Surprise Yarra Valley Wedding

      When Sally first contacted me to photograph her surprise Yarra Valley wedding, I was a little bit confused. A surprise wedding? How does that work? Hopefully it’s not the groom who is going to be the surprised one, that might not end well! When Sally eventually told me on the phone that it was the guests that were the ones who were in for a surprise, I admit I felt a little bit embarrassed that I hadn’t figured that one out for myself!
      Zonzo winery in the Yarra Valley


      Disguising their wedding as a joint birthday was a brilliant idea! And the venue they had selected is a stunning place for a wedding, and for wedding photography. You can read our review of it here. We were thrilled to be heading up to Zonzo in the Yarra Valley (about 50 kilometres from Melbourne) for the first time to photograph a wedding. However the day wasn’t without its challenges. Given the nature of this wedding being a secret from friends and family alike, we weren’t able to take traditional ‘getting ready’ photographs, and the timing of the event meant that the bride and groom didn’t arrive until just before sundown, and the bride didn’t get changed into her wedding dress until after dark!
      We also had to keep a low profile at the event, as guests started arriving well before Sally and Soren, and it might have been a giveaway if we were wandering around with all of our gear! It was a challenge for the staff too, as they had to keep the table decorations, flowers and cake somewhat under wraps until after the ceremony. Not an easy thing to do in a venue that is 75% ceiling to floor glass walls!


      The plan for the ceremony was simple – all the guests would be served finger food and drinks at the cellar door, under the guise of it being a big old birthday bash. Sally had stowed her wedding dress in the restaurant with the staff, and she stole away at about 6 to get changed. Meanwhile, Soren would distract the crowd with a speech, at the end of which he would invite Sally up to say her bit. The ensuing delay would leave everyone wondering what had become of Sally, at which point she would enter the barn in her stunning wedding dress and shock everyone!
      The couple had a friend who is also a wedding celebrant and she was to then stand up and marry them.
      Our job at this Yarra Valley wedding was to capture the surprised look on the faces of the guest as Sally walked in! However, there was a small problem…

      The look of surprise on a guest's face when she found out it was a wedding.

      The crowd notice the bride walk up the aisle.


      A few select family members were told about the true identity of the occasion, and it appears that there was something of a leak! As the guests rolled in around 5 o’clock, there were already murmurs about the silliness of “joint birthdays” and happy musings about “how gullible do they think we are?” It seemed that the cat was out of the bag!
      However Sally and Soren persisted with the plan, and it was the right thing to do – there were still a few people who hadn’t cottoned on, and there were a couple of reactions that were simply priceless.


      The ceremony in the barn was simple, and full of love. Laughs abounded during the nuptials which were somehow traditional and modern at the same time. Sally and Soren held tightly to each other throughout the whole thing, and their gaze almost never left each other. The outpouring of love between them and also by the guests after the ceremony was enough to warm you properly, and make you forget about the chilly evening outside.


      With the formalities out of the way, it was time for the part of the wedding that wasn’t a secret – the party! Zonzo had turned their restaurant into a reception venue with two long tables to accommodate the party, and the decorations were first class. The meals were delicious – Adolfo boasts the best pizza in Melbourne, and he’s not wrong! The drinks flowed freely while the music played softly. The kids set up makeshift beds in front of the large fireplace, and the adults partied on into the night.

      Pause The Moment would like to wish Sally and Soren all the best for their future together, and thank them for allowing us to photograph their wonderful wedding!

      Do you need a wedding photographer in Melbourne? Or a family portrait or event photographer? Contact us here and we will help you realise your vision!

      Zonzo is situated at the Train Trak winery, 957 Healesville – Yarra Glen Road
      Yarra Glen VIC 3775. Bookings are essential.


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