Living the dream is a term that gets thrown around a lot. Usually though it’s in regard to to a great day out, sitting by the pool on a resort holiday or even kicking back with a beer on a weekday when everyone else is working. For Danielle and Ian, their wedding on the Northern Beaches earlier this year was the start line for the most amazing holiday/trip/experience… I don’t know what to call it but there’s a link to their travel blog below, to see exactly where they’ve been and where they are headed next.
Back to the fantastic wedding for just minute though. To understand just how right this wedding was and why it was so much fun, rain or no rain, you need to hear some of the back story. I asked the guys to answer a few questions about themselves, their day and what’s next. I think they were somewhere in the Greek Islands when they replied… And yes, they are still on their honeymoon!
What’s the story behind the two of you?
I am originally from the UK and met Ian whilst backpacking in 2009 when I was on a 6 month round-the-world trip. We met one week before I was scheduled to fly out of Sydney to New Zealand. I loved Australia and was not ready for my adventure to come to an end just yet, so I bought a one-way ticket back to Sydney instead of returning to England.
We had our second date the day after I landed in Sydney…and the rest is history!
Can you tell me about the proposal?
Ian took me down to one our favourite spots – a secluded rock overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Opera House.
During the early days of our relationship we spent hours down here, and this was where we made the big decision that I would remain in Australia. On the night he proposed to me, Ian suggested we drive to our favourite spot and have a walk around, maybe pick up some fish and chips. So we headed out, me in my trainers and casual clothes.
Once sitting on the rock, overlooking the beautiful lit-up harbour, he confessed that he had bought me here to ask me if I would marry him…
For the first time in my life I was speechless, but there was no doubt of what my answer would be! Ian gave me his grandmother’s eternity ring, and opened a bottle of champagne. I rang my mum in England to tell her our news – which she already knew as Ian had emailed her a week previously to ask her for my hand in marriage.
After tears of happiness and a glass of champagne to celebrate, Ian told me that we would be taking a boat across the harbour to the city where he had made a dinner reservation. I looked down in horror at my awful casual clothes I was wearing, but to my complete surprise Ian had, in the car waiting for me, a dress, heels and even jewellery!
I was blown-away by his thoughtfulness and planning, and we headed into the city to continue our celebrations over dinner at Circular Quay.
Where was your wedding ceremony and why there?
Neither of us are religious, and knew from the outset that we would like a ceremony that would reflect us as a couple, something relaxed but nice. We chose Bilgola Beach for its beautiful and quiet location, and as we had friends and family in both Sydney and on the Central Coast, we figured this would be a half-way point for both.
I was also extremely fortunate to have my closest friends and family attend our wedding from England, so a beach wedding would have been a nice experience for them too.
Unfortunately, the one thing we cannot control is the weather, which is why we had a plan B for rain on our wedding day – which it did. We were, therefore, unable to hold the ceremony at the beach, but instead in a chapel which turned out to be beautiful, and it really felt very intimate.
We were then able to go to the beach for our wedding photos afterwards as the sky had cleared which was perfect.
Where was your wedding reception and why there?
Our wedding reception was at Newport Mirage, Pittwater, just a short drive from Bilgola Beach. This is a beautifully located venue overlooking the marina and the reception room was the perfect size for our wedding party of 80 guests.
The layout of the room is great, as the bridal table is raised on a slightly higher platform, which meant that we could see all of our guests and enjoy the atmosphere. The staff here were exceptional, when the rain poured on the day, the event coordinator Lindy, ensured everything ran seamlessly, including the last minute decision to hold the ceremony at the onsite chapel.
The other reason we chose this venue was because they have hotel rooms which we were able to offer to our guests. I also stayed here with my bridesmaids and mum the night before the wedding which was lovely. The bridal suite is so nice, and the staff really looked after me and Ian, and made it a truly enjoyable stay.
Were you going for a certain theme or style?
Our style hopefully reflected us as a couple. We wanted our wedding day to be relaxed, romantic and fun. Our colour theme was coral, and all the planning was done jointly by myself and Ian.
It can be an overwhelming experience, especially when you look through all the numerous bridal magazines and bridal fairs out there! We decided that having a particular theme was just too complicated, and preferred to focus our attention on other details.
Can you tell me about your wedding dress?
There is a lot of pressure to find the ‘perfect dress’. I took my best friend and my sister-in-law with me to assist! I tried on a number of dresses, and let’s face it – wedding dresses are beautiful, how can you possibly choose just one!
I found that trying on a selection of different styles was a good starting point, and went from there. It did, at times, get to the point where I was over it, and I was no longer enjoying the attention from the very persuasive shop assistants. All the dresses started to morph into one in my head and left me confused. And then I went to Kel Leigh Couture in East Gosford.
The girls there were wonderful, they made me feel so relaxed from the moment I stepped inside. Kel has a fantastic range of dresses, I chose 4 to try on, and her assistant also chose one for me to try – which at the time I paid very little attention to. As it turned out, it was this dress that I fell in love with! I wanted sparkles, and something a little sassy which I would also feel comfortable in. I loved my wedding dress and knew that Ian would too.
My shoes were Ted Baker shoes in coral. I am a colourful person and wanted my personality to show. I also thought they would look great in the wedding photos!
My hairpiece, earnings and bracelet were all from Kel Leigh Couture. Kel got to know my personality and what I liked and disliked, and had the ability to pick out these pieces for me. They were perfect and matched my dress beautifully.
Who did your hair and makeup?
My hair was done by Chanel at Hot Gossip. I had 3 styles in mind, and when I showed them to Chanel she knew straight away which one would suit me the most, and which style would also hold the best for the duration of the day. I was thrilled with the end result. She also did two of my bridesmaids hair.
My makeup was by Sue Shepherd – Sue has years of experience and I liked her from the moment I met her. I really wanted a natural look, which she did very well, whilst also accentuating my blue eyes.
What about Ian and the Guys
The groomsmen suits were by Formalwear Express. Ian and I worked full time in Sydney and didn’t really have the time to drive around numerous suit shops at the weekends. This service was great because they come to you. Once they have all the measurements they deliver the suits to the groomsmen. You then simply return them by post the day after the wedding.
Can you tell me about your flowers and wedding cake?
I have very little knowledge of flowers! Me and Ian visited a couple of florists and relied very heavily on their advice and recommendations.
We don’t really like cake! So we decided to have something a bit different, and chose a three tier stand of chocolate dipped strawberries decorated as mini brides and grooms. We thought this was a fun alternative, and as our reception provided a three course dinner we figured that this was a less heavy way to finish.
We had a small sponge cake as the top tier for the purpose of having a cake to cut.
What did you have your Bomboniere?
I lost my dad 7 years ago, and found it difficult knowing that he would not be there to give me away – which my brother did in his place. We wanted him to still be a part of the day somehow, so we decided to make a donation to the Heart Foundation in his memory on behalf of our guests, in lieu of bomboniere. We felt this was a nice way to acknowledge him.
How would you describe the photography part of the day?
We had a lot of fun with the photography on the day! Initially we felt dis-heartened by the weather, but had absolutely no doubt that this would make the shots any less picturesque. We had seen a lot of the work done by Impact Images and felt comforted that they make the absolute best of any situation and location.
We loved being on the beach with our two combi vans, and Andrew was fantastic with his direction. We had a big bridal party – 10 in total, and Andrew had the ability to ensure everybody was relaxed and comfortable, but most importantly had fun.
The sky looked great and we were even lucky enough to have a rainbow!
Andrew, it seems, was able to capture shots so seamlessly. Throughout the ceremony in particular, you didn’t even notice he was there, yet the photos he took are incredible. We had friends and family at the wedding from Australia, England and New Zealand, and they all commented on our wonderful friendly photographer.
What lead you to choose Impact Images for your photography?
Firstly, their reputation. Impact Images have photographed a number of Ian’s family’s weddings over 10 years ago to more recently, including family portraits.
Secondly, the work they produce is of such high quality, it really captures a moment in time, the atmosphere which in turn keeps the memories alive. This was one of the most important factors for us. We booked Impact Images as soon as we had secured our wedding date with the reception venue.
Do you have a memorable moment from the day?
For me, one of the most memorable moments was actually walking down the aisle. I felt very emotional as my brother walked me down the aisle, but all I could see was Ian’s beaming smile as he waited for me.
All the faces around me were a blur, and I felt so incredibly happy.
Can you tell me a little about your honeymoon?
Travel is a huge passion that Ian and I share, so our honeymoon is a 9 month around the world trip!
A trip like this was something we had dreamed of doing since the very early days of our relationship, so it made sense for us to tie this in as our honeymoon. So, we quit our jobs, moved out of our apartment, and 5 days after our wedding we set off for our one week of luxury in Thailand, followed by 9 months of backpacking.
It is the adventure of a lifetime and I can’t think of a better way to start the rest of our lives together!
If anyone reading this is interested to see our trip, we made a short blog of our adventures at Just Living The Dream.
What the most important piece of advice you would like to share with brides to be?
Enjoy every moment of the planning, this should be fun so try not to get hung up on the smaller details – these will be lost on the day believe me!
Accept all the offers of help from friends and family around you, it is so much nicer to share the build-up to the big day with the people who care about you the most.
And most importantly, take in every moment of your wedding day, because it flies by!
If you had the chance to redo the whole thing again, would you change anything?
We had a lot of fun planning our wedding, and because we were also planning our round-the-world trip, tickets, visas, moving out etc. it kept me grounded and focused on the things that were important.
There is nothing I would change about our wedding day. We loved every minute of it, and it was incredible to have all of our friends and family there to enjoy it with us.