Real Wedding – Sam and Jemma, Peregian Beach QLD
After convincing Sam to make the move to Perth, it was evident that Jemma and Sam had found their person. Years later, Jemma’s self-proclaimed “worst day ever” quickly turned to one of the all-time bests when he asked her to be his wife.
Sam and Jemma decided early on to keep their wedding day styling simple and to let the soft, earthy tones of their bush surrounds do the aesthetic legwork. Choosing a striking but classic colour palette of white and rich greenery, accented with pops of black, made an elegant impact and allowed Jemma’s sequinned gown by tribe design queen Karen Willis Holmes to truly shine.
Accented perfectly with stationery from our friends at State of Reverie, this is one softly stunning affair, equal parts beauty and fun-filled revelry, all captured by the wonderful Janneke Storm.
Sam & I met in 2013 in the Melbourne warehouse of a well-known Australian furniture company we were both working for. Sam had just completed his university degree and I had transferred for a three-month contract while on Uni break from Perth.
I met Sam the day after I arrived and well three months turned into two years. I finally managed to convince him to move to Perth with me and that was it!
I knew quite early that Sam was ‘the one’. We realised on day one that we were neighbours, so we would travel to and from work with each other every day, which soon turned to going for breakfast before work and dinner after work. Any excuse to spend more time together. We couldn’t get enough. Both studying and working in the same industry; we had a lot of common interests and conversation never lacked.
The weekend started the same as ours always do. We wake early and take our dog to the beach. On this particular Saturday, I had woken up on the wrong side of the bed. It was cold and raining and I wasn’t in the mood. Sam was pestering me to get up and get dressed, which I couldn’t understand because the weather was shocking.
After a good half an hour I gave in, just. I refused to have a shower, chucked on my finest “please don’t bump into anyone I know” clothes and begrudgingly left the house.
When we got to the beach, Sam parked in a different carpark at the other end of the beach, which meant we had to walk over tiny sharp stones to get to the sand. During the walk, the heavens opened and we got soaked, but he insisted we keep going. I recall moaning every step of the way to a not so impressed Sam; I dramatically exclaimed it was the “worst morning of my life”.
It was at that point that Sam stopped in his tracks said “is there anything else wrong?” and I looked back to him proposing. It’s fair to say I have never felt so bad for being such a winge! He later explained that he had booked a hotel in the city for the night which he couldn’t cancel, so he had to propose that particular day. The “worst day ever” became the best by far!!
Planning a wedding on a private property with no water, electricity or bathroom facilities on site was no easy task, but I LOVE organising so I truly enjoyed every part of the planning process.
Sam and I both agreed we wanted to keep all of our styling classic. We kept this consistent from the bridal party to the table settings. The venue was so beautiful that we wanted everything simple, so we didn’t take away from the stunning setting.
I’m not huge on colour anyway so this meant a lot of white, natural greenery and small black accents for some contrast.
Almost a year before our wedding I purchased a dress from another boutique. Ten weeks out from the big day, there was no sign of my dress, so I had to find another dress – quickly!!!
I went back to look through the hundreds of dresses I’d saved on Instagram and found a few Karen Willis Holmes gowns. I sent an online enquiry on a Friday afternoon and within the hour I had a call from the Perth boutique offering to squeeze me in for an appointment for the next day.
I couldn’t fault the experience. I thought being so close to the wedding that I would have to choose from a smaller selection of gowns, but the amazing staff allowed me to try on anything and everything. At no point did I feel rushed and by the end of my time slot I felt I’d tried on enough styles to have made the right decision.
I can’t pick one!! The most sentimental was definitely seeing Sam waiting down the end of the aisle. The moment I saw him, I had to wave and yell out “hi honey!” I was so excited that the moment had finally arrived!
But my other would have to be at the reception; we had a rule that when Mylie Cyrus Party in the USA played then everyone would have to jump up onto the dance floor. It is my favourite song to dance to and I wanted to share that with everyone, even my 95-year-old grandmother.
Meaning of marriage.
Choosing to marry Sam was the easiest decision I’ve ever made. Marriage is making a commitment to trust and give your all to the person you love the most.
Aisle: Latch by Sam Smith (acoustic version played by our musician Ollie)
Reception entry: Crazy in Love by Beyonce
First dance: Home by Leon Bridges
Funny stories or near disasters.
Quite tragically a couple of weeks before the wedding the Sunshine Coast experienced awful fires that destroyed a lot of land. There were many sleepless nights as the fire was so unpredictable and at one point made it to the neighbouring property. Our hearts were hurting for the locals and Sam’s family. The wedding was the farthest thing from our mind as we were just happy they and their property was safe.
Words of wisdom.
The only thing I would do differently is I wish we had a ‘first look’ and our photos done before the ceremony. We had an amazing musician play between the ceremony and reception while our guests had cocktails and nibbles. I’m gutted that we missed it while having photos as I know it was a highlight for a lot of our guests.
Queensland has the cream of the crop when it comes to incredible wedding venues. Check out all they have to offer as well as our top tips for getting married in this stunning state by heading here.
JEMMA AND SAM’S VENDORS
Ceremony and reception location: We were married on Sam’s parent’s property on the stunning Sunshine Coast. They have 11 acres of gorgeous gumtrees and open grassy spaces.
I first visited the property about a year after we started dating, the minute I arrived I knew that it was where we would one day get married.
So when it came to choosing a venue, we didn’t need to look elsewhere. My generous mother and father in law agreed to let us have the wedding there, and they then spent the next 12 months meticulously working over every little bit of land to make sure it was perfect – all while we were on the other side of the country!
I loved the flexibility of having a private venue because we could choose all of our vendors and create exactly what we wanted. It was a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change a thing!
Celebrant/Officiant: Benita Waters. Benita is actually the legend that introduced us. She was our manager where we were working when we first met. We didn’t want a traditional ceremony or celebrant, so decided to ask Bennie if she would do the honours. She wrote the most beautiful, heartfelt words.
It meant so much more having someone that means so much to us run the ceremony. We just had to organise an official celebrant that stepped in at the very end to pronounce us as husband and wife. So bloody special!
Photography: Janneke Storm. I came across Janneke’s Instagram account years ago. I knew someday, if I was going to get married on the Sunshine Coast then I HAD to have her! We contacted Janneke before we’d even set the date, I asked her for her availability and we chose our wedding date from there!
The moment we met Janneke, it felt like she was a friend we’d known for years. She is so unbelievably easy to get on with, such a kind, gentle person that we became very good friends with.
Janneke is so good at what she does that you aren’t posing for photos; she just captures moments. We didn’t realise she was there most of the day.
Florist: Natashia Evans, Heavenly Blooms. I trawled Instagram for weeks looking for our florist. I had no idea of a particular style or flowers that I really wanted, but I knew after seeing Nat’s work that we needed her.
She is so insanely talented and was such a dream to work with from our first meeting to seeing her for set up the night before our wedding. After giving her the colour palette of all white, we were completely in her hands and what she created completely blew any expectation out of the water.
Hair: Renee Saville. Renee is a hair wizard, literally. She knew exactly what I wanted for myself and my bridesmaids and completely nailed everyone’s looks. Our hair stayed intact all night, even after hours of dancing.
Make-up: Amelia Livingstone. Living in another state meant the first time Amelia could paint my face was for our rehearsal dinner two days before the wedding, which I was a bit nervous about. I showed her a couple of photos and she did exactly was I was wanting!
I didn’t want to look too natural on our wedding day. I like a darker eye than what is typical for a wedding and Amelia did it spot on! My makeup lasted all night, and I was so surprised to see it look the way it did when I had to wash it off when the night was over.
The dress: Karen Willis Holmes
Veil / jewellery: I bought my earrings from Sabo Skirt online. I had three pairs and decided on those on the day. I loved the way they brought a different element to the styling on my dress.
My veil was from the store that adjoins KWH Perth called Zanzis Bridal Couture. I decided on a single layer cathedral length, and it made me feel like a princess!!
Sam’s wedding band is particularly special. He always wanted a Russian rolling band just like his fathers. We went to every jeweller in Perth to find one, to no avail. Our search extended to online when he couldn’t find the perfect one. After months of looking, I finally found a vintage one on Etsy! It was sent from Sydney but stamped in Birmingham in 1974. We love that it has been loved and worn by someone before him.
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bec & Bridge. I’m seriously surprised my bridesmaids didn’t dump me over the search for dresses. I could not make up my mind!
It took a couple of times purchasing and returning dresses until I had decided. The girls each chose a style that they loved and felt comfortable in and I decided on the colour champagne. The dresses weren’t “bridesmaidy” and suited our classic theme perfectly.
Groomsmen’s suits and bow ties: Politix
Catering and bar: Tuck Shop Catering
Cake / Cake topper: Side Cakes by Sam. I found Sam on Facebook Marketplace. She is a Sunshine Coast local who had great reviews. The cake was absolutely delicious!!
Stationery / Signage: Invitations – Vista Print
We had a good idea of what we wanted our invites to look like but didn’t want to pay too much. I played around with some templates on Vista Print and realised we could create exactly what we wanted for such a small price! They were delivered within the week and the quality was so good!
On the day stationery – State of Reverie
Emily is a Melbourne-based designer who ships Australia wide. I fell in love with one of her designs that we used for all of our on the day stationery – welcome and seating signs, menu/place cards, table numbers and drinks signs. She was so flexible with small tweaks I wanted to personalise certain pieces.
The round menu/place cards were one of the highlights of my day! Her original design read “hello (guest name)”, my dad lives in a Spanish speaking country so as a nod to him I asked Em to change “hello” to “buena noches”. It was so special and personal. She was amazing to deal with (as were all of her staff) and the quality of each piece was amazing!!!
Ceremony/cocktails – Ollie Murk. Ollie is such a talented musician! Both being from the coast, Sam and I were after a bit of a Pete Murray type vibe, and Ollie brought all of that plus wayyyy more! He plays acoustic guitar, harmonica and the didgeridoo plus he does loops!
I could not recommend him more highly. He set the tone for the day perfectly!
Reception – Cut a Rug DJ, Aaron Duncan. Aaron is such a professional and is so good at what he does. Everyone at our wedding commented that he was the best DJ they’d ever known.
It was so important to us that the dance floor was full ALL night and he did not disappoint. I couldn’t pull myself off that floor to even talk to guests.
Décor: Lanterns & Vases – Kmart
Hire: Hampton Event Hire. Hampton’s were located a little bit further away from the sunny coast as I would have liked, but I loved their range so much that I had to use them! Every interaction with the team there was lovely. They were very flexible, professional and prompt with replies. We hired our chairs, tables, stools, dry bars, bar tables and sofa sets from them.
Honeymoon: We drove down to Byron Bay a couple of days after the wedding, where some of our guests had also travelled. We had some great alone time unwinding from the week that was but also a couple of really fun nights out with our closest mates.
Other: Sperry Tents Sunshine Coast. We decided against a traditional marquee as we thought it would clash with the beautiful setting amongst the trees. The Sperry looked absolutely stunning in the spot we had chosen at the back of the block.
Sam and Emma from Sperry Tents Sunshine Coast were so great to work with! Never having organised an event before, they offered so much advice and went above and beyond to bring our big day together.