Beach Destination Wedding: Australia

Jan 24 2012

Michele & Jay, October 12, 2011 Queensland, Australia

With just their dear friends Kathy and Nate beside them–Michele & Jay followed their passionate hearts and adventurous spirits to say their “I Do’s” in the “Land Down Under” in an intimate wedding ceremony on tropical Angsana Beach in Palm Cove, Australia. Follow along as our stunning and thoughtful bride, Michele, shares how their wedding day vision came true–in a destination that most only dream about! But, that’s not all… Michele also shares a wealth of information–especially for planning brides-to-be … on how they planned their at-home reception, wedding stationery and insightful wedding planning advice. Exquisitely rendered by Australian wedding photographer Benn Brown, enjoy this spectacular wedding in paradise!

Wedding Style Fun! Unique! Creative! Stylish! “I do not like doing what every other bride does for their wedding. It’s an important day so I wanted the details to be noticed! I went to friends’ weddings and visited many wedding sites and blogs for ideas, then personalized them to fit our own style.”
Wedding Colors Red for the wedding & Red & Black for the reception
Ceremony Angsana Beach at Angsana Resort & Spa, Palm Cove, Australia Photography location – Angsana Beach, Chapel and Resort
Wedding package coordinated through South Pacific Bridal
Wedding CoordinatorGina Ford– “She is absolutely amazing and I had no concerns about letting her handle the details from across the world.” Jay and I chose all the options and sent Gina all the specifics and she coordinated and arranged EVERYTHING. She and I communicated via email and everything about the wedding day turned out just as we had envisioned!”

Wedding Photographer -Benn Brown, Blue Sky Photography Cairns, Australia “Our fabulous and creative photographer!”

beach destination wedding

Why Australia?
“After we got engaged, our first discussion was where we might like to have the wedding ceremony. Jay and I both agreed on a warm tropical beach … and why not do it in a way that fits our unique style? Why not do what most people dream of doing their entire lives ..why not do something that fits our passion for fun and adventure and make our special day unforgettable in every way! Unanimously, we decided on AUSTRALIA. I spent quite a bit of time searching and reading reviews on the various locations and wedding packages in Australia. South Pacific Bridal was the company we chose to do our wedding ceremony coordination. We chose the world renowned, Angsana Beach and Chapel for the ceremony  and Gina was our wedding coordinator. This is me, a type-A, overly perfectionist bride-to-be, surprising all my friends and letting someone else handle the details.”

Highlights of the day:
for Michele – seeing Jay’s face when he saw me in my WOW dress for the first time! Priceless!
for Jay – seeing my wife-to-be walking toward me on the beach. And being able to say ‘I Do’ to her

Advice you’re glad you took “Don’t sweat the small stuff. I heard this from lots of friends including recent brides. I’ve read and seen brides having major meltdowns (very scary) because the glitter dust on the cake wasn’t shiny enough, or the DJ wasn’t playing the right music or the flowers in the bouquet were not what she ordered… you cannot let these details ruin your joyous day! Details are important for a bride especially one with perfectionist tendencies (like me) , but I didn’t let the bridezilla moments get the best of me. I’m not saying I didn’t have bridal fits on occasion, because I most certainly did. But I dealt with the situation and kept going.”

Advice you wished you’d takenI wish I would have asked for more help from friends and family for the ‘To Do Before the I Dos’ List. My Matron of Honor during all the planning gave me this bit of advice – recruit friends and family for help! But seriously, I personally do not know of one bride who doesn’t want to be actively involved in the details of her very special day! If you are a control freak over your situation, like me, learn to let go of some of the responsibilities, have your friends over for an invitation addressing or a favor making party and watch the movie ‘Bridesmaids’ together!”

Thank You Cards “Classic Kiss” from MagnetStreet – Seriously, I’ve received THANK YOU emails and calls for the thank you cards! I customized them so that guests could have a nice wedding photo on the front and inside without having to include an additional photo in the card. The quality is amazing!

Change in attire

“So we would have different styles and a variety of photos (both casual & formal), Jay wore a linen suit for the actual ceremony {it was extremely warm that day}and after the ceremony, he changed into his Class A dress uniform for the rest of the photo session.”

About Benn Brown, Blue Sky Photography

“We didn’t meet with Benn until we arrived in Australia but had reviewed his portfolio online. To prepare him ahead of time of our expectations, I sent him a link to a photo album I created. It contained photo ideas I collected similar to what we wanted him to capture on our wedding day.  One thing I did not want was to have forced, unnatural or formal posed shots with no personality. Both Jay and I wanted unique backgrounds and fun shots that captured the different sides to our personalities and our passion for each other. Upon meeting Benn, I was immediately put at ease, and was confident that he would take a photo journalistic approach and capture not just smiling faces, but the scenery that makes for a breathtaking picture. He delivered on all accounts. The results…amazing, frame-worthy photos. My only regret; not having more time for a extended photo session.
Benn is an exceptionally talented photographer and we are very pleased with the wonderful and lasting memories he helped create. You only get to go through the wedding day but once, so be silly, have fun, smile and hire a photographer who can capture all the special moments that you will cherish forever 🙂 You can see more of Blue Sky Photography’s style here.

About their wedding stationery …

Michele & Jay personalized “Bride & Groom Caricatures” Save the Date Magnet & incorporating “Welcome to Vegas” Pocket Wedding Invitation elements. “I’ve had so many, many compliments on the save the date magnets, invitations and thank yous.”

Save the Date Magnets – I gave one to my alterations specialist – he said EVERY BRIDE that comes in notices it and comments on how adorable it is! He says you’re definitely giving other brides ideas for their wedding.

Invitations – Compliments on the unique and creative design and pocket style and the quality of the linen cardstock. I actually struggled with the invitations for a while because I was trying to incorporate our Casino theme using one of the Las Vegas designs but couldn’t quite get it to match the idea in my head. By working with the black and white blank style and adding designs from other invitations, along with help from the graphic designers at Magnet Street, the result is spectacular. We love our invitations!

Advice you’d like to give

~Do your wedding the way you BOTH want! Remember it’s not about just YOU the bride, it’s about the bride AND groom!
~Stay organized!
~Don’t let wedding talk consume every conversation you have with friends and family!
~Take sanity breaks! During the planning, take breaks from even thinking about the tiniest details (even though you may want to). Enjoy some quality downtime by yourself, with your fiance, with your friends and family!
~If you are sending out lots of invitations – invest in the envelope tape strips and the pre-addressed envelopes; most definitely worth it!
On your wedding day – soak in every single happy moment and detail of the day!
If it’s in your budget – have the ceremony video recorded! We had a videographer as part of the wedding package. At the reception we played a ‘dinner and a movie’ video. It included wedding word jumbles, wedding trivia, bride and groom trivia, then 3 trailers with funny/romantic movie clips on engagement (including clips from our skydiving engagement), marriage, and love and the feature presentation was our wedding ceremony video from Australia. At the end of the video, I added the photos from the wedding while the credits rolled to thank guests, friends & family. It was a great way for the family and friends who did not come to Australia with us to see the entire ceremony and photos! We have had countless compliments from guests on the video and the photos and have had requests for copies! Plus it’s a great keepsake in addition to photos and we can watch it each year on our anniversary!
Throughout the planning process, you have to expect that not everything will be perfect, because there will be numerous things that won’t fall into place as expected. In the end, as long as the bride and groom survive the planning and say ‘I Do’, nothing else matters.
~Remember, your friends and family love you; so they aren’t going to think ill of you because the centerpieces aren’t perfectly arranged. The things that don’t go smoothly are usually what makes for a great and funny recap of the day for years to come!
When the BIG day is over – RELAX. Our wedding day and reception party were amazing and so much fun, but the big events were both physically and mentally overwhelming. Take some special ‘you and me’ time with your husband even if it’s just pizza and a movie wrapped in a blanket on the couch!
~Afterwards, try not to play the ‘should have, would have, could have mind game. Mentally beating yourself up by reviewing all the things that didn’t go as expected, is just exhausting. DON’T DO IT!

Best Parts of the Day
~Finally after months of waiting, being able to put on my WOW dress that made me feel so elegant and demure and beautiful!
~Seeing Jay’s face when he saw me in my dress for the first time as I walked on the beach to meet him! Precious and priceless!
~Hearing Jay tell me that the dress looked beautiful, but me in it, is what made it ‘WOW’ 🙂
~Spending the morning with my dearest friend that I’ve known since college because she and her husband flew to Australia to be with Jay and I for our big day!
~Having complete strangers on the beach come up to me and say ‘You look stunning!’
~Hearing the ocean waves and seeing the gorgeous seascape, just a few feet from where we stood on the beach while we exchanged vows!
~Having an entertaining celebrant to marry us – the vows are serious but he made it fun and his charisma helped us relax during the ceremony!
~Dipping my toes in the ocean for the ‘trash the dress’ photo session!

At-home Reception & Hollywood Casino Theme Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, Indiana
Mark Hermann (free lance photographer)

“Since we did not have the family fly with us to Australia, we decided to have an after wedding reception and invited family and friends to celebrate our marriage. With lots of family traveling for the event, we ultimately chose Hollywood Casino so that they could have more entertainment options for the weekend visit. We had a red carpet at the entrance of the ballroom to give it a celebrity feel since we were the stars of the event!  We played a “movie” while dinner was being served, that included wedding and bride and groom trivia, a collage movie trailers clips and the video of our wedding ceremony as the main feature. The video ended with a photo slideshow and credits rolling to list our family, guests and all those who helped make our wedding and reception so exciting and memorable!”


Amazing! And, so beautiful! Congratulations Michele & Jay–on your beautiful dream come true. Thank you for sharing and we wish a lifetime of joy and adventure!

See more gorgeous, hi-res images from Michele & Jay’s wedding on Benn Brown’s facebook page here.



Add Your Comment.

7 thoughts on “Beach Destination Wedding: Australia

  1. What a gorgeous wedding and couple! Thanks Michele for offering so much advice, too, on new brides-to-be 🙂 Very helpful.

  2. This is a great presentation and brings back sweet memories. Glad we were a part of this, your life’s big event.
    Ruby & Ralph

  3. So many great details and how incredible to have the wedding in Australia! The stationery, the flowers, the bobble heads – love it! Congratulations!

  4. Pingback: The Beauty of Black & White Photography | Truly Engaging Wedding Blog

  5. Pingback: Beautiful, Tropical "Trash the Dress" | Truly Engaging Wedding Blog

  6. Pingback: News and Other Exciting Stuff! - Cairns Wedding Photographer - Blue Sky Photography - Cairns, Palm Cove, Port Douglas Blog

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