The jury is still out on what we love most about this Byron Bay wedding – the live food bars or the ‘liquid’ dessert; Reena and Blake’s song selection or what they wore. Truth is, after Blake’s potentially hazardous proposal and a few COVID setbacks, we’re just glad it went ahead at all.
Captured by Lover of Mine and Mears Production, it was visually a classic and elegant celebration but the main aim was to good time, as Reena tells us, “we wanted the day to have a relaxed, holiday vibe – with Aperol Spritz and G&Ts in hand – and most important of all, an amazing PARTY!”
How did you meet? We met over 13 years ago at a high school leadership conference at the beginning of year 12. At the end of the day, the organisers encouraged all the students to exchange contact details and Blake, with some encouragement from his friends, bravely asked for my ‘MSN addy’ – the rest is history!
The proposal: Having been together over 10 years when he proposed, I was lucky enough to be involved in designing my engagement ring which was such a great experience. The proposal however, was of course still a surprise.
Blake had picked me up from a friend’s house and we got a very late dinner at a local restaurant we used to visit a lot in the earlier days of dating. When we pulled into the driveway of our house, I noticed a warm light coming from our windows. It turns out Blake had set up flowers, photos and candles (which had been burning for hours at this point!) in our dining area for the proposal. Despite the fire hazard, it was a very special moment, especially given that it happened in our first home that we had bought together.
Wedding venue: We always wanted to have a destination wedding and thanks to COVID, we were looking for options within Australia. We decided that Byron Bay was the perfect spot to base our guests given the beach setting, great food and relaxed holiday vibe. Fins at Plantation House, about 45 minutes north from Byron, ticked all the boxes in terms of a wedding venue.
With the owners coming from a fine dining restaurant background, great food (and drinks) and service were so important to us given we are both big foodies. Fins has a breathtaking setting with a number of spaces we could use throughout the day to keep things interesting for our guests. Fins were also super flexible with working with us to customise the day to ensure it was truly a reflection of us as a couple.
Wedding vibe: Aesthetically, we wanted our wedding to look classic and elegant but with a modern and minimal feel. We had the bridal party in all black, including our immediate families, for a formal but modern and cohesive look. For our guests however, we wanted the day to have a relaxed, holiday vibe – with Aperol Spritz and G&Ts in hand – and most important of all, an amazing PARTY!
Traditions: adopted, adapted or ditched? Instead of a traditional church wedding, we opted for a civil ceremony which was completely personalised to us, including writing our own vows which was one of the most special parts of the day.
We ditched seated entrees for live food bars during cocktail hour where chefs prepared the food in front of our guests (over the sunset) – think barbequed king prawns and scallops, peking duck pancakes and pork baos!
We also didn’t bother with plated desert or a wedding cake (which often goes to waste) and instead had a gelato cart (perfect for the warm weather) and ‘liquid desert’ of a dedicated espresso martini bar at the side of the dancefloor.
The outfits: My Rachel Gilbert dress was the first ever wedding dress I tried on when I went shopping. It was a classic silhouette with a point of difference in the flower embroidery which was perfect for our garden ceremony setting. It was so light and comfortable on the day. Blake got a tailor made tuxedo from Formal Red – the white jacket was crisp and classic. Lots of James Bond comments from our guests!
Standout vendors: We were so lucky to have an amazing group of vendors who we would genuinely all recommend! Fins first and foremost for their understanding during the pandemic planning panics and absolute standout execution on the day. Our acoustic singer, Alisha from Janda Events, who set the mood for our guests during cocktail hour with her amazing voice and the party later in the night as DJ. Andrew our celebrant for holding our hands through the planning of our ceremony and flow of our day. Lastly, our photographer, Anthony from Lover of Mine and videographer, Luke from Mears Productions who were so relaxed and fun but also worked seamlessly in the background to capture all the important moments.
Soundtrack: Aisle song: “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” – Jasmine Thompson. Entrance song: “Friday (ft. Mufasa and Hypeman)” – Dopamine Re-Edit: Riton, Nightcrawlers, Mufasta, Hypeman and Dopamine. First dance: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (I Love You Baby)” – Lauryn Hill. Father/daughter and mother/son dance: “Love will keep us alive” – The Eagles. Party starter: “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” – Abba: Sgt Slick’s Melbourne Recut.
Words of wedding wisdom: It can be so easy to get caught up in all the Pinterest boards but remember to always come back to what is most important to you as a couple. To us, this was our guest’s experience and the vibe of the day – decisions are so much easier when you have a goal or focus to come back to. For example, splurging on an Aperol Spirtz bar and espresso martinis over a floral installation were easy decisions given our goal was for our guests to have the best time ever. Also, research research research all of your vendors. Don’t just scan their Instagram pages – look through their tagged photos, read reviews, check whether they been featured on wedding blogs. Looking for ‘real wedding’ features of the venue on blogs like Wedshed to read about other couple’s experiences and get inspiration.
I’ll always remember… This is too difficult! But I will always remember how emotional my Dad and Blake were during the aisle walk and ceremony, especially given they aren’t usually emotional people.
And also the moment we went from slow dancing at the end of the father/daughter dance to opening the dance floor and everyone was jumping and singing to Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! It was epic!
Hit or (near) miss: Victoria had a snap five day lockdown which thankfully ended the week before our wedding (but caused many tears!). The day itself went so smoothly and we were blessed with perfect weather.
There was however, a slight hiccup when one of my MOHs left my handwritten vows in the car and I only noticed when the aisle song had started playing. With the quick work of Fins and Alisha being the professional she was – the guests wouldn’t have noticed!
The future: We are looking forward to continuing to build our lives together and returning to Byron every year for our wedding anniversaries (ha!).
CREDITS: Photos Lover of Mine // Video Mears Production // Venue Fins at Plantation House // Celebrant Andrew Michael // Flowers Bunch It Up // Bridal gown Rachel Gilbert // Brides shoes Gucci // Accessories Christie Nicolaides // Bridesmaid dresses Bec + Bridge, Shona Joy and Pilgrim // Bridesmaid gifts Kirstin Ash // Robes/Pjs Cotton On // Hair Clare Moriarty // Makeup Xenia Elise // Groom and groomsmen suits and ties Formal Red // Rings Larsen Jewellery // Stationery Greenvelope // Signage Etsy // // Furniture hire Avideas // Lighting Out Of The Dark // Music Janda Events // Gelato cart The Gelato Social.