Culture / People

Johnny & Hayley: A neo-gothic rock and roll chapel wedding

hayley mary johnny took

Hayley Mary and Johnny Took had a summer love. “The two musicians first met at a kick-on above the Lord Gladstone Hotel at the end of 2016, where Johnny and his band mate Mason were living in what Hayley describes as “this run-down, old party house.” “We hit it off, but it was the eve of Falls Festival and we both realised we were playing Lorne the next day and it was late, so I ran off.” What followed was a deep friendship, (and undoubtedly, a period of self-destructive, rock and roll cliché denial – as confessed by Hayley), before the pair gave in.

It was five years after their first meeting, that Johnny proposed under a weeping Mulberry tree in the park next to their apartment – a genuine surprise for Hayley that came after four challenging months apart with touring, recording and quarantine. “He [Johnny] came back and said, ‘Let’s write down our life goals and have a picnic under your favourite tree’,” shared Hayley. “Before we ate, he made me stand up under the tree in an awkward manner which I protested because I was hangry, and then he knelt down and said, ‘This is my first goal,’ and he opened the book where he’d written ‘Marry the love of my life’.”




Sentimentality was an important constant throughout Hayley and Johnny’s day, beginning with the date. “We chose Tuesday 10 January 2022 as it was the anniversary of David Bowie’s death, which made sense to all our music industry mates but not so great for everyone else who had just gone back to work after Christmas,” shared Hayley. This choice set the tone for what she describes as a “gothic, rock ‘n’ roll theme,” which naturally bled into the other elements of the day, while still tying in nods to family traditions.

It was for this reason that the pair decided they wanted to get married in a church – that, and the fact that the space looked amazing with very little work. The challenge, however, was finding a chapel where Hayley’s band manager and good friend, Dave Batty, who is a secular celebrant could marry them.

“It would have broken our hearts not to have him marry us, so we tracked down the only Catholic church in Melbourne that allows non-Catholic celebrants to use the space. We couldn’t believe our luck when we found The Good Shepherd Chapel at the Abbotsford Convent. It’s a fully functioning neo-gothic Catholic chapel, which has modernised to allow multi-faith, secular and queer weddings and it has absolutely stunning biblical interior complete with red carpet, renaissance style painted ceilings and a full pipe organ.”

Bowie’s Life on Mars, played on the organ by Heather Shannon of The Jezabels, filled the room while the pair signed their marriage papers, and Hayley’s father greeted guests into the chapel on his Celtic harp.



“I was looking at the Vampires Wife for my dress, which is a brand I love, but I’m a big believer in serendipity and having faith in what the universe provides… and thrift stores. The day we locked in the two venues, I passed a Salvos and saw this huge over-the-top 80s nightmare/dream layered wedding dress in the window – complete with two metre train veil,” shared Hayley.

“I tried it on and it all fit me perfectly. It was like a mix between Guns ‘n’ Roses’ November Rain and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride which is very ‘me’ in a perfectly 80s gothic way.”

To complement her dress, Hayley’s mum crafted elbow-length tulle gloves and sewed some of her Clan Mackay tartan ribbon to the dress for a personal touch – a colourway of rich blue and green that spoke to the bridesmaid’s dresses, floral arrangements, groomsmen’s ties and the Celtic handfasting rope that was used in Hayley and Johnny’s vows. Johnny opted for a classic black suit and white shirt, that he bought on Lygon Street near the couple’s home, complete with his own family tartan tie which belonged to his grandfather.



“We wanted our reception close to home in Brunswick and to involve a lot of rock and roll, dancing and good food. We’d always loved the Brunswick Ballroom for its glorious cabaret style decor of red drapery and chandeliers – which tied in with the church aesthetic really well,” shared Hayley.

“They [Brunswick Ballroom] were technically on holiday on the 10th, but I think they also understood the love of Bowie and how hard it is to get a weekend off in the music biz, so they did us the huge honour of opening up especially for our wedding. For which we will always be grateful.”

Johnny and Hayley planned the whole day together, which Hayley says worked perfectly with their touring schedules leading up to the wedding. “I get a little overwhelmed with too many opinions… planning this ourselves meant we could organise things when we were free and on our own terms,” continued Hayley.

Although neither of them grew up in Melbourne, the pair chose to get married in their new home city, as a ‘ritual entrance to adulthood’. The dance floor and music were constant, beginning with a set from Bad//Dreems, followed by Hayley’s rendition of Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman as a serenade to Johnny, and closing out with Johnny’s band, DMA’s playing an acoustic version of their epic love song, Silver. Tears, laughter, endless song and dance. Hayley said it best – it was a “huge vibe.”


PHOTOGRAPHY  Natalie Page, Rik Saunders, Mclean Stephenson and Kitty Callaghan.

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