– As featured in Queensland Brides Autum / Winter 2020 –
A cherished family farm offered this couple the perfect location for the relaxed, natural celebration of their dreams.
Growing up in a small town like Bundaberg, everyone knows everyone – as was the case for Ashlee and Joshua, who had been good mates during their high school years. But after graduation, the two friends went their separate ways – the bright lights of the big city called for Ash, who moved to Brisbane, while Josh stayed behind to start his apprenticeship before beginning work in the mines.
“Five years later we ran into each other in one of Bundaberg’s infamous nightclubs during the Christmas holidays, when we were both back home with our families,” says Ash of the start of their love story. “We spent that New Year’s Eve together and were pretty inseparable for the rest of that week, and it’s continued like that for the last seven years!”
The couple loves to travel, and have taken many overseas trips together in the years since they reconnected. “We both love to experience different cultures, but we also love to travel locally,” says Ash. “We try to do lots of camping on long weekends, trying out new locations along the East Coast – just so long as it’s dog-friendly so our fur baby, Vonni, can come along with us.”
It was during one of their big camping adventures – this time across the ditch on a two-week driving holiday around the South Island of New Zealand in a campervan – that Josh proposed. It was only the second day into their trip, and the weather was drizzly, overcast and, says Ash, “absolutely bloody freezing!” Well stocked up on cheese and wine from a local deli just down the road earlier that day, the couple decided to stop for the night in a quiet little town and settle in for some warmth and rest – or so Ash thought. “Despite the weather, Josh was insistent that we sit outside and enjoy a picnic and get out of the van to take in some (very!) fresh air. Next thing I know, he was down on one knee next to me. I cried; he cried. I then spent the rest of our two weeks looking up vendors, emailing photographers and talking all things weddings!” Ash laughs. “I think Josh may have regretted asking me to marry him quite so early into the trip, but in my defence, I had been waiting six years for a proposal! I was so excited.”
Back home and the wedding planning went into full swing. Choosing the venue was the easiest part. “I grew up on a macadamia orchard in Bundaberg and I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world,” says Ash. “I had always dreamed of getting married there one day, to be able to share the magic with all our friends and family.”
In keeping with the country vibe, the couple decided to make their big day simply feel like a super-relaxed family gathering. They took an eco-friendly, boho-inspired approach – a mood that is summed up beautifully in the bride’s gorgeous lace gown from Spell Bride, which she paired with a perfect pair of blush pink suede ankle boots.
Josh and Ash kept their nuptials simple and relaxed, exchanging their wedding vows in front of their friends and family while surrounded by the natural beauty of the farm. “We both hate being the centre of attention, so it was less about the ceremony and more about the celebration afterwards with all our nearest and dearest,” says the bride. “We chose to have a very short ceremony instead of a big, traditional one, and our celebrant was brilliant and tailored everything to suit our style.” Ash adds that all of their suppliers on the day were fantastic – a dream team of specialists who ensured their vision of a relaxed and carefree wedding was fully realised. “The Famo’s Duo provided our music entertainment – they sang so beautifully together – and our caterers, Dirty Moes, were so amazing in creating our big, beautiful wedding dinner.”
Fiesta Flora created all of the gorgeous floral arrangements for both the ceremony and the reception, adding some budget-savvy ideas for the couple, such as using the flowers that lined the ceremony aisle as the table centrepieces for the celebration dinner afterwards. “Our florist did such an incredible job and really went above and beyond to make everything as perfect as she could for us,” says Ash. “The arrangements took our breath away.”
With such a down-to-earth, heartfelt approach to their big day, it’s no surprise that Ash and Josh’s country celebration was full of genuine love and happiness, all captured perfectly by photographer Rikki Lancaster.
But, Ash does have some words of advice for other couples who want to keep their wedding low-key and stress free: “Try not to get worked up about little things going wrong on the day,” she tips. “Things will happen that are completely out of your control and completely unexpected, but instead of getting stressed out, delegate to someone you trust and sit back with a wine (or two).”
The couple says they’re now ready and excited to begin their new life together as husband and wife, taking the same relaxed approach to their future as they did their wedding day. “We’ve spent the last four years living in and renovating our own home together, and seeing as we’ve made it through living in a construction site for all of those years, I’d like to think we can make it through anything,” Ash laughs.
[Little Black Book]
Photographer: Rikki Lancaster // Venue: Private property // Dress: Spell Bride by Spell & the Gypsy Collective // Suits: Country Road and Sportscraft // Bridesmaids: Sheike // Engagement & Wedding Rings: Michael Hill // Florist: Fiesta Flora // Videographer: James Latter Films // Celebrant: Louise Forster // Bar service: The Roll ‘n’ Banks Bar // Music: The Famo’s Duo // Caterers: Dirty Moes // Honeymoon: Thailand