Tali Shein and Errol Sandler’s love story spans continents. They met while at a cocktail bar with mutual friends in London, where Errol was struck by Tali’s “beautiful smile and natural beauty,” he remembers. After dating for three years, he proposed on the snowy streets of New York. Following a month of enjoying their new status as an engaged couple, the pair spent the next 10 months planning their nuptials in their home of Sydney. 

Working with Philip Carr, who had organized many events for the family of the bride, helped streamline the process. A local art institute made for the perfect contemporary space, especially as it functioned as a blank canvas for the ultimate design choices. “We were also fortunate that the Nick Cave exhibition was on at the time, which created a fantastic welcome for guests arriving to the event,” adds Tali. She and her fiancé elected to initially plan the big day around the reception, and from there decided how the ceremony should look. Basing the color scheme on 1980s-inspired coral and green, the reception was to be filled with vibrant hues, while the ceremony would use white as a contrast. “Little did we realize that Living Coral was to become the Pantone color of the year!” the bride exclaims. 

The retro-meets-modern aesthetic was first introduced with the invitation suite and ketubah, both designed by Ceci New York and featuring watercolor peonies in coral surrounded by verdure. Though the crisp, white palette of the ceremony may lend itself to a classic and traditional vision, the final look was much more contemporary and befitting of the venue. Lucite columns adorned with oversized alabaster paper flowers held up the tallit for the chuppah. In addition to the ivory canisters glowing with candlelight, the blooms created a fun and artistic look for the Orthodox Jewish ceremony. 

Tali looked ethereal as she walked down the aisle in a soft, flowing A-line gown with floral appliqués, clutching an arrangement of peonies as a Hebrew cover of “La Vie en Rose” was performed. The band played additional Hebrew songs before the ceremony started, as guests had arrived 30 minutes prior to enjoy cocktails and canapés before the processional commenced. Following the “I dos,” the newlyweds recessed down the aisle and then cut the cake, which was displayed in the back of the ceremony space. A coral flower decorated the confection and was the first sign of color for the rest of the celebration. “While the guests watched the cake being cut, the curtains opened behind them to reveal the room,” the bride explains of the entrance to the exquisite reception space. 

Dining tables and lounge areas were interspersed throughout the venue in order to allow attendees to mingle with ease. Rather than focus on individual grand centerpieces on each table, the space was designed as a whole. An ombré effect was created with arrangements of flowers in white and increasingly darker shades of coral. Traditional Portuguese cabbage plates helped add to the retro feel, as did lounge furniture in mustard hues. The ambience was further accentuated through palm trees, rose garlands, and woven lighting fixtures that all filled the room of the art institute. 

“We tried to satisfy what guests are really looking for when they go to a wedding,” confirms Tali. The unique décor set the tone, but the plethora of delicious food, three dessert options, and lively entertainment helped to create a fun and memorable atmosphere. “Our band was unbelievable,” gushes the bride. “They performed an eclectic blend of well-known songs delivered with all the character of the original and twice the energy.” A particularly noteworthy performance was when Tali’s cousin joined the band to sing “Johnny Be Good” to the father of the bride – which the groom cites as a highlight. Though the dance party had Errol wishing he had brought an extra dress shirt, both the newlyweds were thrilled with their big day. Advising couples planning their own celebration, Tali says, “Stop for a moment and take it all in!”