Lena Lim is a local and destination fine art wedding photographer based in Melbourne Australia. She trained at the Melbourne School of Design, and worked for 8 years as an Architect and Landscape Architect before becoming a full-time Wedding Photographer, which informs the way she sees the world and composes her images. She recently celebrated the best day of her life when she married her soul mate Sam. She is passionate about providing the best experience for her couples by taking a limited number of bookings every year. Her style is elegant, romantic, whimsical, fun and relaxed. If you’d like to chat to Lena about your upcoming wedding, please contact her through the contact form below.
Being wedding photographers ourselves, many people are curious and want to know how we celebrated our big day. It took us more than two years to plan for our perfect day, we’ve poured our hearts and souls into a day that would ensure our guests would enjoy themselves and have a good time.
We started by asking ourselves the big question, what are we both passionate about and how do we want to be remembered? We brainstormed and came up with three main ideas we wanted to incorporate into our wedding. The first is that we both enjoy nature. We’ve travelled around the world to visit UNESCO World Heritage Listed Sites to admire the beautiful landscapes that God has created. Sam proposed to me atop a glacial rock at Cradle Mountain, among our many other adventures hiking through treacherous terrain. Secondly, we are passionate about art, one of our most memorable dates was when we visited the National Gallery of Victoria in 2013 to see Monet’s exhibition. We were deeply intrigued and inspired by his dreamy waterlily paintings and we wanted all our wedding stationery to reflect the same kind of soft, vibrant and dabbled effect as Monet’s work. Thirdly, we wanted the day to be for our guests to enjoy and we wanted to have activities that would engage them, so for the reception the guests played with lawn games and we had a group dance class. We also chose a catering company that offered gourmet finger food and another that created an amazing dessert buffet so our guests could enjoy good food, because as they say, when you have good food and good company, then you’ll have a good time.
As a wedding photographer, I know the best time to take photographs is during the day under natural daylight, so we had an outdoor wedding during the day. We decided to run both the ceremony and the reception at the same garden, so our guests wouldn’t need to drive between locations, especially considering we had friends with young children and there were older people who could not stay for too long. We also wanted to have our bridal portraits photographed during the golden hour, right before sunset, so we planned to finish our reception an hour and a half before sunset. It gave us a chance to unwind, relax and reflect on our day with our bridal party before we departed ways. We picked the month with the one of the lowest average rainfalls of the year and we prayed hard for good weather, as the day would not have been nearly as lovely if we didn’t have clear skies!
Being a designer and having designed wedding invitations for my friends in the past (I was trained as an Architect and Landscape Architect), I decided to create my own wedding invitations from scratch. I collected lots of images from Pinterest and created inspiration palettes, then injected our own personalities using “Our Favourites” inspiration board to create the final product. I created all the paintings using a watercolour set I’d received for Christmas. I also purchased my own watercolour paper from the local art store, and took it to the local print shop to get them printed and cut to size. I sourced wedding envelopes from a local supplier too and had the names and addresses of my guests printed at home. While I was very picky about having beautiful wedding invitations, we managed to save a lot of money by doing it all ourselves.
I took the photos of our wedding invitation on the morning after our wedding, so I could style them with our flowers and ribbons. It had to be taken after our wedding, because I wanted to pick the flowers apart and scatter the petals around, taking my time to frame the image artfully.
We had boutonnières made for the boys in our bridal party, as well as for our immediate family members including corsages for the ladies, since they have been a big part of our lives too.
I prepared a gift box for Sam with a pair of cufflinks, happy socks and a black bow tie. I also had the personalised clothes hanger custom made with matching font to all our other stationery.
We had our rings laser engraved on the inside with a Bible verse, to serve as a continual reminder to us to love one another and that even when the going gets tough, God will help us overcome the challenges we face if we choose to love each other above ourselves.
We prepared these wooden gift boxes filled with goodies to give to our bridal party as a show of our appreciation to them for all their love and support.
I found a cute card titled “reasons I want to marry you” from Kikki K and I thought it would be meaningful to send Sam a love letter in the morning, before meeting each other at the altar! Talking to him about it afterwards, I realised we were both feeling nervous and excited in the morning of our big day!
I woke up before dawn and took these pictures of my wedding dress and shoes, so I could capture it against the beautiful soft morning light and the lovely French doors as the backdrop. Since I’m already quite tall, I decided against wearing heels that could poke into the ground, and I wore these comfy lace ballet flats instead. Wearing a floor length dress also meant the shoes weren’t really visible most of the time anyway. My feet thanked me for it and I could jump and dance in them all day long and not feel tired or sore!
As a wedding photographer, detail shots are very important to me. I love photographing macro shots of the sparkly engagement ring on top of the bouquet, because I feel the flowers chosen are a very special part of the wedding and help to tell the story. I actually brought my camera kit with me to the hotel so I could photograph my ring and earrings with my bouquet. Our bouquets featured my favourite flower, the David Austin rose in peach colour. Peach roses are known to symbolise appreciation, sincerity and gratitude, which are all qualities I strive to embody. My earrings are leafy branches with clear water drop crystals to match our botanical themed wedding.
Pheny did an amazing job with my hair and make up, it felt very natural and I barely felt like I had any make up on at all. I’ve worked with her on my previous wedding photography jobs before, and every single time she is able to make her client’s natural beauty shine. I’ve analysed a lot of make up artists’ work before, and Pheny’s blending skills are prime. Suki, another hair and make up artist did a wonderful job with my two gorgeous bridesmaids.
First things first – we clinked glasses with a glass of sweet rose moscato and felt a buzz of excitement to mark the beginning of our special day!
For my wedding scent, I chose Oscar de la Renta’s “Live in Love” perfume. The feminine and floral fragrance was a perfect fit for our botanical themed garden wedding.
Jie and Diana my two lovely friends were an amazing help and provided plenty of encouragement throughout our entire wedding planning process and on the day itself!
[left image] I painted the Bible verse using watercolours and set it up on the artist’s easel to go with our botanical watercolour theme. Mina’s florals looked amazing on it too!
This gorgeous dessert buffet had all our guests raving about it! The table was hired from One Big Day, the cake was made by La Vanille, the desserts were created by Raspberry Flamingo and Mina’s Florals added the stunning floral details. It was truly an amazing team effort!
I hand painted our fingerprint tree trunk and on the day our guests imprinted their mark on the tree, so we have a lovely memorabilia of all our guests to keep from our wedding.
We wrote thank you notes to all our guests and we asked them to take a picture of themselves and to pin it up in the same place as their note.
Since Sam and I both love art, we commissioned Watercolour Artist Sarah McKenzie to paint our wedding in the impressionist style. She did an amazing job!
I created our ceremony booklet with an illustration of us on the front and a timeline of the events on the back.
I am utterly obsessed with arbours and trellises as I believe they are the epitome of love and romance! It was a dream come true to be able to walk under a trellis on the day of our wedding!
The balloons added a magical touch to our special day. We made a wish as they floated up to heaven.
Our guests enjoyed gourmet finger foods including these delicious sliders!
The lawn games were a hit with all our guests. They had a go at playing Connect Four, Flamingo Toss, Quoits and Jenga.
For our little friends, we set up a teepee play area so they could play with the toys and be shaded from the sun.
When Sam and I first started seeing each other back in 2010, we went on a date at a salsa class at the Salsa Foundation. We asked Jai and Diane to run a dance class so our guests could have fun while learning how to dance too! They were so sweet and despite being busy running a dance school and having a baby to look after, Jai, Diana and Anthony taught us over four lessons just three weeks before our wedding and we managed to pull off some pretty decent moves!
Meet our amazing salsa dance instructors, Jai and Diane!
Sam wrote a “short speech” on a long scroll!
When my uncle visited us from China, he told us that it was a Chinese custom for the groom to offer pork belly to the bride’s parents, as a dowry in exchange of a piece of belly from the pork to the one taken from the mum’s belly. Sam thought it would be funny so he took gave one to my parents during the speeches. We ate it for dinner the next day!
My parents thought it was hilarious! I’ve never seen them laugh so hard!
Diana my bridesmaid caught the bouquet! Woohoo!
The boys wanted a piece of the fun, so they did a “boutonniere toss”. Funnily enough, Diana’s boyfriend Michael caught it! It looks like we know who’ll be getting married next!
Finally it was the end of an amazing day and it was time to say good bye to everyone. They formed a guard of arms and some people tried to stop us from leaving! But we got out in the end! 🙂
We did it! *jumping up with joy*
For our location photo shoot, we visited the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden. There is a tragically funny back story to this. We originally booked our wedding at this garden, and then two months before our wedding day, we called our Venue Manager at the Council offices and they said they had accidentally double booked us! What ensued was panic, calling around and re-organising all the vendors. Thankfully it all worked out in the end! On hindsight, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, the Burnley Gardens was more spacious and accessible to all our guests and vendors.
What better way to end the day than to go for a relaxing punt tour on the lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
A very special thanks to our friends and vendors who made our wedding run as smoothly as it did, it would not have been possible without these amazing and talented people:
Wedding venue // Burnley Gardens
Hotel // Beau Monde International Hotel
Photography (majority of the photos) // Oy Photography
Photography (wedding invitation and some details) // L Photography
Floral Design // Mina’s Florals
Wedding dress // Le Chateau Blanc Couture
Suits // Calibre
Bride hair and make up // Pheny K Soecitra Hair & Make up Artist
Bridesmaids hair and make up // Suki Make up
Succulent Wedding Favors // Lizzy’s Succulent Garden
Furniture (plain) // Melton Party Hire (MRE)
Furniture (styled) // One Big Day
Catering // Fabulous Catering
Cake // La Vanille
Dessert Catering // Raspberry Flamingo
Harpist // Akira Harp Studio
Singer // The Songbird Tree
Musician // JAM (Just After Midnight)
Dance instructors // The Salsa Foundation
Balloons // Melbourne Party Balloons
Watercolour Artist // Sarah McKenzie
Event co-ordinator // Abigail Ho
Stylist // Sarah Ho
MC duet // Lisa Hoang and Rian LaBrooy
Since our venue was an open garden, we needed to organise all the furniture ourselves. Having practiced as a Landscape Architect I am experienced with drawing up plans, so I thought I’d put my AutoCAD skills to good use, and drew up a Masterplan of our wedding site, as well as the details of the dessert table, welcome table and signing table, because they required a bit more co-ordination than some of the other simpler items.