After becoming engaged while husky sledding in Finland, Sydney couple Montana Tozer-Chahine and Chris Adams needed a pretty special wedding venue to top that magical experience. They found it at Mali Brae. Photographer Holly Prins captured their magical Southern Highlands day.
CUPID likes opportune moments. Montana and Chris met at their mutual friend Kristie’s wedding. Kristie, Montana’s best friend, was studying engineering with Chris at University of Technology. And it wasn’t long after they met at her wedding, that Cupid started firing arrows their way.
‘I knew Montana was the one when I saw how caring and loving she was even when we had only been dating a short time,’ says Chris, a civil engineer working on the Northwest Rapid Transit at Castle Hill. ‘She brought me chocolates on my first day as an undergraduate engineer while I was still at university, and I knew right then that I loved this woman.’
Montana, a promotions officer with the Heart Foundation, says it was the belief Chris showed in her during those early days, and that ‘he always does whatever he can to bring a smile to my face’, that sealed the deal for her.
The adventure loving couple got engaged at the tail end of two months in Europe in winter time.
‘We were husky sledding in the northern Finnish town of Rovaniemi,’ recalls Montana. ‘During a break on the side of a frozen lake, Chris got down on one knee, waist deep in snow and surrounded by all the huskies, and the sky the most beautiful sunrise pink.’
This dusky pink colour became pivotal to their wedding theme. Montana walked down the aisle at Mali Brae Farm in a dusty pink Mia Solano tulle wedding dress with her mum, who gave her away. Photographed so beautifully by Holly Prins, the couple found Mali Brae thanks to photos on Holly’s Instagram feed. Neither come from the Southern Highlands, with Montana growing up in western Sydney and Chris in the Blue Mountains, but they were instantly sold when they visited Mali Brae, a boutique property set on 36 acres near Moss Vale. The property has five locations to choose from for the wedding ceremony, and the reception area is a renovated hay shed with French provincial tables, chandeliers, an open fireplace and an enclosed outdoor bar with open fire. There are also two renovated heritage cottages that sleep up to six people each.
‘Mali Brae is more amazing in person then a photo could ever capture, even though Holly’s photos make it pretty amazing,’ says Montana. ‘It’s a naturally beautiful, intimate, romantic venue and it has an amazing lake with a boat house, as well as roaring fireplaces in the reception area to keep everyone toasty.’
The couple were intent on making their wedding as personal as possible and wrote their own vows with the help of local marriage celebrant Nina de Borde. Montana’s mother picked up boxes and boxes of rose petals from Sydney’s flower markets the morning of the wedding, and their 50 guests threw these during the wedding. The couple also made their own personalised bonbonnieres, which were chocolates with the details of their wedding day as wrappers for guests to take home, or eat on the way home.
‘We wanted a small, intimate wedding so that we could actually speak with all of our guests and make them know how important it was they were part of the day,’ says Chris.
Montana, who made a wedding playlist with contributions from many of the guests, says rather than describing the day as ‘everything we hoped it would be, we think it was everything we planned it to be’.
And true to form, the couple began married life on an adventuring honeymoon: two weeks in Iceland touring in a four wheel drive, a week in Morocco’s Marrakech, and finally a week in Hong Kong.
‘We felt this way we would get a bit of everything we love… nature’s wonderlands, relaxing in the oasis that is Marrakech, before finishing off with wonderful food and shopping in Hong Kong,’ says Chris.
‘Montana and I will always be together, going on adventures together, forever into the future.’
Photos by Holly Prins
Mali Brae Farm
Mia Solano at Luv Bridal
Groom’s and groomsmen’s suits
Catering and wedding cake
Violets and Vinegar
Nina De Borde
Little Bird Bloom