Hannah and Damien
Tell us about your proposal?
Damien proposed on the 19th July 2016, at Hydeaway Bay. Leading up to that moment, we had been preparing for a holiday, which was taking us to visit some family in NSW and then over to Queenstown, NZ. Damien had been talking for some time about going for lunch at Montes (a resort/restaurant/bar) at Hydeaway Bay (probably our favourite part of the world), and get some time in the sun before we did go away. Following lunch, we found a quiet spot around the corner from Montes, and set up camp on the beach where we would spend a few hours. Within seconds of setting up a towel on the sand, Damien was on one knee in front of me, asking me a question I never would have thought I would be asked on that day. I was blown away and completely speechless (so much so he had to ask twice).
Did you pick out your rings together, or was it a surprise?
I have always been of the opinion that an engagement ring should be a total surprise to the ‘bride-to-be’ in the way that I think it is incredibly special when your partner has picked out something so significant and special on his own. However, for us, Damien insisted on some sort of guidance, so together we tried on some rings, and both decided on a stone shape. From that, I said that I would have loved for him to decide on the style and design of the ring. Needless to say, it is gorgeous! For our wedding bands, we each picked something based on what caught our eye, then ran it past the other to see what their thought was.
How long were you engaged / how much time did you allow for wedding planning?
Damien and I were engaged in July 2016, and initially couldn’t imagine planning and organising a wedding, so initially we were just going to let time play out and see what happened. During our time on holidays after the engagement, we found we were talking about ideas and before we knew it, we more or less had it planned out! Big ticket items (think venue, celebrant, catering, photography etc) were booked by October 2016 so following that we were able to chill and not be consumed by everything wedding for the next twelve months. We picked up again in July 2017 (with the exception of communication between us and the wedding planners in between).
What was your wedding theme? How/ why did you choose the theme?
From the get go, we both wanted an outdoor wedding that was more or less a big party! We didn’t have a set ‘theme’, we worked on things that we liked, and what spoke to us as a couple. When everything come together, it had a luxe boho type feel.
How did you go about planning your wedding, did you use a coordinator or do everything yourself, or a little bit of both?
Earlando included a wedding planner in the package. Prior to being engaged, I wouldn’t have never thought that they were a must have, but after seeing how streamlined they make the entire process and day I can’t imagine not having one.
How did you decide on wedding venue / wedding location (if destination wedding)?
We had two very different locations to decide on – Queenstown, NZ and Airlie Beach, QLD (and these were optional locations based on our love for them). As much as we loved the idea of Queenstown, it was important for us to have our family and friends there to celebrate, so Airlie Beach was our pick.
As for the wedding venue, we knew we wanted something different and not too popular. A few months before we were engaged I had heard of Earlando re-opening for weddings and events. Earlando was a place I spent holidays when I was growing up so I knew it was a must for us to check out.
What’s the one thing you recommend couples invest in for their big day?
My first thought was to say photography, but I think most people would say that (and it speaks for itself) so for something a little different I would say entertainment and food! Entertainment has such a huge impact on the atmosphere, and food is a huge part of our life so it’s important to us for it to be a great experience.
How did you choose your wedding dress? Was it ‘love at first sight’?
I love different and out of the norm, so I was imagining having to spend thousands and thousands of dollars, to get something different and of great quality. Not wanting to spend a small fortune, I met with a local couture designer in Mackay. We spent 3 hours on the initial consult, designing an absolutely amazing gown. Obviously not being able to try it on, I made it clear to the designer I was going to try on some gowns to ensure I was getting the right style. I had tried on about 15 gowns, and all of them made me think ‘I can never imagine falling in love with a dress off the rack’. At the last store, and with the very last gown I tried on, it was then I fell in love. I did go away and think about it for a while, but this gown was too good to let go!
Most memorable moment?
Can I say the entire day/night!? It was the most perfect day.
Any funny stories or mishaps?
Damien managed to get almost everyone at the wedding up for a ‘shoey’ following his speech. It made for a great photo and gives us a good laugh now!
What made your day so special to you?
Everything lined up for us… we were in absolute paradise, surrounded by people we love, sharing our love for each other and having a great time!
Do you have any unique wedding tips to help the day run smoothly?
Based on my experience, all I can say is remain calm! I had a total stress free experience, from the moment I woke up to the moment we went to bed that night and I think that plays a huge part in the way I remember the day. I figure, once the day had arrived, anything that went wrong was out of my (and our) control. (I should note I can be a total stress head)
If a destination wedding, what are your main recommendations?
I wouldn’t say that ours was a destination wedding, but if that is the case for a couple I would say you definitely have to visit the location/venue as I think it is super important to connect with the venue and ensure it speaks to you as a couple.
Do you have any tips for guest logistics?
We provided a bus for our guests, as the venue was about 40 minutes from Airlie beach, and as the venue was on private property it was a request from the property owners. It was great as guests were able to relax, and not worry about having to get themselves back to their accommodation.
Did you honeymoon, where and for how long?
I have to say our honeymoon was pretty grand! We didn’t leave immediately after the wedding, it was about one and half months after. The trip consisted of 3 weeks in Canada over Christmas and New Year, followed by 2 weeks visiting Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas.
Why did you pick your honeymoon location?
Canada and experiencing a White Christmas has been on our holiday list for quite some time, so our honeymoon was the perfect excuse to put it into action. Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas was completely out of the box for us. Cuba in particular, put us way out of our comfort zone which I think is really important to do every so often. It was incredible to experience the culture – it is so alive!
WEDDING TEAM: Photographer: Vicki Miller Photography // Hair: Intuition the Art of Hair // Makeup: Loll Doll Makeup // Stylist: Borrow My Bits // Flowers: Flower Hut // Cake: Whitsunday Baked Creations // Planner: The Wedding Planners Whitsundays // Entertainment: Breeze Duo // Caterer: D’Vine Catering and Events // Dress: Brides of Brisbane // Groom: MJ Bale // Celebrant: Annie Lloyd-Lewis // Transport: Whitsunday Transit // Invitations, Wishing Well and Cake Topper: Sketch and Etch Creative // Teepee: Teepee Events Whitsundays