The Melbourne based couple wed in tropical Port Douglas. a location that has always been special to the bride and significant to the couple.
Wedding date: May 11th 2018
Wedding location: Port Douglas, North Queensland, Australia
Number of guests: 102
Bridal party: One maid of honour, one bridesmaid, one best man and two groomsmen
Ceremony time: 4.00pm – 4.40pm
Reception time: 5.00pm – 11.00pm
Tell us about how you met and the proposal...
Tom and I met working in event management at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, the rest is history!
I was lucky enough to be surprised with a holiday to Port Douglas in late 2016 to celebrate the end of a really busy work year for both of us. Our proposal evening began with a sunset sail, followed by a sunset walk to Rex Smeal Park in Port Douglas, just by the church we got married in two years later. We celebrated the engagement that evening at my favourite restaurant in Port Douglas, Salsa Bar and Grill.
Where was the your wedding ceremony and reception held?
The ceremony was St Mary’s By the Sea Anglican Church, Port Douglas. The reception was at The Sugar Wharf, Port Douglas.
Why did you choose this location?
Ever since I was young, I had wanted to get married at St Mary’s By the Sea, it is such a magical church with a beautiful view of the water from the alter. We holidayed in Port Douglas every year after getting together and Tom proposed to me in Port Douglas, in late 2016. Port Douglas was just the most obvious choice for us to get married being that it was a location that held many significant memories for our relationship. We also wanted to have our closest friends experience a destination that we hold so close to our heart.
How many times had you been to the location before?
Upwards of fifteen visits through my teenage years and early twenties
During the planning of the wedding how many times did you visit the location?
Tom and I visited once between getting engaged in Port Douglas and getting married, the visit was purely to make decisions and meet vendors that we’d already secured from Melbourne. It was still a year out when we did this trip but this early timing didn’t really make any impact on the delivery of the wedding.
I visited with my Mum about six weeks out from the wedding or hair and make-up trials – which I’m really pleased that I did.
What was the theme of your wedding?
Classic with personal touches. We tried to weave some tropical elements into our theming without being too gimmicky about it.
How difficult was it to plan your wedding in this location?
I found the wedding planning process to be very straight forward and easy. This is most likely due to my career in events, however I think a key part of the simplicity was choosing a destination that did not have a huge number of vendors to choose from, meaning in many cases I had less options of choice than I would have had in Melbourne.
I was very particular about communicating in a visual way what my expectations were, to all vendors, which avoided any surprises on the day. I created mood-boards to demonstrate my vision and didn’t allow my vendors much creative licence (perhaps much to their disappointment) but this also allowed them to meet my expectations and everything turned out exactly as we had wished.
I also should mention the amazing wedding day coordinator we hired, Bec Heathcote from Maid of Honour Weddings, who fully understood my expectations and visions of my wedding day and worked tirelessly from early in the hours of our day, until after midnight, to ensure everything went to plan. Without Bec, things wouldn’t have been as perfect, and hiring her was the best money we spent!
What's your advice for someone else planning a wedding in the same location?
Less is more in a beautiful location like Port Douglas – the views and the calm and relaxing tropical environment contribute so much to the day. I am pleased I didn’t go overboard with theming and kept things classic and simple.
Where did the majority of your guests stay?
We made a point of not advising our guests to stay in a specific hotel, we just advised them it would be most convenient to stay in walking distance of the main street. There are so many accommodation options in Port Douglas we wanted our guests not to feel pressured to stay somewhere if it didn’t meet their needs or budget.
Was any travel or transport organised for your guests?
No, however we provided a guest ‘guidebook to Port Douglas’ to everyone who accepted our invitation, which outlined the best locations to stay, how to book shuttle buses from the airport, and our favourite things to do in Port Douglas.
Did you have any activities planned for your guests for the days either side of the wedding?
Again, we wanted to make sure that each guest that was travelling to our wedding didn’t feel pressured to be a part of any compulsory activities, being mindful that it was likely going to be many of our guests ‘annual holiday’ for the year and they may not feel like hanging out with us the whole time!
Georgie did have a small Hen’s day celebration on the Tuesday in advance of the Friday wedding – which resulted in many wedding guests heading out for a night at Port Douglas’s best Bar, Barbados, until the early hours of the morning.
We held a recovery drinks on the Saturday following the wedding at the local pub, from 4.00pm onwards, allowing our guests to make the most of their Saturday in Port Douglas before the majority of people departed on the Sunday.
We did love seeing our guests around the main street, trying out our favourite restaurants and using our personalised guidebook to curate their own holidays, and spent lots of time having casual catch ups with guests throughout the week before the wedding.
What's your advice for another couple planning a destination wedding?
Again, less is more. Consider how many ‘little details’ you really need at a destination wedding, because only so much fits in your suitcase and items like decorative props are extremely expensive to hire.
I also liked our approach of not forcing our guests to attend a ‘festival of Georgie and Tom’ through out the week, and we only really had two wedding related activities during the week. We took the approach of respecting our guests opportunity for a tropical holiday and I think many appreciated this.
What did you like about having a destination wedding?
The best thing in my opinion about a Destination Wedding was that I didn’t feel any compressed pressure of the wedding looming in the days leading into it. I was in holiday mode 5 days out from my wedding and had already had that ‘last minute rush’ feeling prior to leaving Melbourne to catch the plane. I also loved that having my loved ones around me in the same destination gave us opportunities to connect with them throughout the week, meaning that on the wedding night and reception Tom and I could really concentrate on each other and knew that we’d given our guests our love and thanks throughout the days leading into the wedding.
What was your favourite moment from your wedding day?
Arriving at the top of the aisle at St Mary’s by the Sea, and holding hands with my future husband all whilst taking in the beauty of our wedding and family and friends surrounding us. It was a really peaceful and joyful moment for me that I will never forget
Is there anything you would have done differently?
Honestly no, I was truly pleased with every decision that we made and we were so lucky that every piece of the puzzle of our wedding day delivered us the wedding that was everything we had dreamed of.
How many days before the wedding did you arrive at the location?
We arrived 5 days before, and it was a good amount of time.
How long did you stay in the location of your wedding?
In total we were there for 10 days, we chose to honeymoon afterwards in Bali – another tropical location a short flight from Port Douglas.
Tell us about the wedding flowers...
Our flowers were all done by Floral Edge, Port Douglas and we couldn’t have been happier with them, they were truly better than I could have imagined.
I really wanted simple and classic bouquets that wouldn’t go out of style but still matched the environment in Port Douglas. I had a cascading arrangement of Phalaenopsis Orchid’s finished with white satin ribbon Bridesmaids had round bouquets of phalaenopsis orchid’s, with a base of white carnations for structure, finished with white satin ribbon. The church and reception flowers were pink Phalaenopsis orchid’s with cascading moss and blush pink roses. I am still in awe of these arrangements to this day.
Tell us about the food your served...
Catering was by NuNu Palm Cove and they did the most phenomenal job.
Canapes Served on the deck of the Sugar Wharf at Sunset
Crisped pacific oyster with ginger caramel, sesame & shiso
Steamed pork & scallop buns with xo & ponzu
Roast pumpkin, chickpea & tamarind pastry with date jam
BBQ Prawns with Rainforest Honey
Tablelands pork belly with miso caramel, daikon & dashi
Innisfail heart of palm & young coconut salad, pickled shallot, melon & mint with
Cinnamon roasted victorian lamb, caramelized mungalli yoghurt & pumpkin; branch, leaf, seed & oil
Honey butter roast chook, barley, corn & henhouse vegetables
Rainforest honeycomb, yoghurt marshmallow, lemon semolina cake
& milk jam ice cream
Coffee, chocolate, hazelnut & orange, crumbs, sorbet, bits & pieces
Did you have a wedding cake?
We chose not to have a wedding cake but did have a surprise birthday cake for a friend whose 30th birthday shared our wedding day. It was a chocolate mud cake made specially by Nu Nu for the occasion.
Tell us about the music for the whole day...
Our church music was a classical harp soundtrack, as I really wanted to create a romantic environment in the Church to compliment the beautiful view and relaxed environment. We decided against putting budget towards an actual harpist, both due to space in the church and to save money – I was so glad to make this decision.
I walked down the aisle to ‘Pachelbel Canon and Gigue in D Major’ and we departed as a married couple to ‘Fading’ by Valis Alps
For the reception guests were welcomed with a jazz playlist and our party list kicked in once the bridal party entered the reception.
All music and lighting at the reception with coordinated by DJ Bart Campbell at Electric Dreams Entertainment
Tell us about the décor..
Décor was provided by a number of vendors in Port Douglas. Being an event manager I was confident to shop around with suppliers depending on their stock and coordinated them to set up separately on the day.
Eventcore provided the indoor dining furniture, blush linen napkins, bentwood chairs and festoon lighting, while Weddings By Design provided a white timber outdoor event setting and lounge furniture for the wharf.
Tell us about your wedding day transport?
Vintage Silver Rolls Royce by ‘I’ll Take the Rolls’ Port Douglas
Did you have guest favours?
Decorative White Paper Fans, which came in very handy throughout the night in the Port Douglas tropical weather.
Photographer: Chloe May Photography
Celebrant: Anglican Church Minister, Kenneth Lay
Ceremony: St Mary’s By the Sea
Reception venue: The Sugar Wharf
Florist: Floral Edge
Catering: NuNu Palm Cove
Guest favours: Etsy
Entertainment: Electric Dreams Entertainment
Event planner: Bec at Maid of Honour Weddings
Furniture hire: Eventcore Weddings by Design
Transport: Let’s take the Rolls
Wedding and engagement rings: Sol’s Diamonds
Bridal gown: Jessica Couture Bridal
Veil, garter and hair accessory: Rose Hudson Millinery
Hair stylist: Shannon at Inner Goddess Hair
Lingerie: Honey Birdette
Makeup artist: Carly at Makeup by Carly
Shoes: Ted Baker
Bridesmaid gifts: Pyjamas from Neue Blvd
Bridesmaid outfits: One Fell Swoop
Bridesmaid shoes: Nine West
Grooms accessories: Cufflinks by Georg Jensen Watch by Tag Heuer
Grooming: Cologne by Chanel
Groomsmen outfits: Studio Italia
Groomsmen gifts: Swimming Shorts from Gazman