Rainy & Fun-Filled Byron Bay Wedding

Let’s be honest, when it comes to 2022 weddings, there aren’t many that were able to enjoy blue skies and sunshine. And it turns out not even a wedding planner can make Mother Nature behave. Sara, who works for wedding planners Event Stylist & Co and her beloved Ash were forced to change their wedding venue just days before their date thanks to torrential rain. And with two years of postponements under their belt, nothing was going to stop these two from finally saying “I Do”!

So with Sara’s planning skills set into action, and Cloud Catcher Studio behind the camera, this intimate wedding turned from a garden, poolside celebration into a little bit of magic in a country hall. So magic in fact, that the newlyweds even got a moment to squeeze in an epic champagne pop (oh yeah, you know we’re including that one in The Champagne Issue!). And for Sara and Ash, it was perfect. “Getting to choose the vendors, after being a part of so many other weddings as a coordinator was my favourite” remembers Sara, “it was so fun to be able to curate our unique day. Not feeling any pressure for our wedding to look or be a certain way was the best part.”

The couple began as friends, blossoming their love story (or being harassed into as Sara would say, until Ash gave in ) in New Zealand. “From there, things moved pretty fast, they spent every night together, and Ash convinced Sara to stay in Queenstown for the summer. Although it meant picnics by the lake, frisbee golf, and hanging out with friends, this wasn’t as Sara had imagined. The Lake was much colder than she had ever anticipated, it definitely wasn’t the warm Australian water.

So they moved to Australia. This meant a year of long distance. While Ash completed his farm work and moved around for work, Sara spent her time between Evans Head and a ski season at Falls Creek. When Ash was finished with his farm work, they moved to the Gold Coast!

With the latest lockdowns putting a halt on overseas trips, in particular, their two-month Africa trip last May 2020, they decided to tick off the top spot on their Australian Bucket List; Uluru. November 2020 the two of them took a trip to Uluru, and with much anticipation from everyone, ASH PROPOSED.

This wasn’t your typical proposal, they had made the ring to take with them to Africa. So Sara had been pestering him all year, there was no opportunity missed for her to say “wouldn’t it be nice to be engaged right now”.
The moment finally came, in the field of lights, ironically pitch black, he didn’t get down on one knee, but turned and asked “Will you make me miserable for the rest of my life?” Taken aback, Sara responded with “OMG DID YOU BRING THE RING?!” And that’s about as romantic as it gets with Ash and Sara. The rest, as they say, is history…”

Sara and Ash had Anchored Cinema capture a beautiful film of the day. “Picking our vendors came easy, I had to have the best group of suppliers,” notes Sara, “this was a non-negotiable for me. The experience and expertise of every vendor are worth the world for an easy, relaxing, and f*cking fun wedding.”

Sara handmade the wedding arbour with her dad. “We made our wedding arbour with the help of my Dad because I wanted something unique. Everyone expected me to DIY a lot of our elements but working in the industry I knew I wanted to do as little as possible to enjoy and soak in every moment of the day. I had so much trust in every supplier and was beyond excited to have them as a part of our day.”

The torrential rain meant Sara and Ash moved their garden wedding to country hall Ewingsdale Hall last minute. “Our original venue was an Airbnb in the Byron Hinterland with a beautiful pool area surrounded by sandstone tiles and big palm trees. We could have 20 guests stay on the property and it was so perfect for our Mexican/Spanish-inspired style. Unfortunately, our whole wedding was meant to be outside on the property and around the pool and with a week of torrential rain, we decided 2 days before the wedding to change venues.

We tossed between hiring a community hall and a marquee, with my experience as a wedding coordinator myself I knew that even though marquee weddings are amazing when they are wet they do bring in quite a bit of the water from outside, especially with catering and bathrooms etc being in a different space. So we opted for Ewingsdale Hall just as you enter Byron. This choice came down to the availability of the halls, what size (we had only 35 guests), and proximity to our Airbnb/accommodation.
It worked out so well, we got three days to hire and so it meant a bump in and bump out was done the day before and the day after to reduce the chaos of the on the day set up.”

Walking down the aisle arm in arm with her dad, Sara chose “Yu (a song for Koda)” by Ziggy Alberts to play.

Sara and Ash were married by Ceremonies by Leisa. “Our ceremony was very short and sweet, Ash hates being the centre of attention and my priority was to make him feel as comfortable as possible. Leisa Ottley our Celebrant kept it super funny, lighthearted and QUICK! I think it was all of 15 minutes which was great, we signed afterwards walked back down the aisle, and kept the vows super short, it was epic. We as a couple are not incredibly romantic so this is exactly what we wanted.”

“We used Cloud Catcher Studios, I have worked with them a million times before and they are by far my favourites” raves Sara of the couple’s chosen photographers. “Their approach to wedding photography is second to none, the way they can make anyone feel relaxed and at ease whilst taking photos, the whole experience with them is so easy! They have an unrivalled approach to dance floor photography, and if you’re worried about your guests being boring, these guys will bring the party.”

This was a wedding that had ALL the fun. “Experience-wise, we had to have everything, we had the Margarita Margarita truck, The Gelato Social bike, live Acoustic Musician, our favourite Photographers and Videographer, our epic Stylist and Coordinator Ngaire from Event Stylist & Co, an incredible funny Celebrant, beautiful furniture and lighting from The One Day House, incredible Spanish food, a gorgeous cake and beautiful florals. I’m honestly not sure what more we could have included making the experience of our guests more enjoyable.”

 

Sarah wore Grace Loves Lace two dresses, though the initial plan was somewhat different!  “The original idea for our wedding was to be an engagement turned surprised wedding, so I bought my dream dress by myself at Grace Loves Lace. The Coco Gown was perfect for the style of wedding we were planning, it was super fun, stretchy and comfortable for plenty of dancing and fit with our theme.

As Covid changed our plans I had had my dress for over a year and wanted to feel a little bit more excited so I took my mother and sister dress shopping again, and I fell in love with my AM Faulkner Margarita Daisy veil from Bloom in Brisbane (the experience at bloom is incredible and Sam and her team are second to none). So for the veil to have all its glory I ‘had’ to get another dress eek haha. I went with the Honey Silk dress from Grace Loves Lace. I wore this for the ceremony, photos and speeches and then changed into the Coco dress for our entrance, cutting the cake and to PARTY!”

Ash wore a classic black suit from Bruno’s Suits. “We tried a lot of different suits on in a few styles and settled with a classic black suit, white shirt and black bow tie” remembers Sara. “For those who hate shopping this was 1000% the easiest way to shop; we told them what we were after, they did a quick measure and we had the whole outfit sorted in 20 minutes, the alterations were done on the spot and we walked away after 40 minutes with everything Ash needed. It was completely steamed and prepped so all he had to do was get ready on the day.”

The Pop! Sara’s favourite shots were “definitely our favourite one of the two of us would be one of the only photos we got outside where we are spraying the champagne.”

With so much experience planning weddings, take Sara’s advice to heart. “Do your wedding your way, other than those couple of vows, there are no rules on how a wedding ‘should be’ make it your own and make it FUN! It goes so quick, have trust in your vendors and soak in all the moments of the day. If you do decide to DIY elements, make sure you delegate to guests or family members to minimise your stress. And make sure you have a wet weather backup plan!!”

“We minimised the ceremony and speeches so we could spend as much time celebrating and dancing with our guests as possible. Sentimentally having my grandmother say a speech was incredibly important to me.”

The couple enlisted HYDY to create the blooms for the day. The colours even complementing the Hello Little Crumb cake. “Our florist was HYDY in Brunswick Heads – the brief was to have bright, fun and exciting florals to really lift the space all other styling aspects were very neutral and subdued. With the price of florals being very different to the time of our original quote, we enhanced the real florals with preserved hydrangea and fake bougainvillaea.
I kept the bouquet classic with white roses so that if I hated my styling choices in 20 years I would have something really simple and elegant in our portraits.”

The couple ditched the traditional first dance. “It’s not Ash’s vibe!” laughs Sara, ” but I did get a small dance out of him for our formal entrance. We had “Shooting Star” by Bag Raiders, I wanted something that would really hype up the room, we went straight into cutting the cake from there, then a quick speech from us which I had an opportunity to include some personal vows which we skipped during the ceremony,”

Ash did make sure to put his own mark on the day. “For Ash, he said definitely the beer kegs, we had our own bar staff who were friends and Ash completely took over the service, and Ben kicked them out for a portion of the night and made every guest come over, put their head underneath and drink straight from the taps. It was absolute GOLD.”

“At the end of the night I had put “Sweet Caroline” as the second last song, and then “Horses”, obviously, you have to for the last song, and then Michael our musician came up and said Ash had requested some different songs for the end of the night. I couldn’t for the life of me hear what he was saying but I said “if Ash wants a song, give it to him I do not care at all” … turns out it was the Three Lions Football song and all 4 English guests got up on the stage and we’re singing their hearts out. I can guarantee no one else in the room knew what the song was but everyone got involved trying to sing the words haha.”

A big beautiful congratulations to you both Ash and Sara! Thank you for sharing so much of your day with us and thank you to Cloud Catcher Studio for sharing today’s celebration.

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