Ingrid Bianchi and Olivier Cromback met on an online dating site and fell in love over a shared love of food, wine and a lust for life. They married at the sumptuous Kalinya Estate. Photographer Matt Biocich was there to capture their jour d’amour.
It didn’t take long for Ingrid Bianchi to feel le magic after meeting Frenchman Olivier Cromback.
“We met on RSVP. We were both living in Manly at the time and met at the Manly Wharf Bar for a drink that turned into dinner at Papi Chulo’s,” recalls Ingrid.
“I was only on the dating site for 10 days and Olivier was the only man I responded to and went on a date with, so I call him my ‘one and only’. We both felt a great connection from that first date and fell in love pretty quickly.”
Ingrid says she fell in love with Olivier’s energy for life, his big heart and joie de vivre, ‘’and his beautiful blue eyes’’.
“Olivier says he fell in love with me for ‘my beauty, making him feel loved, my warm heart and passion for family and friends’. His words,” adds Ingrid laughing.
After two years together, Olivier moved into Ingrid’s apartment in Manly before they bought a house together in Freshwater. Olivier owns and runs renowned French restaurant Sous le Soleil in Sydney’s Roseville and today Ingrid, a former massage therapist works in the restaurant, too, as a part-time pastry chef and front of house.
When the couple, who have both been married before, journeyed to Broome, Western Australia to celebrate their fourth anniversary together, Olivier pulled out all the romantic stops.
“Olivier proposed on the beach during sunset. It was March 24, 2019. It was very romantic. He had bought my favourite champagne and bought the most beautiful ring and had organised the staff at Cable Beach Resort to cook a meal in our villa. When we returned, it was full of rose petals and candles.”
The newly engaged couple returned to Sydney and started planning a wedding.
“After doing a Google search of estates close to Sydney, we fell in love with Kalinya Estate for its beauty and with owner Mandy Barnes, who went above and beyond to please us,” says Ingrid.
“We both knew that Mandy would be there to make sure everything was perfect for the day. She really is an incredible host and I feel that we have made a friend for life.”
Kalinya also fitted the bill in terms of family coming to the wedding from Melbourne, France and New York, from where it took one very close friend of Ingrid’s 30 hours to travel due to last-minute Covid restrictions that restricted flights via Hong Kong. The couple married in late February in front of 140 guests. Ingrid’s daughters, Madeleine and Isabelle, were their mum’s bridesmaids and her two oldest friends, whom she’s known since she was 12, were there. Olivier’s two sons, Oscar and Gus, were his groomsmen. Olivier’s cousin Stani, Stani’s wife Sophie and fabulous friends Valerie, Gerard, Jen and Patoune arrived from France. Ingrid’s mum, who had suffered a mini-stroke three months earlier, walked her down the aisle.
“She gave me away singing our ceremony song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, all the way,” says Ingrid.
“I lost my Dad 20 years ago and my Mum has been a huge part of my life. She was so excited to be part of the wedding and talked about her wedding outfit while in recovery from the stroke. I took her the day after she returned home to buy her outfit from her favourite shop, Black Orange in Melbourne.”
Only weeks before their summer wedding, Kalinya Estate, which is near Bargo, had been under attack from the terrible bushfires the Highlands faced in 2019. But luckily, by the time their big day came around, the fires were out.
“The weather definitely played a big part in our wedding, as we both love summer and wanted to enjoy an outdoor wedding,” says Ingrid.
“The weather could not have been more perfect with a full day of sunshine and about 25 degrees but enough cloud to keep us and our guests from sweating.”
The venue, too, was perfect; everything the couple had imagined.
“We loved the relaxed, intimate atmosphere and stunning setting at Kalinya that created a great sense of love and happiness,” explains Olivier.
“Also, our celebrant Mel spoke French, so she was able to do part of the ceremony in French for our French guests.”
The couple later posed for photographs with Olivier’s 1985 Jaguar XK150, and being in the restaurant game, food and drink was always going to be important part of the couple’s wedding. Taking the suggestion of owner Mandy Barnes, the couple employed the services of local caterers Labyrinth at Mittagong and guests dined al fresco on oysters, prawns and ceviche and charcoal barbecue lamb, pork and baked salmon in Kalinya Estate’s beautiful gardens.
“Being in the food and wine industry, we also really wanted some freedom to be able to bring our own wines and champagnes that we had delivered from France,” says Olivier. “We also wanted to work with a caterer who would allow us to provide part of the menu.”
Guests later enjoyed cognac and cigars and dancing into the night until the wedding officially finished at 11pm. Ingrid and Olivier stayed at Kalinya Estate with their children and 20 of their nearest and dearest, some of whom partied until 4am. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.
“We had an anxious month prior with bushfires and flooding but on the day, everything went according to plan,“ says Olivier.
“The grounds and houses of Kalinya Estate made it such a special environment that I think we will both remember looking out to a sea of people we loved, enjoying celebrating our special day with us,” says Ingrid.
“All the suppliers were a joy to work with and made everything perfect and easy for us. We have had such amazing feedback from friends, saying it was the best wedding they’d ever been to, so I think we will never forget it as the most special day of our life together. There would be nothing that we would have changed, only that after three nights at Kalinya Estate, we would have loved to stay longer.’’
Venue: Kalinya Estate, Bargo
Bride’s dress: Made with Love
Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss
Bridesmaids dresses: Bec + Bridge
Photographer: Matt Biocich and Jif Morrison
Florist: Wild Flora Studio, Thirlmere
Celebrant: Mel Rey-Lescure
Music: Browntone with Scotty Teu
Bride’s hair: IconiX Salon
Food catering: Labyrinth, Mittagong
Bus Transport: Ian Day at Berrima Bus
Poloroid Photo booth: Undisposable