Galia Lahav’s bride of the day is Sharon Butcher! A beautiful bride who wore our gown that fit her like a glove, the Juliana from the Ivory Tower Collection by Galia Lahav. Sharon brought her style, fashion, poise, and character to the gown which enriched the presence of a beautiful moment where two become one. We congradulate Sharon and her husband in this significant moment in their lives!
I am Sharon and husbands name is James. I head up Sales Operations for Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy in Australia working on the Benefit Cosmetics brand and my husband is a Lead Consultant (Analytics) with Aimia.
We met 6 years ago randomly on the streets of Melbourne. I was lost and looking for an ATM as it was my first week in Melbourne and he was on a working holiday taking a break from his career in London and visiting Australia. We connected instantly over our love of travel and I thought he was absolutely insane to have put his career on hold to travel the world. We bonded over how different we were – He is a soft spoken, creative, geek who is also a free spirit and very impulse led. I on the other hand am very loud, out going, compulsive planner and out spoken and direct. It’s created a great balance in our relationship and unlike most we never were very focused on our future as a couple. We took the approach of taking each day as it comes and enjoying every moment we have together. Our relationship has been full of adventure and our shared love for luxury travel has taken us all over the world with the most incredible experiences. Due to our busy lives we particularly enjoy travelling to very private islands and resorts and enjoying the beauty of nature in absolute privacy.
Just over five years after we met, James proposed on new years eve on a trip to visit my family back in Lagos, Nigeria. When we started thinking about wedding plans we knew it would be very complicated as we both live and work in Australia but James is from the the UK so his family are based in London and Ireland, and I am from Africa so my family are back home with others scattered around the world. Getting married in Australia would mean both our families travelling across the world to attend. London became the preferred location due to proximity to Lagos and our families in Europe. However a lot of our friends are in Australia and will mean having to travel far. James came up with the idea of getting married on the day we met which was the 19th of October. I liked the idea but selfishly didn’t want to clash dates. As I do enjoy making a big deal of special dates. So we instead went for the 20th of October which would allow us have a two day anniversary celebration in futures and started planning. We wrote the first guest list and we had a list of over 100 people. The more we talked about it, the more I realised that it just wasn’t me and I was organising the wedding that everyone else wanted but not me. I had a conversation with my family and asked if they would be happy with whatever I decided to do and my mum knowing me very well said “I’ll support you in whatever even if you decide to elope”. It was funny because at that point after processing the thought of a big wedding, James and I were whispering to each other that we would like to elope.
In that moment we decided that we wanted a wedding that was truly us. Very casual, laid back yet tasteful and grand in it’s own way. We knew we wanted to go back to the Maldives for our honeymoon because we fell in love with the island the first time we went there for Christmas/New Year 2014/2015 so the question was where we were going to have the wedding. The more we thought about what we would like in a wedding, it was very clear that the wedding was going to be in the Maldives. The island is naturally beautiful, laid back with all the worries of the world taken away and yet it is elegant and grand in its own way. We decided at that point to commit to the Maldives even though we knew it would be challenging to pull off being such a remote island. We also decided not to elope but instead invite our immediate family only to create a more intimate event. We chose the Huvfen Fushi because they were so easy to deal with and were very like me. They had an appetite to try new things whereas a lot of the other resorts were fixated on pre-set packages and not willing to step far outside with customisation. The initial ideas ranged from a wedding reception with all the tables and chairs dug out of the sand (How cool is that!) to a dinner underwater. We decided to have a beach wedding ceremony and a reception on the over water deck over looking the stars.
Once we had decided on the venue and date, the next big thing was finding the dress. I have a reputation as a fashionista and I am known for my obsession with gowns and shoes. So immediately I announced I was getting married the big question everyone had was “What will you wear?”. I have a very classic taste and despite my love of gowns, I am not a big fan of what I call traditional bridal gowns so when I started searching for inspiration I was very frustrated as I wanted something very simple but elaborate in its own way. I knew I wanted a dress that was reflective of me – Bold yet understated, strong yet feminine, elegant, unique and adaptable. I had a few brands that I explored including Galia Lahav. I always LOVED Galia Lahav gowns and was obsessed with how sexy yet classy most of her designs were. I spent hours looking through the collections from Galia Lahav, Ashi Studio, Krikor Jibotan, Vera Wang, Inbal Dror, Marchesa and Ralph & Russo. When I saw the Juliana gown I was immediately blown away. I sent my shortlist of about 20 dresses to my sister who was also my wedding planner @officialoby and she immediately came back with the Julianna as her favourite. I looked on the website and saw that there was a trunk show coming to my city in a few weeks and I thought it was fate. I registered for the trunk show in Sydney which was organised by Galia and Eternal Bridal and they contacted me and told me the venue was the Langham hotel Sydney which at the time was 2 minutes walk from my apartment. I just thought it was meant to be.
I arrived at the trunk show with an open mind and I had my mum and sister Skype me to view the dresses with me. I tried on dozen dresses but immediately I tried on Julianna I knew it was the one. My mum and sister fell in love with Blossom but in my own stubborn way I stuck my guns with Julianna as I was madly in love with the dress. It was everything I wanted. Simple and elegant yet the elaborate detailing with the embellishments were perfect. When the light hit the dress, it just glowed and as a lover of sparkles, I fell in love even more. The back of the dress was just gorgeous and neckline in front was just perfect. The detachable train was also a huge plus as I loved how it added a level of grandeur to the dress but allowed me to take it off after the ceremony as I my love for fashion is only second to music and dancing and I intended to party and dance the night away at our wedding. I asked for a slight change to make the front a bit simpler to cover the two openings on the side as I wanted all attention to be on the detailing and after one phone call I was excited when they came back and said Galia was happy with the change. I walked out beaming from ear to ear and had a few photos on my phone which I was so proud to show everyone. I worried that I may have dress regret but even 9 moths later when the dress arrived I never had a second of dress regret in between. Every time I looked at dresses, I was still excited about mine.
The wedding came quicker than I imagined and I must say I loved every minute of it. Celebrations started in Dubai with my family and we then joined the rest of the family in the Maldives on the 19th of October. We celebrated our 6 years anniversary with all our family on a Yacht cruise and then danced the night away. The formal ceremony and reception was on the 20th of October and it didn’t quite go as planned. The day started sunny and then the weather turned for the worst and rained heavily. This meant we had to move both the ceremony and the reception indoors. I was initially devsatated but then the hotel suggested that we move the event to the next day. We did and it was perfect as I was able to have the outdoor wedding I had come all the way for. This meant that we ended up having a 3 day wedding which was just spectacular. The weather was beautiful and we had the wedding of our dreams.
I enjoyed marrying the man of my dreams, I enjoyed sharing the occasion with my family and I felt so good walking down the aisle feeling beautiful and the look on James face was priceless. To complete my look I went with drop Serpenti earrings from Bvlgari, a simple tennis bracelet from Bensimon Diamonds and a diamond butterfly ring from Canturi. I completed the look with Christian Louboutin cinderella inspired shoes for the ceremony and the Christian Louboutin Cataclou Wedges for the reception. James wore a Tom Ford Tuxedo with Christian Louboutin Patent lace up shoes. My makeup was done by the magician Dave Sucre who flew in just to make me look like a princess and Zoom Maldives captured the event perfectly.
Thank you to Galia and team for making such an incredible dress. It was perfect for me and really out a smile on my face. I felt like a modern princess. I couldn’t have dreamt of a more perfect event.