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Wedspiration > Real Weddings > REAL WEDDING: Melanie + Jai – Fig Tree
Real Weddings
REAL WEDDING: Melanie + Jai – Fig Tree
This American and Australian duo were all about the personal touches for their wedding, including handwriting 60 thoughtful thank you cards in replacement of place cards.
Words by Melany Mashman
28 August 2019

Perched atop a hill, you’ll find the beautiful Fig Tree restaurant, which overlooks the blue horizon of Byron Bay’s beautiful beaches. A pristine sunny day and lighthouse views made for a magnificent sunset cocktail hour, where Melanie, Jai, and their guests dined under festoon lights and a starry sky.

Check out their day, captured by the talented Nina Claire Photography.

Hey Melanie and Jai, tell us about how you met and the proposal?

We met through our mutual friends, Kim and Justin, who we’re also a part of our wedding party. Jai was living in Adelaide at the time and was visiting Justin for Australia Day celebrations in 2012. Kim knew Justin from her days in Adelaide and took me to a party to meet them. The attraction didn’t take long to form and we flew back and forth from Adelaide to Sydney for about 18 months before Jai was able to get a transfer with work. 

The proposal was an intimate experience at our apartment in Bondi. Dinner at home over a glass of red turned into a knee drop and all the tears. It was beautiful.

What DIY projects did you do accomplish for the wedding?

I’m American, and there is a lawn game that I love to play called Corn Hole. Essentially, its two wooden boards spaced about 10 meters apart with a hole cut into them. You toss bean bags into the hole and play to 21. We customized ours with our Bitmoji avatars. The Aussies thought it was hilarious and the Americans kicked their butts! 

Groom and groomsmen at byron bay wedding
Groom getting ready for wedding
Groomsmen at byron bay wedding
Bride getting ready for her wedding at Byron
Bridal gown at Byron Bay wedding
Just Married denim wedding jacket

What was your theme or inspiration for your wedding?

Summer garden party.

What traditions did you involve during your big day? 

Not many. My dad walked me down the aisle and we fed each other cake (Banana flavour. Don’t knock it till you try it! It was a hit). Other than that, we mixed the old, new, borrowed, and blue.

How did you find your venue and was the process difficult for you?

Instagram. We knew we wanted to do it out of Sydney (where we live) and once I saw it on my feed, there were no others I considered.

What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?

I was a super thrifty bride! It’s not normally a quality I tout, but Jai kept me to a super strict budget and I made due, if I do say so myself! If you have a look at my vendors you can see that you don’t have to go for big names to pull a wedding off. Etsy was my best friend. I kept things in my cart for ages before I was certain that’s what I wanted and it was the best price I could find.

What does marriage mean to you?

Marriage means someone else comes before yourself. If you are both always striving to meet the other’s needs before your own, then you will succeed. Serve one another.  

What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?

We handwrote thank you cards to each of our guests and had them at their seat as their place cards. In the months leading up to the day, we spent hours handwriting carefully crafted and thoughtful notes to each of our 60 guests. We were able to express just how much they mean to us, what qualities we admire about them and thanked them for shaping us into the people we are today. It took forever, but to watch our nearest and dearest open their notes when they sat to dinner was the most touching moment of the day. 

Tell us any funny stories that surrounded your wedding?

After the wedding, when we got our raw video back of the ceremony, we sat down to watch it together. We loved the cinematic cut (Jarod Lucas made us look super rad) so we were excited to see the raw reel too. The big moment comes when I turn to walk down the aisle with my father, and I’m so excited to see Jai’s face and have him see me in my dress and veil. And then, clear as day, through the lapel mic that Jai had obviously forgotten was pinned to him he says: “Have a look at Dennis!” (my dad). Not the reaction I was going for!

What was your ceremony song?

How long will I love you? Ellie Goulding.

And your first dance song?

Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers.

CREDITS: Photography Nina Claire Photography // Videographer Jarod Lucas // Flowers Beautiflora // Venue Fig Tree // Catering Fig Tree // Cake Byron Bay Cacao // Styling Fig Tree // Bridal Gown Loum.o // Brides Shoes ASOS // Veil Etsy // Accessories The Luxe Bride // Bridesmaid Dresses Bardot // Bridesmaid Gifts PJ Sets by Misguided and Earrings by Seed // Grooms Suit MJ Bale & Oxford shirts // Groomsmen Gifts: Etsy Hand-painted Caricature Pint Glasses // Bowties Buckle 1922 // Rings Tungsten Steel, Gabriela Artigas // Hair The Bride’s Mane // Makeup Kate Johnston // Music Lincoln Sharpe // Celebrant Annliese Luna // Transport Byron Bay Mini Bus.

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