Real Wedding – Ainsley and Thomas, Yeppoon QLD
It was only after visiting a number of established venues that Ainsley and Thomas realised they wanted to do their wedding, their way. Prioritising this as their overarching theme, they chose to celebrate at Ainsley’s family home in a small coastal town in Queensland; giving both them and their guests the opportunity to create a break from reality on a relaxed weekend away.
Sticking true to their theme of doing it their way, Ainsley and Tom chose to blend rather than contrast the raw bushland surrounding them. Their bridal party wore effortlessly mismatched outfits featuring neutrals, sage greens and soft pinks, perfectly contrasting Tom’s dapper green suit and Ainsley’s stunningly simple gown. All that stood out against the natural beauty of their surroundings was the overwhelming emotion from their friends and family! This was one gorgeous love-fest.
What these two didn’t count on was that Ainsley’s hometown of Yeppoon had just withstood serious bushfires, luckily leaving the family home untouched but creating a few tense moments when fire trucks were spotted preceding the bridal car onto the property! All were safe and with only the embers of the fires still burning, photographer Janneke Storm captured incredible images of the newlyweds against the dramatic sunset.
We met in 2008 through a close friend of ours who lived with Tom at college at university.
There was probably no one defining moment, but we were faced with a few challenges in the early stages of our relationship which really strengthened our bond. Ultimately, we knew that we could pretty much handle anything that life had in store for us after that and still be in love at the end of it.
For my 30th birthday, Tom organized an ‘Amazing Race’ with clues that spanned our ten years together, across ten different places around Brisbane that were special to me or to us as a couple. I had to find clues at each one. It also involved my family and close friends who were waiting at certain places which was also really special. Initially, I did think that maybe it was a proposal but as the day went on I thought it was just an elaborate day!
The last clue had me return back to our home that we had renovated together, where Tom surprised me with a gorgeous diamond. I had a birthday party planned that night too, so it ended up being a fantastic night of celebrations!
We knew we didn’t want a long engagement (we ended up being engaged for about seven months) and started looking at venues around South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. We came close to booking some but realized that all we wanted was a day, or even a weekend, of celebrations where we weren’t locked into timeframes, schedules or restrictions.
My parents had always suggested their property and in the end we thought our guests might enjoy a weekend away at the beach and a wedding in between. We made the decision to have it there about four months before the wedding and it quickly came together.
I was adamant on not having a defined theme or style but making the wedding feel and look like it was one with the location. I kept a palette of neutrals, greens and pinks with our gorgeous flowers and outfits, which really helped tie everything together.
The styling was done by me and our family, and we’re lucky enough to have collected furniture and pieces over 20 odd years which suited perfectly.
We wanted our wedding to be fun and a great party so we had an amazing canape set up; big tables with share platters, an epic dessert feast and lots of dancing. The whole day really reflected us.
I knew I wanted a simple design, something that was classic but with a little bit of fun. I contacted Christina Kim not long after we got engaged and we worked together to create a design which was absolutely perfect. The beaded caplet was just enough to set the dress off. I chose not to do a veil or headpiece to let the dress shine and kept my jewelry simple with some pebble earrings by Dinosaur Designs.
Tom’s not one to be traditional, so chose a beautiful green suit made bespoke by Wil Valour.
We got some of our portraits done in a neighboring paddock, where there was smoke haze and the sun setting behind us. During these photos ash started to fall down on us from the fires. It was quite magical.
Meaning of marriage.
To support and love your best friend, to be there in the good times and the bad, and to have a great time along the way.
Aisle: Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede (acoustic version)
Signing: XO by John Mayer (acoustic version)
Recessional: Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder
First Dance: You’re My Best Friend by Queen
Funny stories or near disasters.
We got married in my hometown of Yeppoon, the week after it was hit with bushfires. Everything wedding related was put on hold to deal with fighting the fire and its aftermath, so when Tom and I arrived a few days before the wedding we genuinely thought that it might not happen! But it did and the day would not have come together if it wasn’t for a mammoth effort of our family and friends.
Even though the fires were contained on the day of the wedding, as we were driving to the ceremony a fire truck turned down the driveway of the property. Thankfully, they were only coming to warn us of some smoke but the fire fighters were surprised to have a bride pull up behind them!
We knew that it would be a lot of effort planning and setting up a wedding ourselves, but what you can’t really plan for is those few days before hand when you actually have to set it up! Those were big days that we probably weren’t fully prepared for.
Words of wisdom.
There may be things that happen that are outside of your control – if that happens, don’t let it stress you or get you down. At the end you’re marrying the one you love and that’s the most amazing and important thing.
Don’t overthink or stress about the little things – most of the time you won’t even notice or remember them.
Wondering how to make your wedding celebrations truly relaxed, authentically you and effortlessly stylish without totally losing your cool? Keep that zen flowing with our expert guide to planning your wedding.
AINSLEY AND TOM’S VENDORS
Ceremony and reception venue: Ainsley’s parents’ property, Yeppoon
Celebrant: Susie Cervai
Photography: Janneke Storm. I knew that I wanted Janneke as our photographer pretty much straight away, so she was the first vendor we locked in.
Florist: Posy Yeppoon. DeeAnn is actually family so it was very special to have her do the flowers, her style is fantastic and she really nailed the look I was going for.
Hair: Glam Squad CQ
Make-up: Pro Makeup Studio
The dress: Christina Kim
Jewellery: Dinosaur Designs
Shoes: Tony Bianco
Rings: Bakker Diamonds
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Isabella Longginou. I had loved Isabella’s designs and she was perfect for creating mismatched dresses for the girls which still all worked together.
Groom’s suit: Wil Valor
Groomsmen’s suits: Jack London
Bow ties / ties: Hawes & Curtis
Catering: Olive Catering
Cake: Caked Cakes
Stationery: Ainsley’s design, printed through Peterkin Printery
Entertainment: A2Z Live Entertainment
Honeymoon: Koh Samui, Thailand