Earlier this week we shared with you the emotional journey Keighley & Chris had planning a wedding in the UK from Australia so they could share their special day with family. It was a beautiful winter wedding surrounded by those they loved. But as they had always dreamed of having a wedding on the beach (and lived in Australia) they decided to have TWO amazing days! But what happens when it rains in Australia? Thank goodness for a plan B!
Our Australian wedding was the legal wedding and was all about our friends, the friends that have become our second family in the place where we made the decision to move to Australia for good!
I wanted this day to be laid back (just like my husband) and have a boho feel. It was my DIY baby.
My dream was for us to get wed on the beach at sunset and it had been sunny up until the day of the wedding! But the morning of our wedding it decided to be overcast and rained. I watched the weather all morning and it said it was going to clear but my gut said otherwise so 2 hours before our ceremony was due to start I decided to pull the plug on the beach ceremony and go with our back up plan. It wasn’t a risk I wanted to take and my gut was right! It rained and it didn’t stop! All suppliers were contacted and we moved the ceremony to our reception space and we got married in a tipi in front of 45 of our best friends and parents.
My make up artist and hair dresser were surprised at how calm I was and so am I but the thought that I had in mind that made me feel this way was, if we chose to go ahead with having the beach ceremony it would’ve been grey and wet and this wasn’t my perfect wedding! So instead if I couldn’t have that, then I had to change it completely and make it perfect with what I had. A tipi on the grounds of the venue.
This wedding in 3 words: boho, intimate, relaxed
We originally chose to get married at Belongil Beach, Byron Bay at sunset. Byron Bay is where Australia stole our hearts and this is when we knew that we wanted to call Australia home. Belongil is a stunning part of Byron and was also part of the beach where you didn’t have to pay for a license and was dog friendly, which meant our shar pei puppy could attend our wedding. We hired white Americana chairs, a white bamboo arbour, signing table etc for the ceremony site from Coastal event hire but due to the weather and change of location none of this got used.
The reception venue was a quirky converted cow shed on 12 acres of land that I found on Airbnb. It had a rustic style cabana which we decorated and used for our sit down meal.
To give the cabana the look I wanted for the wedding we hired a number of rectangle trestle tables, white Americana chairs and I bought rectangle table cloths and napkins from ebay which worked out cheaper than hiring them.
I set the tables up into 2 long banqueting tables with a sweet heart table at the end which brought all of the guests together.
I bought lots of hessian, lace, ribbon etc from ebay and used this to decorate jars which were filled with flowers and candles which looked amazing. I also cut the hessian into long strips which I draped over each seat and tied with a bow around them to bring the whole look together, it was so easy and cheap to do but so effective.
Ebay was a God send for me with buying bits a pieces for this wedding I bought various hessian bunting and a wooden Mr & Mrs sign for the top table, dream catchers, candles holders which we hung from a wooden light structure which gave the room the wow factor.
We had 2 tipis from Pitch Luxury Camping set up on the grounds of the venue one was a chill out tent that we had games and cushions in for our guests to relax in and the other was supposed to be a dance floor for later on in the evening and thank God we booked this tent as this is where we wound up holding our ceremony.
As this wedding was in Byron which is a hippy town in NSW I wanted to chose a celebrant with a hippy quirky personality and Talitha had exactly that.
I emailed a few celebrants with only a few replying but Talitha went down the old fashioned way of communicating and rung me. We were on the phone for over an hour and got on like a house on fire and I knew then she was the one.
Talitha told a story when it came to our ceremony. We read our own vows which were slightly different to the English vows. We were a little more relaxed with the wording and even my butt got a mention haha. We chose to read different wording when it came to our ring exchange as well. We didn’t have any readings in this ceremony as it was just about us and to be honest we wanted a short ceremony and it was long enough as it was.
There was lots of laughs in this ceremony and a few tears. But it was so relaxed it didn’t matter that we made some mistakes, that it rained or that Luna my little cousin walked under our arms during our ceremony. It is what made the ceremony and our friends were there for us.
We got married in front of 45 of our closest friends, my mum, dad and father in law standing around us. It brought everyone together it made them feel a part of it.
I used the evening gown I wore at the U.K wedding but instead of wearing heels I teamed it with flip flops which gave it a more casual look.
I found a 2 in 1 gown on the internet which looked great in the photographs and was a really good price. It arrived a week or so later, I tried it on and it looked great. It was a tight fitted lace dress with a big detachable skirt (which I never used).
I had flowers put into my hair which matched my bouquet and used the sash I originally bought for the UK wedding to give it a little bit of sparkle.
Groom and his men
Chris wore a 3 piece suit in the UK and in the 12 years we have been together it was a first and it was a last! This wedding he wanted to look more casual but I had a look in mind. I went to H&M and bought both him and his dad a pair of navy chinos, a white short sleeve shirt and a navy tie which Chris wore with navy blue toms. The whole outfit probably came to $80 and its something that Chris would wear again.
This one was a little difficult as I had something in mind but it never worked out. I wanted my bridesmaids to wear dresses with a boho look and wear 2 different dresses that were similar but never found ones I was really happy with or that complimented my gown.
I found 2 dresses that were the same colour but different styles that both my bridesmaids loved but I was never 100% on the colour and didn’t think it would match the hessian boho look I was going for. And as it wasn’t perfect for my OCD mind I decided to look again and I found 2 dresses on ASOS. They were a baby blue dress which looked great with the hessian and lace decorations. They looked great with my dress and it was easy to match flowers to their gowns.
Hair & Makeup
I found a hairdresser in Byron that I really liked the look of called Heartfire Collective. Both myself and my two bridesmaids had up do’s with flowers entwined in our plaits and curls which were from Flower from the Farm doing this gave our hair the added extra touch and matched our bouquets and centrepieces. We went for a natural look for our faces which was done by a talented lady called Erin Hazledine. I was pretty laid back when It came to our hair and make up and just said make us look like an even better version of ourselves and let them work their magic. After all its their job and they knew what they were doing.
The UK wedding we had help from our family especially when it came to paying for the flowers, but with the Australia wedding we were on a budget. So myself, my aunt and a friend took ourselves to a local flower shop called flowers at the farm. I asked the lady how much it would cost for 3 bridal bouquets and the lady quoted me $150 for the bridal and $120 for each bridesmaid, that was my budget just on 3 bouquets.
While in the shop I spotted an arrangement in a vase and asked how much it was and the lady said $35, it was my colour scheme and just what I was after! So I had 3 of them made up which were our bouquets. I told the lady my colours, the type of flowers I liked and my budget and she piled the flowers up until my budget was hit. We had enough flowers to make button holes, fill all our centrepieces, decorations for my cake and plenty left over which we used to hang from a wooden light in the reception room.
We went for another sit down dinner for this wedding and we went for a 4 meat traditional carvery with all the trimmings. The portions were huge and the food was delicious – every guest went back for seconds and it was one of the cheapest catering options I found and one of the best.
As the location I chose had no working bar I had been buying boxes of wine every month since we started planning which as you can imagine wound up being a lot of wine. This wine was put in metal buckets on each table and drank during the meal. On the wedding website I kindly asked guests if they could bring a bottle of liquor instead of a gift for us and with the left over money we had from our budget we purchased some cartons of beer. We wound up with so much left over alcohol but its better to have too much than not enough. I used an online alcohol planner which really helped.
I had seen lots of naked cakes online and they looked amazing and now was my chance to have one. It was a deep 2 layer naked cake which consisted of a passion fruit layer and a chocolate ganache layer covered with a salted caramel drizzle. I found Katie through Facebook and fell in love with the cakes she made. I gave her 2 flavours and let her work her magic and she did just that. I supplied her with flowers to use as decorations so it matched my décor and she made it look too good too eat. We had guests come and visit us the next morning for tea and cake so a lot of it got eaten and it also got taken to an Australia Day party where it got finished.
With this wedding, instead of sending out invitations all of the guests were all online and had Facebook so I put together a wedding website & Facebook event page. The Facebook event page directed them to our wedding website which included all the information. This came in really handy as I was able to keep guests updated with information and this is how I was able to tell them all that the ceremony had moved!
I used luggage tags which I decorated with a lace trim for my place cards that were wrapped around a fan shaped napkins with hessian string and then chose a family member with good hand writing to write the guest name on each, I found a website where you could make your own monogram so I used that and I printed my table plan on white card with a tan card background and attached this to a chicken wire board which had a black board on the other side which read ‘Have a drink, Take a seat’.
The original plan was to have lawn games set up on the grass but instead I set up a giant jenga and a noughts & crosses game inside one of the tipis for the guests to play with while they waited for the ceremony to start.
We had a live singer which performed during dinner and through until the end of the night. I actually found the singer at my cousins birthday party and everyone loved it so it was a no brainer, I knew he was going to be a hit with the guests.
I put together a DIY photo booth which every guest had a lot of fun with and the photographer I booked was happy to take the shots of the guests all dressed up with props.
I also had a polaroid guest book which was a massive hit and a great little idea (even if I do say so myself). Each guest took a polaroid shot, stuck it in the book that I bought from a local hobby craft shop which I had already stuck sticky pads in to make it easier for the guests so all they had to do was, snap it, shake it, stick it and write a message. And I have to say this is one of the best ideas I had because reading the messages that our friends and family had written makes me cry every time. We also had a wish jar which as you can imagine has some FYI wishes in but with little things like this it keeps guests entertained and gets them to be involved which was important to us.
I have always loved VW combis and I found one called Mango. He was originally booked to collect myself, my bridesmaids, parents etc. from venue and then take us to the beach and back again but as I was already at the barn I arranged for Mango to go and collect my groom and his groomsmen at the hotel they were getting ready in as a surprise. Chris loved it and to be honest I arrived in a lovely car at the U.K wedding it was nice for him to have his turn arriving in style.
As we had a friend doing our photography I wanted to book a professional to do our videography. Friends of ours had a recommendation and mentioned Brittany.
I went for the 5 hour package that included an edited short video and also a long extended version and I cant wait to see what she comes up!
I had a friends brother do our photography at this wedding. I had seen some photographs he had taken previously and was really impressed. I basically just asked him to take as many photographs as you can and he did just that with some amazing shots.
The rain!! But not for all bad reasons – I worked with it. Some of our guests say it worked out better that way. Dancing in the rain with my husband.
Our puppy got to be at our ceremony, I did a speech, my father in law cried during our ceremony. This list goes on.
But what makes it special is when I say there is a few things I would’ve changed Chris said I wouldn’t have changed a thing it was perfect.
I got so many compliments with regards to the location, food, decoration, cake etc. and knowing that I did it all by myself there is nothing better than that!
Bride To Bride
DIY weddings can be perfect! As long as you ask for help from your friends and have a back up plan. For example the rain. A dream wedding is possible and you can save a lot of money by doing so. I had a time frame to work with and used it, yes things may happen earlier or run later than expected but if your guests are not aware of the timings then they will never know. Its all about confidence and having faith in yourself.
It’s an accomplishment to be able to say you planned and organised a wedding by yourself and I would happily do it over again.
Ceremony & Reception: Tooraloo Farm
Celebrant: The Byron Bay Wedding Celebrant ♥ Wedding Dress: Barino
Hair: Heartfire Collective ♥ Makeup: Erin Hazledine
Groom & Groomsmen: H&M ♥ Bridesmaid Dresses: Asos
Decor: Coastal Event Hire ♥ Flowers: Flowers at the Farm
Transport: Mirror Image ♥ Cake: Sweet Obsessions