After several days of persistently unpleasant south-westerly winds the very first Blue Mountains Love photo shoot looked in danger of being blown away. However, by the time we arrived at our secret cliff-top location the blustery squalls had subsided. Calm returned to the mountains accompanied by heavenly afternoon light that anointed the escarpment, and our beautiful brides, with its ethereal glow.
The serendipity was not lost on our little crew – photographer, Jennifer Leahy of Silversalt Weddings, hair and make-up artist, Paul Bedggood, models Kylie Watson, an interior designer at Belle Abode Interiors, and Tiphanee Athans, genealogist at Branches of Time, and Blue Mountains Love editors Lisa Doust and Jacqueline Forster. Surely the heavens were smiling on this creative collaboration; sending a signal that our magazine and its message of marriage equality would be well received.
Tiphanee and Kylie, a real life couple active in the LGBTI community in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, have put their wedding on hold until marriage equality is legal in Australia. “A lot of people in our community may not choose to get married, but it is their right to be able to make that choice,” they explain in the cover story. They were making a statement with this shoot, and we wanted to make sure it was a powerful and beautiful statement.

The afternoon began with nervous anticipation, the clink of glasses and a lesson in how to “tszuj” from make-up artist and all-round party guy Paul Bedggood. Katoomba-based ‘Paulie’ has worked in fashion, advertising, editorial and the wedding caper – making brides beautiful – for many years. We immediately fell for his infectious energy and sense of humour.

Kylie’s adorable Shitzsu x Maltese, Louis, was on hand to make sure the shoot prep went to plan before we headed out to the Katoomba escarpment.

Behind the lens, the effervescent Jennifer Leahy from Silversalt Weddings in Leura, brought a level of relaxed professionalism and fun to the shoot. Jen has been known to climb a tree or stand on one leg to get the shot and her obvious delight as the intensity of the sunset made for a photographer’s dream light had us all beyond excited to see the finished frames.

Four stunning bridal gowns were supplied by Karen Willis Holmes, Sydney. Karen Willis Holmes is a renowned Australian designer whose eponymous brand blends bespoke couture with ready-to-wear and is characterised by an attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. ‘Faith’ BESPOKE gown and ‘Lilliana’ gown from the KWH ‘Wild Hearts’ collection featured on the cover.

The gowns were complimented by Kylie’s delicate native flower crown and Tiphanee’s romantic bouquet by Olivia Meredith of The Little Flower Shop Wentworth Falls. Olivia’s work is in great demand in the mountains and beyond.

Hand-crafted jewellery by Ainsley Whelan of Ainsley Fine Jewellery Leura, included unique matching wedding bands, and delicate drop earrings. Other accessories included a faux fur wrap from Leura Vintage, hand-made hairpiece from Christine’s Millinery, and props by Blue Mountains Love.

To read Kylie and Tiphanee’s story, more ‘True Love Tales’, plus profiles on local artisans and weddding suppliers in the Blue Mountains, pick up a copy of issue one, available throughout NSW and the ACT at all good newsagents, or online at Blue Mountains Love.

Words: Jacqueline Forster / Photos: Jennifer Leahy, Silversalt Weddings / Hair & Make-up: Paul Bedggood / Gowns: Karen Willis Holmes / Flowers: The Little Flower Shop / Jewellery: Ainslie Fine Jewellery / Faux-fur wrap: Leura Vintage / Hairpiece: Christine’s Millinery / Styling: Blue Mountains Love