They met at a rockabilly/burlesque show where Brad thought Kristi-Anna was the hottest girl on two legs and Kristi-Anna just wanted him to go away so she could finish her dinner. Brad is obviously one tenacious fellow and they found out later they have a lot in common. Both passionate about social change, Kristi-Anna has been a regular animal rights campaigner for Animal Liberation (you can find some images of her activism below) and Brad was moved to set up a charity, Jiamini after visiting a friend working for the Peace Corps in Tanzania. Jiamini (Swahili for “trust yourself” or “believe in yourself”) provides orphaned and vulnerable children in southern Tanzania with a quality local education and a safe living environment. Student sponsorship provides tutoring, food grants, hostel housing and girl’s empowerment seminars (images below). The team of directors all volunteer their time and self fund travel costs, so that 100% of donations reach students. In lieu of wedding gifts, this couple asked their guests to donate to Jiamini.
Kristi-Anna Brydon and Brad Bennett wanted to create a space where their guests could indulge in delicious food, great conversation and of course have an awesome dance. Kristi-Anna, a long time vegan and Brad who is not vegan, agreed that their wedding should feel authentic and align with their personal beliefs of non-harm. They cut traditions that didn’t resonate with them and added some of their own. Kristi-Anna’s parents walked her to the threshold of the space, whereby she met Brad half way and they sang and played a Roy Orbison song together whilst walking to the stage for the vows.
When Brad and Kristi-Anna met head chef, Katrina at Kangaroo Valley Bush Retreat they knew this was the venue for them. Having run a vegetarian restaurant, Katrina was well equipped to design a delicious vegan menu. Dessert was a choice of 5 vegan cakes to satisfy any sweet tooth made by the clever Annabelle McMillan from My Little Panda Kitchen who began pedalling her vegan lunch boxes in Sydney CBD before her cake business took off. They found sourcing vegan wedding suppliers difficult due to limited information available (we’re hoping to change that!) but their wedding is a living example of how tasteful and tangible having an entirely vegan wedding can be.
This is a couple who make conscious decisions as consumers, about how they impact the environment, people and other sentient beings. Kristi-Anna wore a Lost in Paris dress without a silk lining (they sourced a vegan friendly, vintage one for her), a custom made piece using vintage and salvaged lace. She wore Vegan Wares on her toes made from high quality, strong and breathable synthetic leather. Sourcing a local vegan make-up artist proved difficult, so Kristi-Anna used her own make-up (Inika and Kat Von D) brands that are vegan supportive and artist quality.
This couple have made having a vegan wedding appear seamless but some stress is inevitable and they chose to write out detailed running sheet and delegate duties to helpful friends where possible. As Brad remarks, “For me being present and finding moments alone with Krist-Anna throughout the day to remember the details and commit them to memory” was important. They chose to have a private dining table at the reception to sit and take a deep breath together.
Being ethical may mean different things to different people, Kristi-Anna and Brad chose to be mindful about wastage and reusing. They had a drinks and food menu on an A-frame sign (that will be reused for work purposes). The wedding favours were home made soy candles and propagated succulents in reusable cups with thank-you and name tags in one. Decorations included signs that were framed and reused for photos and they collected 120 jars to use as vases that were given away to guests or gifted to the venue. The flowers looked like radiant simplicity, made by Kristi-Anna’s best friend Nicolette Skobier from Flos Creations, locally grown where possible and bought from flower markets. These flowers were given to guests on departure.
They present a strong argument for why it is important to live passionately by our own integral values. They have learnt from previous relationships like many of us have, and have made a promise “to talk about everything even if it’s difficult”. Even though at times it requires extra determination and patience to follow one’s beliefs and speak from the heart, it serves to strengthen our resolve and our bond with ourselves and each other.
It’s been a delight to feature this couple who share our sentiments for a minimalist lifestyle. A huge thank you to them both and the intuitive work of photographer Mitch Pohl.