Real Wedding – Mik & Ashlee, Airlie Beach QLD
Ashlee and Mik took tropical styling up a level with their chic coastal celebration in stunning Airlie Beach.
After initially finding herself a little Insta-fatigued trying to make theming choices, Ashlee opted for a style close to her and Mik’s heart and taking inspiration from the renovation of their Queenslander home, they curated a look-book starring natural linen fabrics, lush green plants and clean, bright whites.
This concept was realised in a striking black and white colour palette based on clean, contemporary lines; offset perfectly against the palm-fringed ocean backdrop of their ceremony. Bridal bouquets of dusky blush roses popping with elegant orchids made for a classically modern finishing touch.
And of course, Ashlee made a simply stunning silhouette in her scalloped lace dress by Karen Willis Holmes. This goddess gown perfectly fit the brief; non-traditional, suited to the seaside surrounds and with show-stopping, absolutely gorgeous statement sleeves. The only thing better was Ashlee’s radiant smile.
We were entranced with Ashlee and Mik’s relaxed photo session with their photographer Lucie of House of Lucie and their bridal party. Illuminated by the late afternoon rays, the elation and happiness everyone is feeling bursts from every frame. Dive into this one for an enchanting dose of excitement, elegance and exquisite tropical inspiration.
We met at a high school dress-up party. Mik was dressed in a suit he got from Vinnies, and I was dressed as Alice in Wonderland. Despite living on the same street as one another, we had never met until this night, and we spent the whole time chatting and dancing. We instantly connected and have been together ever since.
There wasn’t a certain ‘moment’ as such, but I’ve always known Mik was the guy for me. I love so many things about him; he has always made me feel so very loved and appreciated. We also have such a good time together and are most happy in each other’s company.
The proposal was a total shock! 2019 marked ten years of being together, and whilst Mik talked about marriage earlier on in our relationship, I had always said to him that marriage wasn’t something that I needed and I’d leave it up to him if he wanted to or not. For me, I loved him and I knew he loved me, so it really didn’t matter if we did or we didn’t. Also, my parents never married, and I have always admired their relationship; just simple, easy and loving.
So, we were on holidays with Mik’s family in Cape York, making our way to the tip of Australia. We had stopped to camp at a remote beach just north of Weipa, called Pennefather. It was such a magic spot, nobody else around, the water was crystal clear, and my favourite part was the sunset over the water.
On our last night, Mik’s mum, Donna, was down by the water taking photos of the sunset. She called the whole family down to get a picture. Mik & I were first, and as we were standing there, Mik pointed to the ground and to my shock there was a beautiful diamond ring positioned in a shell. Before I knew it, Mik was on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was such a surreal moment, and when I found my voice, of course I said yes!
I think my favourite part of the proposal was afterwards, our family went back up to the campsite to prepare a celebratory dinner, and Mik and I sat on the beach together while the sun set and soaked up the whole moment.
I am usually someone who is quite decisive when it comes to styling. Especially interiors, as we have an old Queenslander home that we have been slowly renovating by keeping the heritage features, but giving her a freshen up. However, I actually found it quite difficult to decide on a style for our wedding. I think at the start of the planning, I was looking at a lot of Instagram pages and blogs, and it all got a bit confusing and overwhelming.
I gave myself a ‘month off’ from the planning, and that’s when I decided to style the wedding similar to our home – fresh whites, linen fabric, lush green plants with black & white features. I was excited about this style because I hadn’t seen much of it around for weddings and it really suited the location.
My mum, sister and I met in Brisbane for a girl’s weekend to choose a wedding gown. I had been looking online at a number of different stores and gowns; however, I couldn’t really see any that I loved, so I was a bit worried about the dress shopping. I wanted something simple and elegant that wasn’t what everyone else was wearing and wasn’t too ‘wedding dress’ (if that makes sense). I had seen Karen Willis Holmes online, and I loved that they had a range of wedding gowns that were different, modern yet still very elegant.
I loved that the dress I chose from KWH was everything I wanted in a wedding dress… and my absolute favourite part was, of course, the sleeves! Oh my god, the sleeves!!!! I loved this dramatic touch to such a beautiful and elegant gown.
I tried on about five gowns at KWH, and honestly, I would have been happy to wear most of them on our wedding day. Which was pretty amazing because I couldn’t find a single one at any of the other bridal stores. The gowns at KWH are seriously in a league of their own. Every gown I put on felt so lovely to wear, and you really could feel the quality in the fabric, especially the lace. I can’t say enough positive things about KWH, the boutique, the gowns, the service we’re all exceptional and I also loved supporting an Australian brand.
I had so many favourite parts, it’s so hard to choose!
I was most nervous about the ceremony, and I remember thinking early on, I wish we could just have the reception and not the ceremony. However, this actually proved to be one of the best parts of the whole day! We chose to write our own vows, and I was nervous about being able to get through mine without crying the whole time. Mik’s vows were absolutely beautiful, he has a way with words, and it took me back to when we were teenagers where he’d write me love letters.
I also really loved the night after the wedding night as we took time to re-read our vows and the pre-ceremony letters to each other. It was so beautiful and special.
Mik said his favourite part of the day was the on-location photos with our photographer, Khara (House of Lucie). This is pretty amazing coming from a guy who isn’t into photos, but he said he didn’t even notice that photos were being taken, it was just such a great vibe with all of our closest mates, sharing our first moments as husband and wife.
Meaning of marriage.
It’s a commitment to love unconditionally, always be there for support and work together.
Aisle: My Match by Odessa
Signing: Hypnotized by Rufus Du Sol
Recessional: Drive by Greta Ray
Reception entry: Just Call Me by John Butler Trio
First dance: Stand By Me by Ben E King (cover by Florence and the Machine)
Father/daughter: Father and Daughter by Paul Simon
Funny stories or near disasters.
The place where we hired the suits from forgot the bow tie for my brother, who was in the bridal party. The morning of the wedding he realized and there we plenty of phone calls to several stores in Airlie Beach as well as contacting the Whitsunday Mayor trying to locate a black tie. In the end, Dad came through with the goods, finding a $5 black tie in Big W.
Luckily, I didn’t know about this during the day, they told me afterwards at the reception, and we all had a good laugh.
How much planning goes into it! There were so many times where I thought I had done everything, but it’s all the little things.
Words of wisdom.
It was the best day of our lives, so many emotions, so much happiness and then being able to share that with all of our closest family and friends. It truly was the best day ever, and my advice would be to soak up every moment, as the only downside is that it goes so fast!
Also, do a budget and figure out what matters the most to you, then spend more of your budget on those things. Then with everything else you can look at alternatives that might be a little cheaper to keep within your budget.
I’d also recommend putting time into researching the vendors. I couldn’t fault any of our vendors; they made everything run so smoothly and made the planning process so much easier.
Want to find a photographer who not only makes you look amazing on your wedding day, but makes you feel relaxed and yourself behind the camera? It’s so important to find someone who is not only super talented, but who you connect with. Our directory contains some of the best in the biz, so get clicking here to find the perfect person for you.
MIK & ASHLEE’S VENDORS
Ceremony and reception venue: Freedom Shores, Airlie Beach
Celebrant: The Sailing Celebrant
Photography: House of Lucie
Florist: Le Sorelle Florist
Make-up: Makeup by Brook
The dress and veil: Karen Willis Holmes
Jewellery: Amelie George Bridal
Shoes: Wittner Shoes
Rings: Angus & Coote
Bridesmaid’s dresses: ID Design Mackay
Catering: Freedom Shores
Cake / Cake topper: Whitsunday baked creations
Stationery / Signage: Etsy templates
Entertainment: The Elliotts Band
Transport: Whitsunday Hotrod Tours
Hire: Fiesta Rentals Mackay
Honeymoon: Day Dream Island
Other: Plants – Plants Whitsunday