while being able to work out logistics of where & when… and even sneaking the ring under her nose in a camera bag!
I am not ashamed to admit that this is the one event where I was unable to focus on how amazing and artistic a dancer Jena is, as I was so nervous I can’t remember most of it. But when the time came and the final applause died down – Jena was asked to stay on the floor as there was one special person who wished to thank her personally and I was on! Our love story began on the dance floor & it seemed only fitting that I recalled with her (and a room of more than 100 people!) the moments and spaces on the floor where I fell madly in love. As always I went on too long and when it finally got to the moment where I bent the knee – she said yes before it hit the ground (In fact I think it was more “oh, just shut up… yes!!”).
Why was it important for you to get married? Max - For me it is quite simple, it is a commitment that I will go through any of life’s challenges by her side…each second spent with her is truly a gift.
Jena - before Max, I was certain I didn’t want to get married. I’d never been in a relationship where I saw a future, so I just thought it wasn’t possible. His kind nature and refreshing honesty, made me so happy and content with who I was that I could see us spending our lives together. He helped me feel what marriage life would be like and I wanted it. I love experiencing ‘first time’ adventures with him. Even though it was his ‘second time’ it was the first for me and it was spectacular!
How did you choose your dress/suit/outfit? Jena – it took me nearly 2 years to actually go into a Bridal store, I didn’t know what I wanted and to be honest it scared me. My girlfriend and I decided to help me get over this we would go to a bridal store and try on ridiculously expensive dresses to take the pressure off. After searching locally for discounted dresses all over Melbourne, I found Maggie’s Bridal in Cranbourne and I found “my dress”. I actually did this all alone. I felt that to be the best way for me to be true to myself and not be persuaded by someone else’s influence.
Max - My best man Greg was able to fly over from Perth for the weekend for our “Huck’s” night, as well as finding the suits. It’s amazing how much can be achieved in a single days shopping in Melbourne!!
What was the reason that you chose the venue that you did? Max – We absolutely fell in love with the venue as soon as we stepped out of the car! We had been looking all day and in typical style – what had begun as a clear blue day had ended up with rain (yay Melbourne!!). The venue – Lyrebird Falls – is set in a rainforest, and so felt like a magical wonderland glistening in the light. The weather had helped to dampen the noise and so we were met with almost silence…just the faint sounds of nature. The venue was actually prepared for a wedding the next day and so we were able to see it in all of its livery – falling in love immediately with how well the coordinators were able to match the décor with the surroundings. We had found our place!!
Tell me about your cake!! Jena - Maddie from Mad About Cakes was absolutely wonderful, and she is truly skilled. She helped us choose a cake style/flavour that suited our style – queues from the traditional, yet keeping it simple and uncomplicated. We had our minds set on a semi-naked cake and she was able to pair this perfectly with a toasted coconut and vanilla sponge which was so tasty that we ended up taking seconds at the tasting!
And what about your venue? Lyrebird Falls were absolutely amazing! Their attention to detail is second to none and the entire day went seamlessly, with us feeling catered for in every way. They were able to create a space that was able to be a perfect balance of elegance and subtlety that oozed charm to a point that most described it as “magical”. Our dedicated coordinator (Gracie) was always a few short steps away throughout the day/night - always on hand with anything we may have required. The venue itself is dedicated to weddings and it definitely showed, with *everything* being perfectly balanced and in place.
We’re glad we… stayed true to ourselves.
We’re happy that… we didn’t take ourselves or the day too seriously.
The best thing about our wedding… (apart from our amazing Celebrant!) was seeing all of our friends and family come together to celebrate our love for each other!
How was the lead up to the wedding? Were you nervous? Max – I was not nervous at all, this was simply a confirmation of how much I want to spend the rest of my life with Jena and so I took the entire experience as a celebration rather than a formal event.
Jena - I wasn’t nervous at all. I was so relaxed everyone around me was prepared for a bridezilla, they were amazed at how calm I was! I was relaxed, the day would go how it would go. I just wanted to enjoy the ride.
What’s your best piece of advice for couples that are arranging their wedding? You do you!! There is an entire industry built around weddings and they are very skilled at making you feel like you have to buy their services. Keep in mind that it is just one (albeit wonderful) day in the story that is your lives, so make it a celebration of your journey… not simply an insta-worthy photo-op.
VENDORS Photographer - Art Around Photos. Venue & Catering- Lyrebird Falls. Cake - Mad about Cakes. Invites- created by the couple and printed by Minuteman Press Richmond. Dress - Maggie’s Bridal Cranbourne. Engagement Ring - Zoara USA. Wedding rings - Wynelle Jewellery Designs. Suits - Calvin Klein – bought from Debenhams. Her shoes - Alan Pinkus. His shoes - Aquila. Florist - Big On Flowers. MUA – Melissa Helena Makeup Artist. Hair – Marjorie May FairF